WI No Nazis. Who starts World War 2?

Who starts World War 2 if the Nazis don't take power?

  • Germany

    Votes: 24 12.0%
  • Italy

    Votes: 9 4.5%
  • Soviet Union

    Votes: 110 55.0%
  • Poland

    Votes: 4 2.0%
  • France

    Votes: 2 1.0%
  • United Kingdom

    Votes: 3 1.5%
  • United States

    Votes: 3 1.5%
  • Someone else

    Votes: 11 5.5%
  • No great war in Europe for over a century

    Votes: 34 17.0%

  • Total voters
    200

Garrison

Donor
Inspired by another thread.

If no movement like the Nazis take power in Germany, who starts whichever big war in Europe happens after World War 2?
Another great war isn't likely for a generation or more without the peculiar obsession of Hitler. I can't quite see anything on the scale of WW2 happening, especially as nuclear weapons will be developed at some point.
 
The Soviet Union.

September 1940:

Molotov glosses over the horrendous casualties in the Winter War. Instead, he is focused on the fact that the USSR did, ultimately win the war-well to a degree. He then makes a series of demands to the Polish government. The totality looks like "Finland, the sequel":

- Cede Lvov / Lviv / Lemberg and surrounding area to the USSR. Also, cede all other areas with either a Belarusan or an Ukrainian majority.
- Poles choosing to remain in ceded territories will become Soviet citizens.
- Poland will renounce any mutual defense treaty with any nation.
- Failure to comply with all terms will result in military action from the USSR (but not in winter).
 
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I agree with Garrison here. I generally dislike Great Man Theory -- but Hitler is the exception. WW2 as we know it, with its tremendous scale and body count, may very well be attributable to the delusions of a single Austrian corporal, rather than the logical conclusion of existing historical factors as can be argued in the case of WW1. Absent the Nazis under Hitler coming to power in Germany (which is not at all difficult to achieve, IMO) I think it's highly unlikely we see another "world war" in the 20th Century, or perhaps ever for that matter once nuclear weapons enter the equation.

That is not to say that there won't be further wars or armed conflicts, just that whatever conflicts do occur are likely to be smaller in scale and far less dramatic in comparison to OTL WW2.
 
If Germany *merely* had a Putin on a Putineque schedule, just for analogy's sake, he would be ready for a first border land grab in Jan 1941 (this transfers and applies the 22 years and 2 months between the Jan 1992 collapse of the USSR and the Feb-Mar invasion/annexation of Crimea and appends it to Nov 1918 armistice) - hmm, maybe Memel, ready with a secondary landgrab at the same point (like Donetsk, Luhansk) -- hmm, maybe Czechoslovakia's Eger district, Danzig , Austria, and ready for a vaster landgrab in March 1948 (like 2022's multi-prong Ukraine invasion) - the Polish corridor? Austria?
 
The German government is still crumbling, and I think that barring the Nazis, we're still likely to get a nationalist right-wing government that will regard the Soviet Union as an existential threat. Germany attacking the Soviets, with tacit backing from Western Europe (France is going to be thrilled), happens before the Japanese provoke either the Americans or British into a war.
 
i don't see it happening. From what I've read, while Stalin wasn't "prudent," or particularly rational, also wasn't stupid. if France, Britain and Poland are able to keep a united front, then he'll give up on eastern Europe for quite some time, and prewar most of his expansion was based on the old empire. plus, stalin was just smart enough to realize that if he couldn't out and out beat the regional powers of Poland and Finland (okay calling finland one is... generous) he wouldn't dare something that could bring in London or Paris. same goes for italy.

germany is the only power in europe who would both benefit from overturning versailles, strong enough it could try, and had stupid enough leadership to try when they did.
 
i don't see it happening. From what I've read, while Stalin wasn't "prudent," or particularly rational, also wasn't stupid. if France, Britain and Poland are able to keep a united front, then he'll give up on eastern Europe for quite some time, and prewar most of his expansion was based on the old empire. plus, stalin was just smart enough to realize that if he couldn't out and out beat the regional powers of Poland and Finland (okay calling finland one is... generous) he wouldn't dare something that could bring in London or Paris. same goes for italy.

germany is the only power in europe who would both benefit from overturning versailles, strong enough it could try, and had stupid enough leadership to try when they did.
Any Soviet landgrab in my guess would happen after the 1940s, pre WW2 soviet FP seemed oriented towards bringing the USSR out of isolation first and foremost, expansion couldve happen diplomatically too though, like how Zhdanov negotiated a soviet base in the Estonian islands and attempted to negotiate a land swap with Finland, all to make Leningrad more secure.

One scenario i find funny is a Franco British war, not saying it is likely, but there was a while in the 1920s where British war plans were directed at Paris, iirc British planes were made at the time with the goal of having range to bomb Paris but dont quote me on that
 
Probably no one. It was pretty purely Hitler's production and without him WW2 is not going to begin. Any other Germany hardly is going to start that. Mussolini is not going to do anything without Hitler, Stalin is not going to invade Europe without there being another big war and probably no one alternative leader either. So Europe would be more or lesser in peace.
 
Don't see why there should be one.

