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20 July Plot Succeeds in Killing Hitler

Coiler

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For the Wallies in particular by the time they learn of the coup and any peace feelers reaching them will be engaging in Operation Cobra and even if the Germans are not handicapped by Hitler ordering a counteroffensive its still highly likely that they take massive losses and the Allies sweep through a good chunk of France in the next few weeks.
What I've heard (keeping in mind my comparative lack of expertise and the speculative nature of it all) is that the likeliest outcome without the suicidal Mortain counteroffensive is the Germans just retrenching around the Seine (which the Allies IIRC actually suspected/planned for).
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
What I've heard (keeping in mind my comparative lack of expertise and the speculative nature of it all) is that the likeliest outcome without the suicidal Mortain counteroffensive is the Germans just retrenching around the Seine (which the Allies IIRC actually suspected/planned for).
Honestly that is probably a POD in itself worth discussing at some point, they probably could not hold there for that long but they lost huge quanities of heavy equipment and trained manpower in a short space of time, if they can keep a coherent frontline then the Great Swan probably doesn't happen. Do the Wallies still try and pull off Market Garden if the Germans don't seem so beaten flat? For that matter if the frontlines are stable do Paratroopers get used early without their dropzones being overrun?

Does Eisenhower still go with a broad front approach if the advance is uneven and difficult in places?


If the West stabalizes even briefly do the Soviets overrun Eastern Europe or conversely with more resources to hand and a leadership not as focussed as Hitler on oil fields or splitting the Western allies do the Germans perform marginally better in the East and different countries fall in different orders to OTL?

Yalta and Potsdam settled a lot of issues but there is probably a lot of wiggle room in how post war Europe shakes out depending on where the armies end up.
 

History Learner

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The sources you cite are about a possible peace deal in 1943 and argue that it was only d-day that cemented Stalin on full alliance with the UK and the USA and before that he was willing to consider a separate peace due in part to frustration over the lack of a second front.

Which is interesting but isn't really relevant for a discussion of a post d-day coup.
The Weinberg citation is useful in a general sense because it shows Stalin very much was willing to make a peace deal with Germany, while the Koch and Mastny articles reveal informal contacts continued into at least October of 1944; this is extremely relevant given this is after D-Day, Bagration and the July 22nd Coup attempt.

Its incredibly unlikely because the July plot was in July 1944 by which point the Western Allies have a firm lodgment in Normandy and are starting to build up steam, the Soviets are smashing Army Group Centre and are preparing for major drives in Southern Europe. The war is clearly lost for Germany and within a couple of weeks it will be fighting on German soil.

For the Wallies in particular by the time they learn of the coup and any peace feelers reaching them will be engaging in Operation Cobra and even if the Germans are not handicapped by Hitler ordering a counteroffensive its still highly likely that they take massive losses and the Allies sweep through a good chunk of France in the next few weeks.

The Germans recovered a lot in the next few months allowing them to starve off defeat for a time but July-August 1944 was a time when both major fronts of the European war were in complete collapse and the Allies most certain of a quick victory. Absolutely the worst time to approach them about a seperate peace deal as it will just confirm to them that Germany is done and one more push will see them in Berlin.


Furthermore even though most of the upper ranks of the party and the Whermarcht knew that winning the war was no longer possible they had an incredibly optimistic view of how easily they could get off after starting the war, they'd want to keep the conquered territories and suffer no real consequences. As reality closed in they'd probably offer more and more terms and maybe at some point they'd reach something short of unconditional surrender the Allies might be tempted by but that's absolute best case and an incredible longshot.


Somehow they have to turn the war situation around enough that the Allies decide that they're going to repeat the mistakes of the first world war and not go for the killing blow but not do well enough that they reconsider them being totally doomed and needing to grovel on their knees for a stay of execution. If they were capable of that sort of needle threading they'd probably have not started a war against 80% of the world.
Undoubtedly the tides of war were in favor of the Allies by this time but all avenues of chance had not yet been closed to the Germans. Stalin kept informal contacts about a peace deal going until October of 1944 as stated above and the Battle of the Bulge shot American public opinion to almost 40% willing to seek a peace deal; we know that action also engendered grave concern among American political and military leadership due to the chance the Germans had to inflict a serious defeat upon them.
 

