Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 433
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by historygeek2021 » 04 Jul 2021 23:36

I found this chart online, the underlying source being Harrison. It suggests that the U.S.A. had a relatively low percentage of its population employed in war industry or serving in the armed forces, which shouldn't be too surprising. Even with a far lower mobilization percentage than other countries, the U.S.A. vastly outproduced them all.
WW2 labor mobilization.png
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/BigL/BigL-1.html
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3192
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Sheldrake » 04 Jul 2021 23:40

In the spirit of this thread I give you the IRON DREAM (1972) by Norman Spinrad
Image
The Iron Dream is an alternate history novel, the bulk of which is the middle part consisting of a fictional fantasy classic entitled Lord of the Swastika, written by one Adolf Hitler. The first part explains that the deceased author Hitler was a sci-fi writer and that this novel was widely praised by fandom. The third part is a critical review of the novel and its aftermath.
"after dabbling in radical politics", Adolf Hitler emigrated to the United States in 1919 and became a science fiction illustrator, editor, and author. He wrote his final science fantasy novel Lord of the Swastika in six weeks in 1953, shortly before dying of cerebral hemorrhage[1] (possibly caused by tertiary syphilis); Lord of the Swastika subsequently wins the Hugo Award and the "colorful uniforms" described therein become a regular feature of cosplayers at science fiction conventions. Hitler's other published works include the long-running fanzine Storm and the novels The Master Race, The Thousand Year Rule, and The Triumph of the Will.

Without Hitler's leadership, the Nazi Party fell apart in 1923 and the Communist Party of Germany succeeded in fomenting a German communist revolution in 1930. As this alternate history continues, there is reference to a "Greater Soviet Union" which took over the United Kingdom in 1948, and whose influence is growing in Latin America by 1959... there has been no equivalent of World War II in this world. The core element in the historical backstory of Lord of the Swastika is a nuclear apocalypse.

the Empire of Japan has retained its militarism, with reference to its bushido code of conduct, while the United States vacillates against the Greater Soviet Union's ascendancy. Due to the Greater Soviet Union threat, the United States and Japan have a close military and strategic alliance. Japanese militarist values are much admired in the United States. Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (collectively called the Pacific Pact) are the only major powers standing between the Greater Soviet Union and total control of the globe—yet most Americans seem unable to be roused to deal with the looming Soviet danger. Whipple wonders what the emergence of an American leader like Feric Jaggar, the hero of Lord of the Swastika, could accomplish. Finally, there is a casual mention that, while in this history Nazi Germany never came into being, it is the Soviets who have undertaken a systematic genocide of the Jews of Europe in this world's version of the Holocaust.
Not much less fart fetched than some of the ATL scenarios posted ...

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2795
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Jul 2021 23:46

KDF33 wrote:Had Germany structured its war effort along U.S. lines
The tables could easily have turned, had Germany beat the SU:

US almost certainly needs more than 97 divs (inc Marines) to check the Axis in Eurasia/Africa and insure Britain against invasion. If they double their OTL army at 60k division slices, that's ~6mil men.

Germany, meanwhile, increases foreign labor recruitment due to bigger candidate population and better collaboration calculus for residents of occupied Europe.

It's feasible for Germany to have had a bigger non-ag working population than US in that case.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4371
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 Jul 2021 00:15

Sheldrake wrote:
04 Jul 2021 23:40
In the spirit of this thread I give you the IRON DREAM (1972) by Norman Spinrad
I thought I couldn't be the only one to remember Spinrad's work.
Not much less fart fetched than some of the ATL scenarios posted ...
Fart Fetched should become the new standard descriptor for these stem-winders.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

KDF33
Member
Posts: 988
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by KDF33 » 05 Jul 2021 03:38

historygeek2021 wrote: What are your sources?
For the German civilian labor force, the USSBS.

For the German armed forces, this post by Qvist as well as this link for 1944.

For German permanent casualties, this page from ww2stats. Note that casualties are given for August 31st, whereas the other data is for June/July. Thus, my cumulatives slightly overstate German manpower, by ~100,000 for 1942 and 1943, and by over half-a-million for 1944. Yet, the big picture is barely affected.
historygeek2021 wrote: USSBS gives Germany's pre-war non-agricultural labor force as 30.25 million (male and female combined). How do you get from that to the numbers you listed?
The number of foreign workers in Germany increased from 301,000 (31.5.1939) to 7,126,000 (31.5.1944) over five years.
historygeek2021 wrote: What source are you using for the U.S. labor force?
I use the NBER.
historygeek2021 wrote: Note that, per USSBS, only 11.2 million Germans were employed in industry prior to the war.

