German Polish War in 1938 Part 1:  Beginnings
1938
A few Months after Munich.  Poland has just seized Teschen from the prostrate Czechs and isn't exactly in the good graces of Britain and France.
Hitler recognizes this in one of his inspirational moments decides the time is NOW!  Hitler was an unconventional thinker, and very much subject to flashes of brilliance, so I don't view this as that improbable.  He decides that while his army isn't as powerful as he'd like it to be, if he struck now he could get away with it.
The Army is livid at the idea.  They just don't beleive they are ready for it.  They think that the British and French WILL intervene.  There is talk about a coup, but it ends up being just talk (this is largely my view of what the German army was capable of at this time).
Various charges are trump up, same as OTL's 1939, only a little bit faster.  Hitler redgards time as essential and wants the war to be a fait acompli before the British and French have much time to react.  The British and French are not happy with the growing tensions between Germand and Poland, but hope that it will be worked out without war. There are talks with the Polish governement, but no garuntees.
The Polish War starts off less spectacularly than in OTL.  The German Army isn't as ready as it was in OTL, and lacks a number of supplies. Quickly the French and British offer to mediate the conflict, but are turned down by the Germans.  Relations between Germany and B&F start sliding downhill.  An arms embargo to Germany is passed, and there is much talk about a complete embargo.
But the Polish Army isn't up to stuff, and begins loosing badly soon. The Germans advance, just not as fast as OTL.
Stalin meanwhile is not at all happy with the idea of Germany on his border.  He quickly begins talking with both the Allies and Germany. However, it's Hitler who acts first.  He's ready, willing, and able to cut a deal with Stalin that will give him land and power and peace, while it seems like the British and French just want him to do their fighting for them.
The Molotov-Ribbentoff Pact astounds the world, and Britain and France particularly.  The Soviets invade Eastern Poland and advance to the agreed upon stop line (less than OTL, but not insanly so).  Germany also agrees in the secret treaty that Finland and the Baltic states are in the Soviet sphere of influence.
The Polish government manages to flee to Britain where they are welcomed with open arms.  The annexation of Poland into a German Reichprotectorate was greated with horor in Britain and France.  Hitler has shown his true colors as a ruthless man who will even ally to the Soviets and conquer and rule non-Germans.  Their is widespread feelings that he can not be allowed to take anything else.  And much of the rest of Europe agrees.  German troops have not been treating the Poles very nicely and the fear that they would be next is very real to a number of states.
As 1938 turns to 1939 Hitler is very pleased with his "little" war.  The German people didn't respond very enthusiastically to the fighting, and the army is spent, but he won!  The Poles are under his rule, and now he has a clear path to the Soviets for his future war.  The bad news is that the German Army needs to do some serious overhalling (in OTL the Germans learned a lot from the Polish Campaign).  It is also very tired.  The Polish war taxed it to it's limits.  Also the economy of Germany is a lot more rickity than OTL's 1939.  The cost of the Polish war was pretty expensive, but Hitler is sure that money can still be found to modernize his army.
Meanwhile the British & French begin talking with the Governments of Central Europe and even the Soviets about what would happen if Germany decides they are next.
OK that's it for now.  Any ideas on what happens next?
Do you think Hitler tries to take a little bite of Prague, or is he satisfied with Poland and willing to just build up his forces for war against the Soviets?
And speaking of the Soviets when do they start making demands on the Fins and Baltic states?  Britain and France aren't busy with war against Germany, so Stalin might be worried about their reaction.
German Polish War in 1938 Part 2:   The Year and The Place
It was the Year of War ...
Neville Chamberlain rubs his head.  If only the pain in him was pyshical instead of mental.  If only some aspirin could make it go away.  But aspirin would not stop the throughts from running through his brain.  It wouldn't earase the deeds of the Fuher.  It wouldn't free thos suffering under the German yoke.  And it wouldn't stop the killing.  What would? Should Britain and France declare war?  To protect Bolshevism?  Or to stop Hitler from becoming too powerful?  But what would be the cost? The armament program had increased greatly in the last year, but he still worried about the costs.  It's not like Britain had any comitments to the Soviets.  Britain had sworn to protect Belgium and the Netherlands and a couple of other countries (there was already some talk about some sort of grand European Alliance) after the German conquest of Poland, but not to the Soviets.  Stalin's co-conquest of Poland and demands to the Baltics and Finland hadn't exactly pleased any in the west.  After a talk with the French, Chamberlain reluctantly concludes that fighting for the Soviets just isn't possible.  But perhaps there are other ways . .
The year of destruction...
Karol Jozef Wojtyla watches in terror as Wadowice, the town he grew up, the home of his family, is destroyed.  Building after building is burned before his eyes.  "Repraisel" the Germans call it.  For what?  Some Pole not bowing down and worshiping the Nazi golden calf?  He sees some poor old women desperatly try to stop a soldier from burning down her house. She's shot for her efforts and the Germans leave her to die as they move on to the next house.  Karol runs, and hears a bullet wiz past his ear.  But only one bullet, and none come after it.  Perhaps a German just tried to shoot him for fun.  As he sees the smoke rise from what was once his home Karol damns the Germans with all the fury of one who has had the life he knew stolen from him.
The year we took back what was ours...
Adolph Hitler is high as a kite.  Not on any petty chemcial drug, those are for less men, but on the greatest joy one can experience in life, waging war.  The excitment.  The power.  The decisions.  All give pleasure to him as he orders his armies into the Soviet Union.  Finally Germany will have the land that is her birthrite.
It was the year of rebirth...
President Daladier signs the treaty with a sign.  It was difficult to convince so many different countries, with so many different needs and aims, to form a single alliance.  "An Attack On One is An Attack on All" had frightening complications for many, but the alternative was even worse.  Hitler had launched two unprovoked attacks in a year against non-Germans.  If he won against the Soviets, then who would be next? What hope did France have alone against such a country?  The European Alliance (EA) is France's last hope.
The year of the great strugle...
Joeseph Stalin is composing himself.  The opening attack had shocked him to his core.  Hitler had assured him that the buildup was intended for an attack on the west.  And he had beleived him.  He had beleived him! Well, he would show him.  All Soviets troops are ordered to advance. ADVANCE ADVANCE ADVANCE!
The year of choices...
Harry Truman stops and answers a question by a reporter.  With his typical candor he says, "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help the Russians, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and in that way let them kill as many as possible."
and the year of joy...
Walt Disney is very impressed with the Worlds Fair in New York.  It is such a grand park filled with such exciting activities.  If only he could make something like this permanently.  But that was a dream for the far future.  His new movie seems to be doing very well in Europe, especially in Germany.  Even in war people need entertainment.  As he ponders what to put next on the slate, he can't help but be intrigued by a certain exibit. . .
It was to be the end of the old ways ...
Ghandi is not pleased to hear the name of the new Prime Minister. Churchill.  That warmonger.  That imperialist.  That racist.  That bigot.  The disastifaction with the Chamberlain government was not wrothy in Ghandi's mind.  He had kept Britain out of war, and while Britain was happy with that, they were also unhappy with how it seemed as if Germany could do anything they want.  And so, THAT MAN is now in power.  Couldn't they have found somebody better?
It was the year everything changed...
Enrico Fermi is so thankful to be in the US.  He was lucky.  Damned lucky, and he knew it.  He couldn't let that luck be wasted.  He had a duty and an obligation to do everything in his power to get the US, or Britain, or France.  Hahn and Strassmann had just discovered fission and he immediately saw the possibilities this raised.  He had to make others see those possibilities too.
It's 1939.  And eastern Europe has just truned into a slaughterhouse.
German Polish War in 1938 Part 3:  The Summer and Winter of ?39
The Nazi-Soviet War, The German-Russian War, The Great Struggle, The War of Evil Empires, or any of a half dozen other names it would be given in later years was recognized as a world shaking event from the first day.
And what a first day that was.  The Third Reich managed almost complete surprise, and succeeded in destroying much of the Soviet Air Force in the first day.  Stalin had been near convinced that Hitler was going to attack the West, and had actually believed his promises that the build up in the East was merely a faint.  Hundreds, if not thousands of planes were destroyed on the first day, and for deceive battles of the first campaign the Germans would have overwhelming air power, and that would prove to be deceive to their early victories.
The Soviet forces were tightly packed around in Soviet Poland, and were quickly encircled in the first months epic battle of The Cauldron.  Stalin hesitated a long time in whether he should move his troops from the borders of Eastern Europe to fight the Germans, or rather if in doing so he would just be tempting the reactionary regimes there to stab him in the back like Hitler had.  He also faced a similar situation along the Manchuria-Soviet border.
His caution proved to be devastating in the short term, but as no other country declared war in the first year of the war, perhaps his judgment was sound in the long term.
But in the long term we are all dead, and in the short term many many many Soviet troops died in German captivity.
