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  • Britain remains neutral in WW 1

    What if Britain didn't have a treaty with Belgium for mutual defense in 1914? This would mean that Britain doesn't have to go to war with Germany when Belgium is invaded in the German drive on France. Let's assume here that Britain stays neutral. The BEF doesn't land in France.

    Now, we can make various assumptions as to the success or failure of the Schiefflien plan. I would think that due to logistic problems with the rail system that Germany fails to take France and the French and Germans still have a stalemate neither can break in the immediate aftermath.

    In the East Germany would still invade Poland and Russia.

    How would Great Britain have played such events? Would the British get involved eventually in the war or just stay on the side lines? Would they provide arms to some of the combatants (likely)?

    This scenario is worth exploring particularly for its post war events as it would have radically changed the post war map of Europe and the Middle East.

  • #2
    Some people (almost certainly Purist), will argue Britain's best interest is in joining the war sooner or later. I don't buy it because I doubt the political will of Wilhelmine Germany to turn France into a puppet state, because if it could have it's best opportunity was 1871. Britain would probably sell weapons to France, and if the Ottomans stay neutral (as they have nothing to gain from declaring war on France and Russia), they will certainly sell the Russians badly needed arms to the Czar's forces.

    That said, without the BEF, the battle of the Marne could go differently and it's possible for an early war knockout, and that would make a early peace with Germany and Russia possible. Assuming the French hold at the Marne, it is still in big trouble because without the British to cut off German telegraph wires, Germany can present it's case to the world and defend itself against Allied propaganda. More importantly, Germany can import all the food it needs It took all the Allies to beat Germany into submission over the course of the war, and with only France and Belgium there, I do not think the Americans are coming, nor do I think the U-boat war would have been pursued at all. France will lose early 1917 at the latest. Can't say if the post war would be any better though.
    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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    • #3
      For Britain to remain neutral we'd have to assume some kind of deal had been done with the Germans over Belgium and the French Channel coast because it would be against Britain's interests to have Germany in control of Dunkirk, Calais, Antwerp and Zeebrugge.

      I think such a war might be over quite quickly. The Germans would probably be more aggressive even if their initial offensive failed as it did historically. They would probably win on both fronts, by 1916 at the latest, but imho this would be the start of their problems, not the end. The age of dynastic empires was coming to an end with large-scale unrest becoming common, some of it being radical socialist in nature, some of it nationalist. Europe and the Middle-East would be very unstable for many years, if not decades.
      Signing out.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
        For Britain to remain neutral we'd have to assume some kind of deal had been done with the Germans over Belgium and the French Channel coast because it would be against Britain's interests to have Germany in control of Dunkirk, Calais, Antwerp and Zeebrugge.

        I think such a war might be over quite quickly. The Germans would probably be more aggressive even if their initial offensive failed as it did historically. They would probably win on both fronts, by 1916 at the latest, but imho this would be the start of their problems, not the end.
        No argument there.

        The age of dynastic empires was coming to an end with large-scale unrest becoming common, some of it being radical socialist in nature, some of it nationalist. Europe and the Middle-East would be very unstable for many years, if not decades.
        Interesting to speculate here. Assuming no land grab, the German Empire would have remained pretty homogeneous and thus would have avoided many of the nationalism problems that plagued the AH Empire. Incorporating territories in the east into a Greater Germany would exacerbate the problem for WilliamII, but I'm not sure that would lead to anything more than the eventual independence of those territories in the form of a Commonwealth or something like that. Possibly even a version of the EU comes to pass, as Ferguson intimates.

        Further, assuming Britain has stayed out, presumably food stuffs and other imports would have continued to flow into Germany, as the French wouldn't have been in a position to interdict. In that situation, the population might not have been riled up against the monarchy, particularly if we were to assume a victory by 1916. This would also diminish threats to the German monarchy.

        If we assume a 1916 end-date, I think we can further assume Hindenburg and Ludendorff don't ascend to command of the army. If thats the case, the virtual military dictatorship doesn't occur (That Falkenhayn kept his job as long as he did is surprising given all the efforts in the army to force him out). In such a case, Germany might have resumed its pre-1914 political form, which was pretty democratic anyway.

        As for Russia, the Czar probably abdicates in favor of his son and a regent would be appointed for the purposes of effecting constitutional reform.

        And Britain finds itself richer than before the war based on arms sales and food sales. It also finds it necessary to reevaluate its security policy given the fact Germany is now, if not the master of the continent, then certainly a continental superpower. In that situation, Britain looks to increase ties with the US (who has also sat on the sidelines making money off the war).

        Ok, done guessing now.

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        • #5
          I'm not really sure that GB could have stayed out but assuming they did then Turkey (or Ottomans if you prefer) had no real cause to join as the major factor was the withholding of two battleships by Britain and the German rush to replace them.

