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If the Allies Had Fallen: Sixty Alternate Scenarios of World War II
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If the Allies Had Fallen: Sixty Alternate Scenarios of World War II

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  66 reviews

From the Munich crisis to the dropping of the first atomic bomb, and from Hitler's declaration of war on the United States to the D-Day landings, historians suggest what would have been if key events in the war had gone differently.

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Hardcover, 358 pages
Published May 30th 2010 by Skyhorse (first published 1997)
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David R. Dowdy
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, non-fiction
This is a pretty decent book that ponders all the what-ifs but it includes many good history lessons about major events along the timeline of World War Two and in the separate theaters. Much of the book deals with Germany and only touches on axis power in Italy and Japan. The motivations of world leaders is striking when you think of how they reacted. The result is, though you can't change history, you can certainly score the choices taken that made it.

There are reminders throughout about the ge
Jill Hutchinson
This is a scholarly book which offers an alternative history to the outcome of WWII and it is not an easy read. It differs from other "what if" books in that it avoids contrary-to-fact assumptions such as a second Napoleon in command of France or the Wehrmacht equipped with different models of tanks and aircraft. Instead the theories are based on behaviors possible in the context of circumstances requiring concrete decisions other than those actually made.

Although the edition shown in this revie
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is by far the most scholarly approach I have seen to the fascinating subject of counterfactual history. It addresses scenarios ranging from the tactical (e.g. what if the Japanese had launched a third strike at Pearl Harbor) to the operational (what if the Allies had invaded Sardinia and Corsica instead of Sicily) to the strategic (what if the British or Germans had adopted different naval and air force building strategies) to the geo-political (what if the British had sued for peace after ...more
Singleton Mosby
For me this book was kinda of a mixed bag. First of all you shouldn't judge it by its cover. I did and expected some great alternative histroy fiction. Well, I was mistaken, this is a scholar work on numerous what-ifs of WWII. It hardly deals with alternative endings of the war as the cover suggests.

Not too worry however as it is a rather good book once you have overcome the wrongfootedness of your first impression. Every chapter, every subject, is written by a different author. Some are better
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a dangerous book. There are parts that are brilliant - the piece by Mr. Love and the ending regarding Hilter's character making most of this book implausible. Then there are parts that are just sad. I almost gave up on the book when I read about the "atomic holocaust". It's obvious the liberal slant of that piece of the book and the lack of research into why the bombs were expedient. Read about the Pacific theater and the mind set of the Japanese people and leadership to understand why t ...more
General Greysorrow
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I'm sure other reviewers have already mentioned, this is more of a study on the potential of an Axis Victory rather than a detailing of potential "What If?" scenarios. Don't get me wrong, there are "What If?" scenarios present, and they are posed as questions, each in turn proposed, dissected, analyzed, and presented by the various authors. But whereas many books of this nature will answer the question by providing the scenario and extrapolating past it, this book more presents all of the his ...more
Garrett Brockman
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
What if the allies had fallen? This is just one of the many questions posed in the book, If the Allies Had Fallen. In this book, historians suggest what might have happened if certain turning points during WWII had gone differently. Sixty alternate scenarios, from a possible second attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, to what if D-Day came a year earlier. Only reading this book can reveal what all of the scenarios hold.
I found this book really interesting, and well written. With around twenty
Brian Saul
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Serious, scholarly consideration of various scenarios. Not at all frivolous or simply silly "What ifs..."
One needs to be fairly familiar with the sequence of events as they actually unfolded in the build-up to and as they occurred during the war itself. I'm not a WWII buff or tactician, but I'm certain this would appeal to either as well as the casual reader. I'd consider this a study of alternatives, given in hindsight, much as one might study chess moves and their possible consequences. Glad w
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
One thing about major events in history - I’ve always entertained a lot of “What if...” scenarios. While I’m not sure I agree with all the authors’ conclusions, I did find this a fascinating read. A few of the “what if’s “ in regards to WWII that I’ve entertained myself were actually included in this collection of essays: What if one of the plots to assassinate Hitler in the spring of 1939 or July 1944 had been successful? What if the Germans had pushed the attack at Dunkirk? What if the Germans ...more
Mathieu Gaudreault
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The con: the title and cover. This book should have been republished with its original title that was What if, strategic alternative of World War Two.Its not a novel of the axis winning the war and taking the major capitals of the allies. Sorry for the people who bought the book thinking it was a novel like Peter G Tsouras and sci fi writer Harry Turtledove.

If you liked Robert Cowley What if books you will love this book. Its counterfactuals about how the second world war could have gone another
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I give it only three stars because it's not really a book for casual readers. Rather, it explores alternate outcomes that may have occurred and choices not made. The military experts put their knowledge into conceiving of possible results if matters were changed. And it's mind-blowing!
A British military man set up a plan to assassinate Hitler before the war began, but the British government felt it was bad "sportsmanship!" German officers, before the war, were divided and planned to do the job
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This book, written by a team of historians, explores how the course of world history might have changed if different decisions were taken. One can see how this book leverages on the strengths of the various historians involved as it covers a wide range of World War Two topics, from diplomatic to military to industrial to socio-political developments, and it highlights that WWII really did have far-reaching impacts on our world. Some chapters helped me realise that the many 'what-ifs' ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
I thought I had already made it through my least favorite book of the year, but I was wrong. If The Allies Had Fallen definitely wins that award hands down. I love history, and I had such high hopes when I came across this book in the store. When it finally came time to take it off the shelf and emerge myself in its contents, I was severely disappointed. I have never put a book, but I was very close with this one. It took all I had just to finish it. This is definitely a book for history buffs. ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was not an alternate history in the classical sense but an analytical examination of what could have happened in various scenarios. A question would be proposed, basically what if this had happened instead of what did, and its then played out in broad overview.

