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

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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.

This work of alternative history looks at sixty of the most famous "What if?" scenarios of World War II, from the possibility of war breaking out in 1938, through the controversies that surround Pearl Harbor and the war on the Eastern Front, to the final days of the war in Europe and the Pacific.

Culled by three outstanding academic experts, and written by an exceptional team of historians, If the Allies Had Fallen is an authentic and terrifying alternate history.

358 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1997

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About the author

Dennis E. Showalter

43 books26 followers
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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 93 reviews
Profile Image for Nika.
136 reviews139 followers
January 31, 2023
The cover is misleading. The book does not refer to any kind of alternate universe. It is a collection of essays written by different scholars. The authors ponder various possible scenarios that could have played out during the Second World War. They examine what could have gone differently in the course of WWII if another step had been taken at one point or another by one actor or another. The proposed scenarios rely on the available information about the manpower, resources, and military and economic potentials of the countries involved in WWII. They try not to diverge from the developments familiar from the general history of the period and avoid suggesting things that were not feasible given the circumstances.
Just to give one example, the authors posit that Germany would probably have not been able to achieve a victory over the USSR due to the relative strength of the Soviet and German potential for mobilization. The Soviets had greater capabilities to mobilize forces and form reserve armies than the Germans. The only chance for Nazi Germany was to try to appeal to Soviet populations and gain their support. There were many disconcerted people who had suffered from Stalin's repressive rule. As the authors note, the conceivability of such a course of events cannot be ruled out if the Reich had been able to change its ruthless tactics of turning local people into slaves. Given Hitler's views, such a paradigm shift would hardly have been possible.

Most chapters end up stating that making different decisions would not probably have had a decisive effect on the course of events. The final results would probably have been pretty much the same. The last chapter What if Hitler had won the war? which explores when, how, and if Hitler might have won also tends to testify to this conclusion.
It seems that if we look at the bigger picture, the Allied Forces were likely to prevail over the Axis powers in most scenarios. However, the way the war was unfolding, the number of victims, both among military and civilians, and the time and course of major operations could have changed significantly had the main actors opted for decisions other than those they happened to take in real life.

The book encompasses a variety of different scenarios across all the theatres of the Second World War, from Europe to the Pacific front. Most alternatives discussed in this volume remain mainly in the realm of speculation. The authors look to answer such specific questions as What if the French had launched an all-out attack to help the Poles?, What if Hitler had been able to negotiate peace with Britain in June-July 1940? What if the German 1942 summer offensive had been focused on Moscow? What if Hitler had been killed on 20 July 1944? What if communication intelligence had not been available during the Pacific War? What if Britain had rearmed earlier in the 1930s or had adopted a wartime naval strategy consistent with her fleet strength? What if the Germans had not invaded Scandinavia?, to name a few.
Almost all subtitles concern the "what if" question.

The volume discusses the role of Ultra, the famous cypher machine, and its Pacific counterpart called Magic. They seem to have helped the Allies a lot in achieving their goals.

One of the conclusions one can draw from this non-fiction book is the importance of timing. The result of so many decisions often depends on whether they are implemented at the right moment.
Although accidents may play an important part, they often do not lead to key changes. However, those differences matter from a humanistic point of view. Every action that may save people's lives deserves great attention, even if it does not cause a major shift in the course of events.

Overall, this book does not seem to be very accessible. At times I found myself trudging through the account. I would recommend it to those who are both versed in the history of WWII and interested in the decision-making process.
The book also offers a few lessons about the period of WWII as the course of affairs from real history is often addressed. However, alternatives can at certain points be confused with the historical sequence of events.

P.S. The Soviets are several times called the Russians in the book. I know that this has been quite common in non-fiction books and in general discourse, but today it may send the wrong message. Different nationalities fought in the Soviet army. Worse, referring to all of them as 'Russians' means in a certain way supporting narratives used and abused by the Kremlin in its current propaganda.
Profile Image for Jill Hutchinson.
1,459 reviews105 followers
September 27, 2011
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 review is the Kindle edition, I read the actual book and have one complaint. The typeface was exceedingly small which made it very difficult to read.

I would recommend this book to the reader who is serious about strategies of warfare and making the right decisions at the right time. Otherwise, it might be a struggle.
Profile Image for David Dowdy.
Author 5 books54 followers
May 30, 2020
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 genius given to the German nation that was squandered in bad decision after bad decision. When you think of the technology developed by the German military and intelligence arms, it's amazing that the allies didn't fall. Everything from prototype missiles and jet engines to a fleet of killer submarines and advanced code enciphering was on their smorgasbord.

