September 1939: has Germany lost the war already?

Germany in 1939 relied on sea trade for many essential war supplies. Oil had to be imported from the US and other countries by ship. Germany was also not self-sufficient in food supplies and other goods.

Britain's declaration of war against Germany in September 1939 meant that Germany was blockaded by the Royal Navy. There was no realistic prospect of challenging the Royal Navy in open battle, and Germany could not break the blockade. Germany's pre-war stockpile of oil was diminishing. The only remaining major market open to Germany was the USSR.

It was this situation that prompted Hitler to invade the USSR. Germany was completely reliant on Soviet supplies of oil and other essentials due to the blockade. This put Stalin in a position where he could potentially cripple Germany simply by shutting off supply lines. To Hitler, this was an unacceptable risk. By the time Barbarossa was launched in June 1941, it was estimated that Germany had sufficient oil reserves to continue the war for three months.

Conquest in France and the USSR combined with synthetic oil production and an all out extraction of oil from Romania allowed Germany to drag out the war for longer, but there was never enough oil. It is the reason why in 1942 Germany did not attempt to take Moscow but instead launched Fall Blau towards Stalingrad and the oil fields of the Caucasus. And it is one of the main reasons why the sixth army could not be supplied at Stalingrad.

Did Germany lose the war in September 1939, by getting into a war against Britain which Germany could not win? It seems to me that every step of the war from here on (war against USSR, declaring war on the USA) stems from the original miscalculation in September 1939.

What do you think? Was Germany's defeat inevitable from the start?
 
No, after winning in France the following year they could've prevailed had they avoided taking on the USSR and US. It wasn't necessary to invade the USSR to obtain raw materials. According to Dallin, German Rule in Russia 1941-44, Germany could've gotten more from Russia in normal trade.
 
Yes. Unless the UK gives up and sues for peace Germany is done for.

1) Germany is unable to crush the UK either through air or sea.

2) Submarine warfare had no realistic chance of starving UK unless Royal Navy is phenomenally incompetent

3) Royal Navy had capahility to maintain sea blockade indefinitely

4) As long as sea blockade is in effect USSR has a staranglehold on Germanys ability to wage war and showdown with Russia had to com eventually. Summer of 41 was the abssolute deadline for attacking in the east after that Germany is unqble to wage offensive war anymore.
 
A very easy way to defeat the UK is with chemical weapons.

To defeat the USSR. After the fall of France.

1. Allying them temporarily would be helpful.
2. Make the British surrender.
3. Dont just build 1 tabun factory.
4. Relocate the British armament factories to Germany.

The Nazis ideally should have 10 tabun factories before war with the USSR along the lines of the one they built OTL. They can also build the 1945 sarin factories when it comes time.

Even still I dont expect the Red Army casualties to be so signifcant as to wipe out Soviet manpower.

However, it could make it impossible for the Red Army to stand up to the Wehrmacht ITTL militarily. Even with the Nazis having posponed the war. Like what happened to the Iranians in the Iran Iraq war except the Iranians had more modern protection from nerve gas than would the Red Army. And the Nazis may also wait long enough for other game changers like jet aircraft to come into effect.

However Hitler would never have done this.

If Hitler died. The next German leadership likely wouldnt either. At least not in total. I wouldnt rule out chemical weapons use but more likely they may be able to just wait it out with the British and call it a draw with them. War with the USSR is avoidable. As is war with the US if Germany avoids causing an incident with their submarines.
 
A very easy way to defeat the UK is with chemical weapons.

"Mustard Gas of two types, H.T. or Runcol and H.S. or Pyro, was manufactured in huge quantities at I.C.I.'s Randle Works near Runcorn and the nearby Rocksavage Works made Chlorine and Phosgene for use as war gases. The I.C.I. works at Springfields near Preston also made Lewisite, which was similar in its effects to Mustard Gas but included arsenic. Poison Gases were stored at five Forward Filling Depots at key points for use by Bomber Command and in smaller quantities at many more airfields for use against the beaches. The Forward Filling Depot serving the Bomber Command Airfields in Yorkshire was at West Cottingwith, eight miles south-east of York. It has been suggested that Churchill would have authorized the use of chemical weapons against German cities if the Germans used it first or if there was a successful landing on our shores."
https://web.archive.org/web/20060806075839/http://www.bpears.org.uk/Misc/War_NE/w_section_05.html
 
As for OP: yes.
The historical German diceroll at Battle of France was far from certain to succeed, and even then merely delayed the inevitable.
 
