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What if....France Became Neutral

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Here's an interesting What If:

Germany captures Paris and the following popup appears to the conquering player (usually Germany, but sometimes Italy);

My Leader, should we:

1. Plunder France - result: Normal French surrender and creation of Vichy France

2. Ensure French Neutrality - result: France becomes a neutral nation, no plunder, no Free French, American war Readiness declines 20%.

Although most players will choose to plunder France, ensuring French Neutrality does have its value. USA war readiness declines, the Brits don't benefit from Free French Units and if they (the allies) attack French territories then France and its Navy joins the Axis. The decline in USA war readiness could give the Axis the extra time it needs to conquer Russia.

Just something to make the game less predictable in a historically possible scenario.

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Sorry, I don't see any basis for that idea.

For one thing, the German people had a huge amount of animosity against the French (and well justified) from their role in the Versailles Treaty. It was not a forgive and forget atmosphere.

The only way Germany would have allowed France to remain a sovereign state was if she became a full ally against the UK. Also, I'm sure there would have been war indemnities exactly as France had imposed on Germany in 1919 and as Germany had imposed on France in 1871.

There would have been as much chance of this neutrality situation as there had been of France accepting Churhill's suggestion (after France's fall in 1940) that the two nations merge!

-- If this were ammended to read Germany passing on plunder and occupation on condition that France becomes a full member of the Axis I'd say, yeah, that was possible. No doubt some of the French fleet would have joined the British in that instance, but I'm sure all of her colonies would have remained loyal to France.

-- -- Which would have led to complications in the Western Hemisphere, where there were French colonies still along with naval bases.

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You are right, the historical animosities were too great and too recent to have been forgiven.

I do like your refinement;

2. France Joins Axis - No plunder but France joins the Axis.

Given the lack of plunder + the low French production this should not be an unbalancing option and if so French production could be reduced to reflect the reparations paid to Germany.

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Agreed, plus adding this option would make it easy to make a game against the AI a bit more unpredicatable.

Most of the time the AI would choose to plunder France, but sometimes it may choose to forsake the plunder and have France as an ally and thus gain indirect control of Syria and French Algeria along with any surviving units of the French Navy.

Any thoughts HC? ;)



My leader should we:

1. Plunder France

----------Normal Plunder, Vichy France and chance for Free French Units

2. Encourage France to Join the Axis

-----------No Plunder from Surrender, France Joins Axis

[ April 30, 2005, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Also, we've got to consider what would happen when this Axis France is retaken by the Allies. Presumably it goes back to being one of the Allies. I'd think that Axis French units such as HQs (the units should have gone over to the Axis instead of vanishing) would then switch yet again and return to being Allied units -- which they'd remain as, even if Germany manages to retake Paris. In other words, the country would be allowed only one jolt each way.

Something like this:

France as Ally ...

--> France as Axis, keeps land & air units + HQs and can build new units; it's MPPs count as French MPPs and not German!

--> --> Liberated France returns to Allies, all French units switch to Allies. France can build new units as Allies.

--> --> --> France cannot return to Axis and can now only be Axis conquered if retaken with (all) surviving units becoming Free French.

Alas, Edwin, when you used the sacred " ;) " symbol I fear you may have anticipated Mr C's reply. Perhaps not, but perhaps so! :D

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Good point on the Allied liberation of an Axis France. France, as you said, should be allowed only one jolt each way.

"it's (French Axis) MPPs count as French MPPs and not German!" This makes it extremely balanced as French units will not benefit from German research advances.

And I like your detailed description of what happens to French units. Its realistic and sets out detailed parameters for programming. :rolleyes:

[ April 30, 2005, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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The AI could use a mathematical formula to adjust the probabilities of deciding which option to select - based on the MPP value of surviving French units - so the decision would not be totally random.

Note, I assume that French units evacuated to the UK when France joins the Axis would be automatically disbanded with the MPPs going to the UK. Is this assumption correct?

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Sounds good. And if the human is playing the Axis, presumably he'd always have that option.

I guess the three Axis options regarding France would be:

1) Accept Vichy -- historical.

2) Press for total conquest -- still to be defined.

3) Allow France into Axis as outlined above.

