Easiest POD to produce a Central Powers victory in WW1?

Bomster

Gone Fishin'
What is the easiest plausible POD (preferably post-1917) that allows the Central Powers to either win the Great War or at the very least force the Entente to the negotiating table? One POD I've thought of is an Italian defeat at Monte Grappa, allowing Austro-German forces to cross the Piave and take Venice, forcing Italy out of the war by early 1918, perhaps freeing up some extra supplies, manpower, and support for the Spring Offensive, just enough to allow the Germans to cut off Entente supply lines through either taking a Channel port like Dunkirk or taking Amiens. However, would Italy being knocked out of the war really produce any difference in the long run? Was the Spring Offensive doomed from the start?
 
Germany wins First Battle of The Marne and race to the Sea.
It won't end war by itself, but it will make France quit somewhere in 1915, because most likely Germans will control Channel Ports and Paris.
 
Id say a Russia first Strategy. Stay defensive on the Western front with as few troops as possible. and have Germany, Austria and the Ottomans plan joint Offensives against Russia in 14 and 15. Also have the German High Sea Fleet hit the Kronstadt and bombard St. Petersburg into submission. Then turn around and hit France with everything in 1916.

Said Strategy probably keeps Great Britain, Italy, and Greece out of the war as well since Belgian neutrality is respected, there is no unrestricted sub warfare, and neutrals wouldn't want to join the side of the losing Russians.

Germany wins First Battle of The Marne and race to the Sea.
It won't end war by itself, but it will make France quit somewhere in 1915, because most likely Germans will control Channel Ports and Paris.

How possible is it for the Germans to take the Channel ports before the British and French get there first?
 
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Monte Grappa was certainly winnable, but it wouldn't do much to improve Germany's prospects in the West. Also, I'm not sure if the Italian leadership would give up with the loss of Venice, though desertions would tick up even more than the extremely high rate the Italian army had. Austria is still in a precarious internal situation at this point too, so they are a non-starter at this point.

The Kaiserschlacht could have been more successful, however. If Operation Michael had been focused on taking Amiens from the start, it was tenable. If the railways at Amiens are taken, there's a chance the British evacuate across the channel to evade a German capture, as they will have been split off from the French forces and nearly half of their supplies. If the British do evacuate, the Germans have until July to take Paris or the American presence will become insurmountable. Georgette would go as planned, but face more success as the British retreat and cross the channel. By the time of Blucher, Germany should have extra reserves to dedicate to the offensive. Germany will maybe be able to take Paris at this point, depending on the state of their shocktroopers. Taking Paris will lead to a French surrender, since Paris is an important strategic position, Germany would have nearly all the french industry, and the symbolic loss of Paris would defeat French morale. American soldiers would evacuate to Britian. Even if the French government decided to fight, the french soldiers would start a mutiny much like the German Navy did, and the war would effectively end.

If the British don't decide to evacuate, Germany's chances are slightly better than OTL but they still may lose. Germany would have to have a full Operation George, which I'm not sure is possible, to capture the British armies north of Amiens. Assuming this is impossible, they would have to scare the British into evacuating. If the British yet again don't evacuate - operation Blucher probably stalls just outside of Paris and the Germans lose - but the extra manpower freed up by the weakened British forces could lead to a victory - this is not impossible but not likely, perhaps 40/60 odds against Germany's favor.
 
Classics, no US entry.

It would be easy to do with worse Brusilov Offensive for Germany initially, but then is stopped anyway. Say pair of old Prussians fuck up and are sacked and sent into a retirement. On 2nd of January 1917, head of OKW is Falkenhayn and General Quartermaster is Mad Hoffmann. Falkenhayn opposed USW as he believed that there is no need to poke Us with needle.
USW vote on Crown Council fails thanking to Chancellor Betmann Hollweig and 2 aforementioned persons.

From here, Entente has 2 cases.
Best : October Revolution doesnt happen, or fails, PG stays in power Italy collapses after Caporetto, while Kerensky quits in January of 1918. War ends in January 1918 , with Entente having to cede Belgium, and Russia ceding @Kaiserboi version of Brest Litovsk territory. Bulgaria gets Macedonia and Dobruja, and Entente gets Ottoman Empire remnants as consolation prize.
Worst: UK starts to almost literally cannibalize it's own Empire to keep allies afloat. Italy BARELY holds after Caporetto, Russia goes as OTL, and come Spring-Summer 1918, remaining Western Entente members are swept by tidal wave of German offensives.
It all ends then somewhere in 1918, with Germany taking Belgium, probably adding to puppet belgium state Lille and Pas-De-Calais departments, taking from Belgium lands to Meuse, and annexing Nancy depratment from France outright. On the East full 100% Brest Litovsk Treaty would come to life.
Bulgaria gets everything they wanted, and Entente gets Ottoman Empire remnants as consolation prize
 
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Id say a Russia first Strategy. Stay defensive on the Western front with as few troops as possible. and have Germany, Austria and the Ottomans plan joint Offensives against Russia in 14 and 15. Also have the German High Sea Fleet hit the Kronstadt and bombard St. Petersburg into submission. Then turn around and hit France with everything in 1916.

