What would the historical implications have been if Britain had lost the Battle of Britain in 1940 and Germany had occupied the UK?Churchill was worried about this when he first formed his government had so seized most of the British population's wealth and shipped it to Canada in early 1940 during Operation Fish, the biggest movement of wealth up to that point. He also planned to move government functions and the Royal family to Canada. The other governments in exile would have probably have moved to Canada too.
If as you say the Germans won the Nazis had planned to install the Duke and Duchess of Windsor so there would have been an occupation government in the UK and some British would have backed them.
Most people writing responses are Britons who l think are speaking subjectively.
Britain would have signed a conditional surrender - they thought about it, they were that close until Hitler decided to switch focus to civilian bombing (shouldve kept pounding RAF airfields). But if air superiority was achieved, Britains top priority would then be securing the home islands.
Most of the Royal Navy elsewhere I believe would be recalled to patrol the the English channels to ensure amphibious assault does not happen (home fleet wasn't enough particularly without adequate air support) and to secure atlantic routes - it would become its only lifeline. Britain's vast supply lines in her Empire was quite stretched already at the outbreak of war.
The Italians wouldve had an easier time at the Mediterranean and could possibly secure the Suez Canal denying Britains supply route through the area.
The Germans would have won the North Africa campaign as their supply routes from Italy would be secured. This also means losing a supply of oil which the Germans and Italians needed so badly for their ground and navy respectively.
By securing the middle east for oil and blocking supply routes the Italians would probably start a conquest of the middle east and africa.
Malta wouldve been taken easily and Spain might have designations on Gibraltar.
Indian reinforcements would not have happened. Nehru and Gandhi were starting independence movements and if the scenarios above played out Japan probably couldve defeated the British in Burma completely and take Bangladesh, and from there start some nationalist movement.
Losing India also means, on top of manpower, losing rare materials and rubber (from Ceylon).
Australian and NewZealand reinforcements might not have happened as now they will have to go through Italian Somaliland and have little RN prescence.
With the Japanese destroying the capital ships in the Far East and occupying malaysia, singapore, burma and indonesia Britain also loses vast supplies of rubber.
In short, Britains lifeline will come from the US and US only. The Royal Navy's top priority will be to secure the Atlantic and English Channel. This leaves her global empire and supply routes threatened. The British govt knew it could not be sustained thats why they thought about signing a conditional surrender.
With Britian signing a conditional surrender, Hitler would have achieved his war aims. Infact, what Hitler wanted was assurance from UK that Germany was to be the continental power and that she would not contest the seas against UK. A conditional surrender without losing her empire was the best outcome from Britain.
With the Western theatre closed, the germany would be facing US and USSR.
USSR would have either come to its knees or stalemate with Germany. Hitler wouldve lost the winter war anyways because he underestimated his opponent and never realized operation barbarossa would drag. But he would be in a much more defensible position. Not only that but generals like rommel and the Afrikan Korps would most likely be operating in the USSR.
With these additional divisions and being able to trade UK for materials, I dont think Hitler wouldve committed the same mistake he did in dabbling around with Army group South and just push all the way to Moscow. Stopping for that 2 weeks killed the momentum. Hell, Stalin had orders to burn the city to the ground as well.
How about the US? Someone explained that UK was a airfield and a naval base in itself. With that knocked out, there was little purpose for US to deal with Germany. So it would go on about to crush the Japs and most lend lease aid will be flowing to China instead of UK. All in all it is probably US' interest not to get into continental europe.
Just wanted to add at the time the Japs were the most experienced in amphibious landings and they might have advised the German HQ if Britain decided to continue to fight after losing battle of britain.
Sorry for it being so long.
To really interpret the possibilities of Germany actually defeating Britain you must remember that all the Allied operations in the North Sea, Atlantic, France and of course the intense bombing of German cities and installations by the Allied Combined Air Force were all based in Great Britain from 1942 onwards. With Britain occupied and knocked out of the war, the remaining Allies such as Canada (the United States and the Soviet Union would not be involved in the war until June 1941 and December 1941, not at the time of the Battle of Britain in the spring and summer of 1940), would have never had gathered the strength to assualt and invade Europe under Nazi control without Britain as a launching pad and, of course, Britain's military help too. Today, it would seem, the whole world's free civilisations relied on Britains survival in the Battle of Britain.
