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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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May 20

In 1940, on this day Guderian will not get his halt order. He will take the Channel ports before the BEF can retreat through them. The British will save the brigade they lost defending Calais but lose everyone else. There will be no air battle over Dunkirk to give the UK a small victory as happened in OTL.

A Very Different Eastern Front by Scott PalterFrance will live another week as it will take an extra week to refit Guderian's panzers for the second offensive. However the political rot and disparity of forces will be just as bad. This gives Italy an extra week of war. Add some more poor dead Italians in the Alps. However, I am going to pull a divergence here. I will let Balbo talk Il Duce into making an air-sea push for Malta in that final week. The French are no longer cooperating with the British. The British Med commander, Cunningham, will be preoccupied with the French warships in Alexandria harbor. Malta falls.

Two small changes have now occurred. From this I will have Il Duce use his influence with Hitler to get German air support for an Italian drive into Egypt. He gets Richtoffen's close support folks [VIIIth Air Corps - Stukas with fighters], the transport planes, the few surviving airborne [Holland had cut Student's boys up quite badly], and a rump Panzer Corps [Rommel's 7th, the Greater Germany Motor Infantry Regiment and Dietrich's LAH Motorized Troops under the command of Hitler's favorite and the hero of the western campaign, Erwin Rommel]. I will give them 60 days to redeploy to the Egyptian border so that by August 30th they are in position.

The air battles over England would have by this time been initiated, but would have been going as poorly as in OTL. The Germans would be suffering major losses with no clearly visible gains. The propaganda edge from the fall of Paris would be starting to rub off. Also Stalin would be making difficulties in the East over Finland, Rumania, and Bulgaria. Again right on schedule. Finally with Balbo as overall commander, let him bring in Messe to command the Italian fast troops in Libya [only a few brigades but we need an Italian component that can keep up with Rommel].

The Italo-German offensive jumps off on September 1st and runs into O'Conner's prepared ambush battle position. The 7th Armored and 4th Indian were crack units. However complete air superiority plus Rommel plus enough German air transports to keep the advance moving wins a five day dog fight of a battle. By the middle of the month, Rommel and Messe are up to the line of the Suez Canal and Balbo is following Il Duce on a victory parade through the streets of Cairo.

This leads Adolph to one of his intuitive leaps. The whole Sea Lion / Battle of Britain thing is allowed to wind down to minor air skirmishes over the Channel. Hitler has a major victory in which Germany played a key role. Victories are wonderful for his prestige. Air units and armor start shifting south and east.

We will dispense with a rewrite of an ATL I did here before. Rommel takes Basra by late spring of 1941. Balbo relieves Italian East Africa. Churchill is dumped by the Tory caucus in Commons. The UK makes peace, keeping the balance of the Empire. As part of the peace terms, the UK, Germany and Italy all take chunks out of Belgium's and France's African empires. Let Hitler also dump on the British his unwanted Jews and Romani [settle them in the Congo for the sake of amusement]. Our change will be no Barbarossa. Over the winter we will have Hitler begin fortifying the eastern boundaries of his dominions. Beyond that he lets Goring build a New Order in Europe while Hitler does architecture with Speer. Two years pass in which Stalin readies his armies. Without a continuing war in Europe, America has gone back into Depression. The UK is rebuilding its strength but has no mind to oppose a united Europe. Japan has patched up its old alliance with the UK as a joint mutual defense pact against Stalin. The Anglo-Saxons have left Chiang to his fate. He hangs on in Chunking, sustained by Russian aid through Sinkiang. India is being readied for independence, but in the meantime the India army has occupied Tibet, part of Afghanistan and part of Iran as a strategic buffer. Stalin has occupied the rest.

What follows is taken from the concept that Stalin saw the Hitler pact as a truce behind which he could buildup his forces for a showdown. I have been told by ex-Soviets that this is common knowledge there. If so, it has only made it into the fringe histories here. However, presume that this happens. Six million Soviet soldiers open a bombardment from the Arctic circle to Basra. The game commences.

It is highly doubtful that the Russians could achieve strategic surprise. So we will have some four million Europeans [2/3rd's Germans] facing them. The Soviets will have better tanks [absent the pressure of an actual Eastern front German dithering on a successor to the Mark IV would probably have continued]. The Germans will have better planes. They will also be Germans.

