Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

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Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Futurist » 29 Dec 2019 03:45

If the 1940 Nazi invasion of France would have somehow failed and internal opponents of the Nazis in Germany would have subsequently staged a successful coup against Hitler and the Nazis, and the Anglo-French and the new German government would have actually been able to make peace, would it have been realistic for Germany, France, and Britain to subsequently give an ultimatum to the Soviet Union to withdraw from eastern Poland and the Baltic countries and to threaten the Soviet Union with war if the Soviets will refuse to obey this ultimatum?

The Anglo-French logic behind such a move would be obvious--they would want to restore Poland's eastern lands or at the very least to hold a free and fair plebiscite there in order to determine these lands' future fate. Britain and France might feel that it is no more justified for the Soviet Union to conquer these lands without holding a plebiscite there than for Poland to conquer these lands without holding a plebiscite there. As for Germany, Britain and France could theoretically offer Germany a carrot--as in, Germany (which, remember, is no longer led by Hitler and the Nazis but rather by a more conciliatory post-Nazi regime) supports Britain and France in regards to this, and Britain and France could agree to hold a free and fair plebiscite in Danzig and some or all of the Polish Corridor in exchange for this. That way, Germany is virtually guaranteed to at least get Danzig if it cooperates with Britain and France in regards to pushing the Soviet Union out of its 1939-1940 territorial conquests.

Anyway, any thoughts on this?

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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Futurist » 10 Sep 2020 21:41

Anyone?

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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Kingfish » 11 Sep 2020 09:53

Having experienced the appalling slaughter of the first world war, and somehow managed to narrowly avoid a repeat for the second, I seriously doubt the respective citizenry of these three countries would wholeheartedly embrace the possibility of a third major land war on the continent.
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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Futurist » 11 Sep 2020 21:47

Kingfish wrote:
11 Sep 2020 09:53
Having experienced the appalling slaughter of the first world war, and somehow managed to narrowly avoid a repeat for the second, I seriously doubt the respective citizenry of these three countries would wholeheartedly embrace the possibility of a third major land war on the continent.
Even if they think that they can get it over with relatively quickly--as in, within a year or so?

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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Kingfish » 11 Sep 2020 22:37

Against what would arguably be the largest army at the time?

Yeah, it may be over within a year, but not with the outcome they would hope for.
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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Futurist » 12 Sep 2020 07:55

Wasn't the Soviet Army perceived as being rather unprepared even in 1941, though? This would have been "evidenced" to everyone by the Soviet Army's poor showing in its 1939-1940 war with Finland.

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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Kingfish » 12 Sep 2020 14:49

One could make that argument but lets add some context to it. The winter war was launched at the worst possible time, in terrain that favored the defense and highlighted the Russian deficiencies. In contrast, their Khalkhin Gol offensive showed what they could accomplish when properly led and organized.

And speaking of timing...

Your WI is predicated on the failure of Fall Gelb. That operation began on May 10th and it's fair to say the Germans wouldn't throw in the towel after just a couple of weeks of fighting, so you are looking at mid-summer at best before stalemate on the western front leads to a regime change. It would take still more time to establish a new government and work out the details of a peace deal with the allies. Now we are into Autumn, the traditional end to the campaigning season in Europe.

Now lets be generous and assume the Anglo-French ultimatum is delivered to the Russians at around this time. Lets also assume the Russians tell them to go pound sand. What now? Do the allies keep their forces on a full war footing for all of winter? Meanwhile the Russians now have at least 6 months to fortify their holdings in Poland.

Something else to consider: Any peace deal between the Germans and western allies would undoubtedly include a requirement that German forces be drawn down, perhaps to only national defense levels. This throws a major wrench into the works of this WI. Without German assistance there is no hope in hell for the Anglo-French to expel Russia from Poland.
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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Futurist » 15 Sep 2020 19:37

Kingfish wrote:
12 Sep 2020 14:49
One could make that argument but lets add some context to it. The winter war was launched at the worst possible time, in terrain that favored the defense and highlighted the Russian deficiencies. In contrast, their Khalkhin Gol offensive showed what they could accomplish when properly led and organized.

And speaking of timing...

Your WI is predicated on the failure of Fall Gelb. That operation began on May 10th and it's fair to say the Germans wouldn't throw in the towel after just a couple of weeks of fighting, so you are looking at mid-summer at best before stalemate on the western front leads to a regime change. It would take still more time to establish a new government and work out the details of a peace deal with the allies. Now we are into Autumn, the traditional end to the campaigning season in Europe.

Now lets be generous and assume the Anglo-French ultimatum is delivered to the Russians at around this time. Lets also assume the Russians tell them to go pound sand. What now? Do the allies keep their forces on a full war footing for all of winter? Meanwhile the Russians now have at least 6 months to fortify their holdings in Poland.
Excellent points.
Something else to consider: Any peace deal between the Germans and western allies would undoubtedly include a requirement that German forces be drawn down, perhaps to only national defense levels. This throws a major wrench into the works of this WI. Without German assistance there is no hope in hell for the Anglo-French to expel Russia from Poland.
I was actually thinking of Germany's armed forces remaining intact for now but withdrawing from all French, Belgian, Dutch, and Luxembourgian territory as well as from the Rhineland--with Allied troops also being put in control of all of the Rhineland bridges as insurance. This would mean that if the Anglo-Franco-German war will restart after the expulsion of the USSR from Poland, the Anglo-French would be able to restart this war from a position of strength. Maybe the Ruhr can also be demilitarized so that the Anglo-French could quickly conquer it in the event of a renewed war with Germany.

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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Kingfish » 16 Sep 2020 02:11

Futurist wrote:
15 Sep 2020 19:37
I was actually thinking of Germany's armed forces remaining intact for now but withdrawing from all French, Belgian, Dutch, and Luxembourgian territory as well as from the Rhineland--with Allied troops also being put in control of all of the Rhineland bridges as insurance.
But how do you sell that to the general public?

Better yet, how do you sell it to the German public?
"Hey, we'll let you keep your army - provided you join us in attacking the Russians, and if our attack happens to fail your country will be the new front line".
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Re: Plausibility Check: A Germano-Franco-British ultimatum to the USSR after a quick end to WWII?

Post by Futurist » 16 Sep 2020 02:21

Kingfish wrote:
16 Sep 2020 02:11
Futurist wrote:
15 Sep 2020 19:37
I was actually thinking of Germany's armed forces remaining intact for now but withdrawing from all French, Belgian, Dutch, and Luxembourgian territory as well as from the Rhineland--with Allied troops also being put in control of all of the Rhineland bridges as insurance.
But how do you sell that to the general public?

Better yet, how do you sell it to the German public?
"Hey, we'll let you keep your army - provided you join us in attacking the Russians, and if our attack happens to fail your country will be the new front line".
With the sweet, sweet promise of Danzig. At the same time, though, whether such a promise would actually be appealing to the Germans is an open question considering that such a war against Russia might cost as many German lives as the number of people that Germany would acquire by being allowed to annex Danzig after the war with Russia.

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