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If Stalin attack the West, what year and month was optimum?

Discussion in 'Alternate History' started by Hairog, May 1, 2011.

  1. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    Do you have anything to back up your opinion about Truman's thoughts. I have and it is exactly the opposite of your contentions. Truman fully expected Stalin to attack from 1946 until he left office. The JCS expected Stalin to attack during the same time period. What stopped them from preparing was the American people and the US congress.

    Politically they would not let the demobilization even slow down much less stop. They voted down any kind of funding that would would have put America on even a basic war footing. The US corporations had switched 90% of the war production to civilian products by May 1946. The production of atomic bombs was virtually stopped. We only had 9 at the end of 1946 and 13 at the end of 1947.

    The US public had had enough of rationing and death. They were through with war.

    The famine didn't really take effect until 1947 and then even then the average "middle class" Soviet did not starve. It was the peasants who starved and this was by design some say. Your average party member and any one above peasant status was not threatened with starvation. Whether by design or mismanagement it was the peasants from the more uncooperative regions of the USSR that starved to death. In fact the Soviets shipped grain to Poland during the famine to make a show of strength and too keep the Poles in line.

    .

    Pretend you are a ruthless dictator and you have a chance to fulfill your very public life's work. You have a chance of uniting all of Europe in a Communist Workers Paradise. It may cost you a few hundred thousand lives but that is peanuts compared to what you have already done.

    You have a very large and expensive army just sitting on your border with Germany. Sitting and eating and doing nothing. They are well armed and well trained and they could very well use those arms and training to get rid of you. So you see an opening that gives you your life long dream and puts that army to use.

    As an added bonus you get another 500 to 1000 miles of breathing space from you mortal enemy plus you have massive storage and military arms depots to loot as well as Southern France. Which has been virtually untouched by war for over 4 years. All of what is left in Western Europe can of course be shipped back to the motherland as war booty and could go a long way at appeasing your people.

    Now if you can only find a way to defend against the atomic bomb and the B29 strategic bomber you would be a fool not to take the chance. I have ideas on how he could do just such a thing.

    If you take the time to read up on the sentiment of the average US and British person of the time period 1946-48 you will have your eyes opened. They were sick of war and wanted no part in it anymore. Why do you think the British gave up so easily in India and the mid-east? They had no money and no heart left for any more serious fighting. They were played out.

    The American public wanted to get back to school on the GI bill. Marry their sweet hearts, buy a new car and live life large. The idea that the vets would jump at the chance to fight again is very naive and contrary to the vast majority of everything I've read on the time period in question.

    Now it is very possible that a sneak attack, by a ruthless enemy who committed atrocities and that caused high casualties etc., could cause the American people to once again come to the aid of the French and the low countries.

    I would submit that we would not do it all over again for Germany or the Scandinavian counties nor for Italy or Greece. So that leaves us once again bailing out France and Britain. Now there is no chance of the Soviets invading Britain so they are in no danger. That leaves the French, the low countries, Spain and Portugal.

    I'm just not sure after reading 2 years of the New York Times from the end of the war until 1947 that we would jump in immediately with both feet as has been suggested. I think it was 50 50 at best. A true toss up with many factors able to sway public opinion either way.

    What would happen if the casualties were light and Stalin offered to return all the US and British prisoners of war for instance? How about if the British make a separate peace in order to avoid the Battle of Britain II? France was already Socialist with 6 out of the 15 cabinet members outright communists. What if they just did a Vichy again? The same with Italy and Greece. Both had huge Communist parties.


    Not comical at all. In many ways Dec 7th was a racial charged situation. The response was fueled by racism. That never happened with the Germans. After all many of our citizens were of German decent. The Germans sunk unarmed American ships for years with not much reaction. The Soviets had for years been portrayed as our stalwart comrades in arms led by good old Joe our stanch ally.

    They look like us and acted like us. If they avoided the atrocities and keep the casualties to a minimum it could all boil down to a choice between economic systems with many Americans very sympathetic to socialist and communist ideas. If Stalin plays this right the American will to fight and die for France and Germany might not be all that strong.

    You know this how? What are your sources on the American publics sentiments during this time period? I believe there is room for discussion for all of the above reasons.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But the Soviets were in vary precarius situation food wise in 45. If they stay mobilized the famine may well hit in the winter of 45 and without being able to make full use of the harvest of 46 the situation in 47 is going to be horrendous. Now some of this is 20:20 hindsight but by the same token Stalin is aware of the impact of famines and that his food resereves are sorely depleted.
    I think you over play the racism card here. You might also want to look at the reactions of the population to Germans in WWI. The fact that they had been played up as "stalwart comrades" would make their stab in the back seem even worse I suspect.
     
