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The Point of Difference occurs when Hitler decides to apply at another art school after he is denied entry into the Vienna Academy of Art twice. In this timeline, Hitler decides to go to Weimar and applies to Academy of Fine Arts in Munich instead, and gets easily accepted. Hitler would never become the next Leonardo Da Vinci, but some of his art works will make manage to create a lot of attention for him internationally ...
As Hitler became an artist, he never spied on or joined the German Workers Party, leading to no name change to the National Socialist (Nazi) Party, and leading to no Nazi Germany. This allows Europe to become radically reshaped as another World War hits the continent, but not due to the Germans.
The German National People's Party (or in German, Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) wins the 1932 election with Hugenburg as their candidate. Their cry for "Let The Old Flag ... Rise Again" soon becomes a rallying cry around the nation and helps boost the popularity of the DNVP. The economy is still in shambles, however, and discussions soon begin over abandoning the repayment of the debts to France and Britain completely. The Stahlhelm soon declare their support for the DNVP (GNPP) and through their influence with the government, it allows the military to gain a foothold in the day to day running of the nation as well as the ability to manipulate decisions to the benefit of the military.
Germany begins to increase its diplomatic contact with the Republic of China, after seeing how similar the ideologies of the two states are and hoping in the process to perhaps increase the import of raw materials from China as the government begins to plan schemes to help provide employment for the nations. With China now looking to hasten industrialisation attempts, with a policy to create the military and industrial capacity to resist Japanese expansion, conditions were becoming more favourable between the two states. In the Reichstag, discussions begin on whether relations between the two nations should be formalised in a trade deal.
The Empire of Japan successfully defeats Chinese forces defending Manchuria as tension reaches the boiling point between the Kuomintang regime and Japan. The Republic of China would consider declaring war on Japan in Manchuria, however due to the Communist threat still present, and the damaged state of Chinese Nationalist forces, Chiang Kai-shek would be forced to hold off any further plans for war as he tried to re-organise his forces. His main aim would now become to improve relations with Germany and build an economic partnership helpful to both nations.
The Stalhelm gains greater influence within the German government, as a military alliance with China is reached. Due to the Chinese Civil War, the Germans send supplies and around a thousand "advisors" to aid their new ally. Many visionaries in parliament hope that German advisors will play the same role in China's development as the famous Prussian general (insert name here) did in the American War of Independence. Thus on the (day) of (month), ships and advisors set off for China. It is hoped that in greater stability, Germany would be able to invest in Chinese mines and gain good profits. The advisors soon reach China and begin to work with German advisors already in the country in modernising the National Revolutionary Army and helping it combat the Communists using superior tactics and greater numbers.
Hugenburg discusses the strength of the military at great detail with the generals of the army and realises tanks are needed for a modern army to function. Although most of the commanders agree, many have differing view as to why tanks are important. Some believe they would replace the more traditional roles played by cavalry while others in the High Command believed that tanks would revolutionise warfare. The black project involving the development of tanks is made into an official military project and is allocated the funds for the first tanks to be built. China is considered as a potential export market where Germany could test its tank models in skirmishes and war-like conditions.
The Autobahn construction project is authorised by Hugenburg's government in a bid to provide employment to the millions who require a job. Talks of a subsidy for automobile companies are also discussed as the government looks into helping car businesses expand by building new factories and making new cars. This will also have the added benefit of being able to build tanks once the factories and their respective companies are authorised to do so. Krupp and Porsche support a move such as this, as it would allow them to expand their influence and increase profits. The construction of new stadiums for the Berlin Olympics coming up in 1936 also begin, and the new government hopes to show off how well Germany is recovering from the Great Depression.
The Stalhelm continues to influence the power of the DNVP, while minor parties such as the German Workers Party fold due to low support and military influence over the workings of government. The DNVP, however, continues to gain in popularity with the people of Germany. Its job creating policies have led it to become more popular with the working class, and as further construction projects are announced, a sense of hope increases in the nation.
In Mao's Long March in China, the Nationalists successfully manage to destroy almost all of Mao's supporters - yet Mao manages to escape with his life. This would weaken the Communist cause for a long while, although it would not be enough to forestall the coming of a Communist China.
