It’s well known that in the Great War (as it was known at the time) or the First World War (as it was known once a greater war came along) the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, among others, were beaten at their game of war by the Allied Powers; including France, our beautiful England, Russia, and briefly the Americans, among others. If you didn’t know that, it’s basic history so you probably have a lot of catching up to do. However victory was by no means assured; initial German gains in 1914 were not truly offset until 1917, and the German 1918 Spring Offensive nearly succeeded. It was only the slow strangulation on German supplies brought about by blockade that really ended the war. An idea that has been sadly overlooked in fiction is this- what would have happened if we hadn’t won the war? How would the different parties have fared?
The main character in the war was Germany, which joined the war to fulfil its alliance with Austria-Hungary. Many people like to think if they’d won Hitler would be ruling England like a prison camp on robotic dinosaurs that shoot lasers from their eyes, while flying the Swastika high. What those people haven’t considered is that the Nazi party only formed after the loss of the war – it formed from the German Worker’s Party which, formed in 1919, was a Socialist challenge to the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty, amongst other things, demanded that the Germans pay reparations for the damage they caused in the war, and demanded they significantly reduce their military. By creating such terms it’s arguable that we helped create the Nazi party, and possibly the succeeding World War. Germany also lost a lot of lives due to blockades to the country after the war, limiting food supplies and other essentials into the damaged country. Without the Treaty, which also reduced Germany’s territory and kept parts of the country occupied for 15 years, the country would have likely become more stable and not succumbed to a despot like Hitler.
If Britain and France had lost the war, would Germany have inflicted a treaty so harsh on us that it led to hyperinflation and economic collapse? Would we have had Scotland and Wales taken by The Fatherland? Would we be shouting “Heil Churchill?” However one of the reasons that the terms of the Treaty were such was that France had been damaged by the war to such an extent that they wanted compensation- this wouldn’t have been the case if France lost too, and the terms would probably be less severe.
But of course it was a World War – other countries were affected too in their own ways:
• Would France have had the money to rebuild its destroyed countryside and cities?
• Would new countries, like Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, have ever been created by the separation of Austria-Hungary? Would Austria-Hungary have separated at all?
• Would USA, with its late involvement, have been affected at all?
• Would the Ottoman Empire have disbanded, or the Middle East left under their rule?
• Would Russia’s western reach have been reduced, or increased, perhaps reducing territory of pre-existing Allied countries? Would a victorious Germany have intervened on either side of the Russian Civil War?
There are millions of possible outcomes for a victorious Germany. But historical consensus is (for what it’s worth) that Britain would have been left with a harsh treaty, giving up vast amounts of its empire, while France would have suffered worse, being divided up and annexed. We likely would have continued in an imperialist world but as number two, and with ties between our royal families, could conceivably have become an ally of the German Reich. With the US and Japan out of isolation and Communism on the rise, the second war could well have been the British and German Empires fighting against the Soviet Union.
This is all speculation, of course – for all we know, the Nazi Party may have been created anyway to take over the world, or Japan may have hosted a Samurai-led invasion of Europe once the continent was sufficiently weakened. We’ll never know. All we can say for certain is that no-one would ever ride a laser-shooting robo-saur.