Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

By German influence I am referring to the German language. I hear all the time that if Germany won the war we would be speaking German right now. Clearly there is a lot of exaggeration there and the extent of the German language within other European societies if the Nazis won can be argued, but we can agree that it would be very influential not only in Europe but the world. I believe there are two scenarios that could have played otherwise in the war that can explain my question. First the Germans winning in Europe but no control whatsoever over the US as it supposedly stayed neutral.
Second Germany defeating the US as well. Taking the first and second scenario into consideration what would be the international language today, German or English? We know English's influence on the world was brought up by the US power after the war so if they were defeated would that crush English as a future language in scenario two? Now judging from past experience with dictatorships, which Nazism was the worst of all, don't you think that if they had won the war as things began to settle down, and the Germans were no longer occupied by the war, they would finally get tired and start to protest and revolt against Nazism and it would crumble from within Berlin itself? How would that affect German influence do you think? I think it is important that I say that I know this question does not have an answer it is based on personal opinion and that I have excluded Russian and Japanese from this to make things simpler but if you want to include them feel free to do so. History is not my subject I never did it in school so please bear with my disorganised and perhaps unpractical questions. Thanks

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Eugene Seidel, Felix Goldberg, Lennart Regebro, Kobunite, Sardathrion Oct 16 '13 at 11:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
Have a look at two alternate-history novels: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick and Fatherland by Robert Harris. Otherwise, I am afraid your question is not in agreement with the site rules -- see the help center -- and will have to be closed. –  Eugene Seidel Oct 16 '13 at 7:59
    
Couuterfactuals galore. What's more, since Nazism only lasted for 13 terrible years, which is a historically minuscule timespan, there is really no telling how exactly it'd have evolved had it won. –  Felix Goldberg Oct 16 '13 at 8:15
2  
Counterfactual history is not history, but fiction. It is interesting and fun, but doesn't work on a Q&A site, as it doesn’t have answers. –  Lennart Regebro Oct 16 '13 at 9:23
    
I wonder if the OP could rewrite the question into a core enquiry? Which is probably not counter-factual? Although I'll need to overhaul my answer if the rather large single paragraph meant something else. –  LateralFractal Oct 16 '13 at 10:29
    
Personally I think this boils down to a philosophical question: Could history have gone different? I think you should consider the answer on this question may be no. –  Jeroen K Oct 18 '13 at 12:27

1 Answer 1

This is counter-factual ("alt") history but we can extrapolate from normal history.

Specifically, being the dominant power of a geographic region does not in and of itself change the language of other countries in that region. The process, if it occurs at all, takes a long time - like centuries.

Consider how long it took for English to overtake French as the lingua franca of Europe; or the fact that Eastern Germans (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) didn't start speaking Russian overnight; or that the Basque language is still used in certain provinces despite losing sovereignty to Castilian speakers in the 16th century.

Still, that said - Germany's original formation from the Prussian states relied heavily on a common language, and it is not unreasonable to believe that a Greater Germanic Reich would have been ruthless enough to change the native language of all speakers within that territory.

share|improve this answer
    
OTOH the forced adoption of Russian as the sole language of the USSR happened within a few short decades, which is probably comparable with what could have happened in German occupied Europe post-WW2 had the Germans won and wanted to do such. Force was a large factor in that. Of course when the USSR collapsed, that force disappeared and many of the former Soviet republics quickly reverted to using their own languages which had largely survived underground (any public use having being illegal under Soviet domination). –  jwenting Oct 21 '13 at 9:22
    
@jwenting Do you have proof that forced adoption of the Russian language occurred in USSR republics outside of the now Russian federation? –  LateralFractal Oct 21 '13 at 9:52
    
Been to the USSR several times (obviously before the collapse) and they were quite proud of the fact. It was also taught to us during history lessons in the 1970s and '80s. Of course it happened automatically as well in part as a result of the "Russification" of especially the central Asian republics where large parts of the population were forcibly replaced with native Russians and put on trains to Siberia. Having the government bureaucracy speak only Russian and them being in complete control of everything forces everyone to speak Russian... –  jwenting Oct 21 '13 at 11:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.