The Forever War 1936 to 1956

uk 75

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Prime Minister Eden broadcast to the nation on a peaceful late Summer evening in August 1956. His shock announcement that the British Army of the Rhine and Royal Air Force Germany would withdraw from the Rhineland by September. He added that the French President was broadcasting in Paris that France had completed the withdrawal of its First Army. In these circumstances His Majesty's Government had no choice but to take similar action.
Britain and France had avoided a Second World War in Germany by their prompt action in 1936, Eden continued. The downfall of the Hitler Government and the establishment of a German government restoring rights to minorities and restoring democratic government and the rule of law were real achievenents only made possible by the Entente between London and Paris. However, the rapid gains made by a renewed Naazy party (Eden slurred the word like his predecessor, Churchill) in the last year had undermined the grand coalition between CDU and SPD in Berlin.
After Eden's broadcast the distinctive and familiar voice of Richard Dimbleby sounded from the BBC. British and French troops are holding open the crossing points between Germany and France as a stream of buses, lorries and cars pours over the border. Families with their possessions on handcarts or just a single suitcase wait for Gendarmes to check their papers. The German soldiers have so far let them come. The black, red and gold flag of the German Republic was lowered by black uniformed soldiers carrying machine pistols. The horrid Swastika flag of the German Reich again flies over the Rhine.
 

Antonio

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I'm not sure if I understand this alternative scenario. You mean a sort of European Cold War from 1936 to 1956 ending into open hostilities from late 50's?
Dönitz planned a 300 U-boot fleet to be ready by 1955.
 

uk 75

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I think this is a ham-fisted Afghanistan metaphor.
It represents a reasonable account of British French decline in 1956, the year of Suez. The Rhineland is always cited as the time Britain and France should have acted to stop Hitler and his gang.
I am merely underscoring that the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions. A cause for sorrow rather than anger.
As for ham fisted. Guilty as charged.
 

uk 75

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I'm not sure if I understand this alternative scenario. You mean a sort of European Cold War from 1936 to 1956 ending into open hostilities from late 50's?
Dönitz planned a 300 U-boot fleet to be ready by 1955.
No I am envisaging the most optimistic scenario proposed by the historians who advocate action by Britain and France in
1936.
The French re occupy the Rhineland supported by a Churchill rather than Baldwin led government.
The German General Staff remove Hitler and initially rule with Britain and France supporting them.
A restoration of democracy follows in the 1940s but the Nazi Party remains as an underground suppressed movement.
By 1950 France and Britain have problems in their colonies and try to reduce their commitment to support Germany.
With the USA and Japan squaring off in Asia much like US and China today a global recession causes another slump in Europe.
In Germany the Nazis have secured the support of a new generation who blame the Entente and the Soviet Union for thwarting the will of the German people.
France has a particularly bad run of weak governments and a running war in Indo China and Algeria. Britain has similarly had to give up India and then Eg.
The same chaos that plagued Germany in the late 20s and early 30s returns.
Faced with running street battles in Berlin, Munich and other German cities the Coalition.Government reluctantly starts negotiations with Nazi leaders in 1953.
Poland and Czechoslovakia close their borders with Germany. In Vienna a third government in two years comes to power and removes the ban on the Austrian Nazi Party.
In the Rhineland so-called Werewolves detonate bombs at French and British military posts.. SIS and the Action Service warn London and Paris that the explosives come from Republic of Germany Army stocks. The Mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer is assassinated on his way home to Komigswinter.
National Elections in 1954 bring a large number of National Democrat members of the National Tag and weaken the Coalition further.
 
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overscan (PaulMM)

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And how does this relate to projects or aerospace technology in some way? It seems to just be an alternate history scenario.
 

zen

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I'm not sire there is a parallel between a Pakistan/Saudi supported, Pashtun dominated, Islamic movement and the National Socialist Party of Germany.

One is fundamentally a right-wing theocratic version of political Islam.

The other disillusioned ex-communists wrapping themselves in a revised form of limited statist corporate communism.

