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Imperial Europe & WWII



  • Weakness from within was decaying the Russian, Austria-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, yet the German and British Empires were at their strongest during the early post Victorian era.

    I don’t think the nations would have risked so much had they knew the world that they owned would come crashing down after the war.

    How long would the Empires of Germany, Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungrian and the Ottoman Turks survived had the war ended in late 1915 with small territorial
    concessions and little political unrest?



  • First off brilliant topic idea its a most interesting question.
    Personally I think it would of varied wildly depending on the political situation of the respective empires.

    Forced nationalism on Europe and Asia minor by the United States and the French doomed the countries they created to unrest for decades possibly even centuries to come, empires are places for the most part where people can peacefully co-exist regardless of ethnicity and religion. While nation states with their unstable democratic governments are much more prone to ethnic and religious violence, where a nation state would fall apart after unrest in a particular province or country sized area an empire would send in the troops gathered from around the world to maintain order.

    Nationalism is a rather new idea in the grand scheme of the world and one that we take for granted today. If not for the rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson proclaiming that every one should be like the United States as a liberal democracy, the world we live in today may of been a much more peaceful place. Of course the French were more than happy to carve up the old European empires as to eliminate rivals for the future and the British were indifferent having no real stake in the politics of continental Europe.

    It seems to me that WW1 was an accident a tangled web of alliances turned an assasination of one man into war that ended up encompassing the entire world that no one wanted to fight in the first place. So I think there wouldnt of been a great deal of animosity amongst the empires post war so I think continued peace could of been a likely possibility as long as territorial concessions and reparations if any were fair.

    Germany - Would of survived to become an economic super power much like the Germany of today only with more territory so therefore one would imagine more economic and military might. Germany could of become the manufacturing centre of Europe in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s as opposed to it taking till the mid 1950’s. The Kaiser was reasonably well liked until the surrender at the end of WW1, had the Kaisers successors been good rulers I have no doubt in my mind that its a reasonable possibility that there still could be a Kaiser in control of Germany.

    British Empire - Survived long after the other empires were destroyed, had the British not been so utterly bankrupted by WW1 the empire would of lasted into the forseeable future, Only with the massive debts of WW1 and WW2 and American interference in Britains empire did it all finally fall apart in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. With a strong economically independent Britian the empire could of lasted long past this very day i’m making this post. Also if the spirit of nationalism had not of been ignited in Europe the British would not of had to worry so much about independence movements from throughout its empire.

    Russia - Is a very interesting one, only by sheer luck did the Bolsheviks actually seize power in Russia against the forces of the White armys. If the war had of ended satisfactorily for the Russians the Romanovs would of continued in power for at least the next couple of decades probably more and depending on the ruling style of the successors to the Tsar and the living standards of the average Russian. Had the Red Revolution even taken place in 1917 with Europe at peace the entire might of the armys of France and Britain could of been brought to bare against the Bolsheviks, the key though would of been the survival of at least 1 Romanov to become Tsar when the dust settled and someone to rally around at that time of civil war.

    Ottoman Empire - The Ottoman empire was economically finished a long time before WW1 so the forces of Arab Nationalism would of torn it apart before too long, probably only lasting for an extra 5-15 years from the date it actually collapsed in reality. The seeds of revolution were alredy sewn long before the Ottoman loss in WW1.

    Austria-Hungary - Was on its way out before the war too, the forces of ethnic and racial hatred was already tearing the empire apart. The assination of the Arch Duke only being a small symptom of a much greater problem of cramming 15 different ethnic groups into an empire that didnt have the economic or politcal stability to hold it self together. I believe it would of been much the same story as the Ottomans a 5-15 year time frame where everything would of fallen apart as nation states formed and Germany would of annexed Austria much like it did in the 1930’s.



  • From what I know, i’d guess the ottomans and austrians would have been disolved because of internal reasons, while the German and Russian empires could survive with the right reforms. The commonwealth does sort of exit today, and Germany Russia the UK and Turkey are still powerful countires.



