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What would happened if?

daftandbarmy

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So many fascinating possibilities in the "What If..." category of history.

What if the Norwegan resistance hadn't been as clever and dedicated as they were? Or had failed in their efforts to eliminate heavy water production?


So many What If's...

I did a ski instructor course at Rjukan, in Telemark, in the 80s. We could see the Vermork plant from the Hardanger plateau region that was our training area.

One of the Norwegian Officers on OP GUNNERSIDE gave a talk one night, during the course, about the raid on the heavy water plant (yes, I'm that old). The guy was about as old as I am now, coincidentally :)


He was pretty clear that it was a very risky operation for something that (despite Hollywood) might not have been worth it and would kill everyone, many others had died in the attempt, but they did it anyways because they were so pissed off at the high levels of Norwegian collaboration with the German occupation force. And they believed that the heavy water was a real threat, which it wasn't as it turned out.

Norwegian resistance was pretty weak compared with other occupied countries, like France. As a result, they lived in a small hut in a remote area, eating reindeer moss to survive, because the RAF couldn't resupply them from the air, and they couldn't risk connecting with the heavily compromised civilian population who had squealed on many other commando type raid attempts. Their achievements were astonishing, and much under rated in the history of commando operations IMHO. We regarded this guy as a a frickin' God, Royal Marines Falklands War vets amongst us included.

And then there's Quisling. 'Quisling' is a a great insult if you ever need to enrage a Norwegian, but I suggest you don't try it.

 

CBH99

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I did a ski instructor course at Rjukan, in Telemark, in the 80s. We could see the Vermork plant from the Hardanger plateau region that was our training area.

One of the Norwegian Officers on OP GUNNERSIDE gave a talk one night, during the course, about the raid on the heavy water plant (yes, I'm that old). The guy was about as old as I am now, coincidentally :)


He was pretty clear that it was a very risky operation for something that (despite Hollywood) might not have been worth it and would kill everyone, many others had died in the attempt, but they did it anyways because they were so pissed off at the high levels of Norwegian collaboration with the German occupation force. And they believed that the heavy water was a real threat, which it wasn't as it turned out.

Norwegian resistance was pretty weak compared with other occupied countries, like France. As a result, they lived in a small hut in a remote area, eating reindeer moss to survive, because the RAF couldn't resupply them from the air, and they couldn't risk connecting with the heavily compromised civilian population who had squealed on many other commando type raid attempts. Their achievements were astonishing, and much under rated in the history of commando operations IMHO. We regarded this guy as a a frickin' God, Royal Marines Falklands War vets amongst us included.

And then there's Quisling. 'Quisling' is a a great insult if you ever need to enrage a Norwegian, but I suggest you don't try it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve learned so much from a single post πŸ˜ŠπŸ™πŸ»
 

a_majoor

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If Hitler hadn't existed, WWII as we know it may not have happened, but all kinds of other strange outcomes were possible.

WWI really overturned much of the social and cultural foundations of Europe, and new "alternative" strructures were struggling to take root. Fascism was wildly popular across Europe, with many political parties and leagues rising everywhere - even Fabian Socialist H.G. Wells was induced to move a little more left and start advocating for a "Liberal Fascism". So extreme movements like that had large followings, and Germany was caught in a three way struggle between the Communist KPD, the Social Democrats and the National Socialists, so either the Nazis or the Communists win, or the Social Democrats grow a spine and fangs to fight back.

Without Hitler, Gregor Strasser would become the leader of the National Socialists, and all evidence suggests he would have been very good at it - he after all developed the ideology of National Socialism, created the Party organization and structure, grew the Party dramatically while Hitler was in prison and his work remained in force until the regime was forcefully ended in 1945. Strasser also assembled many of the notables who were high ranking Party officials, so we would still know who Goebbels and Himmler were, for example.

The huge breakpoints would be his relationship with Ernst Rohm and the SA - Rohm despised the officer and aristocratic class and wanted to replace the Army with the SA - which had almost 2 million members at it's height. A bloody civil war could have been the result - a Communist insurrection might have been sparked or fanned into acton by this and possibly Italy would ahve intervened, and Mussolini imposed some sort of order - suppressing Communists and replacing National Socialist fanatics with Fascists instead.

Mussolini would be remembered as a towering figure in European history, who saved Europe from Communism and restored order after the di9sruptions of WWI. Fascism might be seen as the proper modern political system today and a huge host of second and third order effects would be felt in Africa, Asia and the Americas due to the changes in history.

