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1929 - if we knew then what we know now

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  • 1929 - if we knew then what we know now

    I've been lurking for a while; thought I'd ask a question.

    I'm writing something up in the way of a counterfactual involving a war between the US and the European imperial powers plus Japan in 1929, the objective on the US side being to win over the Third World, and raise an army from it, so that we would have a powerful enough military to fight both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 (which, if we were going to stop the Holocaust, we would have to do).

    Part of it involves attempting to prop up the Weimar Republic long enough to get as many Jews out of the way as possible, via neutral Poland to the United States (and, thereby, depriving Europe of the Jewish scientists who could and historically did figure out how to make an atomic bomb). That would, however, make it appear to Britain and France that there was a German-American alliance in the works, similar to what happened with France in the American Revolution. At the same time, since we would have revealed the Holocaust as a "future" event, the Nazis (who at that time had a political alliance with the KPD-Comintern against the Social Democrats) would realize that our allegations are true and that they would have to act quickly before the German people figured out what was going on. So they would presumably choose this time for a joint NSDAP-KPD putsch, with Soviet help delivered through fascist Italy. We would attempt to reinforce the German government, and presumably our first task force, with supplies and equipment and sent in April 1929 or so, would be interpreted as an attempt to land American troops in Germany in order to bring the war to France (instead of our real strategy, which would be to invade Europe *last*, in 1936 or so, once we've liberated the Third World), and I assume it would be defeated and sunk by an overwhelming Royal Navy force in the North Sea. By Septemberish 1929, however, they would have lost Canada, the Dutch East Indies, most of Thailand, Burma, Singapore, and New Guinea, and would probably be expecting an attempted invasion of Europe. The French government would therefore decide to invade Germany, attempting to defeat the Reichswehr before the US Army could arrive, and would have no alternative but to work with the NSDAP-KPD revolutionaries. Clearly, the small peacetime German army would be overwhelmed.

    In this counterfactual, we would tell the Reichswehr and Weimar government to retreat to Bremerhaven, away from the French Army and nazis in the south and the communists in the east, and await evacuation by the US Navy. Our attempt would no doubt result in a large naval battle with the Royal Navy in the Atlantic. My question is - what would the Royal Navy do? I don't know enough about interwar naval tactics or the Royal Navy's equipment or strength to know what they would be able to do. Certainly, a significant amount of their equipment would have been lost at Singapore in February 1929; it would have been their Pearl Harbor. More of it would have been lost in an attempt to relieve Canada in March, which our 100-some submarines could certainly stop. Any ships which happened to be in northern Australian ports after April or so would certainly also have been bombed from our air bases in what is now Indonesia. But - the vast majority of Latin America was hostile to the United States in 1929 and would allow European ships to refuel in their ports; indeed, part of the Canadian strategy was to try to bring them onboard in case of a war (but, since the Canadian defense plan called for an immediate attack at the outbreak of war, with the objective of capturing border cities and destroying anything of use, then retreating, and since we would know where their attacks would occur, we could ambush them, destroy the attacking Canadian force and then go behind them into Canada, and the Latin American countries' European advisers would interpret this as an example of why you stay in your trenches instead of attacking, so long story short, there would be a trench system in northern Mexico but not much more). Also, while we would have the blueprints for various advanced technology due to whatever time-travel event would make this scenario possible, we would still need process equipment to manufacture it and that takes time. So - no nuclear aircraft carriers, no stealth bombers, no F-16s. We would have to fight with what we had in 1929, but modern tactics. We might have a few Ho-229s, perhaps the first prototype B-29s, and modernish fire control with analog computers and crude radar made with off-the-shelf parts, but without using those B-29s as tankers, I don't know how we could project air support from North America that far out into the Atlantic without taking the Faroe Islands, and we would already be overextended. The fleet itself, to pick up 100,000 guys in one go, would obviously have to be very large, perhaps impractically so (15-20 ocean liners, if you crammed them in like sardines?).

    I just wonder how this "Midway in the Atlantic in 1929" would be fought.
    Last edited by Ted Anderson; 29 Jan 10, 10:07. Reason: edit - awkward sentence

  • #2
    to fight both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 (which, if we were going to stop the Holocaust, we would have to do)


    the Nazis (who at that time had a political alliance with the KPD-Comintern against the Social Democrats)


    So they would presumably choose this time for a joint NSDAP-KPD putsch, with Soviet help delivered through fascist Italy
    www.histours.ru

    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ShAA View Post
      Perhaps I should have said "prevent," not "stop." In the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact days, if you attack one, in practice you attack the other, no? The Soviet Union obviously never declared war on France or Britain, but it came pretty close with the intervention in Finland, and if the country attacking Nazi Germany was also obviously an enemy of the USSR, what benefit would Stalin see to allowing Nazi Germany to fall?

      Originally posted by ShAA View Post
      Well, they did...that was before the popular front days.

      Originally posted by ShAA View Post
      Obviously, the Soviets would say that it was only going to the KPD, whom they would have ordered to cooperate with the Nazis. Italy would simply be the only way to deliver the supplies; going through the North Sea would (a) expose the ships to the US Navy and (b) not reach their people because the Reichswehr would hold those ports, at least initially. The Polish government certainly wouldn't let those supplies through over their rail network.