"Mustard Gas of two types, H.T. or Runcol and H.S. or Pyro, was manufactured in huge quantities at I.C.I.'s Randle Works near Runcorn and the nearby Rocksavage Works made Chlorine and Phosgene for use as war gases. The I.C.I. works at Springfields near Preston also made Lewisite, which was similar in its effects to Mustard Gas but included arsenic. Poison Gases were stored at five Forward Filling Depots at key points for use by Bomber Command and in smaller quantities at many more airfields for use against the beaches. The Forward Filling Depot serving the Bomber Command Airfields in Yorkshire was at West Cottingwith, eight miles south-east of York. It has been suggested that Churchill would have authorized the use of chemical weapons against German cities if the Germans used it first or if there was a successful landing on our shores."
https://web.archive.org/web/20060806075839/http://www.bpears.org.uk/Misc/War_NE/w_section_05.html

Eh your point to me is to point out the British have mustard gas. Yes in truth it would be nasty for both sides. But. And this is the thing.

Look at chemical weapons used against civilians in the Mid East to draw the appropriate conclusions. One of the rare instances chemicl weapons have been used in this manner

WWI vintage gasses (like chlorine) cause causalties they cause deaths. However you can tell which attacks are say chlorine or sarin. Sarin leaves a higher death toll.

Granted tabun is well less lethal but it counts more in a chemical weapona attack than do the WWI gasses.

Besides, the Nazis produced around 10,000 tons of tabun during the war.

If that were sarin instead. It is well know what that amount can do.

It wouldnt even take 1000 tons of sarin before the British would be begging to surrender. Even the Japanese wouls break at a couple thousand tons of sarin.

Tabun is regarded as being some 4x less effective than sarin.

I still think the Nazis had more than enough in spite of this.

Mustard gas would however inflict lots of casualties. Just I wouldnt expect many to die relatively speaking.

Also. It is preferable to be wounded--not killed-- by mustard gas rather than nerve gas i think

How is the UK easily defeated and what stops the RAF's bombers from doing the exact same to Germany?

Nerve gas dropped on British cities. That is what is meant by easily defeated.

The RAF is stopped from doing the exact same by the fact that they dont have nerve gas.

As long as the Nazis can drop even a fraction of their tabun stockpile on the British. They win. As the casualties would be insurmountable.

In truth. Even if the British dumped their entire end of war OTL chemical weapon stockpile on Germany. Germany may be able to take it. WWI gas just isnt good at outright killing.

Also. Germany is able to produce WWI gases as well. It seems they outproduce the British even based in the end of war stockpiles for both countries.

Nerve gas is considerably more powerfully deadly than convwntional bombing. The British would be forced to surrender... It is a matter of casualtu figures and how much the tabun would produce.

Also. Notice that I pointed out the Nazis may build multiple tabun factories. Not just one.

And once they hit 1945. They can start building the sarin factories like OTL.
 
Look up Operation Vegetarian for what Britain does in return.

By 1944 when Vegetarian is ready the British will already have surrendered.

They wont do bio unless the Germans do first for fear of reprisal. They know that anthrax can contaminate say London from their own experiments. Well known they intended it as a response to bio not chemical.

Vegetetarian was a sham. It wouldnt have remotely brought about a Nazi surrender. It may kill a few cattle thats it.

The Nazis may not even notice.
 
By 1944 when Vegetarian is ready the British will already have surrendered.

They wont do bio unless the Germans do first for fear of reprisal. They know that anthrax can contaminate say London from their own experiments. Well known they intended it as a response to bio not chemical.

Vegetetarian was a sham. It wouldnt have remotely brought about a Nazi surrender. It may kill a few cattle thats it.