Presume that Stalin's first attacks take most of Iraq, most of Finland and half of Turkey. It looks very pretty on the map. However, except for Iraqi oil, none of it is of military signifigance. On the main front, the defects in Soviet battlecraft would probably have repeated themselves. It is doubtful the Soviet armies would be as bad as 41-42 in OTL. Our war caught them with a major reorganization in progress. This time they are ready. However, they would still not have recovered from the purges. It would be an army overcontrolled from the top, displaying little operational initiative. What is likely is a succession of Kharkov 1942 type battles. So the summer is spent with major Soviet penetrations sealed off by German counterattacks into one lost cauldron after another. By the late autumn thaw, Stalin has lost 3 million men to Hitler's million. Europe is mobilizing its industry for arms production. The rebuilding of the German cities is put aside as Speer is shifted to become Hitler's Europe wide armaments trouble shooter. Stalin has not been able to get beyond Ankara in Turkey and has lost Iraq to a skillful Italian counterattack. Finland is reduced to a bridgehead around Helsinki, but the Scandinavians aided by Germans have blocked the Russian advance in Lapland at Narvik.

The winter of 1943-44 sees the European armies push into Soviet territory, liberating Bessarabia, Bukovina, Galacia, western Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia. Stalin's no retreat orders leave his troops under the German hammer far too long in each case. However, the Soviet armies fight hard. A Soviet soldier's family is hostage for his behavior.

The campaign year of 1944 sees the Europeans retake Finland, Lapland, most of Turkey and part of Iran. On the main front the line has reached Odessa - Kiev - Smolensk - Vladi Hills - Leningrad [which is besieged]. Four million Europeans and ten million Soviets have fallen

European and Soviet war orders have revived the economies of the US and UK. The moveable assets of a continent are flowing to the Anglo-Saxons for food, raw materials and weapons. The economic revival comes too late to save FDR's political life. Rather than endure defeat, he has not asked for the Democratic nomination. The Republicans under Taft and Warren take the White House and both houses of Congress, defeating a Democratic ticket of Byrnes and Barkley.

The Tories finally consent to a general election and are routed by a Liberal-Labor-National coalition. Churchill has won his own seat as an Empire independent. Without him to lead it, the Tory party of this TL will be very different than the one we know. It will be a party of a particular class and a particular period. British politics will remain multisided.

It will take the Europeans two years [1945-46] to take Moscow and two more to reach the Volga [1947-48]. By now ten million Europeans and twenty million Soviets will have fallen. The war essentially burns itself out there. Another three years [1948-50], four million Europeans and six million Soviets will be spent proving that neither side can attain a decisive superiority.

So Germany will create a Europe from the Volga to the Atlantic, but a Europe that has seen 14 million casualties and spent its moveable wealth on the most expensive conventional war in history. The Soviets will lose almost all of European Russia and twenty six million men. Their 'gains' will be Afghanistan north of the Salang Pass, Sinkiang, Chiang's small slice of West China and Mao's of Northwest China. However the total population of the USSR will be higher than when the war began from Chinese moved into the old Soviet lands as war workers, farmers and soldiers. Japan will be choking on the 'empire' it has swallowed in China and Indochina. With the end of hostilities some tens of millions of Chinese and Indochinese will be allowed / forced from the Japanese zones into the Soviet ones.

The heart of Europe will be spared the destruction of our WW2. However in lost production and lost men it will be a more costly war for Europe than in OTL. Japan will be victorious but bankrupt. The two Anglo-Saxon states will have the moveable wealth of the world and have avoided war. Indian independence will have happened [make it 1945 if you choose] without partition and with enough troops from Britain to prevent communal rioting on a major scale. Some five million Indian Communists and left Congress types have relocated to the USSR. Some ten million of the more devout and militant Muslims have relocated to Turkey and the Axis Middle East. The British still hold Malaya and Borneo. The Dutch still rule the East Indies. There is no atomic bomb, no nuclear arms race, and no Israel [but no Holocaust or death camps]. A very different world from a few simple switches.

© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.