  3. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    You left out:
    You own country is largely in ruins from a just ended war. The population is heavily depleted. You have just grabbed a huge chunk of Eastern Europe and the majority of the people there are neither friendly to a prolonged Soviet / Russian occupation nor are they enamored of communism. In at least two early attempts to place communists in power you have already seen election results go against you (Poland and Hungary).

    If you go to war you will be facing fighting a war on 360 degrees of your border unlike the last war where you had just one front.

    The Western Allies have a technological superiority in military equipment in just about every category. Yes, you have parity in a few basic areas but overall you lag behind the West in technology; in many cases badly.

    If the West does not cave to surrender or treaty demands once Western Europe is overrun, assuming it is, what comes next? You have no navy. Your air forces are incapable of a long range strategic bomber campaign. You are now facing defending literally tens of thousands of miles of potential front as your enemies can use their vast naval power to land just about anywhere there is coast. Worse, they have a strategic airforce in place and it will get stronger.

    So, do you risk a war and bank on the odds that your opponets will simply cave to your armistice demands once you over run Western Europe? What are the odds they won't and decide to fight on in what is now a losing proposition for Russia? Do you instead not risk this and simply hold on to your current gains and stabilize those instead?

    That is what this really comes down to. Can Russia / the Soviet Union fight another long-term global war of attrition right after the losses they took in WW 2?
     
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  4. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Well put Terry, this is a non-starter even in the Alternate History area. One of those "you can't get there from here" oddities. Stalin was a lot of things, stupid politician wasn't one of them.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There's also at least some evidence that Stalin thought he could win by idirect means in the long term. Even if he couldn't there wasn't nearly the risk with this stratgy.
     
  6. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    Do soldiers use up more food while they are at home or on the front? I think it's pretty close to being the same. Some of you seem to think that having extra manpower would mitigate the famine. I would submit it won't. The famine was caused by drought. There is nothing more manpower can do against a drought.

    Now getting rid of some of those mouths that you have to feed in a trumped up war while at the same time increasing your battle space, adding more loot, food and fulfilling your destiny sounds like a pretty good deal to your average sociopath to me. Now if you can only figure out a way to minimize your enemies best weapon...

    Again after reading years of news papers on the time period my opinion differs and I think I have more education in the subject that allows me to make a better educated guess. And of course that's all either of us have.
     
  7. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Interesting thread and good points on both sides.

    There are several aspects that should be taken into account.

    1) Firsly the Soviet soldiers were psychologically prepared to defeat Nazi Germany and then go home or at least have some rest if stationned in an ocupied area. Going from one war to another, without a break would have been devastating for the morale of many soldiers, especially if facing former allies. Not all of course, but many soldiers would have doubts about the goal of their new "crusade".

    2) Having many soldiers in occupied zones as big as half of Europe would have immobilzed several divisions that would not have been available on the front.

    3) starting a war in vs the west before eastern Europe was pacified would have been dangerous, for instance there was opposition not only in Germany, but also in Czechoslovaquia and Poland and spending less energy to fight opposition would expose Stalin to have enemies in his back.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The problem in 45 was that they needed to harvest as much of the crop as possible and distribute it. Labor and logistical constraints were both in evidence. So Stalin both demobilized troops to help with the harvest and I believe mored some formations closer to the crop growing areas (they may even have helped with the harvests while still in uniform but that's speculation on my part). If he doesn't do this then inadequate food is harvested and the logistics system is overloaded in moving what is harvested. Especially since more is moved to the far western parts of the Soviet control zone.
    The problem is if you are fighting a war wastage gos up as does demand. Then hording starts and of course the log system is already under severe stress so distribution of what food there is becomes spotty and problematic.
    Newspapers are an important source but they are just one. You are talking about my parents generation for the most part and I didn't see those feelings be present much by either of them or any of their friends, nor have I seen much to support it in my readings.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The problem was in 45 it wasn't just or even primarily the drought that was the potential problem is was harvesting and distribution. There isn't a huge amount of food in Western Eruope either. Look at rationing acrost most of it.
    Even if true it doesn't help with the food problem now. Indeed becasue of the strains on the logistics system it may make it even worse. And one of the lessons learned by the western allies is that the log structure is worth targeting.
    and to counter weight all that your opposition has a strategic airforce well beyond what you can produce and atomic weapons and an industrial base that can outproduce you and a population base substantially larger then yours. Not to mention just how big of borders you will have to defend.
    I submit that on these boards we aren't trying to write alternative history novels. I enjoy the genre but here my impression is the idea is to look realistically at feasable alternatives at least in part to help understand why things worked out as they did historically.
    But how do you "solve" such a problem? You can do things to mitigate your vulnerabilities but "solve" it in any complete sense. Not likely.
    Alternately you scare them into accepting the west as an ally against Communism. Latin America as a whole is likely to buy in. The Chinese government probably would as they are already fighting the Communists. India is just gaining it's freedom from Britain they certainly aren't going to want to fall under Soviet domination.
    They wouldn't be happy about it but a Soviet "stab in the back" would likely push them into it. The more the Soviets try to set things up to make it look like they aren't the bad guys the more likely they are to telegraph their play with negative consequences. On the other hand if they don't do anything then the "stab in the back" view is hard to avoid.
    Exactly and the Soviets were masters at espionage and subversion. It wasn't long after the war that China went communist, there were growing comunist movements all over the world. From his view point a win looked possible at the time without the risk of Moscow glowing in the dark and famine runnig wild in the USSR.
    But totally negating someone elses capability is very difficult and there's a good chance that they will come up with something in the not to distant future that counters your counter. Stalin didn't like to venture all on one roll of the die which is what your are proposing.
    They were part of an alliance that won the war. The alliance wasn't "always behind the Germans" either.
    Would they see it as a long war? Why would no one get paid? It would hardly be just America paying the price either.
     