What you're looking for is say a fundamentalist Protestant Prussian movement to establish God's ordained state among the Germans. Funded and supported by ....errr....(looks around for another fundamentalist Protestant state).....Sweden?
Doesn't work because the hardliners states backing Protestantism in Germany was the Netherlands and ultimately Britain.

Arguably in '36 we walk in and the King-Emperor becomes the King-Emperor-Kaiser, Germany joins the UK and never has to worry about finance or lebensraum ever again.

Ok try again, say a hardline Catholic Saxon (upper Saxony on the border with Bohemia) movement to reestablish the Holy Roman Empire, backed by.....Spain? No maybe Czechoslovakia?
Takes power, Protestants clinging to them to save them from the godless Communists.....

All a bit far fetched. Germany liked the National Socialists because they turned things around by (dodgy) economic means and undoing the perceived humiliations of the peace.
It took over as a coalition with others who wanted to resuscitate German pride and it could have been any one of a number of alternative extremist parties.

This isn't the Taliban in origin, composition, objectives, methods, and perceptions.

And only a tenious link to this forum's reason for being.
 

Archibald

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The French defeat in 1940 is PARTICLUARLY infuriating (for a frenchman) and, if looked from a much larger perspective: it was catastrophic for the Wallies because it mandated D-day on the way to Berlin (and Omaha beach, among others butcherings).

Okay... so let's reel back the whole thing. Two major dates
- January 30, 1933: Hitler rise
- May 19, 1940: the day the Panzers storming their way from Sedan (Franco-Belgium border) touched the Atlantic coast at Abbeville.
This way, they turned the northern tip of France into a giant pocket they soon shrunk from the south, resulting in Dunkirk. Inside that pcoket were trapped a) 2/3rd of the French army, and the best ones b) the BEF and c) the Belgian army, which was pretty well made.

Once the pocket closed and everything inside destroyed, on June 5 the Germans turning south toward Paris at 90% of their strength faced merely 25% left of the French Armies. Weygand (which was a SOB at many levels, but a passable military commander) did his best but could no longer stop the onslaught.

Bottom line: after May 19 and the closure of the "northern France big trap" France is toast and the only honoroable option is, well - FRANCE FIGHTS ON (from Algiers, because it takes the goddam Mediterranean sea to stop the Nazi juggernault).

This all said and done, the two dates to prevent France collapse and lick Hitler ugly arse before Wannsee and the jewish genocide (because THAT'S what matters in WWII, above all) are thus a bracket of time between
-January 30, 1933
-May 19, 1940

Soooo... any whatif scenarios there ? What France, with Great Britain in "tow" could have done ?

I'm keeping a personal short list of all the missed opportunities and, well, it is rather infuriating and depressing.

More on this in another post.
 

Archibald

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So, some POD stupidly missed - from the top of my head.

- Marseille, October 9, 1934.
The King of Yugoslavia was killed that day.
But Louis Barthou was shot by incident, in the panic. And alphonse Georges was baddly crippled.

- Remarquably, the minister who replaced Barthou got his first big political job. His name ? PIERRE LAVAL. Yes, the Laval that become Pétain evil soul mate and pretended at his betrayal trial "Oh, sure, I bargained foreigner Jews in France with Hitler, but in exchange, I obtained plenty of stuff from Hitler. I was pretty good at bargaining with him, while De Gaulle had ran away. So give me a medal, I kept the house in order." Yeah, sure, dude. 80 000 jews dead, 13 000 for Vel d'Hiv alone. Got eating bullets and rot in hell, you coward SOB.

- Remarquably, with Weygand retiring as Generalissime of the French Army, Alphonse George was one of the favorite to replace him. Bad luck he was crippled in Marseille. and then come Daladier (yes, the Munich guy) with his all time favorite military commander, "Miracle on the Marne Joffre" former right arm: MAURICE GAMELIN. He got the job in 1935 , and from this moment on, as long as Daladier was part of every single government until 1940 (and his radical party excelled at the job of colaition) then Gamelin was glued to Daladier.
And thus, Daladier not only bear responsability for Munich shame; also for Gamelin "fried brain" stuck at the Generalissime job between 1935 and May 19, 1940 (hey, here we go again !)