Death's Companion

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The Weinberg citation is useful in a general sense because it shows Stalin very much was willing to make a peace deal with Germany, while the Koch and Mastny articles reveal informal contacts continued into at least October of 1944; this is extremely relevant given this is after D-Day, Bagration and the July 22nd Coup attempt.



Undoubtedly the tides of war were in favor of the Allies by this time but all avenues of chance had not yet been closed to the Germans. Stalin kept informal contacts about a peace deal going until October of 1944 as stated above and the Battle of the Bulge shot American public opinion to almost 40% willing to seek a peace deal; we know that action also engendered grave concern among American political and military leadership due to the chance the Germans had to inflict a serious defeat upon them.
I'd argue pretty firmly that by July 1944 is very much too late for anything other than unconditional surrender for Germany as the Allies by that point are advancing on every front against a collapsing German effort and they know this. They have broken the Luftwaffe, they are pushing the last German forces out of the USSR and into Poland, they are in the process of breaking out of Normandy and landing in Southern France and the Germans can slow but not stop them in Italy. What exactly is bringing either Stalin or FDR and Churchill to the table here? As far as they can see the Germans are killing each other whilst their armies on two fronts get wiped out and logistics alone slow the Allied advance down.

The battle of the bulge came as a shock to the Western Allies precisely because they were so supremely confident that the Germans were done. Even then they rapidly turned the situation around and destroyed the last offensive potential Germany had. In a timeline where the Germans retreat in better order from France and are fighting more defensively then the Allies will probably be more cautious and equally frustrated as they feel for a way through meanwhile the Soviets have already destroyed Army Group Center and barring logistical difficulties are about to make a clean sweep of Eastern Europe and drive towards Berlin. There isn't really any incentive for them to stop and offer generous terms.
 

History Learner

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I'd argue pretty firmly that by July 1944 is very much too late for anything other than unconditional surrender for Germany as the Allies by that point are advancing on every front against a collapsing German effort and they know this. They have broken the Luftwaffe, they are pushing the last German forces out of the USSR and into Poland, they are in the process of breaking out of Normandy and landing in Southern France and the Germans can slow but not stop them in Italy. What exactly is bringing either Stalin or FDR and Churchill to the table here? As far as they can see the Germans are killing each other whilst their armies on two fronts get wiped out and logistics alone slow the Allied advance down.

The battle of the bulge came as a shock to the Western Allies precisely because they were so supremely confident that the Germans were done. Even then they rapidly turned the situation around and destroyed the last offensive potential Germany had. In a timeline where the Germans retreat in better order from France and are fighting more defensively then the Allies will probably be more cautious and equally frustrated as they feel for a way through meanwhile the Soviets have already destroyed Army Group Center and barring logistical difficulties are about to make a clean sweep of Eastern Europe and drive towards Berlin. There isn't really any incentive for them to stop and offer generous terms.
Most of those are Post-War knowledge projected backwards; case in point is that in July the Allies don't know any of that and are actually detecting the surge in German production, particularly among aircraft. The Conquerors by Michael Beschloss is a good read on this, and with regards to the situation as of December of 1944:

Five days later, Hitler launched the counteroffensive soon known as the Battle of the Bulge. “A complete surprise to our people,” wrote McCloy in his diary. General Marshall gravely warned Stimson that if the counterattack succeeded and the Russians refused Anglo-American pleas for help, the United States would have to “recast the whole war,” retreat to the German border and let the American people “decide whether they wanted to go on with the war enough to raise the new armies which would be necessary to do it.”​
If we are presuming the Germans don't do Mortain but utilize a river-line based defense, perhaps there is no opportunity for a Bulge like attack but if so then you've traded that for a dozen Hürtgen Forests from Normandy to the German border, which is absolutely going to inflict serious casualties upon the Anglo-American armies which will not be politically popular at all, especially in an election year in the United States. Early 1944 and late 1944 saw U.S. public opinion reach 40% for a peace deal IOTL even without serious defeats or costly victories (of the vein being discussed here) to match that; all you need is another 10% of the population to switch into the aforementioned column to get a majority.

