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Christian Appy: America's Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 Years Later
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So many decades later, it’s hard to remember the kind of nuclear thinking top American officials engaged in during the Cold War. In secret National Security Council documents of the early 1950s, for instance, the country’s top strategists descended willingly into the charnel house of futuristic history, imagining life on this planet as an eternal potential holocaust. They wrote in those documents of the possibility that 100 atomic bombs, landing on targets in the United States, might kill or injure 22 million Americans and of a “blow” that might result in the “complete destruction” of the Soviet Union.

And they weren’t just whistling Dixie. After all, in 1960, the top military brass found themselves arguing about the country’s first Single Integrated Operational Plan for nuclear war. In it, a scenario was laid out for delivering more than 3,200 nuclear weapons to 1,060 targets in the Communist world. Targets included at least 130 cities, which, if all went well, would cease to exist. Classified estimates of possible casualties from such an attack ran to 285 million dead and 40 million injured. That’s what “the complete destruction” of the Soviet Union and Communist China meant then and, until Dr. Strangelove hit the screens in 1964, those figures were simply part of the sort of “rational” war planning that led to perfectly serious debate about launching a “preemptive strike” — what, if another country were considering it, would have been a “war of aggression” — to eradicate that enemy. To give credit where it’s due, Army and Navy officials did worry “about the lethal impact of downwind fallout, with the Army explicitly concerned about limiting exposure of ‘friendly forces and people’ to radioactive fallout. By contrast, the Air Force saw no need for additional constraints [on surface nuclear blasts].”

It’s this world that we “celebrate,” having now reached the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). Today, we know that delivering so many nuclear weapons (or, in fact, many less) would have done a lot more than wipe out the “Communist world.” It would have plunged the planet into nuclear winter and undoubtedly eradicated humanity as definitively as the dinosaurs were wiped out by that asteroid 65 million years ago.

Apocalypse was — and remains — us. After all, despite the recent nuclear agreement that will stop a country without nuclear weapons from building them, this planet is still loaded with a world-ending arsenal that is constantly being expanded, updated, and modernized. Call us lucky, but don’t call us particularly thoughtful. Today, Christian Appy, author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity, considers the way in which — except in rare moments when antinuclear movements gained brief strength here — Americans managed to ignore how this country’s leaders ushered us into the nuclear age by annihilating not one but two cities and killing hundreds of thousands of defenseless civilians.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: Hiroshima, Nuclear Weapons 
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  1. Sonic says:

    Good article and well written.

  2. Kiza says:

    To point out some info which are generally manipulated out of people’s minds when nuclear weapons are mentioned.

    Firstly, the nuclear weapons were first developed by the US. Even Hitler’s Germany appears to have been not too keen on nuclear weapons (for a good reason). The US was and is the only country in the World which:
    1) wanted nuclear weapons,
    2) could produce them away from the war zone, and
    3) lacked no compulsion to use them against civilians (well illustrated by Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

    Soviet Union developed nuclear weapons only in response. Considering the preparedness of the Western allies to continue WW2 by attacking Soviet Union, Europe would have been showered by radiation from the US nuclear bombs dropped on Soviet Union. Thus, ironically, Soviet Union saved both itself and the Europeans from the nuclear bombing by developing the same technology as the US, with a significant help of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. I hope that this couple will one day get a decent memorial in Europe for saving Europe.

    Secondly, one needs to see nuclear war simulations to understand the importance of the First Strike. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is not any more MAD if one adds Anti-ballistic missile defense (ABMD). Combined with the First Strike (FS), ABMD+FS guarantee a huge asymmetry in the destruction, easily 10,000:1. If US were to deploy ABMD+FS, whilst 99% of the US population could survive the primary effects of a nuclear exchange, 99% of the Russian population would be instantly destroyed. The secondary effects of a nuclear war are an entirely different matter: the agricultural production would drop close to zero.

