Britain's Declaration of War?

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Post by Polynikes » 03 Jul 2004 14:44

tonyh wrote:The provision of the "garrantee" is rather obvious that "European power" is Germany. With France in political chaos for quite some time, she really was the only Nation on the European Continent that could challenge Britain for " Social Control" of Europe as she was the strongest industrial nation on the Continent, but her weakness was Agricultural developnment and her ability to feed itself should Germany find itself inbroiled in another major war, a worry that haunted Hitler after Germany's disasterous blockade experience in WWI, in which a million of her citizens starved.


Britain wasn't the most powerful country in Europe in 1939 - Germany was.

Germany was getting bigger and bigger and Britain (and France) knew that Hitler's power growth had to be checked sooner rather than later.

Britain had no great love for the Poles who were a military dictatorship with a mass army of their own (IIRC it was of te order of 800,000 men). Britain went to war out of a self preservation motive - just like the USA did.

Britain & France left it too late really - the time to go to war with Germany was not 1939, it was 1936 when Hitler remilitarised the Rhineland. German troops were actually calling a French bluff then and were prepared to scuttle back across the Rhine if France moved to evict them.

Had Britain let Germany invade & take land where it wished, then at some point in the future a 2rd Reich stretching from the French border to the Urals, from the Arctic Ocean to the North Mediterranean shore would've looked Westward to complete its control of Europe.

Chamberlain was a weak war leader and if he can be faulted as a statesman its not because he went to war with Germany, but rather that he went to war too late and too half-heartedly. Churchill was a reaction to Chamberlain - he was too rash and impulsive.

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Post by Jon G. » 03 Jul 2004 17:46

Polynikes wrote:Britain wasn't the most powerful country in Europe in 1939 - Germany was.


At least as long as you don't factor in the largely unknown capacities of the Soviet Union. The reality may have been that Germany was stronger on the continent and getting stronger still, but this was not how Chamberlain and the appeasers saw it. They expected an imminent German economic collapse, brought about by massive re-arming and massive public spending. This misconception lingered on for a while also after Sept. 1. 1939 - there even was a ministry for economic warfare which SOE for example belonged to.

Germany was getting bigger and bigger and Britain (and France) knew that Hitler's power growth had to be checked sooner rather than later.


For Britain, it wasn't so clearly cut. To the French, keeping Germany in check was a paramount aim, initially at odds with the British concept of keeping things in balance on the continent.

Britain had no great love for the Poles who were a military dictatorship with a mass army of their own (IIRC it was of te order of 800,000 men).


Going to war to protect democracy etc. was clearly post-rationalizing. The one truly well-functioning European democracy outside of Scandinavia was Czechoslovakia, and Britain and France failed to save that.

Britain went to war out of a self preservation motive - just like the USA did.


It was a forced move. If Chamberlain had known that the UK would stand alone in half a year's time, it is not very likely that he would have declared war. I think he and the French leadership foresaw a war that would broadly go like WWI, but Germany's collapse would come so much quicker due to the over-extended economy and effective strategic bombing, along with the good old blockade weapon.

Britain & France left it too late really - the time to go to war with Germany was not 1939, it was 1936 when Hitler remilitarised the Rhineland. German troops were actually calling a French bluff then and were prepared to scuttle back across the Rhine if France moved to evict them...


That was probably a missed opportunity to beat the Germans - but it would likely not have been a strong enough casus belli to completely topple Hitler's rule of Germany. After all, the Rhineland was internationally recognized as part of Germany, contrary to the corridor, and France had given up her occupation of it a few years earlier.

Edit A useful if contrived analogy could be comparing the Rhineland with the first Gulf War and Poland with the second. :D

Hitler could probably have gotten international permission to remilitarize all of Germany, and it is not unlikely that he'd get British and even French approval for enlargening his army, as well as getting an airforce again. He instead made a strong point of the impotency of his enemies and of international institutions by taking these steps in open defiance to treaties made by the Weimar governments. He actively sought confrontation.

