WWII turns into WWIII

Gentlemen,

I was posted an alternate history scenario by a friend, but I don't know where he got it from. I posted a reply, but I don't know if it reached the fellow. In any case, his words and my reply bring up many things that are often discussed concerning WWII turning into WWIII, by an insane insubordinate Patton or such-like. So I thought it worthy of posting up here.
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Some time ago Steve Phenow described an alternate history scenario, where the Soviets press on into Western Europe after the surrender of Nazi Germany. I consider this scenario implausible in its foundation, and wrong in its conclusions. It is a scenario one might see in a game, and bears no relation to any plausible reality.

SP: …the DoD…. wanted [SP's university group] to wargame a scenario, why I have no idea, if Potsdam
failed, and the USSR continued to occupy Western Europe after being
warned not to.

KS: The sources of DoD actions and ideas are mysterious and unknown. However, the basis of this scenario is implausible.

Recall that Stalin had been a commander in the Southern Front during the Russian Civil War. He had been a part of Lenin’s peace with Germany in 1918; he had seen that even with the collapse of Germany, Russian recovery of Finland and the Baltics was impossible at that time. He murdered thousands who supported Trotsky’s idea of “world revolution,†he was a supporter of the idea of revolution in Russia first, which would then magically lead to revolution elsewhere. This, it should be remembered, was part of the reason the Bolsheviks made peace with the Germans in 1918, and co-operated with Pilsudski in Poland during the Civil War – make peace and agree over borders, since borders will all disappear in a few years anyway as the Socialist Revolution overtakes the world.

There were thoughts like this in the Soviet Union in 1945 and onwards, too. Soviet officials, and left-wing liberal intellegensia in the West, were predicting the imminent spontaneous collapse of capitalism from about 1918 to 1980. Whether Stalin really believed this humbug is another matter entirely, of course. But the point remains that Stalin, having experienced the collapse of an empire, was aware of the limits of empire. He proceeded cautiously in Eastern Europe. He could simply have walked in and murdered all the officials and intellgensia of Eastern Europe in 1945, and directly annexed those lands to the Soviet Union, as he had done with the Poles in 1939. But he did not.

Why? Because he had other means to take over. First, remove the Nazis and other rightists from positions of authority, leaving only the centre and left parties. Second, hold vaguely democratic elections. Rely on the memory of the Nazis to discredit any political parties other than the various Socialist parties, since those other parties, or individuals from them, had almost all co-operated enthusiastically with the Nazis. That leaves just the Social Democrats, Communists, etc. Third, after leftist victories in elections, absorb all the parties into the Communist parties. Lastly, do away with pesky elections, etc, and have the national governments sign “defensive†pacts with Russia.

Stalin did not seek to annex these places, since annexation was unnecessary. The point of conquest is to get political control of an area, to harness its resources and manpower. All three could be accomplished without annexations in Eastern Europe. Why fight to get what you can get without fighting?

Stalin was under the impression that similar things would happen in Greece, Italy and France. He didn’t think it necessary to send Soviet troops there, he thought they’d be largely communist all by themselves, or at least socialist, and that the American troops would demobilise quickly after the defeat of Germany (as they had in 1919 onwards), leaving Western Europe susceptible to subtle threats from Moscow. Why fight when you can get what you want without fighting?

Additionally, it’s a sensible rule of warfare to secure your rear before heading forwards. Having sponsored communist partisans against the Germans in Eastern Europe, Stalin was well aware of what they could do. Imagine you’re a General in the Soviet Army, pressing forward towards France. Wouldn’t you be nervous about the 3-4,000km supply line from Russia? I would be.

