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Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Steve Cole ponders 10 more ways that World War II might have turned out very differently. (See Random Thoughts #213 for the first 10.)

1. The Germans could have pursued atomic bomb research. They were years ahead of the US but abandoned the project after convincing themselves that triggering a fusion reaction was too complicated. A German nuclear bomb in 1941 would have destroyed Moscow, collapsed the Russian front, and forced Churchill to the bargaining table. A bomb in 1942 or 1943 would have also collapsed the Russian Front and might well have still forced England to bail out of the war.

2. The Germans could have built a real four-engine bomber and used it to reach targets deep in Russia.

3. The Germans could have fitted their fighters with drop tanks for the Battle of Britain, giving them more time over the target. Nobody seems to have thought of it.

4. The Germans made little effort to bomb the British radar stations during the Battle of Britain. Radar was in its infancy and the Germans didn't realize how vital it was.

5. The Germans could have shrugged off the first British bombing of Berlin and kept up their attacks on Royal Air Force bases, winning the Air Battle of Britain.

6. The allies might have abandoned the convoy route to Murmansk, which was dangerous and not very effective anyway. (Nine times as much stuff reached Russia through Iran.) This might have convinced the Germans to withdraw the mostly idle troops garrisoned there to use in some active theater.

7. Hitler could have kept an effective Army command structure. By assuming personal command of the army, there was no army commander to argue otherwise when the Navy and Luftwaffe wanted a bigger share of the available resources.

8. The Germans might not have changed their plans for invading France at the last minute, in which case their invading panzers would have run head-on into the French and British armies moving into Belgium and the Netherlands. Properly supported (i.e., no German tanks cutting off their supply lines) a head-on battle might well have still ended in a German victory, but not one so spectacular as historically happened. The front line might even have stabilized somewhere in Belgium and stagnated.

9. The Germans might have decided to mix SS men into Army units rather than keeping separate SS units. A man smart enough to be a sergeant in the SS was usually smart enough to be a captain in the Army.

10. The Japanese were working on a radioactive dirty bomb weapon that could have been used to shut down US operations on Okinawa, Guam, and Tinian.