  11. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Oddly enough, this is the exact opposite of the reality of producing high quality goods (war equipment) with a short "shelf life" since they have to be replaced in consumption based capitalism. And when your own nation (America) now holds the largest gold bullion stock in the entire world, paying for the labor to produce goods made with internal natural resources isn't going to be an economy buster.
     
  12. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    I would suggest that the over the course of the six months that the Soviets had time to prepare that they would have rotated their troops home and then brought the best back just before the attack. Having not a clue what the Red Army was doing from the end of the war until August 1946 it would have been fairly easy to spoof the US.

    We do have to come up with a better scenario for getting the Soviets revved up enough to enthusiastically go to war once again. It shouldn't be hard to trump up something but what would be a really good trumped up provocation? I'll have to ponder this some more. Originally I had in mind that the US would place some B29s in West Germany and then Stalin uses this for casa belli but now I think we need a better one.

    I'll start another thread and see what we can come up with.

    Tito and the Yugoslavians were ardent supporters of Stalin until 1948. Until then they had a very large army that could have easily pacified the other Eastern block nations. In OTL the opposition was really not that strong in 1946 anywhere especially Germany and not much in Poland either. Nobody wanted to poke the bear while he still had teeth and claws. I find no references to any major opposition in Eastern Europe in all of 1946.
     
  13. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    The suggested start of the war is May 1946. No harvest and some food in France.

    It will take the US a good 6 months to mount any kind of effective conventional bombing offensive. By that time Western Europe is stripped bare.

    All good points but I suggest that they can possibly be mitigated.

    I'm not trying to write a novel here. Just posing questions and coming up with possible answers.

    Again you're probably right but I still think it deserves to be discussed.

    Stalin is interested in promoting Communism/Stalinism. I think he wanted a bunch of China's, Cuba's, North Korea's. Client states. One's that get their finished products from Russia and send their raw materials back.

    Good point.

    Again another good point.

    Exactly my point to the folks who say the Soviets are incapable of defeating the B29.

    Pretty much.

    I think it's pretty much agreed that the US could not counter either on the ground or in the air for at least 6 months. Who else would be around to fight?
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Having a famine or near famine during the winter of 45-46 suggest starting a war in the Spring of 46????
    I doubt the food in France would make up for the expenditures getting there.
    Two rather unsupported conjectures at this point.
    "Possibly" mitigated. That doesn't sound very good to me. Doubt it would to Stalin either. He avoided high stakes gamboling and his highest stake gambol to date had resulted in him getting rather badly burned.
    But "possible answers" doesn't cut it. Reasonable ones is the goal.
    Why?
    Indeed, and at that point he has very good reason to expect to get them without the dangers of a war vs the West.
    No it's not the same. The Soviets even historically would have a chance of taking down some B29's with more prep they could threaten them more but it's extremely unlikely that they could completely prevent B29's from hitting important targets in the USSR.
    Is it? I think that's very dependent on the scenario details. It didn't take 6 months to respond to the North Korean invasion of South Korea did it?
    Most of Europe, the British Commonwealth, China, possibly Turkey, likely some Latin American countries, for a start anyway. Any sign of weakness on the Soviets and the East European countries may become a problem as well.
     