For what it is worth, the German troops occupying the Rhineland had orders to conduct a withdrawal if they met any French troops - a fighting withdrawal.
Last edited by Jon G. on 03 Jul 2004 20:42, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Andy H » 03 Jul 2004 17:57

Britain wasn't the most powerful country in Europe in 1939 - Germany was


I had presumed the same, in that Britain was more 'powerful' than Germany. Was Germany's economy really bigger than Britain's with her empire in 1939?

Andy H

Globalization41
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Britain's Vital Strategic Interests

Post by Globalization41 » 03 Jul 2004 20:32

Britain's vital strategic interests would have
been better served by a foreign policy of
strict neutrality regarding the internal affairs
and civil wars on continental Europe. Hitler's
main interest was in setting up a landlocked,
backyard, self-sufficient empire for economic
exploitation of potential Ukrainian resources.
Britain dominated the high seas, but its
ground forces, though tough fighters, lacked
numerical strength. It was totally unstrategic
to challenge Germany's strength
with Britain's
weakness. Additionally, suckering the
unenthusiastic French into fighting a proxy
war against Germany resulted in an
unnecessary national humiliation for France.
The propaganda grounds for Churchill
continuing the fight after France fell in 1940
don't hold up very well either, since up to that
time the Bolsheviks were the mass-murder
kings.
Although the 1939 declaration of war
against Germany for invading an independent
Poland was certainly honorable enough, it
was just as unstrategic as if the British had
declared war on the Soviet Union
on behalf of
a free Poland after World War II.

Globalization41

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Post by Polynikes » 04 Jul 2004 02:49

Shrek

At least as long as you don't factor in the largely unknown capacities of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union certainly had the greatest potential - but then again so did Imperial Russia and we all know how well they did.
Germany (specifically Hitler) didn't think much of Soviet power, though he was to get a nasty shock. However IMO, Germany would've beaten the USSR had it not found itself in a two front war.

The Soviet performance against Finland the Winter before couldn't have persuaded many that it was a match for Germany.

The reality may have been that Germany was stronger on the continent and getting stronger still, but this was not how Chamberlain and the appeasers saw it. They expected an imminent German economic collapse, brought about by massive re-arming and massive public spending. This misconception lingered on for a while also after Sept. 1. 1939 - there even was a ministry for economic warfare which SOE for example belonged to.

I'm not sure about that - remember Keynesian economics were still in vogue.

"Build up the fleet complete,
And keep unemployment off the street".

...was a popular slogan amonsgt the Keynesians.

HOPED for an economic collapse was more like it - the same way that the West kept wishfully thinking that the USSR was about to economically implode....at no point did we think it was actually GOING to happen until it did.

I'm not an expert on the SOE but Channel 4's documentary called it "CHURCHILL'S SECRET ARMY".

It examined the history of the SOE saying it was set up by Churchil for sabotage purposes during World War II. I thought this was AFTER he became PM in 1940.

For Britain, it wasn't so clearly cut. To the French, keeping Germany in check was a paramount aim, initially at odds with the British concept of keeping things in balance on the continent.

The "Balance of Power" was a cornerstone of British foriegn policy aropund the time of the First World War.
There's a theory that countries only grow as powerful as their neighbours let them.

The idea is that no country (or alliance) should be powerful enough to challenge the rest put together. That was how Napolean was beaten...by a combination of the rest of Europe's powers. In WWI, it took the USA to tip the scales (though you could argue that Britain and France and Italy had JUST about done it themselves).

In 1939 the position was to keep specifically GERMANY small and to hell if France gets a little bit more power.

Going to war to protect democracy etc. was clearly post-rationalizing. The one truly well-functioning European democracy outside of Scandinavia was Czechoslovakia, and Britain and France failed to save that.

