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Title got your attention? No, it’s not going to be… that. Read on.

While the rest of the world (or a few Europeans, anyway) is obsessed with yet another “Polish death camps” episode, this time on CNN, a somewhat more significant historical scandal brewed between Poland and Russia.

Explaining away Poroshenko’s status as a guest of honor alongside the refusal to invite Putin to mark the 70-year anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which takes places today on January 27th, the Polish FM Grzegorz Schetyna said:

The 1st Ukrainian front and Ukrainians liberated [the concentration camp], as on that January day there were Ukrainian soldiers, so they opened the gates of the camp.

Sure, there were Ukrainian soldiers there. But the majority were Russian. And dozens of other nationalities, including Poles. The “Ukrainian Front” was a mere geographical/military marker that had precisely zilch to do with ethnicity.

If one were really into beans-counting, the purely military contribution of Russians substantially outweighed that of Ukrainians – both in terms of their presence in the Red Army, and their military losses (this is, of course, after adjusting for relative population sizes). There is nothing political about this; it was just a logical consequence of Ukraine being occupied for the first half of the war, and being unable to contribute conscripts.

Mr. Schetyna could just have been honest about it. We don’t like you, Vlad, so why don’t you take a hike. Or simply answered without answering. Foreign Ministers are supposed to be good at that.

But no, he had to snub not only Putin, but the entire Russian people.

(Incidentally, what makes this all the more ironic is that Poroshenko, as the President of the Maidan, represents many of the ideological descendents of Ukraine’s collaborationist forces – the same ones who killed and ethnically cleansed the Poles and Jews who had previously constituted a majority in West Ukraine’s cities during the antebellum period. And who are even now, as they have been these past two decades, busy rewriting Ukrainian history textbooks to whitewash the role of the UPA. But today, that is of scant interest to Israel, and none at all to Poland. While that might not be “nice” or “fair” of them, it certainly isn’t illogical either. So far as they’re concerned, even a Ukraine led by zombie Hitler would be preferable to a Ukraine back in Russia’s orbit, even if Russia was to hold elect Khodorkovsky President and celebrate it with a massive gay parade in Moscow this very day. That is because an independent Ukraine can never be a geopolitical threat to Poland, whereas Russia mostly certainly can).

Does it matter?

While in the short-term it might be a faintly ridiculous spat, in the longterm it might well come to be seen as part of a process of alienation that has already been going on for decades.

For all the fuss made about them, nobody is going to start believing in the existence of “Polish death camps” – as in Polish Polish, not Nazi-occupied Polish – anytime soon; it’s not even an intentional mistake, for crying out loud. Nor is general Holocaust denial going to become a thing outside the danker corners of the Internet. That is because both Poles and Jews are now pretty much integral members of the Western community, so it’s hard to imagine their voices and historical memories ever getting drowned out.

This was not the case with the Soviet Union, and it is not the case with modern Russia.

Today’s popular Western conception of the Eastern Front is quite at odds with reality, heavily based as it is on the embellished reminiscences of Wehrmacht generals and ahistorical visual media fluffpieces, fueled by Cold War emotions, and with no popularly accessible Russian side of the story. So today most Westerners believe all manner of myths about the Soviet Union’s role in the war, from the discredited “two men per rifle” trope to it being the Americans who kicked Nazi ass anyway.

The cold statistics of the balance of Axis casualties between the Western and Eastern fronts – around 75%-80% of their manpower and aircraft losses accrued to the Soviets – fundamentally belie this idea of American preeminence. While you could argue legitimately argue that Lend-Lease provided the thin but critical margin in materiel that averted a Soviet collapse in 1942, as Mark Harrison does, or that a Germany that only had to fight on one front could have eked out a stalement in 1943-44, it is completely ludicrous to argue that the Western Allies could have conquered Germany had it been free to concentrate the bulk of its military assets to the west. Despite a successful deception operation and facing undermanned German divisions, D-Day was a closer call than is commonly appreciated. While history often doesn’t have clear answers, this is not one of those cases: The Soviet Union was the only unequivocally indispensable party in the defeat of Nazi Germany (and, incidentally, bringing an end to the Holocaust).

But most Westerners have no idea. To them, the Eastern Front is a place of zerg rushes and Russian rapine, while the real course of the war was decided in North Africa, the Atlantic, and the beaches of Normandy.

Think I’m exaggerating? If so, then it’s probably because unlike 95% of the population, you’ve just read too many actual history books (there are many very good serious English language historians in this area: Glantz, Overy, Bellamy. Not Antony Beevor, who probably sold ten times as many books as the first three combined. Should tell you something). Normal people don’t read those books, not even Beevor; they watch Enemy at the Gates and play Wolfenstein instead.

And this is what they have come to believe:

sondage-nation-contribue-defaite-nazis

This is a series of polls that took place in France in 1945, 1994, and 2004, respectively, asking which nation was most responsible for the defeat of Germany. Right after France’s liberation, with American and British soldiers walking the streets, a solid majority of 57% nonetheless believed that it had been the Soviet Union. But by 2004, the situation had cardinally reversed itself, with 58% now crediting the Americans and only 20% – the Soviet Union. This even constituted a decline relative to 1994, despite the intervening decade having been one of the best ever for West-Russia relations. The fact that great bulk of German divisions and airpower were destroyed on the Eastern Front pales into insignificance besides the power of Cold War and just plain anti-Russian propaganda acting on the human biomasses over the course of two generations. (Interestingly, the most “pro-Soviet” group in the 2004 poll was not, as you might expect, supporters of the Communist Party – whose 20% was exactly in line with the national average – but the Front National, with 33%. As sovereigntist successors to De Gaulle, who dreamed of a Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok and whose only real issue with Russia was its then Communist ideology, this should not be too surprising).

I haven’t seen any similar polls from the US or Britain, but I very much doubt they would be substantially different.

With the West and Russia once again growing estranged from each other, and the level of propaganda and mutual recriminations returning to Cold War levels, one wonders what Americans and Frenchmen in 2104 might answer when asked who they think liberated Auschwitz.

Will it be the Americans? Or maybe even a German-Ukrainian combined joint task force? The latter, at least, is presumably what the Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatsenyuk wants the world to start to believe.

 
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  1. Most central-east europeans feel that they were occupied by the Red Army not liberated, so their lack of enthusiasm to celebrate their escape from fire to the frying pan makes sense.

    Read More
    • Replies: @inertial
    There is more to it than that. Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has their number.

    Putin should be invited to Auschwitz

    In the background of this decision [not inviting Putin to Auschwitz], however, there might also be an ideological reason that relates directly to the ongoing bitter debate between Russia and post-Communist Eastern Europe over the history of World War II and the Holocaust. Ever since the admission of the Baltics and many other East European countries to the EU and NATO, we have witnessed a systematic campaign being waged to undermine the uniqueness of the Holocaust and promote the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes. The motivation for this campaign is obvious, since in most Eastern European countries collaboration with the Nazis meant active participation in mass murder, and if given a choice between being branded as countries of perpetrators or of victims, it is clear what the new democracies prefer. So instead of honestly confronting their bloody Holocaust past, they opt to emphasize their own suffering under the Soviets and Communists and proceed to glorify freedom fighters against Communism, even if they mass murdered Jews during the Holocaust.
     
    This assessment a bit too Holocaust-centric (which s not surprising considering the source) but in general quite true.
    , @Kibernetika
    "Most central-east europeans feel that they were occupied by the Red Army not liberated, so their lack of enthusiasm to celebrate their escape from fire to the frying pan makes sense."

    That may well be true, but I would reverse the order: liberated by Soviet forces, subsequently occupied. My own father lived in an area that's now Russian, but was for ~ 600 years German. My grandfather fought Russia in WW1, and my cousins fought against Soviets in WW2, and the West was almost a vacation (if they survived the aerial bombings).

    All Germans wanted to surrender to the Western powers, because the Soviet forces were fighting against Germany/fascism so much more ferociously. Bad times.

    We Americans, in many cases, don't understand how visceral the memory of WWII is to ex-CCCP populations. Some war memorials stretch for a kilometer or more, full of names of the fallen. Even in the more remote ex-CCCP republics, nearly all families lost grandfathers.
    , @ToivoS
    Of course most eastern European countries feel they were defeated by the Red Army. They were, after all, allied with the Nazi German regime. They lost. How many hundreds of thousands of Romanian, Hungarian, Italian, Bulgarian, Slovakian, not to mention Austrian and Czech soldiers died fighting the Soviets during WWII? I missed mentioning those Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians that joined the Nazi movement. They picked the wrong side then but were welcomed by the US as anti-communist freedom fighters against the dreaded Red, Russian Asiatic horde once the Nazis were defeated.

    In any case this distortion of history began shortly after the end of WWII. I know from my experience in the late fifties in my high school class here in the US my "world events"was taught by a Latvian immigrant who bragged about his cousins and father who fought the Communists during WWII.

    It is really sad that this propaganda campaign against the Russian people has not stopped to this day. Putin is responsible for this -- he had the audacity to insist that Russia had national interests independent of American imperial ambitions. Imagine that! Wasn't Russia supposed to be totally defeated after 1990.
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  2. David says:

    John Keegan emphasized the contribution of Russia to the defeat of Germany every chance he got. I looked but couldn’t find the place where he laments that the definitive history of Stalingrad, which he considered the most important battle of the war, had yet to be written. I’m not sure what the author of this column thinks of Keegan, but he was very popular in the US and his readers are comfortable acknowledging Russia’s role in WW2.

    Also, the United States goes unmentioned in Keegan’s The First World War until 90% of the way through.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    @David,

    Re-John Keegan. I have read his WW1 book and The Face of Battle, though not his WW2 stuff. But I did read many other Anglo historians on WW2 and in general have a high opinion on the quality of their work. The problem is specifically this:

    Normal people don’t read those books, not even Beevor; they watch Enemy at the Gates and play Wolfenstein instead.
     
    There has been practically zero permeation from academic to social/popular opinion. If anything, the trends have gone exactly in reverse, with Western historians digging into Soviet archives even as popular opinion is becoming increasingly dismissive and ignorant about the Soviet role (double effect of older generations who experienced WW2 firsthand dying off, and the continuing influence of propaganda).

    @Toddy Cat, @syon,

    Re-the nuclear bomb.

    I disagree. It would not have been a game-changer until there were many more of them, and for that you'd have had to wait until the early 1950s. Their numbers and production levels were very limited up until then.

    In the meantime, sure, they could have well destroyed the cores of a dozen or so German cities, perhaps tripling or quintupling Germany's 600K civilian bombing casualties, but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power. Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany. With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.

    Ballistic missiles are a much more effective method of delivering nuclear payloads than flying bombers over areas infested with AA guns and Me 262s (note that air defense would have been much stronger in Germany had it not been pouring so many resources into the Soviet struggle). Despite the initial lag in nuclear stockpiles, it seems likely that in a true nuclear total war, Germany would eventually ended up firing and landing many more nukes than the Western Allies, either forcing the UK to the peace table or wrecking all its major cities and airports making hosting an invasion unfeasible anyway.

    PS. Re-Holodomor: It was a undoubtedly a crime, but one not specific to Ukraine or Ukrainians. The percentage of famine deaths was similarly high in the majority ethnic Russian Volga, Kuban, and North Kazakhstan. The total number of famine deaths in the RSFSR during that period going just from demographic records was likely higher than in Ukraine (though yes, Ukraine suffered much more on average percentagewise).
  3. Toddy Cat says:

    ,” it is completely ludicrous to argue that the Western Allies could have conquered Germany had it been free to concentrate the bulk of its military assets to the west.”

    Come now, Mr. Karlin. While I certainly appreciate that the Red Army was a titanic fighting force, and made a massive contribution to Allied Victory, by 1945, The United States had nuclear weapons. Game over. Just because some idiots underestimate the Russian contribution to victory doesn’t mean that we have to go to the opposite extreme.

    Read More
  4. syonredux says:

    it is completely ludicrous to argue that the Western Allies could have conquered Germany had it been free to concentrate the bulk of its military assets to the west. Despite a successful deception operation and facing undermanned German divisions, D-Day was a closer call than is commonly appreciated.

    First off, yes, WW2 in Europe was essentially a contest between the USSR and Nazi Germany.Only an ignorant fool would deny that.

    That being said, it’s far from “ludicrous to argue that the Western Allies could have conquered Germany had it been free to concentrate the bulk of its military assets to the west.” The Western allies, after all, had the atomic bomb by the Summer of 1945.Nuking Berlin would have been a game changer.

    So far as they’re concerned, even a Ukraine led by zombie Hitler would be preferable to a Ukraine back in Russia’s orbit, even if Russia was to hold elect Khodorkovsky President and celebrate it with a massive gay parade in Moscow this very day.