France and Great Britain are considering an alliance against the Soviet Union, worried that Stalin would try to extend their power into Eastern Europe. A pact against the Soviet Union begins to be discussed by both powers.
The Anti-Communist Pact is signed between France and Britain. China considers joining the pact, as it would offer protection from the Communist rebels in the country.
Nationalist rebels in Spain stage a revolt against the government, with the Soviet Union reacting by arming the Republicans with better weapons and sending a few regiments to keep a Fascist state from forming on the Iberian peninsula. Italy soon announces its support for the Nationalists and uses this as an excuse to begin testing equipment while also hoping for the formation of a second Fascist state which would help expand its diplomatic clout. The revolt would soon erupt into the bloody three-year Spanish Civil-War.
On July 17th, The Empire of Japan invades mainland China, as they conquer most of its coastal areas. Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist revolution, negotiates that the Nationalists should work together to destroy this threat. The civil war is stopped until the Japanese attack is no longer a threat.
The Republicans win the Spanish Civil War, and due to major Soviet support - the more Socialist members begin to re-organise themselves into the ruling party. Stalin quickly sends "advisors" to the state to help it "embrace the path of a bright socialist future". However, it is clear to most he is trying to make a puppet state which would support him no matter what. Spain has been heavily damaged in the civil-war, and there are talks of an aid-package to be sent to Spain to help it recover. Stalin approves, and the Spanish-Soviet Economic Plan comes into existence on the xx of xx. Through this package, the Soviets would be able to station troops in Spain and build bases. This immediately led to concern in France and Britain.
On November 11th, the Soviet Union declares war on Finland, in a bid to show off its strength to the world while claiming this is mainly due to "protect Leningrad from the devious Finns" after the Finns refused to cede territory to the Soviet Union. The Winter War, as it would come to be known, began when 20 Soviet Divisions with a total of 425,000 men invaded Finland on multiple points of its border. Britain and France, surprised by the invasion, quickly saw the threat of a Soviet Finland. As a result, Allied High Command began talks of sending soldiers to help Finland defend itself from the Soviet Union.
Despite the initial shock to Finnish troops, most of the army was ready for war. Although fighting against superior numbers, Finnish forces had the advantage of knowing the terrain. In many overrun regions, the Finnish Army continued to employ guerrilla tactics against the Red Army, in various hit-and-run missions. However, it became evident that Finland did not have the munitions for a war lasting more than a month, and thus this became a priority when asking for aid to the international community. By the end of November, the Red Army had managed to make significant gains into Finland, although the promise to the Soviet populace that the war would be over by December did not come. Instead, the invaders found themselves facing determined resistance against an enemy willing to die to defend its land.
By the start of December, all Finnish forces on the Karelian Isthmus had retreated to the Mannerheim Line. Differences between the Soviet and Finnish forces had, by this time, become apparent to both sides in the war. The Red Army had under its command over 2,300 tanks facing off against the Finnish defenders, along with more than 200,000 men and total air superiority. The Finnish, in contrast had around 130,000 men, and non-existent tank forces. However, over the past month the Finnish had employed better tactics and the Soviet forces had suffered. The Finnish decided to go on the offensive on other fronts of the war, and on the 2nd of December, the Battle of Suomussalmi commenced as Soviet soldiers tried to attack toward the west but were pushed back by Finnish forces. Heavily outnumbered, the Finnish launched a counterattack aiming to isolate the Soviet units into small pockets which the Finns could then attack and subsequently destroy.
The Allied High Command soon pressured Sweden into assisting Finland militarily, a move supported by the majority of the nation mainly due to the fact Finland had been a part of Sweden for more than 600 years. So far, Sweden had been the main benefactor in providing much-needed aid to Finland, but had refused to militarily get involved - fearing Soviet retribution. It was the promise to defend Sweden in case of an invasion that finally convinced the government to send 20,000 men to aid the Suomussalmi Offensive. Local Swedish commanders and the Finnish General Hjalmar Siilasvuo, through secret communication channels, established what role the Swedes would play in the offensive. The Battle continues into the New Year.
By the 2nd of January, the combined Swedish-Finnish soldiers employed the tactic known as motti and defeated the elements of the 9th Army involved in the Battle of Suomussalmi. The Battle proved to be a pivotal point in the war, significantly boosting morale and allowing Finland to capture over 80 tanks along with over 1,500 horses and 300 trucks as well as much needed medical supplies. On the same day, Allied Command approved a plan to send 50,000 British and 35,000 French troops in support of Finland in a bid to overturn the Soviet invasion and push them back. These would be supported by 120 Matilda I and 250 Matilda II tanks. Plans were also made to rush the Crusader tank through production and send around 20 of these to see how they performed. These would help test the developing technologies of the British Armoured Divisions. Allied aircraft such as the Hurricane and the Spitfire would also accompany the Expeditionary Force.
Advisors and equipment began to be sent to Finland on the 3rd, with plans to train the Finnish forces how to operate tanks and to allow them a fighting chance against a possible Soviet tank offensive. As a war of attrition continued on the front, Swedish forces began to organise themselves and launched small offensives in support of the Finnish. On the 8th of January, a combined Swedish-Finnish force of 39,500 men, comprised mainly of veterans of the Battle of Suomussalmi, launched an attack against Soviet positions on and around Nautai. The Soviet forces, thinking they would have to defend a future allied attack on Murmansk were caught unaware in the Second Battle of Petsamo.
The Fourteenth Army fought hard, but the soldiers had faced little action over two months and compared to the veterans of the II Corps, they were easy pickings. The forces were routed within a week, and a flanking attack from the rear cut off a chance to escape to Petsamo, which the combined Swedish-Finnish forces did by going through Norwegian territory. Seeing that the road to Murmansk would be open if the Fourteenth Army were to fall, the commanders ordered the soldiers to retreat to the city. In the rush to do so, once more much of the heavy equipment was left behind by the retreating men. The II Corps soon reached the coast, and the 14th Division was left trapped in Liinahamari. More heavy equipment was obtained by the Finnish Army, such as just under 200 tanks and 350 trucks. Less than 12,000 men managed to escape to Murmansk, with slightly more still trapped in Liinahamari.
The Finnish Generals were quick to order all captured tanks to be sent to Helsinki, where the Finnish Army was training its men in tank operations. The incomplete Vickers tanks were soon completed with the weapons provided by the British and transported through Sweden. A basic tank division was starting to form and the generals believed they could see deployment in the next few weeks. Supply problems also started to be alleviated with the arrival of munitions from Britain and France, and allowed Finnish troops to now operate with greater impunity. The collapse of the Fourteenth Army was seen as a huge problem by the Stavka as it would mean Petsamo could now be used to allied Allied troops. Almost immediately plans were made to bring in more troops to the front and win the war before the allies could intervene.
With the replacement of many Soviet generals in command of the war, a re-organisation of divisions took place. The Thirteenth Army was created from the Seventh, and the strength in the region was nearly trebled, to 650,000 men, for what was hoped to be a final offensive. On the 25th of January, the Soviet forces began a massive shelling effort in a bid to grind down the defense of the Mannerheim Line. Small infantry assaults were also continuously made, however the losses on the Soviet side were staggering as Finnish forces were authorised to fire at will at the enemy. Fighting would rage on for the next few days as both sides fought hard. The Soviets would continue to launch minor probing offensives, aiming to grind down the enemy with their numbers. Allied lines would hold, however, and Soviet forces would subsequently be forced back.
This changed on the 6th of February. In the Battle of Summa, the Soviet Armies broke through a minor gap in the lines, and subsequently managed to overturn Finnish positions in the region. A desperate Finnish counterattack failed and allowed the Soviet forces a chance to flank the defenders. Those in Summa knew that they stood little chance of retreating and surviving, and although a few regiments managed to retreat, most were stuck in the positions. On the 8th, the Red Army attacked positions in Summa with overwhelming force. The Finnish defenders fought to the death, and made the Soviet soldiers pay for every inch of land they took in blood. Although the Finnish forces were wiped out, Soviet losses were horrendous. Many tank battalions were wiped out and tens of thousands of men were killed.
