A Blunted Sickle - Thread II

Well, yes.
But then again, going to the left bank of the Rhine is much more than just the Saar. It's reaching up to Kleve and Emmerich in the North, and going all the way down to Karlsruhe. And, yes, the areas annexed to Poland were huge, too. But they were comparatively thinly populated. On the left bank of the Rhine, you have Köln, Aachen, Mönchengladbach, Trier, Saarbrücken, Bonn, Koblenz, Kaiserslautern, Mainz, Ludwigshafen... A whole lot of industry.
The annexations of the territories East of the Oder to Poland and the USSR happened under the oversight of the Red Army, under Stalinist terms. Only very few Germans were allowed to stay. Producing these kinds of policies would be a paradigm change in French political culture, even in spite of everything the Germans had done.
Whereas, if they aren't equally ruthless, then "spontaneous leavings" would be A LOT MORE limited. So limited, in fact, that I doubt that even by TTL's present the regions would even come near to being as Frenchified as Alsace-Lorraine is IOTL.

Not saying it's implausible or anything. Just that it's not really an automatism at all...
Breslau was Germanys third biggest city in 1945 and a major industrial center now it is called Wroclaw and is in Poland and went from a 98% German population to a 1% German population. The reason the Western Allies couldn't get away with such behavior was the US and their anti-colonial sentiment. By getting rid of the US influence the resulting peace changes a lot. It was the US that blocked French proposals of having the border on the Rhine in 1918.
 
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If we’re going to seriously consider the possibility of France trying to annex the left bank of the Rhine, where are the Netherlands and Belgium during all this? There were proposals for them to annex German territory to make up for “war damages” as well, so I doubt they’d want to be left out of this bonanza. However, unlike France which could theoretically handle expelling and repopulating lands filled with hundreds of thousands of Germans, the Low Countries are decidedly not that powerful, from a pure population standpoint if nothing else. So if they’re not able to manage it, I doubt they’d want France getting “their” pieces of the Rhenish pie. It’s also worth noting that France wasn’t a monolith with universal support for territorial expansion at all costs, and it’s a lot different to revive Napoleon-era claims than it is to expel Germans from land that’s already within the borders of, say, Czechoslovakia. Overall, I don’t think this situation is any more plausible than it was IOTL.
 
I'm not sure I entirely agree with this point - annexing the Saar would be about moving the industries there to the French side of the ledger. I can see that being considered a boon even in the context of a total Franco-British occupation of Germany at large. The rest of Germany is still going to be unoccupied one day, and before then it's going to be an economic competitor to France.

Not that I think annexing the Saar is a no-brainer or guaranteed to happen. I also think that even if the French spring for the Saar, they'll never want to go for the West Bank. The former can probably be accepted by any German successor state, the latter is.... dicier.
@pdf27 In regards to the former industry of Germany. I was personally thinking that we might see some sort of autonomous zone in the Ruhr and Rhineland. So it would still be part of Germany and have German citizens, but become a demilitarised zone like after the first world war.

I am unsure which direction to suggest as my initial thought was a customs union with France for the Rhineland and Ruhr to therefore give economic benefits to the area and encourage the local populace to actively make the choice to trade with France. But I don't know how the Benelux countries would feel about that so perhaps economic treaties are better.

My thinking is that this time with the military defeat of Germany proper a demilitarised zone would be a lot more acceptable to the populace than in ww1. I would imagine that France would be unlikely to want to govern such a large foreign population that would likely turn hostile, giving them an autonomous area to separate them from the main German government, while still leaving them part of Germany would be a good compromise .

Therefore you leave the area as part of Germany so as to win some good will with the people but remove some of the direct influence from Berlin, Meanwhile French and Benelux benefit from the German industries by having influence within the trade and the local politics of the area, without having to man it with troops themselves or remove the population and fill it with loyal citizens.

Where this idea hits a problem is what the autonomous province of the Rhineland and Ruhr (? on name) would look like politically. Is it just a more autonomous German state or does it get treated like the Saar or does it become its own sort of small country.