Some of the scenarios they acknowledge would have taken quite a lot of changes, especially on Hitler's part, to become reality. Others were almost a simple as a left turn instead of right. Its truly frightening to read in some of
Henry Davis IV
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book truly is a thorough yet thought provoking look at realistic alternate scenarios for how World War II could have unfolded. It consists of a series of essays that can be seen as studies in military strategy, political-military planning and execution, and even economic and industrial support for a major war effort. Unfortunately, this book would have been improved by featuring more and better quality maps as well as omitting the first chapter which seemed strained and really did not give ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Just skimming over this book again, reminded what a thorough and thought-provoking collection of essays it is about lots of ways WW2 could have gone differently. Don't be misled by the title, in most of the scenarios the Allies win anyway, just maybe faster. For example, there's a good case here that D-Day could have and should have taken place a year earlier in 1943, instead of wasting time on Sicily and Italy, with less cost and moving the Iron Curtain far to the east. Also in 1938 the German ...more
Patrick Lemieux
Mar 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Cousin gave me this book a couple years ago and I just now got around to reading it. I’m a history buff but have never been overly interested in the overly technical aspects of military history. And this book at times got WAAAAAY too technical for my liking snd made for a boring slog of a read at times. But then there was plenty of interesting facts as well including some contradicting info about WW2 facts that were usually considered gospel (e.g. the estimation that a mainland invasion of Japan ...more
George Miller
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is a collection of essays from 15 authors addressing alternative historical scenarios for World War II. The book is broken into 17 chapters addressing events from 1938 until 1945. The writing styles are inconsistent, some being analysis of the choices not taken by the combatants, and a few written as alternative histories. In most cases, the historians determine that the alternative scenarios would have had little impact on the ultimate outcome of the war. The book does not address wha ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing, detailed, and complex look at World War 2 plausible "What if...?'s".

I personally would probably rate it 3 or 4 stars (I gave it 5 stars because I'm assuming if I knew more I'd rate it 5), but I understand enough to know I don't fully understand this book, there are many time I was lost, and confused, mainly as to what was history and what were the "what if?", mostly due to me not knowing enough about WW2. I thought I know loads about Nazis and WW2, but apparently I am a so called "la
EA Baker
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this book extremely interesting as I have often pondered many "What If" scenarios since becoming interested in alternate history with Philip K. Dick's "Man in the High Castle" and Harry Turtledove's many alternate history takes with his fiction writing. While I found many of these arguments compelling and entertaining to consider, I too had some moments where I disagreed with some of the takes and was disappointed that there were no deeper timeline explorations of the events. However, th ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.1 stars out of 5 - I read a hardbound from the library over the past few evenings. It includes many interesting scenarios, but the quality of the treatments vary widely. In some cases the essays include eye glazing levels of detail, while in other cases they skim as broadly as a late night bull session. And there are glaring omissions. And the authors almost universally come close to ignoring the morale implications of the scenarios they analyze. Perhaps the moral is not 'to the physical as th ...more
Ian Coutts
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting book that examines some sixty or so pivotal moments in the Second World War -- from Stalingrad to Midway to the atomic bomb and asks what would have happened if it had turned out differently. The good news is, not much. In the overwhelming majority of cases, we still win. The bad news is, this makes for somewhat repetitive and dull reading. It's a bit like watching Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football, and knowing that no matter how hard he tries, it always ends the same way. O ...more
Karl Schaeffer
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A collection of scholarly articles that address various turning points in World War II, arranged in chronological order. Tactical, strategic and geopolitical issues are addressed. Some of the writing is pretty dry and academic, but intriguing never-the-less. Lots of real history is included; some alternative history is discussed in the geopolitical topics. Ifg you like WWII history, you'll enjoy this book. ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin by saying the title is misleading. A more appropriate title might be "What if this had happened, or this, or this". The writing style is what I would call "academic" or very dry. I've read quite a bit about this period in our history so, while some new information was presented, not a lot of new information was present. This is particularly true since much of the information was conjecture. ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
These essays contain more detail of the historical situation and analysis of the possibility of an alternate course occurring than of the outcome of the alternate course. This is mostly a positive feature. The later conjectures seem less thought out and the descriptions began to seem repetitive in the latter part of the book.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Alternate History and this one is the best I've read because it is a scholarly approach based on facts & research to this interesting discussion of how different decisions, strategies, and policies could have altered the corse of the war for the Allies, for better or worse, rather than one single person's imagination of what would happen. ...more
George Richard
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I purchased this very interesting book after a lecture at the Minnesota Historical Society. More WWII scenarios well thought out than you can shake a stick at. To be truthful though most of the scenarios do not address the question of "If the Allies Had Fallen" but the resulting effects of a single circumstance or strategy. ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
For some reason I couldn't even finish a chapter. It seems to read more like a scientific paper and not a thrilling read of what could have been.

If you are really into real world based alternatives to history then this could bec for you.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Fascinating at times, yawn-inducing at others.

Reality can ruin even the most well-researched alternate history scenario, with most of those in the book predicting an Allied victory in the end anyway.

Overall expected it to be more interesting, but it occasionally had me captivated.
Dylan Vieites Glennon
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I found this book rather fascinating. It shows a new perspective to what could have happened if the allies had fallen.
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Dennis E. Showalter is a professor emeritus of history at Colorado College. Showalter specializes in German military history. He was president of the American Society for Military History from 1997 to 2001. In addition, Showalter is an advising fellow of the Barsanti Military History Center at the University of North Texas.

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