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Old 12-10-2014, 08:35 PM   #1
BraselC5048
 
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Default Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

For an alternate history idea, what would have happened if Hitler was assassinated around late 1935-36 or so? After remilitarizing the rhineland, but before annexing Austria. I suppose the Nazi party would have picked a new leader, perhaps Goring? I guess rearmament would have continued on all sides, but what would the new Nazi leader's foreign policy be, and how long until ww2 started, if at all?

Basically I want a campaign with mature start-of-ww2 technology, such as the great piston engined propeller driven airliners (on the drawing board before the US was in the war) continuing to develop along their historical path, only 3 years sooner. Because I'm a fanboy of them.

The Germans have managed to get all their Panzer I's out of service, and are just about finished with Panzer II's, while the most common tank is the Panzer III F though G, with the Panzer IV E being common as well. Nearly the entire army is motorized, as they finally have built enough trucks. The British are slowly replacing Hurricane's with early mark Spitfires, but finally armed with the cannons they wanted. If it comes to war, the Chain Home radars are completely in place, and slowly being upgraded with more sophisticated versions. (Rather then the already-out-of-date late 30's designs they had, since they had the foresight to realize that to have an working system, when they needed it, then they needed to start now, so what they had now would have to be good enough, since otherwise there wouldn't be a complete system at all when it would be needed.)

Everywhere else, the US Navy's ultimate source of power is it's powerful battleline, (joined by a new fast division of the brand new South Dakota's, but no Essex's or Iowa's, as there is no two ocean navy act, and therefore they have not been ordered), the Great Depression is slowly ending, antibiotics are in use, gangsters, the mob, the mafia and the Feds' use tommy guns when it gets to that point, or occasionally a BAR, the police are using newfangled radio cars in major cities, and the great streamliners cross the United States.

Labor unions didn't get the benefits they historically did in the New Deal, and adventures could find themselves caught up in a major strike, with goon squads on both sides, while in the Balkans fascists and commies are beating each other up in increasingly more organized street gangs, which are slowly developing into paramilitary organizations, depending on the place. (More sources of trouble - great for campaign possibilities!)

The actual date is in the mid to late 40's, not that it matters in the slightest. Great for Pulp!

Author appeal? YES.
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:56 AM   #2
gruundehn
 
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

If Adolf Hitler dies in 1936 then Germany goes into civil war. The Nazi Party was not a single monolith but a wide ranging collection of views going from extreme left to extreme right united only by the loyalty to Hitler. Also, even after 3 years the Nazi Party did not have full control over Germany.

So, Hindenburg had been dead for two years but the military was still out of Hitler's control. He was providing rearmament which the military wanted but he was still seen as a boor and an outsider. If Hitler dies the military is going to throw their considerable weight behind someone who will continue rearmament but without some of the more radical programs the Nazis had. Probably one of the Conservative members of the Cabinet. But fighting comparable to hat just after WW I is highly likely. The Communists had a fighting league still available, albeit underground, and strong support from the Soviet Union, so they would be a factor as well.

If the civil war is short which it will be if the military just takes control, then rearmament in the UK and France continues strong but if Germany is wracked by a long civil war then it is unlikely to continue at the same pace as it fear of Germany that drove it and once that fear subsided then rearmament, which was seen as a necessary evil, would slow or even stop absent some other threat which would be seen as credible. A Communist take-over of Germany might not do it given how much the Communists were active in the democratic countries.

America would not rearm to the extent that it did in history as it was Roosevelt's hatred of Germany, developed after WW I, that drove that. The increasing tensions with Japan probably would not have driven rearmament until Roosevelt did not run for a third term (he ran only due to what he perceived as Germany's threat to America) and a different President, who would not be so focused on Europe, would focus on the Pacific instead. This means that the US Navy would be built up instead of the Army and Air Corps probably.

There is an entire sub-genre of science-fiction devoted to various "what if" scenarios. I'm not interested enough to follow it so I don't know if this specific scenario has been covered. There is also a subsection of historical studies that delve into various "what if" scenarios using the techniques of historical analysis. I will guess that various historians have covered this scenario but I haven't a clue who.
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Old 12-11-2014, 06:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

A big question being do the Western Allies re-arm at all if the Anschluss and Sudentenland Crisis are averted, or do the non-interventionist factions win out? Has Britain bothered with the Spitfire without the lessons of 1939 to show the limitations of the Hurricane (let alone of clown-planes like the Defiant) Without mad Uncle Adolph's big tank big gun obsession, does the PzIII arm above 37mm? (IIRC it was his personal intervention that brought the 50mm gun on as early as it was). Without fighting Matildas and some of the nastier French tanks, have the Germans worked up HEAT and APCR to the degree that they did? Is the Reich as feudal as it was in our timeline, with all the duplicated effort and wacky special projects? Is whoever has taken over also a rabid anti-Semite or are some of the very talented Jews who fled Germany in our timeline still at home doing their bit? Speaking of mad uncles, what is Joe up to? Might you end up with an attempt to repeat 1920 and a red horde pouring westward that leads to a reversal of historical alliances and sees the free world, plus national socialism versus international socialism and communism?