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... 1up&seq=41
Indeed.
historygeek2021 wrote: Let me know if you have a good source for industrial employment in the United States.
The previously cited NBER document has such data.

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 433
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by historygeek2021 » 05 Jul 2021 04:25

KDF33 wrote:
05 Jul 2021 03:38

I use the NBER.
Thanks. Total U.S. workers employed in industrial occupations peaked at around 19 million during the war, while Germany's peaked at around 11 million. Germany had more than half as many industrial workers as the United States, and yet its output of war material was far less than half of U.S. output.

From American Logistics in World War II:
[T]he United States out-produced the Germans in trucks seven to one (2.4 million to 350,000). Germany often lugged its supplies around on horse drawn wagons. The United States, because it fought as much of an air war as an infantry war, out-produced the Germans five to one in bombers, 97,810 to 18,225. Moreover American bombers had much greater range, much more carrying capacity, were better armed and better armored. Even in fighter aircraft, the Germans were out-produced two to one, and in transport aircraft almost seven to one.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/BigL/BigL-1.html

The United States also vastly outproduced Germany in naval vessels, and its technology was across the board superior to the Germans. Thus, U.S. workers were orders of magnitude more productive than their German counterparts, due to superior capital and institutional experience in mass production and a vastly superior raw materials base. Even if Germany doubled the number of workers employed in industrial tasks, Germany would not have come close to matching U.S. war production. This is especially true when we factor in the law of diminishing marginal returns.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2795
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Jul 2021 04:36

historygeek2021 wrote:99% of internet arguments consist of people accusing each other of logical fallacies.
And 1% trolls, who seem to have found the thread.
historygeek2021 wrote:Let's drop it and get back to discussing history.
Gladly.
historygeek2021 wrote:Vietnam was mainly a lack of political will, combined with material aid from the Soviet Union and China. Political will in the United States was so weak that it never even invaded North Vietnam.

Thus, WW2 is distinguishable from all of these conflicts.
You're skipping over the Korean War, in which China/Korea stalemated the US.

The president who sought peace with Kim's regime is the same who would decide whether to seek peace with Hitler's in a post-SU stalemate (or if FDR loses in '44, Truman's replacement is at least as willing to make peace).
historygeek2021 wrote:there was overwhelming popular support to rid the world of the Nazis.
In the abstract, sure, but support for paying concrete costs for it?

I've just finished Jonathan Fennell's excellent Fighting the People's War. A long (>900pp) book with many themes, one being that the mere specter of Nazism was insufficient fully to motivate Commonwealth armies; other factors had to be added. A summary of this theme from the introduction:
as the war dragged on into a fourth year, the countries
of the Commonwealth attempted to remobilise their societies for the
struggle ahead. This process of remobilisation, explored in Chapter 10,
hinged on governments’ willingness to manage the war effort in
a manner consistent with the aims and political aspirations of citizen
soldiers.75 The unwillingness of Churchill and the Conservative-led
Coalition Government in the United Kingdom to countenance
implementation of the Beveridge Report, and the inability of Peter Fraser in
New Zealand and General Jan Smuts in South Africa to guarantee
equality of sacrifice, exacerbated the psychological disengagement of
soldiers from the war effort. For the British, this led to morale problems
in Italy; the South Africans failed to raise replacements for the loss of
2nd South African Division at Tobruk; and the New Zealanders, in an
‘incident of wilful disobedience unprecedented in New Zealand’s [and
perhaps Imperial] military history’, mutinied.76 Problems on the home
front, therefore, significantly undermined morale and combat
performance on the battlefront. It was only by largely replacing those
formations that had failed at Cassino (see Chapter 11) that a great victory was
achieved in Operation ‘Diadem’ leading to the liberation of Rome.
I wasn't even aware of the New Zealand mutiny. Worth reading just for that story.
KDF33 wrote:For the German civilian labor force, the USSBS.
KDF is being conservative in using a table based on the prewar territory of the Reich and therefore a significantly smaller labor force. He's previously referenced the Greater Germany stats cited in Tooze's Statistics and the German State, which show 41.1mil in the civilian labor force for Greater Germany (1939+Alsace-Lorraine, Warthegau, various smaller incorporations). I haven't seen a time series for Greater Germany labor force; USSBS is the best template despite its geographical coverage drawback (probably why KDF used it).