They didn't even try. They thought that they could preserve the peace by appeasing Hitler and giving him whatever parts of Czechoslovakia he wanted.
Britain didn't & doesn't want to preserve/promote democracy par se. It wants to preserve its own democracy/freedom.

Britain went to war in 1939 to protect itself NOT to protect Poland.

It was a forced move. If Chamberlain had known that the UK would stand alone in half a year's time, it is not very likely that he would have declared war. I think he and the French leadership foresaw a war that would broadly go like WWI, but Germany's collapse would come so much quicker due to the over-extended economy and effective strategic bombing, along with the good old blockade weapon.

I'm not sure what Chamberlain thought the path of the war would go. I imagine he very much FEARED it would go the way of WWI and knew such a war would be disasterous for Britain.

Had Chamberlain had a chrystal ball, he still would've gone to war as not to was to invite defeat some time down the road.

That was probably a missed opportunity to beat the Germans - but it would likely not have been a strong enough casus belli to completely topple Hitler's rule of Germany. After all, the Rhineland was internationally recognized as part of Germany, contrary to the corridor, and France had given up her occupation of it a few years earlier.

Perhaps a French move to evict the German army from the Rgineland wouldn't have toppled Hitler but he certainly would've taken a differnet line over Czechoslovakia and Poland.

Of course Germany was in breach of the treaty of Versailles by 1936 (tanks, aircraft, warships etc) so a French assault could have reached Berlin had they wanted to.

For what it is worth, the German troops occupying the Rhineland had orders to conduct a withdrawal if they met any French troops - a fighting withdrawal.

A BRIEF fighting withdrawl. What I've read was that they should withdraw in quick order and not engage the French army if it had appeared. It was calling the French bluff with a German one.

In hindsight though the Germans muct've known that France was never going to attack it ever again...the construction of the Maginot line made that all too obvious.

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Post by Polynikes » 04 Jul 2004 02:59

Andy H wrote:
Britain wasn't the most powerful country in Europe in 1939 - Germany was


I had presumed the same, in that Britain was more 'powerful' than Germany. Was Germany's economy really bigger than Britain's with her empire in 1939?

Andy H


Britain's econmy was on the mend following the depression of the 30's and some prudent housekeeping by Chamberlain's Conservative government.

However it was still fragile and vulnerable.

Britain's military was weak though. A small army and an air force that was re-equipping as fast as it possibly could. The Royal Navy was being overtaken by the USN but still a force to reckon with - albeit with a lot of old warships.

There was no doubt that Britain couldn't match Germany for military power. The BEF consisted of a mere 10 divisions & a couple of independent brigades (around 350,000 men).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Ex ... nary_Force

In no way could British military power be compared to that of Germany.

France mobilised millions of men, Britain a few hundred thousand.

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Re: Britain's Vital Strategic Interests

Post by Polynikes » 04 Jul 2004 03:06

Globalization41 wrote:Britain's vital strategic interests would have
been better served by a foreign policy of
strict neutrality regarding the internal affairs
and civil wars on continental Europe. Hitler's
main interest was in setting up a landlocked,
backyard, self-sufficient empire for economic
exploitation of potential Ukrainian resources.
Britain dominated the high seas, but its
ground forces, though tough fighters, lacked
numerical strength. It was totally unstrategic
to challenge Germany's strength
with Britain's
weakness. Additionally, suckering the
unenthusiastic French into fighting a proxy
war against Germany resulted in an
unnecessary national humiliation for France.
The propaganda grounds for Churchill
continuing the fight after France fell in 1940
don't hold up very well either, since up to that
time the Bolsheviks were the mass-murder
kings.
Although the 1939 declaration of war
against Germany for invading an independent
Poland was certainly honorable enough, it
was just as unstrategic as if the British had
declared war on the Soviet Union
on behalf of
a free Poland after World War II.

Globalization41


This argument holds for WWI but not WWII.