    Well, Ukrainians have understandable reasons for not having fond memories of being dominated by Russia:

    Yet as Auschwitz draws attention away from the still greater horrors of Treblinka, the Gulag distracts us from the Soviet policies that killed people directly and purposefully, by starvation and bullets. Of the Stalinist killing policies, two were the most significant: the collectivization famines of 1930–1933 and the Great Terror of 1937–1938. [....] It is established beyond reasonable doubt that Stalin intentionally starved to death Soviet Ukrainians in the winter of 1932–1933. Soviet documents reveal a series of orders of October–December 1932 with evident malice and intention to kill. By the end, more than three million inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine had died.

    For that matter, one might also note how Ukrainian “Kulaks” and ethnic Poles suffered during the Great Terror of ’37-’38:

    The largest action of the Great Terror, Operation 00447, was aimed chiefly at “kulaks,” which is to say peasants who had already been oppressed during collectivization. It claimed 386,798 lives. A few national minorities, representing together less than 2 percent of the Soviet population, yielded more than a third of the fatalities of the Great Terror. In an operation aimed at ethnic Poles who were Soviet citizens, for example, 111,091 people were shot. Of the 681,692 executions carried out for alleged political crimes in 1937 and 1938, the kulak operation and the national operations accounted for 633,955, more than 90 percent of the total. These people were shot in secret, buried in pits, and forgotten.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/16/holocaust-the-ignored-reality/

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    • Replies: @Melbourne
    The Bomb of Summer 1945, would have been too late to have stopped the German roller coaster of 1940, if the Soviets had not been fighting and the West had been the main target.
  5. I laughed out loud at the “zerg” reference. Generation X and later will get it, and the older ones will scratch their heads and wonder why the youth never supported their country without question the way they did. That’s just the way history works.

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  6. inertial says:
    @Pseudonymic Handle
    Most central-east europeans feel that they were occupied by the Red Army not liberated, so their lack of enthusiasm to celebrate their escape from fire to the frying pan makes sense.

    There is more to it than that. Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has their number.

    Putin should be invited to Auschwitz

    In the background of this decision [not inviting Putin to Auschwitz], however, there might also be an ideological reason that relates directly to the ongoing bitter debate between Russia and post-Communist Eastern Europe over the history of World War II and the Holocaust. Ever since the admission of the Baltics and many other East European countries to the EU and NATO, we have witnessed a systematic campaign being waged to undermine the uniqueness of the Holocaust and promote the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes. The motivation for this campaign is obvious, since in most Eastern European countries collaboration with the Nazis meant active participation in mass murder, and if given a choice between being branded as countries of perpetrators or of victims, it is clear what the new democracies prefer. So instead of honestly confronting their bloody Holocaust past, they opt to emphasize their own suffering under the Soviets and Communists and proceed to glorify freedom fighters against Communism, even if they mass murdered Jews during the Holocaust.

    This assessment a bit too Holocaust-centric (which s not surprising considering the source) but in general quite true.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pseudonymic Handle
    For some countries that did not participate in the Holocaust, like Romania and Bulgaria, the crimes committed by communists are clearly worse than what the wartime governments did.
    Another aspect is that german occupation was far shorter than the soviet one and far less detrimental to the development of Central-East European countries. The communists wiped out the elites and destroyed the economies to a degree that the region may never recover from. In 1938 they were on par with South European countries, now they may never catch up.
  7. @David
    John Keegan emphasized the contribution of Russia to the defeat of Germany every chance he got. I looked but couldn't find the place where he laments that the definitive history of Stalingrad, which he considered the most important battle of the war, had yet to be written. I'm not sure what the author of this column thinks of Keegan, but he was very popular in the US and his readers are comfortable acknowledging Russia's role in WW2.

    Also, the United States goes unmentioned in Keegan's The First World War until 90% of the way through.

    @David,

    Re-John Keegan. I have read his WW1 book and The Face of Battle, though not his WW2 stuff. But I did read many other Anglo historians on WW2 and in general have a high opinion on the quality of their work. The problem is specifically this:

    Normal people don’t read those books, not even Beevor; they watch Enemy at the Gates and play Wolfenstein instead.

    There has been practically zero permeation from academic to social/popular opinion. If anything, the trends have gone exactly in reverse, with Western historians digging into Soviet archives even as popular opinion is becoming increasingly dismissive and ignorant about the Soviet role (double effect of older generations who experienced WW2 firsthand dying off, and the continuing influence of propaganda).

    @Toddy Cat, @syon,

    Re-the nuclear bomb.

    I disagree. It would not have been a game-changer until there were many more of them, and for that you’d have had to wait until the early 1950s. Their numbers and production levels were very limited up until then.

    In the meantime, sure, they could have well destroyed the cores of a dozen or so German cities, perhaps tripling or quintupling Germany’s 600K civilian bombing casualties, but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power. Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany. With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.

    Ballistic missiles are a much more effective method of delivering nuclear payloads than flying bombers over areas infested with AA guns and Me 262s (note that air defense would have been much stronger in Germany had it not been pouring so many resources into the Soviet struggle). Despite the initial lag in nuclear stockpiles, it seems likely that in a true nuclear total war, Germany would eventually ended up firing and landing many more nukes than the Western Allies, either forcing the UK to the peace table or wrecking all its major cities and airports making hosting an invasion unfeasible anyway.

    PS. Re-Holodomor: It was a undoubtedly a crime, but one not specific to Ukraine or Ukrainians. The percentage of famine deaths was similarly high in the majority ethnic Russian Volga, Kuban, and North Kazakhstan. The total number of famine deaths in the RSFSR during that period going just from demographic records was likely higher than in Ukraine (though yes, Ukraine suffered much more on average percentagewise).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The nuclear bomb couldn't be delivered without clear air superiority against a country controlling a continent and having very advanced science and military industry but not having nuclear technology. Imagine if a nuclear bomber was shot down without being able to discharge its load. The bomb could then be found by the Germans among the debris of the plane and then reverse engineered, or even used against the UK.
    , @syonredux
    RE: American nuclear weapons stockpiles,

    1945:6

    1946:11

    1947:32

    1948:110

    1949: 235

    http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datab19.asp

    Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany.
     
    Well, one should also bear in mind that the USSR had a decent level of penetration into the Allied nuclear program (Klaus Fuchs, David Greenglass, etc).That advantage was denied to the Germans.

    With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.
     
    If they got to it in 1948, that would have given the Anglo powers enough time to drop 159 atomic bombs on Germany (6+11+32+110) vs 6 (assuming that German bomb production in the first year would be roughly equal to America's).That would be a lot of devastation.

    As for German rockets, well, one should bear in mind that the Allies would not have been idle in that direction

    but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power.
     
    How much damage would 159 atomic bombs cause?Also, one should bear in mind the possibility of a decapitating strike.The first Berlin bomb might get Hitler, Goering, Himmler, etc.

    I should add, by the way, that this kind of conversation is frightfully academic.Hitler's true goals were in the East.Hence, a lasting peace with Stalin was simply not on the table.So, the only way that the Eastern Front would be quiet would be if Hitler conquered the USSR, and that is extremely unlikely.

    For that matter, even if Hitler did conquer the USSR, that would have meant a considerable expenditure of resources for occupation duties.One should also bear in mind that Hitler's plans in the East called for slaughter on an epic scale.The extermination of European Jewry would have been a mere bagatelle in comparison:

    Yet even this corrected image of the Holocaust conveys an unacceptably incomplete sense of the scope of German mass killing policies in Europe. The Final Solution, as the Nazis called it, was originally only one of the exterminatory projects to be implemented after a victorious war against the Soviet Union. Had things gone the way that Hitler, Himmler, and Göring expected, German forces would have implemented a Hunger Plan in the Soviet Union in the winter of 1941–1942. As Ukrainian and south Russian agricultural products were diverted to Germany, some 30 million people in Belarus, northern Russia, and Soviet cities were to be starved to death. The Hunger Plan was only a prelude to Generalplan Ost, the colonization plan for the western Soviet Union, which foresaw the elimination of some 50 million people.
     
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/16/holocaust-the-ignored-reality/
    , @sean c
    Was the Kuban really ethnically Russian? My grand father was from there and all his ancestors had enko in their last name. The communists infact targeted them first.
    , @Daniel H
    @ Anatoly Karlin

    It is quite likely, almost certain, that if the United States had dropped a nuclear weapon on Germany in 1945, after she, Germany, had defeated the USSR, the immediate German response -within days - would have been to launch hundreds of chemical gas equipped missiles onto, first, the cities of Great Britain and soon after, by submarine launched planes, onto the United States coastal cities: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, etc. Nukes are great, but chemicals are quite devastating too, and the Nazis had plenty of chemical weapons stockpiled. Without question, the USSR played the major, indispensable role in defeating Germany in WWII. Those maintaining otherwise seem to be anti-Russian bigots.
  8. @Anatoly Karlin
    @David,

    Re-John Keegan. I have read his WW1 book and The Face of Battle, though not his WW2 stuff. But I did read many other Anglo historians on WW2 and in general have a high opinion on the quality of their work. The problem is specifically this:

    Normal people don’t read those books, not even Beevor; they watch Enemy at the Gates and play Wolfenstein instead.
     
    There has been practically zero permeation from academic to social/popular opinion. If anything, the trends have gone exactly in reverse, with Western historians digging into Soviet archives even as popular opinion is becoming increasingly dismissive and ignorant about the Soviet role (double effect of older generations who experienced WW2 firsthand dying off, and the continuing influence of propaganda).

    @Toddy Cat, @syon,

    Re-the nuclear bomb.

    I disagree. It would not have been a game-changer until there were many more of them, and for that you'd have had to wait until the early 1950s. Their numbers and production levels were very limited up until then.

    In the meantime, sure, they could have well destroyed the cores of a dozen or so German cities, perhaps tripling or quintupling Germany's 600K civilian bombing casualties, but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power. Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany. With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.

    Ballistic missiles are a much more effective method of delivering nuclear payloads than flying bombers over areas infested with AA guns and Me 262s (note that air defense would have been much stronger in Germany had it not been pouring so many resources into the Soviet struggle). Despite the initial lag in nuclear stockpiles, it seems likely that in a true nuclear total war, Germany would eventually ended up firing and landing many more nukes than the Western Allies, either forcing the UK to the peace table or wrecking all its major cities and airports making hosting an invasion unfeasible anyway.

    PS. Re-Holodomor: It was a undoubtedly a crime, but one not specific to Ukraine or Ukrainians. The percentage of famine deaths was similarly high in the majority ethnic Russian Volga, Kuban, and North Kazakhstan. The total number of famine deaths in the RSFSR during that period going just from demographic records was likely higher than in Ukraine (though yes, Ukraine suffered much more on average percentagewise).

    The nuclear bomb couldn’t be delivered without clear air superiority against a country controlling a continent and having very advanced science and military industry but not having nuclear technology. Imagine if a nuclear bomber was shot down without being able to discharge its load. The bomb could then be found by the Germans among the debris of the plane and then reverse engineered, or even used against the UK.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    The nuclear bomb couldn’t be delivered without clear air superiority against a country controlling a continent
     
    What does "control of a continent" mean relative to the industrial output from North America? A North America that didn't have to worry about bombing raids from Europe and that could use Britain as a forward base for air operations?Bear in mind, too, that much of the European Continent would have been, shall we say, balky and hostile

    and having very advanced science and military industry but not having nuclear technology. Imagine if a nuclear bomber was shot down without being able to discharge its load. The bomb could then be found by the Germans among the debris of the plane and then reverse engineered, or even used against the UK.
     
    I don't know; it seems rather likely to me that the Western Allies would have had air superiority by 1945.As for a working bomb falling into Nazi hands, my understanding is that a crash would have almost certainly caused a Hiroshima-type bomb to detonate.That was the reason why the Hiroshima bomb was armed after take-off.they didn't want to risk a take-off crash causing the bomb to go off.
    , @MarkinLA
    If the plane crashes and the bomb isn't completely intact you probably have something like a dirty bomb in the area. Just like the bomber crews were ordered to destroy the Norden bombsites as critical weapon systems that can't fall into enemy hands, a plane going down would execute an order to jettison the bomb with some mechanism to turn it into a dirty bomb to keep the fissile material from being useful. Plutonium is highly toxic but this is all out war so worry about what it does to the countryside later.
  9. Glossy says:

    …an independent Ukraine can never be a geopolitical threat to Poland, whereas Russia mostly certainly can).

    Both of the times that Russia occupied Poland, Poland remained Poland. The attitude of Poland’s current masters (whatever you want to call them – the West, the New World Order, something else) is more radical than that though. Poland hasn’t received much immigration yet, but it will. Ethnic continuity, which has been maintained in Poland since pre-history, will soon be broken. Forever. Plus there’s WWG, WWT and whatever comes after them.

    Objectively Polish nationalists should fear continued “Western” dominance over their country more than a new round of Russian dominance. Why don’t they then? Because the “Western” propaganda machine is louder and more professionally-run than the Russian one is now or the late Soviet one was before it. Men are sheep. They believe what they’re told.

    Yes, there is a thousand-year-long rivalry between Russia and Poland, but lots of such rivalries exist within the EU without tearing it apart – English vs. Irish, French vs. Germans, etc. The Western powers that be want the EU to function, so the Western propaganda machine has decreased the strength of historical intra-European rivalries. Just be telling people what they should believe about their history. And the people listened. Like they always do.

    In the mindshare sense Russia lost the bulk of the Ukraine in just the last 23 years. If it didn’t, there would be no war going on there right now. Why do so many in central Ukraine now prefer “the West” to Russia? Because they’ve been told to do that by their media and educational environment. Because Russia hasn’t countered “Western” propaganda with its own.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Both of the times that Russia occupied Poland, Poland remained Poland. The attitude of Poland’s current masters (whatever you want to call them – the West, the New World Order, something else) is more radical than that though. Poland hasn’t received much immigration yet, but it will. Ethnic continuity, which has been maintained in Poland since pre-history, will soon be broken. Forever.
     
    Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers.

    Objectively Polish nationalists should fear continued “Western” dominance over their country more than a new round of Russian dominance. Why don’t they then? Because the “Western” propaganda machine is louder and more professionally-run than the Russian one is now or the late Soviet one was before it.
     
    No, Poland traditionally saw itself as part of the West, as sort of the West's shield against the eastern hordes. This isn't a new attitude created by marketing. Poles aren't suddenly going to turn around and join the hordes whom they feel they have been protecting Europe from for centuries.

    Why do so many in central Ukraine now prefer “the West” to Russia? Because they’ve been told to do that by their media and educational environment.
     
    Central Ukraine was part of Poland-Lithuania longer than it was part of Russia. It's relationship with Russia was always at best ambivalent (Sahaidachny, Vyhovsky, Mazepa, Petliura).
  10. syonredux says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    @David,

    Re-John Keegan. I have read his WW1 book and The Face of Battle, though not his WW2 stuff. But I did read many other Anglo historians on WW2 and in general have a high opinion on the quality of their work. The problem is specifically this:

    Normal people don’t read those books, not even Beevor; they watch Enemy at the Gates and play Wolfenstein instead.
     
    There has been practically zero permeation from academic to social/popular opinion. If anything, the trends have gone exactly in reverse, with Western historians digging into Soviet archives even as popular opinion is becoming increasingly dismissive and ignorant about the Soviet role (double effect of older generations who experienced WW2 firsthand dying off, and the continuing influence of propaganda).

    @Toddy Cat, @syon,

    Re-the nuclear bomb.

    I disagree. It would not have been a game-changer until there were many more of them, and for that you'd have had to wait until the early 1950s. Their numbers and production levels were very limited up until then.

    In the meantime, sure, they could have well destroyed the cores of a dozen or so German cities, perhaps tripling or quintupling Germany's 600K civilian bombing casualties, but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power. Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany. With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.

    Ballistic missiles are a much more effective method of delivering nuclear payloads than flying bombers over areas infested with AA guns and Me 262s (note that air defense would have been much stronger in Germany had it not been pouring so many resources into the Soviet struggle). Despite the initial lag in nuclear stockpiles, it seems likely that in a true nuclear total war, Germany would eventually ended up firing and landing many more nukes than the Western Allies, either forcing the UK to the peace table or wrecking all its major cities and airports making hosting an invasion unfeasible anyway.

    PS. Re-Holodomor: It was a undoubtedly a crime, but one not specific to Ukraine or Ukrainians. The percentage of famine deaths was similarly high in the majority ethnic Russian Volga, Kuban, and North Kazakhstan. The total number of famine deaths in the RSFSR during that period going just from demographic records was likely higher than in Ukraine (though yes, Ukraine suffered much more on average percentagewise).

    RE: American nuclear weapons stockpiles,

    1945:6

    1946:11

    1947:32

    1948:110

    1949: 235

    http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datab19.asp

    Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany.

    Well, one should also bear in mind that the USSR had a decent level of penetration into the Allied nuclear program (Klaus Fuchs, David Greenglass, etc).That advantage was denied to the Germans.

    With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.

    If they got to it in 1948, that would have given the Anglo powers enough time to drop 159 atomic bombs on Germany (6+11+32+110) vs 6 (assuming that German bomb production in the first year would be roughly equal to America’s).That would be a lot of devastation.

    As for German rockets, well, one should bear in mind that the Allies would not have been idle in that direction

    but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power.

    How much damage would 159 atomic bombs cause?Also, one should bear in mind the possibility of a decapitating strike.The first Berlin bomb might get Hitler, Goering, Himmler, etc.

    I should add, by the way, that this kind of conversation is frightfully academic.Hitler’s true goals were in the East.Hence, a lasting peace with Stalin was simply not on the table.So, the only way that the Eastern Front would be quiet would be if Hitler conquered the USSR, and that is extremely unlikely.

    For that matter, even if Hitler did conquer the USSR, that would have meant a considerable expenditure of resources for occupation duties.One should also bear in mind that Hitler’s plans in the East called for slaughter on an epic scale.The extermination of European Jewry would have been a mere bagatelle in comparison:

    Yet even this corrected image of the Holocaust conveys an unacceptably incomplete sense of the scope of German mass killing policies in Europe. The Final Solution, as the Nazis called it, was originally only one of the exterminatory projects to be implemented after a victorious war against the Soviet Union. Had things gone the way that Hitler, Himmler, and Göring expected, German forces would have implemented a Hunger Plan in the Soviet Union in the winter of 1941–1942. As Ukrainian and south Russian agricultural products were diverted to Germany, some 30 million people in Belarus, northern Russia, and Soviet cities were to be starved to death. The Hunger Plan was only a prelude to Generalplan Ost, the colonization plan for the western Soviet Union, which foresaw the elimination of some 50 million people.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/16/holocaust-the-ignored-reality/

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    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    That 11 in 1946 and 32 in 1947 would have been significantly higher if the war was still going one.
  11. MarkinLA says:

    that a Germany that only had to fight on one front could have eked out a stalement in 1943-44, it is completely ludicrous to argue that the Western Allies could have conquered Germany had it been free to concentrate the bulk of its military assets to the west. Despite a successful deception operation and facing undermanned German divisions, D-Day was a closer call than is commonly appreciated.

    This might be true if Germany had conquered the USSR. If there was no war in the east and no ability to get their hands on the resources in the USSR I doubt the Germans would be able to hold on. The Royal Navy and US Navy had already neutralized the U-boats and had complete control of the seas. The allies had fighter support for their bombing runs due to the drop tanks on the P-51s. The US was far outstripping German production of everything. Even Britain was outproducing Germany in some areas of wartime production. The combined weight of the US and Britain would eventually wear down the Germans even without nuclear weapons.

    Yes, Germany had a technological lead like ballistic missiles and jet aircraft but they were in such an early stage of development and so few they are easily overrun by the numbers in the same way the large numbers of T-34 tanks were able to overcome the more formidable German Tigers.

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  12. syonredux says:
    @reiner Tor
    The nuclear bomb couldn't be delivered without clear air superiority against a country controlling a continent and having very advanced science and military industry but not having nuclear technology. Imagine if a nuclear bomber was shot down without being able to discharge its load. The bomb could then be found by the Germans among the debris of the plane and then reverse engineered, or even used against the UK.

    The nuclear bomb couldn’t be delivered without clear air superiority against a country controlling a continent

    What does “control of a continent” mean relative to the industrial output from North America? A North America that didn’t have to worry about bombing raids from Europe and that could use Britain as a forward base for air operations?Bear in mind, too, that much of the European Continent would have been, shall we say, balky and hostile

    and having very advanced science and military industry but not having nuclear technology. Imagine if a nuclear bomber was shot down without being able to discharge its load. The bomb could then be found by the Germans among the debris of the plane and then reverse engineered, or even used against the UK.

    I don’t know; it seems rather likely to me that the Western Allies would have had air superiority by 1945.As for a working bomb falling into Nazi hands, my understanding is that a crash would have almost certainly caused a Hiroshima-type bomb to detonate.That was the reason why the Hiroshima bomb was armed after take-off.they didn’t want to risk a take-off crash causing the bomb to go off.

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  13. MarkinLA says:
    @syonredux
    RE: American nuclear weapons stockpiles,

    1945:6

    1946:11

    1947:32

    1948:110

    1949: 235

    http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datab19.asp

    Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany.
     
    Well, one should also bear in mind that the USSR had a decent level of penetration into the Allied nuclear program (Klaus Fuchs, David Greenglass, etc).That advantage was denied to the Germans.

    With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.
     
    If they got to it in 1948, that would have given the Anglo powers enough time to drop 159 atomic bombs on Germany (6+11+32+110) vs 6 (assuming that German bomb production in the first year would be roughly equal to America's).That would be a lot of devastation.

    As for German rockets, well, one should bear in mind that the Allies would not have been idle in that direction

    but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power.
     
    How much damage would 159 atomic bombs cause?Also, one should bear in mind the possibility of a decapitating strike.The first Berlin bomb might get Hitler, Goering, Himmler, etc.

    I should add, by the way, that this kind of conversation is frightfully academic.Hitler's true goals were in the East.Hence, a lasting peace with Stalin was simply not on the table.So, the only way that the Eastern Front would be quiet would be if Hitler conquered the USSR, and that is extremely unlikely.

    For that matter, even if Hitler did conquer the USSR, that would have meant a considerable expenditure of resources for occupation duties.One should also bear in mind that Hitler's plans in the East called for slaughter on an epic scale.The extermination of European Jewry would have been a mere bagatelle in comparison:

    Yet even this corrected image of the Holocaust conveys an unacceptably incomplete sense of the scope of German mass killing policies in Europe. The Final Solution, as the Nazis called it, was originally only one of the exterminatory projects to be implemented after a victorious war against the Soviet Union. Had things gone the way that Hitler, Himmler, and Göring expected, German forces would have implemented a Hunger Plan in the Soviet Union in the winter of 1941–1942. As Ukrainian and south Russian agricultural products were diverted to Germany, some 30 million people in Belarus, northern Russia, and Soviet cities were to be starved to death. The Hunger Plan was only a prelude to Generalplan Ost, the colonization plan for the western Soviet Union, which foresaw the elimination of some 50 million people.
     
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/16/holocaust-the-ignored-reality/

    That 11 in 1946 and 32 in 1947 would have been significantly higher if the war was still going one.

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  14. syonredux says:

    RE: Nazi Germany defeating the USSR,

    Well, as I’ve said, I just don’t see that as a real possibility.Even without Anglo aid, I think that the Soviets would have probably won. Add Anglo aid, and it becomes a sure thing.If it had happened, though, the consequences would have been dire.Hitler’s planned genocide in the East would have caused 30 million + deaths.Add that to the devastation that 159 atomic bombs would have wreaked on Germany, and we are talking about a scenario that makes the actual WW2 look like small potatoes indeed.

    Looking at the alternatives, I tend to think that WW2 turned out about as well as it could have….Well, barring, of course, the war not happening at all….

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  15. MarkinLA says:
    @reiner Tor
    The nuclear bomb couldn't be delivered without clear air superiority against a country controlling a continent and having very advanced science and military industry but not having nuclear technology. Imagine if a nuclear bomber was shot down without being able to discharge its load. The bomb could then be found by the Germans among the debris of the plane and then reverse engineered, or even used against the UK.

    If the plane crashes and the bomb isn’t completely intact you probably have something like a dirty bomb in the area. Just like the bomber crews were ordered to destroy the Norden bombsites as critical weapon systems that can’t fall into enemy hands, a plane going down would execute an order to jettison the bomb with some mechanism to turn it into a dirty bomb to keep the fissile material from being useful. Plutonium is highly toxic but this is all out war so worry about what it does to the countryside later.

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  16. Glossy says:

    OT:

    Anatoly, have you seen this?

    https://www.facebook.com/yuri.biriukov/posts/1553558451579633

    You’ve talked about this phenomenon yourself, but this guy is giving out new numbers and funny illustartive anecdotes. There’s probably an HBD angle there too (East vs. West).

