What if the Germans had won the first world war?
Martin Kettle, Guardian 25 December 2013
The first world war came to an end in November 1918, when the German armies surrendered near Compiegne. But it could plausibly have ended in a very different way in spring 1918, if Ludendorff's offensive on Paris and towards the Channel had succeeded. It nearly did so.
Britain entering first world war was 'biggest error in modern history'
Historian Niall Ferguson says Britain could have lived with German victory and should have stayed out of war
Guardian 30 January 2014
More British soldiers were killed in the first day of the Battle of the Somme than Americans in the Vietnam War;
indeed, the total British fatalities in that single battle—some 420,000—exceeds the entire American fatalities for both World Wars. And yet, as Ferguson writes, while the war itself was a disastrous folly, the great majority of men who fought it did so with enthusiasm.
Suppose that the US presidential election of 1932 had, in fact, taken place in 1930, at an early stage in the Great Depression.
Suppose, too, that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had won then, though not by the landslide of 1932. How different subsequent events might have been. The president might have watched helplessly as output and employment collapsed. The decades of Democratic dominance might not have happened.
On such chances the wheel of history turns.
Martin Wolf, FT, August 31 2010
I (among others) then argued that policy needed to be hugely aggressive. Alas, it was not. I noted on February 4 2009, at the beginning of the new presidency: “Instead of an overwhelming fiscal stimulus, what is emerging is too small, too wasteful and too ill-focused.”
The direction of policy was not wrong: policymakers – though not all economists – had learnt a great deal from the 1930s. Sensible people knew that aggressive monetary and fiscal expansion was needed, together with reconstruction of the financial sector.
But, as Larry Summers, Mr Obama’s chief economic adviser, had said: “When markets overshoot, policymakers must overshoot too”. Unfortunately, the administration failed to follow his excellent advice. This has allowed opponents to claim that policy has been ineffective when it has merely been inadequate.
More of this article at Financial Crisis
THE WORLD HITLER NEVER MADE:
Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism,
by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, Cambridge University Press
Reviewd by Vernon Bogdanor,
Financial Times; May 28, 2005
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!
Suppose the heir to the Austrian emperor had not, through various accidents on the day,
become the victim of a Serbian assassin in Sarajevo in June 1914: what then?
Review by Peter Clarke of "Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! A World Without World War I"
by Richard Ned Lebow, FT 24 January 2014