Turn on thread page Beta
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I don't think the army opposed the ideas of lebensraum - just the gung-ho manner in which Hitler wanted to acquire it. Neurath, Blomberg & Fritsch expressed reservations (if the Hossbach Conference Memo is to be believed) about the pace and timing of the operations, which Hitler seemed to want to carry out even after asserting that there were certain unlikely pre-requisites to occur (eg. for civil war to erupt in France, war to be declared between Italy and France as a product of the Spanish Civil War).
    this is true, but the Lebenstraum concept was tied up in expelling JEws from Germany, and a lot of the army officers, i.e. people who had fought in WW1, wernt keen on JEwish persecution becasue many JEws had fought and died for Germany in WW1. As an example, Hitler was forced, for as long as Hindenburg was around, to quell the SA's anti Jewish revolutionary tendancies because Hindy didnt like it.

    On this point of Stalin and Hitler being chums, are you saying more Hitler didnt really care for Stalin and was just using him, but Stalin on the other hand did? I find it impossible to beleive that Hitler had any admiration for Stalin, he considered Bolsheviks and JEws the same, and he sincerely hated Jews. If you look at late 1941, when Barbarossa went pear shaped, Hitler wanted to take his frustrations out on the Jews, who he seen as another aspect of the same Bolshevik-Jewish enemy he was fighting on the eastern front, and thus Jewish killings esculated from 50,000 in Mayish to 500,000 by Novermberish.


    Comparing with WWI again - Britain could hardly justify a war because some Serb shot the equivalent to the Dauphin of Austria-Hungary, could it? It needed a more visible threat to Britain - and that came in the form of violating Belgian neutrality. The French alliance would have equally been a good enough reason - but Germany's attack on a non-belligerent country rallied public support for the war. So in the Second World War, was the visible threat that of Polish sovereignty - and if it was, why didn't we also declare war on the USSR?
    Again, im not so sure myself, but was Britain fully aware that Hitler sincerely hated Bolsheviks? I mean you could readily buy Mein Kampf in Britian and find out - i have a 1939 copy in my house which my nan bought to find out what my grandad was fighting against lol (the eyes of Hitler on the inner page were scratched out by her, lol) and so didnt want to waste the opportunity of an alliance? This is especially true given, since 1931, the National Governemnt and later war government had plenty of Labour folk in prominent positions, who didnt really hate the USSR that much at all. I think though, looking at the two examples of pretexts, the WW1 one worked much more coniveniently for Britian than the WW2 equivilent; so many more aspects of it were harmonious to what Britian wanted to do. I think it was largely a nominal pretext therefore in WW2, sort of just slapped over underlying motives. The ww1 pretext by comparison had a much more harmonious face to it, despite still largely being slapped over other motives, it just looked more harmonious on the face of things.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    I still vehemently disagree with him, but believe that the allies made the same mistake that Chamberlain did, of appeasment, with the Soviet Union when they should have pushed the new beast back out of its newly occupied territories. However, I don't think restoring Europe to some sort of pre-WW1 status quo would have worked.
    No one would have wanted to provoke the USSR at this time. America wasn't interested in further conflict in Europe straight after ww2, especiallt since public opinion was strongly against it. So allowing the Soviet Union to keep the territories it had taken could just be an act to pacify it, since Germany was in no state to complain.
    Britain and France were declining powers as the USSR was becoming a superpower. They probably couldn't have fought it without US backing, or at least they wouldn't want to risk it. So they too had an interest in keeping the USSR happy.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JonathanH)
    Still don't see how this was possible, as I said, Germany itself was divvied up among the Allies.
    Yes but it was always planned to reunify Germany after the allies took control of their sectors. We only know through history that it didnt work out very well untill recent times. At the time of the splitting the soviets got on quite well with the other allies I believe and no one forseen the berlin wall and all the other stuff that came with it.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JonathanH)
    Germany wasn't even in a position to hold on to Germany after the war, which is why we divided it up between the Allies... How exactly would they have controlled Eastern Europe? Not to mention that we weren't in a position to push the Soviets back, not unless we wanted another big war right on the back of WW2.
    You're forgetting that brief period of omnipotence that the US had - they were the only nation on Earth with atomic capability. After the two bombs in Japan, the mere threat would be sufficient to force even Stalin to submit to american demands in Eastern Europe.

    Still, US policy makers hadn't yet built up that image of red terror and the communist anti-christ. They were still more concerned with preventing a future German resurgence. After all, the US and western powers completely failed to win hearts and minds in the first two or so years of occupying Germany after WWII (facing regular terrorist attacks, etc).
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    By Eastern Europe, I believe he meant areas that were part of Germany before the first war, and at the very least the areas stripped from Germany by the USSR, Poland and Lithuania.
    I think you mean Eastern Germany not Eastern Europe. The annexation of east Germany and the forcible expulsions of the German people living there i think is one of the greatest tragedy's of WW2.