Positions were still holding at other points in the line - especially at the vital position of Tripale. However, a fatal blunder would allow the Soviet forces to break through the line and allow them to shatter resistance. Thinking that the situation was more dire than it already was, troops were diverted from Tripale to Viipuri, allowing the Soviets' numerical advantage to turn critical. On the 10th of February, the Soviets managed to overrun Finnish positions at Tripale, giving them a perfect opportunity to flank troops caught between Tripale and Summa. The Finnish, realising a retreat was needed, quickly ordered its troops to move back and form a defense of Viipuri.
The Thirteenth Army was then tasked with heading north and attacking the two Finnish divisions in Ladoga, which had been holding out against the Soviet divisions quite successfully. Reaching the front by the 13th, the Finnish 4th Division was facing fighting on two fronts by being outflanked. Biding for time, the 4th Division began a fighting retreat against the Eighth and Thirteenth Armies, pulling back to Joensuu. Meanwhile, the Seventh Army had managed to reach Viipuri, and fighting soon began on its outskirts. The Finnish began to look to a peaceful solution to the war, knowing that even with the current support, they could not hope to win the war.
However, help was on the way. Allied High Command saw that Finland was on the brink on defeat, and on the 17th of February the allied intervention force was assembled. It set sail the following day for the port of Petsamo, and a message was soon relayed to Helsinki, "stall for time, allied forces en route".
Yet it seemed the war might be over before then. The Thirteenth Army was ordered to turn back south and flank Finnish positions in Viipuri in the rear. Reaching the front on the 16th, they found Finnish and Soviet forces engaged in bitter street fighting. Most of the city had already been leveled by the shelling, and the roads were littered (sometimes blocked) by scores of destroyed Soviet tanks, which were vulnerable in street-fighting. Knowing the situation lost, Mannerheim ordered three out of the four divisions fighting to retreat, leaving one to fight and hopefully retreat when the bulk of the Finnish forces had moved away. Knowing the next target for Soviet forces would be Helsinki, the army soon began the construction of defensive positions all around the city. Although peace offers were being made to the Soviet Union, the government had received word of the Allied movements and were planning to hold out until help arrived.
General Siilasvuo, commander of the Finnish northern front, was ordered to send any troops he could spare to prepare for the coming battle around the capital. He refused, stating that his troops would be crucial in defeating the Soviet invasion. Following this, on the 15th of February, the II Corps moved into Liinahamari, bitterly fighting the Soviet defenders and hungering to avenge the defeats in the south. At the same time, a daring offensive was launched against the Russian port of Murmansk. The objective was to launch a surprise attack and hopefully cripple as many naval ships stationed in the port as possible. Siilasvuo allocated around 15,000 soldiers for the attack on Murmansk, which took place a day after Swedo-Finnish forces moved into Petsamo port. Both fell within a week, and helped to somewhat counterbalance Soviet victories in the south.
However, by the 22nd, most opposition against the Red Army had been defeated and the combined Seventh and Thirteenth Armies pushed inward towards the capital. Finnish positions at Mikkeli proved to be a problem and Soviet forces had to be diverted to fight the Finnish forces stationed there to ensure they were not flanked. Although the Finnish forces engaged the Red army in various battles on their way, Soviet forces continued on undeterred. Morale was at an all-time high as troops reached the first lines of hastily constructed defense on the 27th. Fighting was intense, and the Soviet offensive was immediately brought to a standstill. Finnish guerrillas were disrupting Soviet supply lines, causing havoc, while Finnish defenders fought on against huge numbers. In the following two days, the Soviets did manage to advance, but still did not manage to reach shelling distance of the capital and time had run out. The Allied Expeditionary Force had landed in Petsamo.
