Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

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Futurist
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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 05 Dec 2020 01:56

Cekekb wrote:
04 Dec 2020 22:16
gebhk wrote:
03 Dec 2020 23:00
Thanks CekekB, very useful assessment. I would concur that 1935-36 is probably the latest an invasion of Germany could be contemplated. I guess if Poland and Czechoslovakia had been allied, this would have released a further divisions for the invasion force?
Certainly, but not more than 1-2 divisions.
More interresting would be position of Hungary in such scenario. Maybe Poland could obtain given theit good relationship a guarantee of Hungarian neutrality (in effect freeing additional CS forces) ?
But what would Hungary's price be in exchange for such neutrality? Might it demand some territorial compensation at Czechoslovakia's expense? Perhaps a plebiscite or two or three in some small southern Czechoslovak areas?

gebhk
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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 05 Dec 2020 13:38

I guess that is the problem with this whole can of worms - a whole host of interwoven unknowns which had to be faced by contemporary politicians but which modern know-it-alls often conveniently forget when criticising them.

The Hungarian issues I would tackle by a combination of the carrot and stick. I suspect that some small land concessions would be necessary - but some might be, in this scenario, in Czechoslovakia's indirect interest - for example a common Polish-Hungarian border. Militarily Hungary was weak due to post WW1 restrictions and should have been kept in check by the Small Entente. That being said, Czechoslovakia was the powerhouse of the SE and if her attention was directed elsewhere, Hungary, whose appetites were, as I understand it, mainly at the expense of Romania may turn there. As Romania is an important part of Poland's strategy against the Soviet Union, this threat would be a strong deterrent for Poland from getting involved in Germany on these lines.

So yes, I think assuring Hungary's neutrality would be a prerequisite for this adventure. The way to achieve this is to counterbalance Hungary's pro-German leanings, anti-Romanian and anti- Czechoslovak feelings and desire for land restitution with strong pro-Polish sentiments, with some land concessions and any other concessions that might be made without serious risk - for example lifting some of the military restrictions but all this backed up with credible threat of instant and decisive action should the Hungarians make any threatening moves. Eventually, if our adventure would prove to be a success, with Germany out of the picture in the area and with the USSR as a common enemy, there would be much to sway the Hungarians to join the common cause. No doubt driving with a common yoke which included Hungary and the SE countries was never going to be a smooth ride (as the Germans were soon to find out in real life) but not entirely impossible.

gebhk
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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 05 Dec 2020 20:02

Certainly, but not more than 1-2 divisions.
Indeed, for the Czechoslovak side. However I was also thinking that a similar number of Polish divisions would be freed form watching Czechoslovakia?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 06 Dec 2020 07:35

No.

Versailles after WWI had not been a severe settlement territorially. Germany lost only about 12% of its territory, almost all of which had non-German majorities, and remained a unitary state.

So something a bit more severe was in order after WWII.

I feel sorry for the displaced Germans from Eastern Europe, because they bore the territorial punishment for the whole German nation, which otherwise got off remarkably lightly on its other frontiers after WWII. However, it is up to the other Germans to compensate them, nobody else.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 06 Dec 2020 21:49

Good post, Sid, but one minor nitpick: AFAIK, Weimar Germany was a federation, not a unitary state. Ditto for Imperial Germany.

gebhk
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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 07 Dec 2020 15:28

Difficult to disagree with what you say Sid. The irony, perhaps, is that what this decision hastened and completed was a process which had already been taking place at least since the end of WW1 albeit slowly and voluntarily - that is the migration of Eastern Germans westwards in search of better economical opportunities. This natural trend clearly exercised the Nazi hierarchy, who were concerned that if it were to be allowed to continue, it would create a vacuum which eventually the Poles would fill. The irony of course, is that it is the war the Nazis started, that became the instrument by which this came to pass much more quickly and completely than it would have done, had the process been left to proceed organically.

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