Hitler was not a man to bargain with. Had he been left to conquer the USSR he would surely have turned his attention Westward at some point (as well as South to the Persian Gulf).

Britain would have to accept German hegemony and all the consequences it entailed.

Eventually a Nazi Empire from the Atlantic to the Pacific would clash with the USA. A Nazi empire pre-eminant in ballistic missile technology, nuclear weapons. Possesing all the oil and grain it needed.

If the USSR was a threat in the Cold War, how much MORE of a threat would the Soviet empire combined with Western Europe and the Persian Gulf be with German technology and oil money?

Scary huh?

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Hitler and the Soviet Union

Post by Globalization41 » 04 Jul 2004 06:56

Hitler did not have enough resources to take
over the Soviet Union. The Germans were
already losing steam in November 1941,
even before the U.S. entered the war. Had
France, Britain, and the U.S. practiced
neutrality, Stalin and Hitler would have
eventually stalemated
and everyone would
have lived happily ever after, at least in
France, Britain, and the United States. ...
France's sphere of influence was western
Europe. Hitler was always focused on the
east. I don't think he would have invaded a
truly neutral France. Eventually in the eastern
hemisphere, the fascists, bolsheviks,
Muslims, Hindus, Orientals, and social
democracies would have settled down as the
balance of power stabilized. ... As far as the
Soviet empire controlling the Persian Gulf, it
would have left less spare time for rich Saudi
dissidents to hate America.

Globalization41

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Post by tonyh » 06 Jul 2004 17:26

Britain wasn't the most powerful country in Europe in 1939 - Germany was.

Germany was getting bigger and bigger and Britain (and France) knew that Hitler's power growth had to be checked sooner rather than later.

Britain went to war out of a self preservation motive - just like the USA did.


In terms of industrial strength yes. But as someone pointed out, when one considers the output of Britains occupied territories, then I wouldn't be so sure. The main problem for Britain was the shipping of material from the occupied territories to Britain itself, hence the need for the Royal Navy. But while Germany enjoyed a large industrial strength, Britain still commanded the "ballance of power" within the European continent and the social influence of Britain on both the continent and the world was still far greater than Germany's ever would be.

Germany was getting bigger and it was scaring Britain who felt that her "top dog" status in Europe was being threatened which is why she started a war with Germany, this I don't disagree with at all. I wonder, if Chamberlain had the foresight to see that Hitler wanted nothing to do with Britain and her Empire at all and his war aims were all towards the East, would he have still declared war? I think not.

Tony

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Post by Polynikes » 08 Jul 2004 14:25

tonyh

In terms of industrial strength yes. But as someone pointed out, when one considers the output of Britains occupied territories, then I wouldn't be so sure. The main problem for Britain was the shipping of material from the occupied territories to Britain itself, hence the need for the Royal Navy. But while Germany enjoyed a large industrial strength, Britain still commanded the "ballance of power" within the European continent and the social influence of Britain on both the continent and the world was still far greater than Germany's ever would be.

I would disagree.

The empire was divided into two halfs - the colonies and the dominions.

South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were all self governing and their output can't be classed as "British".

Of course all of them rallied to the flag in 1914 & 1939 but that doesn't change the fact that they were ALLIES not an extention of Britain.

The empire, contrary to polular belief, wasn't a huge money making exercise. Most of it lost money (the principle reason for it collapsing so rapidly after WWII BTW) and a lot of it was just claimed just to increase the ammount of "red" on a world map. India was the "Jewel In The Crown" - it was the great wealth creator (Malaya too for rubber). The colonies were just a source of raw materials really - giving Britain no more economic power than Siberia gave the USSR (except that factories couldn't be shifted there from Britain and the routes top the empire were always threatened by hostile seapower).

Germany was getting bigger and it was scaring Britain who felt that her "top dog" status in Europe was being threatened which is why she started a war with Germany, this I don't disagree with at all. I wonder, if Chamberlain had the foresight to see that Hitler wanted nothing to do with Britain and her Empire at all and his war aims were all towards the East, would he have still declared war? I think not.

