Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

What If Britain and France Did Not Declare War on Germany After the Polish Invasion?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by superjames1992, May 19, 2010.

  1. superjames1992

    superjames1992 recruit

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    As we know, in response to the German invasion of Poland in October 1939, the British and French declared war on Germany. While this was more or less a "Phony War" against the two countries until Spring 1940 when Germany invaded the Benelux Countries and then France.

    What if Britain and France never declared war on Germany after the German invasion of Poland? I don't believe Hitler really had any huge aspirations of conquering Britain. I'm sure he would have liked to invade France in order to make them pay for the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. However, could he have first concentrated on defeating the Soviet Union, then, if he emerged victorious, invaded France?

    I don't imagine that Britain or France would go to war against Germany over an invasion of Russia as the UK almost came to Finland's aid in the Winter War of 1939-1940. And, if Germany never attacked the British, would the US ever intervene, itself preoccupied with a war against Japan beginning in December 1941?

    So, if Britain and France never declared war on Germany and Germany launched an offensive against the USSR in the spring of 1940, how might this have impacted the outcome of the war?
     
  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor Patron  

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,216
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    True, Hitler did not have any inclination of attacking the West, not even France. He was also not in a position to attack the Soviet Union in Spring of 40'. It would have been a race between Germany and the USSR to build up the military in preparation for the future war between the two. Churchill for one would not have intervened and sided with the Russians but then again, without the British declaration of war, would Churchill have been put into power? Germany would have had the manpower but don't know about armaments, especially in the armoured force.
     
  3. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    1,120
    Likes Received:
    58
    Form what I read from all sides in this matter your comments are true, the Fact Hitler didn't have any inclination of starting a War with the West. But the British did side with the Russian's who in fact had moved on Finland, Poland++++ and nobody declared War on them as they moved Troops +++++ Closer to Germany. Known Also as the "Stalin's Secret War Plan" to invade Germany.

    It was the British and French that declared War on Germany First, and by many comments made by Churchill on Germany's strength was growing and something should be done about it.

    3 Sep 1939 - At 11 am Britain declares war on Germany to be followed at 5pm by France. Australia and New Zealand also declare war on Germany. A Bristol Blenheim of No. 139 Sqn, Wyton, carries out the RAF's first operational sortie of the war - photographic reconnaissance of the German naval base of Wilhelmshaven.

    3/4 Sep 1939 - 10 Whitley bombers of Nos. 51 and 58 Sqns carry out the first RAF raid over Germany, dropping some 6 million leaflets over Hamburg, Bremen and the Ruhr - 10 Whitley bombers of Nos. 51 and 58 Sqns carry out the first RAF raid over Germany dropping some 6 million leaflets over Hamburg, Bremen and the Ruhr.

    http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/rafhistorytimeline1939.cfm


    I belive eather way Churchill would of been put into Power.

    If France and Britannia Declared War on Germany what was Germany to do seat back and let the French and British Attack them? Plus WWI or The Great War left unfinished Business as bitter feelings towards all countries concerned. As theres no Secret That Churchill, Hitler, as Stalin hated each other.
     
  4. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    1,120
    Likes Received:
    58
    No not quite Right You've read what many historians want you to believe, remember War History is interpreted and
    documented by the Winners.

    17 Sep 1939 - Soviet troops enter Poland. The aircraft carrier HMS Courageous is torpedoed by a German U-boat off
    the south-west coast of Iceland.

    RAF - RAF Timeline 1939

    The Soviets troops entered Poland First and occupied it with all the Massacres, War Crimes++++++ inflected on Polish Civilians
    as their Military in accordance with a secret protocol of "The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact." the invasion marked the end of the
    Second Polish Republic, but It's to be noted that Poland never formally surrendered.

    The Soviets also Invaded Finland +++. And Britain and France never declared War on the Soviets. A Yes a Slap on the hand
    and temporarily removed from the League of Nations AKA "The Big Four."
     
