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What if the USA had sustained significant mainland damage?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by WalkerBulldog, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. WalkerBulldog

    WalkerBulldog Member

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    What is the opinion of the group on the differences that would have been if the United States had suffered significant damage to the continental US in the second world war? If say Germany had developed some type of ultra long range bomber or rockets filled with gas and fielded them in large numbers and destroyed significant parts of the eastern seaboard?

    Of the major combatants we suffered by far the least amount of damage to our infrastructure and cities. Our civilians were not direct witness to the devastation and suffering that the citizens as the other belligerents were. If we would have had untold numbers of homeless, jobless, hopelessly starving civilians, and a free press that would have shown these images of our fellow American suffering in misery and dying on our own soil to the rest of the country, do you think it would have strengthened or weakened our resolve to free the world, and/or would it have made our people retract into a shell, the political will shifting to the safety of our shores at the expense of sacrificing England and the rest of Europe for Hitler and Stalin to fight over?

    Would we have sued for peace in the hopes that Hitler would be satisfied with Europe and Japan with the portion of China and the Pacific that they held?

    Could the country have been subject to enough damage to our cities that we would have taken decades to rebuild the infrastructure? Could this forced modernization of the infrastructure have actually been a positive in the long run (as I have heard argued it was in Eurpoe and Japan)?


    Further, how would our political will to fight in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan been different? If our leaders of today had witnessed New York in ruins, as today's leaders of Europe witnessed their own lands devastated, would we have been as willing to jump into the above mentioned conflicts? (I for one have never been one to condemn France for not supporting our invasion of Iraq, if I had seen as much blood spilled on my country's soli as engulfed France in the 1st half 0f the 20th century I might not support ANY country's war)


    Lastly, would we be perceived as a superpower if we couldn't protect our cities even with thousands of miles of oceans separating us from our enemies and allowed billions of dollars damage to our infrastructure and tens if not hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths?



    I know I'm asking for this to be looked at from numerous different angles and possibilities, however any comments on any portion of the questions is of course welcome. If this has been discussed before please point me to the thread, I did do a search and did not find anything.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The world you are speculating on is so far off the real world it's hard to tell what would happen. However if you look at the last war where the US recieved significant damage (the ACW) you'll find they kept fighting.
     
  3. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    It wouldn't be any different at all. The wars in Korea and Vietnam were proxy conflicts against the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence. Iraq and Afghanistan are wars for fossil fuels and the defeat of oil cartel's stranglehold on western civilization.
     
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  4. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Rather naive questions, really.

    First, Neither Germany nor Japan ever had the industrial or economic power necessary to mount anything other than nuisance raids on then US Mainland. And in order to do that, both countries would have had to divert resources which would have severely constrained their war-fighting capabilities in other, much more important theaters.

    Second, after Pearl Harbor, any attacks on the Continental US would only have further inflamed and enraged the American Public's passions against the Axis.

    Third, given the expanse of the US, any possible attacks along either coast would not be able to touch a significant part of the US war industry, and would be so costly to the attackers that they couldn't possibly sustained for any significant period of time.
     
  5. WalkerBulldog

    WalkerBulldog Member

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  6. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    You do understand, that your scenario requires a far more powerful and resource rich Third Reich? The only way for Germany to harness enough resources to create a strategic bombing fleet was to conquer the Soviet Union.

    So therefore, you'll have to assume that the Germans were victorious in Operation Barbarossa.
     
  7. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    A Yank is little different to a Pom.

    He would have reacted with the same determination to get on with the war and win it ASAP.

    In fact it probably would have made him MORE determined.


    John.
     
  8. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    It really doesn't matter with whom you have discussed these questions, they are so far into the realm of fantasy as to be meaningless. And you can inform Professor Sumida that I said so. LOL!

    As for this forum existing, it does for the discussion of logical and realistic alternative histories, and there is a set of rules specified to make sure they are logical and realistic. That includes provision for some departure point in the historical background that would create a reasonable chance that the conditions you are positing could exist. You haven't provided such a departure point.

    Therefore, I am entitled to point out the flaws in your reasoning.
     
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    First of all the group does not have an opinion. There are as many opinions as there are members.

    if the USA had sustained significant mainland damage?

    Then the USA would fight on the beaches, would fight on the landing grounds, would fight in the fields and in the streets, would fight in the hills; and would never surrender.

    Ahhh, how I love The Twilight Zone (Where Pigs Fly and Germany Wins WW2 TM). This is idiotic.
     
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  10. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    Maybe you're just trying to figure out if the American people under their "milder" democratic state can compare to the utter ruthlessness of totalitarianism (Soviet Union, Germany, and Japan) in the game of national survival? No commissars, etc.
     
