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Friday, 22 May 2015

[Redux] What if: The Axis won World War Two? (Part 1)

This week is the first anniversary of History and Geek Stuff and I thought it would be good to remake one of my older alternate history scenarios. An Axis victory during the Second World War is one of the most popular alternate history scenarios with books such as The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick being written about it and the video game Wolfenstein: The New Order being centered around freedom fighters in a world dominated by the Nazis. With it being such an interesting subject I've decided to give this scenario and other go so let's start!

The Blitzkrieg and Dunkirk
By the 27th May 1940 Hitler's Blitzkrieg tactics had caused the armies of Poland, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to collapse and was on the verge of destroying the French. Thanks to a halt in the German advancement the Allies managed to evacuate 192,000 soldiers from Dunkirk and to the safety of Britain. In this scenario Hitler does issue the Halt Order as asked by Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt and the Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Goring. With great effort and heavy casualties from the Royal Air Force (RAF) the 2nd Panzer Division attacks Dunkirk before the Allies manage to dig themselves in and the almost evacuated soldiers are forced to fight. Churchill gets the Commander of the RAF Hugh Dowding to send more planes to help defend Allies troops in Dunkirk from Panzer attacks and bombing from the Luftwaffe. However the RAF would lose many more planes than it did and the 192,000 soldiers evacuated during our Dunkirk would either be killed or captured by the Nazis. In our timeline following the Dunkirk evacuation there was something called the 'Dunkirk Spirit' where the British people became determined to resist Hitler but in this timeline with so many people's relatives being killed at Dunkirk the public would be demoralized. Churchill's speech in the House of Commons following Dunkirk would be more somber compared to the notes of hope in his 'Blood, toil, tears and sweat' speech that happened in our timeline. The Battle of Britain would follow as in our timeline where Hitler would use the Luftwaffe to establish air superiority over Britain (just as Italy entered the war invading France). With many planes and pilots being shot down at Dunkirk the Luftwaffe would have an immediate advantage although Britain's radar system and cycling of pilots (pilots would be given periodic time to rest in the RAF whereas the Luftwaffe didn't let their pilots have this opportunity) would mean that it would be an intense battle with the Luftwaffe losing hundreds upon hundreds of planes. However the loss of those few planes at Dunkirk would prove to be devastating and the final Spitfire would be shot down in the October of 1940. Germany had won the Battle of Britain.

Sea Lion and another change
The German navy would begin preparations for an invasion of Britain in Operation Sea Lion. This was Hitler's actual plan to invade Britain in our timeline that ended with the defeat of the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. In the December of 1940 Sea Lion comes into effect with hundreds of amphibious vehicles guarded by Nazi U-Boats and the Luftwaffe sets off from Belgium and Normandy to invade Britain. There we would see the greatest naval battle in history with U-Boats and British battleships and submarines turning the English Channel into a boiling mess of torpedoes. Many U-Boats and amphibious vehicles would be sank but following the sinking of HMS Thames among others the British would fail to stop the Nazis. In Devon and Cornwall Panzer divisions would land and start heading towards London and other cities of major importance. By the end of the month London would have fallen and by January the British forces in the British Isles would surrender. Italy would start bombing Malta as well as invading Egypt from Libya and inspired by the Nazis and Mussolini the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco would invade Oran and Gibraltar. Although resolute fighters would continue to resist the invaders in Gibraltar, Malta and Egypt. In the USA Roosevelt would be unable to pass the Lend-Lease Act. This was an act which allowed the President to lend supplies to any nation that was deemed necessary to ensure the safety of the US. A major reason for this was the admiration the US public felt for the British following Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and Hitler's bombing campaign (called the Blitz) so without the British winning these battles there would be no support for Lend-Lease. A second point of divergence would then happen here as Roosevelt succumbs to polio and his vice-President Henry Wallace would become President. Wallace too would try to pass the act to aid the Chinese in the hope that it would counter the Japanese in Asia who had been steadily increasing their empire at the expense of the Chinese since 1931 (in 1937 Japan even invaded China it what has been called the Rape of Nanking and had led many people to believe that 1937 is the true state date for World War Two). Pressure from isolationists would mean that Wallace would have to abandon this and with an agreement with Japan halt the embargo on Japan with the promise that the Japanese would leave US interests alone. This will drastically change the war.

