The premise is thus;

A neo-nazi time traveler with a ton of money to throw around who's also done a ton of research into the manufacturing, mechanisms, and uses of nukes, brings a few construction crews back in time to 1920s Germany and begins building 10 modern-level ICBM manufacturing and launch facilities in discrete corners of Germany where they won't be noticed, at least not at first. By the time all these facilities are finished, it's August 1934 and Hitler is about to merge Germany's chancellorship with its presidency and become the Führer of Germany. Don't ask how these facilities managed to go undetected for all that time, at least for now; they just have.

Once Hitler becomes Fuhrer and establishes himself (but before WWII breaks out), this neo-nazi time traveler informs him, via anomalous letter, of the facilities he's constructed, including the 20 or so armed-and-ready-to-use nuclear warheads and matching ICBMs contained in each and what they can do. When the Germans inevitably check out the facilities, they quickly discover that this is no prank. There are, in fact, 20 nuclear warheads in each of these 10 facilities, along with guided missiles that can carry those nukes to pretty much any corner of the globe. In addition, each facility has a book in it containing detailed instructions on how to arm these nuclear ICBMs, launch them, and send them where the users want them to go, in addition to instructions on how to use the facilities to manufacture more nukes if they ever run out, and several other books containing detailed breakdowns of every piece of 21st-century technology in the facilities, meant to help speed along reverse-engineering.

As a result, when Germany does kick off WWII, it enters it with 21st-century-level Nukes and ICBMs at its disposal. Purely for the sake of making this question somewhat answerable, I'm going to assume that Hitler does the smart thing and lets his generals decide how to use these assets and that the generals don't let this power get to their heads and develop an action plan in which the Nukes will be used to bring all powers unaffiliated with the Reich to their knees as quickly and efficiently as possible.

My question is; What exactly does this plan of action entail? Or, in other words, What would be the quickest, most efficient way for Nazi Germany to use its 21st-century-era arsenal of nuclear weapons to bring about the Axis's complete and ultimate victory in WWII? Note that I'm asking for the absolute BEST way to use these nukes to conquer the world, not the

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It seems like you're asking about the decisions of a character or organization within an already built world. The plans of characters are not worldbuilding. They are elements of events transpiring within a world. You can write this story however you wish. We will not write your story for you. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 30, 2022 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ There is no such thing as a "discrete" [sic] corner of Germany" where a rocket manufacturing plant wouldn't be noticed. Especially if we take into account the massive auxiliary industries which need to be developed. Germany is (and was) a densely populated country. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 30, 2022 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ Random rich people in the modern world are not privy to enough of the details of manufacturing state-of-the-art nuclear weapons to accomplish this plan. For this to happen, your time-traveler will have to either be one of a very small set of people who have a direct hand in manufacturing nukes, or somehow know the identify of such a person and bring that person back. Similar thinking applies to the rocketry tech that would be needed to make this plan work in a way that doesn't require driving the nuke to its target in a truck, which will impose serious constraints on strategy. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Dec 30, 2022 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Tom The books in the facility help with that last bit. The time traveler isn't afraid to turn the books into a full-blown ICBM Rocketry 101 course if he needs to, and if the book ends up waying 10 tons as a result, that's okay in his mind; they're already on-site and available for reference. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Dec 30, 2022 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ My point is that the time traveler won't have the information to put into the book. Just being rich doesn't magically prepare this person to create a working nuclear arsenal, because governments restrict access to that information. Do you think Jeff Bezos can just inspect the Air Force's most closely-guarded technical documents simply because he has a lot of money? $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Dec 30, 2022 at 4:35

2 Answers 2


He can't, probably.

There was an underground joke in Germany at the time.

Geography lesson in the Volksschule. The teacher is putting a globe on the lectern, for many students the first time they have seen such a thing. "This is the Earth," the teacher says. "Each country has a different color."
"Which one is Germany," Erna asks, "the big, green one?"
"No, no, that is Russia," the teacher answers.
"The blue one, then?"
"No, that one is America."
"But then where is Germany?"
"The little brown one over there," the teacher says.
"Hmm," Erna wonders, "has anybody told that to the Führer?"

Nukes or no nukes, Germany would be hard-pressed to garrison all of Europe including western Russia. And 1934 is too late to nuke the US without conquering it. Which does not mean Germany would not try.

So, let's try an alternate history ...

Rearmament as in the original timeline, only slightly more daring/confident because of the hidden 'aces.' Saar, Austria, Sudetenland. No Molotov-Ribbentrop-Pact.

Hitler invades Poland, with only small forces left in the West. Stalin also invades, wanting a piece of the cake (and a greater buffer against Germany). The two armies clash in 1939, not in 1941, and further west than in reality. Then a nuke obliterates Moscow.

Shock. Disbelief. Stalin and most of the Politburo are dead. Two or three more strikes, against industrial cities behind the Ural. The Soviet resistance crumbles.

While the bulk of the Wehrmacht occupies the East, smaller detachments try to support a Quisling talkover of those countries which are fitting in the racist Nazi worldview. Plus Spain and Italy, even if those people are not very blond and blue-eyed. The Nazis loudly proclaim that they're mainly fighting Bolshevism.

So what will France, the UK, and the US do? The government, the people, and individualy like Mosley or Pelley?