Said Strategy probably keeps Great Britain, Italy, and Greece out of the war as well since Belgian neutrality is respected, there is no unrestricted sub warfare, and neutrals wouldn't want to join the side of the losing Russians.



How possible is it for the Germans to take the Channel ports before the British and French get there first?
No, the British were debating and increasingly in favor of involvement before Belgium is even violated. The naval build up Germany had embarked on essentially ensures British involvement. Italy is also looking to join, they waited until 1915 to court the best offer and get the public opinion high enough. As for Greece, the same factors that led to them joining in OTL will happen in a Russia first scenario.
 
No, the British were debating and increasingly in favor of involvement before Belgium is even violated. The naval build up Germany had embarked on essentially ensures British involvement. Italy is also looking to join, they waited until 1915 to court the best offer and get the public opinion high enough. As for Greece, the same factors that led to them joining in OTL will happen in a Russia first scenario.
In a scenario where Russia is doing worse than otl, Italy would more likely take the Central Powers deal over the Entente if they were to join. The Greek monarchy would have far more political support than the prime minister if the Central Powers are doing better. Great Britain might still join but even then if Russia gets knocked out a year and a half earlier, it doesn't really matter.
 
In a scenario where Russia is doing worse than otl, Italy would more likely take the Central Powers deal over the Entente if they were to join. The Greek monarchy would have far more political support than the prime minister if the Central Powers are doing better. Great Britain might still join but even then if Russia gets knocked out a year and a half earlier, it doesn't really matter.
Russia's not going to being doing much worse than otl in this scenario early on- Germany will still need a force on the French frontier, which will no doubt be facing strong offensives during the entire Eastern campaign. Germany will not lose land in east prussia at first, but the russians will still make gains into Austria (which will still be struggling against Serbia in this scenario). Germany will still have to reinforce the Austrian lines and will not be able to make major advances until late spring early summer 1915. At this point they have probably lost some land in the west until trench warfare goes into effect somewhere before the rhine.
To Italy, the allied position is even stronger than in OTL, they only care about making gains in Austria, and with Serbia and Russian fronts not going great for Austria, Italy will be easily brought to Entente side. The Central Powers were offering Italy a lot less than the Entente (who reneged in OTL due to Wilson and the 14 points.
Greek monarchy won't have political support to join CP when Megali Greek ideas are running rampant and Ottoman are still on CP side.
GB will 100% join, by the end of August 1914 at the very least.

Russia also will not be knocked out "a year and a half earlier" - the conditions that led to the Revolution aren't going to be as bad in mid-1915 even if Germany has been making more gains in the east. Russia was still fighting all the way until the October Revolution in OTL. So, yes Russia's outlook might be slightly worse - but without a radical revolution and peasant revolt they will be able to hold out.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
You need to remove one of Russia, France & Britain from the War in August 1914.

If Russia isn't involved, there is no war, so we can rule that out.

Britain - more possible but been debated to death on this forum.

Now, can France detach herself from her Russian alliance, perhaps claiming Russian aggression against Austria-Hungary makes the invoking the alliance invalid? I don't think they can without dire prospects for their future. Let's say France declares struct neutrality and does not mobilize. Will Germany still demand Verdun & Toul as guarantors of neutrality? This would guarantee the lynching of French ministers, even if they could get away with staying neutral. And would France be trusted in the diplomatic world for at least a decade or so?

While I don't think this option would or could be selected, I wonder if the French people in 1919 would accept what has happened or wish the country had stayed out in 1914?
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
On diplomacy, I observe that Germany was generally regarded as trustworthy, despite managing to have a three-way alliance with Russia & Austria-Hungary, then an alliance aimed at Russia with A-H, followed by the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia. Perhaps only Bismarck could carry this off, but despite the dropping of the pilot in 1890 and the haphazard, mercurial foreign policy of Wilhelm II, Germany was not seen as unreliable. Could the French equivalent of realpolitik be accepted with a shrug of the shoulders by anyone outside Russia?
 
Classics, no US entry.

It would be easy to do with worse Brusilov Offensive for Germany initially, but then is stopped anyway. Say pair of old Prussians fuck up and are sacked and sent into a retirement. On 2nd of January 1917, head of OKW is Falkenhayn and General Quartermaster is Mad Hoffmann. Falkenhayn opposed USW as he believed that there is no need to poke Us with needle.
USW vote on Crown Council fails thanking to Chancellor Betmann Hollweig and 2 aforementioned persons.