  • Well, for France, if Alsace-Lorraine still hadn’t been returned to France, us Frenchies would likely not drop the matter so easily. Remember Alsace-Lorraine has always been a hot spot for German-French contention for a long time, especially after the Franco-Prussian War.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Well, for France, if Alsace-Lorraine still hadn’t been returned to France, us Frenchies would likely not drop the matter so easily.

    And because of this Europe had to fight another world war. Raymond Poincaré sure made sure france would fight the one before that.



  • I can’t really put a specific timeframe here.  As others have already said, the answer depends both on the specific country and the unforeseeable conditions that would have happened in place of WWI.

    Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman empires would have dissolved in 10-20 years I think.  The Russian empire I think is a coin toss between 30 years and lasting indefinitely (to at least this day).  The British and Germans would have lasted to the present.

    It would be an interesting political situation today with the economic, political, and military power divided between the UK, US, Germany, and Japan (and I think the relative strengths would be in that order).



  • @221B:

    I can’t really put a specific timeframe here.  As others have already said, the answer depends both on the specific country and the unforeseeable conditions that would have happened in place of WWI.

    Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman empires would have dissolved in 10-20 years I think.  The Russian empire I think is a coin toss between 30 years and lasting indefinitely (to at least this day).  The British and Germans would have lasted to the present.

    It would be an interesting political situation today with the economic, political, and military power divided between the UK, US, Germany, and Japan (and I think the relative strengths would be in that order).

    What about France?



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    @221B:

    I can’t really put a specific timeframe here.  As others have already said, the answer depends both on the specific country and the unforeseeable conditions that would have happened in place of WWI.

    Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman empires would have dissolved in 10-20 years I think.  The Russian empire I think is a coin toss between 30 years and lasting indefinitely (to at least this day).  The British and Germans would have lasted to the present.

    It would be an interesting political situation today with the economic, political, and military power divided between the UK, US, Germany, and Japan (and I think the relative strengths would be in that order).

    What about France?

    Good question.  Probably the French (and the Russians) would have continued, but I think their relative power to the UK, US, Germany, and Japan would have diminished to the point where France would be really a second class power.  This is because the French had neither the economic and population growth present in the USA, Germany and Japan nor the initial empire size that the UK had.



  • @221B:

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    @221B:

    I can’t really put a specific timeframe here.  As others have already said, the answer depends both on the specific country and the unforeseeable conditions that would have happened in place of WWI.

    Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman empires would have dissolved in 10-20 years I think.  The Russian empire I think is a coin toss between 30 years and lasting indefinitely (to at least this day).  The British and Germans would have lasted to the present.

    It would be an interesting political situation today with the economic, political, and military power divided between the UK, US, Germany, and Japan (and I think the relative strengths would be in that order).

    What about France?

    Good question.  Probably the French (and the Russians) would have continued, but I think their relative power to the UK, US, Germany, and Japan would have diminished to the point where France would be really a second class power.  This is because the French had neither the economic and population growth present in the USA, Germany and Japan nor the initial empire size that the UK had.

    French power should not affect how they feel about Alsace-Lorraine being under German control. If, at the end of this reduced WWI, Alsace-Lorraine is still in German hands I doubt very much France will simply drop the matter. In fact I’m sure armed conflict will follow very soon.

    Second-class? It had the second largest empire in the world, one of the best navies, the largest army in Europe by the end of WWI. Although its tactics in WWII were still 1918 thinking I wouldn’t exactly call that “second class”. If there was a reduced WWI I would think French military power would only grow due to determination to get French territory back from Germany.



  • @UN:

    @221B:

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    @221B:

    I can’t really put a specific timeframe here.  As others have already said, the answer depends both on the specific country and the unforeseeable conditions that would have happened in place of WWI.

    Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman empires would have dissolved in 10-20 years I think.  The Russian empire I think is a coin toss between 30 years and lasting indefinitely (to at least this day).  The British and Germans would have lasted to the present.

    It would be an interesting political situation today with the economic, political, and military power divided between the UK, US, Germany, and Japan (and I think the relative strengths would be in that order).

    What about France?