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  17. sean c says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    @David,

    Re-John Keegan. I have read his WW1 book and The Face of Battle, though not his WW2 stuff. But I did read many other Anglo historians on WW2 and in general have a high opinion on the quality of their work. The problem is specifically this:

    Normal people don’t read those books, not even Beevor; they watch Enemy at the Gates and play Wolfenstein instead.
     
    There has been practically zero permeation from academic to social/popular opinion. If anything, the trends have gone exactly in reverse, with Western historians digging into Soviet archives even as popular opinion is becoming increasingly dismissive and ignorant about the Soviet role (double effect of older generations who experienced WW2 firsthand dying off, and the continuing influence of propaganda).

    @Toddy Cat, @syon,

    Re-the nuclear bomb.

    I disagree. It would not have been a game-changer until there were many more of them, and for that you'd have had to wait until the early 1950s. Their numbers and production levels were very limited up until then.

    In the meantime, sure, they could have well destroyed the cores of a dozen or so German cities, perhaps tripling or quintupling Germany's 600K civilian bombing casualties, but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power. Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany. With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.

    Ballistic missiles are a much more effective method of delivering nuclear payloads than flying bombers over areas infested with AA guns and Me 262s (note that air defense would have been much stronger in Germany had it not been pouring so many resources into the Soviet struggle). Despite the initial lag in nuclear stockpiles, it seems likely that in a true nuclear total war, Germany would eventually ended up firing and landing many more nukes than the Western Allies, either forcing the UK to the peace table or wrecking all its major cities and airports making hosting an invasion unfeasible anyway.

    PS. Re-Holodomor: It was a undoubtedly a crime, but one not specific to Ukraine or Ukrainians. The percentage of famine deaths was similarly high in the majority ethnic Russian Volga, Kuban, and North Kazakhstan. The total number of famine deaths in the RSFSR during that period going just from demographic records was likely higher than in Ukraine (though yes, Ukraine suffered much more on average percentagewise).

    Was the Kuban really ethnically Russian? My grand father was from there and all his ancestors had enko in their last name. The communists infact targeted them first.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Linguistically and culturally southern Russia and southeastern Ukraine are kind of a unit. This cultural unit is different from the bulk of Russia, yet much closer to it than to western Ukraine. The border is not drawn where the natural ethno-linguistic boundaries are.

    If, while drawing the borders of the Ukraine, the Bolsheviks had assigned the Kuban to it, then right now, in 2015, the Kuban would be as much in revolt against Kiev as the Donbass. The Kuban is a cossacky region, and almost all the cossacks fighting in the current war are fighting on the Novorossian side.

  18. Glossy says:
    @sean c
    Was the Kuban really ethnically Russian? My grand father was from there and all his ancestors had enko in their last name. The communists infact targeted them first.

    Linguistically and culturally southern Russia and southeastern Ukraine are kind of a unit. This cultural unit is different from the bulk of Russia, yet much closer to it than to western Ukraine. The border is not drawn where the natural ethno-linguistic boundaries are.

    If, while drawing the borders of the Ukraine, the Bolsheviks had assigned the Kuban to it, then right now, in 2015, the Kuban would be as much in revolt against Kiev as the Donbass. The Kuban is a cossacky region, and almost all the cossacks fighting in the current war are fighting on the Novorossian side.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Linguistically and culturally southern Russia and southeastern Ukraine are kind of a unit. This cultural unit is different from the bulk of Russia, yet much closer to it than to western Ukraine. The border is not drawn where the natural ethno-linguistic boundaries are.
     
    It's more complex. Industrialized areas such as Donetsk attracted a lot of immigrants from Russia. Rural Kuban on the other hand was heavily Ukrainian: it was settled by two groups of Cossacks, Ukrainian ones and Russian ones, who were rivals. Ukrainian nationalist leader Petliura lived among the Ukrainian Cossacks in Kuban prior to the Revolution. During the Revolution the Ukrainian ones sought to join up with the Ukrainian state but were crushed by Denikin and their Russian neighbors.

    Since then Kuban was hit heavily by the 1930's Famine and underwent very strong pro-Russian reeducation. It is now fiercely loyal to Russia.

    The local Kuban dialect most closely resembled not the speech of Donbas but that of central Ukrainian areas such as Cherkassy.

    If, while drawing the borders of the Ukraine, the Bolsheviks had assigned the Kuban to it, then right now, in 2015, the Kuban would be as much in revolt against Kiev as the Donbass.
     
    Or, it might have behaved like central Ukraine.
  19. @Pseudonymic Handle
    Most central-east europeans feel that they were occupied by the Red Army not liberated, so their lack of enthusiasm to celebrate their escape from fire to the frying pan makes sense.

    “Most central-east europeans feel that they were occupied by the Red Army not liberated, so their lack of enthusiasm to celebrate their escape from fire to the frying pan makes sense.”

    That may well be true, but I would reverse the order: liberated by Soviet forces, subsequently occupied. My own father lived in an area that’s now Russian, but was for ~ 600 years German. My grandfather fought Russia in WW1, and my cousins fought against Soviets in WW2, and the West was almost a vacation (if they survived the aerial bombings).

    All Germans wanted to surrender to the Western powers, because the Soviet forces were fighting against Germany/fascism so much more ferociously. Bad times.

    We Americans, in many cases, don’t understand how visceral the memory of WWII is to ex-CCCP populations. Some war memorials stretch for a kilometer or more, full of names of the fallen. Even in the more remote ex-CCCP republics, nearly all families lost grandfathers.

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  20. AP says:
    @Glossy
    Linguistically and culturally southern Russia and southeastern Ukraine are kind of a unit. This cultural unit is different from the bulk of Russia, yet much closer to it than to western Ukraine. The border is not drawn where the natural ethno-linguistic boundaries are.

    If, while drawing the borders of the Ukraine, the Bolsheviks had assigned the Kuban to it, then right now, in 2015, the Kuban would be as much in revolt against Kiev as the Donbass. The Kuban is a cossacky region, and almost all the cossacks fighting in the current war are fighting on the Novorossian side.

    Linguistically and culturally southern Russia and southeastern Ukraine are kind of a unit. This cultural unit is different from the bulk of Russia, yet much closer to it than to western Ukraine. The border is not drawn where the natural ethno-linguistic boundaries are.

    It’s more complex. Industrialized areas such as Donetsk attracted a lot of immigrants from Russia. Rural Kuban on the other hand was heavily Ukrainian: it was settled by two groups of Cossacks, Ukrainian ones and Russian ones, who were rivals. Ukrainian nationalist leader Petliura lived among the Ukrainian Cossacks in Kuban prior to the Revolution. During the Revolution the Ukrainian ones sought to join up with the Ukrainian state but were crushed by Denikin and their Russian neighbors.

    Since then Kuban was hit heavily by the 1930′s Famine and underwent very strong pro-Russian reeducation. It is now fiercely loyal to Russia.

    The local Kuban dialect most closely resembled not the speech of Donbas but that of central Ukrainian areas such as Cherkassy.

    If, while drawing the borders of the Ukraine, the Bolsheviks had assigned the Kuban to it, then right now, in 2015, the Kuban would be as much in revolt against Kiev as the Donbass.

    Or, it might have behaved like central Ukraine.

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  21. AP says:
    @Glossy
    ...an independent Ukraine can never be a geopolitical threat to Poland, whereas Russia mostly certainly can).

    Both of the times that Russia occupied Poland, Poland remained Poland. The attitude of Poland's current masters (whatever you want to call them - the West, the New World Order, something else) is more radical than that though. Poland hasn't received much immigration yet, but it will. Ethnic continuity, which has been maintained in Poland since pre-history, will soon be broken. Forever. Plus there's WWG, WWT and whatever comes after them.

    Objectively Polish nationalists should fear continued "Western" dominance over their country more than a new round of Russian dominance. Why don't they then? Because the "Western" propaganda machine is louder and more professionally-run than the Russian one is now or the late Soviet one was before it. Men are sheep. They believe what they're told.

    Yes, there is a thousand-year-long rivalry between Russia and Poland, but lots of such rivalries exist within the EU without tearing it apart - English vs. Irish, French vs. Germans, etc. The Western powers that be want the EU to function, so the Western propaganda machine has decreased the strength of historical intra-European rivalries. Just be telling people what they should believe about their history. And the people listened. Like they always do.

    In the mindshare sense Russia lost the bulk of the Ukraine in just the last 23 years. If it didn't, there would be no war going on there right now. Why do so many in central Ukraine now prefer "the West" to Russia? Because they've been told to do that by their media and educational environment. Because Russia hasn't countered "Western" propaganda with its own.

    Both of the times that Russia occupied Poland, Poland remained Poland. The attitude of Poland’s current masters (whatever you want to call them – the West, the New World Order, something else) is more radical than that though. Poland hasn’t received much immigration yet, but it will. Ethnic continuity, which has been maintained in Poland since pre-history, will soon be broken. Forever.

    Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers.

    Objectively Polish nationalists should fear continued “Western” dominance over their country more than a new round of Russian dominance. Why don’t they then? Because the “Western” propaganda machine is louder and more professionally-run than the Russian one is now or the late Soviet one was before it.

    No, Poland traditionally saw itself as part of the West, as sort of the West’s shield against the eastern hordes. This isn’t a new attitude created by marketing. Poles aren’t suddenly going to turn around and join the hordes whom they feel they have been protecting Europe from for centuries.

    Why do so many in central Ukraine now prefer “the West” to Russia? Because they’ve been told to do that by their media and educational environment.

    Central Ukraine was part of Poland-Lithuania longer than it was part of Russia. It’s relationship with Russia was always at best ambivalent (Sahaidachny, Vyhovsky, Mazepa, Petliura).

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    "Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers."

    Greece has third-world immigrants. Ireland started getting them later than Britain for the reasons that you cited, but it did eventually start getting them. The more a city is filled with third-world immigrants, the less attractive it becomes to them. That's how new areas come into play. As western European cities get more and more saturated, eastern Europe will become the new frontier.
  22. @inertial
    There is more to it than that. Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has their number.

    Putin should be invited to Auschwitz

    In the background of this decision [not inviting Putin to Auschwitz], however, there might also be an ideological reason that relates directly to the ongoing bitter debate between Russia and post-Communist Eastern Europe over the history of World War II and the Holocaust. Ever since the admission of the Baltics and many other East European countries to the EU and NATO, we have witnessed a systematic campaign being waged to undermine the uniqueness of the Holocaust and promote the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes. The motivation for this campaign is obvious, since in most Eastern European countries collaboration with the Nazis meant active participation in mass murder, and if given a choice between being branded as countries of perpetrators or of victims, it is clear what the new democracies prefer. So instead of honestly confronting their bloody Holocaust past, they opt to emphasize their own suffering under the Soviets and Communists and proceed to glorify freedom fighters against Communism, even if they mass murdered Jews during the Holocaust.
     
    This assessment a bit too Holocaust-centric (which s not surprising considering the source) but in general quite true.

    For some countries that did not participate in the Holocaust, like Romania and Bulgaria, the crimes committed by communists are clearly worse than what the wartime governments did.
    Another aspect is that german occupation was far shorter than the soviet one and far less detrimental to the development of Central-East European countries. The communists wiped out the elites and destroyed the economies to a degree that the region may never recover from. In 1938 they were on par with South European countries, now they may never catch up.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Romania did participate in the Holocaust, they murdered almost half of their Jewry before stopping. Great coincidence: just about the same time Romania stopped the holocaust inside its borders, Stalingrad was happening.

    As to Bulgaria, they did participate to some extent. They handed over all the Jews from Macedonia and Thracia (both provinces then annexed by Bulgaria) to the Germans, but they protected all Jews within Bulgaria's pre-1939 borders.
  23. I expect in America they (the man in the street) think America defeated Nazi Germany single-handed, thanks to Hollywood films etc. Growing up in Britain in the 70s-80s with our WW2 comics we likewise thought Britain defeated Germany with minimal help from the Yanks, but I think this narrative was overwhelmed in the 1990s with the flood of US propaganda in movies – Saving Private Ryan – and then US-centric computer games (Call of Duty etc), and TV (Band of Brothers). So, like the French I think the typical British schoolboy now thinks that America won the war. If Russia had Hollywood then things would be different.

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  24. eradican says:

    I wrote a lengthy and provocative blog post for anyone interested in Soviet/Russian history and Marxism. It’s very relevant to the modern era……

    https://eradica.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/old-and-new-gods/

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  25. @Pseudonymic Handle
    For some countries that did not participate in the Holocaust, like Romania and Bulgaria, the crimes committed by communists are clearly worse than what the wartime governments did.
    Another aspect is that german occupation was far shorter than the soviet one and far less detrimental to the development of Central-East European countries. The communists wiped out the elites and destroyed the economies to a degree that the region may never recover from. In 1938 they were on par with South European countries, now they may never catch up.

