Unintentional humor; USA joins Axis?(!)

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Unintentional humor; USA joins Axis?(!)

Post by AnchorSteam » 17 Feb 2022 06:49

I saw this one YT and just had to see if it is as silly as I thought it was;

It is an hour long, so; main point is that Japan joins the Allies at the opportune moment, and then gets away with occupying French and Dutch territory and then goes after the Philippines too. US goes to war with Japan alone but the UK gets caught in the crossfire. Germany shrugs at the Americans until they start losing in the East.... and eventually Japan is crushed and a negotiated settlement is reached with the UK and USSR.

It is goofy and pretty a a good illustration of how taking a "what if?" too far is just sooooo wrong. :milwink:

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Re: Unintentional humor; USA joins Axis?(!)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 17 Feb 2022 16:16

My version of how it happens works better. Equally preposterous, but it has more of a plausible ring to it than that nonsense...

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. In a moment of insane clarity, Hitler declares war on Japan the next day and offers the US a couple of divisions and say a squadron of the German navy along with some Luftwaffe assets. Fill in the necessary crazy logic for that.
The US may be a very unwilling ally with Germany, but it presents some issues American politics can't get around. First, Lend-Lease is dead except where it is used against Japan. There is no political way for it to continue once the US is at war with Japan and not with Germany. It'd be political suicide to keep sending Britain and Russia large amounts of arms for what amounts to free.
The U-boat war is a sticking point, but the Germans could just reign them in closer to home. That leaves Britain having to carry everything they need on their own hulls rather than get US assistance--outside whatever Britain is doing to fight Japan.

Germany tries (possibly with US aid) to make peace with Britain, something the British might actually go for in this case. That leaves a German war with Russia that Germany very probably could win, or at least get a draw with concessions out of. Japan gets crushed.

Best part, there's a second round with Germany in the late 1950's and it includes early nukes and Nazis in space!

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Re: Unintentional humor; USA joins Axis?(!)

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Mar 2022 02:04

AnchorSteam wrote:
17 Feb 2022 06:49
It is goofy and pretty a a good illustration of how taking a "what if?" too far is just sooooo wrong. :milwink:
I don't think it's necessarily a matter of too far, rather of good versus bad alternate history.

Alternate history is best employed as a means of counterfactual reasoning. This is where we take a historical narrative ("X happened because Y") and test that narrative by asking "Does X happen absent Y?" or "Does Not X happen even in the presence of Y"?

One of the problems with alternate history is that anybody can do it but it's extremely difficult to do well: thus the field contains mostly bad material. Changing one variable incepts changes to theoretically unlimited additional variables. Good alternate history requires, inter alia, the judgment to know which variables might meaningfully change. It then requires the knowledge and analytical skills to describe how they likely would have changed. A convincing ATL should incorporate humility regarding the counterfactual "values" of changed variables - one way to do so is always to select the underside case of counterfactual values.

I'll use my own work as an example. One historical narrative is that Germany lost because the Allies had numerical/economic preponderance that precluded anything but the OTL outcome. We can test that narrative by evaluating, e.g., a small counterfactual change that retains overwhelming Allied preponderance and asking whether a different outcome is likely in the counterfactual. My Ostheer-centric counterfactual does exactly that. It gives Germany an armaments boost equal to <1% of German GDP prior to Barbarossa, and shows that German victory in the East during 1942 is the likely outcome. Had the SU fallen, the historical record is clear that the West had not even a plan to invade Europe.

This counterfactual analysis can then be used for several further analytical purposes. For one, it negates the argument that Germany lost due to being outnumbered/outproduced - a 1% economic delta doesn't change the fact of being outnumbered/outproduced. It shows that German strategic blunders were necessary to her defeat, most importantly the failure to take the SU seriously.

Another mode of analysis removes the hindsight inherent in dominant historical narratives and evaluates Allied strategy as the world appeared to contemporaries. How does this look? Well in 1941 the US and UK assumed Germany would defeat the SU (they did not uniformly assume collapse in 1941 but nearly all thought SU would be functionally defeated by the end of 1942). We should evaluate US strategy given that strategic outlook, and the US's later realization (during 1942) that Soviet defeat would at least preclude "Germany First" and would likely preclude defeating Germany at all. Under those two facts, the war's course and/or outcome were completely out of W.Allied hands - if the SU endured they'd win; if it didn't they were unlikely ever to defeat Germany (at this time the A-bomb was not a strategic factor).

In all of this, the counterfactual reasoner should keep her mind on the fundamentals driving the analysis rather than becoming too tied to ancillary paths along a counterfactual history, which branch out in theoretically unlimited directions.
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Unintentional humor; USA joins Axis?(!)

Post by thaddeus_c » 05 Mar 2022 06:47

of course there is no way, barring 4 or 5 major, major PODs, that the US would join an Axis that resembles the historical entity.

the only scenario (that I can think of), is if the UK was badly weakened and the USSR and Japan began some active collaboration, perhaps some joint move on India and/or China.

a German invasion of the USSR welcomed while the US battles Japan?

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