Outside of the Anglo-American equation, Stalin is the definition of realpolitik and the fact he kept informal contacts into October of 1944 shows he was willing to keep his options open because he was already looking forward to the Post-War era. Cutting a deal with a Post-Hitler Germany gives him the option to extend his influence beyond what the Anglo-Americans are offering, in that he can be limited to the Elbe or, by restoring the 1939-1940 arrangement with Germany, he can have influence on the Rhine without further casualties and binding Germany to himself as the junior partner in a new alliance.
 

Geordie

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Honestly that is probably a POD in itself worth discussing at some point, they probably could not hold there for that long but they lost huge quanities of heavy equipment and trained manpower in a short space of time, if they can keep a coherent frontline then the Great Swan probably doesn't happen. Do the Wallies still try and pull off Market Garden if the Germans don't seem so beaten flat? For that matter if the frontlines are stable do Paratroopers get used early without their dropzones being overrun?

Does Eisenhower still go with a broad front approach if the advance is uneven and difficult in places?
This is an interesting question (or PoD) to consider. On the one hand, Germany avoids losing a huge amount of men and material. On the other hand, the Allies have their expected pause in which to sort out their logistical issues. Not only does this help with future fighting abilities, it might focus the minds of the planers on the ports of the Pas de Calais and on to Antwerp. On the gripping hand, the morale effect (on both sides) of the German collapse after the Norman breakout doesn't happen. Lots to ponder.
 

Death's Companion

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Most of those are Post-War knowledge projected backwards; case in point is that in July the Allies don't know any of that and are actually detecting the surge in German production, particularly among aircraft. The Conquerors by Michael Beschloss is a good read on this, and with regards to the situation as of December of 1944:

Five days later, Hitler launched the counteroffensive soon known as the Battle of the Bulge. “A complete surprise to our people,” wrote McCloy in his diary. General Marshall gravely warned Stimson that if the counterattack succeeded and the Russians refused Anglo-American pleas for help, the United States would have to “recast the whole war,” retreat to the German border and let the American people “decide whether they wanted to go on with the war enough to raise the new armies which would be necessary to do it.”​
If we are presuming the Germans don't do Mortain but utilize a river-line based defense, perhaps there is no opportunity for a Bulge like attack but if so then you've traded that for a dozen Hürtgen Forests from Normandy to the German border, which is absolutely going to inflict serious casualties upon the Anglo-American armies which will not be politically popular at all, especially in an election year in the United States. Early 1944 and late 1944 saw U.S. public opinion reach 40% for a peace deal IOTL even without serious defeats or costly victories (of the vein being discussed here) to match that; all you need is another 10% of the population to switch into the aforementioned column to get a majority.

Outside of the Anglo-American equation, Stalin is the definition of realpolitik and the fact he kept informal contacts into October of 1944 shows he was willing to keep his options open because he was already looking forward to the Post-War era. Cutting a deal with a Post-Hitler Germany gives him the option to extend his influence beyond what the Anglo-Americans are offering, in that he can be limited to the Elbe or, by restoring the 1939-1940 arrangement with Germany, he can have influence on the Rhine without further casualties and binding Germany to himself as the junior partner in a new alliance.
The battles in the Hutgen forest were a unique confluence of factors. The Allies were at the end of their logistics tether, the broad front strategy had stretched them out from the Channel to the Swiss Alps denying them a concentration of force, their inadequate replacement system meant that their frontline units were understrength and increasingly combat ineffective, the weather and terrain meant that their artillery and airpower was of limited value and they could not effectively use armor.

Meanwhile they were attacking into a hellish mixture of legacy fortifications from the Siegfried line, including bunkers, barbed wire and dragonsteeth all set in dense forest against a motely collection of German units that for the first time since the campaign began were operating on home soil with secure and adequate supply lines, large reinforcements including rebuilt and rearmed formations but also entirely fresh divisions and simple objective, hold the line. All this taking place in a horrific winter.