I think this notion is fundamentally flawed.

What if Britain and France did nothing about the German invasion of Poland?

Germany could still invade Norway - does Britain and France still do nothing?

How about invading the Balkans & Greece to support Italy - still nothing?

Germany invades the USSR and probably wins - still nothing?

A Wehrmacht numbering a couple of hundred divisions & thousands of combat aircraft.....controls the Urals to the Rhine. Sweden and Switzerland come under pressure to join the axis....

Make no mistake, Hitler would've come West sooner or later and by 1950 German power would be untouchable by Britain and France.

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Post by Topspeed » 08 Jul 2004 14:55

Lord Gort wrote:It was certainly considered, and with the Soviets fighting the Finn's the western democracies came close to fighting there would be ally. But in strategic terms it just wasnt sensible for the west to fight Russia and Germany. Especially when all expected Russia to be the ultimate target of German agression.


Hope this helps. Although strangely I find myself in the position of having very little information on this.

Friendly Regards,


There was an expeditionary force in England ready to be sent to Finland..I guess west was not ready for a war..their own defences were weak. Our army fought with regular clothing without uniforms and some 40 aeroplanes in the Winter War..soon we got Fokker XXIs, but Gladiators were shot on the ground while scrambling to get into air. That was a Soviet Blitz Krieg. They intented to march in crowds cheering in six days.

They heavily underestimated Finland's fighting power and will as a unified entity against a foreign foe.

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Post by DrG » 08 Jul 2004 16:20

Polynikes wrote:The empire was divided into two halfs - the colonies and the dominions.
South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were all self governing and their output can't be classed as "British".

The British Empire, on an economical point of view, was a unique entity, the fact that the Dominions had a nominal indipendence is irrilevant. The Ottawa conference of 1932, with the "Imperial preference" created an area of free trade for UK but rather closed to foreign competition. The war, with the American pressures for free markets, doomed the British Empire.
What if Britain and France did nothing about the German invasion of Poland?

Interesting question. I think that USSR would attack Germany, but it's just my guess.
Germany could still invade Norway - does Britain and France still do nothing?

The German occupation of Norway would have been meaningless without a war with France and UK.
How about invading the Balkans & Greece to support Italy - still nothing?

Italy attacked Greece mostly because Mussolini thought that Britain would have soon accepted a negociated peace and because he thought that it couldn't have supported Greece because it was too busy against Germany. No German-British war = no Italo-Greek war.
Germany invades the USSR and probably wins - still nothing?

Again an interesting question, but, on a merely economic point of view, we would have the Hearthland (to use Haushofer's geopolitics) under German economic control, leaving the Rimland to UK and USA. Instead, after WW2, center-east Europe was completely under the Soviet control, and the rest of the world was no more under the influence of UK, not even its own Empire (end of the Ottawa preference in 1943). Italy and Japan, without an empire, but now with free markets, were able to develope strong and modern economies ,and Germany was finally able to find the free markets that it was trying to conquer since the XIX century. The USA were the new dominating power in the Rimland, not UK.
I may understand that for a Briton a sure American predominance (as historically happened) was better than a possible German one in the future (if Germany hadn't been satisfied of the Hearthland), but it is more a matter of sentiment or ideology rather than of logic.

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Re: Britain's Declaration of War?

Post by Hanski » 08 Jul 2004 16:56

WHEELER wrote:If Britain and France declared war on Germany because she invaded Poland, why didn't they declare war on Russia also?


I think Wheeler asked an excellent question. Indeed, Britain and France never declared war on the USSR, when it invaded Poland and later Finland; there was no declaration of war against the USSR even when preparations were made for sending British / French troops to assist Finland in the Winter War.