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    1,499
    As simplistic as this answer may be, Great Britain had been taken in by Hitler et. al., a few too many times and wasn't going to just "roll over" again. Hitler counted on doing so, but Great Britain made solemn pledges to "come to Poland's defense" as best they could or were able if attacked by a EUROPEAN power. As an honorable nation, Great Britain observed its obligations.

    This did two things, it focused ONLY on Germany who had been making the moves of taking territory belonging to others for some time, and until the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was announced the British had been trying to get Stalin to sign on into an anti-Hitler stance with both France and themselves. Until the secret protocal of the pact was known, the "hope" that the Soviet might stay "neutral" remained.

    After the Soviet invaded Poland, that was a "non-starter", but neither Britain nor France had made any pledges toward Poland as regards the Soviets, who were (for better or worse) considered an Asian not a European power. That and the fact that in the words of Abe Lincoln; "one war at a time gentlemen" was the best course for the western European nations. They could do little except declare the war, put a blockade on German merchantmen, and confiscate any German property under their control. These could be done once war was declared, but not before.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,343
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm far from convinced the US will intervene in this but it's probably not going to be at war with Japan. Without the distraction of the war in Europe Japan can't afford to go to war with the US, British, and Dutch. Furthermore without their movement into French-Indo China the oil embargo isn't imposed. Going into Indo China with the French also undefeated is very problematic as well.
     
  7. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor Patron  

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,216
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    From what I have read, Churchill originally was sending troops to help Finland in the Winter War via Norway but due to the time it took to form the units and transport them, Hitler jumped the gun.
     
  8. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    447
    IIRC the general idea is correct but details are wrong

    Churchill was not in power at the time, Chamberlain resigned in May 1940
    IIRC there were two distinct plans to invade Norway by France an Britain.
    The first one was to occupy a Northern Norway port as a base to help Finland, that such a plan would also deny the Swedish ore to Germany was not the declared main objective, officially the force was just "passing through" to help Finland. The was aborted after the Finnish surrender in early 1940 Germany had nothing to do with it's failure though how Hitler would have reacted is anybody's guess.

    The second one was an occupation of Northern Norway but was anticipated by the German landings when the troops were already loaded on the ships.
    Both operations were still during the Camberlain government.
     
  9. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,640
    Likes Received:
    152
    Remember, Churchill was in the post of "First Lord of the Admiralty" in 1939. In Britain, this was a hugely influential post, and one that meant much in the corridors of power. Chamberlain was already discredited by 1939, and his time was always going to be short as a war leader.

    Churchill had specialized in embarrassing the various governments of England between the wars by being the most well informed politician in Britain, if not in Europe itself. His extensive contacts meant that, again and again, he came off as being better informed about developments in Europe than anyone of his era. And he was a politician from the House of Commons, making him a 'natural' choice as a compromise candidate should the present government fall for any reason. When Chamberlain's cabinet was ousted, only Churchill and Lord Halifax were considered, and Halifax himself is on record as refusing the Prime-Ministerial post specifically BECAUSE he was a member of the House of Lords.

    Churchill's wartime cabinet included representatives from both sides of politics, and included industrialists like Beaverbrook, a man known far and wide for 'cutting corners' to achieve results....INSTANT results. Churchill also spoke French, making him a natural choice for a Cabinet head that had France as an ally.

    British policy would have been tied to anything that was aimed at curbing German expansion. This means that, in my humble view, an invasion of Russia at any stage of the game would have been followed by a subsequent declaration of War against Germany. Nazism always was seen as the greater evil. So, in answer, a lack of war declaration by France and Britain (post Poland),would have been followed by a declaration of war should Germany move against Russia.

    Re-run of the Great War, eh what ol'boy?
     
  10. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor Patron  

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,216
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    Miswording on my part. Should have said that as head of the admiralty, he had a plan to send troops to Finland via Norway.
     
  11. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    1,120
    Likes Received:
    58
    No Worries Drill Instructor I know what you meant, Since the MSG was addressed to me, but I didn't Reply since I was trying to remember where I read that also, there was only the mention of France and Britain Sending Troops.