Yet blundering, paranoia, and impatience made effective use of their technology only for a relatively short few years. The book discusses Germany's lack of a proper blue water navy but it doesn't discredit Germany for not advancing a four engine long-range bomber. Added to their capabilities, both would have made a significant difference. Especially if the Germans had not tried to go so far and so fast.

Probably the biggest lesson from the book is that nations should not put all their faith in a single figurehead leader who's cleverness can only be found in his or her bellicose words and who sits in front of a cadre of yes men and women. We should guard ourselves from these people. Their kind did not end with Hitler. They are in the human DNA.

The second lesson is that a world leader might not think they are starting a world war and may try to hide behind their duplicity. Eventually they will have made the world their enemy and their gains will be taken away. Germany blinded themselves with arrogance and a total lacking in intelligence about the military capabilities of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They apparently had no idea that their codes had been broken in the UK.

Finally, the chapter outlining the final stage of the war in Europe where the Soviet Union and the Allies move to crush Germany is pretty dramatic. There are numerous daily accounts that provide a peek into the decisions made by the political and military leaders right up to the point where they came up to each other's fronts and stopped along the line that soon became the division of Germany into east and west states.
Profile Image for Brendan.
128 reviews1 follower
May 16, 2012
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 France surrendered).

All of the scenarios addressed are interesting because they address situations where multiple options were actually available to people and countries and different decisions could have been made. The authors also do a very careful job of analyzing all of the repercussions and limitations of each scenario. An army that pulls back from a salient also shortens the enemy's lines. A decision to build more of one kind of ship or airplane reduces the materials and manpower to build other kinds. The result of a battle or operation on the European Front changes the situation in the Pacific Front.

The result of this careful analysis is that in most cases, the authors conclude that the alternative scenario would not have changed the final outcome, or would barely have affected it. In doing so, they dispel many of the more popular what-ifs about the War.

Most of the scenarios involve speculating on what would have happened, but a few alternative scenarios are written like they would have been had they actually happened, describing the day-by-day progress of an American advance to Berlin and the damage caused in a Japanese third strike at Pearl Harbor. These latter scenarios tend to be indulging authors who'd like to write techno-thrillers more than anything else, as it's impossible to determine how accurate these stories of things that didn't happen might have been. It is interesting how such scenarios might have played out at a tactical level, though.

While the book is fascinating reading throughout, there is a very high level of assumed knowledge. Every scenario assumes that the reader has a working knowledge of the major campaigns, weapons, strategies, decisions and people involved in World War II in the European, Mediterranean, Eastern and Pacific Theaters. A reader whose knowledge of World War II is Pearl Harbor and D-Day or a 10-page summary of the war from a high school history textbook would likely feel lost reading this book. Tackle this book after you've read at least a full history of World War II.

Profile Image for Singleton Mosby.
110 reviews16 followers
April 16, 2013
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 then others, and strangest of all, some are scholarly treaties, others are well-written what-if scenarios. The difference in writing style between the chapters is kinda weird. The more as neither of the writers introduces his piece so you sometimes don't know if it is history or alternative history for quite some times.

But, enough knackering. Overall the book is good and treats the subject deeply. Recommended if you are interested in WWII but not so much if you want to read some good alternative history.
Profile Image for Jarrod.
406 reviews14 followers
June 26, 2017
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 the shock of nuclear weapons was needed. A land invasion of the main-land of Japan would have been a complete and total catastrophe. True research into what it would have taken to invade and conquer the mainland shows hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides.

Much of the fallacy in this book can be chalked up to academia spouting ideas from behind a keyboard without getting in the field. The reasoning behind decisions of what actually happened is not expounded upon (for those parts of the book where the actual events are re-told). For example, there are many times when a supposition is laid out for something different happening, then what would have happened is speculated on without going into detail about how this was against the grain of the contributors. If anyone studies anything to do with why Germany invaded the USSR in 1941, you know it was for lebensraum (living space) and the Germans could not care less about the people living there. It wasn't to conquer, it was to free up space for the German people. The current inhabitants would have been made slaves or killed through genocide.

The book is also too sporadic in how it is handled. It seems dis-jointed where there is not a fluid consciousness of thought. Several thoughts are conflicting and repeated where there is obvious non-collaboration of thought. Speculation of what the US would have done with a British defeat is laughable. This is disheartening after reading some of Overy's other works. The amount of materials we were giving to the Soviet Union in late 41-43 more or less allowed them to beat back the Germans where their industry was unable to produce. None of this is covered.