    It's kind of sad but what else could be expected? After WW2 the Allies spent a good deal of time stripping Germany of anything of value starving the population. What's even sadder is that they stopped doing that not because they cared about the people but they started to notice communisms spreading.

    It's a great idea - if you're willing to have WWIII happen sometime in '45 or '46... Because that's pretty much what the Allies advocating a unified German state with 1937 boundaries or more would have meant...
    WW3? lol. The Soviet Army sucked. The only reason why they were able to beat the Germans was because they outnumbered and had more equipment then the Germans who's back was broken and had to spread their forces on three fronts. All the Soviets had to do was launch thousands of men to their deaths and the Germans would be forced to retreat. If a war did start with the Allies it would be quick and smooth. After all Hitler did come close to destroying them.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    Just think how different the world would be now if Russia wasnt so cold.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jim-ie)
    Yes but it was always planned to reunify Germany after the allies took control of their sectors. We only know through history that it didnt work out very well untill recent times. At the time of the splitting the soviets got on quite well with the other allies I believe and no one forseen the berlin wall and all the other stuff that came with it.
    There's a curious note from the early 50s, where Stalin actually offered to reunite the two halves of Germany providing it was disarmed and non-belligerent, much like after 1919. The offer was rejected by the West, for the understandable reason that the dominance of the Communist Party in East Germany might enable a Socialist government in a united Germany, which would run contrary to US interests and mean that the Marshall aid had been wasted.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Shaun39)
    Still, US policy makers hadn't yet built up that image of red terror and the communist anti-christ. They were still more concerned with preventing a future German resurgence. After all, the US and western powers completely failed to win hearts and minds in the first two or so years of occupying Germany after WWII (facing regular terrorist attacks, etc).
    Very good point. Until McCarthyism, the Communist Menace was only of limited relative significance - and during the war, US propaganda went so far as to suggest that the life of the Soviet population was happy, carefree and liberal until the Nazis came along. Ayn Rand (a fervent anti-Communist Russian dissident) testimony to the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee), is a very good example:

    Now, here is what the picture Song of Russia contains. It starts with an American conductor... giving a concert in America for Russian war relief. He starts playing the American national anthem and the national anthem dissolves into a Russian mob, with the sickle and hammer on a red flag very prominent above their heads. I am sorry, but that made me sick. That is something which I do not see how native Americans permit, and I am only a naturalized American. That was a terrible touch of propaganda. As a writer, I can tell you just exactly what it suggests to the people. It suggests literally and technically that it is quite all right for the American national anthem to dissolve into the Soviet. The term here is more than just technical. It really was symbolically intended, and it worked out that way.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    I worded that wrong - what i meant was, Marshall Aid fixed the problems in the places that received it.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    Remember, though, that Marshall Plan aid was also offered to the Eastern Bloc. As this book A New Deal for the World shows, it was not a given that the Soviets would opt out of the Bretton Woods arrangement. Unfortunately, I find that current neo conservative politics are trying to undo most of what FDR tried to set up domestically and internationally. It's a shame, really, because that damn chain smoking New Yorker was on to something.

    It probably would have been a good idea had Eisenhower raced and beat Zhukov to Berlin. It, undoubtedly, would have ended the war perhaps a week or two early and spared many lives in both the immediate fighting and the aftermath. I don't think the Soviets could have or would have done anything about it. Just like the Yanks didn't give them any sphere of influence in Japan, they likely would have got none in Germany had they not stopped and let the Russians capture Berlin.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    I had a little arguement with one of my friends, who stated quite firmly that we should have let Germany hold on to Eastern Europe after the war, and that the process of stripping it of its territory only expanded the third world on Europe's borders. I agrued with him for a while, but it seemed that even in the midst of his rather pro-imperialist arguement, he made a fair point.
    yep, who cares about eastern european independence and self-determination, germans are superior afterall. :rolleyes:
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    Remember, though, that Marshall Plan aid was also offered to the Eastern Bloc. As this book A New Deal for the World shows, it was not a given that the Soviets would opt out of the Bretton Woods arrangement. Unfortunately, I find that current neo conservative politics are trying to undo most of what FDR tried to set up domestically and internationally. It's a shame, really, because that damn chain smoking New Yorker was on to something.
    Hmm. How, exactly, are the neoconservatives "trying to undo most of what FDR tried to set up"? FDR's internationalism was about free trade and avoiding the repetition of the depresion by reducing protectionism - which seems consonant with the current World Bank/WTO's attempts to open up developing economies to foreign trade and promoting international free trade.

