What if ... the U.S. hadn't become involved in WWII

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
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Tom Niefer
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What if ... the U.S. hadn't become involved in WWII

Post by Tom Niefer » 20 Jan 2003 16:29

There was a little jousting between some of the Yanks and Brits in the lounge today about U.S. saving England's bacon in WWII and the Brits saying piss off we already secured our nation before you came along. So the "What If" is this. What do you think the outcome of WWII would have been if the U.S. had not been attacked at Pearl Harbour and stayed out of the war? If this thread has been posted before, I apologize and please tell me how long ago.

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Tom

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peter_suciu
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Post by peter_suciu » 20 Jan 2003 17:14

The course to war with Japan was already well on its way, and Pearl Harbor wasn't the only location Japan struck on Dec. 7/8, 1941. The United States would probably be at war with Japan by early 1942, but without quite as much support from Congress or the civilian population.

War with Germany is a little trickier as the US was probably headed that way too. It is possible that Germany might have protested American aid to England and the Soviet Union and war could have begun over that.

I imagine that the United States would have a feeling of not wanting to fight a two front war and as a result would go to war with Japan first. Then if the situation in Europe were continuing the US might declare war on Germany.

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 21 Jan 2003 03:25

The U.S. was in fact unilaterally supporting Great Britain against Germany long before Pearl Harbor, and the British knew that they could count on a bailout as in the last war if they really got into a pickle, which is why they would consider no peace agreement with Germany regardless of the cost of the war. The USA was sending Lend-lease after March, 1941, and before Pearl Harbor was not only escorting British convoys but shooting German warships on-sight. If the USA had never actually entered the war it would have been harder for the Russians to defeat Germany, but the odds were for a long war of attrition in favor of the Allies regardless. Germany would have had to be able to trade with a truly-neutral USA for this to have been different.
:)

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Post by tonyh » 21 Jan 2003 11:53

Heres what I wrote on the subject a while ago........

As no convoys would be traveling between the US and Britain, this would leave U-boats to consolidate their meager forces upon Commonwealth shipping from Canada to Britain/Britain to Canada and, once Barbarossa was launched, from Britain to Russia/Russia to Britain. With this concentration of U-boat firepower concentrated upon these routes alone, far more shipping would be sunk. However, the losses incurred would still not deter the convoy IMO. But many more merchant seamen's lives would be lost. However, the majority of convoy equipment would still get through, as it did in the actual history.

Britain would still embark on it's night civilian bombing of German cities as this would still be one of the options open to the RAF, along with the option to try strategic bombing, but with Arthur Harris in power, civilian's would still be the target as it was in actual history. Also Germany would have no real way of retaliating on British cities in the same manner, as aircraft production would probably still be the same as it was. As in real history, there would be no invasion of England. Hitler wasn't interested in it and it was always completely unfeasible anyway, when one views Hitler's reasons for going to war, Russia.

Italy would still attack Ethiopia and Greece precipitating the need for the Führer to send reluctant aid to his allies. A drawn out battle would ensue in North Africa with Rommel's Afrika Korps and the 8th Army and Greece and the Balkans would still be occupied to protect Hitler's flank while he was in Russia.

With the attack on Russia in 1941, Hitler would at last embark on his one and only reason for going to war. The British as his only threat in the West would still offer help to Russia and an alliance between the two countries, former potential enemies, would be formed. Albeit, a rather shaky one. Germany would still make huge headway within the first six months of Barbarossa, but will still inevitably be stopped at Moscow, by a combination of determined Soviet resistance and terrible weather. Russia would still move her industry further East, beyond the Urals. Thereby putting them out of range of the Luftwaffe. While there and completely unmolested they would outstrip German production by a large margin. Some of Britain's Lend Lease equipment would still reach Murmansk as it did.

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor in December, thus enraging an already tense situation between themselves and the US in the Pacific. Events in this theatre would play out roughly the same way. In the Pacific, US, British and Australian forces fight side by side against a mutual enemy. Britain constantly appeals to the US to open hostilities against Germany, but the US refuses, citing that the American people are against getting involved in any way in the war in Europe, even though Roosevelt is keen on the idea. He tells Churchill that perhaps, once Japan is dealt with, America may get involved in hostilities in Europe. Churchill chooses not to press the issue as he is glad that the US in involved in the war in the Pacific.