These are just some ideas I had that might be able to solve the issues, because I just can only see trouble resulting if France actually annex's up to the Rhine.
 
I mean, I thought the entirety of Germany would be a "demilitarized zone," in that they would be under total Entente occupation and only be allowed minimal "self-defense forces" after a decade or so of reconstruction. Can't speak to the economic aspect of separating the Rhineland though.
 

HJ Tulp

Donor
If we’re going to seriously consider the possibility of France trying to annex the left bank of the Rhine, where are the Netherlands and Belgium during all this? There were proposals for them to annex German territory to make up for “war damages” as well, so I doubt they’d want to be left out of this bonanza. However, unlike France which could theoretically handle expelling and repopulating lands filled with hundreds of thousands of Germans, the Low Countries are decidedly not that powerful, from a pure population standpoint if nothing else. So if they’re not able to manage it, I doubt they’d want France getting “their” pieces of the Rhenish pie. It’s also worth noting that France wasn’t a monolith with universal support for territorial expansion at all costs, and it’s a lot different to revive Napoleon-era claims than it is to expel Germans from land that’s already within the borders of, say, Czechoslovakia. Overall, I don’t think this situation is any more plausible than it was IOTL.
I'm not sure the Benelux countries will really be as gun-ho for territorial expansion as you may think.

OTL the Netherlands did try to get pretty substantial territories after the war but now the situation is different. The richest part of the country was not occupied and that means far less destruction and anti-German feelings. Besides that the Dutch East Indies are still going strong so the financial position is much better. I can see some demands but mostly.in terms of border corrections.

Belgium faced much more destruction ATL than OTL and also has been hit by the Germans for the second time now. However, geographically there is not much room to expand though. If Belgium would want to expand anyway it would be North but that is out of the question of course.

The only answer is über-Luxembourg.
 
I'm not sure the Benelux countries will really be as gun-ho for territorial expansion as you may think.

OTL the Netherlands did try to get pretty substantial territories after the war but now the situation is different. The richest part of the country was not occupied and that means far less destruction and anti-German feelings. Besides that the Dutch East Indies are still going strong so the financial position is much better. I can see some demands but mostly.in terms of border corrections.

Belgium faced much more destruction ATL than OTL and also has been hit by the Germans for the second time now. However, geographically there is not much room to expand though. If Belgium would want to expand anyway it would be North but that is out of the question of course.

The only answer is über-Luxembourg.
I agree, the reason I brought it up is because they wouldn’t want France extending their territory all the way up the left bank of the Rhine. It’s not just Germany they have to deal with here, their neighbors to the north aren’t likely to be pleased with significant border changes either.
 
When it comes to France demanding the Rhine while it is true that might upset Belgium and the Netherlands. We are dealing with a situation where the Wilsonian experiment of how to deal with international issues i.e. The League of Nations and has failed miserably and is thoroughly discredited and the rest of the Western Allies aren't so beaten down and discredited that they can be browbeaten by the Americans into accepting a second go at it with the United Nations, thus the more traditional European approach as shown by things like the Congress of Vienna in splitting up Napoleans empire will be the more trusted model. Thus it probably would be a free for all and Germany a country that at this point been a united country for less than 80 years is fair game to rip apart as it has proven that it can't be trusted to be a member of the European family in the eyes of a vengeful continent. We also need to take into account that France and the UK are likely to be feeling a little overconfident after this win, while France will also be keenly aware of the population and economic disadvantages they have so partition of Germany and the reemergence of semi-independent states like Bavaria (a region that did declare independence from Germany briefly in 1919 before being crushed) as well as Northern German states like Saxony that as well as concessions regarding influence on these new states to other allies is an option. In this ITL France will think that they did the heavy lifting and that they are the leader of the alliance thus will be in a much stronger position at the negotiation table. We are also talking about states that have a much looser interpretation of democratic principles and concepts of human rights thus the concept of mass deportation of Germans is not an issue, and it may be seen that one of the big mistakes of Versailles was that when they did take land off Germany, for example, making Danzig an international city under Polish political control they didn't expel the local Germans and thus they were given the opportunity to cause trouble as that is the lesson the Poles and the Czechs applied in ITL as contrary to popular belief the expulsion of the Germans from the Sudentenland was nothing to do with the Soviets it was ordered by Edvard Benes and happened before the Soviet-backed Communist takeover of 1948 that swapped Czechoslovakia from being in the Western camp post WW2 to the Soviet sphere of influence.
 
