7
$\begingroup$

In our theoretical alternate universe Nazi Germany--thanks to its scientists that in real history were split and used by the US and USSR--managed to reach the level of nuclear warheads and ICBM technology that the US accomplished in the early/mid 1950s, producing systems comparable to the Atlas and Titan ICBM projects (range of 5,000 - 10,000 miles).

Scraping up funding, they produce 12 such ICBMs, complete with nuclear warheads, and had them online as of late November 1944, about six months before the actual invasion of Berlin by the Allied Forces in real history. Two of the ICBMs were used, one as an example on the Eastern front, and one as an example on the Western front (the exact targets are unspecified, answers may select locations if they feel targets are material to the question). After these examples, the Allies decided to sign a ceasefire and hostilities on both sides were stopped. Part of the ceasefire allowed Nazi Germany to continue to occupy all of the land it currently possessed.

The Pacific Theater continued along a path roughly characteristic to our own history, ending with America dropping the two nuclear bombs on Japan; Nazi Germany does not act to interfere with this theater per the terms of the ceasefire. The Empire of Japan signs unconditional surrender.

The question becomes: Given both the internal factors within Nazi Germany and the external pressures from the growing Cold War (in whatever the cold war might take in this alternate universe) is Nazi Germany stable enough to probabilistically survive to modern day?

If it would not survive to modern day (due to either internal politics/structure or external forces) what would enable it to do so?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The plausibility of this scenario is quite low. The German WWII nuclear weapons project never got very far, because of failure to understand some crucial ideas, and to do some basic calculations for sizing the problem. The book Hitler's Uranium Club, by Jeremy Bernstein, has the details. Also, they couldn't have afforded the large scale of industry it takes to prepare usable quantities of U-235 or plutonium: they spent all that money on the V-2. And with all those rocket scientists and a high priority for materials and labour, the V-2 was all they could build. $\endgroup$ – John Dallman Sep 1 '16 at 21:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ While Western people is usually told that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs ended the Pacific War, there is a strong current amongst historians that the deciding fact was the SU entry into the war by invading Manchuria and the fear of Japanese Government of the Russians invading Japan, which lead them to finally accept "the lesser of two evils". In fact, the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not worse than, say, the firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities by conventional bombers. $\endgroup$ – SJuan76 Sep 3 '16 at 16:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This forgets that the US/USSR debt to German science is far less pronounced than the post-WWII scramble for technical personnel makes it seem. The Germans got a lot of their ideas from Goddard and others, and many of the nuclear scientists who assisted the Manhattan Project left Germany/Italy before the war began. $\endgroup$ – EvilSnack Sep 3 '16 at 17:44
4
$\begingroup$

Better than survive, they'd thrive.

The key here is that they are in the position of power. They have missile technology more than a decade more advanced than anyone else on the planet - as you said, they're comparable to what the US had in 1955, but that was with ten years of Nazi scientists helping them. So without their help, say that they're 15 years advanced.

Neither the US or the USSR get Nazi scientists. So the resulting nuclear proliferation is much slower than it was in our universe. As a result, the Germans are able to subtly control things - Europe is small enough that they would basically be able to strong-arm anyone else into better trade deals, etc.

The timing also plays in Germany's favor. November of 1944 is just a few months before the USSR captured Auschwitz. If the Allies don't capture Auschwitz, there won't be the same level of understanding of how awful the Holocaust was, meaning that worldwide opinion of the Nazi party won't be as bad as it became in our universe.

The primary disadvantage that Germany has is that it doesn't have much land. The US and the USSR have a lot of open ground, which is good for having ICBM launch sites - you don't want your launch sites to be right next to your major cities, and the more land you have the more missiles you can have. Germany would not be able to keep up with the number of launch sites that the US and USSR could maintain (once their technology caught up, of course).