    Romania did participate in the Holocaust, they murdered almost half of their Jewry before stopping. Great coincidence: just about the same time Romania stopped the holocaust inside its borders, Stalingrad was happening.

    As to Bulgaria, they did participate to some extent. They handed over all the Jews from Macedonia and Thracia (both provinces then annexed by Bulgaria) to the Germans, but they protected all Jews within Bulgaria’s pre-1939 borders.

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  26. […] Radio Liberty, Nationalism and fascism in contemporary Russia. 31. The Unz Review: Anatoly Karlin, Auschwitz and the Power of Propaganda. 32. Washington Post: Matt O’Brien, Remember Russia? It’s still […]

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  27. Andrew says:

    It’s a real interesting set of polls, especially the FN vs communist. Do you have polls for the USA or Germany ? I do think however that perceptions of the relative role of the USSR have been affected by internal political considerations in the west. When i was younger it was the left that emphasised the USSR and the right Churchill/Roosevelt, and that was true both in general public discussion and in academia. A few years ago now I was in Australia where the prime minister (on the left) gave a speech very similar to the point you make above (that it was USSR efforts that basically won the war) and the debate it produced was quite polarised. Many people couldn’t separate the issue of USSR/Stalin as evil from the issue of USSR contribution to WW2.

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  28. Daniel H says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    @David,

    Re-John Keegan. I have read his WW1 book and The Face of Battle, though not his WW2 stuff. But I did read many other Anglo historians on WW2 and in general have a high opinion on the quality of their work. The problem is specifically this:

    Normal people don’t read those books, not even Beevor; they watch Enemy at the Gates and play Wolfenstein instead.
     
    There has been practically zero permeation from academic to social/popular opinion. If anything, the trends have gone exactly in reverse, with Western historians digging into Soviet archives even as popular opinion is becoming increasingly dismissive and ignorant about the Soviet role (double effect of older generations who experienced WW2 firsthand dying off, and the continuing influence of propaganda).

    @Toddy Cat, @syon,

    Re-the nuclear bomb.

    I disagree. It would not have been a game-changer until there were many more of them, and for that you'd have had to wait until the early 1950s. Their numbers and production levels were very limited up until then.

    In the meantime, sure, they could have well destroyed the cores of a dozen or so German cities, perhaps tripling or quintupling Germany's 600K civilian bombing casualties, but there were nowhere near enough of them to substantially dent German military power. Also note that the Soviet Union developed the nuclear bomb by 1949, and it had far less in the way of technical resources than Germany. With a quiet Eastern Front, Germany could have devoted more resources to this enterprise than it did, probably gotten there by 1947-48, and would have had a great delivery system ready to go in the form of their advanced rocket technology.

    Ballistic missiles are a much more effective method of delivering nuclear payloads than flying bombers over areas infested with AA guns and Me 262s (note that air defense would have been much stronger in Germany had it not been pouring so many resources into the Soviet struggle). Despite the initial lag in nuclear stockpiles, it seems likely that in a true nuclear total war, Germany would eventually ended up firing and landing many more nukes than the Western Allies, either forcing the UK to the peace table or wrecking all its major cities and airports making hosting an invasion unfeasible anyway.

    PS. Re-Holodomor: It was a undoubtedly a crime, but one not specific to Ukraine or Ukrainians. The percentage of famine deaths was similarly high in the majority ethnic Russian Volga, Kuban, and North Kazakhstan. The total number of famine deaths in the RSFSR during that period going just from demographic records was likely higher than in Ukraine (though yes, Ukraine suffered much more on average percentagewise).

    @ Anatoly Karlin

    It is quite likely, almost certain, that if the United States had dropped a nuclear weapon on Germany in 1945, after she, Germany, had defeated the USSR, the immediate German response -within days – would have been to launch hundreds of chemical gas equipped missiles onto, first, the cities of Great Britain and soon after, by submarine launched planes, onto the United States coastal cities: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, etc. Nukes are great, but chemicals are quite devastating too, and the Nazis had plenty of chemical weapons stockpiled. Without question, the USSR played the major, indispensable role in defeating Germany in WWII. Those maintaining otherwise seem to be anti-Russian bigots.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Yes, the major role in defeating Germany was certainly played by the USSR but a long range U-boat attack on the US is fantasy. The US and Royal Navy had already neutralized the U-boat fleet as regards to convoy operations. Some U-boats are always able to slip out of their bases but a long range attack against the US mainland when the US was pumping out destroyers and long range bombers at record pace in an era of diesel-electric subs that needed to spend a lot of time above water is highly unlikely. Attacking Britain would also invite a British counter strike of chemical and possible biological weapons. I think Britain still has a island that is off-limits due to Anthrax contamination in the north.
  29. Title got your attention? No, it’s not going to be… that.

    Yes, the title did my attention, and no, don’t worry, not in my wildest dreams would I expect a Russia-firster to go… there.

    But, I have to admit, the rest of the article did disappoint. You know, as books like The Holocaust Industry demonstrate, one doesn’t have to be a ‘Holocaust denier’ to point out that ‘there’s no business like Shoah business.’

    What this article demonstrated was that it’s not only Jews and Israel who can profit handsomely from Holocaust propaganda: Russia, too, can and does and wants more. That’s why Karlin goes to some length to point out that it wasn’t America that ‘saved the world,’ oh no, that was Russia.

    Implication? Back the *bleep* off on Ukraine. Crude, but it works and I expect to see much more before all is said and done.

    Read More
  30. Glossy says:
    @AP

    Both of the times that Russia occupied Poland, Poland remained Poland. The attitude of Poland’s current masters (whatever you want to call them – the West, the New World Order, something else) is more radical than that though. Poland hasn’t received much immigration yet, but it will. Ethnic continuity, which has been maintained in Poland since pre-history, will soon be broken. Forever.
     
    Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers.

    Objectively Polish nationalists should fear continued “Western” dominance over their country more than a new round of Russian dominance. Why don’t they then? Because the “Western” propaganda machine is louder and more professionally-run than the Russian one is now or the late Soviet one was before it.
     
    No, Poland traditionally saw itself as part of the West, as sort of the West's shield against the eastern hordes. This isn't a new attitude created by marketing. Poles aren't suddenly going to turn around and join the hordes whom they feel they have been protecting Europe from for centuries.

    Why do so many in central Ukraine now prefer “the West” to Russia? Because they’ve been told to do that by their media and educational environment.
     
    Central Ukraine was part of Poland-Lithuania longer than it was part of Russia. It's relationship with Russia was always at best ambivalent (Sahaidachny, Vyhovsky, Mazepa, Petliura).

    “Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers.”

    Greece has third-world immigrants. Ireland started getting them later than Britain for the reasons that you cited, but it did eventually start getting them. The more a city is filled with third-world immigrants, the less attractive it becomes to them. That’s how new areas come into play. As western European cities get more and more saturated, eastern Europe will become the new frontier.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    “Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers.”

    Greece has third-world immigrants. Ireland started getting them later than Britain for the reasons that you cited, but it did eventually start getting them.
     
    Greece is on the edge of Europe, closest to the Middle East. I suspect for many it was a transit region but they couldn't or didn't move further in.

    The Ireland examples makes more sense. However Ireland's income has surpassed that of the UK, being $44,663 vs. only $36,208 for the UK according to the IMF for 2013. I suspect immigrants started coming to Ireland only when Ireland's income shot up and that very few came before Ireland's economic miracle in the mid 90s. And still, Ireland remains 96% white.

    Poland, in contrast, isn't anywhere near to next-door Germany in terms of its income. $23,273 for Poland vs. $43,475 for Germany. Not many immigrants are going to choose to go to a country with half the income to the one next door. Poland is 98.6% white.
  31. AP says:
    @Glossy
    "Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers."

    Greece has third-world immigrants. Ireland started getting them later than Britain for the reasons that you cited, but it did eventually start getting them. The more a city is filled with third-world immigrants, the less attractive it becomes to them. That's how new areas come into play. As western European cities get more and more saturated, eastern Europe will become the new frontier.

    “Doubtful, because Poland is right next door to far wealthier countries with much higher incomes, and already-established communities to help newcomers.”

    Greece has third-world immigrants. Ireland started getting them later than Britain for the reasons that you cited, but it did eventually start getting them.

    Greece is on the edge of Europe, closest to the Middle East. I suspect for many it was a transit region but they couldn’t or didn’t move further in.

    The Ireland examples makes more sense. However Ireland’s income has surpassed that of the UK, being $44,663 vs. only $36,208 for the UK according to the IMF for 2013. I suspect immigrants started coming to Ireland only when Ireland’s income shot up and that very few came before Ireland’s economic miracle in the mid 90s. And still, Ireland remains 96% white.

    Poland, in contrast, isn’t anywhere near to next-door Germany in terms of its income. $23,273 for Poland vs. $43,475 for Germany. Not many immigrants are going to choose to go to a country with half the income to the one next door. Poland is 98.6% white.

    Read More
  32. szopen says:


    I know already at least one example about “Polish death camp” located in Germany (which wasn’t even a death camp, iirc). Also, I read at least one book in which Isreali and German soldiers (incidentally, including members of SS in a Waffen SS unit, who were rejuvenated using alien technology) fought together, yet Isreali soldiers could not forget those vicious antisemites from Poland.


    You are clearly unaware of Polish politics. Polish nationalists are traditionally pro-Russian. Unless of course you label ANY Polish right-wing party as nationalist, which would be absurd.

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  33. Figuring out what happened in real history is pretty difficult, which is why historians have jobs. Figuring out what would have happened in an alternate history is impossible.

    For there to have been a European WWII that didn’t involve Soviet vs. Germany requires a set of historical conditions extremely altered from what they were. You can’t just say analyze the situation and say, well, everything else happened the same (e.g, development of atomic weapons) but by some magical contrivance, the Soviet Union didn’t fight the Germans.

    For instance, without the Soviets, we likely wouldn’t have been in a position to be demanding an unconditional surrender.

    “Oh, we would have just nuked them?” How did that work out in Korea, Vietnam, etc., against enemies w/out nukes (or even patrons w/out nukes in the case of Korea).

    “They would have surrendered if we nuked them” Scholarship is increasingly suggesting that the Japanese kind of shrugged off the nuke attacks, just another city or two destroyed by a bombing raid. They knew before the raids that they were beat, but they were trying to draw out the war for negotiated settlement and using neutral (to them) Soviet Union for feelers.

    The entry of the Soviet Union on August 9th is what apparently precipitated an emergency meeting of the government that led to the decision to surrender. They knew that their plans to hold out for another year or so wouldn’t work with the rapid advance of the Soviets through Manchuria. Interestingly, their war planners had developed what turned out to be a strikingly accurate scenario for how the Americans intended to invade the Japanese homeland and had predicated their delay/extend strategy upon this.

    The rationale of the bomb as proximate cause of the Japanese surrender served both American and Japanese interests. For the Japanese leadership, it was an escape, “Well, we were trying really hard, but then a cruel new weapon…” that absolved a lot of things. For the Americans, it justified the extreme wartime spending and, being the sole holders of the weapon at the time, exalting the weapon made us the biggest, baddest guys on the block.

    If history has shown anything since WWII, it is that nations are extremely reluctant to use nuclear weapons, even in an active shooting war against opponents who don’t have them.

    So as silly as alternate history is, here is mine. The Germans don’t invade Soviet Union and both sides generally respect their non-aggression pacts, as the Soviet Union did during the WWII with Japan until the last week. Maybe there is even some amicable commerce.

    The Sitzkrieg continues after the fall of France. Japan still does Pearl Harbor and Hitler still stupidly declares war on the U.S. However, w/out the Soviets in the war, the pro-Soviets rife in American leadership classes then aren’t so rabid and don’t get this Germany first thing, which actually makes a lot more sense, since it was the Japanese who attacked us, not the Germans.

    The Germans, despite declaring war, aren’t really in a position to be engaging in direct hostilities to the U.S., those two oceans really did work back then. At sea, they learned from the Lusitania in WWI and don’t let another propaganda victory happen again. Incidentally this was actually transpiring in the runup to the war, Roosevelt was continually baiting the German navy, which showed a huge amount of forbearance/prudence in avoiding conflict.

    So U.K. is still kind of going it alone, although being supplied/allied with U.S. Remember, a lot of the support for European entanglement came from pro-Soviet feelings in U.S. government and without this driver, our efforts are more ambivalent.