However, after the first encirclement battle, the Germans quickly ran into logistical difficulties.  The Soviets were fighting much harder than Hitler had expected, and had vastly more weapons as well.  Despite Hitler?s urgings that they must press forward, the German army simply had no choice but to hold too while it?s logistical tale was brought up.
Unfortunately for the Soviets, Stalin took this failure to advance as a sign of weakness, and ordered an immediate and full counterattack to drive the fascist invaders from the soil of mother Russia.  Although the Germans weren?t on Russian soil at the time, this being Stalin?s Soviet Union, no one mentioned it.
Blood flowed like a river.  For although the Germans were not ready to advance, they were more than able to withstand the ill-planned and disorganized attacks by the Soviets.  The ratio of dead Soviets to dead Germans varied from 5 ? 1 to as high as 10 ? 1 in places.
After the counter-attack petered out, the Germans had largely solved their logistical problems and were ready to advance.  And advance they did.  It was the incredibly fast gains of this period that gave the world the word that would be triumphedly linked with the German Army and war for many ages to come: fastenFortschrittaufLandkrieg.
Months past, and many Soviets, and quite a few Germans died as the Nazis plunged deeper and deeper into the Soviet Union.  Often they were more hamstrung by logistics than by the Soviets, but the months were passing, and the Soviets had not fallen like a house of cards.
And then in August, the most serious blow to the German war effort came.  And it did not come from the East but from the West.  The European Alliance had passed a war embargo against Germany.  Civilian goods could still be traded, but those that qualified as being helpful for the German War effort (and it was quite a long list), were contraband.  It was not an easy decision to make, but with the Germans fully engaged in the East it was judged that it was safe enough to do so, as well as a feeling that the Germans couldn?t be allowed to get completely away with two unprovoked aggressions.  Some of the more hardliners (a weird mix of Communists and Conservatives) talked of opening a united front with the Soviets against the Germans.  But, for now at least, the idea of starting a war to defend the Soviet Union (which had helped disembowel Poland too) was just too unpleasant.
Hitler took this blow very hard and promised that there would be a reckoning, but for now he had to deep with the Soviets.  There had been provisions for such a situation of course, the German General Staff made provisions and plans for everything, but still the war ahead was now looking much more grim.  Overtures to the Baltic?s, who were screaming long and hard about just how neutral they were to anybody who would listen, had failed.  The Eastern European countries that bordered the Soviet Union were taking a ?wait-and-see? attitude, as was Japan who was busy with her war in China.
As the months passed by Germans grew colder and colder, and the advance moved slower and slower.  The Soviet resistance was increasing as were the Germans logistical problems.  In the end, the house of cards proved a lot tougher than anyone had imagined.  The War petered out as winter came.  The Soviets tried to launch another in the line of disastrous counteroffensives, and it accomplished nothing more than stabilizing the line, and convincing the Germans that it was probably best not to launch any more attacks . . . this year. *
*  By January 1st, 1940 Germany controls about half as much of the Soviet Union as it did in OTL?s 1942.
German Polish War in 1938 Part 4:  Endgame
Time.  Space.  Money.  Men.
These are what lesser men thought won wars.  But Adolph Hitler knew differently.  Will was the real key.  And he had that in plenty.  While his generals had begged for him to allow them to retreat, he had stood fast.  And the Soviets had thrown themselves against a brick wall.
His armies hadn?t been able to advance during the winter, but now the weather was improving and he would advance all the way to Moscow.   And there he would find all of his enemies.  And then, once they were under his control, they could be liquidated and he would have saved humanity form the threat of Jewish-Bolshevism.
Already he had struck both Judaism and Bolshevism a serious blow.  His armies were deep in the USSR and the Jews would soon be taken care of.  Hopefully.
For Hitler was worried that his great dream would not be fulfilled.  Britain and France were supposed to realize the glory of a Bolshevik crusade, and instead had passed an arms embargo.
They were fools.  It was only through the blood of the German people that there lands were kept safe.  And yet, they talked of expanding the embargo to cover all goods.  Hitler sighed.  The Jews were obviously in control.  They would pay after the victory.
But victory did not come for Hitler.  He launched his offensive in the summer of 1940 at Moscow, and although it traveled far and killed many Soviets, Moscow stood.  Short of men, short of space, short of time, and short of money, the Germans never even saw the spirals of the Kremlin.
Instead they saw Soviet tanks, and Soviet guns, and Soviet Planes, and Soviet men in increasing numbers.  The blood of the German race was being spilt on the steppes of  Russia, and still Hitler lusted after a final victory that would never come.