For the Stavka, it was a nightmare come true. Allied forces soon began their march southward, while a force of around 20,000 Swedish soldiers attacked Soviet positions at Salla with the assistance of the Finnish Civil Guard already stationed there. Their aim was to push back Soviet forces in the region and clear the way for the Allied Intervention force to smoothly move from Petsamo to the outskirts of Helsinki. At the same time, the Allied forces began to move down from the 1st March, with around 10,000 men of the II Corps left behind in Murmansk and Petsamo while the rest marched, some 20,000 men, with the allies. Although elements of the Ninth Army were ordered to launch offensives to slow down the progress of the intervention force, these were brushed aside with ease, especially by General Siilasvuo's men, who had by now gained notoriety within the Soviet camp. By the 5th, the allied forces were finally within striking distance of the Soviets attacking Helsinki - who had managed to break through the outermost line and were now fighting in the suburbs. The Finnish had launched 60 tanks against the Soviet lines, mostly captured tanks and had managed to attack with success. However, Soviet numbers forced back the Finnish tanks.
Although a constant stream of recruits were being sent to the front, Russian losses were so high that numbers only marginally increased. By the 6th, it was too late, as allied forces attacked the Red Army in the rear. Soviet forces were still numerically superior, but were facing exhaustion as the 150,000 strong allied force outflanked Soviet positions. The British also sent in its tanks to take out Soviet tank divisions. Although numerically inferior, the Matilda tanks were highly effective in knocking out scores of T-26s and T-28s due to its superior armour. The Matilda II proved to be especially good operating against Soviet tanks. However, Soviet armour counter attacks led to high casualties, with around 40 Matilda I being knocked out in the worst phase of the fighting. British commanders, with the help of the Finnish, quickly put into place different tactics to counter the Soviet tank threat. One of these was to strike rapidly at one tank company, overwhelm and destroy them and then quickly retreat. These tactics were implemented on the 9th and, with the arrival of the 20 Crusader tanks, quickly proved to be successful. In places, Soviet losses were around six tanks for every one allied tank lost. The arrival of the British Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfighter also helped to upset Soviet air-superiority. Some 500 allied aircraft quickly dented Soviet air-campaigns, who lost abysmally high numbers of aircraft against advanced British fighters. The death kneel for the Seventh and Thirteenth Armies came when 65,000 Swedish troops, assisted by some 15,000 Finnish soldiers, attacked and captured the city of Viipuri - cutting off the supply lines of the Red Army besieging Helsinki and ensuring the troops would have to fight their retreat. These soldiers soon attacked Soviet positions in the rear - completing the trap against Soviet forces.
It didn't take long for the Red Army to break, and on the 12th of March, a retreat was ordered by the commanders of the Red Army who had been pushed out of Helsinki. Finnish soldiers, hungering to avenge their fallen comrades, were brutal in pursuing the retreating the Soviet army - forcing the Soviets to leave more of their heavy equipment behind. The pursing Matilda II tanks were effective in knocking out the Soviet tanks which were trying to flee, allowing it to earn the name 'Queen of the Ice' as it gained superiority even against superior Soviet numbers. Peace negotiations also began on the same day.
The Peace of Leningrad would be signed on the 20th of March and go into effect the following day, thus drawing a conclusion to the Winter War. To force pressure on the Soviets, allied forces would continue to pursue Soviet troops, trapping them on the outskirts of Viipuri. The Soviets would be completely humiliated, having to give up Karelia to Finland as the borders were now drawn from Lake Lagoda to Lake Onega, from where it would connect to the White Sea. The Soviets would have to accept, and fighting officially ended on the 21st.
Meanwhile, the United States starts conducting a top secret weapons program based on nuclear technology, called "Project Manhattan" it was working to create a bomb that could be used to protect countries from future attack from the Soviet regime. Great Britain and France given info.
On the 1st of May, the Soviet Union launches an invasion of Poland to restore the honor they lost in the Winter War. Stalin fabricates a reason in which he states "Poland is barbaric and needs help recovering from the Polish rump state of Józef Piłsudski". Britain and France react, due to their defense pact against Soviet influence, with a heavy discussion on whether to declare war against the Soviet Union, caught completely by surprise by the invasions. Declaring war on the Soviet Union, the powers immediately begin discussion with Finland into the pact, and send troops to Poland to fight of the Soviet offensive.
