Saturday, November 13, 2021

Chamberlain Grows a Spine and a German-Soviet Truce: Two WWII Alternate Timelines

The premiere alternate history forum on the Internet once again doesn't disappoint, with two interesting new timelines for your entertainment. Both are set during World War II, one beginning before the war actually starts and the other in 1942 or so. Here goes...

Defying The Storm-The mighty CalBear, the gear-head who wrote a post on this blog about the failure of the Iraqi Army against ISIS and a book-length alternate history on how the Nazis taking Stalingrad could have extended the war into the 1950s, came up with a somewhat more subtle scenario. The divergence is that Dr. Morrell, Hitler's doctor who was feeding him all sorts of drugs, is killed by Allied bombing and Hitler's new doctor discovers just what his predecessor was doing. Hitler is weaned off the various drugs and is much more clear-headed and not so nuts. Meanwhile, Stalin develops a kidney infection, ignores his doctors' advice, and dies just as the Soviets win the Battle of Kursk. As a result, the vague talks of a separate peace in 1943 that didn't go anywhere result in a compromise peace. Germany keeps the Baltics and parts of Ukraine and returns some territory to the Soviets, who in turn resume their pre-war trade with Germany. There's also some puppy-kicking by both sides--the Germans agree to return all Soviet prisoners of war, with those who fought for the German army specifically identified, while the Soviets in turn deporting all Soviet Jews into German-occupied Poland (!!).

(Just in case we forgot just how malignant the totalitarians were. CalBear's book depicts what the Nazis wanted to do to the Russians if they won, which would have been vastly worse.)

Now Germany is able to rely once more on Soviet oil and grain and can move its forces into Italy to contest the Allied advance and into France to deter a large-scale invasion. But the United States is about to unleash the atomic bomb and neither the Germans nor the Soviets think this peace will last. Things are about to get very interesting. This whole scenario was inspired by this depiction of a naval battle between the 1945-level U.S. Navy and what the Germans could have had if they'd won--or at least not lost--the war in the East, so we might be seeing that scenario at some point.

(EDIT: Owing to some forum drama about whether the USSR would have made such a peace treaty, the thread may have been moved to a members-only section. If you click on the link above and you go to a log-in screen, that might be what happened.)

Munich Shuffle: 1938-1942-This one diverges from our history during the Sudetenland Crisis. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is injured in a plane crash upon returning from a diplomatic visit to Germany. This delays the Munich Conference until after the Nazis' infamous Kristallnacht, which disabuses Chamberlain's notions that Hitler could be reasoned with. Although Czechoslovakia cannot be saved, British rearmament starts earlier than in real history and this has consequences, most obviously when the Germans attack Norway. The Germans also don't get Czechoslovak assets in British banks, something that will likely have some negative economic consequences for them.

(The book Wages of Destruction describes just how much of the early Nazi economy was smoke-and-mirrors nonsense kept going by loot from their earliest conquests, like the Austrian and Czechoslovak gold reserves.)

So if you're interested in World War II and in particular things that could have gone differently, these are both worth a read.

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