Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Watson, Aug 22, 2010.
Agree, rather irritating.
I do not see this plot had some real chance of success even with Hitler dead. Because even if highest power in the Reich - hitler's court did function chaotically like byzantine court, most of german society didn't. They were organized,disciplined and legalistic.With Hitler gone, number two is officially Goering. Therefore plotters could make some confusion in the beginning but hitler's hair is known and they have no important people on their side. Army wouldn't obey those anonymous people claiming they hold the power now. Not in Germany, maybe in some less disciplined society. Anyway, unconditional surrender is beyond question, thouhg the war would probably last few months less.
You're quite right Arca! His premature death wouldn't have changed anything. The Nazi rabble would have continued to fight untill the end in Berlin.
Fortunately, the bastard survived the bomb. Otherwise, there would have been yet another “stab-in-the-back” theory. Also, timing and circumstances of the real Führer's death couldn't be better: he lived just enough to see anihilation of his Reich. By the suicide he deprived himself from aura of heroic death. And finally, nobody knows where the body of the Nazi Messiah is. His death was perfectly timed and he ended in the best possible way. For me, his death is a real Hollywood happy end.
I'm not so sure about that. I think there's a real chance his successor would have surrendered earlier. Historically it didn't take long for Germany to surrender once Hitler died. Then there's the question of who would have succeeded him. Goering I think would have been more likely to surrender than some of the other political leaders. A military non SS commander more likely still.
I have to echo Iwd here. The German resistance stretched through many in the upper echelons of the general staff. The conscripted Wehrmacht may have fought to the bitter end, but there were many planned assassination attempts on Hitler's life, not just the '44 plot. The key would have been how much territory the Allies would have given the Germans in the surrender terms, which was assured to be limited at best. One may say, after the invasion and fighting in France, surrender at that time would have been much more favorable to the Germans post war than the ending result. Now Soviet relations would have been even more interesting if this happened.
Goring was Hitler's designated successor, but I wonder how much support he would have had? I can't see him just stepping up and carrying on with everyone's support the way say Truman did when FDR died. The army leadership had lost respect for him, he had become less active in both his military and governmental roles, and the other top Nazis saw him more as a rival than their next Fuhrer. Imagine if he tried to get them all to take the same oath to him personally that they had to Hitler! I think there would be a power struggle within Germany, although the troops in the front lines would probably carry on fighting their immediate opponents.
By that point I suspect if Goring had lead it would only be because he was listening "carefully" to the advice of the generals. He would have made a decent figure head for them and rather disabled the opposition from the political opponents. The question is would he have been willing to "listen"?
But at that time all German units were either obliterated or have surrendered. Therefore the surrender itself was just the question of who would sign the papers, not who would command the army. In 1944 situation was different: bad but not that bad either.
I do agree that the Führer's death might have increased German readyness for the ununconditial surrender but not signifficantly. However, my point wasn't timing but the German "state of minds" after the war. Without Führer's martyr's death it was much easier to pacifize the country.
Don't forget how Göbbels could use the death of the Führer to to escalate fanaticizm within the Reich to it's limits. Physical presence of the Führer was irrelevant at that time - the Nazi avalanche has been triggered much before. The Führer was immortal at that time - the German substitute God.
I'm not sure your correct about the mood in Germany at the time. Indeed by that point most had probably come to realize that the war was lost. The possiblity of ending the conflict without the utter destruction of Germany would have appealed to many.
I don't think that the surrender itself was the real problem. Above all other inconveniences of the unconditional surrender, the problem was that the Russians were comming and the Germans were desparate to avoid accomodation in the Gulag Archipelago facilities.
You bring up a good point. The Russian push added another mix to the idea of surrendering to the Allies. Stalin, for sure, wanted no such deal in the west.
I agree we now know he was a a fat incompetent addict and a military joke.But it wasn't so clear than except to his and hitler's immediate circle, and those people would IMO use his 'legitimacy' to retain power, but would sought to control him later for sure (Himmler,Borman). Oath wouldn't be necessary, they would fight on for hitler's ideals, to stop Russians, for bare survival.
All allies already agreed that only unconditional surrender was an option. So hypothetical early surrender would just move Yalta (or some deal like that) from 2/1945 to 7/1944 with unavoidably similar conclusions about dividing of Europe and Germany.
At that time the Germans were under enormous pressure. For them, the whole world was crumbling down. The end was just the question of time and they knew very well what they did. All these circumstances have added to their state of reasoning. They were easy to manipulate. Just look at the main German protagonists: Hitler has ceased to appear in public from 1942/43, Göring spend all his time plundering European museums and hunting, mostly morphinized. It was Göbbels who lead the nation through his propaganda.
I would think that Goebbels might have been just as stubborn and even bad as Hitler was as a commander. And since he was the head of propaganda, he would have made things worse. And since he was so loyal to Hitler he would have followed the same path Hitler was going regarding military strategy which was fight to the last man.
I think if Hitler had died in the blast and Goebbels managed to run the country, it would end in the same result as it did in May 1945.
I think most people who were very loyal to hitler and held high ranks might have done what they think Hitler would have done.
Himmler had the most individual power, but I doubt the party apparatus or the army would agree to his leadership. A key problem for the army is how would the public support the group that had just killed off their leader?