The scenario also forgets Japan. Stalin pursued historical goals of Russia, and sought to rewrite the defeats of the past into victories. Thus, he sought to recover Finland (or parts thereof) and the Baltics (lost in 1919). He took Bessarabia (long quarelled over with Romania), and sought control of Manchuria and Korea, which had been fought over and lost to Japan in 1905. Now, were Stalin to try to expand in Western Europe, he would have to abandon Russia’s ambitions in Manchuria. He would have wasted billions of roubles spent on improving rail networks in the Far East, all designed to improve Russia’s war-fighting ability there. Russian predominance in China was an important idea to Russian nationalists, and the success of Mao’s troops suggested that was an achieveable goal. But Stalin wanted them to achieve this goal with Russian help – which would make them grateful and subservient, like Poland – rather than achieving it alone – which would make them ambitious and annoying, like Yugoslavia. To this end, the USSR had at various times supported both Mao's lot and the Kuomintang.

SP: After Hitler's death, the Wehrmacht, SS, and even civilian Germans
offered their services, to fight the USSR.

KS: “Offering service†and “offer accepted†are two different things. When a nation is plainly defeated in a war, sometimes its leaders start having wild ideas. “If only the allies against us were split… we could fight with one ally against the other!†Since a split in the alliance was the only hope for Germany’s survival in 1918 and 1945, this is what Wilhelm and Adolf hoped for.

Consider Kaiser Wilhelm. He was pressured to abdicate for some time. He hummed and hawed. He searched everywhere for support; but the army, the people, they’d had enough. Eventually he agreed to abidcate as Kaiser of Germany, while remaining King of Prussia. As he prepared to leave for his estates near Berlin, a message arrived: the Chancellor, not being willing to wait on the Kaiser’s word, had announced that the Kaiser had resigned as both Kaiser and King, and would go to neutral Holland. (Nov 9 1918)

However, less than a day before this coup, the Kaiser had dreamt of peace with the western allies, and an alliance with them against Bolshevism. “A solid dyke has to be built against these follies,†he said. His ideas were continued after his abdication. The various leaders of Germany all said to the Allies, you must remove the blockade against us, help feed Germany, or Germany will become Bolshevik! But the Allies simply didn’t care. Germany was to be defeated; that was their sole concern.

But ten days before that (29 Oct 1918), Kaiser Wilhelm had expressed to Admiral Muller a “European Monroe Doctrine.†He said, “Well, this is a strange reversal of the situation. The English are at loggerheads with the Americans.†The Kaiser thought a peace offer could be made to England, not the US; then sign a treaty with the Japanese (then British allies, and at war in word if not in deed with Germany; Japanese destroyers had escorted troops to Gallipoli) to throw the Americans out of Europe. He imagined Japanese divisions arriving via Serbia to join with the British and Germans on the Western Front – against America.

Hitler had similar dreams, of course. Once he became the enemy of every major power in the world, save for the Japanese, rather than simply saying, “woops, I screwed up, didn’t I,†he started to have wild dreams of allying with one enemy against another. He quite simply failed to see the enmity he’d created in the West. Remember that when Churchill was criticised for his good words about the tyrannical Stalin in 1941, he replied, “if Hitler were to invade Hell, I should at least have a fine word to say about the Devil.â€

The Germans failed to understand that if the Allies did not care if Germany starved and turned to Bolshevism in 1918, they would not care in 1945.

Already Nazis and top Generals had been arrested, and the Allies were preparing their war crimes trials. It’s easy to say, “remove the top Nazis, fight on,†but it’s not that simple in practice. It took years to remove all the Nazis. The Allies viewed removing Nazism from Germany as like removing Christianity from France – doable, but still, the base philosophy was there. They simply didn’t trust the Germans. Remember that there were no substantial West German elections until 1949, and they weren’t given effective independence until 1955. They were under foreign military occupation and rule. They weren’t trusted. If they didn’t trust them in peacetime, they certainly wouldn’t trust them in battle.

