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Old 20 September 2018, 16:43
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Icon5 What if?

I sometimes wonder if we may have been better not fighting Germany or Japan. Maybe better off if the Nazis left to rule over Europe and Russia? And better if Japan ruled over Asia?

Yeah, Imperial Japan and Nazis bad .... of course. But was the Cold War, the reeducation camps, Vietnam, Cambodia, Red guards and cultural revolution, etc...any better or even maybe worse?

Maybe us defeating Germany and Japan actually created more bloodshed-in WWII and the aftermath. Leave Germany and Japan alone, though they were bloody, been a lot less American, European, Asian lives spared long term.

Was Hitler really any better than our Allie Stalin? Was the Emperor of Japan worse than Mao or later Pol Pot?

At the time seemed like a worthy cause....maybe. But what did all of the US service members fallen in Vietnam, Korea and WWII really accomplish? Won WWII, at tremendous loss of military and civilian life, and several years later it still all goes to hell and then even more lives lost.
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Last edited by leopardprey; 20 September 2018 at 16:50.
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Old 20 September 2018, 16:56
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If we had turned and focused our efforts on Japan, would the Germans and Soviets have bled each other dry?
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Old 20 September 2018, 17:13
Rich Gause Rich Gause is offline
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I think had the US stayed out of the war and Japan limited itself to war against just China and the USSR WWII ends with defeat of USSR, Japanese puppet government in China, negotiated peace between Germany Italy and England and the rest. Then we get a cold war with Nazi controlled Europe and Japan followed by WWIII with a much stronger Japan and Germany vs the rest of the world.....

No thanks.
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Old 20 September 2018, 18:42
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Look back a bit Further and as happens we find a General saying this. . .

"To Pershing the very idea of an armistice was repugnant. ‘Their request is an acknowledgment of weakness and clearly means that the Allies are winning the war,’ he maintained. ‘Germany’s desire is only to regain time to restore order among her forces, but she must be given no opportunity to recuperate and we must strike harder than ever.’ As for terms, Pershing had one response: ‘There can be no conclusion to this war until Germany is brought to her knees.’ The French and British Allies might be exhausted and long for peace, but Pershing saw his army akin to a fighter ready to deliver the knockout punch who is told to quit with his opponent reeling but still standing. Conciliation now, he claimed, would lead only to future war. He wanted Germany’s unconditional surrender."

We read themes like this over and over in our American Hx. Generals or even the occasional politician warning them then, and us now.

So I vote for bring the Hun to her knees back then, and no armistice. Whether that prevents the 'future'war or not, can't say. MacArthur said the same about China as I recall during the Korean conflict. And on an on it goes.
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Old 20 September 2018, 19:14
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Originally Posted by leopardprey View Post
I sometimes wonder if we may have been better not fighting Germany or Japan. Maybe better off if the Nazis left to rule over Europe and Russia? And better if Japan ruled over Asia?
Interesting concept...

How would that affect trade with the US? Better or worse?

Both Japan and Nazi Germany, at the time, wanted to rule the world. I doubt that they would have left the US alone.

I believe Japan did put soldiers on US soil, (as remote as it may have been), so I doubt they would have stopped with China.

Nazi Germany was "allied" with the Muslim Brotherhood, so if Nazi Germany had won, there would be no Israel. Germany would probably have secured all the oil resources in the ME. So even if the US hadn't been invaded, it may have had its economic development reduced through lack of cheap oil.
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Old 20 September 2018, 21:07
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FDR followed in his mentor Woodrow Wilson in chomping at the bit to drag a reluctant Congress into war. I think any scenario that does not involve active US war against Germany and Japan while being a willing ally of the USSR must be a scenario in which FDR is not the POTUS. However, if we instead has a POTUS with isolationist sympathies, consider:

Japan wanted to control an East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Their attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Phillipines were designed to interdict US interference in Japanese attacks on British and Dutch possessions in the southwest Pacific. US interference was guaranteed under FDR, but an isolationist POTUS might have left well enough alone as long as the Japs bypassed us. A US-Japan non-aggression pact would have allowed the Japanese to focus their efforts on China, Indonesia, and once those areas were secure possibly eastern Siberia.