    Good question.  Probably the French (and the Russians) would have continued, but I think their relative power to the UK, US, Germany, and Japan would have diminished to the point where France would be really a second class power.  This is because the French had neither the economic and population growth present in the USA, Germany and Japan nor the initial empire size that the UK had.

    French power should not affect how they feel about Alsace-Lorraine being under German control. If, at the end of this reduced WWI, Alsace-Lorraine is still in German hands I doubt very much France will simply drop the matter. In fact I’m sure armed conflict will follow very soon.

    Second-class? It had the second largest empire in the world, one of the best navies, the largest army in Europe by the end of WWI. Although its tactics in WWII were still 1918 thinking I wouldn’t exactly call that “second class”.

    I think we’re assuming that there is no conflict, so perhaps France paid money to get its territory back.

    I think he meant they will become second class. For example, look at the UK. In 1922 they had the largest empire in history. Now they just have Britain, Northern Ireland, and some small islands in the Caribbean, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Pacific.



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    I think we’re assuming that there is no conflict, so perhaps France paid money to get its territory back.

    I think he meant they will become second class. For example, look at the UK. In 1922 they had the largest empire in history. Now they just have Britain, Northern Ireland, and some small islands in the Caribbean, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Pacific.

    Alsace-Lorraine has been contested between France and German powers for centuries, and in the Franco-Prussian War the territory was annexed directly into the Reich in a humiliating and stinging fashion. If the Germans would simply let the French buy it, then they must be led by an incompetent fool. That’s like saying Argentina can simply buy the Falkland Islands from the UK.

    Become? How? Their military prescense in all their colonies is strong, and as you said, if there was apparently no massive WWI or WWII, it would not be so easy for colonial uprisings to succeed.



  • @UN:

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    I think we’re assuming that there is no conflict, so perhaps France paid money to get its territory back.

    I think he meant they will become second class. For example, look at the UK. In 1922 they had the largest empire in history. Now they just have Britain, Northern Ireland, and some small islands in the Caribbean, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Pacific.

    Alsace-Lorraine has been contested between France and German powers for centuries, and in the Franco-Prussian War the territory was annexed directly into the Reich in a humiliating and stinging fashion. If the Germans would simply let the French buy it, then they must be led by an incompetent fool. That’s like saying Argentina can simply buy the Falkland Islands from the UK.

    Become? How? Their military prescense in all their colonies is strong, and as you said, if there was apparently no massive WWI or WWII, it would not be so easy for colonial uprisings to succeed.

    Okay. Say they keep their colonies. France in 1914 was already behind the US and UK. Japan at this point was drastically increasing the size of its navy. By world war 2, it had the 2nd largest in the world. Germany will also keep increasing its army and navy. Germany was the 2nd largest economy of the world, after the US. France will fall behind all these powers. That was his main point.



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    @UN:

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    I think we’re assuming that there is no conflict, so perhaps France paid money to get its territory back.

    I think he meant they will become second class. For example, look at the UK. In 1922 they had the largest empire in history. Now they just have Britain, Northern Ireland, and some small islands in the Caribbean, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Pacific.

    Alsace-Lorraine has been contested between France and German powers for centuries, and in the Franco-Prussian War the territory was annexed directly into the Reich in a humiliating and stinging fashion. If the Germans would simply let the French buy it, then they must be led by an incompetent fool. That’s like saying Argentina can simply buy the Falkland Islands from the UK.

    Become? How? Their military prescense in all their colonies is strong, and as you said, if there was apparently no massive WWI or WWII, it would not be so easy for colonial uprisings to succeed.

    Okay. Say they keep their colonies. France in 1914 was already behind the US and UK. Japan at this point was drastically increasing the size of its navy. By world war 2, it had the 2nd largest in the world. Germany will also keep increasing its army and navy. Germany was the 2nd largest economy of the world, after the US. France will fall behind all these powers. That was his main point.