From here, Entente has 2 cases.
Best : October Revolution doesnt happen, or fails, PG stays in power Italy collapses after Caporetto, while Kerensky quits in January of 1918. War ends in January 1918 , with Entente having to cede Belgium, and Russia ceding @Kaiserboi version of Brest Litovsk territory. Bulgaria gets Macedonia and Dobruja, and Entente gets Ottoman Empire remnants as consolation prize.
Worst: UK starts to almost literally cannibalize it's own Empire to keep allies afloat. Italy BARELY holds after Caporetto, Russia goes as OTL, and come Spring-Summer 1918, remaining Western Entente members are swept by tidal wave of German offensives.
It all ends then somewhere in 1918, with Germany taking Belgium, probably adding to puppet belgium state Lille and Pas-De-Calais departments, taking from Belgium lands to Meuse, and annexing Nancy depratment from France outright. On the East full 100% Brest Litovsk Treaty would come to life.
Bulgaria gets everything they wanted, and Entente gets Ottoman Empire remnants as consolation prize
Lmao no US entry isn’t a war winner in itself to the Central Power Entente have still largely the capacity to win by themselves . Can’t help but fell the Entente resilience and capacity in the war are massively underestimated and theUS overestimated
 

David Flin

Gone Fishin'
Post 1917? Once one gets into 1918, the writing is on the wall for Germany. Starvation and malnutrition is endemic; the home front is a mass of unrest. The Navy is host to major discontent. The Army has divisions (basically, everyone hates the Prussians. One only has to read issues of Die Sappe to appreciate just how much the Saxons and Bavarians and so on hated the Prussians). Things are only going to get worse.

For the asked for post 1917 POD, one is struggling.

Essentially, Germany wins early, or it doesn't win. That is, of course, an over simplification, but the longer the war goes on, the more the odds shift towards the Entente.
 
Lmao no US entry isn’t a war winner in itself to the Central Power Entente have still largely the capacity to win by themselves . Can’t help but fell the Entente resilience and capacity in the war are massively underestimated and theUS overestimated
I beg to differ.
For example, US loaned over 7Bn$ at the exchange rate of 1914, out of total 15Bn$ loaned by Entente. 2 out of 7 billions were loaned as a secured loans, before April, 1917. In February, 1917 Wall St. signalled to London that NO LOANS would be made post-May 1917, as Britain ran out of dollar reserve to pay out any kind of unsecured loans. The game changer was US entry, and even then Wilson spent 3 months, reassuring banks to continue issuing loans as US and UK became allies.

If there is no US entry, then probably in the summer of 1917 US banks will start seizing UK/France/Italy/Russia stocks/bonds/property, etc. worth 2Bn$. in US territory.
See? Entente loses 2Bn$ worth, and never receives another 5-6Bn$. That's literally a half of all borrowed money, and 10% of what UK itself spent on the whole war!
More so, Entente(except Russia) spent 110Bn$ on WW1,out of which UK was the largest contributor, with 45Bn$ spent, with US following with it's own 35Bn$. Russia spent around 30Bn$
Central Powers spent 60Bn$, with Germany being the most notable, with 45Bn$
Take out US, take out US-affilated loans, and Entente get its war funding cut almost in third, down to 70 or so Bn$.
Congratulations! Now try to win the war ala 1918 Hudred Days style without 60% of iron, 35-40% of money, 75% of oil, etc....
My sources

 
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Aphrodite

Banned
You need to remove one of Russia, France & Britain from the War in August 1914.

If Russia isn't involved, there is no war, so we can rule that out.

Britain - more possible but been debated to death on this forum.

Now, can France detach herself from her Russian alliance, perhaps claiming Russian aggression against Austria-Hungary makes the invoking the alliance invalid? I don't think they can without dire prospects for their future. Let's say France declares struct neutrality and does not mobilize. Will Germany still demand Verdun & Toul as guarantors of neutrality? This would guarantee the lynching of French ministers, even if they could get away with staying neutral. And would France be trusted in the diplomatic world for at least a decade or so?

While I don't think this option would or could be selected, I wonder if the French people in 1919 would accept what has happened or wish the country had stayed out in 1914?
France is not an option. :

Instructions to the German ambassador in Paris:

You are to inquire if the French would like to be neutral in the upcoming struggle.

If the answer is yes, then you are to inform them that we require they turn over Toul and Verdun as a guarantee.

Don't see that one happening
 
Simple answer - Germany has a slightly better relationship with the UK and does not engage in a Battleship race with the UK to the point where Britain feels less threatened

Entente not so Cordiale between Britain and France in the 1900s results in a slightly worse

Britain stays on the side-line with Germany going Russia First and not realising a train timetable enthusiasts wet dream by invading France via Belgium.

Russia suffers Tannenberg writ large but the AH does not suffer to the south as OTL due to the earlier losses in the north and instead mutually grids each other down

Russia, after several more heavy losses which exhaust her reserves and nearly all of her Artillery ammunition and the entry of the Ottoman Empire sues for peace after the initial French offensives in Alsace Lorraine fail with heavy losses to force Germany to switch forces back to the Western Front.

With the Russian Front contained, France realising that she alone cannot fight both Germany and the AH (and possibly Italy which might have jumped the other way) also agrees to an armistice.

And so the Great war ends and everyone is home by Christmas.

Except those who died of course.
 

Aphrodite

Banned
The only post 1917 departure would be American accepting unrestricted submarine warfare. It's possible but a longshot
 
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