Barthou survives, no Laval, no Gamelin.

- Mars 7, 1936
Hitler "geez, you soldiers on bicycles, if you ever see some French tanks, even FT-17s, coming your way, RUN AWAY - this is not 1938 or 1940, we are in no shape to fight a war now.3
French government in Paris "Frack, the Germans are occupying today ? this is the wrong day of the week, we are paralyzed. Too late to react".

- Munich - enough said.
At least encourage the Czech to resist if you don't want to fight. They will have time to burn Skoda and its panzers to the ground and they will weaken the Germans for some months, since we provided them Maginot Line technology to protect their borders.
Daladier "Nope. The germans are too strong, Chamberlain don't want to fight. LEt's give up. Gamelin will save the day." Yeah. Sure dude.

And the closer from May 1940, the more lost opportunities; it is maddening.

One example
February 1940

- von Manstein "Let's move the attack from central Belgium to southern Belgium. Leaving only two Panzer divisions n Central Belgium for a faint."
Thus von Manstein has moved its attack from NORTH to SOUTH.

- Gamelin & Daladier "Let's push the encounter with the Germans from Escault (northern France) to Dyle (central Belgium). From WEST to EAST.
...
"Wait, the Netherland are complaining we are giving them up, and Belgium back them.
...
Now, if we move, say, the encounter from Dyle to... look, Breda: southern tip of Netherlands only 100 miles East. Eureka! We can defend the Netherland just by stretching a little...
...
Merde, we need one more Army to fill the gap. Hey, what's this one with Giraud, doing nothing in Reims ?
"That's the strategic reserve, waiting there if the German breaks north of Paris."
- Strategic reserve ? bah. No need for it. Send it to Breda.
...
(facepalm)

In the original plan, a rehashed Shlieffen coming through central Belgium should have clashed with the Allies on the Escault river. Those were the plans back in the fall 1939.
And it's like two boxers pucnhing themselves in the face, same strength: bam bam bam.

What is really fascinating is that "Manstein versus Breda" is exactly like

- French boxer decides to land the stronger punch he can he can into the German jaw.
(One has to imagine it, Dragon Ball style: Vegeta garrick canon, Goku Kamehaeha, you get the point. They gather their ultimate strength, yells for half an hours, wreck the landscape, and then the enormous energy ball is ready to incinerate the ennemy)

- The German adversary, much smarter, see the enormous punch coming right toward his face. In an extremely fast and intelligently move, he literally flex its knees, collapse his legs.

- The huge french punch goes flying way, way above the German head, doing no harm (this is Giraud 7th Army going to Breda from May 10 to May 12)

- before the french can understand, the German on its flexed knees throws a giganormous punch right on the french belly and testicles

- the french boxer breaks in two in pain and collapses - down for the count with a single punch.

1940 in a nutshell, fundamentally, is that: Manstein had the German attacker flex his knees and hit France from below and by surprise, right in the testicles.
Otl was "Von Manstein vs Breda" and the disaster we all know.
Alternatives to OTL are thus
- Schlieffen 1940 vs Escault
- Schlieffen 1940 vs Dyle
- Von Manstein versus Escault
- Von Manstein versus Dyle

Every single of these scenarios is an improvement for France and a loss for Germany.
I'm not saying "France win / don't collapse automatically" - just that OTL was absolute best case for the Germans (then again, Hitler seemingly was protected by The Devil himself, so...)