While they are still in disarray, Germany tries to turn their newly-won 'underlings' into a source of occupation troops for the East. The Wehrmacht crosses the Urals and the Caucasus, getting spread ever thinner. Meanwhile, the Hungerplan is implemented, feeding western Europe at the expense of eastern Europe. People which initially welcomed anybody-but-the-Communists learn their mistake and start resistance. No good nuclear targets, but they might try one or two, just to make a point.

No deal with Japan in this alternate history, so that clash is coming ... Japan is rolling up Siberia from the other direction.

If the US did not fold, they're giving their Manhattan Project even higher priority than in reality, and they're not yet at war (since Japan went after the Soviets). Something explodes in New Mexico.

  • $\begingroup$ Am curious why 1934 is too late to nuke the US without also having to conquer it. US still hadn't committed to the war, and (IIRC) was still hoping to avoid "foreign entanglements." $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Dec 30, 2022 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Tom, they could not nuke enough of the US to stop a Manhattan project without getting plenty of radioactive dust themselves. So to stop an American bomb, they had to conquer it (but with what troops?) or otherwise neutralize it (ally with a Pelley government? but that has its own mind). $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Dec 31, 2022 at 18:19

Okay, so assuming that they aren't used in the advance across Poland or the fall of France (as Germany is winning) and also assuming that they aren't used as a single show of force and that when used, the Allies don't immediately capitulate.

The two biggest factors at the start of WW2 that kept Germany at bay were:

1: The Royal Navy
2: The Royal Airforce

This is because the Royal Navy through the straight of Gilbratar, the Suez Canal, the English Channel and the Western approaches was able to fence-in Germany - meaning they couldn't get shipping in from overseas which is the most efficient means to bulk-transport goods and war material (Steel, Oil, Rubber etc.)

An alpha strike against the UK Naval ports, crippling the bulk of the Home fleet may give Germany the edge - I say May, because as we saw in the Pacific and the Attack on Pearl Harbour - it's very difficult to cripple a Navy and with the British Empire, there are a myriad of ports around the world in the Empire that Britain can use, not just the ones on the main land (but these are critical in a German context).

Assuming the Royal Navy has been defeated (or at least severely crippled) the next impediment to an invasion of the UK is the Royal Air Force - and if the Battle of Britain had been fought with Nukes on one side, I'd be saying Guten Tag instead of Good morning.

Finally - why the British Focus? Well, for a start I'm British, so I'm biased. But secondly - this was the primary objective, Britain at the time was still arguably the world super power - and conquering Britain would be the last major hold-out in Europe. It would allow Germany to expand their maritime shipping with friendly nations, make the push into Africa much easier, allow them unrestricted access to the Atlantic.

If Britain surrenders, it's possible that the Empire will follow suit, if Britain is invaded - it's uncertain if the Empire will remain - I suspect Canada, NZ, Australia would likely follow, but I'm not sure about India and the African nations (perhaps some good ideas in there).

Once Britain is dealt with, Japan is able to conquer Asia, possibly Australia and NZ - Pearl Harbour is less likely to happen IMO - Germany would have more sway to keep Japan in line and then the question is what happens between Germany and Russia.

Without being distracted with the Western Front, I think the chance of success in Russia is greater.

  • $\begingroup$ While the Germans can alpha strike British ports, this still leaves the issue of air power. Unless the Germans intend on nuking every dirt field, the RAF can and did sortie off less than ideal airfields. Germany would have to retool a significant portion of the Kriegsmarine to even handle amphibious operations (this is also ignoring the existence of Allied submarine fleets) and support them at the same time. Historically the German surface fleet didn't fair well against British aviation. Also nuking the ports means that they can't unload heavy equipment. $\endgroup$
    Dec 31, 2022 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ @FIRES_ICE - I think if enough major airfields are dealt with, the less-than ideal airfields wouldn't be able to handle the volume of both Luftwaffe raids, Combat Air patrols and provide anti-shipping sorties. I think with the unloading of heavy equipment, the allies used the Mulberry harbours - I see no reason why Germany couldn't use a similar system. Agree though that even with Nukes, it's not a guaranteed victory. $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2022 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that the nukes aren't in endless supply. Eventually the Luftwaffe will have to resort to daylight bombing raids. Something that went poorly for them historically. After the first 20 ICBMs are fired off, they can't really make more for a while. So, while the major airfields will have been destroyed or even the radar stations, the immediate follow up would still require a conventional German military that can pull off such CAP operations. Which the Germans weren't able to pull off. Assembling mobile radar stations underground is far easier than ICBMs. $\endgroup$
    Dec 31, 2022 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ The Luftwaffe would also have to create aircraft at a positive replacement rate, which is something that they struggled with, especially bombers. While the RAF might not be able to field strat bombers, the French coast is close enough for both twin engine fighters and bombers. Mulberry harbors require naval and air superiority. The Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe by D-day were practically a non-threat over the Channel and Normandy. Mulberry harbors still require shipping along the supply chain, something the Kriegsmarine wasn't able to do effectively. Let alone for an amphibious operation. $\endgroup$
    Dec 31, 2022 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ The issue with tac nukes to break up a front line is that one's own forces have to be rapid enough to capitalize on such openings. Rapid forces tend to be lighter in terms of strength though, esp. in ww2. This was one of the issues that came up when planning things like OP Unthinkable as well as the US Pentomic Army. The German tank corps was horrifically oil hungry. The infantry reliant on marching as well as horses make the prospect of amphibious and extended operations in the UK an incredibly hard challenge. The issues with Sea Lion were strategic, tac nukes won't fix the problem enough. $\endgroup$
    Dec 31, 2022 at 11:10

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