Is the Cold War between Russia and the US inevitable?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Astrapothereum, Jul 11, 2019.


Is the Cold War between Russia and the US inevitable?

  1. Yes

    36 vote(s)
  2. No

    33 vote(s)
  1. Astrapothereum Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2019
    Is it possible for Russia and the US to continue to be on good terms after WW2? Even with a White victory, some people suggested that there might still be a Cold War. So, is it possible for the US and Russia to continue to have good relations after WW2 and into the present day, or are tensions inevitable?
  2. Kalga Yell's Shipyard

    Feb 27, 2014
    Somewhere over the madness
    The "easiest" way was for Russia/USSR to realize that it's a region/great power rather than a superpower, and act accordingly. More realistic goals and objectives means that while friction and conflict with the west might still occur, it the stakes would be lower and consequently less of an arms race and fight to the death ideological mentality.
  3. Questerr Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2008
    San Antonio
    Personally I think a lot of cutting the Cold War Short revolves around the Four Powers Summit that got short circuited by the U-2 shootdown.
  4. Bakenellan Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Finnish/Chinese Border
    As long as any one of them has world power aspirations, some form of conflict and confrontation is inevitable. Especially if there is difference in ideology (i.e. communism or simply authoritatrianism vs. more or less liberal democracy or whatever US has/had). The full-blown Cold War perhaps avoidable if both sides do not see each other as existentional threat. Or have a common enemy. White Russia and US might be cooperative vs. Red or ultra-Nationalist China or Japanese Sphere of Co-prosperity. Or the Race :).
    So my answer is No but with severe qualifications.
  5. martymcfly Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2016
    The Cold War is arguably an extension of the 19th century "Great Game", whereby the Western powers like the UK clashed with Russia geostrategically. This is also happening in modern times between NATO and Russia post Cold War. So it probably was inevitable, unless there is a major third power to threaten both sides and draw them together (as had happened in the Napoleonic and World Wars).

    There are many geopolitical analysts that highlight the inevitability of a clash between Western powers and Russia due to geography and conflicting geostrategy.

    A good example is below, but there are many others.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  6. stubear1012 Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2010
    I have often wondered if Stalin had not been so paranoid or if Stalin had died toward the end of WW2, if the Cold War would have happened? My understanding is that Stalin was paranoid and took actions that sent a message to the west. This message of complete control feed into the paranoid of the Westerners who were paranoid about the Soviet Union. THe West reacted which feed Stalin's paranoid more. He reacted and feed the West paranoid.

    I have often wondered what if the Soviets had not shutdown all non communist parties in Eastern Europe. What if they had allowed the Eastern European countries to follow Finland example.

    Finlandization (Finnish: suomettuminen; Swedish: finlandisering; German: Finnlandisierung) is the process by which one powerful country makes a smaller neighboring country abide by the former's foreign policy rules, while allowing it to keep its nominal independence and its own political system.[1] The term means "to become like Finland" referring to the influence of the Soviet Union on Finland's policies during the Cold War.

    The Soviet Union could then sell oil at a discount to these countries as a way to tie them economically to the Soviets.

    Would this have prevented or reduced the cold war?
  7. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    Best way to end the Cold War, is to strangle it in the Crib.
    Have Uncle Joe fall off his Horse in the 1945 Victory Parade.
    kernals12 likes this.
  8. GauchoBadger Gang Weeder (in a society)

    Feb 28, 2016
    Inevitable? Not if there's a potentially scary independent China to goad them into cooperation. ;)
  9. ivanotter Well-Known Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    South Africa
    Not inevitable, but difficult to avoid.

    I do somehow think that it is also a bit more than just Stalin. USSR had lost some 25 million dead due to WWII. The entire Soviet society was marked for years to come and somehow the fear of any more invasions was prevalent throughout.

    Was Stalin Paranoid? Probably, but he was not the only one.

    The immediate period after WWII with the US confrontational behavior cannot have assured USSR citizens that it could not happen again.

    The mistrust of German intentions were not easy to get past. And With the rearming of West Germany it did not get any better.

    So, USSR created a 'buffer' zone of countries (Warsaw pact), a sort of glacier in front of their borders.

    Was USSR also confrontational? probably. chicken or egg came first?

    Could it have been avoided?

    The clear obstacles were of course:

    - 'ownership' of the bomb
    - German re-arming
    - Churchill rhetoric
    - Creation of West Germany
    - Korea

    Those are hard one's to handle.

    Could the Steel and Coal union have mitigated a re-arming of Germany? I think so.

    Let Stalin accept Marshall help would also do something

    No idea what to do with the bomb. There was a suggestion that it should all be handed to UN. Not so realistic I think, but maybe?
  10. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

    Sep 18, 2007
    If russia has a revolutionary ideology of some sort, yes
  11. DrakonFin Operator

    Oct 25, 2007
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    A policy like towards Finland might be all well and good if a country directly borders the USSR (and is otherwise geographically isolated, and flanked by an apparently committed neutral). But what about countries one or more countries away, like East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, bordering NATO allies and Western market economies? How do you keep them in line and prevent them from slowly drifting away, with no military presence or a formal alliance, but merely through economic and politico-diplomatic influence? Remember that IOTL the Soviets needed invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia as it was to prevent them from implementing policies of their own and start building some distance to the USSR...

    Finland's Cold War era position was unique in terms of history and geopolitics. It would be very hard to make OTL Finlandization into a "model" to be readily replicated in other countries.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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  12. Historian299 Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2019
    If WW2 ends with a divided Germany, than yes a Cold War was inevitable. Having either the US or the Soviets not act like super powers would go against all of prior human history.

    The Soviets had half of Europe and the largest army in human history.