Thus, the scenario is simply implausible in its basis. Stalin didn’t want to invade Western Europe; he had Japanese and Chinese fish to fry, a long way away. Even if it would be nice to control all of Europe, it didn’t seem possible or practicable; much better simply to influence their politics through the usual Soviet methods. After years of bloody right-wing oppression, it seemed reasonable to think that Western Europe might flip over to the left-wing, giving the Soviets an ideological “foot in the door.â€

The scenario is, in essence, a “wargame†scenario. In such a scenario, men and materiel are represented by counters and numbers. As Clausewitz said, when the political is removed from the military, you are left with a thing, “devoid of sense.â€

SP: The US is now caught in another two front war. Truman has 3 Nuclear
weapons at his disposal, but they are political weapons, not offensive.

KS: Again, the bizarre separation between politics and the military. War is the continuation of politics by other means, since the point of politics is to get the other guy to do what you want him to do; and the point of war is to get the other guy to do what you want him to do. Perhaps when you crunch the numbers of casualties and so on through a computer, there’s no difference between a nuclear weapon and a strategic bombing (like Hamburg or Dresden or Tokyo), but in practice, it’s a different matter. Weapons can produce a psychological effect out of proportion to their physical damage. Most especially, this applies when a new weapon is first used.

The idea that they are “political weapons, not offensiveâ€, is also contradicted later on in the scenario when they are used to destroy Red armies. If the destruction of an entire army is not the use of an “offensive weapon,†then what is?

SP: We assume the Russians do not declare war on Japan, and
starts to marshal strength to invade the West.

KS: As noted above, an assumption without any basis in fact; its basis is that without that assumption, there is no scenario.

SP: The American/Commonwealth/German armies have gone on the defensive. The new Allies have supplied the German Defense Force, equipment.

KS: Military forces were not called, “Defense (sic) Forces†in those days. They were called Army, Navy, Airforce; there was a Secretary of War, not of Defence.

Exactly why the Allies would supply the Germans with new equipment is a mystery to me; overall, the German equipment was okay. Throwing away their perfectly good rifles and giving them new rifles wastes months. Why do it?

SP: At the same time, unless a Nazi was involved in death camps or other atrocities, he has rejoined the GDF to fight against the Bear invader.

KS: Again, why? Do the Allies not have enough troops or something? They need unreliable Germans, Germans who’ve already been defeated by three countries? No; they’d go to Prisoner of War camps. Who do you trust? Every German interviewed said, “oh, I was strictly non-political. I knew nothing about atrocities, and if I did, I was only obeying orders.†It took years to sort it all out. The purpose of the war crimes trials was not just to punish the guilty, but to find people who were innocent enough that you could trust them to run the country and serve in the new military.

You seriously expect the American and British soldiers who liberated Dachau and Buchenwald, 200 of whose men were machinegunned in a church during the German retreat – these guys are supposed to fight alongside the Germans, against the Russians, who were sending to the world film from Auschwitz? Nowadays, because the Germans are in NATO with the rest of the West, we like to make fine moral distinctions between “Nazi†and “Wehrmacht.†The Allies didn’t at this time, and nor did their soldiers.

There’s no way in hell that Americans and British soldiers would fight alongside the Germans in 1945.

SP: However, Guderian, Kliest, Patton, & Bradley began to set up defensive strategy, planning counteroffensive.

KS: You’re forgetting that there were four charges at the Nuermberg Trials. Not merely “crimes against humanityâ€, but “crimes against peace†(waging war in the first place), “war crimes†(fighting the war with atrocities), and “conspiracy to wage aggressive war†(planning to fight the war). Let’s for a moment entertain the absurd myth that only card-carrying Nazis, and a few members of the SS, committed crimes against humanity; three of the four charges remain, and can be, and were, applied against senior German Generals. Some of them hanged for it, others were given life sentences, but of course released after a few token years.

