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Posted: 10/9/2007 11:01:21 AM EDT
Reading the Hitler invasion of Switzerland thread got me thinking, what would the world, especially Europe looked like had the Germans won World War I? I mean, Germany would have still been a monarchy, there would have not been a Hitler. I think Germany's victory would have to predicated on the idea that the US would have stayed Neutral and there would have been no one to repel the Hindenberg/Lundendorf offensives' in spring/summer of 1918 and no Allied advances during the Meuse-Argonne offenses. France had already been bled out at Verdun and Britain was destroyed as an offensive force after the Somme. Sure Germany was weak by then, but they still had enough to force the UK and France to the table. What would Europe and the world been like if the Great War ended the other way? Just feeling curious after reading some things, its a great topic of specualtion.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 11:05:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/9/2007 11:06:56 AM EDT by thedoctors308]
Germany could not have won WWI.
However, if their final offensive has been successful, they would have been able to have a conditional peace.
Most likely, a withdrawal to pre-war boundaries, except the territory ceded to Germany by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empire would still probably have been broken up to a degree.
The next great war would have been between Western Europe and Communist Russia.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 11:19:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/9/2007 11:22:35 AM EDT by TexasSmooth]
I think you have some facts incorrect.

Germany stood a very good chance at winning, or at the very least engaging in more trench war stalemates, as late as around March 1918 when they were within about 30 miles of Paris. The fact that the U.S. began landing troops to assist France and Britain did not mean jack shit. Germany still had the potential to take the field.

There were two main reasons why Germany was defeated in 1918 and its soldiers mutinied.

First, Ludendorff (if I recall) was the one who finalized the attack plan for Spring 1918. To sum it up, he established the big goal of capturing Paris. A laudable achievement, and very do-able. This was one of the first uses of storm troopers. Well the problem was that they used many of their veteran soldiers as storm troopers. Big mistake considering the job of these guys was the move fast, so they didn't have as much gear. The other main problem was that there was no set of incremental goals. The big goal, capture Paris, was pretty well set, but once your guys start capturing ground, you have to give them direction. I could just imagine now...all those soldiers capturing hill after hill, pushing the French back further and further, then finally they all get so far ahead they just turn around and look at each with a collective stare like "Wtf? what do we do now exactly? Oh shit they're shooting back at us!"

Second, the Germans never combined the use of their navy with that of their army. Their navy was just sorta "out there". Maybe von Scheer liked it that way? After he tucked tail from Jutland, maybe he scared the Kaiser into thinking the navy was useless....who knows. Anyway, much of the war focused on the army, the novel new inventions called airplanes, and the neat things they could do with battleships, like launch one off its main turret. Land? Uhh...we'll get back to you on that. The German U-boat was possibly the greatest weapon of the war, not the tank. The Germans left the U-boats underutilized and the Kaiser couldn't make up his damn mind whether or not he cared about world opinion on unrestricted U-boat warfare. By the time he decided he didn't give a damn, the damage had already been done by Britain. If Germany employed unrestricted U-boats at the onset of the war, Britain would have been starved into surrender. The fact that Germany surrendered something like 70+ warships in 1918 is unbelievable. If I were the leader of a country that was going down the tubes, you better believe I'm going to use every resource at my disposal to try and turn it around.

Oh, one last minor detail, a mistake Germany made. When you draft your population into the army, don't draft the old farmers who are actually responsible for growing the food your soldiers need to eat.

But certainly you can't dismiss Germany's successes during that war. Tannenberg was an example of some excellent military genius on the part of Hindenberg. The fact that Germany's spy network was so efficient that the recommendation to let Lenin have safe passage from Zurich into Russia was brilliant. That maneuver alone took the war on the eastern front off of Germany's back and they were able to pull 1 million+ men to the front lines in the west. 1 million+ men!! That's in addition to the ones already there. Now do you see why Germany could have still kicked the everliving shit out of France and Britain? America landing a couple hundred thousand troops? Big deal with those two dead.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 11:35:05 AM EDT
Some people say France was responsible for starting the war so they could destroy their long time enemy the Austro-Hungarian Empire once and for all.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 11:40:09 AM EDT
Germany had won the War in Russia. Russia had collapsed into Civil War and Germany could suddenly move millions of troops from their Eastern Front to the Western Front.

But while Germany was militarily strong its economy was weak. It lost the War on the home front and not the military front.

So what could things have been like had they not collapsed?

I have no idea.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 11:45:29 AM EDT
Depends on _when_ they won. If they had won in the initial 1914 campaign the changes may have been minimal. As the war went on the German goals escalated. By 1916-1918 they probably would have demanded most of Belgium and the Channel ports, and would have been the defacto or de jure rulers of Eastern Europe.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 11:48:33 AM EDT
I gotta agree with Doc308; Germany could not have won. They could have negotiated a settlement, but they couldn't have won.

Interestingly, for a while the US was leaning towards Germany's side (we even cheered for the Deutschland, a submarine that went to the US to pick up war materials for Germany). It was Britain's propaganda and the fact that they owed us more money than Germany that got popular support swung over that way.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 11:49:41 AM EDT
I always wonder why Prussia didn't seize more of france after they won the Franco-Prussian War.

If the US han't entered the war, I think Germany could have stalemated an end to the war.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 4:00:11 PM EDT
Germany could easily have won by knocking France out of the war in 1914, or in 1917 (when there were mutinies in the French army) or during the spring 1918 offensive. I don't think there would have been much appetite for continuing the war on the part of the UK and later the US after being ejected from France or in the event of a spearate peace for the French.

After 1914 the German goals were generally to annex the Flemish portion of Belgium, Courland in the east, and some regions of France in Lorraine, plus some colonial concessions. the Dutch would effectively become a German protoctorate. The Germans would also effectively establish a protoctorate over most of eastern Europe, plus independence for the Baltics, Ukraine, and Finland to keep Russia in check and to establish a buffer zone, dominated by Germany of course.
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