What if the USSR had decided to keep Bornholm??

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Euroman1981, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Euroman1981 Member

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    In 1945 the Red Army landed on the danish Island of Bornholm. But after intense negotiations in the fall of 1945, the Red Army left Bornholm in 1946. One of the things the Danes had to promise the USSR was not place any large millitary installations on the Island. But what if these talks had failed? And the Russians had keept Bornholm? How could this have effected Denmark? A very liberal country? Who in OTL had a somewhat neutral some would call naive relation to the USSR.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Maeglin Lómion

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    Denmark was a founding member of NATO.
     
  3. Euroman1981 Member

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    True, however Denmark never had a harwkish attitude towards the USSR like other NATO members. I wonder if a Sovjet occupied Bornholm could changed that?
     
  4. Maeglin Lómion

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    Being a NATO member is basically the definition of having a hawkish attitude to the USSR/Russia. Seeing as Denmark was never in a position to build up its own forces, are you envisaging a Denmark that basically tries to encourage the US and UK to pick fights on its behalf?

    (To be honest, I think the most likely situation here is that Sweden joins NATO).
     
  5. Euroman1981 Member

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    In a way yes. Denmark had several leftist governments from the late 1960s through the 1970s. Who cut down on defence spending such that Denmark never reached the 2% GDP NATO required. I envision this would change if Bornholm had been lost to the USSR.
     
  6. Jukra Well-Known Member

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    Google Public Data lists Danish defense spending as between 2-3% GDP from 1960's to 1990's, with low point of 1,87% in 1986. But, considering Denmark probably had the capability to defend Sjaelland against Soviet-GDR-Polish landing operation and thus capable of closing the entrance to the Baltic, what's the point of spending more?
     
  7. Nephi Well-Known Member

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    Yes it would they would probably still officially claim the island.
     
  8. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    Skåne and Blekinge becomes one of the most guarded places on Earth with Sweden having a standing brigade near the coast at all time and Karlskrona harbor is even more guarded than OTL. This might cause Sweden to join NATO
     
  9. DrakonFin Operator

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    If you don't mind, I'll copy and repost my comment from the last similar thread:

    The question is why would Stalin do this? Just to be a dick to little Denmark? Do the strategic benefits of keeping the island outweigh the negative diplomatic effects of the continued occupation of Bornholm? I don't personally think so. Both the Danish and the Swedish governments would be quite unhappy with the USSR setting up shop on Bornholm in the long term (for obvious reasons), and thus this move by the Soviets would cause more anti-Soviet feelings in both Denmark and Sweden than IOTL. Depending on the butterflies, this TL could well see Sweden go *NATO along with Denmark.

    EDIT: It just occurred to me that after Stalin's death, the Soviet government would likely pull its troops from Bornholm in the interest of a diplomatic "reset" and "peaceful coexistence" in the Nordic area in the 50s. Compare this with returning the Porkkala lease area to Finland in 1956. By that time, though, the occupation would have already caused significant political and diplomatic damage to the USSR already.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  10. Jukra Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the Baltic was already a Soviet backyard thanks to occupation zone in Germany, Poland and Baltic countries. Bornholm was of no strategic significance. Porkkala might be more justified in sense of keeping Finland in the leash, but having Bornholm would not have the same effect upon Denmark, rather likely the opposite.
     
  11. Alanith Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that after Stalin dies, the USSR would, as previously mentioned, pull out. By that point however, the damage is done, and you've got Sweden as a founding NATO member, offering air and naval bases a comparatively short distance from the USSR itself.
     
  12. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    It would be a grave diplomatic overreach by the USSR.

    Other territorial changes in Europe were at the expense of the Axis (Poland lost territory but was compensated from Germany; the Baltic states had been absorbed in 1940).

    This would be aggression by the USSR against an innocent country - a victim of the Axis - with no trace of internal political cover. What are Soviets going to do? Proclaim the "People's Republic of Denmark" in Bornholm?

    It would destroy any pretence of cooperation between the USSR and the 'world community'.
     
  13. DrakonFin Operator

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    Strictly speaking, the great majority of the land the USSR annexed in Europe as a result of the WWII era had been conquered already before the beginning of Op. Barbarossa, at a time when Stalin was de facto allied with Hitler - Eastern Poland, the Baltic states, parts of eastern Finland, Bessarabia. Practically only Kaliningrad and Petsamo were annexed by the USSR from Germany and its allies after the war, without having already become parts of the Soviet Union by 1940. But being on the winning side, the USSR still could keep its originally ill-gotten gains by default. They had been, after all, already annexed by the USSR de facto and in Moscow's view de jure, too.

    In Norway and Denmark, though, the USSR was only temporarily since 1945, to beat the German occupier and to help the locals. Like you said, Denmark was not an Axis ally at any point, but a straight-up victim of German aggression. We can argue that there was a tacit understanding between the USSR and the Western Allies that the occupation would have to end in the near future after Germany was beaten. This temporary occupation of parts of Norway and Denmark was thus very different from the Red Army presence in other parts of Eastern and Central Europe, where the postwar Soviet occupation took place in agreement with the Western Allies, even if that agreement was certainly grudging.
     
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  14. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    Also Ruthenia, which had been taken by Hungary in 1938. And Liepaja/Memel, acquired by Germany from Lithuania before the Soviet takeover.

    There were a few other late changes - Poland's acquistions from Germany, obviously. And Yugoslavia's acquisitions from Italy (Zara, Istria, some islands); and the Dodecanese Islands went to Greece.

    Also, ISTR that a fleck of land at the eastern tip of Austria was transferred. (shown on a map in a book I can't reach now.)
     
  15. DrakonFin Operator

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    Thank you for adding what I missed. I was sure that there was a bit more than Kaliningrad and Petsamo, but couldn't remember offhand. The point stands, though, that the USSR annexed more land in 1939-41 than in the years immediately after 1944-45 and it also got to keep (with minor changes) all those pre-Barbarossa gains after 1945. The most WWII gains by the USSR then came from nations that were not Axis at the time, or even later.

    Quite. This is, though, outside the scope of what I was commenting on, namely the USSR's gains before the Great Patriotic War and after it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  16. General Tirpitz Well-Known Member

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    It should be noted that in 1945 it wasn't yet clear that Denmark would necessarily align itself so tightly militarily with the US and Western Europe. Stalin, not having an ability to predict future, wouldn't want to alianate Danes at this stage too much and push them to ally themselves with western powers.

    In order to this happen, Stalin must be sure at minimum that 1) Sweden would be okay with having a Soviet military base about 35km from its southern coast and would stay neutral and 2) know that regardless of what the USSR does, the Denmark will ally itself with the west. Both of these seem unlikely.
     
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