When Churchill on May 15 famously asked Reynaud "where is your strategic reserve ?" only for Reynaud to say "we have none " and start whinning - the answer was that the said strategic reserve had been Giraud 7th Army sacrificed to the Breda idiocy. Itself the brainchild of Daladier and his beloved Gamelin.
Reynaud was no idiot and when he become PM mid-March 1940, he badly wanted to throw Gaemlin and Breda under a bus.
But he couldn't, because, while Daladier had been kicked out of the PM job, Reynaud HAD to include HIM and his Parti Radical into a precarious political coalition typical of France 3rd Republic.
And thus, since Daladier stuck as minister, Gamelin stuck as Generalissime.

I did knew Daladier had responsability for Munich, but when you think about it, his BLIND FAITH in to Gamelin was absolute inane and insane and equally damaging.
Seriously... Daladier & Gamelin was probably the worst thing that happened to France post-1935.
 
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uk 75

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And how does this relate to projects or aerospace technology in some way? It seems to just be an alternate history scenario.
I have taken a turning point constantly cited as the best opportunity to stop the Third Reich and even get the Nazis removed.
This would have required a Churchill or similar PM in London and a more robust French Government and Military in Paris.
So they would have re armed in the way constantly urged by Churchill.
But there is no Battle of Britain, no UK/US bombing campaign over Germany, no Luftwaffe jet projects.
Without the distraction of war in Europe Japan is not so bold as to start the war in the Pacific. Instead it continues to gorge on China while the US,UK and France up their military presence.
By 1956 there has been no Atom Bomb or Missile programme.
Need I go on
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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You could go on to the point where this scenario actually results in discussions about aviation or military procurement as opposed to an idle shower thought.

It's such a large departure from history its rather meaningless to speculate how this affects aviation development, and hence the scenario burns out immediately.
 

uk 75

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Ok I'll plod.
The Rhineland crisis of 1936 features in most accounts of appeasement as the chance Britain and France missed to put Hitler back in his box or even get rid of him.
The advocates of military action by the UK, notably Anthony Eden over Suez in 1956, have resorted to the "something must be done" argument. Yes over Iraq and Afghanistan too.
In 1936 France rather than the US was the larger partner in defence planning. France's large army (despite its limitations) was the main force seen as being able to check Germany.
A world in which the Rhineland crisis was resolved as I described would be radically different from our timeline.
One probable outcome, as I described, would have been an occupation by France and Britain of the Rhineland to avoid a repetition. Today we would call this mission creep.
Germany could have been ruled by a group of Wehrmacht officers initially but a return to civilian government would have been more likely.
I am sorry that the significance of this line of events is lost on people but it is entirely orthodox.
Aviation development
RAF and France initially rearm faster than in our timeline but the very success of the Rhineland response removes the later stages. No four engined heavies for the RAF just loads of Battles and Blenheims.
Removing the danger of European War leads to the German, Czech and Polish air forces being relatively similar. The Luftwaffe reduces in size as civilian priorities return.
The Soviet Union freed from the impact of German rearmament still intervenes in the Spanish War. But Mussolini, the remaining Dictator, is stopped from invading Abyssinia by the British and French Mediterranean fleets. He also is unable to help a certain General Franco come to power in Spain.
Britain and France watch the emergence of a left wing Republic of Spain with concern but take no action.
Their focus shifts to their colonial empires in Asia as do their forces.
The rapid technical advances caused by rearmament and war in our timeline have to occur in other ways.
The United States focuses increasingly on the Pacific and moves to counter Japan.
The world in the 1940s and 1950s is much like that of the 1930s.
.
 

uk 75

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Archibald
The wiki summary is correct to point out the main obstacle was the political mindset of the governments in London and Paris which precluded any effective planning to assert themselves against Hitler.
Paris was helped by the Baldwin administration's reflex attitude of "do nothing" to most problems.
I have inserted Churchill because he is the main proponent of the view that decisive action would have done the trick.
Militarily there is little doubt that the movement of the French Army backed up by a mobilisation of the Royal Navy would have forced Hitler to back down.
 