The Greater Germany factor overcompensates for any overstatement of casualties.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Avalancheon
Member
Posts: 300
Joined: 23 Apr 2017 06:01
Location: Canada

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Avalancheon » 05 Jul 2021 13:04

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Jul 2021 15:08
Avalancheon wrote:David Glantz made a very good observation about the course of the war on the Eastern front. His summation was like this: Moscow determined that Germany would not win the war. Stalingrad determined that Germany would lose the war. And Kursk determined how quickly they would lose.
I recall that Glantz quote too, can't remember from where. Glantz contradicts that view in explicit counterfactual analysis of Eastern Front scenarios in one chapter of If the Allies had Fallen, writing:
While there was still art in battle, in the end strength, will, instinct, and sheer power prevailed, rendering virtually all “what ifs” largely superfluous.
Glantz's writing in that book is painfully superficial. He considers numerous scenarios (Moscow September 41, Moscow 42, unsplit Blau) but, despite pointing to economic/demographic factors as dominant, nowhere notices that different Soviet territorial losses imply different Soviet economics and demographics. It's as if he never noticed that Barbarossa's territorial losses caused a ~40% decline in Soviet GDP.
I own a copy of that book as well. Glantz' section on the Eastern front seems more perfunctory than anything else. I am glad that he actually dipped his toes into the alternate history genre, but he could have done alot better. It was not very imaginative, and I think he neglected to consider alot of other potentially interesting scenarios. As you observed, what Glantz wrote in 'If the Allies Fell' seems to contrast with what he wrote in his other works. Previously, he acknowledged that German defeat in the East was not foreordained, and that there was a chance for them to eke out some kindof victory or stalemate. But in this book, Glantz seems to argue that there was no such chance in the offing for them.

His section on 'Operation Barbarossa in 1942' was okay. The POD involves Germany embarking on a Mediterranean strategy in 1941 and bringing Britain to its knees, then invading the Soviet Union in 1942. Glantz correctly notes that this would be a more challenging campaign for Germany, because they would not have the element of surprise this time around, and Russia would be better prepared for war. He remarks that the mechanized corps would have full complements of T-34 and KV-1 tanks. But just as important is that with this 1 year grace period, the Soviet forces would be better trained, and would be in a higher state of readiness (with their logistical problems fixed).
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Jul 2021 15:08
It's also odd to cite "will" as a decisive factor in the East. While the Soviet peoples deserve endless praise for enduring probably the worst war ever, only one side saw literally millions of its people help the enemy, with thousands actively taking up arms with them. Only one side saw millions of PoW (prior to final collapse), including hundreds of thousands who weren't encircled.

Glantz has done great service digging through Soviet archives for English readers - and great disservice by taking a Soviet/Putinesque line on RKKA qualitative factors.
The Soviet Union had more will to fight than probably any other WW2 combatant aside from Japan. Although of course, this was complicated by the nationalism of the Soviet republics: The Baltic states never wanted to be a part of the USSR, and immediately sided with the Germans when the war started. The Ukrainians had divided loyaltys, with many resolutely siding with the USSR, others staying on the sidelines, and some joining the Germans. The Caucasian states were mostly dependable, and the Central Asian states were questionable.

The Nazis could have undermined this national will to fight if they hadn't used such incredibly aggressive anti-partisan measures, if they hadn't confiscated food from the occupied territorys, and if they had allowed the creation of puppet governments. This would have created doubt among the Soviet people, and gone some way to undermining their resolve. The Germans were able to enlist hundreds of thousands of Hiwis as it was, how many more could they have gained with a different strategy?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Jul 2021 15:08
Avalancheon wrote:I have been developing a work of alternate history set in WW2 that involves time travel.
De gustibus non est disputandum but I prefer sticking to counterfactuals in linear time. I'd still be interested to read your work for the military analysis, will just have to translate the sci-fi stuff into my own dull terms. :)
My story actually has very little science fiction, aside from the very beginning. The setup is that there are a number of parallel realitys, each containing their own version of Earth. These are very similar to our own Earth, but are temporally displaced. One of these parallel realitys is currently fighting the Second World War. Its existence is noted by a scientific research team; they have access to a device that can open portals between worlds. But not all of the scientists are detached observers. Some of them take an unhealthy interest in these other worlds.

Unbeknownst to the others, two of the men harbour extremist beliefs, feeling that their world is effectively doomed by multiculturalism and multiracialism. They decide to become exiles and travel to that alternate Earth, making common cause with the Nazis. They bring with them a treasure trove of information that has the ability to change the outcome of the entire war.

So basically, from the moment these extremists land on WW2 Earth, they are stranded and have no way to get back to their own world. The science fiction element (of pseudo-time travel) of the story features prominently only in the first chapter. After that, its typical alternate history from then on. My story is much more plot driven than it is character driven.

