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If Adolph Hitler had died/was killed during the Phoney War?

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1341969.  Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:08 am Reply with quote

I think we might be glossing over the rampant anti-semitism of the 1930s, in the UK as well as in Germany and other European countries. I think it wouldn't have taken a great deal for one of the other Nazi leaders - as suze suggests, Hess, or Goebbels, to have taken over and essentially carried out the same operation. Anti-semitism was ramped up long before 1939. You might argue that it took the magnitude of the Holocaust to greatly reduce the anti-semitism in the world (it hasn't gone away, of course).

1341974.  Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:22 am Reply with quote

I think there may be good reason (and I think I might even have seen it expressed before) to view Hitler as a symptom rather than a cause.

1341976.  Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:30 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
So to come back to Natalie's question, if Hitler had gone under a bus in (let us say) August 1939, would WWII ever have happened?

It happened! Well, nearly. On 22nd Aug 1931 a young British (who else!) driver knocked down a pedestrian in central Munich. The driver was, the later, Lord Howard de Walden; the pedestrian, a certain Herr A Hitler.

As de Walden later reminisced, “For a few seconds, perhaps, I held the history of Europe in my rather clumsy hands. He was only shaken up, but had I killed him, it would have changed the history of the world.”

Coincidentally, Churchill was also knocked down in 1931, although in New York on 13th Dec. I have a feeling that the driver in New York must have expressed similar sentiments to those above.

By the way, hello again all. I occasionally drop by and this stirred a distant memory.

Lord Howard de Walden, Earls Have Peacocks (1992), pp. 14–15
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America (2005), pp. 131–3[/size]

1341983.  Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:24 pm Reply with quote

Hi again costean, thanks for dropping by!

I am reminded that dr.bob of this Parish was once knocked off his bike by the fellow who now writes the questions for Only Connect. That probably didn't have quite such a profound influence on the future history of the world, but who can say?

One can speculate endlessly about what might have been, and while it's a possible starting point for a novel it's probably not really of any great value otherwise.

But for instance, there are those who say that it was the rise of Hitler that killed off the Great Depression. Re-arming got the economy moving again, and had it not happened the slump could have lasted fifty years.

Others say that if only Hindenburg had been ten years younger, he'd have torn up the rulebook and made himself Chancellor rather than allowing Hitler anywhere near the job. Hindenburg didn't like Austrians much at the best of times, and he thought Hitler was common as (or however that thought was worded back then), but he was 85 by then, his health was fading, and he saw no realistic alternative.

1342000.  Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:03 am Reply with quote

The anti-semitism was world wide, but again that was a symptom rather than the cause of the problem.
What Hitler did to politics is exactly the same as what Trump and Farage have done - he played to the fears of the normal person on the street, and made himself as the saviour of the ordinary man.

I have s feeling that had Theresa May been in charge at the last election we would be looking at repeating history, because those that follow Farage’s populist ideology are a stones throw away from singling out groups to blame for the ills of the world, and those brexit day posters in Norwich would start to become the rule rather than the exception. It wouldn’t happen over night, by the populist movement behind the likes of Farage and Trump would make way for the more extreme members of the party, in the same way that Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party. Then we would have ourselves another Hitler.

Alfred E Neuman
1342003.  Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:57 am Reply with quote

Interesting that you choose to use Trump and Farage instead of Trump and Johnson.

1342005.  Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:08 am Reply with quote

Why is it interesting?

1386039.  Sun Jul 25, 2021 12:34 pm Reply with quote

Of course, another possible outcome if Hitler dies after Poland but before Norway and the Low Countries is Germany might crash out of the war very quickly as different factions struggle inside Germany for control.

1386153.  Tue Jul 27, 2021 10:21 am Reply with quote

I'm currently reading Time after Time by Ben Elton, the premise of which is that a time traveller can prevent many of the tragedies of the 20th century by preventing Gavrilo Princip from assassinating the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and going on to assassinate the Kaiser. It's a pretty good book so far. The writer makes an interesting case for the mission.

Alexander Howard
1386176.  Tue Jul 27, 2021 5:09 pm Reply with quote

There is an excellent twist, which I will not spoil. Ben Elton is a fine writer.

1386225.  Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:18 am Reply with quote

Yes I just finished the book and I agree to both parts of your statement :-)

1386365.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 1:18 pm Reply with quote

Going back to the original discussion, would WWII and the Holocaust have still happened if Hitler died in 1939?

There's always going to be arguments for various outcomes, but my personal opinion is that to some degree they would have, and that it could have even been worse.

The main reason for this was the Enabling Act of 1933, which effectively made Germany a dictatorship under whomever was Chancellor.

So the question would then be who would have taken over, and manage to hold onto power?

Much has been written about the Stauffenberg assassination attempt, and various others, but many of the leading people in these attempts were more against Hitler's military leadership than any civilian policies (with a few exceptions). In fact, some of these plotters believed they could simply negotiate a ceasefire allowing Germany to retain their control over the territories they'd seized across much of Europe.

Add to this that Hitler and others in his inner circle had accumulated very large fortunes since the late 20s and had a lot of controlling power of several leading industrial corporation, as well as access to a large civilian militia as well as the army.

With all of this, it's hard for me to see anyone not deeply entrenched in Nazi ideology taking over, I doubt we would have had a soft power leader, and it could have led to someone perhaps more capable and more ruthless taking over.

As for what could have prevented WWII and Holocaust, it's never going to be just one or two events, it's a combination of events throughout history. The end of WWI, the way it started, going back to the wars of accession, and various conflicts over several centuries and because several thousand years ago Ugg killed Hurr with a stone and took over his cave.

And who knows what would have happened if only one or two things changed, or even something major as Hitler getting killed, we might even end up seeing Gluugsnergluug as the first squid on the moon in about 3 millions years from now (that's a possibility, look it up).

1386369.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 1:58 pm Reply with quote

This is purely speculative, but based on what I think I understand of history.

If you look at popular fiction written in the 1920s and 1930s, it is rife with anti-Semitism. Even in my 1950s young childhood, there was prejudice against Jewish people that was expressed fairly openly.

I wonder whether, if there had not been the outrage of the Holocaust, that would have continued and whether smaller perpetrations of evil against Jewish people would still be happening. I think there is a case to be made that the obscenity of what happened to Jews murdered simply for being Jewish in some ways laid the groundwork for civil rights for black and gay people later, where the moral wrong of that kind of prejudice was so blatant. Absent the Holocaust, would those rights have been acquired when they were?

I wonder whether, without the Holocaust, if there would have been such a thing as the state of Israel and what would now be happening in the Middle East in that case (please note that I do not in any way suggest that Israel should not exist, but am simply speculating as to what the effect of it not existing would be).

1386378.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 6:54 pm Reply with quote

Let us consider the superb construction that is this stuff (it was Karl Kraus FWIW).

So as far as I can tell the question is 'Would Germany have persisted along the road of Hitlerian fascism without Hitler?' In my opinion, yes, but without the same degree of ultimate commitment, dedication or internal competition.

Whether there is an implied secondary question about whether the British and the Germans are capable (mark me, 'capable',) of cooperating at recent points in history is a matter for others to determine, or at least debate, but at this post-Brexit juncture the matter seems to have been determined to be in the negative.

1386384.  Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:12 am Reply with quote

Anyone who wasn’t a reckless gambler like Hitler would have been happy to get up from the table with the prewar territorial winnings like Austria and the Sudetenland - to consolidate them. Remember too that much of the officer corps favoured some sort of return of the monarchy


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