WWII What If: Britain, France, Japan and Germany vs. Soviet Union and United States

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Joku_, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. Joku_ Member

    Nov 26, 2019
    In 1938, shortly after the Munich Agreement, Hitler dies in a car accident and somewhat more moderate, or at least more risk averse factions in the Nazi party gain power. Instead of going for an extremely risky war, they try to market the Nazi Germany as a bulwark against Communism.

    In the Pacific, Japan is more accommodating to Britain's and France's desires now that they don't have to worry about Germany on the continent. However, USA now has a more aggressive stance against Japan combined with anti-imperial rhetoric, and tensions between them increase during 1940. US embargoes and threatens Japan with a war, and Japan responses with a surprise attack like in OTL, just a year earlier, and war ensues.

    USSR, who have been co-operating against Japan with the US, think that this is the time gobble up areas from Japan, and declare a war. However, Germany has a pact with Japan that has a mutual defence clause, and Germany declares war on USSR (who they think they can take on) and USA (who they figure can't effectively affect them).

    The Soviets panick, fearing that Poland might side with the Germans, and start a pre-emptive invasion of Poland and the Baltics. Besides the Soviet aggression against Poland, in this timeline Britain and France are worried about US' anti-imperial stance, and they proceed to side with Germany and Japan, against the United States and Soviet Union.

    How will this go? Can the Imperial Alliance stand up to the combined industrial might of the Americans and Soviets? Assume that the Dutch and Belgian Empires are quietly siding with the Imperials, but they are not openly participating to the war unless attacked.


    -September 1938: The Munich Agreement.
    -October 1938: Hitler dies in a traffic accident. Somewhat more moderate factions in the Nazi party gain power.
    -November 1938: First Vienna Award, provisioned by the Munich Agreement, happens much as in OTL
    -July 1939: As in OTL, Britain recognizes Japanese conquests in China. But USA does not resume trade relations with Japan due to rising anti-imperial sentiment, so Japan is forced to seek closer trade relations with the Imperial powers. Pact of Steel between Germany and Italy does not happen.
    -late 1939: USA and Soviet Union send increasing amounts of aid to China, and propose an alliance against Japan to France and Britain now that they are unbothered on the continent. Due to the anti-imperial sentiment, they refuse.
    -early 1940: Worried about rising anti-imperial sentiment, France and Britain halt aid to China, and do not allow USA to send aid through their possessions. US sees this as a betrayal, and extends some of the sanctions to cover UK and France.
    -late 1940: American and Soviet volunteer troops start to show up in China, and USN is mobilizing their fleets in Pacific. Increasing trade war between the Empires and USA.
    -December 1940: Japanese do a surprise attack against Pearl Harbor. This time, they are not as lucky as in OTL, and American losses are only a half of what they were in OTL. Japanese forces still manage to get back mostly unscatched. US declares total trade embargo against France and UK.
    -February 1941: USSR declares war against Japan, and starts their offensive on Japanese possessions on Asian continent. Romania folds to Soviet ultimatum, and hands over Bessarabia while promising to stay neutral, but they will hold a grudge towards the Soviets. Increasing mobilization by France and Britain, and fervent debate about what to do. Greece, which is falling to Soviet sphere of influence, is invaded by Italy now that everybody else has more pressing concerns, plus France and UK quietly OK it to ensure that Italy stays friendly to them.
    -March 1941: Germany declares war against the USA and Soviet Union, according to the mutual defence clause in their treaty with Japan. Soviet Union panicks, and starts to prepare a pre-emptive invasion of Poland and the Baltics, mainly in fear of them either siding with the Germans.
    -April 1941: Soviet offensives against Poland and the Baltics start. France and UK declare war against USSR, and offer alliance to Germany. USA declares war against Britain and France in response.
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  2. JohnBull Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Interesting. I guess the USSR would be defeated, Canada would stay out to avoid invasion, US Navy would be decisively defeated by the combination of British, French, German, Japanese and maybe Italian fleets and the war would probably die off as it would be impossible to invade the US proper.
  3. Borya Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2018
    USA to great of power to let USSR lose.
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  4. JohnBull Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    And what could they have done about it? The Royal Navy, still the largest in the world, and operating close to their waters, struggled to delivery stuff to the Soviets in OTL.