Similarly, an isolationist POTUS doesn't ship lend-lease aid to Britain or the USSR, so there aren't any American targets for Germany's U-boats, there isn't a steady flow of US fuel to Britain's military, there aren't thousands of American trucks and ground attack planes in Soviet service, and the US isn't sucked into another European war, which was an extremely unpopular proposition with the American people anyway. Without American logistical support and weapons supplies to England after Dunkirk and after Rommel's initial victories in Libya, England more likely negotiates a separate peace. Without a western front to distract resources, and with Japanese pressure in the far east unlimited by a noncommittal America, the Germans are more likely to succeed in conquering the western USSR and forcing a separate peace on a toothless Stalin clinging brutally to power in the Urals.

The Germans wanted control over Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Soviet Caucasus, but didn't have clear intentions about anything more; their western and southeastern European conquests were just matters of military expediency and (in the case of France) political necessity. Negotiated or even de facto peace with England and Russia would likely have resulted in Quisling-style administrations in most of Europe, which would have become a relatively closed continental sphere of German economic influence on roughly the Napoleonic model. Nazi racism made them disinclined to desire a multi-ethnic empire of their own, and their ideology was directed toward development of a state that could be independent of the need for both imports and exports, so they would be as unlikely to provoke a war with the USA as they would be to pursue colonies in Africa.

The USA could have stayed out of both conflicts and still retained a key position as a mover and shaker in the world. The two regional economic systems in eastern Asia and Europe that were both focused on internal commerce would leave the USA as the logical controller of virtually all world trade outside those two spheres of influence. As hellish as civilian life might have been in German occupied eastern Europe or Japanese occupied China, the USA would have come out of the conflict intact, militarily strong, economically powerful, at peace, and still separated from enemies by two wide oceans. The grossly inefficient ways in which the German and Japanese economies were organized would have likely resulted in the eventual American dominance of world trade as happened after the real WW2, but potentially without a nuclear-tipped Cold War for half a century. Without that influence, perhaps the US government never grows into the post-Constitutional behemoth of intrusiveness it has become.

British weakness would have accelerated the independence movements in India and England's African colonies. Without Soviet influence provoking third world revolutions and anti-white resistance movements, those newly independent countries might have had a better chance at avoiding the cycle of revolutions that plagued them since the 1960s.

In summary, German and Japanese victory would have amounted to hell on earth for people in certain parts of the world, but might have actually made life better for the rest of the world, including the USA.
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Old 20 September 2018, 21:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1/ss nuke View Post

Japan wanted to control an East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

In summary, German and Japanese victory would have amounted to hell on earth for people in certain parts of the world, but might have actually made life better for the rest of the world, including the USA.
Everything but especially the above.
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Old 20 September 2018, 21:55
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I agree with the sentiment that FDR was going to get us involved in the war one way or another. That was clear when the draft was reinstated about a year before Pearl Harbor.

He embargoed all oil exports to Japan knowing that would make them desperate. He was also having the US Navy escort British convoys to midway across the Atlantic to provoke Germany.

I also agree that the US would have benefited from staying out of the war, except for one thing: the Manhattan Project. If we weren't involved in the war, we would never have gotten atomic weapons first. Most likely Hitler would have developed them and he would have also had the missiles to deliver them. This is why the decision was made to devote the majority of our resources to defeating Germany first.

It was a shitty situation, but by then the die had been cast so to speak decades earlier with our involvement in WW1. The war against Germany had to be joined and won by US. There really wasn't an alternative.
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Old 20 September 2018, 22:14
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America would not have been better off if it stayed out. Manufacturing of military items, for the US and lend lease, aided in getting out of the depression. Winning the war opened markets to US goods and kept our economy going. If we don't get involved, German manufacturing dominates europe and Japan dominates asia. Both countries would eventually recover (with our help), but it took 30 years. That 30 years gave us a good enough head start to become the dominant economic force.
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Old 20 September 2018, 22:23
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Japan was not aiming to rule the world. They wanted much of Asia, but not the world. They did invade US territories, but those were for strategic reasons. Wake Island was deny us of an air and sea base. The Aleutians were a diversion for Midway and islands like Guam and Somoa were just easy pickings.
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Old 20 September 2018, 23:01
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I don't want to start thinking of all the things we should have done...

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Old 21 September 2018, 06:43
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Can't change history. Some people just needed killing. From Hilter to Bin Laden. Same shit. Different generation.

