WWII Alternative History

Robert Tombs at Unherd has a nice piece celebrating the Tommies and their contribution to the allied victory on D-Day and in WWII.  We agree when Robert says:

What is the reality? Britain, and of course the Empire, continued to make immense economic and military efforts throughout the war: an unparalleled level of civilian mobilization, as well as more than five million in the armed forces by 1945 serving from Denmark to China.

and

Recent historical analysis asserts that the Second World War was fundamentally won in the air and at sea, where Britain played a leading, and perhaps predominant, role from 1939 to 1945.

What we don’t agree is what was the likely alternative if D-Day failed.   Robert says that if D-Day had failed then:

The Wehrmacht would have been able to reinforce the Eastern Front, and perhaps made Stalin contemplate (not for the first time) a separate peace, leaving the Nazis dominant in Europe. The Holocaust was still extending its merciless grip to the surviving Jewish populations of Hungary, France, Holland, and Italy. The world would have faced an indefinite prolongation of a global war in which thousands were dying daily. To end the agony, the first atom bombs would probably have been dropped on Germany.

We agree on the Holocaust as the Soviets were no help in stopping that.  But the rest seems highly unlikely.  In June 1944 the Soviets were advancing on Germany like Germany did in the other direction in 1941 [from Laurence Rees, War Of The Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin].  The Stalin and the Soviets had every reason to continue their advance and no reason to stop.  And, as Robert describes, British  [and American] bombing was having an enormous impact on Germany’s ability to fight the Soviets.  Nazi domination of Europe was no longer possible.  The issue was Soviet domination or a balance between the Soviets and other allies.  There are lots of possibilities but the real nightmare scenario of a failed D-Day 75 years ago is that the Iron Curtain would reach to the British Channel.

 

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