    The US had the largest industrial base, largest navy, largest air force, had the entire global economy now in its pocket, and had the previous world powers (Britain, France) dependent on it.
  13. PorkNuggets Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    I vote "inevitable" with but some caveats.

    The way I see it, the end of the war is just too late a POD. The conflicts that lead to the cold-war are pretty much unavoidable without invoking alien space bats so long as Stalin (or someone like him) is in charge of the USSR during WWII.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  14. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    The USSR executes their own Operation UNTHINKABLE in 1945. The US is run out of Europe. Even more disillusioned than in 1919 the US population resets to Isolationism & the US hunkers down in the western hemisphere trying to create a new economy without access to Europe and most of Asia. The Communists in Moscow spend the new few decade trying to run a Socialist mega state across three or four continents. That goes about as you'd expect & by 1984 the geopolitical world is almost unrecognizable to us.
  15. kernals12 Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    So the Soviet Union, with no lend lease aid and barely starting to recover from the Nazi onslaught, is going to defeat the United States at a time when its war production is at a peak and it has one more atomic bomb and the ability drop even more?
    Sounds legit
  16. ivanotter Well-Known Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    South Africa
    One of the few times I disagree with Carl.

    USSR was in no position to start more wars in 1945. As much as Stalin was a dictator, he was not alone in all of this. The book 'the red tsar' gives a great insight into the operation of the politburo etc. More like a gang of mafioso that could turn on their own. Loyalty was in short supply.

    It is indeed the notions of Unthinkable which could show USSR that US/UK could have designs on them. And that would increase tension.

    Unthinkable was the UK concept of a surprise attack on USSR, involving at least 200,000 former Wehrmacht (and probably SS as well). So UK is calling on SS to 'liberate' Poland and Ukraine? To guide them into the fold of democracies with the active help of SS? no wonder Stalin might have thought it an idea to build a glacier in front of the USSR borders.

    cold war inevitable? no, but hard to avoid without defusing the rhetoric and easing the tensions
  17. MickCz Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2013
    I don't think the Cold War was inevitable. The WAllies just didn't understand the devastation that Russia endured both in material and human terms. The USSR was economically incapable of waging a prolonged war against the West but that was not generally understood
    The Soviets were suspicious of the West, whothey believed wanted its destruction. What the Soviets wanted was a cordon sanitaire of friendly or subject states providing a buffer of security against invasion. Who can blame them? The recent CIA coup in the Ukraine almost confirms their fears as justified.
    Possible PODs; FDR survives another 2/3years....Stalin dies in 1945/46 replaced by Beria (monstrous man but geopolitically pragmatic....would possibly have accepted Marshall Aid)
  18. Raferty Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2017
    This trope will not die.

    No, the CIA did not overthrow the Yanukovich government, nor was there a coup. Yanukovich and his party's parliamentary bosses literally fled the country, but they did so because the riot police who had been dealing with the crowd protests abandoned their posts, because the riot police (rightfully so, in my view) believed that any violence ordered against protesters would be pinned on them by the government, as had already been the case. The deal in place with the opposition was likely to be held up; only a small number of Rada deputies from the minor radical parties present were calling for actual revolution, and in fact, the opposition was caught completely off guard by the abandonment of the country by Yanukovich, which is why it took them so long to initiate removal from office proceedings after it was clear he was gone, and why setting up the new government was a complete and utter mess.

    This was not tanks rolling down the streets and the army getting on the radio and telling people that a government of national unity was in place and that martial law was in effect. That is a coup. This was a panicked flight from an explosive crowd control situation by a government that knew its legitimacy was seriously in question. Power was not overthrown in the manner of a revolution; it was crammed into a vacuum. There was a deal in place, that was agreed to, with mediation from both the Party of Regions, the Parliamentary Opposition, and the EU. What really happened was a failure of nerve.

    The Yanukovich government mishandled crowd control in such a way that the REAL powerbrokers in Ukrainian society, the corrupt middle managers and minor oligarchs, decided that his exit was going to be a permanent one, and his party lost its sanction to rule. It is true, however, that the prospect of EU Development funds was WAY more enticing than being a member of the Eurasian Union for this group, with the exception of the ones in the petroleum industry, which explains the breakdown of who went into Russia in March 2014 and who didn't. EU Development funds, as Romania and Bulgaria have shown, provide an extravagant feast for corrupt middle managers and minor oligarchs.

    The presence of State Department officials and past-their-prime Senators in Kiev proves nothing other than that they wanted a front row seat, as the US State Department quite frankly is not competent enough to pull off a coup of that nature. The domestic forces in play were not something that foreign intelligence agencies and diplomatic corps had much sway with. And really, the US State Department and the CIA are far less influential in Eastern Europe than EU representatives on mission are. Security guarantees that are never going to be backed up for non-NATO countries are worth a lot less than the EU developmental fund offers being waved around.

    Why the idea that "American spies overthrew the Ukrainian government" keeps getting perpetuated is something that just confuses me to no end.
  19. viperzero Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2015
    I think the Point here is mostly correct. The division of Germany is key. The USSR would be uncomfortable with any united Germany even a communist one. Now I have heard it said however Korea greatly exasperated this i've heard the quote (putting gas on a modest blaze). So you will have a cold war simply do to the German Question but it is possible to have it be less of an international affair without Korea.
  20. MickCz Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2013
    Yes, you are won't die. Spontaneous demonstrations take a long time to organise...and require money! And really coincidental that State Department officials were there at that very time. If the situation were reversed, it is unlikely that the world would believe that Soviet officials just happened to be there when a non Soviet friendly government was overthrown!

    Be that whatever it was, a state with a government friendly to Russia is now a state with a government not friendly to Russia....exactly what the Soviets feared.
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