So I personally don't believe that eliminating Hitler would result in a WWII with a different person in charge, but the chaotic conditions of the time would have led to a violent overturning of the old order and radical new changes anyway -who knows of they would have been "better" or "worse".
 

mariomike

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What if Hitler had not ordered the Luftwaffe to abandon General Kammhuber's Intruder attacks against British airfields? The consequences could have been overwhelming. I read that it was the only thing that ever really worried Bomber Harris.

Historians have described it as "the greatest missed opportunity of the bomber war, and like so many other major tactical errors, it was a personal decision of the Fuhrer."
 

CBH99

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What if Hitler had not ordered the Luftwaffe to abandon General Kammhuber's Intruder attacks against British airfields? The consequences could have been overwhelming. I read that it was the only thing that ever really worried Bomber Harris.

Historians have described it as "the greatest missed opportunity of the bomber war, and like so many other major tactical errors, it was a personal decision of the Fuhrer."
One of the most fortunate things in all of WW2 was that Hitler, by all accounts, was a horrible tactician. Thank goodness. πŸ™πŸ»
 

Brad Sallows

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What if Hitler had not ordered the Luftwaffe to abandon General Kammhuber's Intruder attacks against British airfields?

More German fighter pilots lost over enemy territory.
 

mariomike

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More German fighter pilots lost over enemy territory.
More British bombers lost over friendly territory.

That is when the bombers were most vulnerable. By 1943 the marshalling and dispatch of Harris's huge bomber force had become an exercise of the utmost complexity, calling for precision timing at every airfield in eastern England. Intruders could cause a great amount of chaos.

But, Hitler considered that only British bombers shot down over Germany were of value in convincing the German people that they were being defended.
 

Brad Sallows

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"What ifs" aren't static. The Allies wouldn't simply stand by and say "oh well" and not adopt countermeasures. Having aircrew come down in friendly territory is a huge advantage, particularly when your side has the material advantage in a war of attrition. Most alternate "this one thing" histories are not viable.
 

OldSolduer

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I did a ski instructor course at Rjukan, in Telemark, in the 80s. We could see the Vermork plant from the Hardanger plateau region that was our training area.

One of the Norwegian Officers on OP GUNNERSIDE gave a talk one night, during the course, about the raid on the heavy water plant (yes, I'm that old). The guy was about as old as I am now, coincidentally :)


He was pretty clear that it was a very risky operation for something that (despite Hollywood) might not have been worth it and would kill everyone, many others had died in the attempt, but they did it anyways because they were so pissed off at the high levels of Norwegian collaboration with the German occupation force. And they believed that the heavy water was a real threat, which it wasn't as it turned out.

Norwegian resistance was pretty weak compared with other occupied countries, like France. As a result, they lived in a small hut in a remote area, eating reindeer moss to survive, because the RAF couldn't resupply them from the air, and they couldn't risk connecting with the heavily compromised civilian population who had squealed on many other commando type raid attempts. Their achievements were astonishing, and much under rated in the history of commando operations IMHO. We regarded this guy as a a frickin' God, Royal Marines Falklands War vets amongst us included.

And then there's Quisling. 'Quisling' is a a great insult if you ever need to enrage a Norwegian, but I suggest you don't try it.

I think I may have read a book on this raid. And there was a movie I believe. There was also an episode on a military channel about it.

Quisling - a piece of work wasn't he? Its appropriate he was pictured with a failed chicken farmer.
 

mariomike

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Most alternate "this one thing" histories are not viable.
Sir Max Hastings is not an alternate historian.

If Kammhuber's "intuders" had been allowed to continue their operations, the consequences could have been overwhelming. But, High Wycombe's ( Harris and Bomber Command's HQ ) nightmares went unfulfilled.
It was the greatest missed opportunity of the bomber war, and like so many other major other tactical errors, it was a personal decision of the Fuhrer.
 

daftandbarmy

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I think I may have read a book on this raid. And there was a movie I believe. There was also an episode on a military channel about it.

Quisling - a piece of work wasn't he? Its appropriate he was pictured with a failed chicken farmer.

I think this is the guy that spoke to us, way back in the 80s. Not bad work for a 2Lt :)

Last hero of Telemark: The man who helped stop Hitler's A-bomb​


 
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