Everything else is speculation.
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Old 21 September 2018, 07:17
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But we can look at history and ask ourselves was it really worth the death of American soldiers and countless civilians? And use that as a guide to keep us out of future wars , where it seems the possibility of actually making things worse se exists, or sending are sons and daughters off to die for economic gain, geo-politics, greed.

Yeah Hitler and Imperial Japan were bad...but the argument could be made that Stalin and communism was way worse.

Yeah Bin Laden bad, but have we needed to be in Afghanistan for 17 years? What was the purpose of 7,000 US soldiers/Marines dying? What have we, did we, accomplish in Iraq and Afghanistan? Have we made America safer, secured our freedoms?
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Old 21 September 2018, 07:33
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I think Dwight Eisenhower warned us of this. No one listened.
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Old 21 September 2018, 11:35
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Originally Posted by 1RiserSlip View Post
Can't change history. Some people just needed killing. From Hilter to Bin Laden. Same shit. Different generation.

Everything else is speculation.
Completely concur, I was just indulging the original question.
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Old 22 September 2018, 02:16
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I reckon it'd depend on how long Hitler lived. Stalin did his worst over a full lifetime Hitler did his evil over only 12 years. If Hitler lasted into his 70's it'd be odds on Auschwitz is going global. German takes Europe give them a decade or two of peace and they'll have a nuke capability.
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Old 22 September 2018, 04:53
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I’m of the belief the US came out of WWII in a near perfectly optimal position.

I say that from a cold and clinical macro and Machiavellian perspective.

US war casualties(while considerable), were just a proportional rounding error compared to the human, infrastructure, and economic damage suffered by every other combatant country.

The US came out of WWII as THE global player.

The Soviet Union was a trailer park ghetto with decent tanks and rocket artillery, lacking paved roads, electricity, or indoor plumbing.

The US was like a lean and fit 18 year old Rifleman/Marine that arrived late to a particularly nasty global bar fight, finished it decisively, and found the winning Powerball ticket stuck to his shoe on the drive home to Awesometown in his new cash paid Cadillac.

Russia was like the town drunk with a bad liver that got the shit kicked out of itself, and stole a few bottles of German Schnapps as it crawled out the back door of the same burning bar and straight into the gutter.

“18 year olds” don’t often make good decisions when they “win Powerball”.

I’ve only got 18 year old Powerball winner regrets.

It’s been a wild ride, long may it continue.
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Old 23 September 2018, 11:56
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I think that if the US stayed out of WWII, Japan and Germany would have surrounded Russia and then wiped out the Red Army. Once that was done, there’d be the post-victory division of spoils, followed by an atomic sneak attack on Japanese holdings by the Germans. And not just two cities like the US did—I think Hitler would have decapitated Japan.

Then the US would be in serious deep shit.
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Old 24 September 2018, 04:40
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What if?
That is a loaded question.
since the beginning of studies on history, scientists keep looking back and asking: What if something happened or didn't happen? What if this or that? It's the only thing that can be done in this field of research because it deals with things past (and in rare cases, tries to guess what will happen based on past and research on it). Having said that, it's prudent to look at the "what if" as something that might look easy to elaborate on from layman POV, but a historian is acutely aware of how everything in history is interlocked. One "what if" might change entire bunch of other "what ifs" causing such a havoc in research that entire history might require an adjustment or rewrite or wouldn't make sense because if certain "what ifs" happened, many things in today's world wouldn't even exist or have their place the way they do now.

With that caveat, let's look at the "what if" here.

To readjust the optics, we are looking at Nazi Germany controlling entire Europe (let's consider British Isles to be conquered by the Axis), Imperial Japan controlling Pacific area including Australia. The Pearl Harbor didn't happen, Soviet Union stays where it is. No Fall Weiss for now. Italy follows their own Italian fascism under Mussolini, continues research on military technology.
A good method of getting a hold of baseline situation is Marcus Aurelius's idea on asking about the nature of things, what are they in themselves.

Both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were carnivores, empires interested in expansion and subjugation of others. They freely separated certain ethnic, national or political groups from the "clean society" and , no shit, literally used them as resources for skin, soap or testing/labor. One quick peek at Japanese Manchuria, at Unit 731, and look at German concentration camps and the SS closely following Wehrmacht to massacre people, one look at chambers of the gestapo filled with human entrails, blood and broken bones ans howls of tortured, mangled but still living people tells you what they had in mind. Kind of what Christ said: A fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos.

