I have long believed that it was possible for the Germans to get to a strong position that might have led to a "stalemate" and hence a negotiated peace in World War II/ The main ways were: 1) conquer the remainder of European Russia; 2) the Germans break through southern Russia and the Japanese break through India, joining hands in the Middle East; 3) U Boat warfare to force the surrender of Britain.

In support of this idea, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, both a historian and a historical figure, was apparently referring to the last possibility with the statement "The U-Boat attack was our greatest evil... It would have been wise for the Germans to stake all on it." Clearly, he thought that the Germans had done this (and succeeded), there would have been, shall we say, complications in the Germans' favor. (The Americans might then have concentrated their efforts in the Pacific to save China, India, and part of Russia.)

Has any other historian or historical figure alluded to this or analagous possibility that the Axis' best potential was that they could have won a favorable settlement through any of the means mentioned above or others?

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    This is a historiography question. It is not, "could the Axis have won a negotiated peace....?" It is, "has any recognized historian/historical figure (other than Churchill) written about this subject?" And the parenthetical is there because I did indeed cite Churchill.
    – Tom Au
    May 9, 2021 at 4:27
  • There's also some ambiguity here, if you're using "the Axis" to mean both the Germany, Italy, & their minor European allies, AND the Japanese. Would a negotiated peace between Britain & Germany have possibly stopped the American war against Japan?
    – jamesqf
    May 9, 2021 at 17:53
  • @jamesqf: Fair point. My original intent was to ask if "either" major Axis power might have obtained a negotiated peace. So that could mean does Germany gets a negotiated peace and Japan doesn't. In theory, after May 8, 1945, it could mean that only Japan can get a negotiated peace. That's not the actual question, though, which was: has any other historian or historical figure than Churchill addressed this possibility in his writings (as Churchill apparently did).
    – Tom Au
    May 9, 2021 at 18:48
  • Prior to your meta I missed this, but perhaps remove the 1st 3 paragraphs (imo: currently superfluous deco, relevance/connection unclear & perhaps garden-pathing readers into speculative Q-territory?) and include instead more specific criteria for "historical figure" (historian, politician?) or "where have you researched this before". May 9, 2021 at 22:45
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    @LаngLаngС: I have largely adopted your suggestion, removing the (original) first two paragraphs, and "revamping" the third. I am open to any further suggestions. Thanks for your help.
    – Tom Au
    May 9, 2021 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


That's wishful thinking and ignoring history. The UK's position through the ages always has been to prevent a single European superpower. That's one of the reasons why they fought against France for ages. Later they allied with France when Germany got too big for comfort. A kaiser, Führer or Bundeskanzler(in) makes no difference.

A settled peace — even in the highly unlikely case the UK would not convert into a Nazi puppet state — would give Germany full control over Europe, up to and including the Urals and the Caucasus.

The reason why the UK didn't settle for peace was exactly Winston Churchill. Had lord Halifax been elected PM, a negotiated peace was quite likely. But not with Churchill. His political absence during the 30s was caused by his constant warning against the dangers of Nazism.


So, based on your remark and to answer the question: Lord Halifax (and people who supported him, for example (ex) king Edward VIII) might have been the politicians you are looking for. Churchill definitely not.

King Edward VIII is a special case. He may or may not have been an outright Nazi sympathizer. Had he not been a royal, he would have been locked up at the start of the war. As it was, he was later (somewhat) detained as governor of the Bahamas.


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    If your argument was that "Had lord Halifax been elected PM, a negotiated peace was quite likely," then the Nazis DID have a chance for a negotiated peace. Just not with Churchill. (I had forgotten this point and was not "ignoring history.") It's to the world's fortune that Churchill, and not Halifax was ultimately chosen.
    – Tom Au
    May 9, 2021 at 4:19
  • While you didn't answer my question directly, you did so in a roundabout way. Specifically by reminding me that "many" historians believe that Halifax would "likely" have made a negotiated peace. This point is actually more germane than what Halifax "actually" thought or (hypothetically) would have done.
    – Tom Au
    May 9, 2021 at 16:14
  • @TomAu: As Lord Halifax deferred to Churchill (and likely couldn't muster Labour support in the Commons if he hadn't) there was no chance of a negotiated peace. Churchill was P.M., and soon thereafter informed FDR that even if England fell His Majety's Government, and the Royal navy, would continue the war from the Dominons. May 9, 2021 at 23:24
  • @PieterGeerkens: I "took my eye off the ball for a minute." The original issue was that even Churchill conceded that if the Germans had (wisely in Churchill's estimation) staked all on the U-boat war (and won), there could have been, to put it delicately, complications in the Germans' favor. And the question was, "has any other historian or historical figure made an analogous "concession" regarding this, or any other matter?"
    – Tom Au
    May 9, 2021 at 23:27
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    @TomAu: Churchill is also speaking while Enigma was a quarter century away from being declassified. He can't speak everything he knows. May 9, 2021 at 23:32

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