In the eyes of the Allies, Guderian, Kleist and so on were war criminals. Wouldn’t matter if Guderian converted to Judaism or Quakerism or Communism or became openly gay or admitted to Gypsy blood or turned out to be an epilectic (ie, was one of the many candidates for the death camps) and saved enough Jews to shame Schlindler – still, he could be done for three out of four counts. The Allies took this seriously. They weren’t simply pissed off because of the way Germany had fought the war – they were pissed off at having to fight it in the first place! There’s no way they’d let these guys remain in charge of a “German Defence Force.â€

SP: The T-34/86 is a good tank, but the M-4 E-8 using tungsten discarding sabot can engage and knock out Soviet armor at distances. The survivability is still poor, but they are enough to make a difference. There are still 1000 Mark V Panthers, each worth their weight in gold. [Snip much more such similar stuff worshipping shiny toys]

KS: Here we come to the “meat†of the scenario. The obsession with equipment, the idea that war is nothing but a clash of shiny toys, and the guy with the most and shiniest toys wins. No. If that were true, the French would have won in May 1940, the Czechs would have fought and won in 1938, and Russia would have been defeated by August 1941. The Japanese and their submarines, with superior torpedoes to the Americans, would have destroyed US commerce in the Pacific; rather than having their own destroyed.

SP: In fact the Soviet build up is not as swift as Stalin would like. Blame
the Long Range Strategic Bombing….hitting assembly points and supply points of the Soviet Armies.

KS: Strategic bombing failed to defeat the Germans, or the Koreans, or the Vietnamese; I fail to see why it’d be so successful against the Soviets. Airforce Generals and Marshals keep telling us how bombers will win the next war for us; they’ve been saying it for eighty years, but haven’t managed it yet. We still need to send in the guys on foot.

Strategic bombing had zippo effect on the Battle of the Bulge, or of Normandy, or at Monte Cassino, etc. Suddenly, against the Red Army, it’s effective?

Of course, we may argue that because the US and UK won the war, strategic bombing worked. On the other hand, though, the Soviets used very little strategic bombing, and also defeated the Germans; and the US/UK victory was hardly at breakneck pace.

SP: Logistics already stretched by the Great Patriotic War are being
pushed to the breaking point. [by strategic bombing]

KS: As noted above, the greater danger was from partisans. The Soviets, having made good use of partisans in three wars (Civil War, Polish War, and WWII), knew what they could do. There’s a good (military, if not moral) reason Stalin stopped on the way to Warsaw in July 1944 – to make sure the Germans wiped out the non-communist partisans, who might continue their partisan activities against a Soviet occupation. But they were still around various parts of Europe, and would have to be dealt with. Why make it hard on yourself by overstretching your resources?

Even supposing the magical effectiveness of strategic bombing, exactly why the Soviets would fail to foresee this problem is a mystery to me. Of course, leaders make mistakes, and Stalin certainly made plenty. But such a mistake seems to me rather, “forced,†like the very basis of the scenario. It’s not a case of “this could have happened, and what would then happen is…†more like, “we want so-and-so to happen. What could have caused it?†Rather than supposing a cause, and extrapolating a plausible effect, SP and his colleagues supposed an effect, and cast about for a cause, without considering its plausibility, only its suitability to their desired effect.

SP: News from Japan shocks the world! A city in Japan has ceased to exist.
The Yankees have a weapon of great power. A military revolt that follows
against the Emperor is put down bloodily…

KS: to suppose that there could be a military revolt “against the Emperor†in Japan is to completely fail to understand anything about Japanese history of the past several centuries. Even those who revolted against what the Emperor did, invariably cast their revolt in terms of, “we are revolting against those who have badly advised the Emperor, and who imprison him.†It might be noted that Japan’s surrender in real history occasioned a small revolt, as some troops sought to seize the Emperor, saying, it’s not the will of the Emperor that we should surrender, he’s just badly advised.

The military was always in full support of the war, and of the Emperor. Only sections of the Navy had doubts about the war, and various arrests and so on ensured that such “defeatist†officers were removed.

SP: and many of the War Hawks are killed or kill themselves in apology for misleading the Emperor and ruining Japan in a useless war. The Emperor surrenders a week later.