However, the technology lead to start with, coupled with being able to (unofficially) strong-arm the poor post-war economies of Europe and an improved public opinion over what we'd expect from our universe, they're in a very good position to lead the Cold War and emerge very strong for WWIII, whenever that happens.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ No oil, no trade with the US, economy & industry still in war mode & mostly defunct, most German men still spread out all over Europe, I say 18 months until a general civil war. $\endgroup$ – Karl Oct 4 '16 at 0:53
6
$\begingroup$

Nazi Germany perishes anyways.

The Soviets and Americans remain allies; the Soviets have a dangerous lunatic on their doorstep, and the Americans see the Soviets as a buffer to keep the Nazis from expansionism. Hitler, Goebbels, and a few of the other fanatics are still in power in Germany and, emboldened by their super-weapon, take the opportunity to regroup and continue their plan to dominate Europe. Rather than dividing European territory up between victorious allies to rebuild, the treaty freezes the battlefronts where they are, and most every European nation now has it's own version of the Iron Curtain, complete with troop buildups. This is NOT a stable situation. WWIII begins soon thereafter.

Whether or not nuclear weapons are exchanged, Nazi Germany will likely not fare well in this scenario. It has almost no diplomatic capital, and American infrastructure was never greatly affected by the war. It's only option is a first-strike capability but it is unlikely to be able to completely wipe out all of its enemies in the initial salvo.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ You could even say US economy was never better prepared for war than it was in 1945, they had an extensive fleet built for the pacific theater and the industrial capability to replenish material losses fully established. $\endgroup$ – Durandal Jan 10 '17 at 20:22
4
$\begingroup$

No. In November 1944 the western allies were already in Germany (Operation Queen) and the Russians were close to crossing into Germany. Neither side would have stopped just because of at most a dozen nukes (which would have been fission bombs in the Hiroshima class, i.e. 20KT, not hydrogen bombs in the 20MT range). But most of Germany would have been destroyed even more than actually happened.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This. Nuclear bombs sounds very impressive, but the scale of WWII meant that the devastation power of 12 nuclear bombs (of a few kt, because that was the technology of the era) would only make a small dent in the war effort. Many cities were almost leveled to the ground with conventional bombers, only two were affected by atomic bombs. It would only have resulted in perhaps a small delay and more severe reprisal from the Allies against Germany (perhaps effectively dividing it forever). $\endgroup$ – SJuan76 Sep 3 '16 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @SJuan76: Modern nuclear bombs are impressive. But compare Hiroshima/Nagasaki to Operation Gomorrah. $\endgroup$ – Martin Schröder Sep 3 '16 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ "...which would have been fission bombs in the Hiroshima class...". Not so. The question posits that the Nazis made a quantum leap forward to Atlas-type delivery and yields. Also, the psychological value of being able to destroy any city instantly, by remote, would be substantial. The Japanese thought as you did, at first, believing that Hiroshima was the extent of the American capability. They were wrong, and capitulated quickly after the second "demonstration". Also consider that world leaders would likely feel much more personally threatened by a madman with an ICBM. $\endgroup$ – Lord Dust Sep 8 '16 at 17:09
3
$\begingroup$

With quite a lot of differences. Assuming one of the various attempts at getting rid of the lunatics in power worked, it would probably have ended up as one of your 'classic' authoritarian military states - Franco survived ww2, and was in power literally until his death, and the only reason that Spain went into a full democracy was the king didn't want to be an absolute monarch.

"Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts." And that's literally what Germany did.And that wasn't helped by the Japanese either. And for the record, Germany probably had the tech to hit both fronts with missiles - these would be IRBMs.

So this is what I imagine happening. You need to take Hitler out of the equation - he and Goebbels are replaced by someone a little more realistic. I'd like to think they'd realise all the frothing about Jews was just populist politics, and something like the Madagascar plan happens. In return for that, Germany doesn't end up losing key scientists who left. That puts them ahead in terms of development.

