1918 Alternative History?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Mr_Farenheit, Oct 6, 2009.

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  1. Sorry if this is a crap thread, even sorrier if it's been done already,

    I recent years I've developed a bit of an interest in so called alternate military history, what if Hitler had won WW2, what if the Cold War turned hot, that kind of thing.

    What I've not found is the same kind of thing based on the premise that either the initial German assault on Western Europe in 1914 or the 1918 'Michael' offensive had forced the western allies to sue for peace

    I would very much appreciate any pointers towards any existing material. I certainly don't imagine I'm the first person to wonder about the potential outcome.

    Thanks in advance:)
  2. Don't know the answer to your question, but this blog might have it.

    It's "Today in Alternate History" ( http://www.todayinah.co.uk )

    I find it quite interesting from time to time, but a lot of it means nothing to me.
  3. There was/is an alternative history "best seller" in the military history shelves of WH Smith and the big booksellers.

    History usually turns out the way it did for very good reason, which is probably why "alternative history" books often fail to convince the audience and therefore fade away.

    A more realistic alternative history of WW1 is the refusal of an armistice by the allies, their subsequent crushing rout of the crumbling German armies, and the occupation of Germany itself. Now that would have changed the current course of history....
  4. I would have to agree with 4T's main points there.
    The "What if" series are forced to take huge compromises in order to make possible the alternate "realities" posited.

    The "Kaiser's Battle" did about all it was likely to do, being as it was a tactical solution that had no operational method to its aims. Along with there being a series of factors, weather (fog) and Gough's deployment/ missunderstnading of the "new" defence doctrine.

    March/ April may have given Germany larger tactical gains, but the operational outcome would have been pretty much the same.
    This is not to denigrate the B.E.F. and French response, but the fighting qualities that were seen would not change, except by the all too questionable "magic wand of history"

    As I understand it, Pershing (the role of the Americans was increasing in military / political terms expodentially at end of 1918) was agreeable to a continuation of the War.
    Foch, more importantly, mused seriously that Germany had to be clearly seen to be defeated on the battlefield.
    Haig seems to have been more ambivalent about a continued war. He seems to have been the first to grasp that the war could be "won" in 1918 (he had of course said that about 1916 and 1917, but for different reasons).

    Given the desire to end the war's slaughter on the part of the British and French bodies politic, this alone was an almost overwhelming imperative towards accepting an armistice.
    Plus to have allowed the war to continue in to 1919 would have inevitably increased the U.S. role in that victory, with the natural increase in American diplomatic say in the eventual peace treaty.
  5. Alternative history works better in a fictional setting, rather than any attempt to ask such grand 'what if?' questions because any answer we do come up with is itself a work of fiction and ultimately just a guess. A good example would be Philip K. Dicks "The Man in the High Castle". There's no real explanation as to how the Axis powers came to win World War II. Rather, it allows for an interesting setting for a story.
  6. I don't know of a single book devoted to WWI and specifically 1918. The best alternative history I’ve run across is “What If?” edited by Robert Cowley (Paperback published by Berkley Books in 2000). It has a section on WWI with a long piece on 1914 and why the war should have never started, followed by two very short pieces.

    Agree with 4T that most alternative histories fail to convince, but “What If?” uses some fairly big names in military history, which makes some of the arguments seem less fanciful than some I’ve read on conspiracy web sites. Not great, but not bad if you like that sort of thing.
  7. L. Ron Hubbard

    Final Blackout

    Read this some time ago and being a bit of a science fiction nerd I very much enjoyed it.

    As far as I can remember,the plot is roughly thus..........

    World War 1 did not end in 1918 but continued on until something like 1938 when the book is set.

    Due to the uncontrolled use of biological and chemical weapons,all the effected armies have been quarantined and abandoned on mainland Europe....The British Army has been told to never return home.

    The armies themseleves have become almost warbands with members from many nations making up the force and when they do fight each other is is agreed before the battle what the conditions are of the fight and the spoils...armies fighting for food or a portion of ammo,almost a gentlemens approach to war to conserve their respective men and resources.

    The Brits are led by " The Lieutenant " who eventually realises that the people they are fighting have more in common in honour and values than the Government they are fighting for.

    Britain is a now a communist state run by those too weak to fight,and The Lieutenant returns to put the house back in order.....

    The last few chapters gave me a bit of a glow for martial law and hanging politicians........written in the 1940's I believe,obviously not pretending to be a serious book but good anyway.