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Weekly Post 3 – What If Hitler Died in WWI?

Hello everyone, I hope you had a good week. I spent my weekend watching videos from the YouTube channel “Simple History”, a channel that makes videos about major events in history. I have watched many of their videos before, but this time around I found a video that really caught my eye.

So if you keep up with my blog you should know that as of right now I am learning about the causes and consequences of WWII. So of course its obvious that we have talked a lot about Adolf Hitler. Well this video was about Hitler, but not in the same fashion as the other videos they have done on Hitler. This video was about Hitler in WWI. Specifically, it was about the man who spared Hitlers life in the First World War. I recommend you watch the video, so I will link it below. 

Basically, a man named Henry Tandey met a wounded Hitler on a battlefield in WWI, and didn’t fire. In doing so, this man allowed the person who would soon be responsible for the deaths of 85 million people to walk freely off the battlefield. Of course, we can’t blame the poor guy, Tandey was just trying to not commit a war crime. But what if Tandey had pulled the trigger? What would the world be like if Hitler didn’t survive World War 1?

Adolf Hitler in WWI

So one of the first questions that popped into my mind was “Would there even be a World War 2?” Personally, I think there would still be an event similar to it. I mean, it could vary in severity. Lets say Hitler dies on that battlefield in 1918, a new man would have had to become the Nazi spokesperson. What if this man was a bit more rational than Hitler? What if he was less rational? Those questions are ones that I think can never be answered, but the reason I think there would still be a World War Two like even would be because of the Treaty of Versailles. 

The Treaty of Versailles essentially fueled everything a party like the Nazi’s needed to rise to power (if you don’t know what I’m talking about I recommend clicking that link about the Treaty of Versailles). Germany was ripe for an event like WWII, and Hitler just turned that event into a reality. So I think if Hitler died, there would just be a new person to take his place. Hitlers ideas were not uncommon in Germany at the time. He may have been a lunatic, but many Germans agreed with his anti-semitic ideas. 

Now this new person may have been able to achieve a more peaceful way of completing their goals, but I just feel like Hitler’s rise to power was just a little bit too perfect. It was so easy for another person to step in, I don’t think Hitler was that essential to the Nazi’s push to dominance. A lot of his plans came from his inner circle, and his success came from his party. All the Nazi’s needed was a good public figure, and Hitler just HAPPENED to be in the right place. 

Portrait of Henry Tandey

Another question I thought of was mainly just “what would happen with the Holocaust?” Again, this varies with the person who replaces Hitler. They could have been way more anti-semitic than Hitler, or way less. If they were worse, I think that places like Israel and Germany would be much different now. For one there would be a lot less Jews in Germany, and I think that just the topic of the Holocaust would almost be considered unspeakable. If they were better, well then we could hope that they don’t kill 6 million innocent people. 

Lets continue on this idea that there would be another WWII. One of the biggest reasons for the Nazi loss in WWII was from Hitlers poor judgement. You think of events like Stalingrad where Hitler split his troops just to take the city with Stalins name (it provided no strategic advantage), you think of the Battle of Britain and only using Air Force to invade Britain, you think of attacking Russia in the winter!! What if the Nazi’s had found a more sane leader? Would they have won WWII? What if this new leader was able to make decisions for himself. He would ignore Goering and commit a full invasion of Britain. This victory would mean he wouldn’t be fighting a two front war once he turned to Russia. Its amazing how close the Germans were to winning WWII, if only Hitler was sane. 

Painting of Tandey’s division by Fortunino Montagna – Tandey can be seen carrying a wounded soldier on his back

So to sum this all up, if Henry Tandey pulled the trigger in 1918, killing the worst man in the history of the modern world, I think this world would be worse. The Nazi’s would find a mentally stable leader, capable of leading them to victory. Now this is just my opinion, of course you could think it would be a better outcome, and I encourage you to comment your opinion below. It is just so amazing that the action of one man has the ability to change the most influential event of the 20th century. One twitch of the finger could have changed the entire world as we know it. 

I also hope you check out Simple History on Youtube. They make very good educational videos about the World Wars to Chernobyl, and much more in between. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you all later. 

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