And Hitler had no qualms about letting the U.S. go. Actually he hated black people with a passion (Berlin 1936, anyone?). And he had dreams about creation of Amerika bomber, being able to bring bombs and hopefully something nuclear to the CONUS. Of course Stalinist Soviet Union was in no way better, and too didn't see U.S. as something that should be left alone in the long run.

So...We have Germany with extremely high level of technological research, shared with other Axis powers. The V development progresses further, there's no operation Paperclip. (I will completely omit the possibility of Hitler not scaring the Jewish scientists off in the 30s or murdering them in 40s. This idea would give Germany insane ability to push the military development further, but it is so anti-core Reich ideology that I'll skip it here). Jet technology goes forward with improved Messerschmitt and Heinkel aircraft, the clownery with Maus tanks goes on but only a few are built to appease Hitler. Landkreuzer Monster and P-1000 Ratte stay on the drawing boards. The military technology of the Reich gets more streamlined, more efficient withe very year.

Now for the Soviet Union. If it wasn't for the winter and Hitler's ultimate and absolute ineptitude in military matters, the Germans would've taken SU over very soon. All they needed to do was to capture Moscow, kill Stalin and first and foremost, treat Soviet people good. In the early days of Fall Weiss the Soviet populace welcomed German tanks with flowers, happy to have the Communist regime off their backs. This changed very quickly when, as per Himmler's orders, the SS and Gestapo began to provide the populace with unending stream of pain. This led the Soviets from German-occupied territories to actively support Red Army in sabotaging everything the Germans had. And Hitler, being the dumbass that he was, went for Stalingrad. Because he loved the name. Seriously.
Still, let's consider the Germany as having ultimately conquered the SU because there's no Lend-Lease, no multilateral meetings.

Here's a junction:
Germany develops nuclear technology.
Germany and other countries remain nuclear-free.

If we consider Uranverein as being able to progress until the H-bomb can be effectively tested, everyone except for Germany is effed. Seriously effed. Given the progress the Germans had with V rockets, and considering that the prisoners working at Peenemünde and other sites were prevented from sabotaging the program (which they actually did in real life) we are looking at a bloody empire hating everyone but a select group of self-proclaimed Aryans, using nuclear weaponry. first nuke at New York, and then what? Germans had absolutely no qualms about using most cruel weaponry against their enemies, so we could assume that there would be no respite, no mercy. What then? If there was no Pearl Harbor and no U.S.-Japan war, would the U.S. military progress so quickly with Manhattan? Or would they even progress with it at all?

Things look less bleak for the U.S. if there's no nuclear weapons involved, but ultimately how long would you last, surrendered from both sides? By empires that where hell-bent on murdering anyone they deemed inadequate and taking over the world, and what's worse - were extremely well equipped to do so?

The isolationism the early 20th century U.S. professed had its valid use in a situation where the rest of the world (and if we look at the Axis plus Soviet Union in our scenario, that's literally the rest of the world) was not hostile and interested in attacking you. From the economic perspective the U.S. could hold their own for a long time, maybe extremely long time - but from the military POV? That's a good question.

To return to Aurelius's idea: If we have three empires which are in themselves complete opposite of your values and your way of life, and deeply interested in either subjugating or murdering everyone who is not them, the "what if" clears up a bit.

The little exercise above probably allowed you to see how many "what ifs" popped up already. I'm sure some people reading it began their own stream of "what ifs" during the lecture And this was only a very brief analysis, omitting the majority of key elements that could be "what if".

One thing is IMHO clear in this. The decision of whether to fight someone or not sometimes boils down to values. Because at one point or another, either side will stand up and say "I can't take this shit up anymore" if they don't share the same values. Political realism and blasé diplomacy can alleviate this a bit, but if there's a hawk and a rat in the same room, they will find it hard or downright impossible to coexist with each other.

I once wanted to write a book about "what ifs" of history, then i realized I would spend an eternity doing so. And then probably no one would read it, because like with all speculation it can taste best when you want to make it yourself.

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  #20  
Old 24 September 2018, 08:44
Paul85 Paul85 is offline
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Exclamation

ETA: I obviously mixed Fall Weiss with Barbarossa. Having spent this weekend reading on Germany's attack on Poland I kind of mixed up the events, creating my own version of history in the process
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