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    It probably would have been a good idea had Eisenhower raced and beat Zhukov to Berlin. It, undoubtedly, would have ended the war perhaps a week or two early and spared many lives in both the immediate fighting and the aftermath. I don't think the Soviets could have or would have done anything about it. Just like the Yanks didn't give them any sphere of influence in Japan, they likely would have got none in Germany had they not stopped and let the Russians capture Berlin.
    Historically mistaken. Stalin had been guaranteed Berlin by the Allies, and the division of Germany had been agreed upon at Yalta in February - three months before Berlin fell.

    And I find it ludicrous to say "I don't think the Soviets could have or would have done anything about it." Because in the first instance, the US had yet to detonate an atomic weapon (though Stalin knew of its existence probably before Truman) on enemy soil, and because consequently the Red Army possessed a much more valuable weapon than a couple of (by today's standard timid) nukes - an unlimited capacity of men. It had overwhelmed the most efficient forces in Europe (the Wehrmacht) for 18 months after Stalingrad without significant progress by the US and the UK (except Italy - meh) on the European continent, and it could very well have taken on the Western Allied armies, such was its density. And in the second instance, US nukes could only target cities without hurting US/UK troops - and the presumption that Stalin was yield to any public pressure whatsoever must be dispelled by any serious observer of the crises of 1941 and 1942, during which Stalin remained firmly in control - when the numbers of Soviet civilians dead at Wehrmacht hands massively exceeded the number Truman could possibly kill with nukes.

    Stalin was immune to public pressure, and - after conquering half of the continent and the fascist invaders - the Red Army was on a pretty high note in 1945. It is unthinkable to suggest that by capturing Berlin, the Allies could have "pared many lives in both the immediate fighting and the aftermath" - rather, the death casualty would massively increase, until the US president - very sensitive of public opinion - was forced to withdraw US troops from a purposeless war of attrition which they could never win. US mentality was pro-Soviet during the war, as in the extract I quoted above, and to suggest that they could, much like in 1984, suddenly declare that they were fighting a new enemy for no reason whatsoever, save for empire-building, is oblivious to the true nature of US politics, and the hatred of entangling foreign wars (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq &c)
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    Hmm. How, exactly, are the neoconservatives "trying to undo most of what FDR tried to set up"? FDR's internationalism was about free trade and avoiding the repetition of the depresion by reducing protectionism - which seems consonant with the current World Bank/WTO's attempts to open up developing economies to foreign trade and promoting international free trade.
    I'll admit to being quite vague in my point, so let me clarify. I don't think I need to elaborate much on the assault on what passes for a welfare state in the United States of America, so I'll deal mostly with the internationalism.

    Now FDR's methods may have been rather laissez faire, however, it's not methodology that I'm interested in, it's FDR's underlying philosophy. That is that nations should be free and independent, based on a sort of modified Wilsonian notion of self-determination. International bodies were to be respected and peace guaranteed through his ideal 'Four Policemen.' Admittedly, the idea of Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek as moral paragons strikes me as a bit absurd, but nevermind that. Essentially, FDR was championing multilateralism as a force for peace with an emphasis on the deconstruction of the European Empires.

    It seems to me (and I am a mere casual observer of contemporary politics) that what the Bush Administration is trying to do is promote unilateralism with an emphasis on the construction of states, previously unstable, now loyal to the United States of America through its "exporting" of democracy. That was more my point than free trade vs. protectionism. Obviously, George Bush has done much to "free the **** out of Afghanistan and Iraq."


    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    Historically mistaken. Stalin had been guaranteed Berlin by the Allies, and the division of Germany had been agreed upon at Yalta in February - three months before Berlin fell.

    And I find it ludicrous to say "I don't think the Soviets could have or would have done anything about it." Because in the first instance, the US had yet to detonate an atomic weapon (though Stalin knew of its existence probably before Truman) on enemy soil, and because consequently the Red Army possessed a much more valuable weapon than a couple of (by today's standard timid) nukes - an unlimited capacity of men. It had overwhelmed the most efficient forces in Europe (the Wehrmacht) for 18 months after Stalingrad without significant progress by the US and the UK (except Italy - meh) on the European continent, and it could very well have taken on the Western Allied armies, such was its density. And in the second instance, US nukes could only target cities without hurting US/UK troops - and the presumption that Stalin was yield to any public pressure whatsoever must be dispelled by any serious observer of the crises of 1941 and 1942, during which Stalin remained firmly in control - when the numbers of Soviet civilians dead at Wehrmacht hands massively exceeded the number Truman could possibly kill with nukes.