The history of appeasement shows how keen the WAllies were to avoid war, so a less extreme German government can likely get all or most of the concessions Hitler got - probably even Danzig if the are i n less of a hurry than Hitler.

Stalin won't move. OTL he didn't even risk attacking little Finland until the WAllies were at war with Germany, so there was no danger of a European combination against him.

Japan, OTL, did not risk attacking the US until Dec 1941, when the SU was fighting for its life and the Wehrmacht was in the suburbs of Moscow, thus making Japan's backside reasonably safe (at least until Aug 1945). If the US and Germany aren't at war, the Japanese have no such assurance, and Pearl Harbour very likely doesn't happen.
 
Italy will still attack Greece and continue building up in North Africa. This will however not lead to a World War. I wonder how much the British will intervene , though. A very strong Italy in the Med is not in their interests.
 
I think without Hitler to light that spark, there won’t be something on that scale. More small wars, sure but not a world war.

No matter who comes to power in Germany, I think Hitler is the only one who would actually be willing to pull that trigger. We could still see an aggressive and/or revanchist Germany, but not one that’s willing to burn down the continent to get its way, more likely to be like how France was pre-WWI about Alsace-Lorraine or Hungary about Trianon, and any ambitions with Austria or Sudetenland are gonna be nonexistent or fringe, with mainstream German nationalists focusing on West Prussia and Posen.

Italian, Japanese, and Soviet ambitions are going to be the real flashpoint here, especially Japan, who’s already deep into an aggressive war on China by 1939, one that, without Germany to raise alarms in Europe, is probably going to draw more attention than OTL, and possible intervention, especially if they step out of China and into a territory in the sphere of influence of someone else. One strike on Hong Kong, Guangzhouwan, or Macau is all it would take to bring a lot of countries against them.

The USSR and Italy are also contenders for having a large war against them, but the Soviets are probably going to be too cautious to risk it and Italian expansion is going to fail against Greece and the Ethiopian resistance.

Pretty much everyone else is either satisfied with the interwar status quo or not in a position to cause any trouble. Further down the line the USSR might be more belligerent, but without WWII, it’s hard to really tell where the major players of the war will end up in the future.
 
Don't see why there should be one.

The history of appeasement shows how keen the WAllies were to avoid war, so a less extreme German government can likely get all or most of the concessions Hitler got - probably even Danzig if the are i n less of a hurry than Hitler.

Stalin won't move. OTL he didn't even risk attacking little Finland until the WAllies were at war with Germany, so there was no danger of a European combination against him.

Japan, OTL, did not risk attacking the US until Dec 1941, when the SU was fighting for its life and the Wehrmacht was in the suburbs of Moscow, thus making Japan's backside reasonably safe (at least until Aug 1945). If the US and Germany aren't at war, the Japanese have no such assurance, and Pearl Harbour very likely doesn't happen.
In my proposed Great Pacific War TL Pearl Harbor did not happen until after Japanese expansionism took on British possessions in the Pacific, and Britain dragged the US into the conflict with the equivalent of Lend-Lease and other support. Then the Japanese finally poked the Eagle's nest with Pearl Harbor.

Edit To Add: My other assumptions in that TL included that a) the lack of an immediate European threat meant less of a military buildup and readiness posture on the part of the Americas and Europe and b) eventually the USSR, seeking territorial expansion, is persuaded to join in as an ally to Japan.
 
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eventually the USSR, seeking territorial expansion, is persuaded to join in as an ally to Japan.

Does this envisage someone other than Stalin in power?

OTL, iirc, he was dismissive of any suggestion of supporting Japan, assuming that a nation producing 7 million tons of steel per year could never defeat one producing 77 million tons.
 

DougM

Donor
A few random thoughts.

-Eventually you will get a war in Europe and probably one in Asia but they probably don’t happen together and may stay small. (At least in Europe) Full out everyone swinging at everyone wars are NOT the standard. We have only had two full blown everyone pick a side wars in Europe in the last couple cent and those were 20 some years apart. so we may never see another. But see smaller wars instead. Kind of like what is going on today in the Ukraine.
-the USSR was not 100% innocent in the start of WW2. It sometimes seams that the USSR gets a free pass the did. Their neighbors were not exactly safe From them.
-Japan eventually will push to far and get in a war with either the US or GB or (more likely both.
-WW2 in Europe was not 100% the result of Hitter’s whim. Germany and much of Europe was a mess. Some if this going back hundreds of years some going back to the 1800s and the creation of Germany (and why it came to exist) and part going to WW1 and part a result of the Great Depression. Hitler took this horse climbed on it and rode it to his destination and started WW2. But it does NOT have to be Hitler riding that bourse. Another person could have used that same house to gain power in Germany. And ended up in WW2 . On the other hand some else may have avoided the war. But my point is that even without Hitler the situation was rife for an egotistical mad man to grab power and this type of person tends to not shy away from War. We had not just Hitler but we had power mad guys running Spain, Italy and the USSR as well. And a collection of them Running Japan.
 
A clash with the Soviets would be inevitable, especially with fears of a communist takeover in the Weimar Republic. Think of it like Red Alert but minus the Soviet supertech.
 
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