    ABMD is as dangerous as the nuclear weapons themselves, because it encourages the First Strike. The average Joe Blow can be easily convinced by the MSM that the word “Defense” in the ABMD is for his own defense against rogue nations and not for the offence against Russia and China (with which he may not agree). But simply, ABMD is an enabler of the First Strike, and thus a predominantly offensive strategic approach.

    Let us summarize:
    not only was the US the first country to develop the ultimate WMD, the only one to use them, the US continues to be the leader in domination and destruction by developing ABMD, whilst unthreatened by any nation except itself from within.

  3. Bliss says:

    In secret National Security Council documents of the early 1950s, for instance, the country’s top strategists descended willingly into the charnel house of futuristic history, imagining life on this planet as an eternal potential holocaust.

    Ah, the 1950s. The Golden Age of american WNs. How loudly and often the “race realists” lament it’s end…

    Good riddance…

    • Replies: @The Albino Sasquatch
  4. syonredux says:

    Always useful to recall what the Japanese were up to:

    The Rape of Nanking:

    [MORE]

    Nanking Massacre, 13 Dec. 1937-Feb. 38:
    Spence, The Search for Modern China: 42,000
    Gilbert: >200,000 civilians and 90,000 POWs
    Dict.Wars: 200,000
    Rummel: 200,000
    P. Johnson: 200-300,000
    27 Aug 2001 Newsweek, quoting Japanese textbook: “The number of dead is said to be over 100,000 and it is estimated to be over 300,000 in China.”
    Palmowski, Dictionary of 20th Century World History: “perhaps as many as” 400,000
    Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking (1997) cites these:
    Liu Fang-chu: 430,000
    James Yin & Shi Young: 400,000
    Sun Zhaiwei: 377,400 corpses disposed of
    Wu Tien-wei: 340,000
    District Court of Nanking: 300,000
    International Military Tribunal of the Far East: 260,000
    Fujiwara Akira: 200,000
    John Rabe: 50,000-60,000
    Hata Ikuhiko: 38,000-42,000

    Biological warfare and medical experiments on Chinese civilians and POWs:

    Unit 731, Manchukuo (bio-warfare center: 1937-45)
    Discovery Channel: “as many as 200,000 people — Chinese soldiers, private citizens and prisoners of war — had died” (http://dsc.discovery.com/anthology/spotlight/bioterror/history/history2.html%5D
    Global Security: Up to 3,000 died in this facility. Perhaps as many 200,000 Chinese died from germ war campaign in Yunnan Province, Ningbo, and Changde. (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/japan/bw.htm%5D

    Chinese killed in Japanese bombing raids:

    Bombing: 71,105 Chinese k. by Japanese bombing (Clodfelter)

    Atrocities against POWs and civilians:

    Burma-Siam Railroad, worker deaths (1941-43)
    Johnson: 16,000 POWs
    Our Times, also Gilbert: 50,000 Burmese civilians and 16,000 Allied POWs
    Grenville: 100,000 Asians and 16,000 Europeans
    7 February 2002 AP: 50,000 Asian laborers and 16,000 Allied POWs

    The Manila Massacre:

    Manila, Philippines (massacre of civilians by Japanese: Nov. 1944-Feb. 1945): 100 000
    Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century: 100,000 Filipinos k.
    William Manchester, American Caesar (1978): “nearly 100,000 Filipinos were murdered by the Japanese”
    PBS: “100,000 of its citizens died.”
    World War II Database: 100,000

    Assorted other massacres:

