02 October 2010

WWI Ends on Sunday. Yes, This Sunday

The last act of WWI takes place this Sunday...

Germany will finally pay off the last of its debts from World War One this Sunday, on the 20th anniversary of German reunification.
Germany's federal office for central services and unresolved property issues (BADV) said on Tuesday a bond issued to pay remaining debts stemming from the conflict would mature on Oct. 3, two decades after West and East Germany united.
The final 70 million euro ($94 million) installment will close a 92-year chapter that saw Germany plunge into totalitarian dictatorship and trigger a second world war that ended with its division during four decades of Cold War.
"On Sunday the last bill is due and the First World War finally, financially at least, terminates for Germany," the country's biggest-selling newspaper, Bild, said on Tuesday.
The Treaty of Versailles, a peace settlement signed by Germany and the Allies in 1919, made Germany solely responsible for World War One, requiring it to pay reparations for the damage done to the Allied countries and peoples between 1914 and 1918.

There's a discussion that started a few years ago over at Wargamer.com about what might've happened in WWI if the US had allied with the Germans. I threw out a random thought on it.

Forgetting the Western front for a second:

What happens on the Eastern Front if the Germans don't have as many forces committed to the Western front? What happens to the Balkans if the Austro-Hungarian Empire isn't hacked up after the war?

Assuming a German victory in the west, coupled with the same Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and Austria likely takes significant chunks of Italian/Yugoslavian coast, from Venice to Dubrovnik, at least. The Ottoman Empire still falls apart. Iraq/Palestine are under German influence rather than British, and the Suez Canal may change hands. Similarly, the German colonies in Africa aren't parceled out among other nations.

More importantly, while the Brits and French likely plot their revenge on Germany - and the US - the Nazi party never rises in Germany. A WWII is still likely, given the unresolved state of armistices at the time, and imminent rise of Japanese militarism. But the Holocaust doesn't happen, Israel is perhaps founded, but treated much differently because the Jews aren't scarred by the memories of the Holocaust. German domination of the Middle East from the Suez to Hormuz results in an efficient bureaucratic system layered on top of Islam that may have suppressed more radical sects like Wahhabism. Our German allies would've maintained the flow of oil from the Arabian peninsula, without the US having to guarantee the continuation of the Saudi monarchy.

What happens to the Austrian Empire is still up in the air - given the mishmash of ethnicities within the empire, it might have looked like 1990s Yugoslavia, only (a) bigger, and (b) sooner. But given the connections with Germany (such as language) it's likely that some of it would've been absorbed into a greater German co-operation sphere. Poland and Czechoslovakia never know independence, but the Baltic states don't fall under Communist domination because of the proximity of Germany's borders.

All in all, it's a pretty different world, eh?

What do y'all think? Should Germany have been paying off the Western world all these years for "causing" WWI? (I mean, hell, the Austrians had something to do with it, right?) What do you think of the random bit of counter-factual history I threw out off the cuff back in '06?

By: Brant

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Winners dictate history. The French and the British were as responsible for the first war as the Germans but that's not how the world works.