    Stalin was immune to public pressure, and - after conquering half of the continent and the fascist invaders - the Red Army was on a pretty high note in 1945. It is unthinkable to suggest that by capturing Berlin, the Allies could have "pared many lives in both the immediate fighting and the aftermath" - rather, the death casualty would massively increase, until the US president - very sensitive of public opinion - was forced to withdraw US troops from a purposeless war of attrition which they could never win. US mentality was pro-Soviet during the war, as in the extract I quoted above, and to suggest that they could, much like in 1984, suddenly declare that they were fighting a new enemy for no reason whatsoever, save for empire-building, is oblivious to the true nature of US politics, and the hatred of entangling foreign wars (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq &c)
    Now here I am much more at liberty to speak than contemporary politics. Let me summarize your rebuttal of me. You're essentially saying, if I understand correctly, that:

    1. Had the US tried to seize Berlin and back out of the Yalta Agreement, the USSR would have come to blows with the US.
    2. Had this occurred, the US would have lost.

    Unfortunately, I find myself at a public terminal lacking all buy one of my books to aid me, so I'll have to give more a general response before I can give you some concrete evidence perhaps later tonight.

    I find your first point rather amusing. To suggest that Stalin would have been outraged at the Allies violation of the Yalta Agreement implies that you feel that Stalin took Yalta seriously in the first place. Let us recall the Stalin "gave" us democratic elections in Poland as soon as possible. Let us recall that despite both the USSR and the US agreeing to stay completely out of the civil conflict in China that both violated that rather egregiously. For details see Mao's China and the War by Chen Jian (pgs, 28-38). Despite the USSR and the US aid to the CCP and the GMD respectively, no hot conflict arose out of that and, instead, broke out on the Korean peninsula for reasons that had everything to do with Kim il Sung and nothing to do with Stalin (who merely green lighted the plan or Truman.

    In any case, most of Yalta was violated by Truman after the fact anyway. The partition of Germany denied, after a time, the labour and industry that Stalin was given at Yalta and yet there was no hot conflict over Germany. Stalin was simply not prepared to fight over Germany. He wasn't prepared to fight over Berlin in 1948 during the Blockade and I don't think he would have been prepared to fight over Berlin in 1945 when the United States had more boots on the ground. You cannot say the atomic bomb was what made all the difference because, as you have already mentioned, it would not have made a significant difference. I believe that in a conflict between the US-USSR beginning before 1949, resulting from the seizure of Berlin, nukes would have made quite a big difference; especially since America would have possessed a monopoly for at least two years. Let us not forget that the first Soviet reactor was built using uranium confiscated from the Nazi nuclear program--uranium they would not have had if the Americans had seized Berlin and the rest of eastern Germany.

    Quite frankly, though, my first point still stands: Stalin didn't risk a war in 1948 and he wouldn't have risked one in 1945. And here's why: he would have lost.

    Let us even leave nukes aside and use sheer numbers. Using Wikipedia's numbers (you can debate numbers if you like), the Red Army conscripted a total of 29.5 million men for a grand total of 34 million men. Of these, total losses equalled approximately 8.6 million. But, if the Americans had seized Berlin and the Soviets had immediately attacked, the Red Army would immediately (in some alternate universe) lose the 4.5 million men that had already been captured and were in German lines. But, some, perhaps, may be in Soviet occupied territory; we shall say over half were for the sake of argument. That is still a loss of 10.6 million men before a war with America. This brings their total down to 24 million men. I cannot find exact numbers on the US' army, but the number that is coming to my head is 12 million. Roughly half. Things don't look good for the US, right?

    Indeed, the Red Army had decimated the Wehrmacht while the Western Allies made little progress. But, indeed, this is because they did not want appalling losses--not because the public couldn't handle it--indeed, support for the Second World War never dipped below 70%--but because it was senseless when you can let the Russians kill the Wehrmacht for you. But remember, the Wehrmact made one of the classic blunders: Never fight a land war in Asia! The United States wouldn't be fighting a land war in Asia. They would have no need to seize Moscow; they would be fighting for the defense of Western Europe which means that it is the Russians who are massively overextended and under-supplied. Considering all the damage the Wehrmacht had done to the Soviet economy, the landscape, and the populace, the Red Army might not have done very well against a well-fed, well-equipped, and well-supplied force of Yanks. While Stalin may have been a dictator and above reproach, so was the Tsar. Regardless of how powerful you may be politically, once your armies start dying, you are screwed.

    Let us, then, make some crude calculations. To inflict 6.3 million KIAs on the Red Army, the Wehrmacht lost almost half (3.6) in deaths. If you throw in an atomic bomb or two, the United States can kill that many people.

