, pub-8700276199953580, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

What If WWII Never Happened? An Alternate History Explored

I thought we would take a break from the stories of the day, especially with the Trump verdict overwhelming news coverage lately, and take an interesting look back at history. Let’s speculate on what would have happened if World War II never occurred. From the rise of superpowers to the fall of empires, this conflict shaped the future in countless ways. But what if World War II never happened? How would our world look today? Let’s dive into this intriguing question and explore an alternate history.

Hitler’s Replacement

The German invasion of Poland in 1939 is widely recognized as the start of World War II. However, the Nazi threat was evident much earlier. In 1938, Germany occupied Austria and annexed parts of Czechoslovakia, stirring fears of another European conflict. To avoid war, Britain and France chose appeasement, allowing Germany to take over the Sudetenland, a German-speaking region of Czechoslovakia.

Mark Grimsley, writing in World War II magazine, argued that this occupation was crucial for Germany’s rearmament. Interestingly, not all German military leaders supported Hitler’s aggressive moves. In fact, many were uneasy with his plans and the Nazi regime. Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster even had a plan to overthrow Hitler during the invasion of Czechoslovakia. According to Terry Parssinen’s book, “The Oster Conspiracy of 1938,” if the coup had succeeded, Hitler would have been killed, and Germany might have restored its monarchy with a parliamentary system similar to Britain’s.

If this coup had happened, Nazi leadership would have been neutralized, and Germany could have become a constitutional monarchy. The invasion of Poland might never have occurred, preventing the start of World War II.

Empires Might Have Survived

World War II played a significant role in ending the great European empires. The cost of World War I left the British Empire heavily in debt, and the struggle for autonomy by colonized peoples grew stronger during World War II. Even staunch imperialists like Winston Churchill admitted that the British Empire could not last much longer.

In 1939, Britain, France, Italy, and Japan still had their empires. The Soviet Union was on the rise, and the United States was becoming a global power. Without World War II, these empires might have lasted longer. Countries like India, Indonesia, and Vietnam might not have gained independence as soon as they did.

A world with multiple great powers would have been very different. The National Interest suggests that Imperial Japan might have formed regional alliances to keep its hold on Korea and China. Germany could have fought regional wars in Eastern Europe. The decline of European empires would have been slower, and the rise of America and Russia as superpowers might not have happened so quickly.

Reduced Power to Soviet Union

World War II dramatically changed the power dynamics in Europe. The Soviet Union emerged as a communist superpower, competing with the United States for global influence. But without the war, things could have been very different.

Germany’s defeat left the USSR in a strong position to expand its influence. However, if Hitler had been overthrown in 1938, he wouldn’t have signed the non-aggression pact with Stalin. This pact allowed the USSR to take half of Poland and set the stage for its postwar dominance.

Without World War II, the Soviet Union wouldn’t have had the same opportunities to expand. There might have been conflicts between Britain, France, and Russia over fears of communism. The multipolar power system of the early 20th century could have lasted longer, diluting Soviet influence.

The Great Depression’s Elongation

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal helped alleviate the suffering of the Great Depression in the 1930s. However, the Depression still lingered when he ran for a third term in 1940. Without the war, Roosevelt might have lost the election to Republican Wendell Willkie.

Willkie, a businessman and former Democrat, criticized the economic aspects of the New Deal but supported its social welfare components. Professor Samuel Zipp suggests that Willkie would have pushed for civil rights legislation. However, the economic reforms and guardrails of the New Deal, which helped prevent another depression, might have been lost. Without World War II to mobilize the economy fully, the Great Depression could have lasted several more years.

Progress Would Have Been Slowed

World War II spurred significant technological and social progress. The development of penicillin, breakthroughs in chemotherapy from mustard gas research, and the invention of modern microwaves from radar technology are just a few examples. The war also accelerated the atomic age.

Without the war, these advancements might have taken decades longer to become part of daily life. The displacement of scientific talent caused by the war contributed to rapid progress. In a world without World War II, these developments would have happened more slowly and in different places.

Socially, World War II motivated voters in Western Europe to support social democratic parties, leading to the rise of social welfare programs. Women’s rights and civil rights movements also gained momentum from the war effort. Independence movements around the world were energized as well. While these advancements could have occurred without the war, progress would have been slower and achieved through different means.

Final Thoughts

The question of “What if World War II never happened?” opens a fascinating window into an alternate history. A world without this conflict would be profoundly different. Empires might have endured longer, the Soviet Union’s power might have been curtailed, and technological and social progress would have been slower. The Great Depression could have dragged on for years, affecting the global economy.

While it’s impossible to predict every outcome, this exploration shows just how pivotal World War II was in shaping our world. The war’s impact on geopolitics, technology, and society was immense, and its absence would have created a vastly different reality.

More Reading

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *