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"Assassination of Hitler in March 1943" Topic

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©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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advocate29 May 2022 1:46 p.m. PST

There was a failed attempt on Hitler's life in March 1943, a bomb was placed in his plane; it failed to go off. I don't know what subsequent plans were in place, but in the absence of other information, let's assume that Hitler's plane effectively goes into a cloud and doesn't come out. Or maybe it just crashes in one of the interminable aircraft accidents that happened throughout the Second World War. He's dead, perhaps the wreckage is found, perhaps not. How does this play out?

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2022 2:24 p.m. PST


There were actually several attempts.

advocate29 May 2022 2:37 p.m. PST

So go with Schlabendorf's aircraft bomb, and the resulting uncertainty of what had actually occurred.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2022 2:44 p.m. PST

That has more potential than 1944. IF whoever wound up in power could more or less credibly claim to be a break from Hitler, and IF that person had a more realistic view of Germany's chances, there would be some chance of an early end to WWII in Europe. Stalin, Churchill and FDR would have to balance a strong probability of ultimate victory against a near certainty of heavy cost.

At a guess, something close to 1938 borders with some gains by both the Germans and the Soviets at the expense of the others? What that would mean for subsequent history gets well into science fiction.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2022 4:42 p.m. PST

UK gets Brittany and all the French colonies in Africa.
Germany keeps a few French provinces, CZ, Poland, and most of Central Europe. Russia gets most of Russia back, but Finland gets their pre-pre war borders. Japan gives back the UK properties in Asia but keeps the Dutch and French ones.

Everyone is happy again. Until WWIII in 1957.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

Nine pound round29 May 2022 4:56 p.m. PST

I don't see the Allies settling for anything less than surrender and occupation, unless German diplomacy peels off the USSR (not a complete impossibility). If that happens, my guess is something along the lines of 1918: withdrawal from occupied territories, and an Anglo-American force in France. No good guesses about Austria, Poland or Czechoslovakia. Or the ultimate survival of the Nazi regime.

JMcCarroll29 May 2022 6:28 p.m. PST

The war lasts until 1946 (no Hitler blunders)

Bill N29 May 2022 7:20 p.m. PST

So the bomb goes off on the plane in March of 1943 and Hitler dies. Why would that alter the Nazi control of Germany and of the war effort? Even if it did, would the plotters really be willing to offer terms that the U.S., U.K. and Soviet Union would have been willing to accept?

As I recall part of the reason for choosing to try to bomb Hitler's plane was because it could be passed off as something other than a plot to overthrow the regime. However it is also the chaos of a plot behind Hitler's death that provides cover for the plot leaders to try and take over. If Hitler's death is seen to be the result of an accident or enemy action, there could be no allegation that Hitler's designated successors were behind it.

Even if the plotters did get power, I don't recall any of them favoring a return to the 1 January 1936 or even the 1 January 1938 status quo. There would be an expectation of an expanded Germany. With German forces deep inside the Soviet Union, occupying France, Norway, the Balkans and even a toehold in North Africa, I doubt the plotters would have been willing to offer a deal that the U.S., U.K. or Soviet Union would have been willing to accept. I say this even while acknowledging that it was theoretically possible to buy Stalin off, especially if Hitler was out of the picture. Remember that even with defeat staring them in the face German military leadership had a hard time accepting evacuation of Belgium and the east as a condition of an armistice in 1918.

Plus would a generation of Germans raised on the belief that Germany had been stabbed in the back in 1918 have been willing to accept a government that was about to make major concessions for peace in 1943 or 1944?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2022 7:59 p.m. PST

Good points, Bill. I was figuring Germany would keep Austria and maybe the Sudetenland, but probably not West Prussia, Upper Silesia or Alsace-Lorraine. Hence "1938 borders." I should have said "late 1938." And I did have a couple of ifs in there. The internal German politics would have been tricky.

But I get the distinct feeling that by 1943 the German generals knew they were holding more than they'd wind up keeping. The sum of military advice after Stalingrad and El Alamein seems to be "lose slowly, and wait for a diplomatic solution."