    Japan was less of an existential threat than Germany, so perhaps the urgency of a nuclear program is not so urgent. Would we even have had a nuclear weapon by 1945? Would we have been contemplating mass Normandy landings against a relatively intact Wehrmacht rather than one bled white by the Russians (and which still provided stiff resistance).

    And, as others have noted, without the enormous loss of treasure, personnel, to the eastern front, what might Germany have had by 1945? Fleets of jets, rockets, etc? Pretty amazing the stuff they were coming up with even in the last stages of the war as it actually happened and under extreme duress.

    My feeling is that had the Soviets not been in the war, but the Japanese still attacked and drew us in, the scenario would not have proceeded to the eventual one of total war. Gotta remember, this concept wasn’t in play at the beginning of the war. The Germans only started pushing the concept domestically after Stalingrad and it wasn’t until late in the war that the Allies formally started demanding unconditional surrender.

    Until the Germans invaded Russia, the whole scenario was ripe for a negotiated conclusion to the end of the war, as nearly all European wars had been finished. Something like that would have happened.

    Of course, alternate histories are ludicrous, so this ill-considered, off the cuff/back of a napkin scenario is as scoff-worthy as any of the others and similarly unprovable/unarguable.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Japan was less of an existential threat than Germany, so perhaps the urgency of a nuclear program is not so urgent. Would we even have had a nuclear weapon by 1945?

    The bomb was built in response to a possible German bomb program. Unless Germany doesn't declare war on the US, the US still builds the bomb. In addition, the British already had an active nuclear bomb program that was folded into ours to combine resources so they may have built it themselves. I believe they were very instrumental in the design of the plutonium based bomb's implosion device. Germany wasn't working on a bomb since their scientists thought it would take too long to be of any use and put their energy to power generation from nuclear energy.
    , @Goodwin5

    Without the enormous loss of treasure, personnel, to the eastern front, what might Germany have had by 1945?
     
    Heisenberg in Operation Epsilon states that even before Barbarossa, the German nuclear program wasn't a priority.

    HEISENBERG: "One can say that the first time large funds were made available in Germany was in the spring of 1942. ... The point is that the whole structure of the relationship between the scientist and the state in Germany was such that although we were not 100% anxious to do it, on the other hand we were so little trusted by the state that even if we had wanted to do it, it would not have been easy to get it through... WEIZSAECKER: We must admit that we did not want to succeed." (Transcript excerpts)

    “Oh, we would have just nuked them?” How did that work out in Korea, Vietnam, etc."
     
    Come on. These conflicts are in an entirely different category from WW2. WW2 Germany and Japan were genocidal aggressors with whom the U.S. was in total war. After WW2, the U.S. was competing with the Soviets to win 3rd world countries to their side. (But still, Nixon did considered using nukes in Vietnam.)

    Destroying Berlin and the dozen largest German cities with nukes would have had a large effect on the war, and not just with Germany's production and logistics. The Nazis had a morale problem since the beginning, as noted by the Epsilon scientists, and as seen with the many plots against Hitler, including even by Rommel, and notably also by Wilhelm Canaris, who e.g. helped foil Hitler's plot to kidnap the Pope.

    Producing the first 2 nukes from scratch was done in a short period of time. If total war had continued, it'd be easier to produce subsequent nukes once they knew how to do it.

    The big alternate scenario in my mind is in the beginning: if Germany had invaded some other country somewhere else instead of Poland, and never fought the other European powers in the first place.
  34. MarkinLA says:
    @Ex Submarine Officer
    Figuring out what happened in real history is pretty difficult, which is why historians have jobs. Figuring out what would have happened in an alternate history is impossible.

    For there to have been a European WWII that didn't involve Soviet vs. Germany requires a set of historical conditions extremely altered from what they were. You can't just say analyze the situation and say, well, everything else happened the same (e.g, development of atomic weapons) but by some magical contrivance, the Soviet Union didn't fight the Germans.

    For instance, without the Soviets, we likely wouldn't have been in a position to be demanding an unconditional surrender.

    "Oh, we would have just nuked them?" How did that work out in Korea, Vietnam, etc., against enemies w/out nukes (or even patrons w/out nukes in the case of Korea).

    "They would have surrendered if we nuked them" Scholarship is increasingly suggesting that the Japanese kind of shrugged off the nuke attacks, just another city or two destroyed by a bombing raid. They knew before the raids that they were beat, but they were trying to draw out the war for negotiated settlement and using neutral (to them) Soviet Union for feelers.

    The entry of the Soviet Union on August 9th is what apparently precipitated an emergency meeting of the government that led to the decision to surrender. They knew that their plans to hold out for another year or so wouldn't work with the rapid advance of the Soviets through Manchuria. Interestingly, their war planners had developed what turned out to be a strikingly accurate scenario for how the Americans intended to invade the Japanese homeland and had predicated their delay/extend strategy upon this.

    The rationale of the bomb as proximate cause of the Japanese surrender served both American and Japanese interests. For the Japanese leadership, it was an escape, "Well, we were trying really hard, but then a cruel new weapon..." that absolved a lot of things. For the Americans, it justified the extreme wartime spending and, being the sole holders of the weapon at the time, exalting the weapon made us the biggest, baddest guys on the block.

    If history has shown anything since WWII, it is that nations are extremely reluctant to use nuclear weapons, even in an active shooting war against opponents who don't have them.

    So as silly as alternate history is, here is mine. The Germans don't invade Soviet Union and both sides generally respect their non-aggression pacts, as the Soviet Union did during the WWII with Japan until the last week. Maybe there is even some amicable commerce.

    The Sitzkrieg continues after the fall of France. Japan still does Pearl Harbor and Hitler still stupidly declares war on the U.S. However, w/out the Soviets in the war, the pro-Soviets rife in American leadership classes then aren't so rabid and don't get this Germany first thing, which actually makes a lot more sense, since it was the Japanese who attacked us, not the Germans.

    The Germans, despite declaring war, aren't really in a position to be engaging in direct hostilities to the U.S., those two oceans really did work back then. At sea, they learned from the Lusitania in WWI and don't let another propaganda victory happen again. Incidentally this was actually transpiring in the runup to the war, Roosevelt was continually baiting the German navy, which showed a huge amount of forbearance/prudence in avoiding conflict.

    So U.K. is still kind of going it alone, although being supplied/allied with U.S. Remember, a lot of the support for European entanglement came from pro-Soviet feelings in U.S. government and without this driver, our efforts are more ambivalent.

    Japan was less of an existential threat than Germany, so perhaps the urgency of a nuclear program is not so urgent. Would we even have had a nuclear weapon by 1945? Would we have been contemplating mass Normandy landings against a relatively intact Wehrmacht rather than one bled white by the Russians (and which still provided stiff resistance).

    And, as others have noted, without the enormous loss of treasure, personnel, to the eastern front, what might Germany have had by 1945? Fleets of jets, rockets, etc? Pretty amazing the stuff they were coming up with even in the last stages of the war as it actually happened and under extreme duress.

    My feeling is that had the Soviets not been in the war, but the Japanese still attacked and drew us in, the scenario would not have proceeded to the eventual one of total war. Gotta remember, this concept wasn't in play at the beginning of the war. The Germans only started pushing the concept domestically after Stalingrad and it wasn't until late in the war that the Allies formally started demanding unconditional surrender.

    Until the Germans invaded Russia, the whole scenario was ripe for a negotiated conclusion to the end of the war, as nearly all European wars had been finished. Something like that would have happened.

    Of course, alternate histories are ludicrous, so this ill-considered, off the cuff/back of a napkin scenario is as scoff-worthy as any of the others and similarly unprovable/unarguable.

    Japan was less of an existential threat than Germany, so perhaps the urgency of a nuclear program is not so urgent. Would we even have had a nuclear weapon by 1945?

    The bomb was built in response to a possible German bomb program. Unless Germany doesn’t declare war on the US, the US still builds the bomb. In addition, the British already had an active nuclear bomb program that was folded into ours to combine resources so they may have built it themselves. I believe they were very instrumental in the design of the plutonium based bomb’s implosion device. Germany wasn’t working on a bomb since their scientists thought it would take too long to be of any use and put their energy to power generation from nuclear energy.

    Read More
  35. MarkinLA says:
    @Daniel H
    @ Anatoly Karlin

    It is quite likely, almost certain, that if the United States had dropped a nuclear weapon on Germany in 1945, after she, Germany, had defeated the USSR, the immediate German response -within days - would have been to launch hundreds of chemical gas equipped missiles onto, first, the cities of Great Britain and soon after, by submarine launched planes, onto the United States coastal cities: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, etc. Nukes are great, but chemicals are quite devastating too, and the Nazis had plenty of chemical weapons stockpiled. Without question, the USSR played the major, indispensable role in defeating Germany in WWII. Those maintaining otherwise seem to be anti-Russian bigots.

    Yes, the major role in defeating Germany was certainly played by the USSR but a long range U-boat attack on the US is fantasy. The US and Royal Navy had already neutralized the U-boat fleet as regards to convoy operations. Some U-boats are always able to slip out of their bases but a long range attack against the US mainland when the US was pumping out destroyers and long range bombers at record pace in an era of diesel-electric subs that needed to spend a lot of time above water is highly unlikely. Attacking Britain would also invite a British counter strike of chemical and possible biological weapons. I think Britain still has a island that is off-limits due to Anthrax contamination in the north.

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  36. As far as the contribution made by the Soviet Union to the defeat of Germany, anyone inclined to play the Avalon Hill war game Panzerblitz (it came out around 1970) and read the accompanying materials was told that the Russian Front was the only one that mattered in the European Theater That’s probably an overstatement, but not by much. The materials also quoted a German general characterizing his Russian adversaries: “They were first-class fighters from the start and in the end they became first-class soldiers.”

    The most interesting contrary-to-fact (I know professional historians roll their eyes) hypothetical is to assume that Germany invades the Soviet Union in 1941 but poses as liberators.: no mass killings, indigenous governments are formed and some recruitment is undertaken to fight against Bolshevism. Later on, after the Red Army is defeated, the Nazis double-cross their former allies and start the program of enslavement and extermination. Hitler declines to declare war against the U.S. and tells the Japanese he hopes that they can finish what they started. It still might not have worked: General Winter, vast distances and poor communications in Russia, the fighting spirit and growing competence of the Red Army and the desire of FDR to get into the war against Germany might have doomed the plan. But a more politically-astute Hitler mght have come dangerously close to pulling it off.

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  37. Goodwin5 says:
    @Ex Submarine Officer
    Figuring out what happened in real history is pretty difficult, which is why historians have jobs. Figuring out what would have happened in an alternate history is impossible.

    For there to have been a European WWII that didn't involve Soviet vs. Germany requires a set of historical conditions extremely altered from what they were. You can't just say analyze the situation and say, well, everything else happened the same (e.g, development of atomic weapons) but by some magical contrivance, the Soviet Union didn't fight the Germans.

    For instance, without the Soviets, we likely wouldn't have been in a position to be demanding an unconditional surrender.

    "Oh, we would have just nuked them?" How did that work out in Korea, Vietnam, etc., against enemies w/out nukes (or even patrons w/out nukes in the case of Korea).

    "They would have surrendered if we nuked them" Scholarship is increasingly suggesting that the Japanese kind of shrugged off the nuke attacks, just another city or two destroyed by a bombing raid. They knew before the raids that they were beat, but they were trying to draw out the war for negotiated settlement and using neutral (to them) Soviet Union for feelers.

    The entry of the Soviet Union on August 9th is what apparently precipitated an emergency meeting of the government that led to the decision to surrender. They knew that their plans to hold out for another year or so wouldn't work with the rapid advance of the Soviets through Manchuria. Interestingly, their war planners had developed what turned out to be a strikingly accurate scenario for how the Americans intended to invade the Japanese homeland and had predicated their delay/extend strategy upon this.

    The rationale of the bomb as proximate cause of the Japanese surrender served both American and Japanese interests. For the Japanese leadership, it was an escape, "Well, we were trying really hard, but then a cruel new weapon..." that absolved a lot of things. For the Americans, it justified the extreme wartime spending and, being the sole holders of the weapon at the time, exalting the weapon made us the biggest, baddest guys on the block.

    If history has shown anything since WWII, it is that nations are extremely reluctant to use nuclear weapons, even in an active shooting war against opponents who don't have them.

    So as silly as alternate history is, here is mine. The Germans don't invade Soviet Union and both sides generally respect their non-aggression pacts, as the Soviet Union did during the WWII with Japan until the last week. Maybe there is even some amicable commerce.

