If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by DarthTom, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I highly doubt that alternate scenario would have worked if the Nazis won (for the sake of argument we believe they won even though realistically they had no chance).

    For me it comes down to pure economy.. there was no sustainable Nazi economy at all. It was running on credit since the Nazis took over and if they hadn't started WW2 they would have collapsed sometime in the 40s.

    Given that a Space Program takes up huge ressources especially in the first stages Germany would be hard pressed to finance this. It would take up valuable ressources both in money and engineering/science staff needed that could be better used elsewhere.

    However it is proven that given the right motivation the timeline doesn't seem unreasonable. Just look at the US after the Sputnik shock and what a big nation with ressources can accomplish if the whole nation sets their mind to it. If the US didn't roll back tremendously after the first moon landings we'd have space stations by the 90s and might be on our way to Mars by now.
     
  2. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But we'd very likely also have a situation like in Orwell's 1984 and would be spied on and threatened by a system of satellites armed with nuclear missiles.


    While I very much agree with the gist of the last 3 posts above, I would also like to point out that these developments were and are not restricted to Germany in the 40s. There are horrifying parallels in our time and in countries that we tend to consider as civilized. The scary and utterly frustrating thing is that the whole world looks away.


    As for the German genocide: I was very astonished about these figures myself:

    Number of people killed in WW2 (including civilians): 65 millions
    Number of slaves imported by what is now the US: 29 millions (of which 4.6 million survived)
    Number of people killed in WW1 (including civilians): 17 millions
    Number of people killed in Viet Nam (including civilians): 4 Millions
    Number of people killed in concentration camps: 1.1-1.5 millions

    Pretty horrible list, isn't it? :(
     
  3. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Commodore Commodore

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    It's more than a little ironic that this is exactly what the United States itself has been up to and continues to engage in, on it's own citizens. It's so bad that the NSA, DEA, FBI and all down the line can actually hide their tracks in an open court of law, so that whatever evidence is presented is not linked to spying as the source - and doesn't get thrown out. We don't have termination camps, but the U.S. has surely taken more than a few pages from facism, since the Fifties, to preserve power over its own. And yet, we're the country whom The World is expected to admire and imitate.

    Again, all of the technology they developed, all of the Nazi Party's resources went towards extermination and slavery of others. They also had to finance brooming as much of this as was necessary to hide it from the German people. These great achievements of this person's imaginary timeline simply could not apply to the Nazi Party. That's not what they were about, or were aiming for. They were not destined for greatness ... even if, and especially, if they'd won the war.
     
  4. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    as a matter of fact, I meant to refer to the Bush administration's spy satellite programme. It was a reply to the last sentecne of FPAlpha's post.
    It's a great comfort that the American population (at least part of them) feels the same about such a scenario as we do.


    I differ a bit with you on the second issue. I don't think extermination and slavery were the main issues. At least not from the start. They became a necessity only much later.
    In order to understand the situation in Germany in the early 30s you have to take the historical background into consideration: according to the Versailles Treaty made immediately after WW1, Germany had to bear the full weight of the reparation payments (even though Austria had started the war and we were just forced by a contract to assist them). The victors of WW1 stripped Germany of allmost all factories. Literally! They disassembled them and reassembled them in their own countries.
    With their economy having been totally destroyed and the last cent pulled from their pockets, the people naturally would follow anyone who tolerably convincingly promised them a better life.


    [warning: use of direct speech in the following does NOT express my views. My personal opinion is in fact quite different. But this way it's easier to show you how people thought]

    It's quite revealing that WW2 started with an invasion in Poland: they had rich soils and huge wheat fields. Conquering them meant having bread.
    However, an army and a supply system requires money. Where to get that? You can't take it from your fellows - they'd kill you. You need a scapegoat. Rich and foreign, preferably. That's how the Jews got into focus. Since the middle ages they had been forbidden craftsmanship. So they became merchants and money lenders (the latter being a profession the Church explicitly forbid to Christians). 6 or 7 generations later, their families had naturally amassed some wealth (if they had survived previous genocides of which there were galore).
    Nobody likes a rich banker. And if he has a funny religion and generally doesn't quite fit in he makes a wonderful scapegoat. And if the Jew is no banker but a shop owner, you can still give his business to one of your followers. One content voter more plus you show that you care for your people. Nice advertizing for free.

    That's how it started. Killing gipsies was the next logical step: not fitting in, not being socially accepted, considered scum. Let's get rid of them. And while we are at it, how about all these scary and weird insane people? They are an eyesore and a disgrace. Everybody wants so much not to see them. But keeping them in asylums is pretty expensive in the long run. Let's cut the costs and just put them all to sleep. It's so much more humane as well. After all, what kind of a life would they have?

