How long does Soviet Union last without world war 2

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Noscoper, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Noscoper Well-Known Member

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    Say world war 2 doesn't happen or the Soviets are just not involved

    How long does communism last in the Soviet Union

    Would it last longer or end sooner

    How would the end of communism look like
     
  2. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    I think Stalin would just hunker down deeper into a state of isolationist dictatorship. Let's say whatever war happens is abbreviated enough that it does not become known as another world war. Let's also say there are no atomic bombs used in war in the forties. No Soviets at war in the forties and the Red Army never reaches OTL status. Meanwhile, the US, Germany and western Europe work on rocket technology without a Cold War and satellites take the image of weather images and communication. Stalin would have passed his leadership on, and the question is, how would it react? In OTL, communism ended in the eighties when the Soviets realized they needed to open their society to fit in to a wired, communication-dominated world. We might think technology would evolve faster without OTL WW2, but then again, the competitive space race ignited the need for IC microprocessors. My take is that communism would fall apart around the same time, but without the spread to so many other countries. Or, if it did spread some, might not be seen as adversarial to the west.
     
  3. Wendell Wendell

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    It unravels in the fifties or sixties. Maybe the seventies. Too many people, too few jobs.
     
  4. Sam R. Well-Known Member

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    It depends on how and when the recession hits, and the party’s response to the social unrest resulting. It won’t be the 1952/3 recession as the costs of the war and the extractions of peace and attempted over development won’t be present. Soviet style recessions were shallower in the earlier period, and I expect the first and second recession to be similarly.

    The Soviet Union is essentially running macro level industry planning with a full urban employment economy and no failure firm bailouts and finance capital guaranteed realisation (“sale.”). Actual firm level decisions and consumption decisions are in a shortage driven market. Both with formal rationing and prices held artificially low such that demand outstrips supply. Think the Us domestic economy in 1944, complete with the Ada for the just around the corner consumption goods and the close state-firm relations.

    Like any other value-form society this will suffer inevitable crises and proletarian upsurges. The planning and coordination at the macro level reduces misallocations in favour of foreign capital, but increases misallocations around volumes and varieties of consumption.

    Best case sees workers councils and the abolition of value. Worst case is Brezhnevian in its eating of the seed corn of growth.
     
  5. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    It ends up locked in a pre-WW2 level of development for some time. It will unravel, and with much less world influence. As for jobs, the people can be kept in labor-intense menial jobs for some time.
     
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  6. bernardz Donor

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    The world is very different, Germany and Japan are much stronger, as are the UK and France but they are going downhill and the US is less significant in world affairs. We have a multipowered world.
     
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  7. jerseyguy Well-Known Member

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    The massive lack of working age males (25-49) probably contributed a lot to the USSR's decline, in 1950 the RSFR only had 62 men aged 25-49 per 100 women in the same age bracket. In the same way that interwar France's elite was stand-ins for men who had died in the trenches, there are loads of inventions and solutions to various problems that were never created in France. France lost a lot of self-confidence during the "hollow years" and Russia may have faced a similar situation below the facade of a confident vanguard party in the postwar period.

    All the enterprising young people, especially young men who might've brought something new to Soviet politics or pushed for greater changes and reforms had been killed in the the wars and famines. All that was a left by the '50s was an aging clique of sycophants who had survived Stalin's purges. The economy would've benefited enormously from more workers around.

    The stagnation in the '70s onwards was largely a result of people born in the USSR taking over the reins, before then the USSR could burn through the accumulated human capital of the pre-1917 period. It's kind of like the George Carlin skit about how people blame politicians for society's problem, but politicians are just as flawed as the society they come from. The people who were born from the '30s onward and raised in the USSR were the homo sovieticus, born and that's been satirized throughout the former eastern bloc as conformist, pilfers from workplaces for the black market, doesn't take care of collective property, and lacks personal responsibility. Paradoxically the USSR needs a leader who wasn't born in it, Gorbachev was the 1st Soviet leader born and raised in the USSR and he set the stage for its implosion.

    Nationalities questions would probably be less pressing on balance. Without the poison pill of annexing western Ukraine, Moldova, and the Baltic States, the nationalists sentiment of western Ukraine would have had a harder time "infecting/spreading to" eastern Ukraine. Belarusian national consciousness would have a chance to develop without the deaths of WW2, but Belarus is small enough to not threaten the USSR's existence. There would probably be more East Slavs relative to minority groups. The Chechens, Tatars, and Volga Germans would be more numerous and culturally rooted without the deportations of WW2.