    The Sitzkrieg continues after the fall of France. Japan still does Pearl Harbor and Hitler still stupidly declares war on the U.S. However, w/out the Soviets in the war, the pro-Soviets rife in American leadership classes then aren't so rabid and don't get this Germany first thing, which actually makes a lot more sense, since it was the Japanese who attacked us, not the Germans.

    The Germans, despite declaring war, aren't really in a position to be engaging in direct hostilities to the U.S., those two oceans really did work back then. At sea, they learned from the Lusitania in WWI and don't let another propaganda victory happen again. Incidentally this was actually transpiring in the runup to the war, Roosevelt was continually baiting the German navy, which showed a huge amount of forbearance/prudence in avoiding conflict.

    So U.K. is still kind of going it alone, although being supplied/allied with U.S. Remember, a lot of the support for European entanglement came from pro-Soviet feelings in U.S. government and without this driver, our efforts are more ambivalent.

    Japan was less of an existential threat than Germany, so perhaps the urgency of a nuclear program is not so urgent. Would we even have had a nuclear weapon by 1945? Would we have been contemplating mass Normandy landings against a relatively intact Wehrmacht rather than one bled white by the Russians (and which still provided stiff resistance).

    And, as others have noted, without the enormous loss of treasure, personnel, to the eastern front, what might Germany have had by 1945? Fleets of jets, rockets, etc? Pretty amazing the stuff they were coming up with even in the last stages of the war as it actually happened and under extreme duress.

    My feeling is that had the Soviets not been in the war, but the Japanese still attacked and drew us in, the scenario would not have proceeded to the eventual one of total war. Gotta remember, this concept wasn't in play at the beginning of the war. The Germans only started pushing the concept domestically after Stalingrad and it wasn't until late in the war that the Allies formally started demanding unconditional surrender.

    Until the Germans invaded Russia, the whole scenario was ripe for a negotiated conclusion to the end of the war, as nearly all European wars had been finished. Something like that would have happened.

    Of course, alternate histories are ludicrous, so this ill-considered, off the cuff/back of a napkin scenario is as scoff-worthy as any of the others and similarly unprovable/unarguable.

    Without the enormous loss of treasure, personnel, to the eastern front, what might Germany have had by 1945?

    Heisenberg in Operation Epsilon states that even before Barbarossa, the German nuclear program wasn’t a priority.

    HEISENBERG: “One can say that the first time large funds were made available in Germany was in the spring of 1942. … The point is that the whole structure of the relationship between the scientist and the state in Germany was such that although we were not 100% anxious to do it, on the other hand we were so little trusted by the state that even if we had wanted to do it, it would not have been easy to get it through… WEIZSAECKER: We must admit that we did not want to succeed.” (Transcript excerpts)

    “Oh, we would have just nuked them?” How did that work out in Korea, Vietnam, etc.”

    Come on. These conflicts are in an entirely different category from WW2. WW2 Germany and Japan were genocidal aggressors with whom the U.S. was in total war. After WW2, the U.S. was competing with the Soviets to win 3rd world countries to their side. (But still, Nixon did considered using nukes in Vietnam.)

    Destroying Berlin and the dozen largest German cities with nukes would have had a large effect on the war, and not just with Germany’s production and logistics. The Nazis had a morale problem since the beginning, as noted by the Epsilon scientists, and as seen with the many plots against Hitler, including even by Rommel, and notably also by Wilhelm Canaris, who e.g. helped foil Hitler’s plot to kidnap the Pope.

    Producing the first 2 nukes from scratch was done in a short period of time. If total war had continued, it’d be easier to produce subsequent nukes once they knew how to do it.

    The big alternate scenario in my mind is in the beginning: if Germany had invaded some other country somewhere else instead of Poland, and never fought the other European powers in the first place.

    Read More
  38. syonredux says:

    Just thought that I would add a book recommendation:

    Richard Overy’s Russia’s War: A History of the Soviet Effort

    http://www.amazon.com/Russias-War-History-Soviet-1941-1945/dp/0140271694

    Read More
  39. Sean says:

    Sergeant Schultz on Hogan’s Hero’s : “The Russian front!”. But Germany could have won that war in 1941 if Hitler had not ordered a halt on the drive to Moscow, according to professional historians in military colleges such as R.D. Hooker and RHS Stolfi.

    As for a nuclear weapon, the US tried to make one and Germany didn’t. I have read that the German scientific advisors were reluctant to mention the possibility of having a nuclear weapon before the end of WW2 because they thought Hitler would demand they drop everything else and embark on a crash program. We will never know if they could have made one, because they didn’t try despite having the resources and the scientists.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Melbourne
    Was not there a German 'Heavy water' project being undertaken in occupied Norway ? British and Norwegian saboteurs destroyed it.
  40. ToivoS says:
    @Pseudonymic Handle
    Most central-east europeans feel that they were occupied by the Red Army not liberated, so their lack of enthusiasm to celebrate their escape from fire to the frying pan makes sense.

    Of course most eastern European countries feel they were defeated by the Red Army. They were, after all, allied with the Nazi German regime. They lost. How many hundreds of thousands of Romanian, Hungarian, Italian, Bulgarian, Slovakian, not to mention Austrian and Czech soldiers died fighting the Soviets during WWII? I missed mentioning those Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians that joined the Nazi movement. They picked the wrong side then but were welcomed by the US as anti-communist freedom fighters against the dreaded Red, Russian Asiatic horde once the Nazis were defeated.

    In any case this distortion of history began shortly after the end of WWII. I know from my experience in the late fifties in my high school class here in the US my “world events”was taught by a Latvian immigrant who bragged about his cousins and father who fought the Communists during WWII.

    It is really sad that this propaganda campaign against the Russian people has not stopped to this day. Putin is responsible for this — he had the audacity to insist that Russia had national interests independent of American imperial ambitions. Imagine that! Wasn’t Russia supposed to be totally defeated after 1990.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Things are a bit more complicated than that. Hundreds of thousands of Poles died fighting the Germans, and millions of Poles were killed by the Germans directly or indirectly (through taking away their food). The Poles also fought the Soviets after 1945.

    The Czechs never fought for Nazi Germany, the Germans took away their independence. It must be noted, though, that unlike the Poles, the Czechs never fought the Germans until May 1945. They gave up their independence almost without a single shot, and they were producing weapons for the German war effort as late as April 1945. But they never felt being defeated in WW2, they were probably the people who most felt being liberated by the Soviets. (The Soviet troops even left after 1945, only returning in 1968, and this helped the Czechs to separate out liberation and subsequent communism and Soviet occupation in their minds. The Czechoslovakian communist dictatorship was the result of an internal coup encouraged by the Soviets in 1948, prior to which the local Communist Party got 40% of the vote in a relatively free elections - people really felt liberated there, and they were given the property of the millions of Germans and also some Hungarians deported after the war.)

    Slovakians were more ambiguous, they even participated with a few divisions in the German war effort, but a lot of their troops rose up against the Germans in October 1944, and after the war they got back the areas lost to Hungary in 1938. (Incidentally, those areas were 90% inhabited by Hungarians, strangely Hitler and Mussolini managed to draw the border roughly according to the ethnic map, something which Stalin and the Western allies didn't manage to do.)

    Romanians were even more pro-German, having participated in the war effort with maybe twenty or thirty divisions most of the time, and getting huge territories from Germany, not least of which was Bessarabia, taken by the USSR in 1940 from Romania, and which was and still is mostly populated by Romanian speakers. Although now Moldovans are now a bit ambiguous about whether they consider themselves Romanians or not, I hardly doubt they were too unhappy between 1918 and 1940 or 1941-44 about being part of Greater Romania. However, in 1940 due to Hitler's and Mussolini's decision Romania lost almost half of Transylvania to Hungary, an area which was inhabited by Hungarians and Romanians roughly 50-50%. Still hundreds of thousands of Hungarians stayed under Romanian rule, so probably the border decision wasn't the wisest possible, in part because the Szekler (székely) counties were given to Hungary, an area which is emotionally very important to Hungarians but which is surrounded by Romanian majority provinces. (It probably might have been wiser to push the Hungarian border by 50kms to the southeast, and grant autonomy to the Szekler province, that way over 70% of the Hungarian minority in Romania would have been awarded to Hungary, without giving Hungary rule over a large und obviously unhappy Romanian minority. This might have been accepted by the Romanians better, and would have created a situation where mutual understanding might have been easier to achieve. Unfortunately the border regions were partly ethnically cleansed in 1944-45, and the Romanian governments intentionally settled a lot of ethnic Romanians in these areas, so now such a border change would make little sense. The Szekler prefectures are still there in the middle of Romania, surrounded by a sea of Romanians, but with little in the way of self-government.) So Romanians lost Bessarabia (once more after 1940) but they got back Northern Transylvania and the Szekler province, so they probably didn't feel too unhappy about the outcome - they knew it could have been worse, because it was worse in late 1940 and early 1941, and compared to this low point their situation improved after 1945. They were probably not too happy about communism, though, and even though the Soviet troops left in 1958, still huge ethnic Romanian territories remained part of the USSR, so they probably didn't like the Soviets at all. Romanians still don't like the Russians, and I think they never liked them, which is strange given their Orthodox religion, but not so strange given that they frequently came under Russian/Soviet occupation (both in the 19th and 20th centuries) and that Bessarabia was grabbed by both Russia and the USSR in the 19th and 20th centuries. Romanians have little reason to trust the Russians, and Western powers (especially France, but also Germany, the UK and the US) always supported their interests against Russia and usually supported them against Hungary.

    Bulgaria gained some territories in 1940-41, too, and although it lost most of these, it managed to keep Southern Dobruja, which it got from Romania in 1940. They also didn't ever fight the USSR, Bulgaria never formally declared war on the USSR, it was the USSR who declared war on Bulgaria in September 1944. Bulgarians probably didn't like their communists too much (who murdered tens of thousands after 1944), but given that they never really fought the Soviets, Soviet troops weren't stationed in their country, managed to keep some of their territorial gains, and that they were and are traditionally Russophile (because Bulgaria was given independence by Russian troops who defeated the Ottomans), I don't think they ever felt that they lost WW2.

    Yugoslavia - the Croats probably felt they lost, not to the Soviets, but to the Serbs. They were unhappy with the arrangements, and left as soon as it became possible in 1991. The Serbs probably felt liberated by the Soviet troops entering Belgrade, but it perhaps helped that the Soviet troops weren't to stay there. 1948-53 Tito had a mini cold war with Stalin, but it probably wasn't too popular in Serbia, so after 1956 relations were normalized with the USSR, and Yugoslavia became a friendly neutral in the cold war. As everybody knows, the Serbs hardly hate the Russians for the decades of communism, or for anything else, for that matter.

    Hungary was the one country which had the least to gain from a Soviet victory. We lost all territories awarded to us by Hitler, and these were mostly ethnically Hungarian (with a few exceptions, besides the already mentioned Romanian-inhabited areas there was Carpathian Ruthenia, and also the presently Serbian area at most had a Hungarian plurality, but even so taken together these territories had a Hungarian majority), and the country got destroyed in 1944-45 by the battles raging there. Still I don't think most Hungarians wish Germany won the war. After 1945 Hitler's unfavorable remarks regarding the Hungarians were widely publicized (his hatred of Hungarians probably had its roots from his Vienna years during the time of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy), and so most people only think about how it would have been possible to opportunistically change sides in the war just like those cunning Romanians did. We also don't consider it fair that even though Romania and Slovakia joined the Axis powers, they were given back all the ethnically Hungarian territories which they were awarded in 1920 and which were subsequently awarded to Hungary by Hitler, but at least half of which would obviously have won a plebiscite.

    I think the Baltic countries and the Ukraine were not too happy with German rule, but even less happy with Soviet rule - but obviously many Ukrainians preferred Soviet rule. I guess it wasn't an easy question - they weren't given independence by the Germans, but Soviet rule was so horrible that at least initially many were content to be part of a German empire rather than a Soviet one. I think right now they are happier to be independent than under either German or Soviet rule.

    I don't know much about Belarus - does anyone?

    So your generalization is far from correct. Children of former Latvian SS officers might not be the most representative source on the whole region between Russia and Germany.
  41. @ToivoS
    Of course most eastern European countries feel they were defeated by the Red Army. They were, after all, allied with the Nazi German regime. They lost. How many hundreds of thousands of Romanian, Hungarian, Italian, Bulgarian, Slovakian, not to mention Austrian and Czech soldiers died fighting the Soviets during WWII? I missed mentioning those Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians that joined the Nazi movement. They picked the wrong side then but were welcomed by the US as anti-communist freedom fighters against the dreaded Red, Russian Asiatic horde once the Nazis were defeated.

