Shift of interwar party coalitions in a Moscow-Berlin Axis world

While Moscow-Berlin Axis is a very popular and perhaps even overused trope in alternate history I have never saw a discussion about how it would affect elections in France and Spain during 1930s.

So, the first PoD in my exact scenario is that Poles are even more successful during the Soviet-Polish war and manage to gain more land than OTL.
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That's basically how interwar Poland borders look in my scenario.

Red Army performing even worse than IRL during the second half of Soviet-Polish war ends the Stalin's rise to power. During this war he was a member of Revolutionary military council responsible for conducting the war. So, bigger Polish victory means that Lenin likely blames Stalin for defeat and he is removed from big Soviet politics.

Without Stalin as a major contender, I think that SNK chairman Rykov would emerge as a some sort of ''first among equals'' in post-Lenin collective leadership. Considering the hatred towards Tortsky among most of the party bureaucrats, I think that post-Lenin USSR would most likely end up in the hands of ''rightist'' communist faction with Bukharin successfuly lobbying the continuation of NEP and Trotsky's faction still being purged.

So, know were are moving to Germany. Hitler is killed in 1923 during the Beer Hall putsch and NSDAP is run by Gregor Strasser. In 1925, Wilhelm Marx wins presidential elections instead of Hindenburg. Considering that USSR is run by pragmatic right communists and Rykov himself had some vague nationalist symphaties, I think that this, combined with Gregor Strasser being a somewhat ''leftish'' and pragmatic nazi than Hitler (although not as leftish as his brother Otto) would result with pro-Moscow KPD and alt-NSDAP cooperating against the Weimar political establishment. In this scenario, NSDAP aquires power during the 1932 presidential elections with support of KPD (headed not by Thalmann but by Heinrich Brandler), some smaller nationalist groups and splinter SPD faction that considered president Wilhelm Marx ''unpatriotic''.

So, with right-wing communists and left-wing nationalists cooperating in Germany against the liberal centrist parties, would French and Spanish parties follow such model?
If so, I see that we would most likely see CEDA elected in Spain and communists (most likely IRL POUM, because IRL they belonged to right Bukharinist opposition) and alt-falangists forming a ''United Front'' and uprising against the government, thus strating the Spanish civil war. In France, without the Popular Front I think that some moderate conservative republicans under Louis Marin would win. Maurice Thorez loses the PCF power struggle to Jacques Doriot (he who was a promising communist until Thorez and stalinists exiled him from the Party for him advocating building coalition with socialists).

What do you think?
 
If Poland did better, why didn't they take Kijów/Kyiv or prop up the Ukrainians? After beating the Ukrainians for Galicia, they were technically fighting the USSR with Ukraine as their ally. Doing better means they can solidify Ukraine instead of splitting it with the Soviets (which AFAIK was done because they didn't have enough territory Poland herself didn't claim)
 
If Poland did better, why didn't they take Kijów/Kyiv or prop up the Ukrainians? After beating the Ukrainians for Galicia, they were technically fighting the USSR with Ukraine as their ally. Doing better means they can solidify Ukraine instead of splitting it with the Soviets (which AFAIK was done because they didn't have enough territory Poland herself didn't claim)
Like, they did better AFTER the Miracle on the Vistula and their improvement in comparison to OTL was minor (not enough to set up puppet Ukraine).
 
As a purely fictitious thought experiment? It’s interesting and somewhat novel.

As a scenario purportedly corresponding to historical fact and diverging based on a number of proposed cause-effect relationships? It could certainly use some work.

Red Army performing even worse than IRL during the second half of Soviet-Polish war ends the Stalin's rise to power. During this war he was a member of Revolutionary military council responsible for conducting the war. So, bigger Polish victory means that Lenin likely blames Stalin for defeat and he is removed from big Soviet politics.
This PoD would not end Stalin’s political career. As I understand it he was removed from his command just after the Polish counteroffensive. He would not have been on the front by the late stages of the war in which additional Polish incursions into Minsk and western Ukraine would have happened. Also, his conduct of the war was already harshly criticized in the Politburo.. I’m not sure some additional moving around of bodies of men in the borderlands would be enough to facilitate his full expulsion or exile from the party or political life. The usual “get rid of Stalin” PoDs like untimely illness or accidental brain hemorrhages still work though.