    I’m curious as to what will make them fall behind? What quality do we have that makes us lag behind others? I mean, if we never fought WWI, the French people wouldn’t be as horrified of war, and the military would most likely only get bigger since we would not suffer the millions of casualties. In real life, after WWI, even with the nation very anti-war, and with the military insisting on relying on 1918 tactics, certain parts of the military still improved, particularly the Navy. Although built in limited quantities, we built modern airplanes, artillery, tanks.

    Imagine if the military command wasn’t so shocked into a defensive state of mind, and at the same time was at the forefront of military technology as France always has been. I doubt the French Empire would lag behind the other imperial powers if it did not suffer as much as it did in the Great War. In which if that was the case, there would almost bound to be a World War II, although in a much different form, and with one of the major motivations of France fighting will certainly be Alsace-Lorraine.



  • Here’s why: the US, UK, and Germany all had bigger economies than France. The US and UK had stronger military and Germany was maybe slightly behind. France will still be a great power, but will be behind these nations



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    Here’s why: the US, UK, and Germany all had bigger economies than France. The US and UK had stronger military and Germany was maybe slightly behind. France will still be a great power, but will be behind these nations

    I doubt the French would of remained a great power for long. The United States was always going to be “top dog” eventually probably wouldnt of been till the late 1950’s or early 1960’s had the WW1 ended with a quick peace agreement and WW2 never occured. The French were always in the shadow of the British after Waterloo and after the industrialisation of both the Russian and German empires the French would of been relegated to a place of a second rate power. Russia was always going to be a force to be reckoned with as long as it held it selft together, it still is today. Germany had a much larger population than France and also a larger economy which would of facilitated the rise of the Germans to be the strongest empire in continental Europe.

    Had WW1 ended early and WW2 not occurred in my opinion the state of the world would look something like this:
    Superpowers in order of rank

    1. Tied for 1st place on the condition of Britain maintaining influence and/or dominion over China and India. British Empire and the United States
    2. Russian empire
    3. German empire
    4. French empire

    Although by this time both the Russian and German empires would dwarf that of the French in terms of economic and therefore military might. Had the cold war and WW2 not occured a Russian empire may very well of challenged both the British and the Americans for top spot had their economic growth not been stunted by losing tens of millions of people in war and the economic confines of the planned communist economy.



  • @Octospire:

    I doubt the French would of remained a great power for long.

    Why? What’s preventing them from retaining the title of great power? I sincerely do not understand this. You can still be a great power and, in terms of economy and military, be behind other great powers.

    I don’t deny that French population, economy and military was behind that of Germany: that’s why Russia and France were so eager to be allies. But I don’t think that just because you lag behind others does not make you a “second rate power” if you possess a huge colonial empire, a great fleet, and be at the forefront of military technology and development.



  • @Octospire:

    Had WW1 ended early and WW2 not occurred in my opinion the state of the world would look something like this:
    Superpowers in order of rank

    1. Tied for 1st place on the condition of Britain maintaining influence and/or dominion over China and India. British Empire and the United States
    2. Russian empire
    3. German empire
    4. French empire

    Although by this time both the Russian and German empires would dwarf that of the French in terms of economic and therefore military might. Had the cold war and WW2 not occured a Russian empire may very well of challenged both the British and the Americans for top spot had their economic growth not been stunted by losing tens of millions of people in war and the economic confines of the planned communist economy.

    I did consider this as a possibility, but my thinking is that Russia’s growth would have been stunted by revolutions (the Bolshevik revolution wasn’t the first, or only occurance).  That said, had the Tsar been able to keep the nation stable, your scenario is very possible (as was indeed witnessed during the Cold War).

    Where do you think the Japanese would have fit, #5?  My thinking is that the Japanese would have easily grown much superior to the French.



  • @221B:

    @Octospire:

    Had WW1 ended early and WW2 not occurred in my opinion the state of the world would look something like this:
    Superpowers in order of rank

    1. Tied for 1st place on the condition of Britain maintaining influence and/or dominion over China and India. British Empire and the United States
    2. Russian empire
    3. German empire
    4. French empire

    Although by this time both the Russian and German empires would dwarf that of the French in terms of economic and therefore military might. Had the cold war and WW2 not occured a Russian empire may very well of challenged both the British and the Americans for top spot had their economic growth not been stunted by losing tens of millions of people in war and the economic confines of the planned communist economy.