    In any case this distortion of history began shortly after the end of WWII. I know from my experience in the late fifties in my high school class here in the US my "world events"was taught by a Latvian immigrant who bragged about his cousins and father who fought the Communists during WWII.

    It is really sad that this propaganda campaign against the Russian people has not stopped to this day. Putin is responsible for this -- he had the audacity to insist that Russia had national interests independent of American imperial ambitions. Imagine that! Wasn't Russia supposed to be totally defeated after 1990.

    Things are a bit more complicated than that. Hundreds of thousands of Poles died fighting the Germans, and millions of Poles were killed by the Germans directly or indirectly (through taking away their food). The Poles also fought the Soviets after 1945.

    The Czechs never fought for Nazi Germany, the Germans took away their independence. It must be noted, though, that unlike the Poles, the Czechs never fought the Germans until May 1945. They gave up their independence almost without a single shot, and they were producing weapons for the German war effort as late as April 1945. But they never felt being defeated in WW2, they were probably the people who most felt being liberated by the Soviets. (The Soviet troops even left after 1945, only returning in 1968, and this helped the Czechs to separate out liberation and subsequent communism and Soviet occupation in their minds. The Czechoslovakian communist dictatorship was the result of an internal coup encouraged by the Soviets in 1948, prior to which the local Communist Party got 40% of the vote in a relatively free elections – people really felt liberated there, and they were given the property of the millions of Germans and also some Hungarians deported after the war.)

    Slovakians were more ambiguous, they even participated with a few divisions in the German war effort, but a lot of their troops rose up against the Germans in October 1944, and after the war they got back the areas lost to Hungary in 1938. (Incidentally, those areas were 90% inhabited by Hungarians, strangely Hitler and Mussolini managed to draw the border roughly according to the ethnic map, something which Stalin and the Western allies didn’t manage to do.)

    Romanians were even more pro-German, having participated in the war effort with maybe twenty or thirty divisions most of the time, and getting huge territories from Germany, not least of which was Bessarabia, taken by the USSR in 1940 from Romania, and which was and still is mostly populated by Romanian speakers. Although now Moldovans are now a bit ambiguous about whether they consider themselves Romanians or not, I hardly doubt they were too unhappy between 1918 and 1940 or 1941-44 about being part of Greater Romania. However, in 1940 due to Hitler’s and Mussolini’s decision Romania lost almost half of Transylvania to Hungary, an area which was inhabited by Hungarians and Romanians roughly 50-50%. Still hundreds of thousands of Hungarians stayed under Romanian rule, so probably the border decision wasn’t the wisest possible, in part because the Szekler (székely) counties were given to Hungary, an area which is emotionally very important to Hungarians but which is surrounded by Romanian majority provinces. (It probably might have been wiser to push the Hungarian border by 50kms to the southeast, and grant autonomy to the Szekler province, that way over 70% of the Hungarian minority in Romania would have been awarded to Hungary, without giving Hungary rule over a large und obviously unhappy Romanian minority. This might have been accepted by the Romanians better, and would have created a situation where mutual understanding might have been easier to achieve. Unfortunately the border regions were partly ethnically cleansed in 1944-45, and the Romanian governments intentionally settled a lot of ethnic Romanians in these areas, so now such a border change would make little sense. The Szekler prefectures are still there in the middle of Romania, surrounded by a sea of Romanians, but with little in the way of self-government.) So Romanians lost Bessarabia (once more after 1940) but they got back Northern Transylvania and the Szekler province, so they probably didn’t feel too unhappy about the outcome – they knew it could have been worse, because it was worse in late 1940 and early 1941, and compared to this low point their situation improved after 1945. They were probably not too happy about communism, though, and even though the Soviet troops left in 1958, still huge ethnic Romanian territories remained part of the USSR, so they probably didn’t like the Soviets at all. Romanians still don’t like the Russians, and I think they never liked them, which is strange given their Orthodox religion, but not so strange given that they frequently came under Russian/Soviet occupation (both in the 19th and 20th centuries) and that Bessarabia was grabbed by both Russia and the USSR in the 19th and 20th centuries. Romanians have little reason to trust the Russians, and Western powers (especially France, but also Germany, the UK and the US) always supported their interests against Russia and usually supported them against Hungary.

    Bulgaria gained some territories in 1940-41, too, and although it lost most of these, it managed to keep Southern Dobruja, which it got from Romania in 1940. They also didn’t ever fight the USSR, Bulgaria never formally declared war on the USSR, it was the USSR who declared war on Bulgaria in September 1944. Bulgarians probably didn’t like their communists too much (who murdered tens of thousands after 1944), but given that they never really fought the Soviets, Soviet troops weren’t stationed in their country, managed to keep some of their territorial gains, and that they were and are traditionally Russophile (because Bulgaria was given independence by Russian troops who defeated the Ottomans), I don’t think they ever felt that they lost WW2.

    Yugoslavia – the Croats probably felt they lost, not to the Soviets, but to the Serbs. They were unhappy with the arrangements, and left as soon as it became possible in 1991. The Serbs probably felt liberated by the Soviet troops entering Belgrade, but it perhaps helped that the Soviet troops weren’t to stay there. 1948-53 Tito had a mini cold war with Stalin, but it probably wasn’t too popular in Serbia, so after 1956 relations were normalized with the USSR, and Yugoslavia became a friendly neutral in the cold war. As everybody knows, the Serbs hardly hate the Russians for the decades of communism, or for anything else, for that matter.

    Hungary was the one country which had the least to gain from a Soviet victory. We lost all territories awarded to us by Hitler, and these were mostly ethnically Hungarian (with a few exceptions, besides the already mentioned Romanian-inhabited areas there was Carpathian Ruthenia, and also the presently Serbian area at most had a Hungarian plurality, but even so taken together these territories had a Hungarian majority), and the country got destroyed in 1944-45 by the battles raging there. Still I don’t think most Hungarians wish Germany won the war. After 1945 Hitler’s unfavorable remarks regarding the Hungarians were widely publicized (his hatred of Hungarians probably had its roots from his Vienna years during the time of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy), and so most people only think about how it would have been possible to opportunistically change sides in the war just like those cunning Romanians did. We also don’t consider it fair that even though Romania and Slovakia joined the Axis powers, they were given back all the ethnically Hungarian territories which they were awarded in 1920 and which were subsequently awarded to Hungary by Hitler, but at least half of which would obviously have won a plebiscite.

    I think the Baltic countries and the Ukraine were not too happy with German rule, but even less happy with Soviet rule – but obviously many Ukrainians preferred Soviet rule. I guess it wasn’t an easy question – they weren’t given independence by the Germans, but Soviet rule was so horrible that at least initially many were content to be part of a German empire rather than a Soviet one. I think right now they are happier to be independent than under either German or Soviet rule.

    I don’t know much about Belarus – does anyone?

    So your generalization is far from correct. Children of former Latvian SS officers might not be the most representative source on the whole region between Russia and Germany.

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  42. AP says:

    I think the Baltic countries and the Ukraine were not too happy with German rule, but even less happy with Soviet rule – but obviously many Ukrainians preferred Soviet rule. I guess it wasn’t an easy question – they weren’t given independence by the Germans, but Soviet rule was so horrible that at least initially many were content to be part of a German empire rather than a Soviet one. I think right now they are happier to be independent than under either German or Soviet rule.

    Ukraine was under two different German administrations during World War II. Galicia was its own district under the General Government. In this district, Poles and Jews were treated mercilessly but ethnic Ukrainians were treated okay (they received higher food rations than others, they were allowed to occupy administrative positions, their cultural organizations, press and churches were largely left alone, classes of them such as officer veterans of the Austrian military and their families were granted volkdeutsche status). Life was much better for them than it had been under Soviet rule in 1939-1941. Understandably, people from this part of Ukraine saw the Germans as a lesser evil and many fought for them or at least fought to keep the Soviets out. Love of Nazism wasn’t the reason for that.

    The rest of Ukraine was Reichskommissariat Ukraine. This rule was, actually, even worse than Soviet rule had been (perhaps not as bad as 1932-1933 during the famine but much worse than the late 1930s rule). Hated collective farms were kept intact, used to suck food to Germany, but schools were closed, people were randomly deported to Germany for forced labor, etc. Around 1 million people were starved to death. Understandably, people from this part of Ukraine preferred the Soviets and millions of them fought for the Red Army. Love of communism wasn’t the reason for this.

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  43. Steve says:

    The claim that three quarters of German air losses (let alone 77,000 fighters) were in the East is quite false. The Germans never remotely had that many aircraft of all types there to start with. In fact Luftwaffe strength (at any given point) and losses (per year) were about 3000 (with strength declining to a bit over 2000 by mid ’43) in the east, see eg here:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/eastern-front-aircraft-strength-and.html

    Figures vary a bit by source but that is the ball-park.

    From 1943 on most German air strength and losses are in the west, see eg here:

    http://simhq.net/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1135719/1/Some_Facts_about_German_Aircra.html

    This illustrates the problem with taking Soviet or pro-Soviet Russian figures at face value, some of them are pure propaganda, even if believed by those quoting them.

    Also ground forces/losses, whilst indeed much heavier in the east, by late 1944 were becoming rather more even (counting the Italian front plus the West), and by the end of the war the prisoner hauls in the west were bigger than the east, partly because of the preference to surrender there, but also because Hitler directed large forces there in the last year especially to halt the Western Allies.

    Lend-Lease was important not only in the first 18 months, but later gave the Red Army much of the operational mobility (hundreds of thousands of trucks especially) and key supplies that enabled it to inflict such deep blows on the Axis forces, as even Zhukov admitted.

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  44. Melbourne says:
    @syonredux

    it is completely ludicrous to argue that the Western Allies could have conquered Germany had it been free to concentrate the bulk of its military assets to the west. Despite a successful deception operation and facing undermanned German divisions, D-Day was a closer call than is commonly appreciated.
     
    First off, yes, WW2 in Europe was essentially a contest between the USSR and Nazi Germany.Only an ignorant fool would deny that.

    That being said, it's far from "ludicrous to argue that the Western Allies could have conquered Germany had it been free to concentrate the bulk of its military assets to the west." The Western allies, after all, had the atomic bomb by the Summer of 1945.Nuking Berlin would have been a game changer.

    So far as they’re concerned, even a Ukraine led by zombie Hitler would be preferable to a Ukraine back in Russia’s orbit, even if Russia was to hold elect Khodorkovsky President and celebrate it with a massive gay parade in Moscow this very day.
     
    Well, Ukrainians have understandable reasons for not having fond memories of being dominated by Russia:

    Yet as Auschwitz draws attention away from the still greater horrors of Treblinka, the Gulag distracts us from the Soviet policies that killed people directly and purposefully, by starvation and bullets. Of the Stalinist killing policies, two were the most significant: the collectivization famines of 1930–1933 and the Great Terror of 1937–1938. [....] It is established beyond reasonable doubt that Stalin intentionally starved to death Soviet Ukrainians in the winter of 1932–1933. Soviet documents reveal a series of orders of October–December 1932 with evident malice and intention to kill. By the end, more than three million inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine had died.
     
    For that matter, one might also note how Ukrainian "Kulaks" and ethnic Poles suffered during the Great Terror of '37-'38:

    The largest action of the Great Terror, Operation 00447, was aimed chiefly at “kulaks,” which is to say peasants who had already been oppressed during collectivization. It claimed 386,798 lives. A few national minorities, representing together less than 2 percent of the Soviet population, yielded more than a third of the fatalities of the Great Terror. In an operation aimed at ethnic Poles who were Soviet citizens, for example, 111,091 people were shot. Of the 681,692 executions carried out for alleged political crimes in 1937 and 1938, the kulak operation and the national operations accounted for 633,955, more than 90 percent of the total. These people were shot in secret, buried in pits, and forgotten.
     
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/16/holocaust-the-ignored-reality/

    The Bomb of Summer 1945, would have been too late to have stopped the German roller coaster of 1940, if the Soviets had not been fighting and the West had been the main target.

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  45. Melbourne says:
    @Sean
    Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Hero's : "The Russian front!". But Germany could have won that war in 1941 if Hitler had not ordered a halt on the drive to Moscow, according to professional historians in military colleges such as R.D. Hooker and RHS Stolfi.

    As for a nuclear weapon, the US tried to make one and Germany didn't. I have read that the German scientific advisors were reluctant to mention the possibility of having a nuclear weapon before the end of WW2 because they thought Hitler would demand they drop everything else and embark on a crash program. We will never know if they could have made one, because they didn't try despite having the resources and the scientists.

    Was not there a German ‘Heavy water’ project being undertaken in occupied Norway ? British and Norwegian saboteurs destroyed it.

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