Stalin Doesn't Stop At Berlin

paranoid marvin

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
Following the surrender of Germany, I wonder how close Stalin came in 1945 to fabricating an excuse to attack his allies and press on through Germany into Holland, Belgium and France, driving the US/British etc back to the Atlantic?

It's quite obvious that he had designs on taking as much of Europe under Soviet influence as he could, so why not take advantage of the situation?

It's possible that he may have been waiting for things to die down, or US forces to be shipped overseas before doing so, then the atomic bombs used made him think twice. Or perhaps he had no intention of attacking his allies?

And if he had done so , I wonder what the consequences would have been? Catching former allies off guard, and with many 'winding down' now that the war was at an end, a surprise assault from several Soviet divisions could have been enough to give them a major territorial advantages, and with almost limitless numbers of men and machinery - and an iron will prepared to sacrifice as many men as it took - they could have made significant advances.

It's possible then the atomic bomb would have been dropped on Germany or Russia itself in order to stop the advance.
 
Feb 2015
640
washington
USA nukes a couple russian cities, and Russia loses its demographic advantage.
Sure they may have a huge army but large portions of the soviet union had been devastated twice(once when the Germans invaded in 1941 and then again when the soviets repelled the germans in 1943). All they would gain would be more war torn areas of western europe without even being able to deal a decisive blow to the USA.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,703
SoCal
I suppose that the Soviets make initial rapid advances but are then repulsed by a Western Allied counteroffensive. Eventually the borders would either be pushed back to where they were in 1945 or farther east than that if the West wants to go farther.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Yes. The USA had the atomic bomb and I believe they would have used it to stem Soviet aggression. I believe Stalin believed this too, thus he waited for the development of the bomb on his side before he stepped up the Cold War.
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
I am coming more and more to the conclusion that we may have deliberately gotten Stalin all wrong after WWII. Prior to WWII, it was Lenin and Trotsky who pushed for a Communist Europe. When Stalin said "Socialism in one country", he meant it, apparently, based on his behaviour.
Stalin drove Trotsky out of power and out of Russia. And when Trotsky continued his attempt to spread world revolution with his Fourth International, Stalin had him assassinated. And made no attempt to spread communism in the rest of Europe until WWII, even going so far as to make a pact with Hitler.
Stalin's behaviour toward China also illustrates this. Stalin mistrusted the Chinese Communists and preferred dealing with the Kuomintang. After WWII, Stalin tried very hard to get the Maoists to stop taking China away from the KMT, even going so far as conniving with the KMT to trap the People's Liberation Army in Manchuria and destroy it, a trap that Lin Piao narrowly got the PLA out of. Then, when a Chinese Communist state was inevitable, Stalin tried to get Mao to stop at the Yangtze River.
The conclusion I have come to is that Stalin, when it came to Communism was basically a copyright troll. He mistrusted any Communist movement that he could not keep control over. He alered his policy of socialism in one country in Eastern Europe only because the USSR had been invaded from Eastern Europe and he felt that he needed a belt of states protecting the USSR's western approaches. Which Roosevelt and Churchill were willing to grant him (after some initial reluctance from Churchill) under the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements. Agreements that Stalin kept. Stalin might well have been able to send Russia's forces into Italy to carve out an occupation zone in Northern Italy. He didn't, and agreed to Western allied occupation of Italy and a reconstituted non-Communist government under Badoglio.
In Greece, too, Stalin allowed a royalist restoration when he easily could have sent the Red Army racing for Athens in 1944, which probably would have led to a Greece divided between a Communist government in Athens and a royalist government at Heraklion on Crete which might have included Cyprus. The later Communist rebellion in Greece was indigenous and only grudgingly and half heartedly supported initially from Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Then Tito realised Stalin's worst fears.
Stalin could have installed a Communist government in Teheran, which Russia occupied during WWII, but didn't. And he could have dug in his heels in Azerbijan and Kars but he didn't.
Which leads me more and more to believe that after WWII and after Roosevelt died, we were dealing with a conservative reaction not only to Communism but to the New Deal and social democracy in the US. 1946 got the United States not only the beginning of pushback against the USSR over things that had previously been agreed to but Taft Hartley, the curbing of the power of labour unions on such things as common situs picketing and sympathy and wildcat strikes, all part of the repetoire of unions in Western Europe and Australia. The American public were mobilised against Communism in those years. And part of that mobilisation, because it fit the needed narrative was to cast Stalin in the same light as we cast Hitler even though Communism, which WAS expanding and WAS becoming popular was expanding in places and times that were completely out of the Soviet Union's control.
And that many of the US's anti-communist allies turned out to be authoritarians who, aside from giving a free hand to international business were every bit as repressive (and aided and abetted in this by American intelligence agencies) as the USSR.
So to return to the question, the only circumstance in which I could see Stalin going beyond Berlin would have been a failure of D-Day which would have left the USSR with the task of finishing off Naziism all by it's lonesome in 1945-6. Under that circumstance and that circumstance alone, I could easily see the Red Army going all the way into France and perhaps even into Spain, since Spain had sent troops against Russia in Operation Barbarossa, leaving the Allies with Italy south of the Appenines in the South, a Free France in Algeria and Corsica, possibly a Nationalist Spain in the Canary Islands and the Rif of Morocco and a non-Communist Norway and neutral Sweden and Finland.
So maybe it's time we started looking more critically at the Cold War narrative that we were fed and which was used to keep us mobilised ever since the end of WWII. The spread of Communism was not the same thing as the spread of the USSR and was something that Stalin opposed and would have, in many cases, stopped if he could have. If the USSR's later leaders took a more friendly attitude to such Communist rulers as Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega, that's a different policy by different leaders after Stalin was dead and gone.
 