In '42 and the Summer offensive in Russia would get underway and Africa would still be a back and forth series of battles, with the British still processing the loins share of numerical superiority, even though they would lack the help of America Sherman's. The Wehrmacht Summer offensive in Russia would go roughly the same way and would lead the 6th Army to Stalingrad by September. Russian production would suffer somewhat without the aid of second line equipment from America, but would still out number German production by a vast amount.

The Disastrous landings at Dieppe would still be repulsed and planning for a second front would have to be postponed until later in the war. Britain would still have to rely on Russia for inflicting losses upon the Wehrmacht for the foreseeable future, while she continued her night bombings of German cities and concentrating on the Afrika Korps in the Mediterranean.

The Japanese forces still face a massive defeat at Midway with the loss of three of her carriers, so important in the Pacific war. They will never again hold the initiative in the war in the Pacific war and defeat awaits them. A long series of Island hopping battles begins.

There would be no Operation Torch in November and the British would not be able to rely on US troops to bolster their own numbers regardless of Churchill's repeated attempts to get the US involved in the North African theatre, but little would change in North Africa at the end of 1942.Rommel would still drive on Gazala and also take Trobruk. But within a couple of months face a defeat at El Alemein. The British would still enjoy overwhelming ground and air superiority and naval control of the Mediterranean. The majority of the Afrika Korp's equipment and fuel would still be at the bottom of the sea. A drawn out series of setbacks would ensue for the Afrika Korps who would not be able to bounce back sufficiently from the loss at El Alemein. Without US forces helping them it would take the British longer to drive the Africa Korps from the continent, but they would still advance towards the Mareth line, reaching it by the summer as opposed to March 1943.

In Stalingrad, however, the German's would still face a bitter defeat. The battle would still progress with little if any difference. Von Paulus would surrender the 6th Army in the first few Months of 1943. After this defeat the Soviet's would continue to push the German's back, until halted by the 1st SS Panzer Korps at Kharkov in March and the Kursk salient would still form, prompting Hitler to order a plan, upon Kurt Zeitler's idea, to attack it in the Summer. However, the plan was as obvious to the Soviets as it was to the German's.

In Africa an uneasy stalemate would form around the Mareth line, with neither side having the real initiative to launch a decisive attack until the Autumn. The Africa Korps would still be suffering the supple problems that plagued their time in Africa and the British would be suffering from the lack of American support. The Mareth line would not be breeched until late September at the earliest. By the end of 1943 the Afrika Korps would still have to abandon North Africa and head towards Sicily. Here they would be left alone to consolidate forces with their Italian allies and draw planning for a new attack on British and Commonwealth forces in Africa, or simply occupy Sicily and send the bulk of their remaining forces to Italy. Without the US there would be no invasion of Sicily in 1943 and consequently no invasion of Italy, although Churchill would still insist on Italy being the "soft underbelly" of Europe and order plans for possible attack in 1944. German and Italian troops would be left in a garrison situation in Italy rather like France and the majority would be shipped to Russia to bolster the losses there. Without the US, Hitler would doubt that the British would be foolish enough to go it alone and invade mainland Italy. The night bombing of German cities would continue.