    And at some point along this development it all got out of hand. More money was needed for more weapons. That required more conquering. POWs were made but they were expensive to feed. Best put them to work and earn their living. On second thought, cancel the living - we'll get new ones in the next battle.
    And once the victories ended and the defeats started there was the population to be kept under control. The intelligent ones had to be silenced and the stupid ones kept busy.
    At that point they stood with their backs to the wall and knew it. It was just a matter of keeping face from then on, and to do as much damage to the enemies as possible. The inmates of the concentration camps were to be collected and destroyed. There were few trains and so they had to walk. Hundreds of miles. The death marches they called them, and that they were. It is rumoured that more people died then than in the camps (I am not sure if that's true - there are no documents from that time, only a handfull of secretly made photos).
    That - only a few weeks before the capitulation - was the point when the majority of the population learned the truth about the concentration camps. Before that there had been rumours but I would like to give at least the more simpleminded villagers the benefit of the doubt. In my opinion the vast majority could have known with a little effort but was simply not interested in finding out.
     
  5. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Dolph was quite clear in Mein Kampf and the Table Talks Bormann had transcribed, the whole point was there were the Aryans and the Jews along with other lesser folk. He intended to wipe out that lot and leave just the Aryan standing. Leaving them to parade around on idyllic farms with bimbo blondes serving the men and slaves doing the work. There was no use for space exploration in the Nazi mind. Science and technology were nothing but a means to that end. The man was turgid, but not ambiguous.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  6. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No matter where you go, there you are.
    Our era is apparently keen to experiment with how exactly it can reproduce the preconditions that led to historical fascism (and revolutionary communism) from governmental gridlock to rotting zombie-economies propped up by Pinkertonian authoritarianism to rampantly idiotic gilded-age neo-aristocracy... I guess in a sort of blind bet that none of the really bad stuff will happen again because of reasons.

    This however has nothing to do with whether the alternate timeline is plausible.
     
  7. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why is it always the Nazis? What about someone who actually did more than destroy half the world at the time? I mean the Romans. Why is nobody asking if the Romans couldn't have gotten us to Mars by year 1000? They had such potetnial and momentum that if they had chosen to focus much on research and discovery, who knows what might have happened. Advances to material sciences and technology, an industrual age a millennium earlier...

    Yeah, pretty unlikely, but at least it wasn't someone who was spending all their resources on destruction and going backwards.
     
  8. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How about the opposite question? What if the Nazis and the other factors that led to WWII had been defused or dealt with quickly so that it never happened, or at least so that it never escalated into a World War? My opinion is that any modern space program would be even less advanced than what we have now.

    I'm no historian and couldn't even guess at a timeline. But at the very least FDR probably wouldn't have been re-elected (and I'm not sure Churchill would have come to power at all). The U.S. probably wouldn't have pulled out of the Depression any time soon without the war driving it. There'd be no push to make a lot of the industrial and technological developments that were driven by the war, including nuclear weapons.

    On the other hand, the rivalry between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. probably would have occurred regardless and might have resulted in full-scale war without the nuclear deterrence we had. Perhaps sooner or later that would have spurred a lot of the same developments anyway?

    Opinions? Feel free to shoot down any of my points.
     
  9. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    For a long time, I was flabbergasted at how much of the space age was pioneered during WWII. Now that I'm more used to it, I'm only continually amazed.
     
  10. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Basically, the early space age was a byproduct of the age of rocketry and ballistic weaponry. In any situation where these (and their necessary support and targeting systems, as CC reminds) develop, something analogous to our space age will develop, although the details and specific timeline will vary.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    There's also other supporting technology too, such as radar, computers, and electronics generally, plus aeronautics. The transistor missed WWII by only two years.
     
  12. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not sure if that supports my point or contradicts it. Surely the development of the transistor went faster due to wartime pressure for better/more efficient/more compact controls.
     
  13. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Commodore Commodore

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    I agree that if the war had been with Communist Russia a little later on, instead of Nazi Germany, the same sort of technological advances would've resulted. I think the winds of change were blowing around that timeframe.
     
  14. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    The transistor was a direct outgrowth of the need for a better, more reliable solid-state diode for radar sets, to replace troublesome point-contact devices (galena crystals and the like).