    This is getting very long and I need to eat, so in conclusion: A war between the US and the USSR would have been ridiculously bloody and, it is likely that the US would win. Having said that, Stalin knew it would have been ridiculously bloody and, thus, would not have gone to war in 1945 over Berlin. He did not go to war in 1948 over Berlin for the same reason, even though he was closer to an atomic bomb then than in 1945. With an untouched American homeland versus a decimated, ruined Soviet economy, I think Stalin knew which side of the bread was buttered and, thus, tried to get as much as he could at Yalta and after without triggering a war. You'll find that when the United States and the Allies push Stalin (over Turkey and Greece, for example) he backs off. I think he, similarly, would have backed off had the Yanks seized Berlin.

    --Phoenix
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    Now FDR's methods may have been rather laissez faire, however, it's not methodology that I'm interested in, it's FDR's underlying philosophy. That is that nations should be free and independent, based on a sort of modified Wilsonian notion of self-determination. International bodies were to be respected and peace guaranteed through his ideal 'Four Policemen.' Admittedly, the idea of Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek as moral paragons strikes me as a bit absurd, but nevermind that. Essentially, FDR was championing multilateralism as a force for peace with an emphasis on the deconstruction of the European Empires.

    It seems to me (and I am a mere casual observer of contemporary politics) that what the Bush Administration is trying to do is promote unilateralism with an emphasis on the construction of states, previously unstable, now loyal to the United States of America through its "exporting" of democracy.
    There's a fair point here, that the revised Wilsonian model was FDR's preference for the post-war management of international relations. But the attribution of violations thereof to "neoconservatives" surely presupposes that hitherto (until 1979, as a convenient date for the rise of Reaganite neoconservatism) the United States had preserved this model.

    But I deliberately picked 1979 - it was the year in which the Shah of Iran, supported unilaterally by the United States, was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution. And this history of American unilateralism litters the entire Cold War; from Korea to Vietnam, Greece to Israel and Cuba to South Korea. It isn't something that specifically is a product of neoconservative attempts "thorugh its 'exporting' of democracy," but rather, that that feature of American life is the current one being emphasised by the US administration, instead of the more traditional 'capitalist' one that - surprisingly - both Democratic and Republican Presidents have put at the forefront of their foreign policy agenda since Truman.

    Let me summarize your rebuttal of me. You're essentially saying, if I understand correctly, that:

    1. Had the US tried to seize Berlin and back out of the Yalta Agreement, the USSR would have come to blows with the US.
    2. Had this occurred, the US would have lost.[/QUOTE]

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    I find your first point rather amusing. To suggest that Stalin would have been outraged at the Allies violation of the Yalta Agreement implies that you feel that Stalin took Yalta seriously in the first place. Let us recall the Stalin "gave" us democratic elections in Poland as soon as possible. Let us recall that despite both the USSR and the US agreeing to stay completely out of the civil conflict in China that both violated that rather egregiously. For details see Mao's China and the War by Chen Jian (pgs, 28-38). Despite the USSR and the US aid to the CCP and the GMD respectively, no hot conflict arose out of that and, instead, broke out on the Korean peninsula for reasons that had everything to do with Kim il Sung and nothing to do with Stalin (who merely green lighted the plan or Truman).
    Stalin had previously been tricked into non-aggression in exchange for splitting up a central European nation, hadn't he? What's the saying - "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me"? On the Korean/Chinese points, you're right that Stalin was less the initiator than the rubber-stamper for the CCP and WPK, but I quite sincerely think that the European settlement was far more important to the recovery of the impressive Soviet economic progress of the mid to late 1930s. Without the export of capital goods from the Eastern German states and other nations behind the iron curtain, the USSR would have materially lost massively during the Second World War without compensation.

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    In any case, most of Yalta was violated by Truman after the fact anyway. The partition of Germany denied, after a time, the labour and industry that Stalin was given at Yalta and yet there was no hot conflict over Germany. Stalin was simply not prepared to fight over Germany. He wasn't prepared to fight over Berlin in 1948 during the Blockade and I don't think he would have been prepared to fight over Berlin in 1945 when the United States had more boots on the ground.
    The "boots on the ground" point is misleading, as is the comparison between 1945 and 1948. Firstly, Stalin had shown himself pretty well determined to grasp as much German soil as possible, and refuse to relinquish any of it without comparable material compensation (as with the Berlin partition, for example). Secondly, public perception in the United States - as I endeavoured to point out - did not perceive the USSR as the "Red Menace" that the Cold War mentality colours us to suppose it did. From the Ayn Rand testimony I quoted earlier, a US propaganda film showed, "literally and technically that it is quite all right for the American national anthem to dissolve into the Soviet. The term here is more than just technical. It really was symbolically intended, and it worked out that way." Thus, the American official rationale for allying with the USSR in WWII was not Churchill's - combining with one devil (Bolshevism) to defeat another (Prussian militarism) - but rather that the two countries, the USA and the USSR, shared a common commitment to the freedom and defence of innocent nations. And thirdly - and most significantly - the capacity for the US to wage war cannot be solely determined by its military strength, as it could be for the Soviet Union. The dual impact of four years of a protacted, high-US casualty war & American perceptions of the USSR not as their ideological enemy, but as their compatriot in the free nations, is that American public opinion would be opposed to wasting American blood for the defence of the Europe where the United States' was not directly threatened. I appreciate that - and it's correct - Stalin would have posed a threat to the US, had he been allowed military hegemony. But if, in 1945, the threat was less acute - wasn't it Uncle Joe's capacity to soak up casualties unrelentingly that enabled the delayed creation of a second front in Europe? And didn't this sacrifice, as opposed to the making of a separate peace with Germany, suggest Stalin's genuine committment to internationalism and multilateralism, instead of the protectionism and nationalism of the thirties.