KS: The nature of the “war hawks†in all nations is that they never blame themselves for defeat. Victory is to their credit, defeat is someone else’s fault. Thus, Ludendorff’s “stab in the back†myth, and the postwar German Generals’ memoirs which cried as one, “we were geniuses, but Hitler screwed it up for us!†Or Westmoreland’s claim that “public opposition defeated us in Vietnam.†Or MacArthur’s claim that it was Truman’s fault that the UN lost its gains in North Korea. Generals blame the political leadership, or the public, for their defeats, and assign credit to themselves for their victories. That’s just their way.

As to those who advised the Emperor, his Ministers – remarkably few of them gutted themselves. “Honourable death†was for their young men, not themselves. Tojo didn’t suicide, he was hanged by the Allies.

SP: Stalin sees the handwriting on the wall….
Even though he has left Moscow and is somewhere in the Urals…

KS: Why, precisely, would Stalin flee Moscow? If he didn’t flee after the massive defeats of late 1941 against the Germans, with German forces not 100km from the city, I fail to see why he would flee in late 1945, with Allied and German forces… where, exactly? Poland, perhaps? Remember, this is the man who ordered, “Not one step back!†This is the man who as Southern Front commander in the Civil War fought Denikin… Stalin may be accused of murder, of treachery, of treason, of genocide, of tyranny, of bad diplomatic judgment – but not of cowardice.

SP: [Stalin] does not believe that the US will use those rumored weapons on Russian cities. Americans do not destroy historical places.

KS: Then what the hell is Stalin doing in the Urals? Allied bombers can’t reach Moscow, the Allies are, you say he thinks, not willing to use atomic bombs on Russia, and the front line is 2,000 km away in Germany. So he flees to the Urals! This is like Roosevelt fleeing to Oklahoma during the Battle of the Bulge.

Stalin is being credited here with a rather generous view of American capitalist-imperialists (as he would have termed them). To say Stalin thought Americans wouldn’t destroy historical places is like saying that Hitler thought the Royal Navy would be too scared to fight the Kriegsmarine. It’s a joke.

SP: The US has unbrideled resources, Stalin realizes. Better get this over quick.

KS: Why, exactly, did Stalin then send his forces into Western Europe? After screaming for American resources from 1942 to 1944, and bellowing for the opening of a Second Front in Europe, Stalin only NOW realises that the US has great resources? Did he not, perhaps, consider this prior to invading Western Europe? Oh, that’s right – he did – which is why he never invaded Western Europe. We’re back to the implausible premise.

SP: Shame he cannot send attack bombers to sink such a tempting target. But the carrier might as well be on the moon. The Yankees rule the skies.
Yet he will throw nearly 2.5 million men across a 45 mile front in three
days. Lets see how Yankee air power handles that! he thought savegly!

KS: 2.5 million men on a 45 mile front (and the Soviets used kilometres, not miles – a minor point, but the thoughts of a Soviet commander are being described, after all), apart from the utter impossibility of supply them all – Yankee air power would handle that extremely well. The principle that a dense concentration of men is a tempting target for artillery and air power is a pretty old and obvious one.

Why, exactly, would the Soviet commander present the Americans with such an easy opportunity? After all, he thinks that “the Yankees rule the skies.â€

“The American capitalist-imperialists rule the skies. Therefore, let’s concentrate our armies to be a tempting target to them, and make it easy for them to wipe us out.†By the same reasoning, platoon commanders, when faced with enemy machinegun fire, will tell their men to stand close together, shoulder to shoulder, like at Waterloo. “Let’s see how their machienguns handle that!â€

What the hell is Zhukov doing?

SP: Two days later, six bombers leave their Dutch base, with ten escorting
fighters. The few observers who see the big silver craft lift off,
comment how loaded down with bombs they must be. They disappear to the
east.

KS: Aha, now we see why the Soviet Army concentrates so densely. So that the Americans can nuke them, and destroy them utterly.

