War with Germany inevitable?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by diddyriddick, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    I have a question for the brilliant scholars of the forum.

    Assuming that Japan and America maintain normalized relations, was war with Nazi Germany inevitable? It is common knowlege that the Atlantic Fleet and Kriegsmarine were engaged in an undeclared war independent of the Pacific. Would we have seen history repeat itself, but with technology and weaponry 20 years newer?
     
  2. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    A lot of what if's here, but I think Roosevelt would have eventually bought the US into the European war one way or another. As it was, Hitler saved him the trouble by declaring war on the US first. Roosevelt was convinced of the need to deal with Hitler, but there was a great deal of indifference to Europe's plight in the US. Joe Kennedy, for example, advised Churchill to give up, even as the BoB was being won.

    IMHO, had Hitler not declared war on the US, the US would have continued to be a silent partner on the British side, supplying weapons and conducting neutrality patrols. But I do not believe that the US would have declared war on Germany barring a major act of German violence against US forces.
     
  3. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I think sooner or later, war between Germany and the U. S. was unavoidable. Either indirectly through the U.S and Japan declaring war on each other, and then Germany declaring was on the US, or if events had occurred differently, Germany and the U.S. declaring war, and then Japan following suit in support of Germany. How long could the US continue to loose men and ships in the Atlantic due to German subs? And IMO, the U.S. had to support our allies anyway we could, and should have done more earlier in support of Europe. And Germany sure could not afford to let all those supplies continue to flow into England. It was only a matter of time IMHO. I do not think most Americans could afford to sit out much longer and let our allies fall one after another. Hitler would have had a permanent stranglehold on Europe, Asia, and North Africa. German and Japan conquests would have had to affect the long term economics of not just the U.S., but also the entire world.
     
  4. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that war between Germany and the USA was inevitable, if and its a big if, Germany had unitlaterally stopped attacking Britain, gone totally defensive and played the PR card.

    Public opinion in the USA was more for nutrality in mid 1940. If Germany had stopped all action against Britain then the British could hardly have attacked Germany without reason. Had Britain attacked Germany by air, the only option, public opinion in the USA would have swung behind Germany.
     
  5. marshall

    marshall Member

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    Britain had a casus beli with Nazi Germany because of the British - Polish treaty, and Poland was under German occupation.
     
  6. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I guess it's possible, but I sure have a hard time getting my brain around the U.S. supporting Germany. Hmmmmmmm I gotta give more thought to that one.
     
  7. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #7 mikewint, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
    Thorlifter, there was a tremendous amount of pro-german feeling in the US. Luck Lindy heavily supported the german cause and there were Bundestag culbs everywhere. i would tend to side with glider on this. i don't think we would have ever supported the germans against britian but we certainly could have stayed neutral as long as the german did not provide us with a casus belli
     
  8. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    No one is denying that the UK had good cause for war but they didn't have any way of doing any real harm to Germany, apart from air raids. The key as far as I can see it is for Germany to keep the USA neutral. The UK cannot invade without the help of the USA and it really wouldn't matter to Germany if the US guaranteed the safety of the UK as long as the USA didn't join in the conflict.
     
  9. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    The casus belli was kinda where I was going with the OP. It seems to me that we had the irresistable force meeting the immovable object. FDR and the Atlantic Fleet were hell-bent on getting the convoys through. Germany simply couldn't afford to let them get through. My thinking is that eventually and inevitably, there would have been an international incident that wouldn't go away.
     
  10. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Can't see the US behind Nazi Germany. Neutrality was the overarching feeling for the US. While there was some Pro-Nazi sentiment, it didn't run very deep. Similar to the Communist groups in the US. There were supporters, and they were legal, but generally regarded as nutjobs.

    I could see the US trying to stay out if for no other reason than the feeling that the last war had been a waste of American lives and once was enough. Besides, the US was doing ok with selling warstuffs to the combatants. Why ruin a good thing?

    Roosevelt saw the big picture and understood it was only a matter of time. He slowly prepped the US for the War but most people were against it and sentiment reflected as much (remember the Draft passing the house by only one vote). Not definite but probable.
     
  11. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I think from 1776 right up to 1945, there was a strong feeling in the US that Europe was a failed society and that the best thing for America was to keep out of European affairs. This fueled public antipathy to American involvement in both 1914-1917 and 1939-41. I think if Hitler had not declared war on the US, American opinion would have favoured a war against Japan separate from the European war against Hitler. Whether this would have been feasible with the Japanese rampaging through European possessions is debatable, but given that the Italians and Japanese did not join Germany in 1939, there was no good reason for Hitler to declare war on the USA in support of Japan, thereby uniting the two wars. So, the conflict was avoidable in the short-to-medium turn, and had Hitler been smart, he would have ordered Doenitz to keep the U-boats away from American forces and avoid provoking the US until he could reach a conclusion in the Russian theatre.
     
  12. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    With the neutrality acts of the 30s, Congress set the tone of isolation. Significantly, in the act of 1939, trading with belligerents was allowed-as long as it was cash and carry. In 1940, Congress changed the rules with the "Destroyers-for-bases agreement. Finally, Lend-Lease became a fait accompli as of March 11, 1941. Seems to me that the tone was definitely moving away from isolationism and toward internationalism.