    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    You cannot say the atomic bomb was what made all the difference because, as you have already mentioned, it would not have made a significant difference. I believe that in a conflict between the US-USSR beginning before 1949, resulting from the seizure of Berlin, nukes would have made quite a big difference; especially since America would have possessed a monopoly for at least two years. Let us not forget that the first Soviet reactor was built using uranium confiscated from the Nazi nuclear program--uranium they would not have had if the Americans had seized Berlin and the rest of eastern Germany.
    This is largely beside the point. Nukes can only be fired against civilian targets, and Stalin had shown his capacity to soak up civilian casualties without a threat to his power. Had the US and the USSR gone to war, you're right factually that the US would have had a nuclear monopoly (until 1949), but they were unusable on the battlefield - unless you're suggesting that Truman could politically survive the nuclear contamination of the US armies as a result of strikes against the Red Army. So nuclear capacities are only significant after 1949 - when avoiding mutually assured destruction necessitates an arms race.

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    Quite frankly, though, my first point still stands: Stalin didn't risk a war in 1948 and he wouldn't have risked one in 1945. And here's why: he would have lost.
    Stalin and Truman both complied with their Yalta agreements over Germany for at least three years, until the Berlin Blockade in 48. That Stalin had done so regarding the partition of Germany, and - even though it had been liberated by the Red Army - accepted the quadripartite division of Berlin (and, incidentally, Vienna, which was also in the Soviet section of Austria) is indicative of his expected compliance of the Western powers. Now, when the Western Allies violated the Yalta agreement over Germany, by agreeing in principle to a unification of currency & territory between their three zones, Stalin was willing to take defensive measures (the blockade) to preserve the current settlement. But to say "Stalin didn't risk a war in 1948" is to miss the point, in my opinion: his response was commensurate with the level of violation (indirect violation by the Brits/Yanks/French, indirect violation - land blockade - by Stalin). It wasn't Stalin who didn't want a war - it was Truman, as is clearly illustrated by his rejection of Clay's proposal (much like LBJ's to break the Tiran Straits embargo - beside the point) to send an armoured international force through the Soviet sector to relieve West Berlin. Thus, it was Truman who refused to use force (instead relying on the airlift) to compel Stalin to comply. So Stalin can hardly be blamed for being non-belligerent, when his opponents explicitly excluded a bellicose march down the autobahn.

    And in the heightened environment of 1945, I think it is perfectly possible to conceive of a westward moving Soviet force fighting Allied troops to gain control of Berlin. Indeed, after preaching internationalism, multilateralism and a united front against facism, the US can hardly have been justified in acting unilaterally, breaking up that alliance and the agreements upon which it had been forged, can it?

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    This brings [the Russian] total down to 24 million men. I cannot find exact numbers on the US' army, but the number that is coming to my head is 12 million. Roughly half...

    Indeed, the Red Army had decimated the Wehrmacht while the Western Allies made little progress. But, indeed, this is because they did not want appalling losses--not because the public couldn't handle it--indeed, support for the Second World War never dipped below 70%--but because it was senseless when you can let the Russians kill the Wehrmacht for you. But remember, the Wehrmact made one of the classic blunders: Never fight a land war in Asia! The United States wouldn't be fighting a land war in Asia. They would have no need to seize Moscow; they would be fighting for the defense of Western Europe which means that it is the Russians who are massively overextended and under-supplied.
    I find this is a very unconvincing argument. You're saying that (presuming your estimates for the size of troops is correct) the US would prevail where the Wehrmacht had failed just because they weren't fighting in Asia? Stalin's ability to soak up casualties didn't rely on the climate (though that, as at Stalingrad, was the reason why the attackers ultimately surrendered) and to suggest that the Russians were "massively overextended," with twice the number of troops as the US, and "under-supplied," even though they inherited a pretty good rail network, hitherto been used by the Nazis for Jewish deportations, and even though they now controlled a great deal of the industry (though not the raw materials, I concede) that had powered the Wehrmacht, seems incommensurate with the facts.