The Nazis may not even notice.
1- Why ? If the German use chem weapons against population, the british retaliates. And the British were OTL already preparing their population in case of such attacks by distributing gas mask, I dont know if the German had similar programs.
So maybe the German chem attack would be of declining effect while the British counter-attack could be devastating.
2- Who knows if in the midst of this chemical warfare the German dont decide to throw bio attacks to gain upper hand.
3- Killing almost all the german cattle and millions of citizen directly, leaving the rest with the threat of starvation is not what I would call a sham. 5 millions of anthrax laced cake were ready at the end of WW2 (and were thanksfully destroyed).
Dont worry, the nazi woulld notice
 
Nerve gas dropped on British cities. That is what is meant by easily defeated.

When does Germany have a large enough stock of nerve agent (not generally gas - Sarin isn't) to be able to attack the UK in such a way, when does the Luftwaffe have a large enough stock of suitable munitions and do those two dates come before or after the Luftwaffe is defeated by the RAF, forced to use night raids and then ultimately has to move their bomber force east for the invasion of the USSR?

It's just that according to Wiki the large scale factory for Sarin wasn't even completed by the end of the war and the Tabun factory was only completed in 1942. Both come far too late to be any use against the UK in mass raids because the bombers would be slaughtered either by day or night.
 
Taking on Britain and France looks better than it was because the Germans rolled a series of "6s" in the Spring of 1940. One criticism I have of the Blunted Sickel timeline is that I think otherwise the Hitler regime would have collapsed much quicker.

However, if you assume the Fall of France they have options. I'll list the most realistic:

1. Declare victory. This is a long term peace with France where the Germans take back Alsace, get use of French ports, and can occupy the Pas de Calais as long as Britain in the war, plus some of the looting they did IOTL (the Nazi economy depended on looting), but otherwise the French are left alone and remain fully sovereign except for the Pas de Calais area. No occupation anywhere else, and French attempts to defend its colonial empire are backed by Berlin,including against Japan. This really limits the invasion option of the UK -and also the USA- unless either country declares was on France in which case you get France as an ally. There is no need to go to a war economy because there is not much of a war. It would be no more difficult to trade with the USSR than it would be during peacetime. Germany gains Eastern Europe, the Low Countries, and Scandinavia as its sphere of influence. If Mussolini wants to go to war with the British in the Mediterranean in this scenario he is told he will be on his own. IOTL they got too greedy and occupied too much of France, and Hitler helped Mussolini more than he should have.

2. Pretty much the historical Axis strategy, just during Barbarossa prioritize both taking Moscow and in collapsing the USSR instead of grabbing resource rich areas. This also means prioritizing getting Russians to collaborate over looting and turning them into slaves. After the USSR collapses you can switch gears and start the exploitation.

3. The historical Axis strategy, but this time Moscow is ruled out firmly from the start and no Typhoon. This probably allows a better performance against the December counter-attack and they probably hold onto Rostov. No attempt to take Leningrad but cutting the Artic lend lease route is made more of a priority. This may butterfly the December 1941 declaration of war on the USA because I suspect this was a "f--- it, we are going to lose anyway, we might as well go down in style move". In this timeline the Nazis are still executing their game plan and they try to wait to take on the Americans. This could butterfly into a better 1942 situation, they can start Fall Blau earlier and with more focus. However, without a threat to Moscow, Stalin and STAVKA will reinforce areas they left lightly defended historically.

4. The wildcard scenario, shock 1941 invasion of Turkey. The Red Army is still too weak for Stalin to do anything about it except for taking part of Turkey himself. The British can't do anything more about it than they could over Greece. The Turks might put up a tough flight, but if you can pull it off I think Turkey has tungsten, plus the German army now has a route to the Middle East oilfields that it can actually support logistically, and is that much closer to the Caucasus oilfields. This makes up for the Red Army being much stronger in 1942.

My take is that the overall Nazi strategy was to build a continental European empire before either the USSR and USA really could or move to block it. This wasn't impossible, but the sort of situation where pretty much everything had to go right for it to succeed.
 
One issue that hangs overall all World War 2 discussions is that Hitler, with reason, thought he didn't have that long to live, didn't really care what happened afterwards, so his thinking was extremely short term. The scenarios I posted above all require too much of a long term focus.
 