    I did consider this as a possibility, but my thinking is that Russia’s growth would have been stunted by revolutions (the Bolshevik revolution wasn’t the first, or only occurance).  That said, had the Tsar been able to keep the nation stable, your scenario is very possible (as was indeed witnessed during the Cold War).

    Where do you think the Japanese would have fit, #5?  My thinking is that the Japanese would have easily grown much superior to the French.

    Apologiese I complete forgot to take into account the Japanese. I think they probably would of gained territory in Manchuria and perhaps even parts of Coastal China although I think past that the European empires and the United States would of checked the advance and made them stop. Without the joke that was the Treaty of Versailles the world would of been much more likely to band together to stop territorial agression especially by a country such as Japan that would of been considered an inferior of most of the European Empires and the United States.

    I believe you are correct about the French being eclipsed by the Japanese though, their territories with the exception of French Indo China were not of any large value to them and without powerful enough empire feeding France with cheap raw materials the French would of been overtaken by the Japanese by the late 1930’s much like they were in reality.

    To UN Spacy, in my mind to be a great power means you shape the future of the planet in a large fashion. You have to be one of the top major powers and have the ability to at least match them either economically or militarily the French post 1950 could do neither to any of the other Great powers had WW2 not occured. WW1 was the beginning of the end for the French empire although most French people did not realise it, without the support of the British and eventually the Americans the French would of been pummeled into oblivion by a larger much more well trained fighting force in the form of the German army. Had the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) not come to the aid of the French immediately after the outbreak of hostilities the French line would of more than likely collapsed just like it did in 1940. It was the morale booster in the fact that British were coming to help that held the line together and once the British arrived it was the blood, sweat and tears of “Tommy” that delivered the French from their ultimate fate of German occupation.



  • @Octospire:

    To UN Spacy, in my mind to be a great power means you shape the future of the planet in a large fashion. You have to be one of the top major powers and have the ability to at least match them either economically or militarily the French post 1950 could do neither to any of the other Great powers had WW2 not occured. WW1 was the beginning of the end for the French empire although most French people did not realise it, without the support of the British and eventually the Americans the French would of been pummeled into oblivion by a larger much more well trained fighting force in the form of the German army. Had the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) not come to the aid of the French immediately after the outbreak of hostilities the French line would of more than likely collapsed just like it did in 1940. It was the morale booster in the fact that British were coming to help that held the line together and once the British arrived it was the blood, sweat and tears of “Tommy” that delivered the French from their ultimate fate of German occupation.

    Again, the OP goes by the assumption that World War I was short and not as bloody as it was in real life.

    How long would the Empires of Germany, Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungrian and the Ottoman Turks survived had the war ended in late 1915 with small territorial
    concessions and little political unrest?

    Instead of fighting a bloody stalemate war for four years, the French only fights for a year or so, and also with relatively little losses compared to historical figures.

    So again, French morale and military strength would not be as sapped as it would be in real life.

    and once the British arrived it was the blood, sweat and tears of “Tommy” that delivered the French from their ultimate fate of German occupation.

    That still does not change the fact that the French by far did the majority of the fighting on the Western Front. the only Allied country that exceeded France in casualties was Russia. It was British blood that saw the French will to fight get to its feet, but it was overwhelmingly French blood that was spilled defending France.

    in my mind to be a great power means you shape the future of the planet in a large fashion.

    Great Power

    –noun
    a nation that has exceptional military and economic strength, and consequently plays a major, often decisive, role in international affairs.

    For the umpteenth time, if we assume that World War I ended much earlier with little loss of life for either side, we can assume that France survives as a great power.



  • The opening battles of the first war were much more blood soaked then most realize in fact I have read in some places that it was not till 1918 that the 1914 total surpased 1915-17.  So the idea the powers could just say “OK beat ya next time” is unrealistic, too much blood was already spilled in the first 6 weeks alone to say that was not going to happen.  Now if the allies exacted a less hard peace in 19 the kaiser could have stayed in power putting a hold on the Nazis rise and some other right wing regime would have guided Germany into a second perhaps even worse war then what happen.