    And the point about popular support for the war is true - because the US' neutrality had been violated by Japan - but is misleading. Look at attitudes before December 1941 - almost unanimously against. FDR's fight in Congress proved that the Senate and House didn't want to support the interests of one European Empire against another; and the acquisition of a US Empire in Europe had yet to fully emerge. It was only after Suez that one sees the real subordination of France and Britain to the US - and hence it is only in the late 40s early 50s that the US becomes the dominant de facto power in Europe, with the creation of NATO effectively turning Western Europe into an American protectorate. Before then, it was a case of reform the West and contain the East - and certainly do not provoke them to strike first.

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    Considering all the damage the Wehrmacht had done to the Soviet economy, the landscape, and the populace, the Red Army might not have done very well against a well-fed, well-equipped, and well-supplied force of Yanks. While Stalin may have been a dictator and above reproach, so was the Tsar. Regardless of how powerful you may be politically, once your armies start dying, you are screwed.
    WWI Russian military deaths: 1.8m. WWII Soviet military deaths: 10.7m. Roughly six times greater military casualties, and eight times more civilian deaths, yet in 1945, Stalin's position was totally unassaillable. There is no question whatsoever that Stalin would be unseated by high military casualties - indeed, as you admit, he voluntarily accepted many (though with some prevarication) in order to allow the Western allies time to prepare for a solid second front in Europe. Whereas Truman could not justly fight a war if he had been the one breaching the multilateralism that you (at the top of this post) claim the neocons had.

    The US does not accept military casualties lightly because it's a democratic regime - Stalin could ignore them, because he was a competent dictator (unlike Nicholas II).

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    Let us, then, make some crude calculations. To inflict 6.3 million KIAs on the Red Army, the Wehrmacht lost almost half (3.6) in deaths. If you throw in an atomic bomb or two, the United States can kill that many people.
    The US can kill that many people, but not that many soldiers. Given the proximity of opposing troops, it is impossible to launch a nuclear weapon without risking the possibility of wiping out a lot of American troops. This politically unsustainable loss makes the use of nukes against the Red Army unimaginable.

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    This is getting very long and I need to eat, so in conclusion: A war between the US and the USSR would have been ridiculously bloody and, it is likely that the US would win.
    I don't know what has concluded you to think this. Nukes are not battlefield weapons, and the clear battlefield advantage was to the Red Army. It was rather the case that - as the 1948 decision to stop Clay from invading Soviet territory shows - the United States was incapable, politically and militarily (though not economically) at winning a war against an enemy for whom troops were expendable and civilian restrictions on consumer goods a part of daily life. After 1945, normality was what the world wanted, and, to tie this up, it was what it got - the normality of the 1920s, an awkward compromise in which nobody's really happy, but nobody dares to break the fragile arrangements for fear of a Third World War.

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    Having said that, Stalin knew it would have been ridiculously bloody and, thus, would not have gone to war in 1945 over Berlin. He did not go to war in 1948 over Berlin for the same reason, even though he was closer to an atomic bomb then than in 1945. With an untouched American homeland versus a decimated, ruined Soviet economy, I think Stalin knew which side of the bread was buttered and, thus, tried to get as much as he could at Yalta and after without triggering a war.
    As I showed, the reasons for not going to war were very different in 1945 and 1948. The economic point is correct - but we shouldn't forget that the German economy (which, for the most part, Stalin would definitely control were there to have been a US-USSR war in 1945) had achieved production miracles and supported armies as far away as the Caucauses. With half a continent under his control Stalin was perfectly capable of continuing the war - because there was no political pressure to revert to consumer goods, as there was in the US.

    (Original post by Phoenix Wright)
    You'll find that when the United States and the Allies push Stalin (over Turkey and Greece, for example) he backs off. I think he, similarly, would have backed off had the Yanks seized Berlin.
    Like he backed off in the Korean peninsula? And, Greece was a negotiated settlement (the 90/10% business, with the US/UK with 90% in Greece and the USSR with 90% in Romania) and I never understood precisely what the aid to Turkey was for - just general containment? It seems to me that both Stalin and Truman were seeking to influence external nations, and that neither were necessarilly willing to give up when threatened by military force; it was this realisation - a proto-MAD rationalisation of the status-quo - that maintained the peace in Europe after 1945, and a power grab by either dominant power would certainly have disrupted this peace and led to a war on the scale of the one both nations had just left, as opposed to your cheery belief that power grabbing by Eisenhower as supreme commander would have "spared many lives in both the immediate fighting and the aftermath."
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    Lively debate we're having! I like it, though you're making me research a period I wasn't previously intimately familiar with. Anyway, before I start refuting your points, there's a few things that I have to correct now that I'm at home with my personal library.