    I found some info on that

    By February 26, the Finns were forced to abandon Koivisto and they retreated back toward Viipuri. The need for men, arms and ammunition was desperate and Mannerheim warned the Finnish government about the potential consequences. The French and British were offering to send 100,000 men, but should the Finns accept this aid which was not at all certain, go it alone, or try to work a deal with the Russians? The offer from the Allies was suspect and the Swedes were not of a mind to permit them to cross their country. The British and French were also fearful of Hitler's designs on Norway and Denmark and might use the troops there. The German government advised the Finns to make arrangements with the Russians. The Finnish Foreign Affairs Committee again asked Sweden if they would allow transit of Allied troops and Mannerheim asked the United States to mediate. On March 5, Stockholm informed Helsinki that the Cabinet had decided to let no troops cross Sweden by a unanimous vote.


    http://www.kaiku.com/winterwar.html


    The Rescue plan

    Here I will not delve into the war itself or into the political developments during it, but with one exception, the controversial plan by Britain and France to assist Finland by sending troops there. Already in December 1939 those two powers had asked the Finnish government if it was willing to accept direct military aid in the form of troops.

    http://www.kevos4.com/Part%203%20The%20Rescue%20Plan.htm



    Franco-British plans for intervention in the Winter War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-British_plans_for_intervention_in_the_Winter_War
     
    PzJgr likes this.
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,077
    Likes Received:
    290
    Perhaps we should hypothesize that the British and French never make their guarantee to protect Poland after the occupation of Czechoslovakia earlier in 1939. Granted they might wimp out on their commitment when push came to shove, but the more likely scenario for them to stay out of the war is if they never promised to intervene.

    With no threat of western interference, Hitler might not feel the need for the non-aggression or more accurately mutual aggression pact with the USSR. How might the Soviets react if the Germans came storming into Poland? Would they stand by while Germany occupied all of Poland, or through together some hasty plan for intervention? That would be messy, fighting the Poles when they crossed the border and the Germans as well when they encountered them. The Russo-German war might start right then and there.

    If it didn't, or if a temporary truce was established, the absence of conflict in the west would still keep the Russians on their toes. It would be far harder to achieve a Barbarossa-like surprise.

    In this scenario the Baltic states would still be independent, with substantial German populations and ties to Germany. Might Germany pose as their protector against the Soviets? I say "pose", but there would be a degree of legitimacy to it, strange though it seems to imagine Hitler as the protector of small neutral countries (side note, the German scheme in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918 called for the Baltics to be independent, though under Germany's aegis, possibly with German princes as their new kings).
     
  13. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    the German -Russian pact had nothing to do with a threat of western interference:a German attack on Poland was only possible if there was an implecitly or explecitly approval from Stalin:Germany was not strong enough for a war against the SU.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    about the British guarantee in march 1939:it was only window-dressing,roaring of the British lion,for home consumption (there was an election nearing):Britain had no means to help Poland,and,most important,a German attack on Poland was only possible if Hitler did a deal with Stalin,was this likely?Someone who was parading as the bulwark of western civilisation against bolchevism ,doing business with the bolchevists?Not very likely,indeed:cool:
    Of course,with hindsight;),one could argye,that for politicians to believe what other politicians were saying,was ...naive,stupid ,....(you can choose ;)
     
  15. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    At this point the time of "appeasement" was over. Allied leaders had to make a decision. Declare war on Germany. I think the Germans would have went for Norway next to capture the essential natural resources and strategic value of the country. With France and Great Britain not at war yet, the Germans would be virtually unopposed. Now if the French and British did not declare war at this point, I think Germany would violate the neutrality of the Low Countries and soon after attack France. Then the "historical" 1940 would take place.
     
  16. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,298
    Likes Received:
    459
    I know im a bit late and havent read all the posts but... Had France and GB NOT declare war, then their "WORD" wouldnt meen S*#t anymore on the international arena and thats not good when you want to remain world players...
     
