Map: Divided and Conquered USA If America Had Lost WWII

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The Man in the High Castle.


I think that would be very hard to do unless the invader based in Mexico, a big band of pacifist fools occupied Washington DC, repealed the 2nd amendment and confiscated the two billion or so guns scattered in America.


A highly technical term springs to mind about that map, “total bollocks”. A desperate attempt by the Isolationists to remain isolated. But it has to be said, understandable in the context of that turbulent time leading up to WW2. 116,512 combatant/non-combatant deaths in WW1 and by 1937 the burning question was what had that achieved? Europe was a basket-case again.

But even if the U.S. hadn’t kept the U.K. afloat in 1940 and beyond (thus giving Nazi Germany a free hand to defeat the Soviet Union), the Japanese would still have attacked Pearl Harbor to break crippling U.S. sanctions, which would have destroyed Isolationist popularity.

Assuming the A-bomb was developed as per actual events, I don’t see how the U.S. could have then turned back Axis domination of most of the globe without unleashing a one-sided nuclear war rendering many European countries, and Japanese-occupied countries, uninhabitable.

Given the obvious disadvantages of that strategy, the U.S. may have had no choice but to come to terms with the genocidal new world order…what would the utterly inexperienced Harry Truman have done I wonder?

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Here is a related article concerning Man in the High Castle.

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This article may be of interest even if Japan only had two destroyed cities to rebuild.
Ooops forgot the f-ing link, hang on, be right back. Sheesh …Found it! Clickety-clicking right here will take you to it. Fricking embarrassing …

“With the emergency restoration of infrastructure, it is said that the trains and streetcars were among the first services restored. As a result of the hard work put into the restoration and maintenance of the network, on August 9, three days after the bombing and the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki—streetcar operations partially resumed in one section. On August 8, just two days after the bombing, the Japanese National Railways Sanyo Line was also reopened between Hiroshima and Yokogawa (a station next to Hiroshima Station). The main streets were first cleared of debris, just enough to let traffic flow again, and then the surface of the streets and the parapets of the bridges were repaired.
The water-supply system was also heavily damaged. Water pumps resumed operations four days after the bombing. However, water leaked and spouted at many places in the city; and repairing the waterworks was an arduous task. It is said that it took nine months to restore the water supply to the outskirts of the city.”

Safety after The Bomb.
Since the bomb detonated up in the air most of the radioactive fallout was caught in the mushroom cloud and carried away and spread out over a larger area. The half life of the radioactive elements is also relatively short (it wasn’t a “dirty” bomb). A ground detonation would have made the area radioactive for a longer time.

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Neither Germany nor Japan had the economic or industrial wherewithal to mount cross-continental invasions of the US.

The best your map could show would be the Japanese retaining the couple of Aleutian islands that they did briefly occupy contingent on the US simply ignoring their forces there. (Consider that the Japanese Navy essentially abandoned their army forces there and, in the end, only retrieved them after much inter-service consternation. They couldn’t even sustain the insignificant invasion of North America that they did attempt.)

Germany couldn’t even manage to invade the British isles, and only just managed to keep a (in terms of global warfare) insignificant number of troops in Norway. They didn’t have the sea-lift capacity to buildup there own forces in North Africa had they even chose to do so.

The only way that any serious “alternative historian” could postulate the US actually “losing” the war is if the US had decided to not become involved at all. In that case, the best this map could show is that the US remained a “neutral” country. (And this ignores the almost certain likelihood that the US would have still provided the Commonwealth and Soviet forces with huge amounts of material support, perhaps under the thin veil of using Canada as a “middle man.”)

To postulate that either Germany or Japan could have mounted successful cross-continental invasions, the “alternate historian” would have to roll the clock back at least to the mid-19th Century and come up with some kind of total failure of US development and growth at every level of society in order to create a country that at the start of WWII would have been so weak politically and economically that it would have been an “international baby sheep lost from the herd.”

When the war actually started for the US on “December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy,” the chances for Axis ultimate victory instantly vanished when the US declared war on Japan. Even without the German declaration of war on the US, the war was also over for Germany and Italy. It was all just a matter of time.


A lot of interesting discussions have popped up in this thread. Very happy this map is generated such interest.