    So getting back to what technology would've made a difference, AT&T barely beat some German researchers to the transistor, and even during the war some Germans were thinking of building computers using relays. So it would be pretty simple to posit that they got transistors early in the war, or even prior. Have Goering get killed in a car accident early enough, and his replacement probably wouldn't have had a profound disdain for airborne electronics like radar. In that area, Goering was an impediment who once said "It's boxes with coils, and I don't like boxes with coils". That might've helped equalize the Allies large advantage in radar.

    It's also easy to imagine that the Polish encryption experts never made it to England, greatly slowing or eliminating Bletchley Park's successful attack on the Enigma cypher machine. Not being able to crack German codes would have a fairly large effect on most of the battles.

    But something that would've dealt an almost insurmountable blow to the Allied strategic bombing effort was actually within their reach, if they'd have thought of it, and that is the IR homing Sidewinder missile, which only used period technology and can fly on only eight vacuum tubes. They wouldn't have been horribly useful against fighters at first, but would've devastated large bomber streams.

    If those had been available fairly early, the Allies couldn't have achieved air superiority, the bombers would've suffered too many losses to maintain a strategic bombing campaign, and when they were finally married up with the Me-163 and Me-262, the Third Reich would get its roof back.

    Still, the ultimate in air superiority is having your tanks parked on your enemy's runway, so to win, Germany would've had to delay the invasion of the Soviet Union until they had better logistics and better tanks. If they had delayed, England would've been left dangling far longer, while the Soviets wouldn't have been getting anything from Lend Lease because they'd still be in a pact with Hitler. That would buy time and breathing space for further technical developments.
     
  15. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I guess I'd agree, with one qualifier: Assuming any U.S. – U.S.S.R. war wouldn't have occurred before the 1950s due to no immediate tensions, and Stalin still died about the same time — do we still assume a buildup leading to war? Certainly neither nation would be starting off on a war footing. (Heck, neither nation would really be considered a superpower yet.) No Yalta Conference, no Potsdam Conference, and no resulting fallout. There might still be an Eastern Bloc of some kind, but not necessarily an Iron Curtain.

    If we assume that Western objections to the human rights abuses, etc. of Stalin (along with whoever succeeded Stalin) would still lead to war before the end of the 1950s, then I agree that the appropriate technological/industrial advances would still be made not much later.

    Okay, I'm thinking about this harder as I go. If, somehow, there was no incentive for tensions to build up that fast, then we'd probably see no more than a series of skirmishes or minor wars for a long time. No real incentive to develop those technological/industrial advances, thus slow advancement on the space program. Both the big war and the space program would happen eventually, of course, but decades behind our timeframe.

    But that would never have happened. Another power would arise and result in a similar-scale war and similar advances in the 1940s-50s time frame. The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, probably.

    My original query assumed that WWII was somehow nipped in the bud or warded off — but I admit it's a big leap to assume that both German and Japanese aggressions would simply be shut down at the same time. The best you could postulate is that the Nazi government was overthrown early and the U.S. didn't get drawn into the Pacific War because there was no attack on Pearl Harbor. But that doesn't shut down WWII, it just delays it and moves most of the action to Asia later when too many nations get drawn in.

    So in any case the technology advances on schedule and the space program winds up about the same. Like you say: the winds of change.
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. Since it was so soon after the war, I think it supports it.
     
  17. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks! But having said that:

    I'm not sure we're on the same topic unless I missed something in an earlier post. I don't think there's any argument that the Germans would have put the transistor to good use if they got it first. But all we were discussing was whether the war accelerated the development of transistors and the technology necessary for a space program. Regardless of who had it.

    I suppose the very fact that you're bringing up "who got it first" means you agree. Can't have a technology race without something getting accelerated. :techman:

    Ouch! Never heard that one before. That's spooky.

    If wars were run by people who actually use their brains, we'd all be in trouble! ;)
     
  18. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

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  19. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    It's interesting that the Sidewinder used an AM (amplitude modulation) reticle, which is a spinning optical disk that chops the incoming IR radiation into a modulated signal so that position information can be extracted using a single photo-detector.

    More on reticles

    We used the technique (upgrading to an FM reticle) up until the AIM-9R Sidewinder in the late 1980's. The technique was developed by the Germans in the latter stages of WW-II.

    So if you're trying to come up with an alternate history that's sort of plausible, and considering that the Germans were already doing a lot of work on anti-aircraft rockets and guided missiles, it's a pretty easy leap to make.
     
  20. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, not me. I was taking the opposite tack to explore how the space program would have wound up if the Nazis were defeated early. I managed to argue myself into a conclusion that not much of the development would have changed at all.

    It's lucky I'm easy to convince, or we'd be here all day.