When it comes to France demanding the Rhine while it is true that might upset Belgium and the Netherlands. We are dealing with a situation where the Wilsonian experiment of how to deal with international issues i.e. The League of Nations and has failed miserably and is thoroughly discredited and the rest of the Western Allies aren't so beaten down and discredited that they can be browbeaten by the Americans into accepting a second go at it with the United Nations, thus the more traditional European approach as shown by things like the Congress of Vienna in splitting up Napoleans empire will be the more trusted model. Thus it probably would be a free for all and Germany a country that at this point been a united country for less than 80 years is fair game to rip apart as it has proven that it can't be trusted to be a member of the European family in the eyes of a vengeful continent. We also need to take into account that France and the UK are likely to be feeling a little overconfident after this win, while France will also be keenly aware of the population and economic disadvantages they have so partition of Germany and the reemergence of semi-independent states like Bavaria (a region that did declare independence from Germany briefly in 1919 before being crushed) as well as Northern German states like Saxony that as well as concessions regarding influence on these new states to other allies is an option. In this ITL France will think that they did the heavy lifting and that they are the leader of the alliance thus will be in a much stronger position at the negotiation table. We are also talking about states that have a much looser interpretation of democratic principles and concepts of human rights thus the concept of mass deportation of Germans is not an issue, and it may be seen that one of the big mistakes of Versailles was that when they did take land off Germany, for example, making Danzig an international city under Polish political control they didn't expel the local Germans and thus they were given the opportunity to cause trouble as that is the lesson the Poles and the Czechs applied in ITL as contrary to popular belief the expulsion of the Germans from the Sudentenland was nothing to do with the Soviets it was ordered by Edvard Benes and happened before the Soviet-backed Communist takeover of 1948 that swapped Czechoslovakia from being in the Western camp post WW2 to the Soviet sphere of influence.
The Congress of Vienna was more than a hundred years ago at this point. While it's true that the League of Nations failed to stop German expansionism, that doesn't mean the automatic response by the Entente is to go "Hulk smash!!" on Germany as a unified nation. They're already going to be rebuilding the German political system from the ground up so they can erase "Prussian militarism" for good, which is more important than shrinking Germany's borders to look nice and digestible on a map. While the old German Empire was a rather disunified entity, the following decades of Weimar and Nazi rule solidified the concept of a singular German nationalism for most people living there. That doesn't mean regional identities are gone—the current system is a federal republic, after all—but splitting Germany up more than it was pre-WWII serves no purpose. If anything, it may be counterproductive, as a new "Prussia" could decide to unify the nation under its banner and leave the Entente with the same problems as before.
 
pdf has indicated that there will be a very close relationship between France and UK.
I doubt that UK would be happy with France suddenly extending its border up to the Rhine. There would certainly have to be a major quid pro quo for UK to go along with it.
Relations in the entente may be more than cordial right now, but UK would not accept being in a partnership with a much stronger France unless UK was also similarly strengthened.
 
pdf has indicated that there will be a very close relationship between France and UK.
I doubt that UK would be happy with France suddenly extending its border up to the Rhine. There would certainly have to be a major quid pro quo for UK to go along with it.
Relations in the entente may be more than cordial right now, but UK would not accept being in a partnership with a much stronger France unless UK was also similarly strengthened.

IMO, cooler heads in Paris would probably prevail - annexing huge parts of Germany is only likely to encourage a fourth war in a generation or two. A long occupation and a permanent demilitarized zone, maybe some minor border adjustments, but that's about all I see happening.
 