In the summer of '43 Hitler would still order the Wehrmacht to attack the bulge in Kursk, with operation Zitadelle. The battle would last approximately the same amount of time and end with the same result, a Soviet victory, but perhaps a further strike against the Soviets, as Von Manstein had urged, would be launched as there would be no Sicilian invasion, but with the numbers lost in the main battle, another defeat would be on the cards. The main battle casualties would remain roughly unchanged, more German troops are lost in this one battle than US troops in the whole of the Vietnam conflict. The Panther would still prove problematic and the Elephant an unmitigated disaster. Tiger's would be too few and the bulk of the Wehrmacht's forces would still have to rely upon the MK III and IV's and the Stug's for much of its armour content. Russia would still enjoy its manpower and material superiority over the German's. However, while they would not be able to field the 5.000 tanks they did field as some Russian truck factories would be producing transport vehicles and not have been converted to tank production with the absence of US Studebaker Lend Lease trucks, the Red Army would still outnumber the German tanks considerably. Soviet artillery is also far superior in numbers. The Red Airforce would also enjoy overwhelming air superiority and they would be flying in equipment equal to or superior to what the German's had in the air. The Luftwaffe has to still rely on the Stuka and Henschel for its main ground attacks. While the Soviets would lose a large amount of equipment and men the Wehrmacht's losses would be crippling and seriously affect their ability to dictate the future battles on the Eastern front in the coming year. After the battle the Soviets would continue their advance into German held territory, but perhaps not as far as they did in the original history. The Soviets would still form bridgeheads at the Dneiper River, the German's next line of defence and they would still over run it, Belgorod would still be taken, as would Kharkov and other Russian cities previously held by the Germans. The Army groups would still be pushed back into the Smolensk area, but over a longer period of time. By the end of the year the Russians would be in the Ukraine. With Zitadelle and the Soviet foreknowledge of the German attack, the Wehrmacht had shot its bolt. For the next few months the Germans would be in retreat and would have to fight hard to stabilize the battle lines across the Russian front. Soviet Battle tactics had changed considerably since the nightmare of 1941/42. The Red Army had grown up.

In January 1944, the British attempt an invasion of Sicily. The small garrison of German and Italian soldiers fight hard and valiantly, but the British who enjoy air and sea superiority in the Mediterranean severely hinder Axis attempts to reinforce the troops on the Island. It takes two months for the British forces to reach Salerno, but they incur large losses in reaching there. The invasion of mainland Italy is then put in serious doubt.

On the Russian front, a stalemate has occurred. The whole front takes on the relatively static appearance of the Northern front. Germany uses this time to bolster its dwindling forces with manpower from the Reich's Flak battalions. German commanders fear that it's not enough. Albert Spear's program of armaments is doubled, new long range bombers, such as the Heinkel HE 274, the Ju 390 (with its massive 8000km endurance) and the Messerschmitt ME 264, are continued to be designed by the German's. There progress is encouraging, especially the Heinkel, which is an outstanding bomber. However, there will not be enough of them to launch sustained attacks on Russian industry until late 1945! Troops are not moved from Italy, regardless of appeals from the commanders on the Russian front. Hitler is convinced that the British will try and attack Italy maybe in the spring. Hitler appeals to Franco to declare war on Russia and get directly involved. However Franco still refuses, but keeps sending volunteers to help in Russia. The Red Army, now the largest army in the world, use this quiet time to consolidate their forces and draw plans for the next large-scale attack. It will be an attack on the 6th Army by the 3rd and 4th Ukrainian fronts. This is scheduled for March (it happened in January in real history). Russian tank and aircraft factories continue to turn out huge numbers of armour and aircraft as they remain unharmed by German bombers. The Russian losses from the Winter battles of 1943 are easily bolstered by drafting men from the considerable Partisan personnel. The scorched earth policy of Hitler is unable to take full effect due to the rate of the Soviet advance and the fact that the Wehrmacht have been in a very bad position as far as manpower is concerned. The Soviets gain large factory and farm areas with the capture of Western Russia. However, with the postponement of the invasion of Italy in early 44, the Eastern front remains the only active front for the German's. As there is no daylight bombing offensive by the USAAF, only one Jagdgeschwader is moved from Russia to the West to help JG 26 and JG 2 in France, who are combating the RAF. However, as the Russian conflict is mainly a ground war, this makes little if any difference. In the East the Jagdwaffe continue to take a heavy toll on the Red Airforce, but they are severely outnumbered and their own losses are more crippling than the Russian losses.

