During the first world war, we all know that Germany played a big part in the Central Powers, the neighboring Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the vast Ottoman Empire against the Allied Powers.
But what if Germany won WW1 – what would have happened? Could a German victory have prevented the Second World War and the Cold War?
What We Cover
- What is the First World War?
- What was the role of Germany in the First World War?
- How strong were the German Armies during the First World War?
- Who are the Central Powers?
- Who were the Allies?
- What is the Ottoman Empire?
- What is World War II, and why did it start?
- What would have happened if Germany had won WW1?
- How was Germany after the First World War?
- What If Germany Won WW1?
- Is Germany still powerful?
- How bad was Germany’s economy after WWI?
- What would happen if the US didn’t join WW1??
- Would the Allies have won WW1 without the US??
- Why was Germany so strong in WW1?
- Why is WW2 considered more important than WW1?
- Is Germany responsible for WW1?
- Was WW1 about colonies?
- What is the Treaty of Versailles?
What is the First World War?
World War 1 (frequently stylized as World War I, WW1, WWI), aka the Great War, the First World War, or the War to End all Wars (yeah, right) was a global conflict originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.
It involved most of the world’s great powers assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history.
The war ended with a Central Powers’ defeat after heavy territorial and human losses.
As a result of this defeat, Germany lost its position as a global great power. It experienced considerable political instability that deteriorated into chaos with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and Nazism, resulting in the Second World War.
What was the role of Germany in the First World War?
Germany was one of the major powers in World War 1. Before WW1, Germany had no real allies in Europe other than the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Bulgaria, a nation that didn’t have a great impact on the course of the war.
Germany saw the war as an opportunity to build an empire throughout Europe, and most of the fighting in the worst European theaters of the war was done between various allied nations and Germany. It is because of the German’s ferocity and brutality in combat that made them the central figure in the Central Powers.
How strong were the German Armies during the First World War?
At the outset of the war, the German Armed forces were among the largest in Europe, being second only to Russia. The army alone consisted of around 1 million men armed with modern weapons.
The quality of their troops was mediocre at best, and many of them were conscripts using outdated tactics that had not kept up with the advent of the machine gun and modern breech-loaded artillery.
Compared to the all-volunteer British Expeditionary Force of around 250,000 men, the German Army was pretty amateurish, winning most of its early battles by flooding the field with men until their enemies ran out of ammunition to shoot them.
See Related: HOI4 Germany Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Who are the Central Powers?
The Central Powers (or Mittelmächte) consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria, also known as the Quadruple Alliance.
It was one of the two main factions during World War I. It was defeated by the Allied Powers that had formed around the Triple Entente of Great Britain, France (along with their Empires), and Russia.
Who were the Allies?
The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers is an informal term applied to the countries who fought together against the Central Powers during WWI.
What is the Ottoman Empire?
The Ottoman Empire was one of the Central Powers during World War I, based around modern-day Turkey and conquered lands in the Middle East.
It entered the war on the side of the Central Powers in October 1914. The Ottoman Empire initially fought successful campaigns against Russia on the eastern front.
The Allies did what they could to relieve the pressure on Russia with the disastrous Dardanelles Campaign and the famously bloody (and ultimately futile) Battle of Gallipoli in 1915.
The Ottoman Empire would suffer its worst defeats in the Middle East thanks to the British-led Arab coalition (the ramifications of which are still felt today among Arab states).
The Ottomans signed an armistice with the Allies at the war’s end. This led to the death by partitioning of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of new nations in its former territories, including modern-day Turkey
What is World War II, and why did it start?
World War II (WWII, WW2, World War 2, the Second World War) was a global conflict from 1939 to 1945. It involved more than 70 countries and resulted in between 50 million – 100 million military and civilian deaths worldwide.
It is the most devastating conflict in human history. The main cause of the war was Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Britain and France then declared war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II.
The Soviet Union also invaded Poland on September 17, 1939, which at the time shared a non-aggression and cooperation treaty with Germany. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. The USSR then annexed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia, and Northern Bukovina.
In June 1941, as had always been the plan, Germany broke the pact by invading the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. In August of the same year, Japan, an ally of Germany, attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and American, British, and Dutch holdings in the South Pacific. This brought the United States into the war.
The USSR later declared war on Japan towards the end of the conflict, which the Japanese cite as the reason to capitulate, rather than the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered after Berlin had fallen to the Soviets, and resistance had all but crumbled. On September 2, 1945, Japan officially surrendered to Allied Forces ending World War II.
See Related: How Close Was Germany to Winning WW2?
What would have happened if Germany had won WW1?
If Germany had won World War 1, the Ottoman Empire would likely have survived. The new German Empire would likely be very different today, as it would control a much larger territory with many more people.