          So assuming that the Turkish Empire stayed out of the war then the middle east would be a vastly different place these days. For better or for worse who can say but it would be different.
          Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

          That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

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          • #6
            Britain stay out of ww1? If only.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
              Interesting to speculate here. Assuming no land grab, the German Empire would have remained pretty homogeneous and thus would have avoided many of the nationalism problems that plagued the AH Empire. Incorporating territories in the east into a Greater Germany would exacerbate the problem for WilliamII, but I'm not sure that would lead to anything more than the eventual independence of those territories in the form of a Commonwealth or something like that. Possibly even a version of the EU comes to pass, as Ferguson intimates.
              The problems for Germany would be outside its borders as the old empires collapse. Versailles attempted to create new states as best they could be and whilst imperfect it did have some legitimacy since all were protected under the infant League of Nations. In this scenario it would be Germany, with maybe a little assistance from Italy, who would be the power who would have to arbitrate. Not good for Germany, just like it's not good for the USA at the moment.
              Signing out.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                Britain stay out of ww1? If only.
                Signing out.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                  The problems for Germany would be outside its borders as the old empires collapse. Versailles attempted to create new states as best they could be and whilst imperfect it did have some legitimacy since all were protected under the infant League of Nations. In this scenario it would be Germany, with maybe a little assistance from Italy, who would be the power who would have to arbitrate. Not good for Germany, just like it's not good for the USA at the moment.
                  Very good point. Perhaps that could have been alleviated somewhat by the creation of a European Union of some sort, but I doubt Wilhemine Germany had the diplomatic prescience or skill to do that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                    Very good point. Perhaps that could have been alleviated somewhat by the creation of a European Union of some sort, but I doubt Wilhemine Germany had the diplomatic prescience or skill to do that.
                    Pan German movements of this period had a concept called "MittelEuropa" which was basically an economic/ political block led by Germany (got their way didnt they lol) so what your saying doesnt lack some factual elements.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                      Pan German movements of this period had a concept called "MittelEuropa" which was basically an economic/ political block led by Germany (got their way didnt they lol) so what your saying doesnt lack some factual elements.
                      I try.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                        Very good point. Perhaps that could have been alleviated somewhat by the creation of a European Union of some sort, but I doubt Wilhemine Germany had the diplomatic prescience or skill to do that.
                        A 'European Union' would have to come by consent even if it did become German dominated. Imperial Germany wasn't geared up for such a concept.

                        Let's consider a Polish state in this alternative World. The 18th Century saw it being gradually carved up between Prussia, Russia and Austria. If Russia collapses into revolution and anarchy then some of the formerly Polish territory could be moulded into a new state. But what of the vast swathes of territory now part of Germany and Austria? The Poles there would surely rather live under their own rule rather than part of the old empires. How would Imperial Germany deal with the unrest? If its ally starts to collapse would it prop it up and risk antagonising the Poles within its own border or see its ally go down with the risk of Bolshevist (or some other radical political philosophy) taking hold in whatever successor states emerged?
                        Signing out.

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                        • #13
                          This is speculative of curse but we wouldnt have lost our money,so much of our markets our resources and some of our finest people.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                            A 'European Union' would have to come by consent even if it did become German dominated. Imperial Germany wasn't geared up for such a concept.

                            Let's consider a Polish state in this alternative World. The 18th Century saw it being gradually carved up between Prussia, Russia and Austria. If Russia collapses into revolution and anarchy then some of the formerly Polish territory could be moulded into a new state. But what of the vast swathes of territory now part of Germany and Austria? The Poles there would surely rather live under their own rule rather than part of the old empires. How would Imperial Germany deal with the unrest? If its ally starts to collapse would it prop it up and risk antagonising the Poles within its own border or see its ally go down with the risk of Bolshevist (or some other radical political philosophy) taking hold in whatever successor states emerged?
                            This I think is a simple matter, assuming Austria Hungary doesn't disintegrate in the midst of the war, as happened historically. Basically the Poland that is created is Congress Poland, all Russia's Poland and none of the German Empires. The Germans would never give up what became the corridor, and Austria couldn't afford to let anything go. If Congress Poland tries anything, Germany will clamp down, hard. If worse come to worse, they could always do what we let the Russians do after World War II: draw a line in the dirt and ethnically cleanse until everyone of group A is on side A and so forth. Forced population exchange always works, without a living ethnic community on the other side of the border, old claims are DOA. It worked for Greece and Turkey and then later Poland and Germany.

                            Perhaps the better question is, do the Germans save Austria Hungary or let is fall to annex Austria and puppet the new countries and achieve a more direct Mitteleuropa?
                            How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                            275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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                            • #15
                              Trouble is, as I've pointed out to you before, the ethnic mix is a very complex one, especially in the Balkans. I also don't believe that the Poles are simply going to take whatever crumbs the Germans offer them unless some of the old Lithuanian Empire was thrown into the mix. As for Austria, and any other German areas, I think Germany will try to maintain the status quo for as long as feasible. The problem will be if 'feasible' and 'reasonable' don't match. Imperial Germany will get the lasting resentment of non-Germans from Slovakia to Istanbul.
                              Signing out.

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