Avalancheon
Member
Posts: 300
Joined: 23 Apr 2017 06:01
Location: Canada

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Avalancheon » 05 Jul 2021 14:03

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Jul 2021 12:55
Avalancheon wrote:If Germany acquired future information in early 1944, it wouldn't help them that much. They would still lose the war in all likelihood. But if they acquired future information in early 1941, then that would completely change the equation. They would almost certainly be able to leverage their knowledge enough to score a decisive victory.
On brief reflection, I see that your point is a lot deeper than I initially thought. Please excuse my reflexively dull initial take.

As I read it, you're doing a thought experiment that would, as one output, ascertain the moment when contingency disappears from the outcome-based narrative of WW2: If the Germans make a few more correct decisions in 41 they win; by 44 they lose even if they make all the correct decisions. Somewhere in between is a point where German victory requires such comprehensively correct decisionmaking that, even if victory is analytically possible, it's infeasible as a matter of general human fallibility.

Do you have a verdict on the thought experiment? I don't. I lean towards believing the feasibility window for Germany closes no later than June '41 when they invade the SU with fatuous planning and preparation but am open to arguments that the window was open into mid-'42.
This is actually a very important question, I did not fully address it before. You are essentially asking when it was no longer possible for future information to change the outcome of the war for Germany, specifically on the Eastern front. My previous response to you was not satisfactory.

Your question really gets down to the heart of matter, as it pertains to the impact that future information could have on a war. There must obviously be a point where the circumstances of the war are tilted so heavily that no level of hindsight can change its final outcome. We should make some effort into identifying where this point was.

As I see it, there are two different points in the Second World War where the ultimate outcome was decided. There is the point that exists in normal history, where the combatants act on very imperfect information. There is then a second point that exists in the realm of speculative fiction, where one of the combatants is acting on 'perfect' information. These points will obviously be temporally displaced from each other.

In normal history, Germany may have lost the opportunity to win by mid-late 1942. In the abnormal history of speculative fiction, Germany may have retained the ability to win the war for up to another year or more. The decisive point where the war has been decided is, in any event, quite different in both instances!


In future posts, I will list a number of POD dates that fall within the time of the Russo-German war: In these timelines, I will speculate on what actions Germany could have taken with the benefit of hindsight, and what impact they would have on the war. Stay tuned!

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2795
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Jul 2021 16:42

Avalancheon wrote:Glantz' section on the Eastern front seems more perfunctory than anything else.
That's a more fair description. He was just writing for a paycheck it seems.
Avalancheon wrote:You are essentially asking when it was no longer possible for future information to change the outcome of the war for Germany, specifically on the Eastern front
The "feasibility" stipulation is important. Under scifi conditions each German soldier could possess a tablet telling him the location of local patrols, each U-boat the exact location of ships. Then maybe the Germans can win into '44.

I'm most interested in explanatory contingency. World history turns, for example, on the Spanish finding gold in Colombia rather than Carolina. On Zhang He sailing west instead of east.

Likewise, world history turns on Hitler flubbing a war he should have won or at least stalemated.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

KDF33
Member
Posts: 988
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by KDF33 » 05 Jul 2021 21:01

historygeek2021 wrote:
04 Jul 2021 23:36
I found this chart online, the underlying source being Harrison. It suggests that the U.S.A. had a relatively low percentage of its population employed in war industry or serving in the armed forces, which shouldn't be too surprising. Even with a far lower mobilization percentage than other countries, the U.S.A. vastly outproduced them all.
The table seems about right for the Anglo-Americans and Germany, but is most definitely wrong for the USSR. Harrison himself shows that the Soviet workforce (including military) averaged 57.1 million persons in 1943, of which 9 million (15.8%) were employed in industry, of which the so-called 'Group I' constitutes but a part.

After Britain, the U.S. devoted the largest share of its labor force to 'Group I', namely what the USSBS defines as the 'Metal, chemical and allied industries'. A better, ranked table would look like this:

'Group I' + military share of total working population, 1943:

1. United Kingdom: 23.0 + 22.3 = 45.3
2. Germany: 14.2 + 23.4 = 37.6
3. United States: 19.0 + 16.4 = 35.4
4. Soviet Union: 15.8* + 20.8 = 36.6* (recalculated from the Harrison PDF - No data for 'Group I', so overall industry is used instead, thus inflating the overall figure)

The Soviet share of 'Group I' + military was the smallest, which makes sense given how almost half of its working population worked in agriculture. It was, after all, the least developed of the four belligerents.