      And if it wasn't clear, I'm not talking about the Red Army intervening on the ground. I'm talking about Soviet weapons and ammunition being shipped to the putschists. That is definitely *not* nuts - they did, after all, invade Poland together, and the USSR would not have lost an opportunity to replace an ally of the United States with their guys while we weren't looking, particularly if we had said explicitly that the purpose of our mobilization was to defeat both. Certainly, the NSDAP and KPD wouldn't have cooperated once they had overthrown the government; the result would have been a civil war that the NSDAP would have won, like the one in 1919. Wouldn't the Soviets simply react to the news of the Holocaust like they did when the US and British intelligence services both told him that Hitler would attack, by saying that the "imperialists" were trying to split the great wonderful socialist alliance? There would be a serious chance, they would think, that the pictures and films were American propaganda.
      Last edited by Ted Anderson; 29 Jan 10, 11:31. Reason: coding mistake

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ted Anderson View Post
        Perhaps I should have said "prevent," not "stop." In the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact days, if you attack one, in practice you attack the other, no?
        No way. Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany when the pact was in force and all they got was a few articles in Pravda about their "unconstructive behaviour".

        Well, they did...that was before the popular front days.
        Please show me any sources for this outrageous claim. Stalin forbade the communists to form a bloc with the socialists as he considered them a threat of the same kind as the Nazis, but how does it amount to an "alliance"? Thalmann said they were only letting the Nazis take these seats in the parliament to come there immediately after - well, they did miscalculate their strategy quite a bit.

        Obviously, the Soviets would say that it was only going to the KPD, whom they would have ordered to cooperate with the Nazis. Italy would simply be the only way to deliver the supplies; going through the North Sea would (a) expose the ships to the US Navy and (b) not reach their people because the Reichswehr would hold those ports, at least initially. The Polish government certainly wouldn't let those supplies through over their rail network.
        This idea is highly improbable anyway - had even Stalin decided to twist the party line so hard the other side wouldn't have agreed to it. Sorry, this theory doesn't hold water. What can be done by states playing realpolitik can't be done by parties in one countries who are literally at each other's throats.
        www.histours.ru

        Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ShAA View Post
          No way. Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany when the pact was in force and all they got was a few articles in Pravda about their "unconstructive behaviour".
          That's because the Saar Offensive was not a threat to the USSR. If the US Army had been totally mobilized and invaded Germany in 1939 after ten years of anti-communist (or, more precisely, anti-socialist) rhetoric from the American government, accompanied by speculation that we would reach the Soviet border and keep going, Stalin would not let it happen. If you're planning that operation, you can't bet on the Red Army doing nothing. If the USSR does get involved in that situation, we would be thrown back into the Atlantic and, in the Middle East (assuming we had occupied the part of it that was under European control, as we would have in this scenario), we probably wouldn't have stopped running until we were in the Congo. It would have been a total rout.

          If we had attempted to defend Poland (which is where the Holocaust really started, and shortly after the invasion), first of all, we might not have been able to do it, but if we had tried, that definitely would have involved the Red Army.

          Originally posted by ShAA View Post
          Please show me any sources for this outrageous claim. Stalin forbade the communists to form a bloc with the socialists as he considered them a threat of the same kind as the Nazis, but how does it amount to an "alliance"? Thalmann said they were only letting the Nazis take these seats in the parliament to come there immediately after - well, they did miscalculate their strategy quite a bit.
          That miscalculation is precisely my point. Opposing the SD instead of the Nazis would have led them to take the NSDAP's side in a putsch against the SD government. Stalin was an expert at killing his friends, and would have thought that they could get the SD out of the way, step into the power vacuum, and win the resulting civil war with the NSDAP - pretty much the same thing he did in Russia. That is precisely the miscalculation you referred to, applied to a putsch situation.

          Originally posted by ShAA View Post
          This idea is highly improbable anyway - had even Stalin decided to twist the party line so hard the other side wouldn't have agreed to it. Sorry, this theory doesn't hold water. What can be done by states playing realpolitik can't be done by parties in one countries who are literally at each other's throats.
          Didn't stop them from invading Poland, did it? The KPD was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Soviet government, and could be told what to do. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the two parties would cooperate once in power. They wouldn't, and there would be a civil war.

          But this is all a small part of the overall point; the putschists could be 100% NSDAP for all it matters to the overall point. If the Reichswehr were defeated and forced to retreat to the northwest coast of Germany, how could the US Navy fight its way in, grab 100,000 guys, and fight its way back out, against the Royal Navy? Would it be totally impossible, and result in a massive defeat and the Germans being forced to surrender?

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          • #6
            Ted...if you still monitoring this, take a look at the 'Marsh Plan' & subsequent proposals 1919-1922 for providing a large viable land army for the US post WWII. Peyton Marsh was the Cheif of Staff of the US Army during and brieflly after WWI. He pushed a proposal to sustain a large active service army of 500,000+ men and a organized reserve of over 1,000,000 armed men. Congress refused to fund this, and declined to fund the reduced versions of this concept.

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