The British withdraw a number of forces from the Pacific and the Australians and Canadians send men to England in preparation for either an attack on France or Italy. There is much debate on the pros and cons of both. Churchill is still adamant about attacking Italy, but he is reminded about his failures in Galipoli in WWI, and the fiasco of Norway in 1940 and also the losses in Sicily in Jan and Feb. It doesn't stall him, he is determined to have his way. The RAF night bombing campaign is failing utterly in its goals, except for the killing of German civilians and it continues to take horrendous losses by the small Nachtjagdwaffe. Daylight precision bombing by the RAF is started. The US sells the Norden bombsight to Britain. Coastal targets in France are chosen and are escorted by Spitfires. The losses are heavy to begin with, but are minimized by the use of escort. The .303 browning machine guns traditionally used in British bombers are replaced by the American .50 caliber machine guns. A new fighter that had been designed in America is bought in small "test numbers" by Britain. The P-51 Mustang is quite a good plane but lacks performance at an altitude. Its huge range easily outstrips the Spitfire's. When a Rolls Royce engine is coupled with the US airframe, the result is a success. American USAAF personnel are invited to Britain to view the comparative trials between the Alison P-51 and the Rolls Royce P-51. They are immediately impressed with the result. A deal is struck between the US and Britain. In return for RR engines shipped to the States the US will in turn ship P-51's to Britain. Churchill again uses the visit as an excuse to get America involved in Europe. It's turned down once more and nearly threatens the new Rolls Royce/Mustang deal. He is urged by cabinet members to "give up" pestering the Americans about joining Britain in their war with Germany.

In March the Russians attack German forces in the Ukraine. Due somewhat to Hitler's interference the Soviets nearly encircle the 6th army. At the last minute Hitler allows the army to withdraw from the pocket, they lose the majority of their vehicles and artillery in the process. On the Northern front the line remains static. The gains and losses around the Leningrad/Lake Lodoga front can be measured in yards. JG 27, who retreated from North Africa in 43 and had been stationed in Italy is transferred to the Russian front and joins JG 54 in the Northern sector. The difference is minimal. Tank and aircraft production is up to record numbers in the Reich. A lot of hope is placed upon the new four engine long ranged bombers. But the engines are proving troublesome. Russia still, by far, beats Germany in the production race. In April the Russian Leningrad front launches a huge attack upon German forces in the Northern sector. Due to the fact that there have be little transfers from the German troops in this sector, the German's manage to hold the Russian attack West of Leningrad. The siege of Leningrad is lifted at the end of April. Hitler is worried about the negotiations by Finland with Russia. The stabilisation of the Northern line eases his mind a bit. In the South, the German forces are force to evacuate the Gerkassy pocket, but take less losses than they did in history. All across the Russian front the German's continue to successfully hold the repeated Russian attacks, but always at great cost. Army group South hold the line. Von Manstein warns Hitler that at any time, the Russians can launch a massive attack along any part of the Eastern front. He constantly appeals for more tanks, planes, artillery and above all men. More equipment are provided, but manpower is a commodity that is not abundant in the Reich. The age limit is reduced even further.

In Norway the progress of the German atom bomb is not going according to plan. The Germans are still very far off completion of a useable bomb. Hitler becomes increasingly disinterested in it. New jet fighters, ME262 etc are shown to Hitler. He is happy with their progress and asks if they can be fitted with bombs. He is shown the latest rocket development. He plans to use these weapons against Britain in an effort to get them to stop bombing German cities, if not knock them out of the war.

In the summer Russian launches a huge attack against the German Southern front. The static condition of the fronts is exploded. The Russians can rely upon their trucks for delivery of supplies and no longer need the Panjie wagons that they traditionally use during the muddy spring months. The Germans also have the same problem with their own Opel trucks in the mud of a Russian spring. The German's, with the Romanian and Hungarian forces managed to hold the Russians after the Red Army gain about 100 miles of territory. In the Crimea the German's evacuate the area. The numbers are melted into the Southern and Center army groups. Most of the 65.000 men get out. The Germans continue to hold Belorussia. Troops are not moved from France or Italy because Hitler is convinced that the British will launch an attack soon. Perhaps before the summer is out and the Channel becomes too choppy for a landing.

As there is no D-Day in June, there is no Allied force in France. Britain and her commonwealth forces continue to draw plans for an attack upon the continent or Italy. Eventually France is chosen as the place for a landing. September is chosen as date for an attack, in conjunction with a planned Soviet attack against army group center. Between June and September new panzer divisions are formed and sent to the Russian front. The Russians are also built up in preparation for the combined British and Russian attack in September. Unfortunately for the German's they can only wait for an attack. The numbers are just not there for an attack in force by the Wehrmacht. However, tank production is up, the Luftwaffe possess 50% more aircraft than they did a year before. Synthetic oil production is at an all time high. However manpower still remains a serious issue.