    East Timor
    James Dunn, in Century of Genocide, Samuel Totten, ed., (1997)): 70,000 died under Japanese occupation
    19 May 2002 San Gabriel Valley Tribune: “January 1942: Japan occupies the entire island. With support from the local people, Australian commandos in East Timor battle Japan. Japanese reprisals kill 60,000 civilians 13 percent of East Timor’s population.”
    Dutch East Indies: 25,000 Dutch d. out of 140,000 imprisoned (3 Feb. 1998 Agence France Presse)
    Singapore, citizens (mostly Chinese) massacred, 1942
    Japan Economic Newswire/Kyodo News Service
    16 June 2004: 50,000-100,000
    13 Aug. 1984: Report by Allies after WW2 est. 5,000 k. Families claim 40,000-50,000
    Associated Press
    30 July 1995: “The Japanese military said 6,000 were killed. Singaporeans put the death toll at 50,000.”
    12 Sept 1995: 30,000-40,000
    National Archives of Singapore: 8,600 reported. “[T]here were many more.” (http://www.s1942.org.sg/dir_defence7.htm%5D
    Grenville: 5,000

    http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Blame

    An eyewitness account of the Rape of Nanking:

    http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/nanking.htm

  5. @Bliss

    Yeah, good riddance…Don’t go away mad Bliss. Just go away.

  6. MarkinLA says:
    @Kiza

    Even Hitler’s Germany appears to have been not too keen on nuclear weapons (for a good reason).

    From what I have read the reason the Germans did not build a bomb was that their scientists predicted correctly that it would take two years to construct one and they didn’t think Germany would be able to stay in the war that long so they spent their effort on generating electricity with nuclear reactors.

    The idea that the USSR was this peaceful giant is BS. Both Stalin and Zhukov would have been quite willing to continue to march across the rest of Europe if they thought they could.

    • Replies: @Begemot
  7. MarkinLA says:
    @Kiza

    3) lacked no compulsion to use them against civilians (well illustrated by Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

    What a stupid comment. The Japanese had every opportunity to surrender but the Japanese military wanted a US invasion with the hopes of giving the US such a big bloody nose that they would get better surrender terms. Given the high casualties the US and Japan suffered from the taking of Okinawa, the bomb saved millions of Japanese and hundreds of thousands of US soldiers. Why didn’t the Japanese military think of all the starving Japanese civilians instead of their Bushido code?

    Soviet Union developed nuclear weapons only in response. Considering the preparedness of the Western allies to continue WW2 by attacking Soviet Union, Europe would have been showered by radiation from the US nuclear bombs dropped on Soviet Union.

    The US had such a huge advantage in nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them unopposed by the USSR up until the mid to late 50s that if the US so desired they could have wiped the USSR off the map with not so much as a scratch but we didn’t.

    • Replies: @Begemot
  8. Begemot says:
    @MarkinLA

    “The idea that the USSR was this peaceful giant is BS. Both Stalin and Zhukov would have been quite willing to continue to march across the rest of Europe if they thought they could.”

    And your evidence for assertion is what?

    • Replies: @syonredux
    , @MarkinLA
  9. Begemot says:
    @MarkinLA

    “The Japanese had every opportunity to surrender but the Japanese military wanted a US invasion with the hopes of giving the US such a big bloody nose that they would get better surrender terms.”

    My understanding is that the Japanese were looking to surrender as early as April 1945. Their desire was that their would be an assurance that the Emperor would be kept untouched and in place. The existing US stance of “unconditional surrender” made the status of the Emperor unclear. US officials were aware of the Japanese offer; were aware of the role and status of the Emperor in Japanese politics and culture; and many US officials believed that clarifying to the Japanese that the Emperor would be untouched would bring about an early Japanese surrender. It’s a pity this option was not even tried and sadly ironic that when Japan did capitulate the US allowed for the Emperor to remain.

    Therefore I suggest your historical understanding needs some improvement.

    • Replies: @manton
    , @MarkinLA
  10. syonredux says:
    @Begemot

    “The idea that the USSR was this peaceful giant is BS. Both Stalin and Zhukov would have been quite willing to continue to march across the rest of Europe if they thought they could.”

    And your evidence for assertion is what?

