Brit-Am Historical Reports (14 December 2015, 2 Tevet, 5776)
1. What happened to the German royal family after World War I? Is there anyone still alive from the family today? by Brandon Li
2. How powerful would Germany have been today, if it had not suffered the losses of the first two world wars? by Karl Eaves, [Interesting Maps Comparing German War Aims and the EU Today]
3. What Americans had to say about Jewish war refugees by Uriel Heilman
1. What happened to the German royal family after World War I? Is there anyone still alive from the family today?
Brandon is a Most Viewed Writer in History.
Kaiser Wilhelm II was sent into exile in the Netherlands. He lived there, waiting for the day when someone would restore the monarchy to Germany, which was a serious possibility into the 1930's. When he learned of Hitler's wars and rapid expansion, he was ecstatic and demanded that Hitler give him control of the nation. He also was angered by the mistreatment of his Jewish "subjects" - he still believed in the Jewish plot of causing the two world wars paradoxically enough. Obviously he was ignored. However, when the Netherlands was occupied, he was given an honor guard to watch him, something which angered Hitler. Wilhelm died on June 4, 1941, just before the invasion of Russia and was given a military funeral. Also, one of his sons and 8 grandsons served in the war and when his grandson also named Wilhelm was killed in France, he had a funeral attended by 50,000 people, the largest gathering not sanctioned by the Nazi Party in many years.
Today, there are still many descendants. The current head of House Hohenzollern is the dashing young Georg Friedrich, Wilhelm II's great-great-grandson.
2. How powerful would Germany have been today, if it had not suffered the losses of the first two world wars?
Let us imagine an alternate reality.
Germany achieves war aims in WW1
First of all, let us assume that Germany not only won the First World War, but also that it achieved its war aims.
When it comes to Western Europe, Germany's war aims did not change dramatically between 1914 and 1918. So let us assume they were secured:
* Northern France, the Nord and Pas-de-Calais are annexed directly to Germany.
* Calais becomes a "German Gibraltar", hosting the German Navy which becomes a knife held to Britain's throat.
* The coal and iron fields of Longwy-Briey are annexed, dramatically increasing Germany's economic self-sufficiency.
* Wallonia in Belgium is offered as a sop to France to ease future relations.
* The remnant of Belgium becomes an effective vassal state.
* Heavy reparations are imposed on France to prevent re-militarisation for at least a generation.
The intent of these aims were two fold. To ensure that France was humiliated and would never regain its status as a great power, and secondly, to force British acceptance in Germanic continental supremacy by directly threatening its very life blood - sea trade.
In the East, German plans changed throughout the war. However generally speaking it was accepted that a buffer was required between Germany and Russia. Some eastern Congress of Poland lands (about a 1/10th of modern day Poland) were to be annexed and ethnic groups exchanged. German speaking Russians would replace Poles and Slavs, whole villages and urban centres would be evacuated and resettled. German "soldier/farmers" would be encouraged to resettle in these new eastern lands. This had an extra perceived benefit: the more young strapping german lads on the soil, tilling the land; and less young strapping german lads cooped up in factories being indoctrinated by socialist demagogues.
The balance of Poland would share the same fate of Belgium, becoming a vassal state to the Central Powers. There was also another Polish option contemplated by the Central Powers, the "Austro-Polish" solution, which would have amalgamated Austrian Galacia (predominately poles) with Russian Poland to create a third monarchy to join the Hapsburg Empire. The Poles would have had their own parliament, but would have joined the Austrians and Hungarians as the third major force in the empire.
The Baltic states were to be made satellite states, and thus neuter Russia. Remember as well that German nobility dominated the Baltic states, and the German leadership felt that over several generations, Germanisation of those states would result, providing an even bigger strategic buffer between Germany and Russia. Plans were dreamt up and began implementation late in the war for just this aim.
Underpinning the whole notion, was an economic and trade union, Mitteleuropa. Germany, Austria/Hungary, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire, the Baltic satellites and various vassal states would create a central european economic union (sound familiar anyone?) to challenge the economic powerhouses of Great Britain and the United States.
In this instance, does WW II even happen?
France would be neutered for at least a generation. Russia reduced to a rump. The great question becomes: does Britain change its foreign policy? It's a critical question, because from the Restoration, British policy regarding continental Europe has remained largely unchanged (with a couple of blips). Prevent continental domination by any one power by actively intervening to create a balance of powers.
