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An alternate history I don't think I've seen - Input Junkie
March 5th, 2013
10:45 am

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An alternate history I don't think I've seen
In Weimar Germany, what if Communists had won out rather than Nazis?

It seems to me the world would be so different that my mind boogie woogies. Did Communists actually have much of a chance? Would Germany have been a power independent of the Soviet Union? Would it still have been expansionist? Would it have been genocidal, but not against the the same people? (So far as I know, there is no generalization which explains which Communist countries killed on a grand scale, and which were more ordinary dictatorships. I'm very tentatively going with the personality of the leader.)

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1005330.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:tinymammoth
Date:March 5th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
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Which communist countries didn't have a massacre? I've seen the very erudite Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky say that the first thing every Communist government does is kill ten percent of the population. This is true in Russia, Ukraine, Cuba, Vietnam, and China to my knowledge. I would like to know which countries were exceptions? I don't think this happened in Venezuela.

I have the Black Book of Communism on my shelf but I have not read it yet. Looking for a reference on my memory of Bukovsky and not finding it - I think maybe it was in the movie The Soviet Story.
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From:agrumer
Date:March 5th, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC)
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Which countries (of any sort) didn’t have a massacre?
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From:tinymammoth
Date:March 6th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
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I'm talking about a pattern in communist governments where when they come to power they kill off 10% of their own population. Looking at the twentieth century, these countries did not have a massacre of the people by their government on that scale: Western Europe (except Germany), Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, the United States, Mexico, most of Latin America (as loathsome as Pinochet is, he didn't kill anything like 10% of his people). I am sure this is not a complete list.

I'm talking specifically of the direct killing of huge numbers of perceived political opponents. A non-communist example would be Queen Elizabeth's persecution of Catholics, which was apparently on as grand a scale numerically as Stalin's purges.
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From:bradhicks
Date:March 6th, 2013 01:12 am (UTC)
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My go-to source on Weimar has become Richard Evans' Rise of the Third Reich, and based on my reading of that, the Communists never had even a minimally plausible chance. They made the same mistake there that they made here in the US -- mis-read the masses, moved way, way too early, established a reputation as traitors and were never taken seriously ever again.

Given how narrow the coalition victory was that put Hitler in the Chancellorship, though, it's entirely possible to imagine a world in which World War II never happened. All it would have taken was either one of two things, one of them hard, he other one easy. Either prevent the Great Depression in the US, which discredited the Social Democrats in Germany just enough that a narrow right-wing coalition was able to win instead of the center-left/center-right unity government the voters were expecting when they went to the polls, or prevent the Reichstag fire, keeping Hitler from being able to declare an emergency long enough that his coalition loses in the next election, returning post-Depression power to the generally more popular Social Democratic alliance once they can point to the success of the New Deal in the US. The resulting world looks remarkably like the post WW II world, only the borders of NATO stretch a little bit farther east, and the Warsaw Pact has to make do with Yugoslavian and Polish manufacturing instead of being able to rely on East Germany. Von Braun, whose Naziism had a lot more to do with anti-communism than any particular love of fascism or racism, probably still provides ICBM technology to the US.

(Caveat: I am not at all clear on how, or when, atomic bombs get invented in that timeline; this scenario does assume that they do and that the balance of terror stabilizes just as quickly. Now that I think about it some more, most likely the atom race is initially between the US and Japan, because the Japanese invasion of Manchuria still happens and the US still implements provocative economic sanctions, so the Pacific campaign still happens.)
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From:subnumine
Date:March 7th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
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The research through 1939 still happens; none of it was politically motivated. But Japan might have chosen to go to war with Russia; one reason for the Pacific campaign was that Britain and the United States looked busy, and France and Holland were not going to intervene.
From:paulshandy
Date:March 13th, 2013 09:00 am (UTC)
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I don't think a Communist Germany would result in Japan fighting Russia, I think it would result in the German Commies fighting the British Empire exclusively, giving Russia the chance to head east. Russia would have supported Mao, which means Russia would chose to fight Japan instead of Japan chosing to fight Russia. Nitpick, I know.
From:paulshandy
Date:March 13th, 2013 09:01 am (UTC)
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Actually, the easiest way to avoid WWII would have been for the Allies to be less vindictive after WWI.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 13th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
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How hard would that be?
From:paulshandy
Date:March 15th, 2013 07:06 am (UTC)
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You got me, but if politicians were nice people, this whole thread would be moot.

I think the shock of modern warfare was probably just too much for everyone involved. It was a big leap in technology between the Prussian-Franco War and World War I.
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From:subnumine
Date:March 7th, 2013 03:02 am (UTC)
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As for Nancy's question: There would undoubtedly have been a power struggle within the German People's Republic, as there was between Stalin and Tito, and Stalin and Mao, in our timeline.

Stalin would have had the disadvantage of not having an army to send in; but he would have had the enormous prestige that his plan (Let the Nazis screw up, then the people will have nobody to turn to but us) would have, against the odds, worked.

It is concievable that there would have been no Terror in 1934; Stalin's prestige might have been great enough to satisfy even him.

How France and Poland would have reacted is almost beyond conjecture.

I would like to see a source for a 10% population decrease, in our timeline, in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, or Hungary.
From:paulshandy
Date:March 13th, 2013 08:56 am (UTC)
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If we assume that the the Communists in Germany beat the Nazis (by being as ruthless and cunning, but with the advantages of blue collar workers doing the beating), then you'd still have a World War II, but life would be looking pretty grim for the good guys. Germany lost more soldiers fighting the Russians than the US and UK. WHile the Desert Fox was fighting in North Africa giving the Brits fits with 2 German and 2 Italian divisions, Hitler threw 140 divisions at Russia. If the Germans were Commies and threw that sort of military power only at the British Empire, North Africa and the Middle East would have fallen to the Communists, but which parts would be German and which part Russian would be hard to tell. Revealed of a German invasion, Russia could have invaded Asian countries, supporting Mao with actual troops, kicking the Japanese and Chinese Nationalists out.

So assuming at that point the US, UK, and Japanese navies hold the Commies to the mainland and the US develops the bomb first (for pretty much the same reasons we did in the first time line: the persecution of anyone who thinks for themselves), we settle down into a Cold War except most of Europe is waving a red flag. However, at that point, the natural advantages of capitalism and difficulties of command economies would kick in again. Plus, Mao and Stalin really didn't like each other, and a German ruler might well have the same ego issues, while the capitalist countries grow economically, the commie countries slowly crumble apart from their own interal issues. Of course, there is no Israel, since German tanks would have rolled right on over Palestine.
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From:marycatelli
Date:April 13th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
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Ah, but you assume that the German and Soviet Commies are natural allies instead of natural rivals for leadership.
From:paulshandy
Date:April 15th, 2013 04:48 am (UTC)
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As I noted, in real history Mao and Stalin didn't like each other, but didn't turn on each other until they each had firm control on their own countries. So I suspect German and Russie commies would have been allies until the warm glow of ideology wore off and geo-political realities kicked back in.
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From:marycatelli
Date:April 13th, 2013 05:15 pm (UTC)
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One thing I would notice is that without the Holocaust to discredit them, the eugenists would still be running wild. One notes that the Nazi involuntary eugenic sterilization program was in fact copied from the American ones.
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