Without Stalin as a major contender, I think that SNK chairman Rykov would emerge as a some sort of ''first among equals'' in post-Lenin collective leadership. Considering the hatred towards Tortsky among most of the party bureaucrats, I think that post-Lenin USSR would most likely end up in the hands of ''rightist'' communist faction with Bukharin successfuly lobbying the continuation of NEP and Trotsky's faction still being purged.
The socio-political orientation of the party in the mid to late 1920s was not solely due to Stalin’s force of personality. It was a current in the party (of which Stalin represented) that would almost certainly remain dominant in the absence of any strong economic or social changes in the USSR in the preceding decade. It was a response to a crisis gripping the USSR which “rightist” policies of NEP continuation were not solving. The scissors crisis forced the party leadership to either back the strengthening of the smychka (middle and poor peasantry) or the industrial proletarians - it could not do both. Workers in the heart of the industrial USSR were facing significant issues and were beginning to openly articulate a political line against that of Bukharin’s NEP and pro-peasant orientation. Leningrad especially, with workers in the Putilov and Moscow-Narva districts heading calls for proletarians as a class to assert their leadership of the state. This fomented a dangerous split from the general line of the party, with Zinoviev leading this charge. Eventually Stalin would play the role by “rectifying” the NEP line and placing primacy on industrial/urban development schemes and squeezing the peasantry in the process. If you have access to academic journals, Clayton Black’s “Party Crisis and the Factory Shop Floor: Krasnyi Putilovets and the Leningrad Opposition, 1925-26” is vital reading.

Basically - “rightist USSR” means the ostensible social base of the party could pick up guns. Or they’ll find a Stalin if one isn’t provided for them.

So, know were are moving to Germany. Hitler is killed in 1923 during the Beer Hall putsch and NSDAP is run by Gregor Strasser. In 1925, Wilhelm Marx wins presidential elections instead of Hindenburg. Considering that USSR is run by pragmatic right communists and Rykov himself had some vague nationalist symphaties, I think that this, combined with Gregor Strasser being a somewhat ''leftish'' and pragmatic nazi than Hitler (although not as leftish as his brother Otto) would result with pro-Moscow KPD and alt-NSDAP cooperating against the Weimar political establishment. In this scenario, NSDAP aquires power during the 1932 presidential elections with support of KPD (headed not by Thalmann but by Heinrich Brandler), some smaller nationalist groups and splinter SPD faction that considered president Wilhelm Marx ''unpatriotic''.
This electoral coalition does not sound nearly viable or coherent enough to win German national elections. Betting that the KPD and the Comintern would sanction a Strasserist NSDAP is semi-dubious even if a “rightist” Comintern succeeded. There’s a non-zero chance of this happening anyway, but now the NSDAP will not receive any elite, army, or middle class backing within Weimar. Which was their greatest strength. They’ve thrown their ticket in with the revolutionaries when one of the strongest pillars of NSDAP success OTL was the accommodation with existing elites. In this timeline, they’ll be hounded and crushed by the army if they pose a serious threat, and the völkisch elements will find another home. The SPD would trounce a KPD-altNSDAP ticket. You’d have better luck with a national-revolutionary Röhm who remains aligned with the right and staunchly anti-communist because that’s the ticket to state power.

So, with right-wing communists and left-wing nationalists cooperating […] would French and Spanish parties follow such model?
This sounds like the Popular Front strategy in many ways. Getting national-revolutionary parties to work with communist organizations is possible, but it isn’t going to be like OTL. That’s because national-revolutionary platforms appeal to fundamentally different social base than national-socialist or fascist ones. Properly fascist parties appeal to the middle class, accommodate the ruling class, and project an image of the nation as an organism that needs to be rid of class agitation. National-revolutionary organizations compete with communist parties for membership of the proletariat and the lumpen. This can be seen by the ideologically contested ground in which much of the SA membership stood. I can talk about this more if needed. Fascist parties achieved the success that they did because of their particular role as anti-communists who will “do what is necessary to save the nation”, a realignment with national-revolutionaries will not see them achieve anywhere near the same success. They’ll just be another communist-adjacent political orientation to be repressed and destroyed by state organs, especially in the Weimar Republic.