    I’m sorry, are you seriously suggesting that Stalin did not want to place Europe under his control?Bear in mind, this is the Stalin who signed a pact with Hitler in 1939 where they agreed to split Poland between them.This is the Stalin who ruthlessly crushed the Baltic states.Twice:

    Kenneth Christie, Historical Injustice and Democratic Transition in Eastern Asia and Northern Europe: Ghosts at the Table of Democracy (2002)
    Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonians (1940-41): 85,000 deported, of which 55,000 killed or died
    Baltics executed during reconquest (1944-45): 30,000
    Postwar partisan war
    Lithuanians: 40-50,000 k.
    Latvian: 25,000
    Estonians: 15,000

    http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Stalin

    • Replies: @matt
  11. manton says: • Website
    @Begemot

    What “offer”? None was ever conveyed that I have read of.

    We had no means of diplomatic communication, not even back-channel, with the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. We had limited insight into what was going on in Japan partly by listening to public radio broadcasts and partly through decoding secret intercepts (the Magic intercepts).

    So far as the US was able to tell, in the Spring-Summer of 1945, there were three factions in Tokyo. Hardliners wanted to fight to the end. There is a famous quote from a die-hard general about how beautiful it would be if the whole nation died like a beautiful flower.

    Then there were those who were encouraged by Iwo Jima and Okinawa. That is, they were encouraged by how ferociously the Japanese soldiers fought to the death in an obviously lost cause, and by how costly those victories were to the US. They thought that they could make an invasion of the home islands so bloody and expensive for the US that we would stop fighting and sue for peace on terms less than unconditional surrender.

    Then there was a faction that did indeed think surrender was the best option. But this was the weakest faction.

    Moreover, the Emperor did not commit to any faction until after Nagasaki; and no faction was going to win the argument without his explicit support. It was his decision after the bombings that was decisive in producing the surrender. And even that took several days to work through the cabinet. We know this because we were able to intercept many of the minutes to those cabinet meetings. No conclusive decision was reached that we were able to intercept, but we did stop the bombings and wait and see what was happening.

    We learned of the surrender not through direct communication with the Japanese but only on Aug. 15, when Hirohito broadcast a public speech to the nation.

    As for the alleged opposition from various American commanders, it’s true that many wrote in memoirs written many years later that they had opposed the bombing at the time. The problem is that there is no contemporaneous evidence. Ike is famous for objecting to the bombing (though not in his WW2 memoir, but in his much later presidential memoir). However, there are notes from meetings with Stimson in which he briefed Ike about what was going to happen and does not report Ike raising any objection. The same is true of Leahy and some others. MacArthur appears to have been butthurt that he was not consulted and so, MacArthur-like, took it very personally and later said he thought it was a bad idea. But that same MacArthur also later got very butthurt when he wanted to nuke North Korean supply lines in China and Truman said “no.” So it’s not like MacArthur was some principled nuclear peacenik.

    Neither was Ike. Let’s recall that it was Ike, as President, who dreamed up the American policy of “massive retaliation.” Which may be summarized as: We know we can’t match the Soviets in conventional arms (nor do we want to spend the money or draft that many men, even if we could). If the Kremlin wants to overrun Europe, it can, and there’s not much we can do to stop it. Except overwhelmingly nuke Russia into the stone age. Which we will do.

    So much for flower-child nuclear freeze Ike.

    This policy was amended by Kennedy and McNamara’s “flexible response.”

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  12. MarkinLA says:
    @Begemot

    You are blaming the US because the Japanese did not broadcast that Japan was willing to surrender if the Emperor was maintained and see if the US would accept? I am aware that the Japanese were trying to use the Russians as a back channel to negotiate surrender terms. However, this crap of blaming the US is ridiculous. Japan was beaten it was up to them to offer surrender terms. Even though our stated policy was unconditional surrender this does not excuse Japan from making their terms known to the world.

    After the first bomb was dropped the Japanese government was split. The civilian authorities wanted to surrender, the military continued to push for giving the US a punch in the nose. It was only after the second bomb when Hirohito broke the tie.

    Lee came to Grant when the Army of Northern Virginia was whipped. Japan should have come to us.