    Neutrality Act of November 4, 1939

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Timeline

    HyperWar: British War Economy [Chapter IX]
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    No there wasnt.

    Dont assume that an attitude of neutrality equated to sympathy for nazi germany. Not many US citizens of germanic heritage supported the facists.
     
  14. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #14 mikewint, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
    I have always felt that we were lucky germany was lead by hitler. had he stopped and consolidated europe and left britian alone the US would not have had reason to enter the european war. britian could never have mounted D-day alone. air raids yes but those could have been delt with. the luftwaffe could have conentrated on defense. let britian have all the destroyers they wanted the mainland was secure. the russian front was also secure except der moron furher broke the treaty and attacked.
    syscom3, the pro-german feeling were a minority but add that to thoe who did not want any european involvement and it would have been difficult for even FDR to turn that to hostility toward the germans. very very few felt sympathy agreed. as i said the US would never have turned antibritish but unprovoked british attacks on germany would have worked against them. propaganda is a powerful tool. look at american bombings in the mid-east. somehow they all become hospitals and schools and the world see mangled children carried out of the US bombed school or hospital
     
  15. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #15 michaelmaltby, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
    War with Germany was inevitable because - for Hitler - the USA was the single greatest threat to German hegemony and world order. The Soviet Union and the lands east were - in his mind - no different than the western frontier in the USA.

    And let's just pause for a second before dismissing Britain and the Commonwealth. There was NO USA (as a global economic/industrial force) when Britain defeated Napoleon in 1812. It took GB nearly two decades of uninterrupted war and costly blockade. Yes - the invasion of Russia hastened the defeat but - Britain and the Royal Navy did it most of the heavy lifting by herself. If you want to argue that there would have been no Normandy without the USA - I won't argue the point. But without the USA as a combatant - the German-Euro economic model was weakening with time, not getting stronger. And the Commonwealth was getting stronger in support of Britain with time - not weaker.

    Americans like to speak of being the "winning factor" in WWI - well - the Russian Revolution in 1917 was as critical a factor - with the withdrawal of Russian forces in the East. Entry by the USA counter-balanced the German shift west in 1917.

    MM
     
  16. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    1812 saw a far different britian than a hundred years later. in WWII germany made the fatal mistake of attacking russia instead of the middle east where he could have secured oil for the reich and also did not consolidate his european conquests
    Nothing whatever against the UK, but the germans returing from the western front in WWI brought influenza with them. recall that little pandemic that killed 17million
     
  17. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #17 michaelmaltby, Sep 16, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
    ".... the germans returing from the western front in WWI brought influenza with them."

    Interesting. Never heard THAT theory before. I had previously read that the disease was spawned in the massive military tent camps set up by the US Army in 1917 upon entry into the war. Then exported to Europe:

    http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=640

    And this: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol12no01/05-0979.htm

    "... 1812 saw a far different britian than a hundred years later."

    Please elaborate on that point because the Commonwealth of 1939 wasn't that of the Empire in 1812 either.

    MM
     
  18. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    To get back to the original question, war between America and Germany was almost certainly inevitable. Think about this in big-picture structural terms - from mid-1940, the only democratic powers of significance were the USA (at that stage officially neutral), the UK and the "white" nations of the British Empire. The USA was effectively surrounded by dictatorships - Japan in the Far East, the Soviet Union, Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy in Europe and eastwards (or westwards if you live in Alaska!). Also note that whenever Hitler and Tojo had a choice of escalating conflict or backing down, they consistently chose the former.

    By late 1941, Britain was effectively bankrupt. Massive debts from WWI coupled with the costs of re-arming in the late 1930s and sustaining the fight alone had eradicated Britains financial reserves, hence the Lend-Lease act which only came into effect in 1942. Late 1941/early 1942 was a tipping point when Britain might have been forced out of the war had America not joined the fight - there was simply no way for Britain. There is an argument that the industrial capacity Germany used to build more fighters and defend Europe against British and American bombers might, if applied to the Eastern Front, have resulted in a very different outcome for Germany against Russia.

    Bottom line, America would have had to fight because the Axis powers would not have offered any other alternatives. Perhaps not in 1941, or even 1942 but ultimately she would have fought Germany because Hitler just didn't know when to stop. We can "what if" until the cows come home about how this might have been prosecuted - Germany using countries in South America to launch non-conventional psyops and other attacks, employment of the "Amerika-bomber" etc etc. However, America would have been dragged into some form of conflict with Germany.
     
  19. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree buffnut.
     
  20. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #20 mikewint, Sep 16, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
    buffnut, partial agreement but i do heartly endorse your statement about Hitler. and that echos by first post here. we were very lucky that hitler lead the germans. his early successes embolden him to continue to take unwarranted chances such as attacking british cities rather than airbases and the coastal radar stations and the fatal blunder of attacking russia opening up a two front war. even the US with all its resources could not sustain both fronts and effectively put the pacific on hold to finish germany. i still hold that a more judicious hitler could have avoided war with the US, ignored england, secured the mid-east oil fields and consolidated the conquered european nations. such a germany would have posed a very serious threat to the US so eventual war, possibly
     
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