I think it should be reiterated that this map is not an alternate history of what could have happened, but a 1937 or 1938 creation by the isolationist movement of the time postulating what could happen to us if we did get into the war. What with Nazi propaganda bamboozling so much of the West, and apprehension de to relatively small Japan conquering so much of China, coupled with memories of the Great War, it’s plausible that many people in the isolation movement thought that this map could show a future. Especially considering that in 1940, America’s army was only the 19th biggest in the world, behind that of Portugal.

I think the 1916 map (also in this article) created to warn us to stay out of World War 1 is equally interesting. Just how much of it was made to be a blatant scare tactic, how much was based on what they thought was fact or outright fiction, the article does not address.

Regardless, this is generating a lot of interesting reading.

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Correct. I think at most AK and HI could have fallen but that is really doubtful. The only other option that the US would have lost land might have been Mexico attacking from the south to which the end result would have been the 49th state added to the Union either in part or whole.

Mike, I agree with pretty well everything you write. However, I watched a 2 hour discussion with some World War II historians talking about the fall of France and how badly that scared the Roosevelt administration. With hindsight, it all seems pretty silly, but apparently Stinson and others, including General Marshall and CINCUS, were scared to death that somehow Hitler and Vichy France would incorporate the French Navy into Hitler’s plans and take possession of French bases around the Caribbean and elsewhere. After all, those fears of the Nazis in control of the French Navy led to Churchill ordering the Royal Navy to attack the French Navy in Africa and Southern France, despite supposed assurances from the Nazis that they would keep the French Navy neutral. As was brought up in history, we all know how trustworthy Hitler’s assurances were.

Would they have come across the Atlantic for us, or would they have tried to capitalize on isolationist feelings and left us alone to try to fit into the new European order? Who knows? Fiction writers and horror writers couldn’t hardly have made up some of the actual antics that some of those dictators of the time - or today - would try if they thought they could get away with it.

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I’d submit that it’s worth noting that the Lend Lease Act was passed in March, 1941, months before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. And even though it was not passed unanimously, it was passed by a very strongly “bi-partisan” vote (only about 70% of Democrats voted for it, but it also got about 40% Republican support).

Even as early as 1940 the US was working very closely with Britain under the mutual “bases for destroyers” agreement, and USN vessels were “escorting” commercial shipping across the Atlantic by September 1941.

There was, to be sure, a great deal of latent isolationism in the US even just before Pearl Harbor, but by 1940 this was undergoing major change. The US military had been conducting some of the largest “peacetime” maneuvers in the history of the country starting in the late 1930s, and US military spending and budgets were growing by leaps and bounds.

Any alternate history of the war that keeps the US out of it, both militarily and economically, would have to start with major changes in the US decades before to set the conditions for such entrenched isolationism that the US would have just sat by the sidelines and watch Great Britain get defeated by Germany. This would also have to include creating conditions where the US also stood by to watch Japan take control of the entire Pacific - Asia region, never imposing any economic boycotts on the Japanese.

I don’t think it’s plausible to postulate this degree of isolationism starting even after the US experience in WWI. I believe that any such alternate history changes would have to go back far enough and be of such significance that the US wouldn’t have even entered into WWI. In which case, who knows how the map of Europe would have looked by 1940? In such an alternative history, it’s likely that Germany might never have seen the rise of National Socialism since it could well have fought WWI to a negotiated cease-fire if not an out-right victory. Such an outcome would also leave questions as to how things might have ended up in Russia and would also include the outcome or sequels to the Russo-Japanese war.

In short, if things in the US had been so different that isolationism from European conflicts was so deeply entrenched that the US stayed out of WWI, would WWII even have happened (or started the way it did)? Would Germany have survived WWI with the Kaiser remaining in power into the 30s and 40s? Would the Germans have still sought “Lebensraum” in the east or concentrated on rebuilding their economy in the context of western Europe? Would the Soviet communists have looked east towards China, Korea and Japanese imperialism as their main opportunity for expansion and threats?


my way of thinking is these are very foolish thoughts. The Germans might have gotten to the foot hills of Virginia, West Virginia, and northern Georgia. From there they would have encountered something they’s soon learn to fear; hill people who think nothing of shooting anybody in uniform. Tanks would be useless. Even as far back as the 1930’s there was at least one gun in every house, and often several. Had the came in from the south; they’d done no better once the reached the deep woods. Then by chance a few of them did get into Tennessee, they’d met a still pissed off group of people that remember Yankees. Indiana and Kentucky would have kept them south of the Ohio River with out too much of an issue. Lincoln learned (850K+ KIA) what happens when you send 95K troops into Virginia.