There was not a dozen places in Western Europe for this to happen. For a start if the plot is successful in killing Hitler and causing chaos Von Kluge is going to ask for an armistice with the Western Allies days before operation Cobra begins no idea how that goes but I guess they either refuse or demands he withdraws forces and starts disarming, if he fights the offensive probably starts as OTL and nothing he does is stopping it from smashing their positions in Normandy, they lack the reserves to do more than a fixed defense and once the allies break through anywhere there is nothing to plug the gap and as there is a coup going on involving most of the senior officers in the West its doubtful they will be particularly focused or coordinated on military matters when they are meant to be easing the transition and setting up negotiations.


Luttrich was ordered because Cobra ended the Germans ability to contain the allies as the front was now widening rapidly towards West towards Brittany and South towards central france and the Germans did not have the forces to defend either and hold the British most of their panzer divisions were already locked in bitter fighting against the British and Canadians. If its not launched at all then they continue to fight it out whilst trying to escape beyond the Seine.



The Germans however have several critical issues.

1. They are out of fuel, OTL this hindered the withdrawal against the British and hindered them in Falaise.
2. They are operating against Allied Air supremacy forcing only night movement or murderous retreats along a limited road network.
3. The Allies are moving faster and sweeping across Western France with an aim toward encircling Army Group B. The OTL offensive briefly paused this (for a few days before they regained the initiative) but without that they will be carrying on their own course, the Germans will not march blindly into the trap but their escape will still be difficult and many of the units OTL trapped in the pocket will probably ITTL be fighting a desperate rearguard.
4. The Allies have alternatives, Dragoon (decided on in July to ease the logistics burden and please the French will suddenly extend the frontline by hundreds of miles again. They will have the paratroopers again.
5. They have been already trying to stop the Allies with a fixed positional defense, and they slowed them down, even halted them in places but at the cost of gutting all their formations, draining their fuel reserves and leaving them no adequate reserves to respond to emergencies of which they faced multiple. Here they are going to be doing the same again but in less suitable terrain, over a wider front, against an enemy that enjoys superiority in firepower and manpower and can yet again launch multiple drives.

If the Germans fight it out in Northern France they may well just get destroyed there instead of in the West and if their retreat is less rapid than OTL then Eisenhower may not oblige them with the broad front strategy and instead focus on destroying or outflanking whatever army is in front of them. If they've been fighting a running battle in France the whole time by the time they arrive in Germany then they may well not have the forces that OTL blunted the allied drives because they will have been expended in those battles instead of being pulled together on the German border.


All the while this is happening Army Group Centre is being wiped out and the Eastern Front is in its most dire straits of the entire war from the German POV.

That's not really a situation for a dozen multi month long infantry slogging matches to occur, if the Germans are engaging in such defensive battles they'll be doing so without fortifications, a fixed front line and against armour and artillery and aircraft in exposed and hostile territory for the most part. We saw how that ended OTL because it destroyed the Army in the West. Also thanks to Ultra they will have a sound idea what the Germans will be trying to do so can make their plans accordingly.



You are very fixed on some polls about the American Public turning towards a significant minority wanting a negotiated peace in late 1944 after a setback. But by the time of the Bulge FDR is starting his fourth term and increased his congressional majority. They are the ones who decide if America stays in the war and they certainly didn't seem inclined to just give up for no reason OTL. Marshall may have lost his nerve briefly but he was a political manager thousands of miles away, the generals at the front decided within days of the OTL bulge that this was their chance to destroy the Germans, just like during Luttrich they decided this was their chance to destroy Army Group B and I'm certain if the Germans dig in on the Seine the Allies will immediately again grasp that this is their chance to fix the Germans in place and envelop and destroy them.


The plotters had no interest in negotiating with Stalin and Stalin himself knows the Allies are now advancing in France and Italy and he is currently boasting about taking 400,000 prisoners and clearing the way to Berlin. What do the Germans have to offer him that he won't have in months regardless? The Allies weren't counting on being handed an army group or two due to doomed offensives, this was the campaign they thought they would be waging and which the Germans did not actually believe they could wage successfully.

The Allies often had an incomplete grasp of what the Germans were doing but the Germans were far worse at guessing what the Allies were trying to do and this entire three month or so period is one of continuous crisis for them before the weather and logistics burden of the massive advances buy them a few months breathing room to rebuild for the bulge. The Germans would need to be somehow constantly locked in incredibly bloody conflict with the allies more or less on the Allied terms and also consistently winning and making all the right diplomatic deals and somehow not losing territory or resources despite aforementioned bloodletting.
 
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There was a strong strain of thinking amongst the WAllies that Prussian militarism and in some instances the German national character itself were inherent problems by this point btw.

The peace deal hopes of a lot of the people behind the plot were also batshit insane and would be unlikely to find any kind of meld with what the Allies would consider remotely acceptable by 1944. These were nationalists, not liberals.

Anything other than unconditional surrender by 1944 is a massive stretch.
 

Death's Companion

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I think the inevitability of the war continuing in both east and west is overplayed sometimes, but the notion of any peace deal as late as 1944 is straight out of post-1900.
I see a path for it 1943, though it runs into the issue that oddly 1943 was when Stalin was most magnanimus towards his allies as the lend lease shipments were arriving in force, the direction of travel was towards allied victories and the Allied invasion of Italy was initially successful enough he thought it was a good committment towards a second front and would be a sign of things to come. Kursk or no Italy or something of that nature might be enough to convince the Soviets they are better off making a separate peace but OTL they were pretty content.

By 1944 the honeymoon was over but so was any realistic chance of the Germans winning so it was now sqaubbling over how best to win and who got what.


There was a strong strain of thinking amongst the WAllies that Prussian militarism and in some instances the German national character itself were inherent problems by this point btw.

The peace deal hopes of a lot of the people behind the plot were also batshit insane and would be unlikely to find any kind of meld with what the Allies would consider remotely acceptable by 1944. These were nationalists, not liberals.

Anything other than unconditional surrender by 1944 is a massive stretch.
Hitler gave out estates in Poland as bribes to his generals, many of them late war were furious at the idea of giving up ground there or conceding that some Polish territory would have to be relinquished in a peace deal if they were to lose these and some even lobbied post war to keep them. Its genuinely mad how out of touch some of these guys were.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
There is the potential for a very interesting TL or wargame where the Germans do fight it out in France as they wished to without Luttrich a decisive battle in 1944 near the Seine with Paris as the prize and thousands of tanks and aircraft kicking the shit out of each other is a bit more photogenic than what we got OTL.

The Gearheads would probably love the direct comparison with the Eastern front battles.
 

SenatorChickpea

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It would be curious to see a situation where neither coup nor counter-coup entirely succeeds. The obvious path after that would be an SS/Wehrmacht civil war, but it might be interesting to play with a general disintegration on the West.

What happens to Allied-Soviet relations in that scenario- it's not a separate peace as such, but a sudden rout that does nothing to help the Red Army.
 

ChrisNuttall

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Part of the problem, from Stalin’s point of view, was that he wanted a victory over Germany, but he didn’t want it to come at a cost of the USSR burning itself out and a possible threat from Western Europe/US materialising on his western border (particularly if the Russians couldn’t slam the iron curtain into place before Eastern Europe/Russia started thinking about the wonders of the capitalist lifestyle.) Stalin assumed, I think, that his ‘allies’ would backstab him (openly or covertly) because it was what he would have done. He might accept an agreement with Hitler, or a post-coup government, if it got him back the 1939 borders without having to fight for them.

Looking at 1944, Germany is doomed. There’s no getting around it. BUT the Germans can take steps to influence the post-war world. If the Germans withdraw more or less completely from the west, in a bid to surrender to the US/UK alone, and throw everything at the Russians ... the Russians won’t get much, if anything, in the way of war booty for their efforts unless they want to risk war with the western allies. If they throw everything at the west instead, you get a Soviet-dominated Germany, perhaps even France.

Germany might just go to the West and say “look, we’ll surrender to you as long as you keep the Russians out,” with an implied “if you refuse, we’ll make the same offer to Stalin because f*** you.” What choice would FDR make? Or Churchill?
 

Charles EP M.

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This is around the time Churchill offered Stalin a back-of-a-fag-packet deal about who could have influence over which country (on assumption that's going to happen anyway) and Roosevelt IIRC wasn't too fussed about Stalin yet, so possibly their response would be a combination of schmoozing Stalin some more and "bomb a few more places to teach them not to write cheques the Luftwaffe can't cash".
 
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