On May 6th, Germany invaded Western Poland other side of Poland to "save ethnic German peoples from Soviet Communism". A majority of the territory taken was originally German territory prior to the Great War. The DVNP uses this as propaganda, as well to create a buffer from the Soviet Union in case of an invasion.
On May 11th, Soviet military leaders hold a meeting to discuss about the state of the union and the current situation about the war. The meeting is conflicted with mattering opinions of the current situation and of the next planned step.
At 7:06 UTC on May 18th, Poland surrenders to the Soviet forces unconditionally. The French and British troops sent are re-directed to Finland, where a Soviet second-strike seemed likely. Stalin rejoices, and calls a meeting with his defence minister Aleksandr Vasilensky later in the day. The meeting majorly discusses plans with how to deal with the Franco-British declaration against them. Vasilensky suggests that Stalin should try to get into the Transylvanian Mountains, and use the valuable minerals to power the Soviet war machine. Stalin agrees, and slowly starts building up his forces along the Ukrainian border.
Meanwhile, allied command in Britain and France were amazed at the quick, sudden defeat of Poland. Winston Churchill wrote to the press in a public speech.
The Soviet Army is much more powerful than we originally estimated. The numbers and scouting reports are seriously flawed, and must be doubled. We must take the fall of Poland seriously, Communism is the dark tumor to the western war that must be stopped before it can grow
French and British troops are continued to be sent to Finland, with plans to bomb Baku oil fields coming into suggestion to cut off the Soviet Oil supply to weaken the Socialist powerhouse.
Later in the month, around midnight 01:00 UTC on the 23rd of May, about a dozen Soviet bombers are spotted above oilfields in Iraq. British surveillance, pick up on the disturbance in the area. However a few shots were fired from the, both sides, the Soviet planes leave the airspace. This only increases Churchill's and Stalin's paranoia against each other. Both sides continue arming their borders, with the British starting to arm themselves in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Turkey - amidst this Middle Eastern crisis - starts to grow anxious that they will get stuck in the middle of a conflict. Turkish Prime Minister [PLACEHOLDER] goes to visit Josef Stalin, and discusses the possibility of a non-aggression pact between the two nations, similar to what the Soviets offered Germany after Poland fell. However no signing was reached, but progress has been made between the two nations on finding common ground against each other.
On July 3rd, after almost a two months of silence between the Soviets and their opponents, Britain, France, and Finland, the Soviets launch an Soviet Invasion of Rumania, with the Soviet 12th and 15th Army making solid gains on valleys east of the nation. The 8th and 13th Rifle corps and Second Cavalry corps head to capture Budapest, with the rest of the army going to fight a potential guerrilla conflict in the Transylvanian mountains.
Throughout the Month of August, the Soviets make advances in Southern Karelia, mainly pushing back the worn out Finnish front lines. A Finnish army is also deployed up toward Northern Finland, to protect against a potential Soviet flank from the North. Winston Churchill also plans for a forceful takeover of islands of Saaremaa and Hiumaa to use as bases. The forces arrive on August 27th, securing the islands as bases for incoming supplies.
After a month-long siege of Budapest, on September 1st, Romania surrenders to the Soviets. Mainly this was because the King was fearful that the Russians would burn Budapest to the ground if refusing any longer. The Soviets rejoice as planned, but, later that week, the British launch an all-out bombing of Baku oil fields; one of the key components to the Soviet wartime industry. Stalin, after this, consults with his high command, and organizes an invasion of Iraq and Iran. The main goal of this military operation would be to oust the British from the Middle East, rebuild the Baku oil industry, and to build off of this for more oil to use in the Soviet wartime.
On December 7th, A telegram from Japan outgoing to Commander Husband Kimmel at Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii. The message states that "Japanese ships will be in the area for a refueling stop". Commander Kimmel agrees, but not after a brief silence. Meanwhile, the Japanese were preparing for a surprise attack on the base. Planning to catch the United States off guard. Then, at 7:48 AM local time, the Japanese fired their cannons at the USS Enterprise, setting the ship on fire, and later sinking it. The Americans, completely off guard from the attack, Navy was in ruins, declaring war on the Japanese two hours later, entering the Pacific War.