trose213

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It represents a reasonable account of British French decline in 1956, the year of Suez. The Rhineland is always cited as the time Britain and France should have acted to stop Hitler and his gang.
Suez ended like Yom-Kippur, when the USSR said it had enough and it was planning on intervening to stop further Arab loses.
 

uk 75

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It represents a reasonable account of British French decline in 1956, the year of Suez. The Rhineland is always cited as the time Britain and France should have acted to stop Hitler and his gang.
Suez ended like Yom-Kippur, when the USSR said it had enough and it was planning on intervening to stop further Arab loses.
I think you'll find that it was US pressure on the Pound that forced the Brits to cut and run. But the real significance of Suez was that Britain had given up its bases in Egypt some years earlier but Eden was obsessed with not repeating "appeasement". He was an ill man and even his friend Churchill knew he was not up to the job.
 

zen

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Soviets saw Egypt as in Western sphere of influence.

They only tried their luck after realising the US was opposed to the Anglo-French intervention.

But they were not really prepared to do anything as their attention was on Hungary.
 

Opportunistic Minnow

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No four engined heavies for the RAF just loads of Battles and Blenheims.

For how long is that? Four-engine heavies may get delayed but they are not going away completely. The various "Empire Routes" will drive 4-engine airliner development (indeed this had already started by 1936 with the Short C-class) and the RAF would be conspicuously foolish not to get a piece of the action.

There's also keeping up with the Joneses to consider or rather Billy Mitchell et al.

Just because you remove WWII doesn't necessarily mean aircraft development stagnates. I think the image below is why British 4-engine heavies are inevitable.


1629975960289.png
 

trose213

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I think you'll find that it was US pressure on the Pound that forced the Brits to cut and run.
The US put pressure on it because the USSR said cease operations or we'll intervene, and the US did not want that to happen. So the USSR was driving the situation because if the USSR intervened the US would've probably had to, too.
 

uk 75

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No four engined heavies for the RAF just loads of Battles and Blenheims.

For how long is that? Four-engine heavies may get delayed but they are not going away completely. The various "Empire Routes" will drive 4-engine airliner development (indeed this had already started by 1936 with the Short C-class) and the RAF would be conspicuously foolish not to get a piece of the action.

There's also keeping up with the Joneses to consider or rather Billy Mitchell et al.

Just because you remove WWII doesn't necessarily mean aircraft development stagnates. I think the image below is why British 4-engine heavies are inevitable.


View attachment 663199
I have always been a fan of Imperial Airways and its weird assortment if lumbering silver giants. But it is telling that British Airways Ltd a much more go-ahead airline that had the Europe routes from.1935 bought modern Lockheed Airliners from the States.
My scenario should really have been called the "Nearly War" rather than the "Forever War" as Britain and France would still have fallen behind the US in technogical and industrial innovation.
Although my initial idea was that the Nazis vs Communist struggle would flare up later in the 1930s and catch Britain and France focussed on the Far East, it is also possible that the Nazis might have been so humiliated by the Rhineland fiasco as it now becomes that more moderate politicians in Germany might have used the opportunity to use Germany's undoubted technological and industrial strengths peacefully.
By the 1950s the US and a German Republic could have been the leading democracies while Britain and France floundered as their colonies became ever more restive and burdensome.
What would Stalin"s Soviet Union have done without a foreign menace to galvanise it?
 

riggerrob

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What if Notzi Germany continued to nibble away at the edges of neighboring countries: Saarland, Rhineland, Luxembourg, Sudetenland, Alsace, Lorraine, German-speaking provinces of Eastern Belgium, more provinces in Southern Denmark, German-speaking areas of Western Poland, etc.?
We know that Herr Hitler was not above faking plebiscites among German-speaking locals.
At what point do Britain and France say "ENOUGH!"?"
 
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Pioneer

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Going by Mr Crackpot's Mein Kampf, I'd think that the idelogical drive East would still be high on the agenda, so perhaps a proper and functioning Long-Range Heavy Bomber/Ural Bomber program would have matured from the Ju 89 or Do 19.....

Regards
Pioneer
 
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