What if Germany won WW1 after overwhelming the French Army in the 1918 spring offensive

What would postwar Europe look like if Germany had one World War One? This thread will be divided into multiple parts, the first will focus on the immediate postwar effects of German victory, peace treaties, borders, in the years from 1918-1922, the second part, will focus on events from 1923-1933, the third part will focus on events from 1934-1949, the fourth part will focus on events from 1950-1970, the fifth part will focus on 1971-1990, the sixth part will be for events from 1991-2016, the seventh part will be for events in 2016-futur, when posting, please indicate which part you’re posting for, and also wait for me to move to the next part before moving on, please be respectful to other people’ thoughts and ideas, and no politics allowed. Part one will be out shortly.
 
You would have to go back further to get a better POD. The Spring Offensive probably did the best it could have given the Germany Army's logistical circumstances and tactical knowledge. The Entente's Hundred Day Offensive demonstrated a better adaption to the reality of modern warfare
 
You would have to go back further to get a better POD. The Spring Offensive probably did the best it could have given the Germany Army's logistical circumstances and tactical knowledge. The Entente's Hundred Day Offensive demonstrated a better adaption to the reality of modern warfare
I'd suggest reading Zabeck's "The German 1918 Offensives". They came within a hair's breadth of victory and if they had aimed their offensive better in March they could have won.
 

Marc

Donor
I'd suggest reading Zabeck's "The German 1918 Offensives". They came within a hair's breadth of victory and if they had aimed their offensive better in March they could have won.
A short term victory, assuming that the United States was serious.
 
A short term victory, assuming that the United States was serious.
They weren't there in enough strength to really matter yet. The sort of collapse that Zabecki talks about would effectively render the US army moot.
 
I'd suggest reading Zabeck's "The German 1918 Offensives". They came within a hair's breadth of victory and if they had aimed their offensive better in March they could have won.
Is it possible that, provided Ludendorff planned it better, WWI could have ended in White Peace before sufficient American troops arrived?
 
Is it possible that, provided Ludendorff planned it better, WWI could have ended in White Peace before sufficient American troops arrived?
Well a white peace with a German victory in the 1918 offensives would be impossible. For one thing the British would have been forced to evacuate the continent due to logistics collapse (Zabecki really did his homework on that claim, I even check his sources, the British official history about logistics of the British armies in France) and the French would basically be left alone to cover Paris, which even with the limited number of US troops already in France would mean having to severely hollow out the lines and reserves to maintain a longer continuous line. Once Paris falls in 1918 it is highly unlikely that the French would be able to continue fighting and certainly the US couldn't because they relied heavily on French industrial production to source their artillery, aircraft, tanks, and a fair bit of automatic weaponry.
 
Well a white peace with a German victory in the 1918 offensives would be impossible. For one thing the British would have been forced to evacuate the continent due to logistics collapse (Zabecki really did his homework on that claim, I even check his sources, the British official history about logistics of the British armies in France) and the French would basically be left alone to cover Paris, which even with the limited number of US troops already in France would mean having to severely hollow out the lines and reserves to maintain a longer continuous line. Once Paris falls in 1918 it is highly unlikely that the French would be able to continue fighting and certainly the US couldn't because they relied heavily on French industrial production to source their artillery, aircraft, tanks, and a fair bit of automatic weaponry.
Going with this. The British and Americans would not have to make peace.

The French might ask for what final final peace terms may be but wouldn't have to settle for a crap armistice. Even though much of metropolitan France might be occupied. I could see the British and Americans and French remnants trying to hold Cherbourg or Brittany and the Rhone valley.

Italy might be in trouble soon, as any French and British divisions would want to pull out to more important places. Same with Greece, as the Salonika garrison might evacuate.

Much now depends on how greedy Germany gets, if Germany wants Liege, Luxembourg, Belgian Congo, Angola, and keep preeminence in the Ukraine and Baltic States and Finland (but are left independent largely). But status quo elsewhere. I could see France agreeing to this, and Britain as well and the USA is almost forced to go along.

Austria might be left in occupation of Albania and most of Serbia. But I can't see them wanting any more Italians.

Turkey could pick up a bit a Russia's expense, but I could see Britain keeping Basra and Jerusalem as protection for the canal and the Persian gulf and there isn't much anybody can do about it. (perhaps the Turks get Rhodes and the rest of the islands as compensation or maybe even Libya.

If Germany gets greedy and wants more, the Allies might just stay in, keeping up the blockade, picking on the Ottomans until Germany settles.
 