On the contrary, Britain did declare war against Finland during the Finnish Continuation War / co-belligerence with Germany during Operation Barbarossa. The DoW was entirely symbolic, with no real intentions to engage in military operations against Finland, and it was timed on 6th December 1941, the Finnish Day of Independence.

So in addition to the Soviet Union, against which the actual fighting took place, Finland ended up with an impressive list of other formal enemies: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Australia, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Canada, Czechoslovakia, India, New Zealand, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Union of South Africa.

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Post by Fredd » 08 Jul 2004 17:14

As usual I don’t believe in ‘honor’ in international politic. Merely interests of certain nation.

So, in no best interest of any of two partners was to declare a war against Stalin. Moreover they guaranties covered solely contingency of German attack hence they were not obliged to declare a war. End of story.

But a few matters need to be clear out.

Shrek wrote:The Soviet Union didn't attack Poland as such - they merely moved in and took what they lost in the Russo-Polish war in the 20s, and then only after the Germans had been at war with Poland for two weeks.


So the commies were saying for over 50 years. In case you is one of them could you explain what happens in August 23rd 1939 in Moskow. And what lands lost SU with war with Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia that had to be taken…. I see no point in discussion what you said about reclaiming losted land in the war with Poland. Little piece of advice – see the maps: in 1919, 1921, 1940 of relevant part of Europe.


Shrek wrote:So on Sept. 3rd, when the declarations of war came from the UK and from France, only Germany had violated their guarantee for Poland's borders at that time.


What it proved – maybe Stalin wanted to be sure that UK/France did nothing before he execute an offensive against Poland according to the R-M pact. This stand infuriated Hitler. Who had expected Soviets would have attack earlier. Since future border between SU and Germany were set, he wanted to German forces be relieved.

Polinykes wrote: Britain had no great love for the Poles who were a military dictatorship with a mass army of their own (IIRC it was of te order of 800,000 men). Britain went to war out of a self preservation motive - just like the USA did.


I mostly agree but the way you put it suggest that Polish Army was stronger than British. When we comparing ‘power’ of the such different armies we should compare military spendings. So how many battleships had Poland in relevant time and how many of them had Britain.

And what had to do ‘love’ for any nation? C’mon Hitler was a threat to British interest, Poland not. So they signed the pact and guaranteed Polish borders knowing full well that would be unable to fulfill it – a classic political bluff. Hitler just said ‘I check’. Britons started to arm so they needed to buy time.

France was completely different story.

Apology for an off-topic.

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Post by tonyh » 08 Jul 2004 17:18

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

In terms of industrial strength yes. But as someone pointed out, when one considers the output of Britains occupied territories, then I wouldn't be so sure. The main problem for Britain was the shipping of material from the occupied territories to Britain itself, hence the need for the Royal Navy. But while Germany enjoyed a large industrial strength, Britain still commanded the "ballance of power" within the European continent and the social influence of Britain on both the continent and the world was still far greater than Germany's ever would be.

I would disagree.

The empire was divided into two halfs - the colonies and the dominions.

South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were all self governing and their output can't be classed as "British".

Of course all of them rallied to the flag in 1914 & 1939 but that doesn't change the fact that they were ALLIES not an extention of Britain.

The empire, contrary to polular belief, wasn't a huge money making exercise. Most of it lost money (the principle reason for it collapsing so rapidly after WWII BTW) and a lot of it was just claimed just to increase the ammount of "red" on a world map. India was the "Jewel In The Crown" - it was the great wealth creator (Malaya too for rubber). The colonies were just a source of raw materials really - giving Britain no more economic power than Siberia gave the USSR (except that factories couldn't be shifted there from Britain and the routes top the empire were always threatened by hostile seapower).