Though an interesting concept of a book, I was overall disappointed because of how much was really implausible due to what I have read on what actually happened. I would propose that the change be made for "X" to happen, explain how it would have happened explicitly in the confines of raw materials, personnel and agendas and then explain the actual reasonable outcomes. Lastly, keep personal agendas out of it. You don't like that the atomic weapons were used, too bad. I suggest studying how long the battle would have happened had we not done that and re-publish. The amount of bombs we dropped on Tokyo and Kyoto alone dwarf the damage done by the Fat Man and Little Boy....
Profile Image for ⚧️ Nadienne Greysorrow ⚧️.
329 reviews43 followers
March 30, 2020
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 historical, psychological, situational, and contextual reasons for why actual history occurred in the manner in which it did.

In essence, the players involved determined the outcome of the War, and the only way to change the War is to change the players. In much the same light as some other books I've read, specifically those regarding an alternate history of the American Civil War, history happened the way it did because of the various factors involved, not some random roll of the dice, and the outcomes which led to the world in which we live are essentially inevitable given the variables that were present.

I do believe it is more important to leave the counterfactuals and speculations, which I heartily enjoy, to the works of those authors great at writing them, but studious works about history should be more in this light. I would very much recommend this book to anyone who is interested in either World War Two, or counterfactual/speculative history.
December 1, 2021
Because of personal interest and requirement for school, I was given the chance to read this collection of alternate histories. First off, id like to say that I wasn't very satisfied with what I had to drill through, a certain amount of the stories were somewhat difficult to read without context. While I am a major enthusiast about historical events, I can also see someone who is interested in this genre may have difficulty in the more accurate parts of them. The stories are all written by different authors, and even then a majority of them are not completely "What if" scenarios. I would recommend this story to more technical people interested on possible theories and thoughts than an actual alternate history.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carrie.
Author 1 book
May 25, 2022
I think a better title for this book would have been ‘What the Allies could have done to win the war faster’. Because it seemed to me, that it was more about that theme than anything else. But maybe I’m prejudiced because it was not at all what I had expected. I didn’t realize this book was about the different battles that took place and what would have happened if some element of the battle was changed. I was expecting a book that had a story about how the world would have changed if the Allies had fallen. I’m sure a person that is really into the actual battles of WW2 would enjoy this book. I didn’t.
December 14, 2012
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 historians coming together to write the book, some of the viewpoints are really interesting. My personal favorite question posed is what a second attack in December 1941 on Pearl Harbor would have done to the US navy. It had the possibility for the Japanese to be the war winner. A nonexistent US navy would have surely pushed the war in Japan’s favor.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about WWII. It is a very intriguing book that really challenges the mind. It would also help boost someone’s understanding of the events of the Second World War.
Profile Image for Brian Saul.
39 reviews
January 10, 2011
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 we left it all up to the experts!

Complex as war is, this was written in a clear way which helps the reader understand what was going on and what ramifications could have been had... Also, each section (authored by various different scholars in the field)is self-contained, so the reading need not be sequential.
Profile Image for John.
45 reviews2 followers
March 4, 2013
What if Hitler had ordered the soup and not the salad for lunch or Stalin had brushed but not flossed his teeth. Unfortunately this book had a lot of potential, but was so rooted in the technicalities and specifics of WW2 that it becomes a painfully dry read. There are a few interesting essays (What if the US not used the atomic bomb, What if the Nazi's tried to recruit soviets by identifying themselves as anti-Stalinist liberators and not invaders,...) but these essays are few and far between.
Profile Image for Jim.
407 reviews22 followers
November 1, 2020
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.
516 reviews2 followers
September 28, 2021
Certainly not what I expected..dry, pedantic, overly preachy in parts.

Skipped huge sections as they put me to sleep
Profile Image for AoC.
84 reviews1 follower
December 4, 2021
Prior to picking it up, based on my friend's somewhat reserved recommendation, I had doubts what I was getting into with If the Allies Had Fallen: Sixty Alternate Scenarios of World War II. Provided you find yourself in a similar situation this collection of scenarios will quickly break down your delusions of being along those more familiar alternative history fiction lines.

What we have instead is strictly on "what if?" basis backed by some dry analysis and powered by collected expertise of over dozen authors tackling individual scenarios. And their respective sub-scenarios because most get broken down for clarity and precision. Even keeping in mind they summarize for you the gist of things prior to their deviation points it helps immensely if you know your WW2 history or have some familiarity with chronologic order of things. They don't joke around when they start talking about where specific Japanese ships were on relevant days or how changing years when it comes to rocket technology could've affected the outcome of the war, for example. While there are rare few scenarios where authors take broad strokes, such as the very last one - what if Hitler won the war on all fronts and what that could've taken - most scenarios go into minutiae, putting the spotlight on the fact they were written by historians, professors and military men.

Which is really my main problem I can't criticize properly - it's dense as all hell with details and hypotheticals. I found myself easily lost following fictional territory maps tracking army movements. Somewhat less so by dates, but if you lack basic knowledge of the timetables I'd suggest looking things up as you read. Something else I noticed is for all the attention to fine print almost all of the authors were unwilling to actually speculate to any great depth. You get a meticulous 30-page essay ending on what is essentially "nothing of any significance would have changed".

Maybe it's just a fiction fan clamoring for more.
Profile Image for Michelle.
464 reviews16 followers
November 21, 2017
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 had delayed Operation Barnossa until after dealing with Great Britain? What if Hitler had striven to make allies of the Soviet people during Operation Barbossa instead of brutally subduing them? What if the Japanese had launched a 2nd wave of attacks on Pearl Harbor December 7 1941? What if Hitler had not declared war on the US after Pearl Harbor? What if Naval Intel had cracked the Japanese code before Dec 7, 1941? What if Operation Fortitude (protection of allied D-Day plans) had not been successful? What if Ultra had never been available during the war against Germany? What if the atom bomb was not available to the US in time to postpone/cancel the invasion of the Japanese homeland? Or, What if Hitler had invaded Great Britain in the summer of 1940 and conquered it?

In some cases, not much would change in this event of our history. In other cases, however, we would probably be living some form of an alternate reality of current events. Each conclusion was laid out. There were also a few “What ifs” that I hadn’t thought of but found particularly interesting, such as: What if Hitler had pushed the development of the jet fighter to be ready earlier in the war? Or, What if Great Britain had concentrated their strategic bombing on Germany’s electric power system rather than the oil industry? Or, What if Field Marshall Rommel had been at his post on the morning of the D-Day landings?
Profile Image for Mathieu Gaudreault.
117 reviews6 followers
November 18, 2017
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 way. The subjects strats from an early war in 1938(if Chamberlain wouldn't have made a deal at Munich) to the what if the Allies had landed on Japan even after bieng nuked(Operation Olympic). Mostly the allies would have won, the axis would have had few occasions to win even if taking Moscow. Famous military author like Richard Overy and David Glantz contribute to this book. There are a few alternate history, one where the soviets and the americans clash around Berlin(but that dosen't translate in a war) and where Hitler avoids declaring war to the USA. All the majors aspects of the war are mentionned from the important war on the eastern front to naval priority productions(an example: Imperial Japan choising between giving priority between builidng battleships or aircraft carriers). For counterfactuals afficiando to people interested in World War two I recommand this book. Even with is misleading title I give it a five stars review.
309 reviews5 followers
December 7, 2019
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 themselves, and with a polarized population divided on Hitler, it nearly came to fruition. Who knew?!
Other choices not taken, routes and strategies not followed, each possibility is weighed in how it may have changed the war. Fascinating reading, if pretty dense and technical.
Could D-Day have taken place a full year ahead? And what would that change? Was Japan's hit on Hawaii a good or bad plan? Was our use later of atomic bombs necessary? Would an invasion of Japan actually be needed in any case?
All these questions and many more are weighed with possible outcomes envisaged. For those seriously into WWII history it's a five star book, but for the rest of us, scanning interesting chapters is a better strategy.
87 reviews6 followers
September 26, 2020
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' of WWII are not that straightforward and made me rethink my thoughts on them.

Nevertheless, while having a team of historians provided the book with its strength in covering a wide range of topics, it also led to its flaws, the first being that the leeway allowed in the consideration of the many possibilities could be uneven. Unevenness in tone is also an issue, and one chapter did really strike me as being heavily imbalanced, with its almost contemptuous attitude towards one side of the conflict and its similarly fawning attitude towards the other.