Since the concentration camps are abandoned and blamed on Hitler, working with the germans would be more tasteful, with the worst excesses conveniently blamed on hitler. I'm sure some folks within their new allies wouldn't care but I suspect for most, at least on the short term, would be essential

Much like Franco, the new government is instead purely virulently anti communist and instead of wasting resources on wonder weapons (other than nukes and rockets) focuses on consolidation, defence and cultural exchanges. They take advantage of the cold war to position themselves as a bulwark against communism. While the rump French state is still making noises and they and the Vichy French are involved in occasional scuffles, much like our cold war, the Americans and British have bases in the much enlarged Germany, with Poland and the rest of occupied eastern Europe being the equivalent of Berlin.

The post war Germany has many of the strengths it's always had - extreme technical competence, and they'd have resources from the occupied nations. That said, they'd have to evolve. Germans would be outnumbered by other nations and while it would be a one party state, as time went on, and the party integrated the occupied nations, the cultural and national identity of the state would no longer be "German nationalist". As time went on, in order to survive, the state would embrace a pan European identity, though with Germany considered a first amongst equals.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Further reading en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claus_von_Stauffenberg might be the agent of such a divergence from our timeline - if he knocked off hitler for the right reasons... alternatively dornitz holding off the allies with the threat of nuclear annihilation $\endgroup$ – Journeyman Geek Sep 2 '16 at 3:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Totally unrealistic. Any chance of a coup against Hitler vanished after the 20th July and in November 1944 the concentration camps had already killed millions. The allies were pushing for an unconditional surrender and already in Germany. $\endgroup$ – Martin Schröder Sep 8 '16 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ eh. I was pretty careful not to suggest a specific timeframe. I've pointed out an allied state, necessary conditions and a potential alternate path. There's a reason why the rest was a comment. A surviving or thriving nazi germany is a pretty common literary thrope - fatherland assumed that the genocide was effectively covered up, for example. I personally feel annihilating a VERY productive part of your population counts as bloody stupid, but that's a defining factor of racism. $\endgroup$ – Journeyman Geek Sep 9 '16 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ I like this answer better than mine ;) $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Jan 9 '17 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ First, the USA did business with Germany all through the 30's. Germany positioning itself as anti-communist makes it an American ally. Also, Germany destroying the economy of England allowed the Americans to annex the British Empire. There are 10 million men in the Red Army, ideologically separate from the Brits, and the Germans. Germany pays reparations, and becomes the exact buffer state it was in our timeline. $\endgroup$ – chiggsy Oct 2 '18 at 5:45
1
$\begingroup$

Given the above scenario, the Cold War would have been an entirely different proposition. the Western and Eastern blocks would have had a third party (ie Germany) jammed in between them, to which neither would be well disposed.

Much of the general tension that came to be called the Cold War would instead have been focussed on Germany.

The unfortunate Germans would be in a position where they survived the war but their nation and economy is in ruins and they have no friends.

In the real world, the German economy was helped back on its feet by the victorious Allies. We may have made them pay reparations and split the country in two, but we also happily bought lots of Volkswagens. In your scenario, having forced the Allies into a corner, I would expect that Germany would be universally hated and all but isolated. Another major war would be virtually inevitable.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

I'm pretty certain that the lunatic in power would not allow Nazi Germany to survive very long. My guess is that Nukes would be used ineffectively because by 1944 many of those in power under Hitler were nearly as crazy as he was. With the pressure from Japan off of their flank, the Russians were already pushing into German territory and they were taking it PERSONALLY. I do mean the all caps here. Look into how eastern Germany fared as the Russians invaded. It was not pretty.

Now, if one of the coup attempts succeeded, could be a very different story. Several of the German Generals were pretty smart, and they knew Hitler was nuts. They might well have fought effectively for survival. The problem is that they would have been cut off from resources. The ability to project power outside of the realm of Nukes would get severely eroded. Sanctions and such would probably work to bring the German stat to it's knees. It would take a lot of time though.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.