    Austria was doomed not much could have save them except cutting off the slav’s and reaching a new understading with the Hungarians keepng a rump state.  The Hapsburgs had lived way past their time.

    The Russians could have gone several ways a red russia was not inivitable even in the civil war the Romanoves could have have return not nickys familiy but there were others.

    alternative end to the first war had serval roads to go down unlike the second war which had only 2 real out comes.



  • @UN:

    @Octospire:

    To UN Spacy, in my mind to be a great power means you shape the future of the planet in a large fashion. You have to be one of the top major powers and have the ability to at least match them either economically or militarily the French post 1950 could do neither to any of the other Great powers had WW2 not occured. WW1 was the beginning of the end for the French empire although most French people did not realise it, without the support of the British and eventually the Americans the French would of been pummeled into oblivion by a larger much more well trained fighting force in the form of the German army. Had the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) not come to the aid of the French immediately after the outbreak of hostilities the French line would of more than likely collapsed just like it did in 1940. It was the morale booster in the fact that British were coming to help that held the line together and once the British arrived it was the blood, sweat and tears of “Tommy” that delivered the French from their ultimate fate of German occupation.

    Again, the OP goes by the assumption that World War I was short and not as bloody as it was in real life.

    How long would the Empires of Germany, Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungrian and the Ottoman Turks survived had the war ended in late 1915 with small territorial
    concessions and little political unrest?

    Instead of fighting a bloody stalemate war for four years, the French only fights for a year or so, and also with relatively little losses compared to historical figures.

    So again, French morale and military strength would not be as sapped as it would be in real life.

    and once the British arrived it was the blood, sweat and tears of “Tommy” that delivered the French from their ultimate fate of German occupation.

    That still does not change the fact that the French by far did the majority of the fighting on the Western Front. the only Allied country that exceeded France in casualties was Russia. It was British blood that saw the French will to fight get to its feet, but it was overwhelmingly French blood that was spilled defending France.

    in my mind to be a great power means you shape the future of the planet in a large fashion.

    Great Power

    –noun
    a nation that has exceptional military and economic strength, and consequently plays a major, often decisive, role in international affairs.

    For the umpteenth time, if we assume that World War I ended much earlier with little loss of life for either side, we can assume that France survives as a great power.

    I don’t see France any better than #6.

    Its all speculation, but lets consider some indicators of the future potential of a nation; initial population size, economic size and growth rate.

    As far as  initial population size, during 1914 the UK was the largest power (due to its extensive empire), followed by France (due to its extensive empire), Russia, USA,and Japan (I’m ignoring the Austrian-Hungary and Ottoman empires here for reasons I’ll explain below).  So France starts out good.

    As far as economic size, I’m not sure which was bigger, UK or USA, but both were wealthier than the others.  Following these closely were Germany (despite almost no empire), France (whose empire didn’t contribute much economically), and Japan.  This is why Germany was able to fight the French and British and Russians for years.  The relatively weak French economy is a reason why I consider it starting weak despite an extensive empire.

    As far as growth rates, by far the growth was happening with Germany, Japan, and the USA.  This is the key point - France was not economically large and it was not growing in 1914.

    In 60 years, I think its certain that Japan would have overtaken it even without the horrific losses France suffered during WWI simply due to faster growth.  The UK would still be a great power because of its very large headstart and because of a better growth rate than France.  The USA easily surpasses France (it could be argued the USA was already stronger than France in 1914…though I would say probably not).  Russia, due to its large and growing population could (as they did in WWII) simply win wars by brute strength…and did experience rapid growth after the Soviets consolidated their power (1930’s).

    So would France be a great power today under the scenario by the original poster?  Thats subjective; I actually think they would as the other powers would have had to consider the French response in anything they did.  But France would be clearly lesser than 5 other powers…way back of the US/UK/and possibly Russia.