And so we end up with a more drawn out version of OTL. The Strasserists are destroyed in mass political violence wrought by a völkisch-fascist right, it’s just this time it’ll be in the days following the Enabling Act rather than the Unternehmen Kolibri..
 
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As a purely fictitious thought experiment? It’s interesting and somewhat novel.

As a scenario purportedly corresponding to historical fact and diverging based on a number of proposed cause-effect relationships? It could certainly use some work.


This PoD would not end Stalin’s political career. As I understand it he was removed from his command just after the Polish counteroffensive. He would not have been on the front by the late stages of the war in which additional Polish incursions into Minsk and western Ukraine would have happened. Also, his conduct of the war was already harshly criticized in the Politburo.. I’m not sure some additional moving around of bodies of men in the borderlands would be enough to facilitate his full expulsion or exile from the party or political life. The usual “get rid of Stalin” PoDs like untimely illness or accidental brain hemorrhages still work though.


The socio-political orientation of the party in the mid to late 1920s was not solely due to Stalin’s force of personality. It was a current in the party (of which Stalin represented) that would almost certainly remain dominant in the absence of any strong economic or social changes in the USSR in the preceding decade. It was a response to a crisis gripping the USSR which “rightist” policies of NEP continuation were not solving. The scissors crisis forced the party leadership to either back the strengthening of the smychka (middle and poor peasantry) or the industrial proletarians - it could not do both. Workers in the heart of the industrial USSR were facing significant issues and were beginning to openly articulate a political line against that of Bukharin’s NEP and pro-peasant orientation. Leningrad especially, with workers in the Putilov and Moscow-Narva districts heading calls for proletarians as a class to assert their leadership of the state. This fomented a dangerous split from the general line of the party, with Zinoviev leading this charge. Eventually Stalin would play the role by “rectifying” the NEP line and placing primacy on industrial/urban development schemes and squeezing the peasantry in the process. If you have access to academic journals, Clayton Black’s “Party Crisis and the Factory Shop Floor: Krasnyi Putilovets and the Leningrad Opposition, 1925-26” is vital reading.

Basically - “rightist USSR” means the ostensible social base of the party might pick up guns. Or they’ll find a Stalin if one isn’t provided for them.


This electoral coalition does not sound nearly viable or coherent enough to win German national elections. Betting that the KPD and the Comintern would sanction a Strasserist NSDAP is semi-dubious even if a “rightist” Comintern succeeded. There’s a non-zero chance of this happening anyway, but now the NSDAP will not receive any elite, army, or middle class backing within Weimar. Which was their greatest strength. They’ve thrown their ticket in with the revolutionaries when one of the strongest pillars of NSDAP success OTL was the accommodation with existing elites. In this timeline, they’ll be hounded and crushed by the army if they pose a serious threat, and the völkisch elements will find another home. The SPD would trounce a KPD-altNSDAP ticket. You’d have better luck with a national-revolutionary Röhm who remains aligned with the right and staunchly anti-communist because that’s the ticket to state power.


This sounds like the Popular Front strategy in many ways. Getting national-revolutionary parties to work with communist organizations is possible, but it isn’t going to be like OTL. That’s because national-revolutionary platforms appeal to fundamentally different social base than national-socialist or fascist ones. Properly fascist parties appeal to the middle class, accommodate the ruling class, and project an image of the nation as an organism that needs to be rid of class agitation. National-revolutionary organizations compete with communist parties for membership of the proletariat and the lumpen. This can be seen by the ideologically contested ground in which much of the SA membership stood. I can talk about this more if needed. Fascist parties achieved the success that they did because of their particular role as anti-communists who will “do what is necessary to save the nation”, a realignment with national-revolutionaries will not see them achieve anywhere near the same success. They’ll just be another communist-adjacent political orientation to be repressed and destroyed by state organs, especially in the Weimar Republic.

And so we end up with a more drawn out version of OTL. The Strasserists are destroyed in mass political violence wrought by a völkisch-fascist right, it’s just this time it’ll be in the days following the Enabling Act rather than the Unternehmen Kolibri..
👍 Very nice analysis of Soviet 20s politics

I would add that even if Stalin was out of the picture, someone else in the party would step up.
 