Consider the history:
The Triple Alliance was formed to undermine France during the Wars of Devolution.
With Austria, Prussia and the Dutch Republic in a grand coalition against France and Spain during the Wars of Spanish Succession.
With France, Austria and the Dutch Republic to defeat a revanchist Spain in the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
With Austria and the Dutch Republic against the French, Prussians and Bavarians in the War of Austrian Succession.
With Prussia and Hannover against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Saxony in the Seven Years War.
Against basically everyone in the American Revolutionary War - one of Britain's really really big mistakes. Although not strictly speaking a continental war, continental European powers sure used it as an opportunity to take some of the shine off Britain as a great power.
With an ever evolving alliance of everyone (the Prussians in particular) who weren't already conquered, against France during the French Revolutionary Wars and then the Napoleonic Wars.
With the French against the Russians in the Crimean War.
Supports Japan in the Russo-Japan War.
So would Britain, faced with a dominant Germany leading the central powers - who are dominating Europe from the Baltic to the Agean Sea - change 250 years of foreign policy on the continent? A fascinating question. I think perhaps they probably would. Indeed Britain faced this very question in the 1970's when it was invited to join the Common Market. History tells the story.
Equally, how would the US have responded to a directly economic challenge from Germany? Probably fine. It's not like they currently have much of an issue with German/French dominance in the EU.
At any rate, with 1/10th of Poland annexed, and the rest controlled by an Austro-Hungarian-Polish Hapsburg Empire, it's safe to assume that World War II as we know it wouldn't have happened.
The interesting question then becomes...
So what's so different from today? The EU is dominated by the French and Germans, and increasingly the Germans as France grapples with some really serious fiscal sustainability problems and nasty ethnic tensions. The current Greek scenario has prompted the Germans to argue for a closer fiscal union instead of retreating from currency union. German hegemony over the EU seems to be a slow but inexorable trend at present.
To be a bit cheeky for a moment, compare this map which outlines Germany's WW1 war aims:
With this one...
Perhaps losing two world wars didn't matter all that much after all?
3. What Americans had to say about Jewish war refugees
By Uriel Heilman December 6, 2015, 5:26 am 24
In 1938, when Hitler's threat to Jews in Germany already was apparent, America still was emerging from the Great Depression, and xenophobia and anti-Semitism were commonplace. In a July 1938 poll, 67 percent of Americans told Fortune magazine that America should try to keep out altogether German, Austrian and other political refugees, and another 18 percent said America should allow them in but without increasing immigration quotas. In another 1938 poll, cited in the book 'Jews in the Mind of America,' some 75% of respondents said they opposed increasing the number of German Jews allowed to resettle in the United States.
In January 1939, 61% of Americans told Gallup they opposed the settlement of 10,000 refugee children, 'most of them Jewish,' in the United States.
In May that year, 12% of Americans said they would support a widespread campaign against Jews in the United States and another 8% said they would be sympathetic to one, according to the book 'DR and the Jews.' By June 1944, the number had risen to 43% of Americans who said they would support a campaign against the Jews or would be sympathetic to one. Polls cited in 'Jews in the Mind of America' showed 24% of Americans believed Jews were 'a menace to America.'
At the same time, however, 70% of Americans said in an April 1944 poll commissioned by the White House that they supported creating temporary safe haven camps in the United States where war refugees could stay until the war's end. Only one such camp was set up, at Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York; 982 refugees were placed there in August 1944.
America did not take specific action to help Jewish refugees until January 1944, when Roosevelt, conceding to pressure from members of his own government and American Jews, established the War Refugee Board to help rescue Jews in Europe.
Until then, several thousand Jewish refugees had gained admittance into the United States under the German-Austrian quota from 1938 to 1941, which wasn't limited to Jews. But for most of Roosevelt's presidency, the US quota for immigrants from Germany went less than 25% filled, according to the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. In all, more than 190,000 quota places from Germany and Axis-occupied countries sat unused during the Holocaust.
In 1938, just two weeks after the Kristallnacht pogrom, the US interior secretary floated the idea of settling refugees in Alaska, and soon his office began researching the possibility. In March 1940, Sen. Robert Wagner of New York and Rep. Frank Havenner of California proposed bills to resettle 10,000 war refugees in the remote territory who wouldn't count toward America's immigration quotas. But the idea ran into opponents in Congress who expressed concerns that 'these foreigners cannot be assimilated in Alaska, and will constitute a threat to our American civilization.'