  • @221B:

    @UN:

    @Octospire:

    To UN Spacy, in my mind to be a great power means you shape the future of the planet in a large fashion. You have to be one of the top major powers and have the ability to at least match them either economically or militarily the French post 1950 could do neither to any of the other Great powers had WW2 not occured. WW1 was the beginning of the end for the French empire although most French people did not realise it, without the support of the British and eventually the Americans the French would of been pummeled into oblivion by a larger much more well trained fighting force in the form of the German army. Had the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) not come to the aid of the French immediately after the outbreak of hostilities the French line would of more than likely collapsed just like it did in 1940. It was the morale booster in the fact that British were coming to help that held the line together and once the British arrived it was the blood, sweat and tears of “Tommy” that delivered the French from their ultimate fate of German occupation.

    Again, the OP goes by the assumption that World War I was short and not as bloody as it was in real life.

    How long would the Empires of Germany, Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungrian and the Ottoman Turks survived had the war ended in late 1915 with small territorial
    concessions and little political unrest?

    Instead of fighting a bloody stalemate war for four years, the French only fights for a year or so, and also with relatively little losses compared to historical figures.

    So again, French morale and military strength would not be as sapped as it would be in real life.

    and once the British arrived it was the blood, sweat and tears of “Tommy” that delivered the French from their ultimate fate of German occupation.

    That still does not change the fact that the French by far did the majority of the fighting on the Western Front. the only Allied country that exceeded France in casualties was Russia. It was British blood that saw the French will to fight get to its feet, but it was overwhelmingly French blood that was spilled defending France.

    in my mind to be a great power means you shape the future of the planet in a large fashion.

    Great Power

    –noun
    a nation that has exceptional military and economic strength, and consequently plays a major, often decisive, role in international affairs.

    For the umpteenth time, if we assume that World War I ended much earlier with little loss of life for either side, we can assume that France survives as a great power.

    I don’t see France any better than #6.

    Its all speculation, but lets consider some indicators of the future potential of a nation; initial population size, economic size and growth rate.

    As far as  initial population size, during 1914 the UK was the largest power (due to its extensive empire), followed by France (due to its extensive empire), Russia, USA,and Japan (I’m ignoring the Austrian-Hungary and Ottoman empires here for reasons I’ll explain below).  So France starts out good.

    As far as economic size, I’m not sure which was bigger, UK or USA, but both were wealthier than the others.  Following these closely were Germany (despite almost no empire), France (whose empire didn’t contribute much economically), and Japan.  This is why Germany was able to fight the French and British and Russians for years.  The relatively weak French economy is a reason why I consider it starting weak despite an extensive empire.

    As far as growth rates, by far the growth was happening with Germany, Japan, and the USA.  This is the key point - France was not economically large and it was not growing in 1914.

    In 60 years, I think its certain that Japan would have overtaken it even without the horrific losses France suffered during WWI simply due to faster growth.  The UK would still be a great power because of its very large headstart and because of a better growth rate than France.  The USA easily surpasses France (it could be argued the USA was already stronger than France in 1914…though I would say probably not).  Russia, due to its large and growing population could (as they did in WWII) simply win wars by brute strength…and did experience rapid growth after the Soviets consolidated their power (1930’s).

    So would France be a great power today under the scenario by the original poster?  Thats subjective; I actually think they would as the other powers would have had to consider the French response in anything they did.  But France would be clearly lesser than 5 other powers…way back of the US/UK/and possibly Russia.

    Actually, the US had the largest economy, Germany had the second largest, and the British Empire had the third largest



  • It’s flash back Friday.

    I thought with the hundredth anniversary of WWI approaching the subject could be revisited.



  • I wonder how a Germany ruled by the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm would have faired had WWI been just a large Balkan Conflict?



  • @ABWorsham:

    I wonder how a Germany ruled by the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm would have faired had WWI been just a large Balkan Conflict?

    I think quite well.  The breakup of the Austrian-Hungary empire would probably have happened in which case I think Austria becomes very politically tied to Germany (perhaps it even becomes part of Germany).  Either way (or even without Austria) Germany would be the economic leader of Europe by the mid 1950’s.


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