-- I think the (2) option of Germany going for total conquest of France would lead to added Axis plunder and the taking of Southern France. But it would also result in the UK gaining wartime control of the entire French Empire, including N. Africa and Syria, greatly increasing the UK's MPP total. I think it should also mean the French Navy would go 100% to the UK.

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Very interesting...I like it, not that it makes any difference to HC, but wouldn't this make for an opportunistic use of diplomatic chits. The diplomatic rangling for the spoils of France based on some randomness and defined by the choices laid out by Edwin and JJ would add a very interesting flavor to the SC2 diplomatic model. I'm not sure, but with the many options presented by Edwin and Co. in previous posts would lead one to believe that the SC2 diplomatic model could be a precedent setting feature for PC WW2 wargames. Does anyone know of another of WW2 genre that had an extensive diplomatic model? Perhaps there are lessons of the "do's and dont's" in those previous installments.

One other concern is the decision making ability of the AI when confronted with the many diplomatic options and use of chits.

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JerseyJohn, I like the addition of the 3rd option - (your number 2) for a total conquest of France, especially as it seems to be relatively balanced; with the UK gaining the overseas French Departments and any surviving Naval units, and is substantially different from the other two.

Now, as the Germans I can:

1. Go for a total conquest of France so I don't have to deal with Vichy in the Future but then the UK gets the French overseas departments and whats left of the French navy.


2. I can encourage (force) the French to join the Axis alliance at the cost of all that plunder. THis might leave me too weak to mobilize a large force to take the Egypt while also financing increased research into new weapons technologies.


3. I can plunder France and accept a Vichy government in Southern France to deny the allies Axis to the French overseas territories. (The Historical Option).

I do wonder; however, as SeaMonkey says, how well the AI be handle such variances such as managing a France as a Major Axis Ally and defending a UK Controlled Algeria and Syria if the Human opponent selects the total conquest of France option.

[ May 01, 2005, 12:26 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Guys come on now, it seems cool but read your history.

Germans were in a VERY "hate" mood when it came to France and UK (rightfully so IMHO).

Now, the people in power (nazi) did not want France as an ally, they wanted to conquer it and make them pay.

France joining Axis is going too far in making alternate historical changes.

After all the game is based on WW2 and WW2 started because of events PRIOR to it. German hate over France/UK was a key factor.

Make this in a custom game with the editor, but that is making a WW2 in an alternate history where the treaty of Versaille would not have been so bullyish towards Germany.

But in our history, this scenario is just not feasible.

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I assume there would be plenty of 'What if's' in a five player game.

Being that The game probably starts with France at war with Germany, The "What if's" belong to Russia and USA.

I would hope to believe either one could join Axis. Maybe Poland as well?

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While I understand the reasoning behind what Edwin and JerseyJohn are attempting, I believe Blashy has stated a better approach.

What is being discussed is really more of an alternate history variant. If you're going go down that path, then start at a pre-WWII date.

That would give the freedom to explore the possibilities of an Socialist or even Communist France; the possibility of a Austrian-Hungarian "empire"; a constitutional monarchy or even a democracy in Germany; etc, etc.

But if we're dealing with what happend in real life, than instead of thinking in terms of France "joining" the Axis, I'd have to say you should be thinking in the opposite direction. With what Germany accomplished in France '40 (something totally beyond thier expectations), instead of what happened (which is more like an agreement to a cease fire), there should be a "conquest" option, where Vichy France isn't formed and Germany goes for the total conquest of the French Empire.

That would leave the North African and Middle East possesions up for graps, but more importantly, would let the Japanese have free reign regarding French possesions in the Pacific (mainly Fr IndoChina).

Thats a much more likely scenario than France becoming an Axis partner.

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Shaka and Blashy

Not true!

Hitler made every effort to woo France into the Axis!

He made offers to Petain on a regular basis that included pulling out of the occupied areas, including Paris, and returning French POWs; all France needed to do in return was join Germany and Italy as a 100% Axis partner.

When Hitler met with Franco in late 1940 he specified up front that he would not negotiate in French territory.

-- The German army and SS was filled with French volunteers. As the Soviets closed on the Fuhrer Bunker in 1945, the majority of crazed SS troops fighting alongside the Hitler Youth were Frenchmen!