As i tried to say earlier the allies might take German patents and other IP as reparations as well take their ownership stakes in non- German business that Germany used to avoid the limits set up after the first world war.
 
The Congress of Vienna was more than a hundred years ago at this point. While it's true that the League of Nations failed to stop German expansionism, that doesn't mean the automatic response by the Entente is to go "Hulk smash!!" on Germany as a unified nation. They're already going to be rebuilding the German political system from the ground up so they can erase "Prussian militarism" for good, which is more important than shrinking Germany's borders to look nice and digestible on a map. While the old German Empire was a rather disunified entity, the following decades of Weimar and Nazi rule solidified the concept of a singular German nationalism for most people living there. That doesn't mean regional identities are gone—the current system is a federal republic, after all—but splitting Germany up more than it was pre-WWII serves no purpose. If anything, it may be counterproductive, as a new "Prussia" could decide to unify the nation under its banner and leave the Entente with the same problems as before.
it is not an automatic response but many portions of French politics will be demanding the partition of Germany and so will the UK. France opposed the unification of the allied occupied zones into West Germany in 1949 and it only happened due to threats of removing US support in Vietnam they were also against the reunification of Germany in 1989. The UK Government also opposed German reunification. Atlee was certainly in favour of partitioning Germany as was Eden. While some of the early drafts of the Morgenthau Plan included giving France the Rhineland,
 
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It should also be noted the Dutch did demand Cologne, Aachan, Munster, and Osnabruck, and many other areas that would have increased the size of the country by over 30% under the Bakker-Shutt Plan but the US vetoed it. The Dutch plan also involved the mass deportation of Germans and they did occupy large parts of West Germany up until the 1960s. Belgium and Luxemburg also had annexation plans for sections of Germany all of which were vetoed by the US as they wanted to build a strong West Germany as part of their plans to counter the Soviet Union. In this world, the Soviet threat is hundreds of miles further East with Poland being the front line. It is also much smaller and the US influence that put a dampener on most of the Western Allied plans is removed.
 
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It should also be noted in ITL the Dutch did demand Cologne, Aachan, Munster and Osnabruck under the Bakker-Shutt Plan but the US vetoed it
Yep no US to stop that here and well the British alone aren't enought to stop the others for grabing more german land. I don't see minor border change being realistic here. It's the third war in living memory with Germany for the french. Germany will always be a more immediate threat to France than the Soviet Union. There will be political pressure in Paris to get something out of the war. There is no US and USSR to keep Germany down. And I doubt even Britain would object after two major wars against Germany in less than a genertion. The french will certainly want their pound of flesh ou of the german corpse.
 
I wonder what the British would demand to be even if the other entente powers demand territory. Outright just taking German industry and tech experts en masse, Soviet-style?
 
Yep no US to stop that here and well the British alone aren't enought to stop the others for grabing more german land. I don't see minor border change being realistic here. It's the third war in living memory with Germany for the french. Germany will always be a more immediate threat to France than the Soviet Union. There will be political pressure in Paris to get something out of the war. There is no US and USSR to keep Germany down. And I doubt even Britain would object after two major wars against Germany in less than a genertion. The french will certainly want their pound of flesh ou of the german corpse.
The Author of the Dutch plan was on record as saying that even if the entire Rhur Valley was given to the Dutch wouldn't be enough to compensate them for what the Germans did. One of the key supporters of the Dutch plan was Queen Wilhelmina
 
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The League of Nations and has failed miserably and is thoroughly discredited and the rest of the Western Allies aren't so beaten down and discredited that they can be browbeaten by the Americans into accepting a second go at it with the United Nations, thus the more traditional European approach as shown by things like the Congress of Vienna in splitting up Napoleans empire will be the more trusted model.

I think that might be a bit bold as Versailles was itself a Conference that was akin to the Congress of Vienna. While the League failed to maintain the peace it wasn't the league that created the Treaty of Versailles or its provisions that both TTL's will be considered to have failed.

