As we think about WWI again as November 11th approaches, I cannot help wondering how different history might have been if Germany had succeeded in is spring offensive in 1918 and captured Paris and so won the war?
We can never know of course, but here are some thoughts. I am interested in what you think too,
A Traditional Peace
A German Victory I think would have lead to a traditional European Peace Treaty. No punishment, as was the case at Versailles for anyone. So, no driving force for the sense of shame that created National Socialism. No sealed train with Lenin and so no Bolshevik revolution.
America would have played no active role. It's men would have returned to the US without having fired a shot. Isolation might have become even more powerful as an idea.
With no WWII, no American Empire later in the century.
I think that America woudl have still risen. They were the only major power who did well out of the war. But I don't think that the idea of the Global Policeman would have taken hold.
Hard to say as the revolution was well under way. But with no Bolshevism, no dogma so maybe a good chance of a shift to a constitutional Tsar? It was surely the dogma that made the revolution so cruel?
I see a longer social evolution and no Stalin and WWII. That means more than 50 million people don't die of starvation, war or the gulags.
Would have still been bled dry of men and treasure but it gained nothing at Versailles and so would have muddled along as it did. It still would have shed the empire over time. It would have lost confidence. Might have regretted backing its traditional enemy France over its traditional ally Germany?
The big loser. But what could it do as the nation was utterly spent and exhausted. I see the risk being it wanting revenge. But it had tried this now 3 times and lost each time. It was a broken nation. I can see it being isolated. Here there might have been a revolution. The wild card
Paid dearly and now would have been on the losing side. But peripheral.
The Middle East
Now things get interesting. France and Britain would have been ejected and Germany and a new Turkey would have been the power.
Romania would have been folded in and Germany might have been the centre of the new oil boom. Not the US.
Britain would struggle to hang onto Egypt and the route to India. I think that Germany would have had to let this happen. That might have been the trade off for Turkey hanging on.
Likely no state of Israel and so much lower tensions in the world today. No clear divide. No Holocaust either. On balance a better outcome I think.
On the losing side of the war. Less power for the Generals and Admirals. Maybe less appetite for expansion into China and so less of the threat to the US?
No Bolshevik revolution in Russia, no Mao. A different path.
What do you think? It's just a thought experiment. How different would the world have been if Germany had won in May 1918?