Beyond that, the Germans did not have a brutal occupation of France -- compare it to their actions in Poland and Russia. There was always a hope that instead of a wishy-washy Vichy (which was never a German ally, they'd eventually have a solid Axis France.

-- Think globally. The Germans, aside from wanting a willing power, also wanted postwar access to the French Empire.

-- -- The Germans felt the same way about Britain; they wanted a willing Axis Ally and were looking for postwar access to the British Empire as well.

So Edwin's ideas along these lines are based on perfect historical realities.

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Seriously? This is correct? If it is, then I can see their options being apart of the standard scenario.

But Hitler wanted to have a German empire with German rule, how can that happen if you go around making friends with major countries in Europe?

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Hitler's Empire was focused East. In Mein Kampf and everything he said afterwards, he stated that the Nordics should be manner lords, landed gentry, over the Slavic / Russian masses. He wanted what the Normans had over the Saxons in England and what the British later had in India, controling a huge population of a different race through policies of divide and rule.

He was realist enough, and so were those around him, to understand that there weren't enough Germans to directly control the entire earth, or even a major part of it outside of Europe.

So he and his quack racists made subdivisions of who was also fit to rule the "less than human" dark and Asian masses who he regarded as necessary but forever subserviant.

Nazi racism regarded the Dutch and Norwegians as pure Aryans, then the Swedes, Danes and Finns. The British descended from the Anglos-Saxons and Normans were considered close cousins and the French a step above most other Europeans. The Italians, Spanish, Balkans, Greeks and Turks who the Nazis either grabbed as allies or used, were never considered to be as Aryan as the British or French, but good enough to deal with.

Outside of Europe, the Nazis at first regarded the United States as a haven of Germanic blood. Later, when the two countries were at war, that view was changed to one of the American Germans having corrupted themselves through interbreeding with inferior people. The view was revised upwards a little later to explain American tenacity in battle -- it was Aryans being defeated by near Aryans, which somehow made things more acceptable.

It's difficult to anticipate what the Nazi world view was because it kept changing.

In prewar 1939 Hitler told Mussolini and others that Germany wanted nothing to do with it's onetime African colonies. Two years later, when he had atomic bomb plans and learned the Congo had uranium, he was suddenly setting up an African branch of the German Colonial office!

But one thing is certain, with a prewar population of 80 or so million, Germany could not have occupied the world on it's own, and even Hitler recognized that much.

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Though he doesn't need support, JJ is right. Hitler courted the Western Allies as co-world rulers as his focus was always the East, which JJ has explained along with Hitler's racial philosophy. I will only sight historical documents to support his conclusion, "The Forgotten Soldier" (Guy Sajer, a Frenchman in the Grossdeutchland) and the 2 volume set of "Hitler's War". Perhaps a bit controversial, the idea set forth by Edwin and further developed by JJ is a viable "What If" for WW2 scenarios, IMO, not as fantastical as it may appear.

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Thanks for adding that, it help clarifies the issue, which is more a peripheral one than something vital to the games execution. A what-if.

The truth is, Hitler didn't really know what to with either Britain or France after a victory! His real plans were framed earlier and had the west sitting inactive while he set up his Germanic Empire in the East. He thought the British, French and American capitalists would welcome Germany's contribution of destroying socialism at it's base.

As time passed he also talked about World Domination and Z-Plans and a Blue Water Navy to take control of the Atlantic. But typically, Hitler's plans always started but never went through to a real conclusion. He was, after all, not playing with a full deck, so it's often very hard to try and anticipate what either he or his visions were all about.

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All sounds facinating!...the argument's for both sides!. In either case or case's, both scenario's would make interesting variances in the game.

Now, if possible...can we get some information-links on these discussion points?.





-As advised by "SeaMonkey" ...




[ May 01, 2005, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: Retributar ]

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Never say never. "What if" Hitler had been assissinated early on and more "grounded" minds were in power.

And since HE was thinking about it, I'm sure more "stable minded" diplomats might have found a way to open up the possibility and it could have worked.

If the thought was there and serious discussion was done on the issue, it means they saw a possibility of success.

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