Back to the subject of British defeat in the Battle of the Britain in 1940, before the battle it would seem in both Britain and Germany both nations believed a German victory was inevitable over Britain. Britain had over 600 (notably the Spitfires and Hurricanes) aircraft at the battles beginning and the Germans little more than 2,500; 1,400 bombers (primarily Heinkel 111's) and over 1,100 combat aircraft (notably the new Messerschmitt BF109), and Britain would have had to shoot down enemy fighters and bombers at a rate of over 4 to 1 if Britain would be able to keep up at all. Hugh Dowding (the British Royal Air Force Marshal at the time) knew he could have to conserve his fighters strength for the defense of Britain, and not able to commit too many aircraft to the defense of France once the Germans invaded (via Belgium and the Netherlands) on May 10 1940. Churchill would have committed the entire Royal Air Force to France's defense had it not been for Dowding's insistance that they were needed for our defense. Nevertheless, Churchill continued to promise the French Prime Minister squadrons throughout May, but on May 29 (as the Battle of France was raging), Dowding sent a direct appeal to Churchill to keep all remaining aircraft in Britain. Fortunately for Dowding, he agreed.
But what if Churchill had not agreed? What if he had carelessly continued to pour squadrons into France and upon the total Allied defeat there after the French surrender on June 21 1940, they were all lost to little gain or effect? After the Battle of France had ended in German victory, as the air attacks began, Britain would have less than a hundred aircraft to defend the entirety of the British Isles. It would have been hopeless for them then. Undoubtably, Germany would have won supremacy in the skies (and quickly too), and a land invasion of the UK would have taken place, which was already under planning by Hitler and his Generals, codenamed Operation Sealion.
If Germany eventually won the Battle of Britain and occupied the UK, it would have been total disaster for the remaining allies, but actually, only Canada and the remaining areas of the British Empire would have been left to fight the growing strength and tyranny of Nazi Germany. But Canada lay over 2000 miles away to the West, the other side of a perilous ocean which was to become a perilous oceanic battlefield, the Battle of the Atlantic in 1940–44. In addition, if Britain was defeated by the Germans, the Free French would have had no safe place to turn to and regather force. Your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect they would have fled to neutral Spain.
In conclusion, the whole free civilized world relied on Britain's survival in the Battle of Britain. If it had been occupied, neither the US, the Free French, Canada or foreign soldiers from Britain's colonies in its vast empire would have been able to use British soil as a launching pad for major operations in Europe, such as D-Day in 1944 and the Dieppe raid in 1942 (however it is debatable whether the Dieppe Raid in June 1942 was actually a success). It would have been almost impossible for remaining allies to assualt Europe successfully for years if ever.
Losing the Battle of Britain would not have been the disaster that ended the war for Britain, because I don't think the Germans could have invaded and occupied successfully. Had they tried, it would have weakened Germany more than it weakened Britain. The Battle of Britain was about air superiority. The Germans could have achieved that and established a beachhead in Kent, but they would have had one hell of a fight to break out, with a fragile supply line across the sea and the British Navy still unblooded. The route to London was fortified at the Medway from the Thames to the Channel. With the Naval ports of Portsmouth and Plymouth to the west and the airfields of East Anglia to the north across the impassable (by infantry anyway) Thames Estuary, with almost all of the British Army at home in barracks, and with the industrial centers of the Midlands and North churning out Spitfires day and night and no more within reach than they were before the invasion, the invading force would have been cut off. They could have fortified themselves and stuck it out for a year, but that would have left Hitler short of men for the Eastern campaign, so most would have been withdrawn and the holding force most likely would have been forced to surrender soon after.
You have to make the huge assumption that they could actually land first of all....
1/ Remember that Britain despite the defeat at Dunkirk had by far the superior navy. The Germans were heavily outnumbered at sea.
2/ To control the sea you need control of the air and to a degree the germans were right to try and control the air (Battle of britain). However you need to bear in mind that the RAF were grouped all over the UK and most of the plane factory's were in the midlands and north west of england and so out of range of the luftwaffe. In essance what im saying is that even if the luftwaffe had continued its focus on British airfeilds in the south (which it should have done) they were not in range of the air groups based in mid to north england.
3/ So based on the above lets assume logically that somehow and amazingly the germans managed to put together the kind of naval support it would need to transport at least 200,000 men in order to create a bridgehead in the UK (which in reality it didnt have). Lets also assume they managed to defeat the well organised and well equipped RAF forces in the South of England (at a cost) and so had control of the skies over the channel and therefore could bomb the royal Navy. Lets assume the Germans landed 100k to 200k over a few days of intense fighting and even a few tank units.
We have to remember this isnt blitzkreig. To land a force aka D Day is simply about overwhelming force and excellent logistics. Again lets remember that the German navy was tiny in comparison to the Royal navy (who at D Day were backed by perhaps hundreds of US ships).
Anyway its logical to assume that once they landed the German Army would start being harassed by heavy RAF Bombers and the Fighter groups in the Midlands that were now in range of the German bridgehead. Bear in mind that even early in the war Britain still had access to some of the best heavy bombers of World War 2 and many of them would simply be re-stationed in the north.
So weve established the germans magically managed to create a bridge head. But where ?????!!! You have two real choices...... the Callais to Dover route is shortest crossing and the land (assuming you go around the cliffs of dover is open ) and closer to the UK Capital London. However as you will all know it will be the most heavily defended area as well....... I also see London as a potential obstical and blockage to any major army. If the Brits were determined to fight on then the German army could get penned in trying to get around London (which is potentially another Stallingrad with its miles of subterranean tunnels providing refuge to resistance fighters)
Between London and Bristol there is geographically a gap of about 60 to 70 miles which could create a bottle neck and ideally from a british point of view would be an ideal place to make a true last attempt to halt the German advance and to drive them back
Landing in Cornwall would probably meet less resistance but you then have to traverse less open country and its a narrow strip of land potentially creating another bottle neck near Taunton where the german army could get bogged down
Ive heard it said that the royal Navy planned a mad dash down with all its might in order to cut off any invasion. Certainly it had the ships and the fire power and with a little air support it could certainly cause a problem but if it wasnt timed to perfection it would only be a temporary setback for the Germans (who we assume still control the skies over the channel) . Air power wins over Naval power all day long.
For me its clear the Germans didnt have the equipment or tactical awareness or experience to mount a successful invasion of the UK to be successful it would need to have been implemented within weeks after Dunkirk (as Dunkirk kicked the brits up the backside when it came to preparation.....
Again bear in mind that by 1941 they would have to face atleast a million armed men and probably a lot of passionate civilians to boot (ive heard it said that the civilian volunteer reserve army numbered upto a million on its own). Look at D-Day..... look at the resources used, thats what would have been needed at least at first in any german invasion after 1940. I think the germans and even the maniacal Hitler realised that after 1940 the invasion of Britain when Germany was fighting the Russians wasnt feasible or practical. It would have required all of Germany's military might and even then was possibly doomed to failure.
The window for success was before and within a few months after dunkirk, after that Churchills speeches, dunkirk spirit, the sacrifices of battle of britain pilots, the blitz hardening a pacifist public into a people that fully accepted they were in a war of survival and embraced it fully.
I accept the basic premise, Michael and the others but a trifle optimistic, Peter, I think. Luftwaffe air superiority would have improved the possibility of escorting bombers with fighters and as someone one of whose parents spent about half the war in Hull being bombed to heck and back, the bombing campaign on the industrial regions was no picnic even with the RAF victorious in the Battle of Britain.
The British Army after Dunkirk had only 2 mechanised divisions (the Royal Tank regiment being in brigades only) - one was Canadian. A lot of the other equipment was obsolete or not as good as German equipment. However Panzers in built-up areas would have been surprisingly vulnerable to even the likes of Captain Mainwaring's merry band with such DIY concoctions as the sticky bomb and Molotov cocktails.
You are right, the best defence was the Navy and the weather in the Channel, particularly in winter 1940-1. However ships were becoming increasingly vulnerable to aircraft, qv Prince of Wales and Repulse, the troopship Lancastria (my dad also saw this one, still Britain's largest maritime disaster). A lot of Stukas would have been available, though vulnerable to what fighters still existed.
Still, I accept Seeloewe would probably have failed as you say in the end.