    Firstly, from my reading of Gerhard Weinberg's A World at Arms and various other books (but mainly that tome of his), I can find no evidence that who would take Berlin was ever agreed on. Indeed, the only mention of Berlin is that it would be, like Germany itself, divided into four. Berlin would lie in the Soviet zone, but that did not preclude the Allies from occupying it before turning it over like they did in parts of Central Germany. Reading some of the telegraphs between Stalin and Konev and Zhukov along with Eisenhower and Monty seems to suggest that no one really knew who was going to take Berlin until the beginning of April. It is my belief that the Allies could have taken Berlin, but they would have very likely been forced to give it back to the Soviets. This would, however, still have spared many thousands of lives as it would have allowed more of the populace to flee westward.

    Anyway, here's some flaws in your arguments before I continue with my own.

    public perception in the United States - as I endeavoured to point out - did not perceive the USSR as the "Red Menace" that the Cold War mentality colours us to suppose it did.
    While during the war, this may have been true, there were plenty of red scares before the war. One need only point to MacArthur's deployment of the Bonus Army in 1932 to show that the United States was concerned about defeating communism. FDR, however, felt Hitler was the greater threat to global security, but everyone else, well...

    This is largely beside the point. Nukes can only be fired against civilian targets, and Stalin had shown his capacity to soak up civilian casualties without a threat to his power. Had the US and the USSR gone to war, you're right factually that the US would have had a nuclear monopoly (until 1949), but they were unusable on the battlefield - unless you're suggesting that Truman could politically survive the nuclear contamination of the US armies as a result of strikes against the Red Army. So nuclear capacities are only significant after 1949 - when avoiding mutually assured destruction necessitates an arms race.
    I find this point largely invalid if only because we don't--at least I don't--know how to use a nuclear weapon in a conventional manner. I assume that the US would have had the capability to deliver one in the Russian homeland by 1947 if only because the United States was always violating Russian airspace without reproach while the Soviets did very little. American production of nuclear weapons and the bombers to deliver them would also be much enhanced by a war.

    And I hardly find the Berlin Blockade "non-belligerant" as you call it. Let's face it, Stalin backed down. 1948 was more a direct violation of Yalta than beating the Soviets to Berlin would have been as I've mentioned above.

    It was rather the case that - as the 1948 decision to stop Clay from invading Soviet territory shows - the United States was incapable, politically and militarily (though not economically) at winning a war against an enemy for whom troops were expendable and civilian restrictions on consumer goods a part of daily life.
    Granted, but, as Hobsbawm points out in Age of Extremes, the Red Army demobilized about as fast at the US army.

    Hobsbawm, upon a third reading (I first read it as a high school student), has an excellent point, though. He writes; "the US joint chiefs of staff produced a plan to atom-bomb the twenty chief Soviet cities within ten weeks of the war." I really think that would have ended the war in favour of the US without high US military casualties, though, you do have a point in saying that it can less afford casualties than the Soviet Union.

    Like he backed off in the Korean peninsula?
    Stalin did back off on the Korean peninsula. He gave basically none of the support he promised and instead let Mao do all the fighting. Indeed, even here, he wished to postpone a head-on collision with the West. As Zubok and Pleshakov write: "Stalin's real "master plan" [in getting Mao to attack MacArthur] at that time was not a counterattack in Europe as many in the West had thought, but postponement of a head-on collision with the West." (pp 65-66)


    As for the other argument we were having, I'll write about it tomorrow, I'm really tired.

    --Phoenix
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    [FONT=Times New Roman]
    I still vehemently disagree with him, but believe that the allies made the same mistake that Chamberlain did, of appeasment, with the Soviet Union when they should have pushed the new beast back out of its newly occupied territories. However, I don't think restoring Europe to some sort of pre-WW1 status quo would have worked.

    What say the fine brains here?
    Chamberlain did not make a mistake, he was just the scape-goat.

    No appeasment = talking German right now.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    No appeasment = talking German right now.
    That’s about as right judgementally as paedophilia is morally.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Germany controlling Eastern Europe in the post war period, who fought of that silly idea.
    Germany and the german people could'nt even cater for themselves after the end of conflicts, they had no infrostructure, no stable government, very little in resources it would have been a joke and a bad political decision.
    The Soviets would have seen it as a sign of mistrust by the allies, and stalin was not going to let go of Poland, it had acted as a corridor of invasion against the Russianstwice in the 20th century already.
    I would say the Americans and Brits did appease stalin a bit to much, but the world was exhausted of war, and in my opinion the Soviets could easily taken Western Europe after the fall of Berlin.
    So in away we were quite lucky that the Russian bear had its fill of Eastern Europe.
 
 
 
Poll
Black Friday: Yay or Nay?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.