This PoD would not end Stalin’s political career. As I understand it he was removed from his command just after the Polish counteroffensive. He would not have been on the front by the late stages of the war in which additional Polish incursions into Minsk and western Ukraine would have happened. Also, his conduct of the war was already harshly criticized in the Politburo.. I’m not sure some additional moving around of bodies of men in the borderlands would be enough to facilitate his full expulsion or exile from the party or political life. The usual “get rid of Stalin” PoDs like untimely illness or accidental brain hemorrhages still work though.
Ok, I think that I must elaborate here. Firstly, Stalin's career being dmaged doesn't mean his complete downfall. It's rather about his reputation being severely decreased and him being sent to some second-tier job away from Kremlin (the return of Dzhugashvili to Georgia?). Basically, there were speculations about a Party trial on ones responsible for the poor conduct of war, but Lenin decided that it would be excessive. So, in this world, a Party trial is organized after the war and the caree of both Stalin and Tukhachevsky get a huge blow.

The reason why i've chosen this PoD is that getting Stalin just die by accident or illness is a really boring way to get rid out of him. Like, the Soviet-Polish War was perhaps one of the very few times when Stalin's rise was threatened.

The socio-political orientation of the party in the mid to late 1920s was not solely due to Stalin’s force of personality. It was a current in the party (of which Stalin represented) that would almost certainly remain dominant in the absence of any strong economic or social changes in the USSR in the preceding decade. It was a response to a crisis gripping the USSR which “rightist” policies of NEP continuation were not solving. The scissors crisis forced the party leadership to either back the strengthening of the smychka (middle and poor peasantry) or the industrial proletarians - it could not do both. Workers in the heart of the industrial USSR were facing significant issues and were beginning to openly articulate a political line against that of Bukharin’s NEP and pro-peasant orientation. Leningrad especially, with workers in the Putilov and Moscow-Narva districts heading calls for proletarians as a class to assert their leadership of the state. This fomented a dangerous split from the general line of the party, with Zinoviev leading this charge. Eventually Stalin would play the role by “rectifying” the NEP line and placing primacy on industrial/urban development schemes and squeezing the peasantry in the process.
I know all this. Like, I am a Russian myself. And yeah, I pretty much acknowledge that having ''rightist'' USSR means Soviet policies becomes more pro-peasant and less pro-worker. But the Bukharinist faction main advantage was that the USSR in 1920s was still a mostly agrarian country with peasants making up the majority of population. Basically, alt VKP(b) in this timeline could make the same ideological turn that Mao did in China- say that the communists must rely mostly on peasantry in an agrarian country. While I understand that the CCP adopted such line only after the KMT massacared the pro-CCP Shanghai workers, but it's still imaginable Rykov and Bukharin stressing the rural nature of Russia and the need to adapt the Party line to it. Most importantly, is that they still engage in fighting with Trotsky and could blame all their opponents for ''ultra-leftism'', ''bonapartism'' and etc. Like, you say that this will provoke unrest among workers, but IRL Soviet policies of the time caused some peasant uprisings. I even remember reading one of the Moscow trials protocols with Ezhov ridiculous claims about Bukharin- that he wanted to start a massive peasant uprising in order to establish a separatist Siberian state. So, in this timeline we can just see chekists or Red Army supressing some worker uprisings instead of peasant ones (like, more Krondstadt-like events or even ''earlier Novocherkassk''.) With those workers being blamed for ''ultra-leftism'' and ''trotskyism''.


Basically - “rightist USSR” means the ostensible social base of the party might pick up guns. Or they’ll find a Stalin if one isn’t provided for them.
I know that it's just few years after the Civil War, but in Russia we generelly don't have the culture of civilian gun ownership. Most of the ordinary workers in Soviet Union doesn't have guns. Plus, before the Stalin started to expand the Party memebership making it a mass organization, it was mostly cosisted of professional revolutionaries and intellectuals and had a relatively low amount of workers.
Actualy, I don't see VKP(b) rightists purging OTL Stalinists. Without Stalin, Molotov is the most likely figure to become the leader of alt-"Stalinist" faction that would compete with the ''rightists'' in future.