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2022 10:23 p.m. PST

I can't see Stalin caring whether Hitler was alive or dead. Churchill either. Don't know on Roosevelt. But I think they'd press on to recover everything and more.
It really would depend on who gained power in Germany after the death. Are the Nazis going to play nicely with each other, or break into factions striving for power? Would they even realize the disaster the latter situation would be for them? And what about the German military leaders who were only Nazi nominally— where would they break?
Too many ifs in the scenario to make a solid prediction, but I can see the Wehrmacht leaders trying to negotiate peace with the US and UK quickly so as to concentrate against the USSR. Given the Nazi hatred of communists, even the Nazi leaders might go along.
In the end, it might have made little difference except to perhaps have stopped the Holocaust from being quite as deadly. But the Nazis had enough sickos in the mix, maybe it wouldn't really have changed anything.

Martin Rapier29 May 2022 11:46 p.m. PST

I seem to recall reading a what-if about a 1943 assassination (by Len Deighton maybe?).

It was covered up and a Hitler stand in took over as a front for the Party.

Decebalus30 May 2022 6:03 a.m. PST

The official successor of Hitler, stated in 1934, was Hermann Göring. I dont see, why he wouldnt rise to power after Hitler got killed in 1943. I also dont think, that a civil war between different branches of the party would have happened.

Göring was a Nazi, he shared the same brutality and ideology as Hitler. But he was also a bit more pragmatic and not so radical. So maybe he would have seen, that the war was lost and tried to end it. But i am not so sure, that the lesson from WW1, never to end the war, because in the end the stronger will will win, wasnt shared by Göring. If he would have tried to end the war, it would be the decision of the allied leaders. Would there be a compromise that everyone could agree to?

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2022 6:38 a.m. PST

Whether Goring was or was not the official successor to Hitler is rather a moot point since there was really no mechanism in place, no doubt by design, to transfer power. And lacking a well oiled succession plan the suddenness of Hitler's demise would further fracture the government. Even if there were a mechanism allowing Goring to assume the leadership he was far from the charismatic leader Hitler was. Jokes were circulating making fun of his rather portly stature. He lacked Hitler's oration skills and would hardly be the figure to rally the German people.

More likely is a breakdown as various factions indulge in internecine warfare with each group claiming to be the true successor. Without central direction it is quite possible that fronts would collapse. As we know, at the upper levels, there was often disagreement as to the proper strategy. Without Hitler dictating the strategy each would attempt to implement their own pet strategy. A contraction in Russia is almost a given as the factions try to rally their forces. The problem is any retreat risked turning into a rout.

Blutarski30 May 2022 7:37 a.m. PST

Himmler and his SS would have remained a large problem. IIRC, Goering had ceded control of the Gestapo to Himmler by 1943. With it, Himmler held control of both internal state security and the SS.

He was a powerful player.


donlowry30 May 2022 9:36 a.m. PST

Goering was the senior military officer, so I can see him being Hitler's immediate successor. But it's doubtful that he could have maintained the grip on power that Hitler had.

Roosevelt and Churchill had agreed on insisting on Unconditional Surrender (a phrase borrowed from Gen. Grant) and would have been loath to go back on that, as they realized that WWII was really the result of the "stab-in-the-back" German take on the end of WWI. The wanted to make it absolutely clear in the mind of every German, this time, that they really had LOST.

About Stalin, I don't know. He might have been willing to make a separate peace, though perhaps not after Kursk demonstrated that the Germans had shot their bolt.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2022 10:21 a.m. PST

Certainly easier if Hitler had been killed prior to the Casablanca Conference, but even as late as March 1943, total up the cost in blood and treasure of a probable win, and remember that from the viewpoint of the Allied leadership it was only probable. Depends on how the internal German power struggle played out and how the Allies were approached, but I'd say there was a decent chance of politicians reneging and Germany getting a better deal.

With Hitler gone and no better deal offered, JMcCarroll might be right: war extends into 1946, probably with even more dead than historical.

advocate30 May 2022 12:03 p.m. PST

I'm not at all certain that Germany could have managed into 1946 – see Adam Tooze's 'The Wages of Destruction'. I think Roosevelt and Churchill would have continued to prosecute the war; Stalin too. And I don't know which leader might have managed to lead as many Nazis into Gotterdamerung as Hitler did. So I'm going for a faster end to the war, but essentially along similar lines.

Nine pound round30 May 2022 3:11 p.m. PST

It's inconceivable that the war would have lasted longer than August, 1945, unless you hand-wave the atomic bomb program away. We would've dropped Little Boy on Berlin and Fat Man on Munich. The only reason we didn't do it was lack of availability.

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