Again, what we see here is not a consideration of cause and effect, but a desired effect (destruction of Red Army), and a cause (Red Army concentrates) summoned from nowhere to bring it about. “How can the Red Army be destroyed? Only if they stupidily concentrate and get nuked. Okay, let’s concentrate them and nuke them.â€

SP: Anything a mile and half within these suns ceases to exist. 100,000 men
vanishes as well as their tanks, APCs and trucks. Five miles away from
the blast zone people are torn apart from the shock wave, by ten miles,
the people are dying, burned, blinded, deafened. In less than 30
seconds, the 2nd Army and its supports has ceased to exist as a fighting
force.

KS: Interesting. Rather powerful nuclear weapons for the time. A nuclear weapon of about ten megaton’s yield will have a blast radius (“ceases to existâ€) of 1,500 yards, and will give the effects described here. Of course, this is a weapon five hundred or so times as powerful as the US possessed at the time, and is in fact only achieveable by a hydrogen bomb, not developed until several years later.

Despite the overstated effects, even a regular 20 kilotonne atomic bomb of the time would essentially destroy an army as a fighting force. It’s not necessary to kill every last man like a game of Command & Conquer. They’ll be seriously disrupted and confused after the loss of one-tenth to one-quarter their fighting force.

SP: In the confused mess at Army HQ, the Field Marshals listen to the
conflicting reports.

KS: Speaking of a “confused messâ€, the Red Army never had Field Marshals; they had Marshals. They usually weren’t clustered about a radio, there weren’t that many of them.

SP: At first it assumed that an ammo storage dump detonated, later an ammo dump and a fuel dump.

KS: “At first it was assumed that the Soviet commanders were retarded three year olds…†No. Even the Japanese knew what had happened to them, and they didn’t have the constant stream of information about various projects and plans from the United States that the Soviets did.

SP: Stalin reads the growing casualty list with disbelief. He knew the bombs
were powerful, but this? And the US did not have one bomb like he gambled on. They had three. And more?

KS: Again, underestimating the information the Soviets had. Did SP’s group ever hear of Klaus Fuchs? Were they aware of how many communist sympathisers in the Manhattan Project and across the United States there were? All happily passing on intelligence to the Soviets…

SP: Truman… gives Stalin an ultimatum, withdraw back to the
Soviet Union's borders before WWII, or expect to lose another army
before the week is out.

KS: Which brings forth the question, “which borders?†Does this mean that the Baltic republics get their independence back? Russia returns Bessarabia to Romania? What about Finland? None of these are specified, and are important questions. Countries tend not to make peace if they’re going to lose something. They have to be utterly conquered. “Unconditional surrender.â€

SP: Stalin has requested his intelligence service to find out how many bombs
that the US has at his disposal.

KS: By which is meant, “Stalin requests information he already has.â€

SP: But as his head of Intel tells him that will take weeks, weeks Stalin does not have.

KS: The NKVD, headed by Beria, simply did not respond to Stalin in this manner. Either Stalin is a brutal dictator who can impose his own immense stupidity on his entire nation, or he’s someone who listens to his advisors; you can’t have it both ways. Stalin asked, they answered. If they turned out to be wrong, off to the Gulags.

Why does Stalin not have “weeks� The Allies took nine months to get from Normandy to Berlin… where are the Allied armies, exactly? Outside Moscow train station?

SP: The Allies have already started to pull back, making it obvious First or third Army will be the next target.

KS: If you’re supposing that the NKVD gets no information from the West, and the Soviets have to judge simply from what happens on the battlefield, a withdrawal by the Allies would be taken as a retreat, to be followed, naturally, by a Red Army advance. “The American capitalist imperialist dogs are withdrawing. Oh, no! We’re in trouble!†I don’t think so.

Again, you can’t have it both ways. Either the Soviets know what the Allies are up to, in which case, no invasion of Western Europe in the first place, or they don’t know what they’re up to, in which case, a withdrawal is followed up with a Red Army attack.

It might also be noted that if you anticipate an atomic attack, it’s a very sensible course of action to launch your own conventional attack against his land forces – then if he nukes you, he takes some of his own guys with it, too. After all, you’ve already said that the atomic attack destroys everything for ten miles’ radius. Which is not really something I’d imagine the troops, or general public, being enthusiastic about. Thus, if you expect atomic attack, press on! “Let’s see how their new German fascist allies like seeing Danzig or Potsdam nuked!â€

SP: Stalin cannot lose anymore troops.