I would is that a long term term occupation of Germany is the main takeaway on solutions since one of the notable problems with Versailles was a lack of enforcement mechanisms. Though with some emphasis on there can never again be divisions between the UK and France. As while appeasement isn't as discredited as OTL many will criticise the fact the Nazis/Germans were able to plays off divisions between Europe's two main powers.

For that purposes I would argue a more limited League that is only made up of the Entente and its allies might be seen as the best solutions. It is a new from of internationalism but more coherent than the old League and the UN would be.

it is not an automatic response but many portions of French politics will be demanding the partition of Germany and so will the UK. France opposed the unification of the allied occupied zones into West Germany in 1949 and it only happened due to threats of removing US support in Vietnam they were also against the reunification of Germany in 1989. The UK Government also opposed German reunification. Atlee was certainly in favour of partitioning Germany as was Eden. While some of the early drafts of the Morgenthau Plan included giving France the Rhineland,

I would argue that the emphasis on zone merger or the lack of it seems a bit misplaced since it does not seem there will be any substantive difference in how the British and French (and thus presumably the other powers) treat their occupation zones TTL.

Since the Nazi's/Germans exploitation of Anlgo - French divisions will be seen as a failure within the Entente it would be expected that that would requires a unified policy even without the merger of the different zones. Since the main reason for the US pushing for a merger of the different zones OTL was for united policy that is not necessary required thus would not impact on how Germany functions as a nation state.

Expanding on that point, considering that the Entente are going to effectively be the military of Germany in a 'permanent' occupation/placement of troops does it make sense for them to split up Germany and thus be the military for multiple nations as opposed to one nation? The point of dividing Germany would be to military weakening it (or the newly emerged nations) but giving it a Japanese style constitution with permeant placement of troops on its soil would do that already.

And something to be noted about OTL and TTL is that Berlin will be divided between different nations states. While some nations may have talked up partition plans OTL there would have been a merger of Berlin at some point. But with troops effectively never leaving Germany is there actually a need to?
 
I think that might be a bit bold as Versailles was itself a Conference that was akin to the Congress of Vienna. While the League failed to maintain the peace it wasn't the league that created the Treaty of Versailles or its provisions that both TTL's will be considered to have failed.

I would is that a long term term occupation of Germany is the main takeaway on solutions since one of the notable problems with Versailles was a lack of enforcement mechanisms. Though with some emphasis on there can never again be divisions between the UK and France. As while appeasement isn't as discredited as OTL many will criticise the fact the Nazis/Germans were able to plays off divisions between Europe's two main powers.

For that purposes I would argue a more limited League that is only made up of the Entente and its allies might be seen as the best solutions. It is a new from of internationalism but more coherent than the old League and the UN would be.



I would argue that the emphasis on zone merger or the lack of it seems a bit misplaced since it does not seem there will be any substantive difference in how the British and French (and thus presumably the other powers) treat their occupation zones TTL.

Since the Nazi's/Germans exploitation of Anlgo - French divisions will be seen as a failure within the Entente it would be expected that that would requires a unified policy even without the merger of the different zones. Since the main reason for the US pushing for a merger of the different zones OTL was for united policy that is not necessary required thus would not impact on how Germany functions as a nation state.

Expanding on that point, considering that the Entente are going to effectively be the military of Germany in a 'permanent' occupation/placement of troops does it make sense for them to split up Germany and thus be the military for multiple nations as opposed to one nation? The point of dividing Germany would be to military weakening it (or the newly emerged nations) but giving it a Japanese style constitution with permeant placement of troops on its soil would do that already.

