World War One–A ‘What If’

2018 is the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One, the Great War……come November the celebration on Veterans Day….eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month…..

This war does not mean as much to Americans as it does to Europeans but the after effects were for everyone….it gave the US its standing as a world leader……but a what if here….Germany had won WW1….

People who see a divine hand or the iron laws of dialectical materialism at work in human affairs bridle at the question: “What if things had turned out differently?” To EH Carr, historian of Soviet Russia, to speak of what might have happened in history, as opposed to what did happen, was just a “parlour game”. To EP Thompson, author of The Making of the English Working Class, such counterfactual speculation was “unhistorical shit”.

Other historians have confessed to being more intrigued. “The historian must constantly put himself at a point in the past at which the known factors will seem to permit different outcomes,” wrote Johan Huizinga. It is important to recognise that, at any moment in history, there are real alternatives, argued Hugh Trevor-Roper.

These ‘what ifs’ are interesting…like what if the institute that Hitler had applied to had accepted his application….would WW2 have happened?  Or if a baseball team had signed Castro would he had lead the Cuban revolution?

‘What Ifs’ are fun for historians to play with….and fun for me to write about…..


6 thoughts on “World War One–A ‘What If’

  1. The film ‘It Happened Here’ is mentioned. I have that on DVD, and really recommend it.

    As for WW1, I recall that exercise in history class. What if Germany had won? It’s worth remembering that the royal families of Germany, Britain, and Russia were all related, and closely too. This also applied in some respects to Denmark, and some Scandinavian countries. It is possible that a German-dominated Europe would have worked quite well, and that the next war would almost certainly have been against the new Soviet Russia, in an attempt to overthrow that regime, and reinstate the monarchy there.
    America would probably have worked well with a victorious Germany too, given the immigrant connections in the USA. They would also have had access to many ports and natural resources around the world, in a unified and expanded colonial empire. More importantly, WW2 and the rise of the Nazis is unlikely to have happened, so the world as we know it now would be totally different.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. “It Happened Here” sounds like a very interesting movie.

      I largely agree with you. Germany winning WW1 probably wouldn’t have changed as much as them losing the war did.

      America had to be pulled into that thing by it’s nostrils. If it took so long for America to notice the war, it probably wouldn’t take much of a tweak to get them to miss it altogether. America did not win the war, but getting in prevented Germany from the getting the win. That and some minor, but perfectly timed Canuck success (Canuck success? What dat?) stopped what was going to be -at the very worst- a German leaning tie.

      I do think that, given that Kaiser’s Germany snuck Lenin into cousin’s Russia and that Lenin’s success allowed Germany to drop the Russian front altogether and move troops to France…Despite some difficult Christmas Dinners in the Royal Family’s future…Germany and the USSR would get along much better than how it turned out. The Kaiser’s government stays put and they exit WW1 on “mutually beneficial” terms with the USSR.

      Those French surrender-monkeys would eventually…surrender…all of northern France, if not the whole thing…and return to their stinky cheese & baguettes like nothing happened. As long as they can drink wine & have countless affairs, I don’t think they’d care. Germans take losing MUCH harder.

      The USSR would be about the same. No Hitler for sure…Mussolini, probably still there (Italy was on the winning side, yet still had a coup) There would be a better functioning post-war economy because the insanely punishing peace treaty (mostly due to a vindictive France being on the winning side) wouldn’t have happened because France would be the biggest major-power loser and would have no say.

      Germany would have a few more colonies that were France’s…And the Balkans would have remained fucked up because the Balkans have always been fucked up.

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