On the west coast, the mountains would have been the end of the Japanese or Germans. The ones that did get thru would have died from the weather alone in Wyoming and Montana. Russians figured this out in the fifties with a study put on by the KGB, and the Army told them about every house being armed.


I doubt Nazi Germany or Imperial Nippon ever planned on invading the USA, they didn’t need to! Their respective goals were total domination of Europe/Mid East/Russia as far as the Urals, and SE Asia/China/some of India/possibly Australasia. The combined resources thus captured would have isolated and dwarfed those in the Americas.

Had the UK folded in 1940, the German U-boat fleet would have blockaded the US East Coast and all German land/air forces would have been directed on (successfully) defeating Russia. And in N. Africa all the oil fields as far as Iran, in Russia all the way to Azerbaijan easily captured.

In the Pacific (with the UK defeated/occupied by Germany in 1940) Japan would have walked into Singapore, Burma, Malaysia (oil), who knows how much of India (significant anti-British sentiment exploited), and consolidated China. The US sanctions on Japan would have become redundant, so no need for Pearl Harbor at all from an Economic perspective. Australia might have put up a token resistance for a while but its huge mineral resources would have been fairly easy to capture unless the US intervened.

Hard to guess the state of play in the Pacific/east Asia by August 1945. Robin’s point about air-dropped A-bombs is valid, but didn’t mention collateral damage on civilian populations. Wiping out millions of innocent civilians across SE Asia and India in an attempt to push back the Japanese occupiers would hardly have been likely to win hearts & minds of the irradiated survivors.

So the most likely outcome would have been fortress USA – “don’t even think about it ‘cos we’ve got the A-bomb”…until Germany caught up around 1950. Then what?

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Then this but replace the USSR w/Germ-pan.

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@SdAufKla @Dioramartin , et. al, thanks for taking time to contribute your ideas. Very interesting indeed. When I posted that map the other day, I I thought it would just be an interesting bit of History to throw out there and did not expect such an interesting discourse. I appreciate reading everyone’s comments.

Would either Japan or Germany try to actually put boots across US beaches? Aside from seemingly inexplicable bad decisions by totalitarian regimes, who knows? I lean towards “no!”, at least as things were in the late 30s into the 40s. Francis Pike, in his 1000+ page book Hirohito’s War, makes an argument that what the Nazis and Imperial Japan were trying to achieve was autarky. It’s been a while since I read any of his book and I not sure what he meant when he wrote that, economically, in the 1930s Japan had seven times the idle ship building capacity of the United States. Had they the resources to employ those facilities - now we get into alternative history.

I am not particularly interested in alternative histories of the war, I tend to stay with what we knew or thought we knew at the time, and ponder how things could have gone wrong in some situations. I do ponder about the wild cards of the time, i.e., the hurt feelings (the French admiral who did not participate in good faith because the Royal Navy only sent a lowly captain to negotiate) and misunderstandings during the British negotiations with the French over the French Fleet, that led to Britain deciding they had to destroy the French Fleet comes to mind. And of course “what if” speculations had certain events actually occurred, such as Churchill’s plans to bomb Soviet oil refineries from Persia, and Stalin’s plans to start a bombing campaign against the Suez Canal, what if those had kicked off just before Barbarossa? Politics make strange bedfellows and I think Finland is a good example; the British and French going into Norway to keep the rail line open to keep supplies flowing to Finland who was fighting the Soviets during the Winter War; Finland overnight “changing sides” after Barbarossa. In both wars they were fighting against the Soviets, just on different sides of the Allied-Axis conflict.