Nations like France and Belgium may have ceased to exist, and their imperial holdings would have become part of the German Empire.
Great Britain would have likely survived any attempt at invasion but would have remained isolated on the global stage, and her empire slowly chipped away by the Central Powers.
The Russian Revolution may not have happened, meaning that the Bolsheviks would not have seized power, and Russia would not have withdrawn from the war. That said – due to the rise of industrialization in Russia (and the education needed to run this new system), a revolution in Russia was probably inevitable regardless of other circumstances.
As for the Cold War, that likely would have begun much earlier but with very different players.
How was Germany after the First World War?
After the conclusion of World War 1, Germany was forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Versailles. It had lost nearly all its overseas colonies, and its Navy was severely limited. This treaty also limited its military strength.
The country was also required to pay large amounts of war reparations, which meant they could not rebuild their economy. This led to hyperinflation and widespread poverty in Germany.
The country also experienced a period of political instability. The short-lived Weimar Republic was established in 1918 and collapsed in 1933, never really standing a chance.
In its place came Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. This would likely not have happened if Germany had won World War I – but the overall outcome would not have been much better given Germany’s desire for global dominance.
The German economy has stagnated since the beginning of the 20th Century. However, suppose Germany had won World War I. In that case, it would likely have experienced economic growth as a direct result of increased territorial control and industrialization, much like the British Empire had enjoyed.
See Related: Why was Germany Blamed for WWI?
What If Germany Won WW1?
In conclusion, if Germany had won WW1, the German government would have been considerably more powerful, and the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires would have lasted longer. The war would have had a very different outcome, which could have led to a completely different world today.
However, it is impossible to know for certain what would have happened if Germany had won WWI. Both world wars resulted in global pushes toward liberalism that benefitted most people and were based on British Christian liberalism (which wasn’t without its faults).
What the world would have looked like under the more authoritarian German way of doing things will (mercifully) never be known.
Is Germany still powerful?
Germany is now one of Europe’s most powerful nations. Within the European Union, Germany holds a key position.
The country’s potential and capacity for foreign policymaking are enhanced and restricted as a result. Security is especially important to Berlin, which relies on American countries for protection. Their economy is also a powerhouse.
How bad was Germany’s economy after WWI?
Germans were unfairly blamed for World War I, owing huge debts to the nations it had fought over the long and costly conflict. Germany paid off war debt and made enormous reparations due to the Versailles Treaty.
Their economy was ruined, leading to poverty. The poor policy led to hyperinflation, which only exacerbated the situation, which the Wall Street Crash made even more direr in 1928.
What would happen if the US didn’t join WW1??
The entrance of the United States into the war in 1917 was a significant factor in the Allied victory. American troops, weapons, and money helped fill the void left by Russia’s withdrawal.
If the United States had not entered World War I, it is still unlikely that Germany would have won, but the war would have certainly gone on for years.
Would the Allies have won WW1 without the US??
The Allies would likely have still won World War I without the United States, but the outcome would have been much more uncertain.
The late entrance of the United States into the war helped to tip the balance in favor of the Allies and contributed to their victory.
Why was Germany so strong in WW1?
In 1914, Germany was one of the most powerful nations in Europe. The country had a strong military and was heavily industrialized.
In addition, Germany was running on the high of quickly defeating France during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. This made many European nations think that Germany was a military threat.
Why is WW2 considered more important than WW1?
World War II was more important than World War I because it had greater consequences and stakes. The war led to the deaths of millions of people and changed the course of world history.
In contrast, World War I had fewer casualties, was focused mainly around Europe and the Middle East, and was more a battle between Empires rather than a fight for certain peoples’ survival.
To put it bluntly, as brutal as WW1 was, no one built camps and factories dedicated to murdering people and using the bodies they didn’t roast in ovens as sources of raw materials. As awful as WW1 was, there was no comparable Holocaust.
Is Germany responsible for WW1?
There is no one answer to this question. Some people believe Germany was responsible for World War I because they ignored treaties and invaded Belgium.
Others believe that Germany was only reacting to the actions of other nations and the Black Hand Gang. Still, others believe no nation is entirely responsible for World War I.
Was WW1 about colonies?
Some historians believe that World War 1 was fought over the question of national pride and to increase the size of empires through seized colonies.
These individuals argue that Europe often went to war with each other for economic reasons. Other historians argue the war was about curbing Germany’s power or changing the British-centric global order.
What is the Treaty of Versailles?
The Treaty of Versailles was a treaty that officially ended World War I. The treaty was signed by the Allied nations and Germany in 1919.
The treaty contained several terms, including reparations payments from Germany, military restrictions, and the creation of the League of Nations.
It is cited as one of the reasons Adolf Hitler rose to power and waged war on the Allies again in WW2