  17. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    If I were the Germans I wouldn't be the least bit concerned.
     
  18. Commander Black

    Commander Black recruit

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Perhaps the question should be "should have Britain declared war on Germany".

    Britain and France had already failed to police aspects of the Versailles Treaty by the time the polish situation arose in 1939 and the powers of both countries were already strained with rising nations such as Japan, Germany and the USA having a larger part in world foreign affairs.

    From this weakened military and political situation we continued however to try and have influence over Eatern Europe and the Balkans - not exactly our back yard and sandwiched between Stalin's Russian Empire, the United Germanic territories and the crumbling Austro Hungarion and Ottomen Empires. A cauldron she would have stayed well clear of.

    With Chamberlain however already up to his neck in it over the Czech situation his choice was either to appease again or not. Much criticism already exists about his appeasements on the Rhineland, Sudetenland, Austria etc etc and quite rightly so - the much under strength Reich would have easily been crushed at this time and more support should have been given to a democratic government system. However he should have appeased again telling the people that war was not the answer and diplomatic relations with Germany should have continued. Perhaps even an alliance or non agression pact between Germany France and the UK - this would have allowed us to keep our potential enemy closer to us and thus we would be more informed. We also would have had greater time to strengthen our own armed forces should be ever require them.

    Then let Germany and Russia and the 2 great dictators slug it out - war was inevitable with these 2 characters so why get involved?
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    949
    The optimum time for England and France to resist Germany was the Sudetenland crisis. Nearly all Hitler's panzers were Pzkw I and II's and the Whermacht was far too raw to face France, Britain, the Czech's and possibly the Pole's. But of course it did not happen that way. Munich was not England's finest hour.

    Perhaps if England does not have its succession crisis and a more pro German King sits on the throne it could be possible that there is no DoW by the Allies. France was less enthusiastic about a new war with Germany than England was so it may all come down to the choice that Britain makes.

    If there was no actual treaty of alliance between the Czech's and the western allies, there certainly was an implied one. So it is not completely implosible that Britain, under the right conditions, might sit by as Germany invades Poland. They not only sat by, they held Germany's coat for its invasion of Czechoslovakia in the previous year.

    The Nazi-Soviet Pact could reinforce a British/French lack of will since they had counted on Soviet help to stop Germany's invasion of Poland. Poland's understandable reluctance to allow Soviet right of passage to help stop Germany made the pact a possibility, if not probability.

    The Polish campaign occurs as it historicly did. There is no need for a invasion of Denmark or Norway as there is no threat to Germany's ore supplies if there is no war with the west. The same holds true for the Low Countries, no need to invade if no war with the west. No war with the west means no Italian distractions, and if Italy does gets a little too frisky, its Il Duce's problem, not Germany's. No change of government in Yugoslavia till early '41 so no Balkan adventures.

    Spring 1940, after a quick and cheap victory in Poland, a demonstrated lack of will by the west and no other military distractions, Germany attacks Russia. A 1940 invasion of Russia has been debated in other threads, but this particular scenario offers something different, no war in the west. Germany must deploy an army to man the West wall, but with no deployments in Africa, the North, or the Balkans it is largely a wash.

    In the spring/summer 1940 Germany hasn't fully mobilized and has less logistics for a Russian invasion, but then the Soviets have less time to prepare defences, very few T-34/KV-1 tanks and will get no lend lease from the west. Perhaps a best case scenario for German victory.
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    you are forgetting that the British policy was to prevent a war,not to look for the best moment for defeating Germany .
    About 1938 :for Britain to declare war to prevent Germany of attacking Czechoslovakia was no option ;it would be impossible for Britain to start a preventive war,public opinion would not admit it ,and from a military POV,Britain was powerless.
    All was depending on France,and,France also was not willing to start a preventive war .
    Of course,if war broke out between Germany and Czechoslowakia,Britain and France would be (unwillingly) dragged in .
     

Share This Page