Which is more realistic? A German victory in 1914 or a German victory in 1918?

Which year is more plausible for a German victory in WW1?

  • 1914

    Votes: 38 77.6%
  • 1918

    Votes: 6 12.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 10.2%

  • Total voters
    49

Bomster

Banned
There seems to be two kinds of depictions of a Central Powers victory in Alternate History. The first is a swift German victory by the end of 1914 or practically assured by the end of 1914. PODs for this usually involve Germany winning the Race to the Sea, winning the Battle of the Marne, etc. The second is a German victory in 1918, either because the Americans haven't joined the war and the Entente is exhausted or the Spring Offensive is more successful. Which is more plausible?
 
There seems to be two kinds of depictions of a Central Powers victory in Alternate History. The first is a swift German victory by the end of 1914 or practically assured by the end of 1914. PODs for this usually involve Germany winning the Race to the Sea, winning the Battle of the Marne, etc. The second is a German victory in 1918, either because the Americans haven't joined the war and the Entente is exhausted or the Spring Offensive is more successful. Which is more plausible?
The sooner the war ends the better in my honest opinion. But I'm unsure when in 1914 they could do this. I'm not all that knowledgeable about the conflict or the situation at a time for the Central Powers in 1914 or 1918.
 
Honestly one of the fascinating aspects to the First World War is that either side had a decent chance to come out the victor in any given year of the conflict. The 'upper hand' could switch every few months.
All told it was a much closer contest than the Second World War.
 
Germany's main weakness as a country is that it does not have the resources to support a grinding war of attrition. If you want a total victory, 1914 is certainly your best bet. In 1918, the best Germany can get is a negotiated peace where it can still maintain some national dignity, and that it's if the Entente somehow lack the capability to breach the Hindenburg Line.

Of course, I've always liked the idea that it could've won in 1916 at Verdun, where between June 8th and June 12th, the Germans were close to capturing Fort De-Souville, one of the last major forts at Verdun. The only thing that spoiled it was the Austrians utterly failing in their offensive at Tarantino and thus, requiring three German divisions to bail them out.

For context, during the crucial week where the German divisions were transferred, Robert Neville had only a brigade. The French used the breathing room given by the halting of the offensive to replenish their reserves. When the Germans did attack Fort De-Souville, it was a bloody draw.
 
Between 14 and 18 it definitely has to be 1914. By 1918, pretty much everybody is completely spent and too much blood has been shed for any peace treaty but a decisive one to end even remotely well for anybody but only really the Entente thanks to America has enough left to shed to get a decisive treaty instead of a literal bloody mess or just an armistice where nobody has anything left to throw each other. I wouldn't call a German "Victory" a possibility. A stalemate or a draw yes, but not a "Victory"

In 1914, everybody still has more... well, everything to throw around but there also hasn't been so much blood and treasure spilt that the peace treaty would have to end up a Versailles in setting up the next war. It could easily still end up that kind of treaty but it doesn't have to be. People would also be more willing to come to the table for a negotiated "fair" peace in 14 than 18

For more likely periods though, I would think 1916 is both the most likely year and the last year it was truly possible for the Germans.
 
Top