If the Germans had taken Moscow, would Russia have collapsed?

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,161
Las Vegas, NV USA
#1
My guess is no, but it's only a guess. A look at a map shows how much of Russia lies to the east of Moscow. In fact, it's 1500 km (nearly 1000 miles) from Moscow to the Urals and Stalin had already moved a lot of industrial capacity to or east of the Urals.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2016
9,300
USA
#2
My guess is no, but it's only a guess. A look at a map shows how much of Russia lies to the east of Moscow. In fact, it's 1500 km (nearly 1000 miles) from Moscow to the Urals and Stalin had already moved a lot of industrial capacity to or east of the Urals.
Moscow held no major strategic objective for its location or industry. Much of it had already been evacuated (even Stalin was only a day or two away from evacuating east). Its true importance was it being the capital of the Soviet Union, the heart of govt. Taking it would have been a severe blow to the psyche of the Soviet people and its leadership, while being a huge morale booster for Nazi Germany. Hitler pressed its importance because he was on the incorrect assumption that any strong push into the Soviet Union would see the Bolsheviks overthrow Stalin and then eat each other. However, Stalin's earlier purges eliminated basically anyone who could have taken advantage to the early Soviet failures to overthrow him and the Soviet people were a whole lot tougher than the Nazis imagined. Had Moscow fallen, maybe that might have been enough for a coup against Stalin. But not likely. Who would it have been that took his place? He had no peers, they were all dead or banished to Siberia.
 
Jul 2016
9,300
USA
#4
Well it did hold significant strategic importance for its location as the central nexus for Soviet rail lines, it would make defense or any counterattack more difficult to manage
By major I meant holding the land, in terms of terrain, would somehow mean the difference between success and failure. Of course it held some strategic importance, after all the original Kremlin was placed there for a reason. It was a nexus of not only rails but roads too, taking it would have given some ability for Germans to move north or south to flank opposing Fronts. But its political significance was what really made it a prize.
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#5
Russia is too big to truly 'conquer', impossible to occupy. But if you control the major cities then your opponent is going to have a tough time of it. Also defending your capital city has a strong motivational boost, as is protecting your leading. If you lose your capital and your leader runs , then this is a major psychological disadvantage, and it is conceivable that there would be an attempt to overthrow Stalin.

When you rule by fear, you have to continue to do so, and you always have to be able to back it up with muscle. You also have to watch your back, as those who fear you one day will try to kill you the next if your power is gone.

But I believe that if Moscow had been taken, Russia would have split into two - the Germans holding the land East of the Urals and the Russians the West.
 
Apr 2017
1,237
U.S.A.
#7
Operation Barbarossa called for occupying everything from Archangel to Gorky to Astrakhan, none of which were captured. Taking Moscow by itself even by German planning would not have made the Soviets surrender. If these goals had been successful then maybe the Soviets would have made peace (Stalin would never unconditionally surrender). Stalin probably would have kept fighting till he was driven back to the Urals.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,161
Las Vegas, NV USA
#8
Operation Barbarossa called for occupying everything from Archangel to Gorky to Astrakhan, none of which were captured. Taking Moscow by itself even by German planning would not have made the Soviets surrender. If these goals had been successful then maybe the Soviets would have made peace (Stalin would never unconditionally surrender). Stalin probably would have kept fighting till he was driven back to the Urals.
I agree. Stalin would have continued fighting but at some point he would have a sought a peace agreement. Stalin became increasingly irritated with the West for their slowness in opening a new front in France and actually did threaten a separate peace at one point. Any peace agreement would likely have meant the Germans would have had to maintain substantial forces in Russia.

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1937-1945/us-soviet
 
Last edited:
Mar 2011
2,060
Florida
#9
By major I meant holding the land, in terms of terrain, would somehow mean the difference between success and failure. Of course it held some strategic importance, after all the original Kremlin was placed there for a reason. It was a nexus of not only rails but roads too, taking it would have given some ability for Germans to move north or south to flank opposing Fronts. But its political significance was what really made it a prize.

It depends on what you mean by collapse. If you mean the collapse of government, possibly. If you mean the collapse of the region and its identify and culture, not likely considering its remoteness and climate.

There are two ways of looking at the fall of the Russian government during WWII. One would relieve the Russian people of an oppressor, on the other hand that oppressor is the only thing standing between them and foreign oppressor. Thus you are likely to stand behind the oppressor you know best who shares your culture. I suspect there was no improvement scenario for the people in the outcome of who won the war.
 
May 2016
811
Vatican occupied America
#10
My guess is no, but it's only a guess. A look at a map shows how much of Russia lies to the east of Moscow. In fact, it's 1500 km (nearly 1000 miles) from Moscow to the Urals and Stalin had already moved a lot of industrial capacity to or east of the Urals.
The Soviets would of been in the same situation the White Russians they defeated were and would of lost. The Soviets needed American supplies, especially radios and high explosives. Industry with little oil or coal is not worth much. If the Nazi had taken Russia the rest of the Soviet Union would have been meaningless. They would never have had a fuel crisis themselves and would have had their wonder weapons mass produced - not only game over for the Soviet Union but for Britain too.