This electoral coalition does not sound nearly viable or coherent enough to win German national elections. Betting that the KPD and the Comintern would sanction a Strasserist NSDAP is semi-dubious even if a “rightist” Comintern succeeded. There’s a non-zero chance of this happening anyway, but now the NSDAP will not receive any elite, army, or middle class backing within Weimar. Which was their greatest strength. They’ve thrown their ticket in with the revolutionaries when one of the strongest pillars of NSDAP success OTL was the accommodation with existing elites. In this timeline, they’ll be hounded and crushed by the army if they pose a serious threat, and the völkisch elements will find another home. The SPD would trounce a KPD-altNSDAP ticket. You’d have better luck with a national-revolutionary Röhm who remains aligned with the right and staunchly anti-communist because that’s the ticket to state power.
Like, one of the major PoDs for my scenario is that Wilhelm Marx wins the 1925 elections (as it was a close race OTL). Without a conservative Hindenburg who played a large role at starting German re-arment and accomodating old military elites, there woud be much less support of the military to the Weimar government. Wilhelm Marx was pretty suscpicious about von Seeckt's efforts to secretly improve the state of Reichswher by cooperating with Moscow and most likely would have pursued much more pro-Entente foreign policy than Hindenburg did. So, with president Marx we have a German military that is much less satisfied with the government and may be much more symphatizing with the revolutionary radicals of NSDAP and KPD (which during 1920s was adopting some revanchist anti-Entente slogans for populist aims). Considering that Germany also doesn't have a tradition of military coups like Latin countries, there is a high probability that NSDAP-KPD ticket is elected and a major part of military is happy about this ''revolution through ballout'' raplcing the defeatist Zentrum-SPD coalition.

Actually, with Hitler dead after the Beer Hall Putsch there is no SS and SA remain the prime and only NSDAP paramilitary. I envision Rhom to play a Himmler-like role for Strasser.

This sounds like the Popular Front strategy in many ways. Getting national-revolutionary parties to work with communist organizations is possible, but it isn’t going to be like OTL. That’s because national-revolutionary platforms appeal to fundamentally different social base than national-socialist or fascist ones. Properly fascist parties appeal to the middle class, accommodate the ruling class, and project an image of the nation as an organism that needs to be rid of class agitation. National-revolutionary organizations compete with communist parties for membership of the proletariat and the lumpen. This can be seen by the ideologically contested ground in which much of the SA membership stood. I can talk about this more if needed. Fascist parties achieved the success that they did because of their particular role as anti-communists who will “do what is necessary to save the nation”, a realignment with national-revolutionaries will not see them achieve anywhere near the same success. They’ll just be another communist-adjacent political orientation to be repressed and destroyed by state organs, especially in the Weimar Republic.
Yeah, my post was about possible alt-''Popular Front'' of communists and left-wing nationalists. And for Spain and France I pertty much thought that such strategy would have been much less successful than OTL Popular Fronts.
Like, I think that the part about the ''middle class'' applies much more to Hitler's national-socialism rather than to ''proper fascism''. Because while you are right about fascist negative attitude towards the class struggle, I think that ypu underestimate the anti-bourgeoisie aspect of fascism. Fascism originated in Italy as a futurist revolutionary movement consisting mostly of WW1 veterans and students-the ones who are excluded from the conomic life. They despised the middle-class as petty merchants and cowards whose morale is opposite to the fascist cult of war, strength, bravery, danger and death. Basically, I think that we must remember that Nietzschean existentialism is a philosophical core of fascism-without it fascist regimes would have turned into simple grey dictatorships of Franco, Salazar, Horty and etc. The appeal to middle-class and elites is not essential part of fascism- it's just a startegy to gain wide support that was dictated by the historic circumstances.
Actually, if we consider that Weimar republic in my scenario lacks Hindenburg, it's imaginable that we could have got the alt-NSDAP in a position similar to IRL Baath party- a national-revolutionary organization with it's main base being patriotic military officers who despise foreign imperialism. So, the allaince of alt-NASDAP and alt-KPD would pretty much be the allaince of workers, lumpens, soldiers and nationalist intellectuals like Ernst Junger.
 
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