  13. MarkinLA says:
    @manton

    If you remember the military tried to stage a coo to prevent the Emperor’s recording of the acceptance of the surrender of Japan from being played to the public. Some junior officers of the palace guard and some officers in Tokyo tried to get their hands on that record before it could be played the next day on the radio but the minister in charge hid it well and enough of the palace guard were loyal so that it failed.

  14. MarkinLA says:
    @Begemot

    Well the fact that the Red Army let the Polish resistance be massacred by the SS while they watched from a distance doesn’t sound like they were the nice guys you claim they are. Why do you supposed they wanted any possible military opposition destroyed?

  15. matt says:
    @syonredux

    Nobody denies that Stalin wanted Eastern Europe. Russia (Tsarist, Soviet, and Putinist) has always wanted a sphere of influence in EE. But did Stalin have the slightest thought that he could take Western Europe? It’s highly doubtful. Stalin didn’t even support the Communists in Greece.

  16. @Kiza

    Methinks I smell a Bertrand Russell Limey Lunatic Type. Begone, fool!

  17. MarkinLA says:
    @matt

    http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/04/exposing-stalins-plan-to-conquer-europe/

    Although you can easily dismiss the claims of Stalin’s intentions, if the claims of Soviet military strength (24,000 tanks and almost 1 million airborne troops) are true then it certainly does look like Stalin was planning for his moment which never came.

    It is a fact that German encirclement of Soviet armies resulted in a massive capture of equipment that astonished the Germans.

  18. syonredux says:
    @matt

    Nobody denies that Stalin wanted Eastern Europe. Russia (Tsarist, Soviet, and Putinist) has always wanted a sphere of influence in EE. But did Stalin have the slightest thought that he could take Western Europe?

    Stalin made damn sure that his sphere of influence extended as far into Western Europe as possible.That’s why he was so determined that the Soviets would take Berlin before the Anglos, never mind the cost in human lives:

    Battle of Berlin:

    “According to Grigoriy Krivosheev’s work based on declassified archival data, Soviet forces sustained 81,116 dead for the entire operation, which included the battles of Seelow Heights and the Halbe;[123] Another 280,251 were reported wounded or sick during the operational period.[123][h] The operation also cost the Soviets about 2,000 armoured vehicles, though the number of irrevocable losses (write-offs) is not known. Initial Soviet estimates based on kill claims placed German losses at 458,080 killed and 479,298 captured,[i] but German research puts the number of dead at approximately 92,000 – 100,000.[11] The number of civilian casualties is unknown,[124] but 125,000 are estimated to have perished during the entire operation.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Berlin#Aftermath

    The point was to seize control of as much of Germany as possible.Facts on the Ground.A buffer between himself and the West.

    Of course, Stalin was far more pragmatic than Hitler was.He had a sense of limits.Hence, although he would certainly have liked to have had all of Germany under his control, he knew that that would have meant war.The holds true, obviously, for France.Stalin knew when to stop.

    However, minus external constraints (say, in an alternate timeline where the D-Day landings did not take place in 1944) , I think that it is very likely that he would have pushed on into France, the Netherlands, etc.

    • Replies: @manton
    , @matt
  19. syonredux says:
    @matt

    Stalin didn’t even support the Communists in Greece.

    More like he stopped supporting them.My understanding is that Churchill and Stalin reached an accommodation vis-a-vis Greece in 1944.Stalin would get Romania and Bulgaria, while the British, in return, would get a free hand in Greece.

    Again, Stalin was very pragmatic.Under ideal circumstances, he would have extended his sphere of influence into Greece.But he was living in a less than ideal world, and had to settle for just Romania and Bulgaria.

  20. manton says:
    @syonredux

    Not that I am denying this, because I really don’t know, but it is true that Stalin pressed hard for the opening of a Western front from the instant he started to get US and UK aid. It was always THE main topic of conversation at the various summits he had with Churchill and later Roosevelt. He felt personally betrayed that they didn’t try it in 1942 and even more so when they didn’t do it in 1943.