KS: Interesting. You suggest that after losing 27 million fighting the Germans, he was willing to invade Western Europe and fight on against the Allies; but the loss of another 100,000 makes him piddle his pants? He lost more than that on the first day of the German invasion; more than that in the Red Army victory of Kursk, more than that at Stalingrad or Leningrad.

SP: The USSR is held together by fear, and without troops, fear cannot be maintained.

KS: You’re missing an important ingredient, here: patriotism. Russian nationalism was a force encouraged by Stalin during WWII. Certainly there wasn’t much nationalism in 1941. That’s why many people welcomed German troops as they invaded. But when they found out that the Germans intended to exterminate and enslave all of the Slavic nations, they became rather less fond of the invaders. Stalin turned this to his advantage, and to that of the Soviet Union, by encouraging all this talk of Mother Russia. It’s easy to be patriotic when your enemy intends to exterminate and enslave you.

Remember that Hitler had issued orders to destroy everything as the German Army retreated. Everything. Remember that the Germans had destroyed every single building and cellar for about 20km when they withdrew to the Hindenburg Line in WWI. Consider the destruction of Leningrad or Stalingrad, the killing of hundreds of thousands of Soviets prisoners of war by starvation in 1941, or of millions of them by overwork and shooting and gassing in 1942-45, or of millions of Soviet civilians by Einsatzgruppen, by Wehrmacht patrols, and so on and so forth.

The Soviets were accustomed to thinking that their German enemy intended to exterminate them. To level their country and turn it into farms for German colonists, with the remaining Slavs used as slave labour on those farms.

Consider that you, as a Soviet citizen, have seen all this over four years of war. Now, atomic bombs which can destroy entire cities in flame and blast, vapourise tens of thousands, and kill by radiation sickness hundreds of thousands more - now, the Allies threaten you with these.

Atomic attacks on the Soviet Union, by the Allies working with the Germans, would be presented in the same light. “First Einsatzgruppen, then death camps, and now the atomic bomb!†As a Soviet citizen in atomic-bombed 1945 Russia, I’d be pretty convinced that the Allies had taken up the German cause, and intended to exterminate and enslave us. How about you?

Stalin wouldn't need to threaten his people to get them to fight against someone who wanted to drop atomic bombs on them, any more than he needed to threaten them to fight against the Nazis (of course, individual battles and persons are different from a nation as a whole).

The Japanese were willing to surrender to the Americans after being nuked because they felt that the Americans were essentially a decent people, and that they'd be treated with some mercy. The Soviets, having fought the Nazis for four years, didn't see their enemies in that way. They especially wouldn't view the Americans and British as decent and merciful if they were fighting alongside the Germans. Of course, the Allies would say, "oh, but we've removed the Nazis, these are just honest Germans." The Soviets viewed that same claim in 1945-55 with great cynicism; I fail to see why they'd view it any more sympathetically if engaged in war against the Allies.

SP: He cannot go down in history as the dictator who allowed the defeat and dismemberment of the Soviet Republic.

KS: Interesting. He wasn’t willing to compromise over Europe, and thus invaded the West. Now, suddenly, he’s all compromise. Why? Ah, the atomic bomb. That’s right – the thought of Germans exterminating and enslaving Russians made him want to fight, but the thought of the Americans and British exterminating and enslaving Russians will make him give up.

SP: The Germans were repulsed from the motherland, his first goal was carried out. Better to have this to fall back on. He requests a cease fire.

KS: - Hang on, so all this atomic war, all these great battles, are being carried out outside the Soviet Union? Polish or German territory is being nuked? Fallout is drifting on to Danzig, Warsaw and Berlin? Way to go, Truman – that’ll thrill your new allies!

