You make some ineteresting points, the strategic alliances between the French and Soviets basically doomed Germany to either fighting WW2 or being a sitting duck when the Soviets came a knockin’. Chamberlain could of been bigger than Churchill in the current popular imagination if he had of engineered a successful alliance with the Germans and then defeated the Soviet Union. You are very much correct that forging an alliance would of been very difficult considering the Pro-Soviet sentiments amongst the worlds elites, however I think with the right propaganda they could of turned the tide. In reality it wouldnt even have to be propaganda just the truth about the Soviet Union under Stalin, the labour camps and purges that were reality long before exterminating the Jews was even a thought on the Nazi parties planning table.
Germany and Britain had ties going back centuries that could of been rekindled in spite of French protests, the Soviets werent going to sit within their borders forever especially with their massive advantages in manpower and industrial capacity.
What is facinating about this whole era is how accomodating Hitler tried to be with the British at least at first, he wanted an Anglo-German alliance so badly just like the alliance between the Prussians and the British during the Napoloeonic era. Had the British been receptive to these offers or at the very least not signing their way into world war 2 by alligning themselves yet again with the French things could of been very different.
As I previously said I think the key would be proganda making the Nazi’s seem like the lesser of two evils and demonising the Soviets to the point where it would be essential for the British to side with Germany. It really shouldnt of been that hard as the atttitudes of the late 1940’s and 1950’s Western world illustrated. There was already communist uprising in China undermining the Nationalist government, how hard would of it been to demonise the communist way of life and show the world what life in the Soviet Union was really like.
Good post! 🙂
From a purely ethical standpoint, several differences between the Nazis and the communists occur to me.
The Soviet government had murdered tens of millions of innocent people even before WWII began. (And added considerably to that total both during and after the war.) Conversely, the Nazi government did not begin killing large numbers of people until its food situation precluded feeding everyone within its borders.
The Soviet government was bent on world revolution. Outside of communist-controlled areas, their focus was primarily on tearing down the existing social order and anything which supported it. As an example of this, David Horowitz (an ex-communist who’d been raised as a red diaper baby) noted that shortly after he got married, his wife attended a meeting of communists/radical feminists. She came home in tears: the radical feminists/communists had harshly judged her for choosing to stay home and raise kids instead of putting her career first. That was the last such meeting Horowitz’s wife attended. He went on to add that within a year, every woman who chose to continue attending those meeting had had her marriage end. Communists felt that stirring up trouble between the sexes was a good way to harm the existing social order. In contrast, the Nazis were generally pro-family, and even brought Mothers Day to German-occupied France.
Recently, a relatively well-known Canadian journalist decided to quit her career, and become an artist instead. She went back to school to obtain her art degree. She was successful in obtaining that degree, but she said it nearly killed her as an artist. The postmodernist (read:communist) opinion is that until the world’s sexes and races are equal, beauty has no place in art. Consequently, no effort should be made to make art beautiful. This journalist chose, as her subject matter, to paint the people who cleaned up the art room after the art students were finished using it. She felt such people were too often unnoticed. Her postmodernist professors harshly condemned her for this, and asked her what she, as an educated and well-off white woman, could possibly know what it was like to be a poorly paid racial minority. While the politicization and perversion of art to suit a twisted and evil political agenda may seem like a minor thing in comparison with the mass rapes and mass murders for which communists are responsible, I still see this as significant. In contrast to this, the Nazis tended to prefer traditional to modern art, and believed that it was perfectly appropriate for art to be beautiful or visually pleasing. They sometimes censored depictions of the nude human form, which they saw as decadent.
If the common people could be made to see these and other difference between the Nazis and communists, I firmly believe that most people would respond by becoming significantly more anti-communist than they were anti-Nazi. The problem was that Western elites tended to sweep communists’ crimes under the rug, while focusing excessively on (and often exaggerating) those of the Nazis. Outright lies were told, and believed. For example, Walter Duranty of the New York Times told a number of pro-Soviet lies, including the whitewashing of the Ukrainian famine. (A forced famine that the Soviets committed in the early '30s, which resulted in deliberate starvation and death of 7 million innocent people.) Against such a backdrop, it is possible to tell the truth without necessarily being believed.
While these things would have represented an obstacle to a NATO-style Anglo-German alliance, they were not necessarily an insurmountable one. But it would have been an uphill battle, even if both Hitler and Chamberlain were both fully committed to the idea, and even if the Nazis had been as good at understanding political considerations outside Germany as von Bismarck had been.
While with hindsight we can see what the Nazi’s were capable of, but we forget they were up against the wall and fighting for their very existence who knows what the British or Americans may of done in the same position. The fire bombing of Tokyo killing up to 210,000 a single night is just a preview of what the allies were capable of when faced with the massive casualties possible with an Invasion of mainland Japan.
The Germans in the early 1930’s were an intolerant towards Jews and other minorities such as gypsies but in reality they were not that much more intolerant towards Jews than the Americans in the early years of Nazi rule in Germany. Had the Nazi’s got their alliance and not surrounded on practically every side by Anti-Nazi nations it is likely they would not of comitted much of the atrocities they did in reality. As Kurt Godel quite correctly said the Soviets were already an evil regime long before the Nazi’s put the first Jew in the gas chamber. Had the Germans had alliance to maintain with the British they couldnt take the hard line with ethnic minorities and under take the actions they did in reality, I think carving up the Soviet Union would of been seen as more than worth the trade off of not so publicly persecuting ethnic minorities in the eyes of the Nazi leadership.
I agree that it would of been difficult for Chamberlain and Hitler to forge a NATO style alliance but as you say it wasnt entirely impossible and looking at the reality of World War 2 in a lot of cases the highly improbable did actually end up occuring. For instance the quick fall of France and decimation of Allied armies and also the suprisingly successful early U-boat campaign against Allied shipping in the Atlantic. I think if the Nazi’s had of been less agressive and built up their strength perhaps even getting a treaty where by their armies had free passage through Poland to the Soviet Union, that combined with a continued anti-communist propaganda campaign in Britain may very well of turned the tide of public opinion and made Hitler look like the possible saviour of the peoples of the Soviet Union. Of course had the Alliance materialised the peoples of the Ukraine and Soviet Union been treated fairly and with compassion as the invasion continued its likely that the Soviet Union would of crumbled under the weight of internal revolution and Anglo-German attack.