On the 31st of August Britain and Russian launch a combined attack on German forces. British, Australian and Canadian forces land on sectors of the Northern French coastline. For the most part German opposition is minimal, but the Allied forces are in a seriously bad position after a few days of fighting. Losses are extremely heavy. After Hitler aggress to release the 15th army to fight the Allies the British make the decision to withdraw. It effectively leads to a second "Dunkirk". The massive disaster convinces Hitler that there will be no more attacks on French soil. Reprisals for the extensive French partisan network involvement in the Allied landings are brutal. France will remain occupied by German forces in the foreseeable future. Churchill chastises the allied commanders for failing him and insists that Italy was always the better place for a landing. Hitler continues his attacks on London with his V weapons, however they are not having the effect he desires. Most of the rocket weapons fall short of London and they further resolve the British public to fight on. British night attacks in Germany kill far more people, but ultimately has the same effects. British day attacks on France and Northern Germany aided by the Mustang continue, but have limited effect. All heavy tanks that were stationed in the West are moved to the East to combat the Russian attack there. The 15th army is moved to France. France is left with a fraction of its occupation troops it had six months earlier.

The Russian operation against army group center, launched in conjunction with the British and commonwealth landings in France on the 31st of August goes far better than the Western allies effort. The result of the attack on Army Group center id the destruction of many of its divisions, due in part to Hitler's insistence that they do not yield territory. The 15th army is transferred after the British fiasco in the West and is used to fill gaps in the line. It doesn't help much. All the Germans can really do is wait for the Soviet operation to run out its momentum. The Germans retreat to Vistula and consolidate their forces there. The Russians gain over 300 miles of territory, but are held by the Germans. Hitler orders the formation of the Hitler line. A static defence line of fortifications running from Prussia through Romania and Hungary. At the end of September the German's launch a counter offensive and achieve some gains. With the failure of the allied landing in France there are no divisions moved from Russia to the West and once again the German lines are held. An attack on Army group South fails to gain much land. This makes the Romanians think twice about negotiating a peace settlement with Russia. The Third Ukrainian front fail to take Hungary and are repelled at the mountains in the East. Hungary stands fast in its alliance with Germany. In the North the Soviets continue to push back the Finns. The Germans move troops from Army group North to help Finland. Hitler is desperate to keep the Finns on side. However the Russians prove too strong and the Finns are gradually pushed back to the 1940 borders by the end of 1944. In late December the Finns in an effort to avoid another costly "Winter War" agree to the aggressive Soviet peace terms.

1945 begins with Germany and her allies still holding the Hitler line. Churchill gets increasing support for his Italian landings. But there is a lot of support, when Hitler once again asks Churchill to stop the senseless war between their two nations. Stating that he is willing to withdraw his forces from France and Greece if Britain and Germany can come to terms. It's greeted with enthusiasm in many quarters of the British cabinet, but Churchill is to continue his war. Leaflets are dropped on England by fast flying Arado 234 jets. They appeal directly to the people of Britain to force an end to the destructive war between Britain and Germany, Hitler states that his war is with Russia "the enemy of the Western way of life". There are peace demonstrations in London and Liverpool in support of peace and other demo's in support of Russia, hijacked by the British Socialist party. Churchill's position does not change. He wants to go ahead with an invasion of Italy in the summer at the latest. However he faces considerable opposition. The war in Russia along the Hitler line is a stalemate with little land lost and gained. The war in Russia becomes Germany's "Vietnam". It looks like the war will stretch for, perhaps years, unless either side can come to terms or one side can deliver a knockout blow to the other, which doesn't look likely for some time to come. However, it is Russia who dictates when and where the major battles are fought. German commanders know that they have not got the resources to launch a major attack upon Soviet forces, but the continue to repel the major Soviet attacks. They also know that time is still very much on the Soviets side.

The V-weapons attacks are abandoned in favor of building long range four engine bombers. The He 174 is deemed satisfactory for mass production (in reality the 274 was abandoned in July 1944, it would have been one of the best 4 engine bombers of any nation). With these Hitler hopes to bomb the Russian industry and also bomb British cities, like the British have bombed Germany's cities and towns. New equipment like Type XXI submarine are causing absolute havoc among the Canadian and British convoys. The Me 262 equip a number of Geschwader and perform well against British and Russian bomber attacks. There are two Geshwaders in the West and one in the East. With a further four coming on line in the next five months.