I’ve not read much on the pre Pearl Harbor diplomatic wrangling for a couple of decades so I don’t know how much of what I learned back then is still considered “fresh”. I remember that in 1940 the presidential election was much closer than in 1936, much of it revolved around whether we were heading towards war or if FDR would keep us out of it. I don’t remember who wrote it but I recall that much of FDR’s discussions with Churchill were kept secret for fear spooking the voting public and losing the election for FDR. The patriarch of the Kennedy political family, then ambassador to England, was sending reports back to FDR that Britain could not beat germany, and that we should try to cozy up to the Germans. I think it was 1940, when we voted to reinstate the draft, it was so close that it came down to the deciding vote was by the vice President; I recall that enlistment right after Pearl Harbor, even after Germany declared war on us, the sentiment was that people were volunteering to go fight Japan. From what I recall and what I believe, the powers-that-were knew that somehow, right or wrong, the reality was America would be pulled into the war against Germany. I do not spend a lot of time with alternative history, but the reality was that every day 1938-Dec.7, 1941, there was a great deal of consternation about what would happen within all of the intangibles and unknowns of the time. I think it was Len Deighton in his book Blitzkrieg who pointed out how divided France was, almost and even third of the population supporting fascists, republicans, and communists, even to the extent that while Hitler and Stalin were pals, the Communists were working against the Western Allied war effort against Germany with slowdowns, strikes, I think at least in France, some active cases of sabotage. All that occurred up until Barbarossa. I’m not trying to pick at France but, despite the Marquis Resistance, I think it was Deighton who said that no other Western European country so wholeheartedly fell in line with Germany. (A variety of reasons of course, much of France and Flanders and Scandinavia joining up with the SS as kind of an international army against Bolshevism.). The months leading up to Barbarossa, Churchill was planning to attack Russia’s oil industry from the Middle East and Stalin was planning bombing campaigns against the Suez Canal. No wonder both sides did everything they could to woo Turkey to their side or at least keep Turkey neutral.

Washington DC was very concerned that Britain would not survive the war. Hence the B-29 and B-36 projects. U-boats almost strangled England into surrender in both world wars, so if the US had stayed neutral, despite events like the sinking of the Reuben James and other shots fired between the US Navy and U-boats. It is a good thing that we did start Lend-Lease and gearing up as the Arsenal of Democracy some 2 years before Pearl Harbor. I don’t know what the conventional wisdom is today but in the past many historians and economists postulated that without that 2 years of preparation, we would not have been able to ramp up our industry to prevail in that war of attrition as we did. The diplomatic effects of that is all speculation.

I think that more so than any economic situation, what would have been a deciding factor against a the Third Reich was the Nazi racial policies. Anti-Semitism was strong in Russia as well, and we know that in the opening weeks of Barbarossa, an awful lot of Russians welcomed the Germans as liberators from the communists. Both German and Japanese policies had a hard time winning over the hearts and minds of the countries they subjugated. For a couple of generations, both of them would have had a hard time with the local populous, but one cannot discount the idea of puppet regimes and quislings popping up all over the place. I don’t know how big of a threat the Indian National Army became to the British, no one has to wonder if Japan have been more egalitarian towards nationalist movements in Asia?

Personally, I tend to agree with the Fortress America speculations, that we would have had to figure out a way to coexist with a Nazi dominated Europe and a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, whether or not there was any Soviet Union left or not.


Nazi Germany: If they hadn’t had their superiority delusions showed so far up their backsides that it interfered with their strategic thinking and made them treat subjugated people like crap they would likely have won a lot of support in the USSR.
People in Ukraine “knew” that there was nothing worse than the communists and then came Hitler and proved them wrong.

Japan: Maybe they could have won the hearts of the Chinese and other Asian populations. Since they had to behave like swine they made enemies wherever they went.


Ukrainians greeting Wehrmacht: “Thank you for freeing us from the tyrannical Soviets!”

Wehrmacht: “Remember 4 years ago when Stalin starved 12 million of you to death for resisting collectivization? We’re going to make you recall those as the good old days, and if we did not have such psychopathic racial ideas, we might even feel bad about it.”

Many sects and regions of Asia to the invading Japanese: “Thank you for throwing out the European colonists.”

Japanese: “We are more than happy to replace their colonialism with our colonialism, and to brutalize you while we do.”

The Axis in Autumn 1945: “You did not help us because obviously you are all too subhuman and stupid to realize what a favor our abuse was for you.”


About alternative history

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Fact is stranger than fiction. :sweat_smile: