Here's What May Have Happened If Germany Invaded The United Kingdom During WWII

The outcome of World War II is universally agreed to be one of the most — if not the most — defining events of not only the 20th century but of all human history. These everlasting effects have led many historians, alternate history writers, storytellers, and others to fantasize about the world that might've been if the Axis powers had indeed won that infamous war. What would our world look like if fascism — not capitalism or communism — had become the dominant ideology of the planet? 

Speculators are fascinated by this concept, if not simply just to know how lucky the world got with the win of the Allied forces. But what if Earth hadn't drawn so good from the deck of cards, and in what scenario could things have gone a little differently and changed the course of human history forever? Well, the world might not have been doing so well if the Germans had initiated a plan that they had been scheming — a plan to invade and occupy the United Kingdom, according to the Royal Air Force.

The UK's Role in the War

In June 1940, when France fell to Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom had become the sole Ally left on the European continent, and the island nation was a desired crown jewel in Adolf Hitler's eyes, as it would signal that he controlled the entire continent (via English Heritage). Hitler had begun preparing for an invasion of the United Kingdom's homeland, and they were creating a counterdefense at the same time.

During this time, organizations like the Home Guard, which was a group of civilian volunteers who were unable to enlist in the actual military, helped to defend the British mainland (per the National Army Museum). A group called the Auxiliary Territorial Services was also formed to improve military infrastructure. Meanwhile, children left densely-populated cities for other nations in the British Empire. But all of this was to prepare for the oncoming Battle of Britain, which changed the outcome of the war for good.

The Battle of Britain

Adolf Hitler and the Nazis did have a plan to invade the British Isles by the English Channel — Operation Sea Lion. However, this could only be achieved by gaining air supremacy over the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, which proved to be problematic for the Nazi forces. The German air force, known as the Luftwaffe, had been the most powerful air fleet in the world at the time, which helped convince Hitler to begin a bombing of the British Isles (via History). But first, he attempted to make peace with the British, and Winston Churchill refused. After the initial bombing, the Royal Air Force bombed Berlin, outraging the Nazis and marking the beginning of what would be called "the Blitz."

During the Blitz, Germans bombed cities like London and Liverpool at night in order to kill as many civilians as possible. Eventually, after months of these air campaigns and the enduring spirit of the British people, Hitler evacuated the Luftwaffe, and all hopes of an Operation Sea Lion were basically paused. But what if that wasn't the case?

Operation Sealion

After France fell, the Germans felt like there was only a narrow window to invade Britain, which had just faced a devastating defeat in Dunkirk (per Royal Air Force). After the battle, the British only had a couple of hundred tanks left (via History Net), and Germany thought the time to invade was now or never. This is why Adolf Hitler wanted to gain air supremacy and destroy the Royal Air Force: so he could quickly conduct an invasion and occupy the British Isles. In our world, the Royal Air Force defeated the Nazis, but what if, in an alternate reality, things had gone as Hitler planned?

If Hitler's Operation Sealion had been successful, he still probably would've faced serious kickback from the British people. For example, Winston Churchill refused to make peace with Hitler, even saying (via History Net), "[We will] defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender." However, the success of a German incursion might've been a large enough victory for Hitler to sway the war effort toward his side and prevent an Ally victory.

The Effects of a German Takeover

Invading the United Kingdom and completing a successful takeover would be a difficult task for the Germans, but it would still be a detrimental defeat to the Allies (via History Net). In our world, the D-Day invasion, where the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, was possible due to the U.K. still being under Ally control. According to the National Army Museum, it was used as a base of operations for the United States.

In an alternate reality where the Germans controlled the island nation, it might've been impossible for the Allies to take back Western Europe, as the D-Day invasions are what most people believe to be the nail-in-the-coffin in Adolf Hitler's war efforts, according to History. A successful takeover would've allowed Hitler to focus his efforts against the USSR. If the Nazis didn't have to focus so much on the impending threat of the United States and Britain to their west, it's entirely possible that they could've defeated the Soviet army. This would've effectively ended the war on the European front and allowed the Axis to begin expanding away from the continent. 

Who Would've Won?

Even if Nazi Germany was able to defeat the Soviets to the west, there might've been a few saving graces to prevent an Axis victory in the war. The Nazis' ideology might've been its gravest fault, as in the face of world domination based on faulty beliefs of Aryan supremacy and racism, the rest of the world might've united to defeat the common enemy (via History Net).

Another saving grace might've been the United States' development of the atomic bomb. As PBS points out, the Germans didn't put much effort into developing their own nuclear weapons due to the fact that they were already winning many battles, and they really weren't facing much defeat. If the United Kingdom had fallen, perhaps this would've exasperated the German spirit and stalled further funding for their own bomb. It's hard to think that the rest of the world would tolerate a power-hungry bully that wanted to conquer everyone, and no matter what battles the Nazis won, they might've still faced defeat.