Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

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Meseritz1945
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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by Meseritz1945 » 20 Sep 2018 14:15

On a side note from "what if" Hitler spared Czechoslovakia, what if the British government actually listened to the cries of the resistance within the Wehrmacht. Hans Oster, Ludwig Beck and many others believed that if British cabinet made a strong stance against Hitler then if he did try to invade Czechoslovakia (before the Munich agreement happened) they could have seized power and arrested and maybe even killed Hitler before any land containing Sudeten Germans were handed over.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 28 Sep 2020 10:50

Another interesting aspect not mentioned in this context is that German economic situation in 1938/9 was dire and the infusion of money they got by violating Munich treaty and occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia (with the help of Bank of England, which provided Czech gold reserves) helped their situation dramatically. Germany would have difficulty to wage war against Poland in September 1939 without this economic boost.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 28 Sep 2020 10:56

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Sep 2018 18:00
One important point here. Britain and France did not think war was 'avoided' for the longer run. Leaders in both nations threw the Cezchs out of the sleigh in 1938 so their rearmament programs could bear results. They both wanted two years of new arms production and training.
This is what I find really puzzling. There is no logic. Britain and France realizes they are 2 years behind Germany in arms production and they react by giving Germany extra equipment that was comparable in size of what Germany already had and let them gain enormous production base. Remember that Czechoslovakia outspent Britain in military production in that era.

Were British really that bad in basic math?

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Sep 2020 17:39

lahoda wrote:
28 Sep 2020 10:56
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Sep 2018 18:00
One important point here. Britain and France did not think war was 'avoided' for the longer run. Leaders in both nations threw the Cezchs out of the sleigh in 1938 so their rearmament programs could bear results. They both wanted two years of new arms production and training.
This is what I find really puzzling. ...
Were British really that bad in basic math?
No, they took a hard look at the numbers and came up with the expectation they could put themselves in a better military position than Germany circa 1941. This not a perfect estimate but a reasonable one based on knowledge of the economic & industrial capacity of the two empires and Germany. While the nazi use of trick accounting and fraud in financing their military build up of 1934-1938 was not clearly understood it was possible to see the limits on current German industrial capacity and the ability of the economy to sustain its rearmament program.

In terms of military spending both empires had considerable slack. France had already built its new fortification system and the ministry of defense was already begaining a shift of funds to the airfares and ground forces for rearmament. Britain had cut its military spending to below maintenance levels and plans were being set to fund a substantial armament program. As imperfect as their plans were the two nations together on a average day could out produce Germany on its best day.

Hindsight shows the AngloFrench defense & industrial ministry staff, and economists they consulted were correct. The details can be niggled over, but the two empires were on a production arc that would field a more powerful military than Germany in a few years.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by Lars » 29 Sep 2020 16:04

Hitler's invasion of rump-Czechoslovakia was what prompted Britain and France to guarantee Poland's western border (but not Poland's eastern border).
* If there is no guarantee from Britain and France, Germany's invasion of Poland does not trigger World War II.
* What it does trigger however, is a Soviet haphazard invasion of East Poland a little over 2 weeks after the German invasion.
* Germany and the Soviet Union has no Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in this world.
* They are still mortal enemies.
* When German and Soviet forces meet somewhere in mid-Poland in the latter half of September 1939 they immidiatly clash.
* The German-Soviet war is on.
* The Germans and Soviets are fighting each other while still fighting the Poles.
* Rump-Poland will survive for a little longer in south-eastern Poland but the surviving Polish forces will eventually slip into Romania as in our war.
* Ironically, Germany will attract some sympathy from Western Europe because it is now "fighting Bolchevism" while not being a war with any states in Western Europe.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 30 Sep 2020 22:04

Lars wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:04
Hitler's invasion of rump-Czechoslovakia was what prompted Britain and France to guarantee Poland's western border (but not Poland's eastern border).
* If there is no guarantee from Britain and France, Germany's invasion of Poland does not trigger World War II.
* What it does trigger however, is a Soviet haphazard invasion of East Poland a little over 2 weeks after the German invasion.
* Germany and the Soviet Union has no Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in this world.
* They are still mortal enemies.
* When German and Soviet forces meet somewhere in mid-Poland in the latter half of September 1939 they immidiatly clash.
* The German-Soviet war is on.
* The Germans and Soviets are fighting each other while still fighting the Poles.
* Rump-Poland will survive for a little longer in south-eastern Poland but the surviving Polish forces will eventually slip into Romania as in our war.
* Ironically, Germany will attract some sympathy from Western Europe because it is now "fighting Bolchevism" while not being a war with any states in Western Europe.
That's interesting observation, looks correct to me. However, do you think this was even feasible? Would it be possible for Hitler to switch the order and attack Poland first? Not sure if he could afford it, the economic boost Germany got from seizing the Czech economy (and a lots of weaponry used in Polish campaign) was essential. Attack on Poland in April 1939 with Czechoslovakia still out of German Reich might be very different from the attack of September 1939.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 30 Sep 2020 23:15