SP: the retreat is slow at first but after a week Western Germany is free of
Soviet troops,

KS: Okay, so… the atomic attacks were in Western Germany. Why no mention of the civilian casualties, then? Why no mention of the refugees fleeing the fallout, clogging the roads and hindering the Allied advance?

Okay, let’s recap: losing 27 million people on the territory of the Soviet Union, Stalin wants to fight on. Losing 100,000 men in West Germany, as the Allies nuke the territory of their new friends, the Nazis – this makes Stalin surrender?

Of course, it was going to take “weeks†to find out if the Americans had many more atomic bombs (or hydrogen bombs, as these ones magically seem to be). Are we expected to believe that Stalin fears that the American and British armies, which took nine months to get from Normandy to the Elbe, are going to get from the Elbe to Moscow in “weeks�

SP: While a lot of this reads like science fiction, it can be all backed up,
with facts.

KS: No, it reads like science _fantasy_. Stalin in this scenario is about as smart as the British in a Hollywood movie, or in a work of Harrison or Turtledove. To get the victory we want, we need our enemies to be abominably stupid; thus, we assume they’re abominably stupid.

I’d like to see this backed with “factsâ€. I’m interested in reading about the hydrogen bombs the Americans had in 1945, I’ve never heard of these before. I’m interested in hearing about the Red Army’s “Field Marshals,†about Stalin’s mysterous abandonment of historical Russian aims against Japan and China, about Truman and Churchill’s enthusiasm for co-operating with the Germans who’d started this horrible war and murdered millions, including allied prisoners of war, etc etc etc.

If you have “facts†about Soviet intentions to invade Western Europe in 1945, I’d be most interested to see them. However, the consensus of most people (aside from McCarthy and his buddies) is that after losing 27 million people in Europe in WWII, and nobody knows how many millions in purges of t930s, and famines of the 1920s, and Civil War of the early 1920s, they had simply had enough of war. It’s hard to become a socialist paradise when you’re being blown up.

SP: We spent three months researching and dialoguing this, so I remember it
fairly well.

KS: It seems as though you spent all your time looking at “the Waffen SS in Eastern Europeâ€, or “American tanks of WWII†books. This scenario is all “shiny toysâ€, and has no appreciation of politics.

In sum, it’s politics divorced from the military. This produces, as Clausewitz would say, “a thing devoid of sense.â€

It’s thus an interesting strategic exercise only. In this respect, it resembles the scenarios you see down at a wargames club, where one guy pits his Austrian chevaliers of 1650 against some Hurons of the same period. Interesting to wargame out, fun GAME – but it remains just that. A game, which has no reference to reality, or any plausible reality.

Cheers,
Kyle
 
I don't think he's pissed. Well not now. He was just posting something that he thought was worth reading by all of us. I know I liked it. I mean he basically started and finished a discussion in one post, no mean feat that, and he has addressed a number of issues that turn up periodically with regards to WWII becoming WWIII (except that one about the British and Yugoslavians clashing in Carinthia...). I must admit, I think the idea is hardly plausible, not impossible, but it would require so many things to happen at the right time and for a number of personalities to suddenly change that it is practically impossible.
 
Sean Swaby said:
I mean he basically started and finished a discussion in one post, no mean feat that, and he has addressed a number of issues that turn up periodically with regards to WWII becoming WWIII
I thought I'd addressed basically everything that the original guy brought up. I wondered if I'd done so successfully. From the general silence, I assumed that I had. Usually, if you post something up here, if there's the slighest imperfection it gets torn into:)

(except that one about the British and Yugoslavians clashing in Carinthia...)
? Enlighten me, please.

I must admit, I think the idea is hardly plausible, not impossible, but it would require so many things to happen at the right time and for a number of personalities to suddenly change that it is practically impossible.
Well, that's the idea of alternate history, innit. Come up with plausible stuff. Even if, as another thread says, our real history is implausible:) Still, we must make our AH scenarios plausible. Otherwise we're no better than certain hack writers who make a fortune, damn their bones!
 
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