Occupied Britain and the collapsing empire
During the invasion of Britain the royal family would flee to Ireland and then to Canada. Hitler would most likely visit London as he did Paris (especially as Hitler can be considered a major Anglophile) where he would visit the sites such as Parliament, the British Museum and Buckingham Palace (offering criticisms of the architecture as he did when he visited Paris). Members of the coalition government including Winston Churchill himself, deputy Prime Minister and leader of the socialist Labour party Clement Attlee, Churchill's protege Anthony Eden and the person who could have been Prime Minister instead of Churchill Lord Beaverbrook would all have been arrested and sent to camps where they would be murdered by the SS. Quite likely some leaders of the armed forces such as Hugh Dowding would join them. Leader of the British Union of Fascists Oswald Mosley would be made Prime Minister and he would gladly sign a peace treaty with Hitler. The abdicated King, Edward VIII, who had sympathies with the Nazis would be returned from the Bahamas and made King again with his spouse Wallis Simpson as Queen. The Nazis would arrest the Polish cryptographers who had helped in our timeline to crack the Enigma Code as well as the English cryptographers although it is likely that they would summarily execute Alan Turing after finding out that he was homosexual. A purge of Britain would then begin. The Labour party would be banned and its leaders arrested, left-wing papers banned, prominent Jews and left-wingers arrested including author of The War of the Worlds H.G.Wells, suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst and novelist Virginia Woolf. Freemasons halls and synagogues would be ransacked, libraries ransacked for book burnings (including the works of Oscar Wilde and Leo Tolstoy being thrown on the fires) and resistance leaders arrested (including Free French leader Charles de Gaulle). The occupation would only see these levels of violence though as not to insight revolution in the occupied British. Many Jews who had fled Europe were already held in camps by the British (including the father of the until recently leader of Labour Ed Milliband) so they would not fair too well. Slowly Jews, anti-fascists and others deemed to be 'unteremensch' (sub-human) would be rounded up in secret by the Gestapo. Ireland would be seen as a safe haven for left-wingers, Jews and other enemies of the Nazis especially as Hitler gives Ireland the north as a sign of good faith. This does not mean though of an Irish-German alliance as explained later. In Asia Japan would invade and steamroll Hong Kong, Indochina, Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as in our timeline but there would be no Pearl Harbor bringing the US into the war. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in retaliation for the US oil and goods embargo which had crippled the Japanese war effort so with the accords with Wallace there would be no Pearl Harbor and no US entry into the war (the US greatly aided in the defeat of Japan). Through overextension  of forces (even without the invasion of US owned Philippines) and strained resources fighting Australia and New Zealand the expansion would halt here. In Africa and the Middle East the Nazis would join Mussolini in defeating the Allies in Egypt securing the Suez Canal allowing Axis domination of the Allied mandates in the Middle East and Reza Shah of Iran could safely declare his allegiance to the Axis without being ousted by the Allies. In Northern Africa Italy would dominate (ceding Oran to Spain though) by controlling the former British and French colonies while Hitler reclaims Cameroon. In West Africa the British are defeated in Kenya and Hitler reclaims Tanzania although advance stops as a new nation is invaded.

In 1941 Hitler launched the largest invasion in history when he invaded the USSR pitting himself against Stalin. A year later in this scenario (during March) autocrat and autocrat would go up against each other once more with devastating results for Stalin. This would be widely applauded by the German public enticed by the victory over those who crippled them after World War One and after years of propaganda from Joseph Goebbels would be eager to see the end of the USSR and communism. Like in our timeline his purges of many leading generals would leave the Red Army disorientated allowing Goring to steamroll the Soviets. Again like in our timeline the Nazis would indiscriminately kill Russians just because they could as village after village, town after town and city after city is ruthlessly destroyed by the Nazis. Quickly Kiev, Minsk and Sevastopol falls. However without using troops to fight the British (now consisting of fragmented freedom fighters) the Nazis make more gains and with an alliance with Iran they can invade the Caucasus immediately seizing the vital oil fields. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary would assist in Barbarossa with Italy invading Yugoslavia to build a Baltic empire. However to succeed this time Hitler would have to listen to his generals more (something he didn't do in our timeline as he viewed himself as history's greatest military leader). This would include not instantly going for Stalingrad (modern day Volgograd) and actually occupying Leningrad (modern St Petersburg) instead of starving the citizens to death which gave time for backup. Invading earlier in the year would assure the Wehrmacht wouldn't have to face harsh Russian winter which proved to be Hitler's undoing in our timeline which greatly aids the war effort. Without the Mediterranean Campaign led by the British which forced Hitler to send troops to Italy and the Balkans Hitler could devote more troops to the Russian front. By the summer of 1942 Leningrad would have fallen under the boot of the Nazis as they quickly encircle Moscow in a pincer tactic. Stalin would as in our timeline order harsh treatment for deserters having most of the Red Army shot as they flee from the advancing German army. Japan would also invade the crippled USSR (something they were reluctant to do in our timeline because of the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact) disregarding their pact to secure their power over Mongolia (invaded in late 1941) as well as too seize Sakhalin and areas in the far east. In the September of 1942 the Nazis start taking Moscow street by street from fierce opposition from the Red Army. As Panzer tanks approach the Kremlin Stalin would kill himself to escape Hitler's fury. Although with major cities crushed the war would continue well into the summer of 1946. This would be due to the difficulties the Axis would face fighting the Soviet forces performing guerrilla tactics east of the Ural mountains.