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
28 Sep 2020 17:39

No, they took a hard look at the numbers and came up with the expectation they could put themselves in a better military position than Germany circa 1941. This not a perfect estimate but a reasonable one based on knowledge of the economic & industrial capacity of the two empires and Germany. While the nazi use of trick accounting and fraud in financing their military build up of 1934-1938 was not clearly understood it was possible to see the limits on current German industrial capacity and the ability of the economy to sustain its rearmament program.
Got your point and agree this is what probably happened and what was a reason behind the decisions both coutries made in 1938, but still I don't think that projected industrial capacity is the whole picture. For example, Germany only introduced conscription in 1935 and their army had been seriously limited by this in 1938.They were in much better shape in two years, thus France's and Britain's position got substantially worse, not matter what their industry was able to produce, and both countries paid a steep price for this decision.

When that decision that two more years are needed to prepare for war, they were also actively involved in handing over substantial military capacity (of Czechoslovakia) to Germany, once again, making the situation worse for them both immediately and in the longer period of time. This is the math calculation that should have been made, but wasn't.

I would say there was another important aspect, Britain bought a lot of German propaganda and was really scared of immediate attack on Britain had the war started in 10/1938. Britain really feared the day they'd be forced to join the war together with France, bombs would start falling on London.

I think those two factors combined made the WWII inevitable, while different assesment of the situation could avoid the war in 1938 (well at least to escalate to a global conflict).

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by Lars » 01 Oct 2020 06:34

lahoda,
* I would certainly trade the real war's declation of war from France and Britain + Czech tanks and gold reserves
* with no DoW from France and Britain but no Czech tanks and gold reserves
* No west front opens up all of German forces to go east
* Germany has strategic freedom with only an east front
* Germany can still import oil from Mexico, rubber from Dutch East Indies etc.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 01 Oct 2020 11:04

Lars wrote:
01 Oct 2020 06:34
lahoda,
* I would certainly trade the real war's declation of war from France and Britain + Czech tanks and gold reserves
* with no DoW from France and Britain but no Czech tanks and gold reserves
* No west front opens up all of German forces to go east
* Germany has strategic freedom with only an east front
* Germany can still import oil from Mexico, rubber from Dutch East Indies etc.
That's far from certain. France had an agreement with Poland as well, although I am not sure about the details, so not sure if they were obliged to help or not. In Poland's case, Hitler didn't had a convenient excuse to do aggressive action, as his claim to bring "suffering Germans" back to the Reich,while they had disputes over Danzig at al Germany might still be seen as aggressor and got the DOW and western front as a result.

Germany was in economic dire in 3/1939, their cash reserves were really low, so even without blockade, they'd have no money to pay for imports. Army was half a year less prepared which would also be a huge difference - it might be all Poland needed to be able to repell the attack. It is documented that German generals knew they were not ready for war in 10/1938 not sure how they judged their chances half year later.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Oct 2020 16:39

lahoda wrote:
30 Sep 2020 23:15

thus France's and Britain's position got substantially worse, ...
It was better. Both nations had used the two years to develop their next generation weapons and ramp up production. Which was essential. France had completely reorganized its aircraft industry & was starting mass production of the new models. Britain had also retooled and expanded its aircraft production. Since France collapsed its difficult to precisely predict its probable war plane production for 1941, but its clear the two together could have out built Germanys actual production of 1941 by better than 50%, possibly 100%

Its frequently forgotten that Germany did not acquire Czech industry and financial reserves in the 1938 Munich agreement. That handed over the Sudentland. The seizure of Bohemia came six months later in March 1939 & was in violation of the Munich agreement. The action itself, and the speed at which it occurred was a surprise. neither Britain or France expected or planned for this act & it was not part of the calculus of September 1938.

Another point in the economic war is the Anglo/French won the political fight over US neutrality. Congress voting to alter the Neutrality Acts in 1939 & allow the Cash & Carry policy was not a purely internal US affair. The Allies successfully made the point they had substantial fiscal reserves to purchase war material from US industry. nazi Germany no longer had significant credit with the US banks, nor large fiscal reserves, even with the Austrian & Czech banks and gold. Allied fiscal reserves and cash flow gave them solid access to US industrial output for two years or more. Germany was hard pressed to pay for what it could receive through the blockade. It would have been to the nazis benefit that the US remain economically isolationist & continue to refuse sales of war material.