To answer the original question, Germany was in a very bad position in 1939. It faced two great powers with significant financial and industrial resources with the rest of the world to draw on for supplies. Only a brilliant and very close/lucky campaign in the France 1940 gave the Germans any chance of victory. However this chance relies on th UK throwing in the towel. In reality the British where still confident of victory even in the darkest hours of 1940 as they could blockade Germany indefinitely so that sooner or later the Germany economy would grind to a halt. Admittedly it took much longer than expected due to the Germans looting occupied Europe and using large amounts of slave labour to compensate for internal weaknesses.

This thread seems to have gone off in a cloud of poison gas.

Most civilians in Europe in the run up to war where issued with gas masks. Although these where of much poorer quality to the protection supplied to the military. How good this protection was would not necessarily be known to their opponents so the effects of gasses on civilian populations would be pure conjecture on the part of the experts advising leaders. It's fine to say by dropping X amount of this we would kill Y amount of people. Only by testing it in the field is going to prove how effective each substance really is.

Also every power was doing at the very least some research on more leathal chemical/biological weapons in the run up and during the war and nobody really knew how advanced their opponents programs where. Therefore the scientists form one state might have cooked up something really nasty, however there's no guarantee that the openings scientists haven't got something nastier and in greater quantities. So at the end of the day the war might be won but then it might also lead to ultimate defeat and really is it worth the risk. OTL Hitler thought it wasn't even as the end approached.
 
No, after winning in France the following year they could've prevailed had they avoided taking on the USSR and US. It wasn't necessary to invade the USSR to obtain raw materials. According to Dallin, German Rule in Russia 1941-44, Germany could've gotten more from Russia in normal trade.

They could - but this assumes Stalin simply continues to trade peacefully. If he decides to cut Germany off, they would be at Stalin's mercy. Germany was in a dependent situation.

One possible solution is for the USSR to formally join the Axis. This was discussed in 1940 and a proposal was made by the German side. The Soviets made a counter proposal on this in November 1940. German ambassador Ribbentrop was in favour of accepting the proposal. Had Hitler accepted, Germany might have been in an unassailable position. But he didn't, for ideological reasons. Here we hit the tension between what was possible, and what was likely. Accepting the deal would have won Germany the war. But if he accepts, arguably he isn't Hitler.
 
They could - but this assumes Stalin simply continues to trade peacefully. If he decides to cut Germany off, they would be at Stalin's mercy. Germany was in a dependent situation.

But Stalin feared Germany and to avoid friction, was quite accomodating early in '41.

One possible solution is for the USSR to formally join the Axis. This was discussed in 1940 and a proposal was made by the German side. The Soviets made a counter proposal on this in November 1940. German ambassador Ribbentrop was in favour of accepting the proposal. Had Hitler accepted, Germany might have been in an unassailable position. But he didn't, for ideological reasons. Here we hit the tension between what was possible, and what was likely. Accepting the deal would have won Germany the war. But if he accepts, arguably he isn't Hitler.

I don't think Germany needed Russia as an ally to win, or at least prevail. As others have pointed out, the UK could hold out and keep blockading Germany. But if Adolf didn't go to war with the US, how could Britain win? The war would just drag on, and it was costly for Britain too--in '42, largely because of the U-boats, imports were down to 2/3 of the prewar level. What would it have been like by then if FDR had no pretext to massively expand aid?
 
They could - but this assumes Stalin simply continues to trade peacefully. If he decides to cut Germany off, they would be at Stalin's mercy. Germany was in a dependent situation.

One possible solution is for the USSR to formally join the Axis. This was discussed in 1940 and a proposal was made by the German side. The Soviets made a counter proposal on this in November 1940. German ambassador Ribbentrop was in favour of accepting the proposal. Had Hitler accepted, Germany might have been in an unassailable position. But he didn't, for ideological reasons. Here we hit the tension between what was possible, and what was likely. Accepting the deal would have won Germany the war. But if he accepts, arguably he isn't Hitler.

I agree, Russia's fate was sealed by the demands they made to join the Axis. Demands which would have put Germany's oil supply from Romania under threat. Russian territorial demands on Romania were accepted initially, but Germany sent Luftwaffe Flak units there as a start, further demands were resisted.
 
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