    I don't think the Central Asians would have caused too many secessionist problems, in the 1991 referendum on the USSR they were strongly in favor of keeping the Union. Regional comparisons are important, independence probably looked like the chaos in Afghanistan for central asians, whereas the Europeans SSRs had prosperous nation states to look to as a model. The myth of the Victory WW2 was important for Soviet identity, and it's the founding myth of modern Russia. Without it the Revolution, Lenin, or Stalin may play a larger role. State admiration of Stalin would help keep Georgian separatism in check, he still has high approval ratings there today.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  8. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Likely Stalin becomes more paranoid and people get fed up with his brutality, which leads to more brutality. Stalin might end up creating the conditions for the USSR's implosion without WW2 and an external enemy to constantly blame everything else on and justify high defense spending.
     
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  9. jerseyguy Well-Known Member

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    Where would communist expansion be aimed?

    A string of potential client states contiguous to the USSR, including Iran, Afghanistan, Uighurstan, Tuva, Mongolia, Manchuria, and parts of China or Korea are likely targets. Aside from that I could only see support for various leftist, anticolonial, or communist guerrillas throughout Africa, Latin America, and South East Asia.
     
  10. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    No, worst case is Stalin going full Pol Pot
     
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  11. Sam R. Well-Known Member

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    And now you’re going to post the doctorates and studies of the liquidation of the bourgeoisie as a class being its physical liquidation.

    Which we have in the Cambodian case.

    I’m interested because I’ve never seen valid claims in this domain, only NSDAP and Captive Nations garbage.
     
  12. Maeglin Lómion

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    Without the Second World War (say Hitler gets curb-stomped via French intervention in the Rhineland), I can see the Soviet Union being around today. No WWII means no external empire draining Moscow's resources, it is never drawn into direct confrontation with the United States, and having twenty million extra people to work with - without the destruction wrought by the German invasion - would be greatly beneficial to the Soviet economy. The Soviet Union never becomes a superpower, but it is far more sustainable.
     
  13. Lalli Well-Known Member

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    One thing is that without stress caused by WW2 Stalin probably would live some years longer so things might be quiet mess when he finally dies. Probably not such hellhole as in TL Twilight of the Red Tsar but still pretty badly. Of course it depends who succeeds Stalin.
     
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  14. Maeglin Lómion

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    Also, no external empire means no Hungary 1956, so Western Communism remains a going concern - especially because no WWII likely prolongs American economic weakness.
     
  15. Cregan Well-Known Member

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    Stalin is too cautious to provoke a capitalist coalition against the USSR, so if WW2 with Nazis is avoided I don’t see one happening against the Soviets.

    Stalin turns the USSR further into a North Korean style hermit kingdom; a heavily paranoid, totalitarian police state, complete with regular internal purges, mass gulags and pervasive personality cult. With a giant, somewhat shitty Red Army. It will also be starving, poor and broken down. And the USSR’s neighbours will be incredibly paranoid about it in turn, so expect very heavily militarised borders at least in Eastern Europe. Stalin might work out a deal with Chiang Kai-Shek and/or the Japanese in Asia though. Turkey is a friendly neutral, and who knows which way Iran, Afghanistan and India goes.

    Also, Stalin might keep the Comintern around and that, combined with the Soviet Union being the solitary communist nation (Mongolia doesn’t count), the lack of a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and no empire to maintain in Eastern Europe, means Stalinism stays popular in international far-left circles. This is helped by Soviet support for anti-colonial and third world liberation movements, and anti-fascism in the West. Although there are caveats - Stalin didn’t really care about the third world and considered them fully vassalised by the West, so any support for anti-colonial revolutionaries will be minimal and probably just lip service; and he pushed sectarian anti “social fascism” (i.e. bashing the centre-left/progressives) and persecuting other leftists (e.g. Trots, anarchists) more than any commitment to anti-fascism. If Stalin goes full Second Great Purge with public show trials and whatnot again, that could dampen his international standing somewhat, as there are only so much mental gymnastics and cognitive dissonance even foreign Stalinists can parrot and adhere to (but I may sadly be wrong).

    Eventually Stalin’s purges and paranoia will hollow out the USSR, leaving nobody competent to succeed him, and I think the Soviet regime collapses after his death (but who knows, North Korea is still scraping by).
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  16. Wendell Wendell

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    One reason given for the occupation of Easter Europe after World War II @jerseyguy is the lack of jobs available to them in the USSR itself after the war. While Soviet industrial capacity might be in some ways improved, it will be (further) behind technologically, and likely has a surplus of people relative to jobs.