  11. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    We'd be eating sauer kraut and fish heads........as we were kicking the sh*t out of the Germans and the Japanese.
     
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Will you pass the salt, please?
     
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  13. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I agree. Just looks how the US reacted to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the end results.


    [​IMG]
     
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The ability of a enemy to sustain a bombing offensive strong enough and of sufficient time length would require a rather a huge deviation from actual history. The observable reactions by the US to the war in the real history would be so innacurrate because so much of the history leading up to the proposed point would be be different and for a huge amount of time prior. Most or many of the later occurances questioned about (Korea) may not have even occured, such as one poster mention, because of the improbable demise of the Soviet Union.
     
  15. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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  16. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    A good companion to that is John Ellis 'Brute Force'. Otherwise known as Ellis's Book of Lists. Amoung other things it contains a extensive comparison of industrial production and battle losses for a wide variety of essential items.
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    This is as far fetched as "What If my Grandmother Became Reischsf├╝hrer-SS?"

    What is the use? Mods, close the thread before it goes sour as usual. Please.
     
  18. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Is that the same as saying: "If my aunt had a d*ck she'd be my uncle"
     
  19. WalkerBulldog

    WalkerBulldog Member

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    Sorry if this seems ridiculous to you, we actually managed to have an intellectual and civil discussion on this and I thought it could be the same here, obviously I was mistaken. None of this is likely, we never said that, but under the correct circumstances we did not think it was as utterly preposterous as some of you do.

    I'll start over again by stating how we got to this discussion. We as a country have turned around dramatically in our support of the 2nd Gulf War even without any further damage to our soil after 9/11. None of us (our discussion group) were alive in WW2 to see the waning public support for the war effort in late 1944 and early 1945 when the country was almost bankrupt, but many of us could see certain parallels between the public support for WW2 and the current war as regards the beginning and the end (or in the case fo the Gulf war at least where we are now). We were looking at different scenarios that could have lengthened the war and this scenario is one we came up with. It then evolved (devolved by many of your apparent opinions) as to what our nation's current feeling for war would be if our parents had seen the destruction of our lands that the parents of our European peers had seen. Apparently that is not even conceivable to certain ones of you so I will agree to disagree as to the possibility or lack thereof of that scenario.

    As a little bit of further background, our group espoused that the only way this could have possibly happened was if Russia and Germany had continued to honor their non-aggression pact to the point that Hitler and Stalin had agreed to swap German technology for Russian oil and other raw materials, and not fought each other on a second front, thus Germany eventually overwhemed Britain with Russia and Germany dividing Europe between them.

    As Germany was very proficient in guided missile technology and had a large submarine force, we speculated that if Hitler had not been so obsessed with unrealistic weapons such as super guns and maus tanks he could possibly have developed a delivery system combining subs and missiles well before we eventually did. Since we suffered numerous sub attacks off of the east coast it is not beyond the realm of reason that these subs rearmed with missiles could have attained significant damage on the east coast.

    Pearl Harbor and our indignation and retaliation did come into the discussion, however that was an attack against a military installation off of the mainland and not a large civilian population base on the east coast with vast infrastrustures to be rebuilt if destroyed. Pearl Harbor of course also happened at the beginning of the war before war weariness set in. A large portion (Not claiming the majority) of the population by 1945 was war weary, even though they had not sustained direct damage to their property. Simply put, would the American civilian will to fight have been as strong in 1945 from a New York or Boston that looked like Dresden or Tokyo? It appears that the answer from the board is an overwhelming yes, as I would hope it would have been had it actually happened. But based on our country's support for our current war situation, I am not as 100% certain as many of you are, which again is how the debate evolved in the 1st place.

    Again we were not saying this was likely, but were looking at any and all scenarios and their geopolitical fallout in later years.

    Also, the infrastructure damage sustained during the civil war was largely on southern soil (the losers, remember) which still was largely an agrarain society with relatively few cities to destroy. The same discussion in regards to what the North would have been likely to do if it was their cities being destroyed could be proffered in a civil war discussion and I personally do not think it's simply as cut and dried as some of you make it out to be.

    We did come to the conclusion that this was not necessarily ever likely, and also the further conclusion that it was worth the discussion and not simply blowing it off. Sorry for wasting your time if you think otherwise.

    Lastly, this was not fishing for a class project, this was from a debate 2 semesters ago.


    To those that took time to think through your responses and not just knee jerk them, thanks again for your input.

    Jeff
     
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  20. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    So you were prepared to regurgitate something you had already discussed using the ideas and arguments already put forth by others on the subject.

    I love intellectual plagerism.
     

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