Fair enough, we'll have to disagree on the output of the British Empire. But lets be honest. The colonies and the dominions were under British control and if nesscessary their economic output could be used in Britains favor, by Britain. They were as independent as far as Britain wanted them to be. Especially in the case of the African and Indian colonies. By the 20th Century this was changing from the 19th Century view of things, of course. But Britain in the 1940's considered the occupied colonies and the Dominions, with the exceptions of Austrailia and Canada perhaps, as hers. Make no mistake. And as far as the Empire losing money. This was a long slope on a downward scale. But what really did for the British Empire was Churchill's prosecution of his war against Germany and the shipping of the entire British gold reserve to the US. Also, after WWII the idea that foreign Countries should remain under occupation in an Empire by a Country who ostensibly fought to free Countries from the German Empire was untenible. Put that context in tandem with the rise of US power after WWII and British influence was doomed to be replaced be the US, which is how world history played out after the aftermath of WWII.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Germany was getting bigger and it was scaring Britain who felt that her "top dog" status in Europe was being threatened which is why she started a war with Germany, this I don't disagree with at all. I wonder, if Chamberlain had the foresight to see that Hitler wanted nothing to do with Britain and her Empire at all and his war aims were all towards the East, would he have still declared war? I think not.

I think this notion is fundamentally flawed.

What if Britain and France did nothing about the German invasion of Poland?

Germany could still invade Norway - does Britain and France still do nothing?

How about invading the Balkans & Greece to support Italy - still nothing?

Germany invades the USSR and probably wins - still nothing?

A Wehrmacht numbering a couple of hundred divisions & thousands of combat aircraft.....controls the Urals to the Rhine. Sweden and Switzerland come under pressure to join the axis....

Make no mistake, Hitler would've come West sooner or later and by 1950 German power would be untouchable by Britain and France.


What Hitler was hoping for was that Britain and France WOULD indeed do "nothing" about Poland. In fact he didn't really believe that they would actually declare war. Especially without the support of Russia, who was now in the German camp as it were. But most people saw through that for what it was. So with Britain and France condeming Germany's invasion of Poland, but NOT declaring war, the scene is set for the European war between Germany and Russia. Which is almost a given with Hitler and Stalin at the helm of each respective Country. This struggle could play out in a number of ways, but without Britain's declaration of war, there would be no invasion of Norway. Hitler invaded Norway to forstall the British, not because he wanted to occupy the area. He actually prefered them neutral. Norway was shipping iron ore to Germany through Narvik from Sweden's galivare Iron ore fields, during the winter Months. It was this that the British wanted to stop. So no British interest in the area, no German interest in the area. Also, there would be no occupation of Belgium, France, Denmark etc. Hitler's focus, without the interlude in the West, could be entirely upon Russia.

Also, without Britain's declaration of war on Germany. Italy would not have declared war of Britain in 1940, when they saw how well the Battle of France was going in Germany's favor. Likewise, it may have tendered caution to Mussolini in regards to his territorial aspirations too. As to a large degree, it was Germany's stunning successes that gave Mussolini the "balls" to think that the Italian army could be the instrument for his own "blitzkrieg" in the Med.

But Italy's actions doesn't mean that Germany would automatically lend support to Mussolini in North Africa, as Britain would not have declared war upon her. So even with an Italian defeat in North Africa, a confrontation with Britain and Germany still does not have to be.

Sweden or Switzerland DON'T have to come under any pressure at all from Germany as Hitler's sole enemy is the Soviet Union. Which frankly, many Country's would support in lieu of a British declaration of war. Theres simply no need for Hitler to combine those twn Nations into the Reich. Rather what would actually happen would be a greater foreign volunteer for the Waffen SS from different Nations in a combined war against Russia. Imagine how many more people from Holland and Denmark etc would join up to fight the "Red menace".

Your "Hitler turning West" will not happen because there is no need for Hitler to turn West, he had no interest in it. And with the protracted war in Russia, this is nulled even further. What would happen is a Vietnam style situation for Germany in Russia, whereby both Country's bleed each other to a standstill or an uneasy peace.

Either way theres no Western European war, or consequently a World war without Britain's declaration of war on September 3rd 1939.

Tony

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