Britain sends a 1000 bomber daylight raid into Germany, supported by British P-51's. However there are not enough Mustangs to cover the cast bomber group and the bombers suffer accordingly at the hands of the Me 262 and conventional prop squadrons. It's a shock to the RAF, but also to German industry. The RAF go back to night bombing in February. This time though, the attacks on German cities are to be minimized and attacks instead are to be concentrated on large industrial areas. The Ruhr industrial area is still to be bombed in daylight with massive fighter cover, having a significant effect on Industry there. There is a slow whittling of German industry output from these areas and the German's consider copying the Russian idea of moving industry further East out of the effective bombing range of the RAF, as bombing deep in Germany has proven very costly to the RAF. However it is abandoned in favor of a strengthening of the Flak defences. Albert Spear convinces Hitler that there would be too much production loss in the move.

For the majority of the year the stalemate of the Russian front continues, with minimal Russian gains. It's obvious that the German's are being pushed back slowly but surely. New equipment is rushed ever Eastwards as soon as its available, to continually stem the slow gradual advance of the Soviets. In America Roosevelt dies and is replaced by Harry Trueman. Churchill sees this as an opportunity to once again appeal to the US to open hostilities against Germany. He is refused. Trueman wants to finish off Japan first before any attack on Germany will be considered. He tells Churchill that Japan will cease to be a problem soon.

In August the war against Japan comes to a shocking end with Americas dropping of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Germany and Italy are speechless. Hitler orders Göbels not to issue anti US propaganda over the issue. He does not wish to aggravate the new president. Churchill and Stalin ask for the atom bomb. They are turned down. Both Hitler and Stalin demand efforts on a domestic Atom bomb to be doubled immediately. However, both nations are at least 10 years away from a workable weapon.

In October the Germans are forced to abandon sections of East Prussia as the Hitler line is breached in the North. This forces many ethnic German's to flee Westwards. The Poles rise up against their nazi occupiers but are quelled with relative ease. Poland appeals to Russia to continue her drive Westwards. Stories leak out about Soviet treatment of the conquered nations, Estonia, Prussia and other countries have all stories to tell, that rival the stories coming from Poland about the nazi polices in those countries. From Russia there are also stories about how the Russians are treating their own repatriated POWS. It influences Trueman's decision not to enter the war on the Allies side. The Americans are worried about the shape of Europe though, if the Russians beat the German's. Trueman wonders where Stalin will halt his battle lines.

The German's launch their first mass daylight bomber raid on Britain since 1940. The Me 274 proves to be a qualified success. The RAF fighter squadrons of 1945 have no experience attacking German bombers, especially 4 engine ones. Galland and other Luftwaffe officials are worried that the bombing of London will have exactly the same effect in 1945 as it did in 1940. The RAF gradually cause the German Viermots losses and the attacks are stepped down. The Me 274 is also utilized on the Eastern Front, but against Soviet air fields at first, not industry. It proves a success in that theatre too. But it take severe losses when sorties are attempted deep into Russia. German does not have an escort fighter of the caliber of the P-51. Hitler orders Messerschmitt to build an aircraft like the Mustang.

The European combatants enter 1946 in a position of continued stalemate. Churchill's proposed plan for the invasion of Italy is vetoed and Italy remains under Axis control. The "peace in Europe" movement in England gathers increasing strength, especially among the cabinet. They view the war with Germany as a pointless exercise and ultimately un-winable for Britain. France's ability to cause the German's trouble with the Maquis is continued with the aid of British help, however the German's and French come to terms about the continued occupation. The French government realise that they stand alone and must make the best of her situation. Occupation policies are eased with France's cooperation. Germany continues her propaganda effort appealing to the world to fight against the Bolshevik threat. There's considerable support for it in the States, but this is off played by support for aiding Britain and Russia. Also stories of atrocities against minorities carried out by the nazis sully German attempts to get the US into the fight with Russia. For the rest of 1946, German and Russia will continue to face off along a massive front. They enter 1947 with no end of their conflict in sight.

Tony

Ron Birch
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Post by Ron Birch » 22 Jan 2003 12:29

Tom do you also mean no "lend lease"?

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