Instead the war became an attrition match.  German diplomats franticly tried to obtain new allies, but all those who were interested took a wait and see attitude.  Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Japan all  may have joined the war if Germany had already won it, but while there was hard fighting they mearly sat and watched.  The Germans only allies were the Baltic States and Finland.  And they would have stayed out of it if they had not been forced in at gunpoint but Russian, and German, aggression.
As 1940 turned into 1941 the Germans found themselves close to where they were when 1940 started.  They had been pushed back from their gains of that year and had arrived back where they started from.  All that blood, all that effort, and all it had accomplished was to put them in the same spot.  Two years of swinging into misses.  But the next year, surely they would hit a homer?
But there was no joy in Naziville that year, for in 1941 Hitler struck out.  His armies were pushed back all along the line as the factories of the Soviet Union recovered from the blow of 1939 and had doubled and then trebled their production.  The hail of steel that fell upon the German armies that year slew many of the master race.  Hitler fumed.  Hitler willed.  Hitler rallied all the spirit he could, but still the Soviets advanced.
His overtures to the western powers were as clumsy as they were futile.  Already news of his ?final solution? had leaked to the west, and was damaging the already bruised credit of Germany.  The west couldn?t see that the Jews and the Bolsheviks were one and the same, and that a blow against one was a blow against the other.
Instead, they sat and watched until it was too late.  When the calendar showed 1942, the Soviets were already in Poland.  But the worst was to come.  The Soviets had learned from the lessons the Germans taught them, and learned well.  1942 was to be the year that the world truly learned what Blitzkrieg could do.  Like a bolt of lightening, the Red Army marched across the plains of Europe.  It was three years to the day after Germany had invaded the USSR that the Red Flag flew over the Reichstag.  Indeed, some even said that Stalin ordered the advance to halt to insure that it _was_ three years to day, so as to make better copy.
Hitler had fled west, but even that had held no safety for the Reich, for France was suddenly awaking to the danger of having the Soviets on there border.  Sighting trumped up charges of border clashes and democratic hipocrapcy over the Final solution, the French declared war on Germany.  It advanced against little resistance and managed to take all of the Reinland and a pinch before meeting up with their Soviets counterparts.  Soon, all of Germany came under foreign control.  Hitler did not live to see it, having taken his life as he was fleeing yet another Soviet advance.  He would not have to live with the consiquences of his actions and see the sick evil barbaric regime he had built up collapse like a house of cards after his death.
And so, as the summer of 1942 ended, Europe was at peace.  The Peace of the grave, for the Soviets control stretched from the Pacific to the Reinland.
German Polish War in 1938 Part The Last:  Epilogue
The winter of 1942/1943 was a cold one in Europe.  The war effort had exhausted the Germans, and what remained was quickly being shipped off to the Soviet Union to pay for war reparations.  At least, that was in the Soviet sphere.  In the French sphere things were a little nicer.
The French weren?t going out of their way to help the Germans, but they didn?t feel that vengeful towards them.  After all, they hadn?t done anything to France.  Indeed, the more right wing members of the Third Republic felt bad about not aiding the Germans in there just fight against communism.  There was that nasty business with the Jews, but those were all Germans, Poles, and Russians, anyway.  The point was that the Germans had fought communism, while France had sat back and watched.  And in the end, France had even helped the Soviets.  Granted, that a large reason for the invasion was to insure that ALL of Germany didn?t come under Communist rule, (so as to give France a buffer), but still . . . .  Other members of the French cabinet did not regard the Germans so highly.  They remembered the unprovoked invasions, and they knew that if Germany had won that France would have been next.
The question both sides were asking themselves was the same that was being asked in Moscow and London as well.  It was the same question that Europe had wondered about on and off since 1871.  What to do about Germany?
For like it or not, the west needed Germany.  Germany was the center of Europe?s economy.  Without Germany, what would happen to Europe?
Europe was about to find out.  For Stalin had ideas towards Germany that were quite different from that of the West.  Germany had greatly damaged the Soviet Union, [1] so it was only natural that Germany pay for the rebuilding of what it destroyed.
Factory after factory, mill after mill, if it could be carried and moved from Germany to the Soviet Union, it was.  There were protests in the west against this, but Stalin did not care much for them.  The West had waited like vultures to pounce on Germany.  While Russia did all the fighting they just sat there and then when Germany was bled white, jumped in at the last minute and took 1/4 of the country.  Let them complain.