As to the US, I suspect with even less excitement in Europe, whatever they are up to is likely to be based mostly on what the Japanese are doing ... an alt-history Pacific War with duelling BBs might be quite impressive... but if the Russians drew first, perhaps the Japanese end up fighting them instead, going after Siberia rather than southeast Asia...
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:14 AM   #4
Michele
 
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

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Originally Posted by gruundehn View Post
If the civil war is short which it will be if the military just takes control,
This. I wouldn't even call it a proper civil war, more like some serious unrest and rioting. In 1936, not only the Nazis aren't a monolith as you mentioned, but there's still plenty of other actors that haven't been as marginalized as they'll be in a few years, yet - and in particular, yes, the Wehrmacht does take control. In a short time.

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then rearmament in the UK and France continues strong
Yes, but not with the final 1938-39 acceleration of our history. The German generals will want to rearm, and they will have a general agenda of "righting Versailles", but they will definitely lack Hitler's brinkmanship.

As a side note, the German-Polish non-aggression pact has already been in force for some time by 1936.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:05 AM   #5
Anders
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

I think the military will support Goering. Not only is he a military man, he is also sufficiently guidable.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:17 AM   #6
Gedrin
 
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

I'd suspect a civil war or other significant social disruption as Germany collapses, at least economically. My guess is that with Germany being a power vacuum, it gives space to Soviet expansion. There's a East/West war, probably pretty close to on schedule. Poland, being the Euro/Russo invasion superhighway, get's flattened. Germany forms the front lines in another war.

We still get Churchill and Chamberlain, but Churchill will be older, and at an age where it might be significant (though it's possible the war would just invigorate the guy). However, depending on the timing, and the relative confidence of knowing that they'd smote Germany, Chamberlain might not hold on to office as long. I think the Russo/Euro war would break out before Churchill would be out of the picture. I'd say it's a toss up as to if the British Empire is in a better or worse position, relative to the Soviets.

FDR might not be alive when WWII starts, but I'd guess yes. Depending on timing, he might not be in office, perhaps even no third term. I've not studied the political alternatives in this time frame. Intervention in the new WWII would follow the same pattern; fund allies, gear up, come in when most advantageous or when needed.

The biggest difference will be the war itself. A Soviet expansion across the northern European plain, pre-blitzkrieg and with a lower industrial capacity, would be slower. Early Soviet expansions would be aimed at gaining strategic depth and industrial capacity (since that's what happens when Russia expands). War could be prevented by bolstering Germany as a bulwark against Soviet expansion, evolving into a familar East/West Cold War (but probably with British Empire holdings remaining intact and evolving toward quasi-independence). Of course, everyone might just say "screw the krauts" and then we're back in France.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

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I think the military will support Goering. Not only is he a military man, he is also sufficiently guidable.
Also fun at parties. Even the Nazi Party.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

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Originally Posted by Gedrin View Post
We still get Churchill and Chamberlain, but Churchill will be older, and at an age where it might be significant (though it's possible the war would just invigorate the guy). However, depending on the timing, and the relative confidence of knowing that they'd smote Germany, Chamberlain might not hold on to office as long. I think the Russo/Euro war would break out before Churchill would be out of the picture. I'd say it's a toss up as to if the British Empire is in a better or worse position, relative to the Soviets.
To be honest, there's relatively little the Soviets and British can do to each other except along the Indian frontier ... which more or less means Afghanistan. Again, interesting to see which way the Japanese jump in that fight - and even the Turks might be persuaded to join in with Russians to fight.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:58 AM   #9
Michele
 
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

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Originally Posted by Gedrin View Post
Germany collapses, at least economically.
Why the economic collapse? 1936 is still in time to rein in military spending. The generals like it, sure, but when Schacht shows them the accounts, they are unlikely to react as Hitler did.
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Old 12-11-2014, 11:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Alternate History Idea - Hitler dies in early 1936 - then what?

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Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
To be honest, there's relatively little the Soviets and British can do to each other except along the Indian frontier ... which more or less means Afghanistan.
That is assuming the Soviets won't meddle with Persia, naturally.
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