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Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
Three words. "Western Air Power"

Three More Words. "Western Naval Power"
You can ask the Chinese, Vietnamese and the Cubans how useful either one was in denying them the Communist government so many of them were dead set on having. Western air power isn't putting paid to ISIS either. Even with the force multipliers of drones, satellite imagery and real time intelligence.
 
Nov 2012
766
I am coming more and more to the conclusion that we may have deliberately gotten Stalin all wrong after WWII. Prior to WWII, it was Lenin and Trotsky who pushed for a Communist Europe. When Stalin said "Socialism in one country", he meant it, apparently, based on his behaviour.
Stalin drove Trotsky out of power and out of Russia. And when Trotsky continued his attempt to spread world revolution with his Fourth International, Stalin had him assassinated. And made no attempt to spread communism in the rest of Europe until WWII, even going so far as to make a pact with Hitler.
Stalin's behaviour toward China also illustrates this. Stalin mistrusted the Chinese Communists and preferred dealing with the Kuomintang. After WWII, Stalin tried very hard to get the Maoists to stop taking China away from the KMT, even going so far as conniving with the KMT to trap the People's Liberation Army in Manchuria and destroy it, a trap that Lin Piao narrowly got the PLA out of. Then, when a Chinese Communist state was inevitable, Stalin tried to get Mao to stop at the Yangtze River.
The conclusion I have come to is that Stalin, when it came to Communism was basically a copyright troll. He mistrusted any Communist movement that he could not keep control over. He alered his policy of socialism in one country in Eastern Europe only because the USSR had been invaded from Eastern Europe and he felt that he needed a belt of states protecting the USSR's western approaches. Which Roosevelt and Churchill were willing to grant him (after some initial reluctance from Churchill) under the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements. Agreements that Stalin kept. Stalin might well have been able to send Russia's forces into Italy to carve out an occupation zone in Northern Italy. He didn't, and agreed to Western allied occupation of Italy and a reconstituted non-Communist government under Badoglio.
In Greece, too, Stalin allowed a royalist restoration when he easily could have sent the Red Army racing for Athens in 1944, which probably would have led to a Greece divided between a Communist government in Athens and a royalist government at Heraklion on Crete which might have included Cyprus. The later Communist rebellion in Greece was indigenous and only grudgingly and half heartedly supported initially from Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Then Tito realised Stalin's worst fears.
Stalin could have installed a Communist government in Teheran, which Russia occupied during WWII, but didn't. And he could have dug in his heels in Azerbijan and Kars but he didn't.
Which leads me more and more to believe that after WWII and after Roosevelt died, we were dealing with a conservative reaction not only to Communism but to the New Deal and social democracy in the US. 1946 got the United States not only the beginning of pushback against the USSR over things that had previously been agreed to but Taft Hartley, the curbing of the power of labour unions on such things as common situs picketing and sympathy and wildcat strikes, all part of the repetoire of unions in Western Europe and Australia. The American public were mobilised against Communism in those years. And part of that mobilisation, because it fit the needed narrative was to cast Stalin in the same light as we cast Hitler even though Communism, which WAS expanding and WAS becoming popular was expanding in places and times that were completely out of the Soviet Union's control.
And that many of the US's anti-communist allies turned out to be authoritarians who, aside from giving a free hand to international business were every bit as repressive (and aided and abetted in this by American intelligence agencies) as the USSR.
So to return to the question, the only circumstance in which I could see Stalin going beyond Berlin would have been a failure of D-Day which would have left the USSR with the task of finishing off Naziism all by it's lonesome in 1945-6. Under that circumstance and that circumstance alone, I could easily see the Red Army going all the way into France and perhaps even into Spain, since Spain had sent troops against Russia in Operation Barbarossa, leaving the Allies with Italy south of the Appenines in the South, a Free France in Algeria and Corsica, possibly a Nationalist Spain in the Canary Islands and the Rif of Morocco and a non-Communist Norway and neutral Sweden and Finland.
So maybe it's time we started looking more critically at the Cold War narrative that we were fed and which was used to keep us mobilised ever since the end of WWII. The spread of Communism was not the same thing as the spread of the USSR and was something that Stalin opposed and would have, in many cases, stopped if he could have. If the USSR's later leaders took a more friendly attitude to such Communist rulers as Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega, that's a different policy by different leaders after Stalin was dead and gone.
Nice post Katchen. Also, nice reply :)
 
Feb 2012
287
South Carolina, USA
I have seen several posters say the US would have used the atomic bomb. That is incorrect. The US only had 2 and they dropped both on Japan, They were very difficult to make back then and they didn't come of a production line. All the uranium was used up in the 1st bomb. That is why they had to make the 2nd one out of plutonium.
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
I have seen several posters say the US would have used the atomic bomb. That is incorrect. The US only had 2 and they dropped both on Japan, They were very difficult to make back then and they didn't come of a production line. All the uranium was used up in the 1st bomb. That is why they had to make the 2nd one out of plutonium.
The story I read (I'm not sure where) is that the US had made 6 atom bombs with what fissible material they had. One was used up in the Trinity Test, two more on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the US would have used up two more on Tokyo and Kyoto if the Japanese had not surrendered. Five bombs wouldn't have stopped the Russians either and getting a plane with an atom bomb to Moscow over hundreds of miles of land without challenge would have been a lot harder than hitting a Japanese city which by this time had few air defences worth thinking of. Too much chance of a plane being shot down before the bomb could be armed and a bomb falling into Russia's hands intact--or blow up in an unpopulated area, spilling the beans about America's capabilities and giving Stalin and the Stavka warning to seek shelter in an undisclosed location.