The disruption of the German economy was very painful, not just to the Germans, but to the European Alliance countries as well.  While the reparations may have made the Soviet Union stronger in the short run, they also increased the moral strength of the Alliance.  Countries that had been sitting on the fence decided to throw their lot in with the EA, and a more integrated command structure was also in the works.
After all the good stuff was taken out of German, Stalin began to consider what his long range plans for Germany should be.  He briefly considered just annexing Poland and Germany to the USSR, but decided to this would be more trouble than it was worth.  He held an election that was reasonably fair, expecting the people of both countries to wisely see the benefits of communism.  When the people did not see the benefits of communism, [2] he held another election that was slightly less free, but which the people saw the benefits of communism by a 1000 ? 1 ratio.  The talks Stalin had been having with the French on eventual reunification of Germany came to a halt soon after this election.  To the gladness of some French politicians, for they loved Germany so much that they were very happy for there to be two Germanys to love, instead of just one.
The Second Great Slump, or Second Great Recession, or just the Long Depression, was primarily the result of removing Germany from the European economy.  It was made up in time, but not without hardships and lots of effort in the EA.  There began at this time talk of expanding the EA into something more than just a military Alliance, but something that could handle common economic and social problems as well.
But by the 1940?s most of the major kinks had been worked out of the Capitalist system and after a few hard years of adjustments things began to pick up again.
The numbers crunchers in Europe?s strategic defense department were not happy as the years went by though.  The amount of wealth and defense spending in the Soviet Sphere was very very high.  And near the end of the war the Soviet steam roller had advanced quite quickly.  It didn?t take much imagination to project that roller heading towards Paris.  So the EA began looking for allies who could help it in the event of a Soviet Attack.
The US took a look at the Soviet menace and with an indifferent shrug said, ?It?s not really our concern.  Glad we stayed out of that Nazi-Soviet foolishness.  You?ll never get us back to Europe again.? And went on to worrying about it?s own problems.
Japan was more open to suggestions.  The Army cliché running Japan (to over simplify things) was extremely anti-communist and not happy with the idea of that same Soviet steam roller either.  The picture of it running over Manchuria and Korea was in every General?s mind.  Japan would have a much easier time defending against such an attack, if only it wasn?t bogged down in the China War.  It asked for Europe?s help in negotiating an end to the war, but those talks quickly broke down when Japan asked for too much, and China offered too little.  The War in Asia would go on, but the EA quietly gave up any support it was giving Chiang.  If an alliance with Japan couldn?t come about, then perhaps at least an Entente.
In Stalin?s mind, the situation was quite different.  The Capitalist nations, after launching Hitler on him, were now encircling the embattled Soviet Union.  But the Soviet Union was strong.  And growing stronger.  It now had a tight control over it?s new conq . . . liberated areas, while the European Alliance was vulnerable to revolution.  If not in it?s heartland (yet) than at least in the peripheral colonies it held captive.  If the Soviet Union was encircled in Europe, then it?s best strategy would be to encircle the world in communsim.
Years passed and the economy in Europe and the world slowly improved.  There were acts of terrorism here, and disruption there, but it was not until 1947 that four events happened that would mark it as a momentous year in World history.
The first and most minor was that Winston Churchill made a very famous speech in which he compared the Soviet domination of Central Europe to that of a Iron Curtain, a phrase he stole from Joseph Goerbills, but he was dead so no one cared.  This wasn?t really that important in and of itself, but historians used it as a convenient point to mark the beginning of the Covert Struggle, so it was much remarked upon.
The Second was that the Second Sino-Japanese War, after ten long years of fighting, finally came to an end.  Chiang, after being abandoned by the west and facing one too many defeats, finally had to throw in the towel.  Or at least part of the towel.  Japan made great gains in China, but China as a separate political institution still existed.  This allowed him to take on his real opponent, Mao.  Mao was using the peace treaty to rally troops to his side as the only one who could throw off the Japanese invaders from Chinese soil.  The next few years would be interesting.
The third was the formal creation of a West Germany.  It was small, very small, but it was now a separate entity and a member of the European Alliance.
The fourth, and perhaps most momentous and that which most signaled a change in history, was that a joint British and France project bore fruit, and a new weapon called the Atomic Bomb was tested and presented to the world.
[1]  Significantly less than OTL though.
[2]  This is par to OTL.  Stalin really did think a number of Eastern European countries would choose communist regimes in a reasonably free election and was disillusioned when they didn?t.
The End.
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