    So if he really wanted to go all the way west, it would seem that he would not have been so eager for the Western allies to open a western front.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    , @OutWest
  21. syonredux says:
    @manton

    Not that I am denying this, because I really don’t know, but it is true that Stalin pressed hard for the opening of a Western front from the instant he started to get US and UK aid. It was always THE main topic of conversation at the various summits he had with Churchill and later Roosevelt. He felt personally betrayed that they didn’t try it in 1942 and even more so when they didn’t do it in 1943.

    So if he really wanted to go all the way west, it would seem that he would not have been so eager for the Western allies to open a western front.

    I wasn’t arguing that Stalin didn’t want the Anglos to open up a second front in Western Europe.I was simply pointing out what probably would have happened had a second front not opened up by 1944.

    As I pointed out upthread, Stalin was a pragmatist.Defeating Nazi Germany without the added assistance of the Anglo invasion of Northwestern Europe in 1944 would have been a much bloodier affair.Stalin was willing to settle for half of Europe.

  22. OutWest says:
    @manton

    Before D-Day, the Soviets were doing well against the Germans –particularly after Stalingrad and Kursk. But there were three fronts with still very tough going for the Soviets. Stalin’s basic early strategy was for the capitalist countries to fight each other (National Socialism/fascism was, well socialism with private property and central control but capitalist by Stalin’s calculus). With US military ramp up, Stalin likely settled for a second front and Eastern Europe.

  23. matt says:
    @syonredux

    However, minus external constraints (say, in an alternate timeline where the D-Day landings did not take place in 1944) , I think that it is very likely that he would have pushed on into France, the Netherlands, etc.

    If that’s the case, why had Stalin been pushing for the D-Day landings? It’s well known that Stalin had been begging for the Western Allies to open a second front in Europe since 1942. It sounds like he was focusing on surviving the German assault more than planning the conquest of Europe.

    EDIT: I hadn’t seen manton’s comment when I wrote this.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  24. MarkinLA says:

    If that’s the case, why had Stalin been pushing for the D-Day landings? It’s well known that Stalin had been begging for the Western Allies to open a second front in Europe since 1942. It sounds like he was focusing on surviving the German assault more than planning the conquest of Europe.

    It is not inconsistent for Stalin to be planning to overrun Europe after France, Britain and Germany exhausted themselves and after being caught with their pants down decide that they no longer have the forces to do what they want to do. The leadership would still have the desire but not the ability.

    Once the Red Army had taken such massive casualties and they were forced to treat their own soldiers with extreme brutality expecting them to then take on the US, Britain, and the rest of western Europe, not to mention resistance movements in eastern Europe would be expecting too much from them.

    • Replies: @matt
  25. syonredux says:
    @matt

    If that’s the case, why had Stalin been pushing for the D-Day landings? It’s well known that Stalin had been begging for the Western Allies to open a second front in Europe since 1942. It sounds like he was focusing on surviving the German assault more than planning the conquest of Europe.

    EDIT: I hadn’t seen manton’s comment when I wrote this.

    Well, as I said to Manton, I wasn’t arguing that Stalin didn’t want an invasion of Northwest Europe.I was simply pointing out what would have probably occurred without one (Soviet control of all of Germany, quite possibly France, etc)

    As for why Stalin pushed for a second front, that seems quite obvious.Stalin wasn’t Hitler.He was a pragmatic opportunist.A vulture.Defeating Hitler without a second front would have vastly increased Soviet losses in blood and treasure.Being a good pragmatist, Stalin was quite willing to settle for only gaining control of Eastern Europe and half of Germany.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @matt
  26. matt says:
    @MarkinLA

    You’re a bigger idiot than syon. no small feat

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  27. MarkinLA says:
    @matt

    I guess we should all bow to your genius or did you talk to Stalin?

    name calling from a child, I am so hurt.