Still, overall, this is a good book for anyone with at least a passing interest in WWII.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
24 reviews2 followers
January 3, 2021
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. You have to know your “stuff” when it comes to World War II as the various authors throw information at you like you throw breadcrumbs to the birds. It was overwhelming and extremely boring. I found myself almost drowning in the writing. If I didn’t have the extreme urge to a) finish every book I pick up and b) dedicate myself to finishing this book before the new year, I would have tossed it out or given it away. There were some redeeming chapters that I found interesting and easier to get through but overall, a very deceiving title and overall hard to read and understand unless you are serious about this era in history and able to fully appreciate the alternate scenarios.
Profile Image for Cameron.
13 reviews
January 27, 2023
The book If the Allies Had Fallen by Dennis E. Showalter is a very compelling book, with a somewhat misleading title. While the book’s cover makes it seem like an alternate historical fiction book about Germany and the Nazis winning World War Two, it is really a collection of different what ifs and things that could have potentially happened during the war. From a potential coup of Hitler in 1938 by German army high command had the Munich conference failed, to what if Germany won the Battle of Britain in mid to late 1941, most of what is covered in the book is really interesting. One really nice thing about the book is that it is split up in a way that a reader could start reading from the beginning of any chapter and know what is going on.
The biggest issue facing the book is the somewhat misleading title it has, but other than that it is an excellent book. Not only is it able to cover actual historical events, but also it is able to bring up topics and events that are almost always overlooked when conversations about World War Two take place. I give this book four stars because while it is a good book, the book doesn’t cover what ifs about possible Allied failures as much as the title perceived. I would recommend this book to anyone with an already deep knowledge of World War Two who is looking to learn more about overlooked events from the conflict.
Profile Image for Christopher.
162 reviews11 followers
October 11, 2017
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 the situations how closely Hitler could have come to not out right winning World War II but at least a negotiated peace with him dominating at minimum Continental Europe.

In the end the book is good support for the supposition that the best general the Allies had in World War II was Hitler. Many of the scenarios were militarily winnable by the Germans save for Hitler's interference.
April 1, 2022
This book was a super good and interesting book to read. Dennis Showalter goes through many different scenarios of things that could have happened during WWII and does it in a way to really make the reader think. He uses major events that happened and real facts about the war to come of with things that could have happened if there was a slight change. I personally usually don't like reading history books or books about the wars, but this book was really interesting. It was a really fun way to learn about WWII while not having to read boring stories of stuff that actually happened that I already know about but instead hearing alternate endings and putting a twist on things that happened to make really cool stories. If you're into history books I would definitely recommend to read this book, but thats not the genre I usually enjoy which is the only reason I only rated this 3 stars.
Profile Image for Andrew.
504 reviews13 followers
January 15, 2023
Several eminent historians consider numerous alternative scenarios throughout WWII. The title of the book is somewhat misleading in that a loss by the Allies is only discussed in the final chapter of the book. The over-riding pattern is that given various alternatives, the end result of WWII would have been much the same - with only the timing and details differing. The various authors also tend to throw a wet blanket on many traditional "what if" WWII thoughts based on more recently discovered information (such as what if Hitler had not delayed his invasion of Russia to shore up the Balkans, what if Japan had followed up on its Pearl Harbor raid, etc.). Definitely an interesting reading for anyone who likes WWII history, but it might be a little daunting for those without some relatively detailed knowledge about the history of the war.
Profile Image for Henry Davis IV.
196 reviews3 followers
June 21, 2018
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 insight into alternative courses of action like all of the following chapters which were very well written. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in World War II, military strategy, or operational art.
Profile Image for Doug.
16 reviews
November 3, 2020
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 generals came within a day of launching a coup against Hitler when he was about to start a war over Czechoslovakia, but Neville Chamberlain saved his bacon by offering a summit instead. Highly recommended.
15 reviews
March 18, 2021
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 would incur heavy heavy casualties for the US being largely false). Also each chapter reads closer to a scholarly article (although not quite as dry) than to a chapter of a book you’d pick up at your local bookstore
627 reviews1 follower
April 5, 2022
While I have enjoyed a great deal of alternate history novels concerning the Second World War, this book did not seem to have been too deeply thought out. Many of the scenarios presented changed a specific event then played out the rest of the war as if nothing else would have changed.

What should have been a Earth shattering change, made only ripples and the rest of the war played out very uneventfully; other changes that could have been viewed as minor deviations seemed to send history into a Twilight Zone episode.

I lost interest for a long time and only now got back to cleaning this up. It was not a great use of my time, but I am happy this book is done. Now on to something engaging!
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13 reviews
September 1, 2022
Dennis E. Showalter sets the story in different times between the Start of World War II and the End of World War II. Dennis E. Showalter mostly talks about how if something else would have happened at the war it could have a very different outcome to the one that we know in history for example one example he makes up is how if Hitler had made allies with the soviet people the war would have been harder to win and this would have led to the outcome of the war to change depending on how long could the American forces hold until before they ran out of resources. Dennis E. Showalter was also successful in the way that he presented an accurate view of history with his point of view mixed in it making it where you could compare the actual events to the ones that he was making up. I would recommend this book to someone who is into history books as it goes in-depth of important events.
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