The U.K. came first because it employed virtually no one in agriculture. The U.S. and Germany are within each other's margin of error, with the U.S. tilted toward industry and Germany toward the military.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 988
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by KDF33 » 05 Jul 2021 21:12

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
05 Jul 2021 04:36
I haven't seen a time series for Greater Germany labor force; USSBS is the best template despite its geographical coverage drawback (probably why KDF used it).
Yes, that is correct. If we compare the Greater Germany figures to those of the USSBS for the pre-war territory, we see that we have to correct upward the non-agricultural workforce by 1,873,000 persons.

Thus, for 1943 the Germany-to-U.S. comparison becomes:

Civilian, non-ag: 27,099,000 / 43,600,000 = 62%
Total, non-ag + casualties (-100,000 cas): 39,375,394 / 51,900,000 = 76%
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
05 Jul 2021 04:36
The Greater Germany factor overcompensates for any overstatement of casualties.
As seen above, most definitely.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2795
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Jul 2021 21:27

KDF33 wrote:
05 Jul 2021 21:01
Harrison himself shows
Just for everyone's reference, Harrison's academic homepage provides pdf links to virtually all his publications.

Most of these are postprint, meaning they've corrected errors that occasionally arise (most notably, Harrison's macroeconomic table in Economics of WW2 contains an error that overstates Soviet GDP significantly).

EDIT: Harrison announced on Twitter the passing of his long-time collaborator John Barber (e.g. Soviet Home Front in WW2).
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2795
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Jul 2021 22:00

KDF33 wrote:most definitely wrong for the USSR.
No doubt about that. Here's a table from app. G of Harrison's Accounting for War:

Image

From app. I, workforce distribution:

Image

As you can see, 7.5mil in non-artisan industry of 57.1mil total labor force - 13% in all non -artisan industry during 1943.

KDF correctly cites another Harrison paper for 9mil in industry. What gives? As Accounting explains, SU reclassified its categories in 1960 to include artisans in "industry." KDF's cited paper references the post-'60 figure. As artisans are not Group I industry, the pre-'60 definition in the above table is better for our purposes.

Final/original piece of the puzzle: HG's original cite is, via US Army history, also to Harrison in "Resource Mobilization."

I cannot explain Resource Mobilization's table other than it's another error that got through the printers and hasn't since been corrected. Accounting is way more specific, as you can probably tell from the above tables. It's Harrison's most detailed analysis of the Soviet wartime economy by far.

It's regrettable that such a blatant error has made its way through the literature. I might have to tweet a suggestion to Harrison to correct it.
KDF33 wrote:4. Soviet Union: 15.8* + 20.8 = 36.6* (recalculated from the Harrison PDF - No data for 'Group I', so overall industry is used instead, thus inflating the overall figure)

The Soviet share of 'Group I' + military was the smallest
Now we're down to 33.9% if all non-artisan industry was Group I (it wasn't).

If we define Soviet Group I as non-artisan industry minus "light industry" from the first table, then we get 4.8mil in Group I or 8.4%.

Now SU direct war mobilization is only 29.2% I agree such outcome makes sense, given SU was still a majority-peasant society.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2795
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Jul 2021 23:26

paulrward wrote:there have been many cases where a smaller, more
competent nation with a lesser GDP has succeeded in defeating a larger, wealthier nation.
In September '39, Germany faced a coalition with ~80% higher GDP. After Poland's defeat, Allies still had 60% advantage.

After June '40, Germany and its occupied territories had a bigger GDP than the commonwealth.

Economic reductionism predicts German defeat prior to June '40, then German victory over Britain.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:Other folks, on the other hand, might reasonably agree with that other well-known Allied leader who wrote to the Australian Prime Minister on 12 December 1941 that the accession of the United States as a ‘full war partner makes amends for all and makes the end certain’.
Churchill's concept for Anglo-American victory was in line with the US "Victory Program of 1941": Allies would bomb Germany then, to avoid full-scale WW1-style battle, conduct expeditionary landings with smaller mechanized forces.

The plan was unworkable - risible actually. It tacitly assumed that, even were it possible to limit land warfare to small mechanized forces, expertise in such warfare would suddenly desert the Germans and inhabit the Allies.

By '42 American generals and FDR realized that pipe-dreams about mechanization and air power couldn't obviate the need for somebody to engage and destroy the bulk of the German army. Thank god for communism.

That's why my signature quote arose. It reflects the fact that the Allies never even planned to engage the bulk of the German army and, had victory required doing so (i.e. had the SU fallen), victory would have been impossible (pre-A-bomb).

Churchill never missed an opportunity to avoid fighting the German army directly. Even in '44 he was trying to postpone Overlord.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Return to “What if”