To understand the long term potential French orders for US aircraft in 1940 saw 600 aircraft delivered or embarked from US ports by the cease fire. Assembly plants of Douglass & Martin had been built on French territory, another 1200 aircraft were scheduled for delivery in the remaining sic months. France had already contracted for delivery of 3000+ US built aircraft for 1941 & was negotiating further purchases. Britain had its own purchases from the US. Laying out these exports to the Allies alongside actual German production for 1941 shows just how well off the Allies would have been in 1941.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by Lars » 01 Oct 2020 17:44

lahoda

* It is inconceivable that France will declare war when Germany enters Poland because Britain will not declare war on Germany.
* It is true that Germany is close to bankruptcy without the Czech gold but Germany was always close to bankruptcy.
* I don't suggest a German invasion of Poland in March 1939. I stick to September 1939.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 01 Oct 2020 17:54

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Oct 2020 16:39
It was better. Both nations had used the two years to develop their next generation weapons and ramp up production. Which was essential. France had completely reorganized its aircraft industry & was starting mass production of the new models. Britain had also retooled and expanded its aircraft production. Since France collapsed its difficult to precisely predict its probable war plane production for 1941, but its clear the two together could have out built Germanys actual production of 1941 by better than 50%, possibly 100%
Sure, it is clear that military production in Britain was better compared to their production in 1938, same for France. Their trajectory in production outperformed Germany. Agree on that. Was the overal military situation, with all aspects accounted for, relative to the strength of Germany in 1938 got better in 1940. I wouldn't say so. Germany got time to ramp up production, retool next generation weapons (Bf-109E comes to mind) plus got time to train the personal and got one time boost in gold and military equipment, plus expanded industrial base. Had Germany tried to go west in 1938, they would failed miserably even against the sorry state of French and especially British army. They broke France's neck in 1940 and were quite close to succeed against Britain too.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Oct 2020 16:39
Its frequently forgotten that Germany did not acquire Czech industry and financial reserves in the 1938 Munich agreement. That handed over the Sudentland. The seizure of Bohemia came six months later in March 1939 & was in violation of the Munich agreement. The action itself, and the speed at which it occurred was a surprise. neither Britain or France expected or planned for this act & it was not part of the calculus of September 1938.
No I don't mix those two dates. Do you believe that British and French foreign office was naive enough that by "throwing Czechoslovakia of sleigh" (to use your words - like it :D) and ceding the border areas, which - by pure coincidence - also had pretty much all the defensive installations Czechoslovakia built, they didn't know they made it a low hanging fruit ripe for immediate picking. I agree both France and Britain were surprised in March 1939, at least their reaction (given that they "guaranteed" new Czechoslovak borders defined in Munich (and Viena) Treaty) was very weak.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Oct 2020 16:39
Another point in the economic war is the Anglo/French won the political fight over US neutrality.
That is true, but do you think it can be linked either to Munich or annexation of Bohemia and Moravia? I thought that only happened after the start of the Polish campaign but I am not sure on that one. But I doubt it was a calculated move designed by Chamberlain in a way "lets appease Hitler till US are forced to send us some planes".
Last edited by lahoda on 01 Oct 2020 18:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 01 Oct 2020 17:59

Lars wrote:
01 Oct 2020 17:44
lahoda

* It is inconceivable that France will declare war when Germany enters Poland because Britain will not declare war on Germany.
* It is true that Germany is close to bankruptcy without the Czech gold but Germany was always close to bankruptcy.
* I don't suggest a German invasion of Poland in March 1939. I stick to September 1939.
First point - I don't know. There was a treaty, but agree Britain might keep France out of it.
Given the second point (where I agree), it is doubtful Germany was able to sustain their production and preparation for the war with Poland in September. I think they did the move becouse they were desperate in March. Yet they were not ready for war. It was a lucky set of domino stones standing close enough for them to fall all, and making the WWII truly global. I believe March 1939 was absolutely last moment where Hitler could be stopped without a large conflict.

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by lahoda » 01 Oct 2020 18:03

Let's not forget one thing: I found the idea of "what-if" Hitler decides to attack Poland in March 1939 instead of rest of Czechoslovakia instead. Haven't heard much info about this scenario, would like what others think about this as the divergence point? Would Hitler succeed against Poland in March?

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Re: Hitler spares czechoslovakia.

Post by Lars » 01 Oct 2020 18:42

Ok. That is two what-ifs, not that there is anything wrong with that:
* Hitler don't invade rump-Czechoslovakia in March 1939 AND attacks Poland instead. An interesting what-if.
* Germany is certainly signifcantly weaker than in the real war.
* However, there will still not be a west front, the Soviets will still attack East Poland three weeks or so into the war.
* Poland will still be toast, Germany and the Soviets will still clash and go to war.
* But everything will be in slow motion compared to the real war.
* Whatever happens in West Poland doesn't matter much as Poland will be toast the minute the Soviets attack in the east.
* And the Soviets will attack to get back what the Poles conquered in 1920.
* That and also Stalin's absoulute hatred of anything Polish guarantees a Soviet attack.

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