Why didn't the USA use atomic bomb like indimidation on USSR after ww2?

Jul 2016
8,391
USA
It was rather hard from a technical point of view. (Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective.)

With no missiles, any bomb would have to be delivered by a bomber, and even flying from a European airfield instead of the UK, range would be a problem.

There was also the problem of bomb availability. The US had one unused bomb after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And it would be a while before they could make more.

(Mass production of nuclear bombs, and the plutonium required for them, was still a few years off.)

If dropping one nuclear bomb wouldn’t be enough to sway the Soviets, what then? It wouldn’t be possible to drop anymore for a while (Though I dont know if Stalin knew that.)
More core were in production shortly after August, they would have had 3-4 a month being produced from Oct '45 onwards. Range wasn't a problem. 5,500 miles is easy to reach Moscow and other major targets from central Europe. From Berlin to Moscow, its 1,100 miles, so the B-29 crew could divert after glassing Russia to stop off for some for R&R debauchery in Naples and fly back to their base in western Germany before needing to refuel.
 
I realize that but being a former Marine this is what I think should have happened.
Churchill actually had the British general staff draw up a war plan against the Sovietunion already in 1944.

It was dubbed “Operation Unthinkable” and involved rearming hundreds of thousands of German Wehrmacht veterans and along with British and US forces, do a surprise attack on Soviet forces.

It could have been a possible way of sparing the people of eastern Europe from 50 years of Communism, but the British general staff didn’t like the odds of Operation Unthinkable succeeding. After Roosevelt died, Truman gave the plan a hard pass, as I recall.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,861
Las Vegas, NV USA
Suppose the U
It was rather hard from a technical point of view. (Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective.)


With no missiles, any bomb would have to be delivered by a bomber, and even flying from a European airfield instead of the UK, range would be a problem.


There was also the problem of bomb availability. The US had one unused bomb after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And it would be a while before they could make more.

(Mass production of nuclear bombs, and the plutonium required for them, was still a few years off.)

If dropping one nuclear bomb wouldn’t be enough to sway the Soviets, what then? It wouldn’t be possible to drop anymore for a while (Though I dont know if Stalin knew that.)
Agreed, but suppose the US had more bombs and could confidently hit a dozen Russian targets. The biggest crisis before 1949 was when Berlin access was closed in 1948 leading to an airlift. Stalin eventually relented. A lot of Americans didn't care that much about this at that time anyway. Anti German feeling was probably still higher than anti-Soviet feeling. Would the US's atom bombs have been useful in this crisis? I don't think so.The US was hopelessly outnumbered in conventional forces with Eastern Europe firmly under Stalin's control.
 
Sep 2017
633
United States
More core were in production shortly after August, they would have had 3-4 a month being produced from Oct '45 onwards. Range wasn't a problem. 5,500 miles is easy to reach Moscow and other major targets from central Europe. From Berlin to Moscow, its 1,100 miles, so the B-29 crew could divert after glassing Russia to stop off for some for R&R debauchery in Naples and fly back to their base in western Germany before needing to refuel.
Do you think the USSR would be able to intercept and destroy the B-29s before they hit their intended target?
 
Do you think the USSR would be able to intercept and destroy the B-29s before they hit their intended target?
Hard question to answer.

Depends on how many you send I suppose.

In 1945 Soviet air defences weren’t that bad. They even had a few years of experience with radar and high altitude fighters.

Though obviously, they’ve never faced a strategic bomb offensive.
 
Jan 2019
130
USA
We would have started WW3 right after concluding the most destructive war this world has ever seen. Eventually, we would have had to put boots back on the ground. I don't see how we could just drop a nuke and solve the problems. It would have been awful for everyone involved.
 
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Suppose the U


Agreed, but suppose the US had more bombs and could confidently hit a dozen Russian targets. The biggest crisis before 1949 was when Berlin access was closed in 1948 leading to an airlift. Stalin eventually relented. A lot of Americans didn't care that much about this at that time anyway. Anti German feeling was probably still higher than anti-Soviet feeling. Would the US's atom bombs have been useful in this crisis? I don't think so. The US was hopelessly outnumbered in conventional forces with Eastern Europe firmly under Stalin's control.
The only reason US forces in Europe were as outnumbered as they were, was because the US had demobilized them and moved them to the pacific as soon as they did.

Sure, the red army was a formidable enemy in 1945, but the situation was less to the Soviets advantage as it was just a few years later.

And aside from air supremacy and technological advantage, US/UK forces could be supplemented with former Wehrmacht veterans and Eastern European manpower.

(Heck, in the Baltic countries as well as Poland and other countries, anti communist partisans fought on to the 1950ies.)

On top of that, millions of Soviet soldiers had seen the material wealth that existed in non communist countries and would be figting on foreign soil. (At least at first.)


A successful outcome was far from a sure thing, but it was definitely possible.

Remember, that while a total collapse of Stalins regime would have been the preferable outcome, the original goal would be to keep the Soviets contained behind the 1939 border.

Faced with a protracted strategic bomb offensive, the possibility of years (more) of war and nuclear weapons on top of that, it’s far from implausible that Stalin would have gone for regime survival above all. And sign a peace agreement that would mean a return to the borders of 1939.
 
Jul 2016
8,391
USA
Do you think the USSR would be able to intercept and destroy the B-29s before they hit their intended target?
Maybe. Maybe not. As Baldwin said, "The bomber will always get through!" Moscow's air defense in 1945 wasn't exactly...in existence. The last time they had to worry about air attack was around 1942.

Communist spies and sympathizers in the US govt and military would almost surely have tipped them off, given them advance notice, routes, etc. And so many sympathizers and members within the US govt, it would never have happened anyway, not without some serious Casus Belli provocations, which never truly happened (hence why nobody nuked one another during the Cold War).
 
Jan 2019
130
USA
Not to mention, one of the big reasons for dropping the bomb in the first place was to hasten the conclusion of WW2. How would it look if we turned around and started a war that would be much more costly in regards to human life?
 
We would have started WW3 right after concluding the most destructive war this world has ever seen. Eventually, we would have had to put boots back on the ground. I don't see how we could just drop a nuke and solve the problems. It would have been awful for everyone involved.
Actually, if you look at number of deaths compared to the total population, I don’t even think World War 2 is in the top five of “most destructive wars”.

Genghis Khan and co. killed over 5% of the worlds total population, and razed cities to the point where the firestorms of Hamburg or Dresden pale in comparison.

The An-Lushan rebellion or Three Kingdoms War each cost 40 million dead over 1000 years ago.

And of course the Spanish conquests in the Americas ended up with over 20 million deaths and the complete destruction of several civilizations.
 
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