The war elsewhere
A large naval war would happen between the Nazis and Canada in the Atlantic although the strength of the Canadians and the amount of energy taken to actually take the war to the Americas would mean that there would be no invasion of Canada and colonies in the Caribbean. Ireland however would provide assistance to the Canadians by secretly shipping arms to Canada as well as refugees fleeing from Britain. As the Nazis invade Iceland following the defeat of Britain Canada would take Greenland to ensure no Axis invasion of that island. In the Pacific there would be a major war between the Australians and the New Zealanders against the Japanese with in 1944 Australia succeeding in invading and reclaiming the lower half of Papua New Guinea but the strength of Japan using anti-imperialist troops from occupied areas would halt the advance. Japan would in turn have to fight a guerrilla war against anti-imperialist forces as they would see them as being just as bad as the Europeans; particularly groups like Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh offering continuous assassinations of generals and sabotages of Japanese vehicles while they were in Vietnam. In Africa the Axis powers would be halted by South Africa and troops from colonies such as Rhodesia and the southern Congo seeing the racism of the Nazis as being worse than the discrimination of their current masters. The Axis advance would stop at the Congo river, especially following the invasion of Russia. In South Africa though the start of Apartheid would be halted as everyone banded together to repel the Axis although they would be unable to stop a Nazi invasion of Madagascar due to the Axis control over the Suez Canal. In 1944 when the Nazis push past the Urals they would send troops to take India (the Japanese leaving India for the Nazis as they had agreed in a treaty). Initially some groups would treat them as liberators until they arrest one person: Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi would offer passive resistance against the invaders as he did the British seeing those who welcomed the Nazis as letting in the wolf when they had got rid of the tiger. To stop him the Nazis would arrest him where he would die at the hands of the SS. However this would create a catalyst uniting a region divided by caste, religion and ethnicity against the Nazis. Despite the famine that had struck Bengal leaving 4 million dead the people of India would force the Germans from India declaring a united independent India based on Gandhi's ideals when the war finally ends. In 1943 though Hitler would send troops to aid Mussolini as the Greeks turn out to be a bigger challenge than had been anticipated. The Greeks would force the Italians into Albania but would be pushed back by Panzer divisions taken from an occupied Caucasus. It would be a tough fight claiming the lives of thousands of Greek soldiers and civilians with just as many German troops but eventually Greece would be subdued. 

The Final Solution
Like in our timeline the Holocaust would happen but it would be even more deadly. With areas conquered by Hitler that was never conquered in our timeline millions more would be sent to the camps. Alongside the original victims would be others taken from Britain and even more resistance fighters would be added to the camps not to mention Russians from an almost completely conquered Russia. 11 million people died in the Holocaust but in this version it could be as high as 20 million with even more dying as they are sent to the frozen lands of Siberia to die in villages away from the new German Reich. How many would lose their lives to this even more deadly Holocaust it is hard to imagine.

The end
In 1946 the last troops of the Red Army would surrender. Following this Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa would sign a peace treaty ending the war. However in 1943 Wallace agrees to start the Manhattan Project after seeing the work of the Axis conquering half the world. When he wins the 1944 election by continuing with Roosevelt's New Deal reforms (even managing to improve civil rights by desegregating the government) the quest for a nuclear bomb continues. In 1947 the United Indian Republic is declared after throwing the last Wehrmacht forces from their borders. 1949 then sees the detonation of the first nuclear bomb forcing the Nazis to hurry to make their own. As Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito are declared heroes for creating the Greater German Reich, New Roman Empire and Japanese Empire the stage is set for an alternate Cold War...

On the 5th June I will do the second part featuring an alternate Cold War in this Axis ruled world. Next week will be the first part though of a new story idea based off of Jurassic World... I hope I see you then!

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