What if Hitler Had Won the Second World War? Part 1

About what might have happened if Hitler had won World War II, an alternate view on world history.

What If Hitler Had Won The Second World War?

What Really Happened: W.W. II began in September, 1939, with stunning German victories. Hitler's armies defeated Poland first. Then, in the spring and early summer of 1940, they conquered Denmark, Norway, and all of Western Europe, including France, in a few weeks. Hitler, however, did not invade England, and the German air offensive against the latter failed to break the British. Within another year Hitler had conquered the Balkans, and in June, 1941, he attacked Stalin's Soviet Union. Again he came close to winning the war, but his armies ground to a halt before Moscow at the same time (early December, 1941) that the Japanese attack in the Pacific propelled the U.S. into the war. Three and a half years were to pass before Germany was finally defeated. Hitler committed suicide on Apr. 30, 1945.

But What If ... Hitler had invaded England successfully in 1940 and won the war?

Here Is What Might Have Happened: John Lukacs, a prominent historian of W.W. II, spins what he likes to call "a plausible tale," exclusively for The People's Almanac.

History is full of irony; for what would have happened if Hitler had listened to his generals at Dunkerque? They were telling him that the German armies could be in Paris within two weeks. Hitler, supported only by General Student, chose instead to deliver his surprising blow elsewhere. On June 1, 1940, German parachute regiments landed between Hastings and Deal on the southern coast of England. The English were dazed and stunned by this event. They had no reserve divisions. The troops returning fom Dunkerque were in no condition to attack this German bridgehead, which was growing by the hour. Civilians fought the German troops, sometimes with tire irons, but to little avail. Hitler was not surprised by the incapacity of the British army; but he was impressed by the resolution of the population, and he wanted to give the British a way out of the war. On June 3 the British Cabinet voted to evacuate London, opposing Churchill, who wanted to fight the Germans in the streets and in the parks. It was during that crucial cabinet meeting that the news came of Hitler's offer to desist from bombing London and to discuss an armistice that would not call for a total German occupation of the British Isles.

The principal figures of the new British government, established in Birmingham, were Sir Nevile Henderson, Sir Oswald Mosley, Lady Astor, and George Lansbury. The king and his family set up in Edinburgh Castle. Winston Churchill, having acquired the odious reputation of a warmonger, fled to Canada. The Armistice of Canterbury was signed on St. Swithin's Day. A demarcation line was drawn across the Midlands; the land south of the line fell under German occupation, as had the naval base of Scapa Flow. To administer this, Rudolf Hess was appointed as lord protector.

The tremendous repercussions of these momentous events are well known. While the fighting in Kent and Sussex was still going on, the French asked Mussolini to mediate between them and the triumphant Germans. The result was the Conference of San Remo, where the great reapportionment of Mediterranean Europe took place. Burgundy--consisting of Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Alsace, and Lorraine--became a German province. Mussolini took a slice of southern France, including Corsica; he and Franco divided the French North African colonies between themselves. The rest of France remained intact, under a new government led by Marshal Petain and Pierre Laval. This conference was still in session when Hitler issued his ultimatum to Stalin, demanding that the European portion of the Soviet Union be surrendered within two weeks, and that the Soviet government retire behind the Urals. Even before the expiration of the ultimatum, German troops were crossing the borders of the Soviet Union. They met with no resistance. Stalin accepted the ultimatum, setting up the Russian government in the Siberian city of Omsk.

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