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  15. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    Hairog I am struck by two points in your recent post. The first is that the USSR can compensate-mitigate the west's Strategic Bombers and Atomic weapons, yet you give little credit for the west to do the same thing. Why is that? The Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic, Blitz, and the Strategic bombing campaign against Germany repeatedly showed the determination and cleverness to overcome German innovation's and counters to Allied technologies. Why after one year of peace would the Anglo-American forces lose this ability?

    The second point is the assertion that once the Soviet forces reached the channel coast the Anglo-American forces would also lose to force of will to counterattack. It took the Anglo-American forces months and years to effectively attack Nazi Germany. They were patient then, why not now? With massive naval supiority, large stockpiles of leftover arms, Nearly twice the production capacity and natural resources, and with the soviets needing to garrisson a vast area the time needed by the allies to gather enough forces would be considerably less than that needed to effect a landing against Nazi Germany.
     
  16. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    If i were Stalin and i wanted to start a fight against Hitler, i would have done it during the Invasion of France. A good bunch of the Wehrmacht at the other side and i had set up a two front war which wasn´t to win for the Wehrmacht in that time. And i let the allies work for me too!
     
  17. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    It's just too early. The West is caught totally by surprise by an enemy that they thought incapable of even the smallest innovation. Kind of like the first 6 months of the war with Japan. There is no doubt in my mind that the Brits and US would come up with many counter measures once they figured out what they were up against. I liken this problem to a similar one with the German guided bomb the Fritz X. It took a good 6 months before they figured it out and were able to defeat it. I have no doubt that the West will solve the problem. The only question is will it be too late.

    I'm not suggesting that the Anglo-American forces would automatically lose their will. But I am suggesting that it would not have been automatic that the vets would have dropped their lives and once again put their lives on the line for their country. Especially when there are so many who never served and could have serve.

    I just think it deserve some discussion rather than just assuming that it was an automatic done deal. I do think it would take a lot of sole searching and arm twisting by the government and I don't know if the American public would put up with it. As far as the US gearing up again for full war production read up on the War Productions Board. The US arming in time for WWII was a near thing. If certain things had not happened we would have been facing a calamity with too many tires and not enough bullets etc.It took some real coordination that was not there in the beginning and only surfaced with a little bit of luck just in time.

    What I'm suggesting is that for WWIII the same things have to be considered. To the ignorant it is taken as a given that America would become the arsenal of democracy. In reality is almost did not. The War Productions Board was screwing up big time until the Office of War Mobilization and James Byrne came along and tamed the tiger in 1943. It really was a close run thing.

    It could very well go that way. But will it happen in time. In OTL the Soviet atomic bomb was 1949 and the Soviet B29 was 1948. How much time have we got to before MAD takes over?
     
  18. JeffinMNUSA

    JeffinMNUSA Member

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    1946 or 1947 when the Soviet forces were still flushed with victory and the West was demobilizing. Why it did not happen had more to do with war weariness and guerrilla resistance in the newly "liberated territories," than with any military strength in the West. I think Stalin was also concerned about the loyalty of his troopers-and just what might have happened if they were faced with a foe not bent on mass genocide.
     
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  19. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    All good points but I think the disparity of the number and quality of the troops facing each other in Western Europe would have been so obvious that he would have attacked.

    By 1946 the guerrilla resistance was minimal with his 2nd line troops easily taking care of business. Tito in Yugoslavia was a staunch ally at this time and willing to do anything Stalin asked. It was not until 1948 that Tito woke up. In fact Stalin was alarmed at Tito's aggression and jealous of his leadership. The Yugoslavian army was large and tough and would have been a good addition to the Soviet forces in guerrilla suppression.

    I have to believe it was the US atomic bomb and our strategic bombing force that scared him straight.
     
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    I'm coming late to this, so I'm only going to pick up on a few points here and there from just the last page...

    It's worth remembering that in many cases the ferrying of aircraft involved fitting ferry props for better fuel consumption at a fixed cruising speeds, and even stripping out guns and radios, to be fitted from stock in the combat area.

    Do you honestly think they're just going to leave them sitting there for you when you invade? :eek:That's what gelignite is for...

    I think you'd better do a bit more reading-up on the history of the British Mandate in Palestine; they did NOT give up "easily"....they tried not to give up at all!

    Do you really think that after having withstood the battering of the Battle of Britain they wouldn't be prepared to do it again??? Remember, the British WERE historically ready, civilians and the military, for a second air assault in 1941...

    ...apart from the little wrinkle of fast decreasing opposition to Lend Lease...;)

    !!! Western Europe in 1945 and 1946 faced HUGE food shortages!

    I wasn't aware there was actually much in the way of volition behind conscription/The Draft/National service...

    And, er, it worked for the Korean War...
     

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