    How Americans would cross the whole Atlantic with supplements while facing the combined Franco-British fleet and German U-boats or cross the Pacific opposing Japanese Navy close to their coast?

    USSR would be beyond help facing alone the four powers combined and then the US soon be alone, but protected by two oceans.
  5. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Mar 12, 2019
    Pending how fast japan is knocked out the pacific fleet could be enough to get stuff to russia, then it's a matter of the trans-Siberian rail being fast enough. Don't know if it is, but I think America might be able to keep the ussr afloat. Maybe
  6. JohnBull Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Japanese Navy assets would be completely focused on the US, without being scattered around conquering the European empires in Asia. As result, their fleet would be operating near home waters or very well positioned in the middle of Pacific, pushing Americans to their side, conquering Midway, for instance. A navy that size wouldn't be defeated very fast, and even if that was the case, Japanese Air Force and submarines would inflict lot of damage in any US convoy trying to reach Vladivostok. The whole thing would be incredibly risk and would be negligible to help the USSR facing the entire industrial power from Europe.

    And obviously, the US Navy would be overstretched, divided in two fronts, being smaller in Pacific against Japanese and much smaller in Atlantic against the British, French and Germans combined.
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  7. Aphrodite Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    After Germany defeats the Soviets, the British choice is to surrender to Germany or the US.
  8. Protagoras Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2019
    Early on, the four powers would be totally dominant at sea (RN and USN start out comparable; add the Japanese to RN, plus the smaller contributions of the Germans and French, and consider that USSR has next to nothing to contribute at sea, and the four powers are at a 2 to 1 edge or better to begin with); while this wouldn't make it practical for them to directly attack the US, it does mean the US couldn't really help the USSR, and the USSR would probably fall relatively quickly to this alliance. While the US could potentially eventually catch up to being competitive at sea, that won't be enough to enable it to launch unassisted offensive operations into Europe or Asia against the kind of opposition the four powers could manage (for the same reasons invasion of the US early on wouldn't be practical), so the fall of the USSR would likely be followed by a long stalemate until either everyone gives up and agrees to some kind of peace or nuclear weapons change things.
  9. Drex Alférez de caballería

    Apr 23, 2017
    Regum Valentiae, Monarchia Hispaniae
    I don't see Japan winning such a war, mainly due to the fact that more then half of their divisions were already tied down in China, thus leaving few troops to spare that could stop the Soviets attack. Also worth noting they attack from Siberia in february, that would cause huge logistical problems further reinforced by the limited cappabilities of the Trans-Siberian railway. At that point Japan also declaring war to the US is suicidal, but depending on how the war develops the Japanese can keep the US at bay with help coming from the British Pacific Fleet and ANZAC naval forces, I'd say the Pacific theater results into a stalemate, but Japan's economic and logistic problems caused by the extreme military effort and lack of oil would hinder them. That, unless Japan pulls out of China or the Brits manage to negotiate a deal with Chiang convicing him that the communists are getting all the support and letting the nationalists bleed themselves dry in futile offensives against the Japanese. A peace deal would allow the Japanese to relocate 30+ divisions, which is enough to stop and push back any Soviet attack in Manchuria.

    Regarding the European front, the Soviets are pretty much doomed. Due to Stalin's purgues the Red Army was lacking initiative and competent commanders as those feared pushing too farwith their actions on fear of being purgued, hence I believe a massive Soviet offensive would entail huge losses and would result in a logistical nightmare for them. The combined industrial might of France, Germany and Britain would outproduce the USSR. Also a Soviet invasion would likely cause other states such as Hungary or Italy or even Turkey and Romania to declare war to the Soviets, causing them further overextension. Without direct American aid, the Soviet Army wouldn't be able to produce as much as it did IOTL, plus it would be fighting Nazi Germany (which they really struggled to defeat) plus the western allies AND Japan. I simply can't see them winning or maintaining their occupied territories for long. Also by having the western allies on their side and a less-radical Germany, I could bet for an Ukrainian uprising and the whole Soviet system crashing down, but that's really hard to accurately predict.

    Then the war becomes a US/Allied war. Both sides have remarkable industry, but the Allies would have a huge head start in numbers, plus nearby bases like the Bahamas, Bermuda or Canada. If the US fails to conquer Canada in a swift move, they could end up bogged down in the Saint Lawrence and eventually have their coasts raided by Allied fleets. But I can't see the Allies really invading America. Maybe a couple of hit-and-run attacks on the East or West coast to further dissipate American power from Canada, coupled with attacks on shipyards could push the US into peace talks, but it would be no total defeat.

    I would like to point out that after WW1 France and Britain contracted huge debts with the US. In the case of an Anglo-American war, the US could claim back those debts, which would really hurt the British economy. Also, the Allies wouldn't have the US to ask for loans or equipment to keep their forces supplied. Western Europe would face a financial crisis which would hinder their war effort, but in my opinion that's not enough to impede them from knocking the Soviets out.
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  10. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

    Oct 4, 2005

    Why, in the name of all that is Holy, would the U.S. want to fight a war with ANYONE in this scenario?

    The Japanese more or less dragged the United States kicking and screaming into WW II. In this scenario there is absolutely no cause belli. NONE. For that matter why would the Soviets give a fig about China, except in hopes of destablizing the "Western lackey government" in favor of Mao?

    The U.S. was willing to use economic pressure on the Japanese, especially after they "were invited" into French Indochina but the idea was 100% economic squeeze and only in concert with the British and the "Pound Zone", not warfare. The U.S. flat didn't care enough about China to start a shooting war and the OTL alliance with Stalin was much more a case of "my enemy's enemy is my friend" than any actual good feeling toward the Communists.

    Why would the British and the French want to fight what was, even then, the world's biggest economy, and not by a couple percentage points? The leading exporter of oil, the leading mass manufacturer of products, not to mention the wealthiest, even with the effects of the Depression taken into account. The American method of mass production didn't really become universal until after the war, as a result Americans, even compared to citizens of France and the UK were almost stupid wealthy (at the start of WW II there were 2 million cars in the UK, the U.S produced 4.68 million cars in 1940 alone and total cars on America road exceed 27 million).

    The scenario really has nothing to hang its hat on.
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  11. edgeworthy Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2013
    If history has shown us anything it is that State Actors are often NOT rational. Imperial Japan was certainly not and Stalin was paranoid on a level that the rest of us really cannot comprehend. And wars are not necessarily fought because people want to fight them.
    Without Hitler the Third Reich might well be seen more like Francoist Spain and Fascist Italy, less of a menace than the Soviet Union.
    And American rhetoric about colonialism seen as more of a threat.

    And no offence but did you not read the part about the escalating Trade War, economic crises have caused wars throughout history, and the US still being the one attacked first by Japan.
    This scenario's hat is just a slightly different shape and size. WW2 breaking out made no economic, military or political sense OTL either.
    Objectively speaking Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had no real chance at all, but it happened.

    (If you add up the combined GDP for 1939 Imperial Japan, the German Reich and the British & French Empires it comes to a larger figure than that of both the United States and the Soviet Union)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
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  12. Cubert Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2019
    In the scenario you presented (as implausible as it is) the "Imperial Alliance" would lose in the sense that the British and the French wouldn't really have the appetite for a war against the Soviets or US directly and would at best provide material support and limited manpower, which means at best Germany stalemates the Soviets somewhere inside Soviet borders, and Japan loses regardless.
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  13. FBKampfer Ardent Arguer

    Mar 13, 2017
    Vancouver, Washington

    Almost ASB. The USA doesn't really need imports to keep the economy running and so is effectively immune to blockade in any meaningful time span.

    Additionally while the standards might be a bit slow, they had a hell of an armor scheme, and the 16"er may be the finest naval rifle ever developed, and the 14"er is no slouch either. Unless they get pearl harbored, the RN has one hell of a fight on their hands if they want to conduct fleet ops in the Western Atlantic.

    Not to mention that over the course of OTL WWII they built and converted over ONE HUNDRED AND FREAKING FIFTY CV, CVL, and CVEs. An unholy amount of CL and DD's, and a fuck load of the world's finest CA's ever designed.

    Tens upon tens of thousands of fighters and bombers, a simply mind-boggling amount of guns, ordnance, and ammunition.

    The USA, on her own, out-built the entirety of UK, German, Japanese, and Italian tank production. The Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union alone is until modern day China, the only nation, state, or alliance to meaningfully rival the US in its capacity to wage war. And you've gone and allied them.

    So you've combined the two largest armaments industries, over half of the world's total production capacity, staggering quantities of natural resources, and 10% of the entire world population (the vast majority of the remainder residing in non-belligerent or colonial nations such as China, India, etc).

    The ONLY advantage you've given your imperial alliance is an initial material superiority (but with a qualitative inferiority).

    The US lasts long enough for SoDak's and Essex's start coming off the slip ways? Wars won, and everyone else might as well pack it in. Fuck the Lions, KGV's, and anything else the UK and Japan can send down the pipe. Unless they can crank out enough hulls and aircraft to out fight 23 fleet carriers (each packing 92+ aircraft, more than double some enemy hulls).

    To put in perspective, the US's carrier-born forces at peak outnumbered Germany and Japan's cumulative airforces.

    Once they ramp up, this would be possibly the most hilariously lopsided curbstomp of a major war.
  14. RMcD94 Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2010
    Dominion of Scotland, Imperial Commonwealth
    Putting aside plausibility China and the USSR are in trouble.

    Japan, France and Britain halt all aid to China except for via the Soviets. The Soviets however are apparently facing a joint Polish and German army, possibly reinforced by French and British troops. No winter war means that Finland is presumably neutral. The Soviets will be caught on the offensive and smashed by the mechanised forces. Even worse is that its in April so they have a lot longer until winter.

    Meanwhile the USA will be experiencing economic disaster as its capitalists who have global ties suffer greatly from what would practically become a total blockade.

    Red America is unlikely to allow Canada to remain neutral and a bigger coast makes it easier to send convoys to deal with the insane volume of raiders and submarines they are faced with.

    Much depends on where the Jewish scientists have gone and whether the anti Cominterm pro Imperialism league cooperates about technology particularly nuclear weapons.

    Once nukes fall on Washington, New York and Los Angeles the USA will surrender, but while the anti imperialists have lost I don't see how their opponents could rule them the way the USA did to Japan. Even occupation forces would be stretched
  15. RMcD94 Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2010
    Dominion of Scotland, Imperial Commonwealth
    And yet they told Japan to leave China, or as they all knew end up at war with the USA.
  16. The Gunslinger NQLA agent

    Jan 4, 2004
    Saskatoon, SK
    They only ended up at war after an embargo and the European empires were engaged in freefall. If the Europeans are friendly to the Japanese they just let the Japanese use Dutch oil and there's no need for them to try and attack America. Such a bizarro set of alliances makes certain that America has to throw the first punch.
  17. RMcD94 Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2010
    Dominion of Scotland, Imperial Commonwealth
    I mean that's true in this timeline which is another reason its implausible but in otl everyone knew what was going on with the provocation and that the demand for Japan to leave China, not just Indochina, was not going to result in peace
  18. Joku_ Member

    Nov 26, 2019
    I guess the Dutch would have no reason to not sell oil to the Japanese here... so would oil be a problem for them?

    Why wouldn't they just default on loans to US? They are at war anyways.
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  19. Finbarr the Fair Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2014
    South Ayrshire, UK
    I agree that the POD isn't sufficient to generate the conflict envisaged. Mainly because I can see an anti-Soviet alliance of these powers but no reason for them to be openly hostile to the USA. Or for the US to be friendly to the USSR and anti the Imperialist group. Other PODs needed probably from the early 1930s also. Perhaps the UK and France jointly default on the WW1 loans in response to Smoot Hawley. And agree a joint Imperial and European FTA that excluded US goods. That could escalate via seizure of their assets in the US and US assets in Europe. Though whether that would lead to open warfare is a matter for debate.

    In 1938 the economic mismatch isn't as great as you think. The combined GDP of the four Powers mentioned in the OP was $995bn against the US figure of $800bn. (In 1990 USD, figures from the OECD via Harrington The Economics of World War 2). The USSR is given as $359bn.

    Adding UK and French colonies would give a further $332bn to the Imperialist Alliance offset only slightly by US colonies of $27bn.

    UK Dominions totalled $115bn. Probably Canada, Ireland and South Africa would be neutral and try to trade as best they could with both. Though only Canada might have any sort of access to the US market. Australia and New Zealand would be linked firmly to the UK etc. as they shut out of the US.

    Certainly productivity in the US was higher than Europe and the spare capacity could be brought into use quickly. So in a few years the US could match or even exceed the IA. By which time the USSR has probably been dismantled .

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  20. History Learner Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    There would be no decisive defeat of the U.S. Navy:
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