    • Replies: @matt
  28. MarkinLA says:
    @syonredux

    Matt doesn’t know the difference between wanting to do something and knowing that you cannot achieve that something and settling for something else.

  29. matt says:
    @syonredux

    I don’t know what we disagree about then. If Stalin thought he could take over all of Europe (and encounter no costly civilian resistance in the process), then, sure, he would have done it, I guess. I’m not sure what the point of saying that is, though, since every sensible person agrees that Stalin didn’t think it would be worth it to take over all of Europe (unless you just wanted to say “Stalin was bad”, in which case I also agree).

    By the way, the Western Allies were at least equally opportunistic, especially Churchill, who wanted to delay the Normandy landings so he could start an idiotic (from a military standpoint, anyway) drive up the Balkans and into Poland, cutting off the Red Army advance. There were also all kinds of machinations against the antifascist resistance movements in the West during and after the war, both Communist and non-Communist (the Communist dominated ones generally went along with them, on orders from Stalin, who didn’t want to upset his allies). If anything, US and Britain were far concerned with the political future of Europe, and maneuvering against Stalin (and each other, especially in France) then vice versa. Stalin just mainly just wanted to survive the attack by the most formidable military (man for man) in the world.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  30. matt says:
    @MarkinLA

    I guess we should all bow to your genius or did you talk to Stalin?

    I’m always channeling Uncle Joe. Now if you’ll excuse me, these kulaks aren’t going to liquidate themselves…

  31. syonredux says:
    @matt

    I don’t know what we disagree about then. If Stalin thought he could take over all of Europe (and encounter no costly civilian resistance in the process),

    I don’t think that civilian resistance would have bothered Stalin:

    Kenneth Christie, Historical Injustice and Democratic Transition in Eastern Asia and Northern Europe: Ghosts at the Table of Democracy (2002)
    Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonians (1940-41): 85,000 deported, of which 55,000 killed or died
    Baltics executed during reconquest (1944-45): 30,000
    Postwar partisan war
    Lithuanians: 40-50,000 k.
    Latvian: 25,000
    Estonians: 15,000

    No, he was worried about military opposition.

    then, sure, he would have done it, I guess.

    I have no doubt on that score.At a minimum, he would have seized all of Germany, not just the half that he grabbed in our timeline.

    I’m not sure what the point of saying that is, though, since every sensible person agrees that Stalin didn’t think it would be worth it to take over all of Europe (unless you just wanted to say “Stalin was bad”, in which case I also agree).

    Just pointing out how things might have gone down without Anglo intervention.No D-Day landings in 1944, Stalin gains control of all of Germany.

    By the way, the Western Allies were at least equally opportunistic, especially Churchill, who wanted to delay the Normandy landings so he could start an idiotic (from a military standpoint, anyway) drive up the Balkans and into Poland, cutting off the Red Army advance.

    Both the Anglos (especially Churchill) and the Soviets were looking ahead to the post-war world.By 1943, at the latest, everyone knew that Nazi Germany was beaten.It was just a question of how long it would take and how many people would die in the process.

    There were also all kinds of machinations against the antifascist resistance movements in the West during and after the war, both Communist and non-Communist (the Communist dominated ones generally went along with them, on orders from Stalin, who didn’t want to upset his allies).

    It’s rather sad how Euro communists of the time toed the Stalinist line….

    If anything, US and Britain were far concerned with the political future of Europe, and maneuvering against Stalin (and each other, especially in France) then vice versa. Stalin just mainly just wanted to survive the attack by the most formidable military (man for man) in the world.

    Stalin wanted to do more than just survive.At the end of the war, for example, he made a triumphant speech about how he had given Russia an Empire that was greater than any that she had known under the Tsars.

    And he was right.Thanks to Stalin’s geopolitical maneuvering (and willingness to absorb enormous casualties) , the USSR, by the late 1940s, controlled the Baltic states, nearly all of Eastern Europe (barring Greece and the rebellious Tito in Yugoslavia), and had half of Germany.

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