@Catspoke
Agree to disagree on what the French would accept in 1918. Remember the peace crowd was quite strong despite the repressive measures Clemenceau had taken against the left and it actually required pulling divisions out of the line prior to Kaiserschlacht to help put them down. With Paris gone the will to continue to fight and suffer is going to be pretty minimal, especially if the Brits have had to pull out of the continent to avoid being encircled and destroyed in Flanders.
Italy is probably going to cut a deal considering the enormous impact of Paris falling. There really isn't hope of winning the war at that point without a LOT more bloodshed and years of fighting. Plus Germany will be stripping France of it's food to prop itself up. They really won't be in a position to resist even a bad peace and certainly won't be fighting to preserve Belgium.
 
I think Italy could still throw a big wrench in the thing. Would Vittorio Veneto go through and of so, could Germany really contain it while finishing off the allies in France?

The Italian military itself had become so much stronger (plus Diaz was in charge, not Cadorna), while Austria's position was somewhat precarious, so without major German assistance, I think it could happen. With the British and Americans potentially leaving France, Italy, along with Salonika of course, would look attractive as a new front. Unless France had truly capitulated, would a CP collapse at Vittorio Veneto not open the road to Innsbruck, leaving Vienna and even Bavaria vulnerable to an offensive backed with substantial British and American forces?
 
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@Catspoke
Agree to disagree on what the French would accept in 1918. Remember the peace crowd was quite strong despite the repressive measures Clemenceau had taken against the left and it actually required pulling divisions out of the line prior to Kaiserschlacht to help put them down. With Paris gone the will to continue to fight and suffer is going to be pretty minimal, especially if the Brits have had to pull out of the continent to avoid being encircled and destroyed in Flanders.
Italy is probably going to cut a deal considering the enormous impact of Paris falling. There really isn't hope of winning the war at that point without a LOT more bloodshed and years of fighting. Plus Germany will be stripping France of it's food to prop itself up. They really won't be in a position to resist even a bad peace and certainly won't be fighting to preserve Belgium.
Fair enough. It doesn't seem to be in Germany's best interest when trying to strip off a major chunk of Russia to try and grab Briery and Longwy basin off of France too, creating permanent enemies all over the place, but maybe that is what they are.
 
I think Italy could still throw a big wrench in the thing. Would Vittorio Veneto go through and of so, could Germany really contain it while finishing off the allies in France?

The Italian military itself had become so much stronger (plus Diaz was in charge, not Cadorna), while Austria's position was somewhat precarious, so without major German assistance, I think it could happen. With the British and Americans potentially leaving France, Italy, along with Salonika of course, would look attractive as a new front. Unless France had truly capitulated, would a CP collapse at Vittorio Veneto not open the road to Innsbruck, leaving Vienna and even Bavaria vulnerable to an offensive backed with substantial British and American forces?
Potentially the American divisions could go to Italy, but I don't see why the Germans could have at least 6 divisions themselves there for stiffening. The Alps are too strong for Austria/Germany not on the ropes.
 
Fair enough. It doesn't seem to be in Germany's best interest when trying to strip off a major chunk of Russia to try and grab Briery and Longwy basin off of France too, creating permanent enemies all over the place, but maybe that is what they are.
After WW1 there is no way they'd be getting it back and they were already a very confirmed enemy.
 
Well a white peace with a German victory in the 1918 offensives would be impossible. For one thing the British would have been forced to evacuate the continent due to logistics collapse (Zabecki really did his homework on that claim, I even check his sources, the British official history about logistics of the British armies in France) and the French would basically be left alone to cover Paris, which even with the limited number of US troops already in France would mean having to severely hollow out the lines and reserves to maintain a longer continuous line. Once Paris falls in 1918 it is highly unlikely that the French would be able to continue fighting and certainly the US couldn't because they relied heavily on French industrial production to source their artillery, aircraft, tanks, and a fair bit of automatic weaponry.
Equally important to the BEF being forced off the continent is the loss of Bethune Coal Mines and the Channel Ports. With the loss of those, French war production would collapse while London would be threatened by starvation.
 
I think Italy could still throw a big wrench in the thing. Would Vittorio Veneto go through and of so, could Germany really contain it while finishing off the allies in France?

The Italian military itself had become so much stronger (plus Diaz was in charge, not Cadorna), while Austria's position was somewhat precarious, so without major German assistance, I think it could happen. With the British and Americans potentially leaving France, Italy, along with Salonika of course, would look attractive as a new front. Unless France had truly capitulated, would a CP collapse at Vittorio Veneto not open the road to Innsbruck, leaving Vienna and even Bavaria vulnerable to an offensive backed with substantial British and American forces?
Depends, does Austria-Hungary still go through with Second Battle of the Piave when it seems that the war has already been won, or does it sit pretty and wait for the French collapse to bring Italy to the table. Because Vittorio Veneto isn't happening if the Common Army hasn't effectively committed suicide.
 