And something to be noted about OTL and TTL is that Berlin will be divided between different nations states. While some nations may have talked up partition plans OTL there would have been a merger of Berlin at some point. But with troops effectively never leaving Germany is there actually a need to?
whilst to a modern mindset that would make sense, we have to think more as they would. In an emotionally charged and somewhat irrational way and following the long traditions of European treaties ranging back to the Treaty of Westphalia we also have to look at the vengeful ideas such as the Dutch demands that did happen and think about what would have happened without the imminent soviet threat and US influence dampening those fires. Yes, it would have almost certainly resulted in another war 30-40 years later but in this world, at the moment the idea of nuclear annihilation and the fear of war created by the Cold war doesn't exist too anywhere near the same extent. On top of that this war is much smaller and less destructive than WW1 and more in line with earlier conflicts thus the lessons of how terrible modern war are much less pronounced and people may jump to the wrong conclusions leading to the idea not too dissimilar to nowadays about having wars of choice and how technology such as smart bombs will make wars quicker and cleaner in the future so it is not going to be considered anywhere near as scary a proposition that may backfire horrifically into a much larger conflict in the 1970s-80s.
 
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it is not an automatic response but many portions of French politics will be demanding the partition of Germany and so will the UK. France opposed the unification of the allied occupied zones into West Germany in 1949 and it only happened due to threats of removing US support in Vietnam they were also against the reunification of Germany in 1989. The UK Government also opposed German reunification. Atlee was certainly in favour of partitioning Germany as was Eden. While some of the early drafts of the Morgenthau Plan included giving France the Rhineland,
It should also be noted the Dutch did demand Cologne, Aachan, Munster, and Osnabruck, and many other areas that would have increased the size of the country by over 30% under the Bakker-Shutt Plan but the US vetoed it. The Dutch plan also involved the mass deportation of Germans and they did occupy large parts of West Germany up until the 1960s. Belgium and Luxemburg also had annexation plans for sections of Germany all of which were vetoed by the US as they wanted to build a strong West Germany as part of their plans to counter the Soviet Union. In this world, the Soviet threat is hundreds of miles further East with Poland being the front line. It is also much smaller and the US influence that put a dampener on most of the Western Allied plans is removed.
Yep no US to stop that here and well the British alone aren't enought to stop the others for grabing more german land. I don't see minor border change being realistic here. It's the third war in living memory with Germany for the french. Germany will always be a more immediate threat to France than the Soviet Union. There will be political pressure in Paris to get something out of the war. There is no US and USSR to keep Germany down. And I doubt even Britain would object after two major wars against Germany in less than a genertion. The french will certainly want their pound of flesh ou of the german corpse.
They’re already getting plenty out of the war, they have full control over Germany and will no doubt dismantle its military capabilities and strip down its surviving industrial infrastructure to replace what was destroyed in their own countries. Annexing the left bank of the Rhine doesn’t magically make Germany any less of a threat in the long term.

Also, it’s worth noting that the French, Belgian, and Dutch governments ITTL managed to hold off Germany rather than being pushed off the continent (even if it was only a toehold in Belgium’s case). This means that those nations have suffered less and there isn’t as much agitation by figures like De Gaulle for “reclaiming national honor.”
The Author of the Dutch plan was on record as saying that even if the entire Rhur Valley was given to the Dutch wouldn't be enough to compensate them for what the Germans did. One of the key supporters of the Dutch plan was Queen Wilhelmina
Case in point. "What the Germans did" doesn't amount to as much ITTL since the Dutch were able to retreat behind the Water Line, so this doesn't necessarily apply here.
 
whilst to a modern mindset that would make sense, we have to think more like they would in an emotionally charged and somewhat irrational way and follow the long traditions of European treaties ranging back to the Treaty of Westphalia we also have to look at the vengeful ideas such as the Dutch demands that did happen and think what would have happened without the imminent soviet threat and US influence dampening those fires. Yes, it would have almost certainly resulted in another war 30-40 years later but in this world, at the moment the idea of nuclear annihilation and the fear of war created by the Cold war doesn't exist to anywhere near the same extent.
Westphalia is even further back than Vienna was, so again, how are these old treaties relevant to the 20th century? Also, this dreaded US influence that stopped France and the Low Countries from putting these schemes into motion was also what allowed their economies to bounce back so quickly after the war. Consider that annexing these regions from Germany means that they'd be on the hook for rebuilding damaged infrastructure when they've already got their hands full repairing their own. And that's without taking into account the population transfers needed to make these regions productive again.
 
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