Going with this. The British and Americans would not have to make peace.

The French might ask for what final final peace terms may be but wouldn't have to settle for a crap armistice. Even though much of metropolitan France might be occupied. I could see the British and Americans and French remnants trying to hold Cherbourg or Brittany and the Rhone valley.

Italy might be in trouble soon, as any French and British divisions would want to pull out to more important places. Same with Greece, as the Salonika garrison might evacuate.

Much now depends on how greedy Germany gets, if Germany wants Liege, Luxembourg, Belgian Congo, Angola, and keep preeminence in the Ukraine and Baltic States and Finland (but are left independent largely). But status quo elsewhere. I could see France agreeing to this, and Britain as well and the USA is almost forced to go along.

Austria might be left in occupation of Albania and most of Serbia. But I can't see them wanting any more Italians.

Turkey could pick up a bit a Russia's expense, but I could see Britain keeping Basra and Jerusalem as protection for the canal and the Persian gulf and there isn't much anybody can do about it. (perhaps the Turks get Rhodes and the rest of the islands as compensation or maybe even Libya.

If Germany gets greedy and wants more, the Allies might just stay in, keeping up the blockade, picking on the Ottomans until Germany settles.
1) Even in a German victory TL, by 1918 they wouldn’t be strong enough to force terrible peace terms on the French. The Americans and the British would have to retreat, but since they aren’t on the continent, they should get off relatively lightly.

2) There were about 5 British and French divisions on the Italian Front and no less than 52 Italian divisions. Thet’d probably just recall the Italian divisions on the Western Front, in the Balkans and the Middle East. Austria-Hungary wouldn’t be able to make headway on the offensive without German support like in the Asiago and Piave offensives. They would most likely, keep the pre 1915 borders if Germany won in 1918.

3) I don’t know enough about the Balkan campaign to comment on it.

4) Germany isn’t in the position to grab that much from France. They’ve suffered tremendous damage both in terms of the casualties that they racked up and to their economy.

5) I don’t see the Italians giving up the Dodecanese islands or Libya to the Ottomans and they don’t have the Naval strength to defend either of them.

6) The Central Powers main gains would be at the expense of Russia while its in the middle of its Civil War. The Turks would expand in the Caucasus, the Germans and the Austrians would expand in Eastern Europe. The Austrians and the Bulgarians might expand in the Balkans, but that might actually be detrimental to both of them given the jingoism that was rampant in the region.
 
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1) Even in a German victory TL, by 1918 they wouldn’t be strong enough to force terrible peace terms on the French. The Americans and the British would have to retreat, but since they aren’t on the continent, they should get off relatively lightly.
I kind of though that too. although Wiking chimed in above that the French were pretty fragile by 1918. Hard to argue with that, Every body seemed strong in 1918 then one day they weren't. Once morale starts to break, it breaks like a flood after 4 years of war.

As far as terms
Looking at the map. Germany could ask to keep Briey and Longwy, they are right across the border and small, smallish populations, strategic resources, also would provide strategic depth to Germany's iron mine right across the border.

Digging online it seems Germany is concerned about strategic resources and this region:

At a minimum Germany is going to ask for that border strip, and her colonies back (in terms of a final peace).

It terms of how it would play out its it like 1940, Britain isn't want France to make a separate peace, but France wants out before terms get worse, France wouldn't want a situation where Germany is looting the country for every every bit of food and metal there is, suffering under a multi year occupation. Britain isn't want the Germans turning Calais, Cherbourg and Brest into nests of raiders.

I think both sides would be willing to make peace under those minimal terms (which would include a gradual German withdrawal from the other occupied areas, return of German colonies, return of POWs, return of trade, perhaps transfer of supplies of food and other materiel the French have, and reduction of French military.

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I did a massive story based on this, the Eleventh Hour series. It ended up with Kissinger a captain in the Imperial German Navy on a nuclear sub I think
 
Even with the French going out, the AEF was due for huge expansion, would relocate, if needed, and go thru Italy and tearup what was left of the Austrians and then onto Germany proper.
They could not resist the planned 1919 American led offensive.
 
I'd suggest reading Zabeck's "The German 1918 Offensives". They came within a hair's breadth of victory and if they had aimed their offensive better in March they could have won.
"Victory" how? Paris? The entirety of France? Because that's what it'll take for a German victory, and they lacked the logistics, or manpower for either.
 
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