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Sergei

What if WW2 started in the East?

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Let's say that Poland invaded Lithuania in the 1930's, alienating the Brits, and then in 1939 France wouldn't be prepared to commit alone to guarantee the Poles. Meanwhile, Stalin would consider Hitler's east expansion as undesirable, so no Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is made. Germany invades Poland anyway. Okay, it's far-fetched but this is a hypothetical anyway. How would Soviets react to events militarily, and with what kinds of results? Remember, this is 1939, not 1941, and UK and France are just watching, as would the historical Axis states. Estonia and Latvia would also be independent.

Just how much could Germany have done in that situation againt Soviet Union before the winter would set? Would they just set up a strategic defense line across East Prussia and Poland while preparing for a Blitzkrieg in 1940, or would they go right away for Minsk and beyond (if we consider that before Winter War the Red Army was considered as very strong)? How badly would Red Army get humiliated if it tried anything else than sticking to the Stalin Line, and if neither would really want to take the risk, would this result in a phony war? Would Russians be tempted to invade Estonia and Latvia "pre-emptively"?

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Originally posted by Sergei:

Meanwhile, Stalin would consider Hitler's east expansion as undesirable, so no Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is made.

There's something faulty in your logic here. Stalin did not enter into the M-R Pact because he was sanguine about German eastward expansion, but because he felt threatened by it. Since he could get no commitment from Britain and France to a mutual defense pact, he seized on a chance to move his frontier as far west as he could and to play for time while he rebuilt his army (although the need for the latter would not become quite so painfully apparent until the Winter War). So I can't see him turning it down if it's offered in your scenario.

I suppose you could say that with Britain and France determinedly sitting on the sidelines, Hitler might not have offered it in the first place. Hard to say. He might have realized the necessity of pacifying the Russian Bear until he had built his own forces up some more.

Michael

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Originally posted by Michael Emrys:

Since he could get no commitment from Britain and France to a mutual defense pact, he seized on a chance to move his frontier as far west as he could and to play for time while he rebuilt his army (although the need for the latter would not become quite so painfully apparent until the Winter War). So I can't see him turning it down if it's offered in your scenario.

Stalin knew that Hitler didn't want a two-front war, which is why he could trust Germans so much in 1939. But if Germans could have taken Poland without needing to worry about Allies, then Adolf could have invaded USSR at any moment he fancied. Joe would have drawn his own conclusions.

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Stalin knew that Hitler didn't want a two-front war, which is why he could trust Germans so much in 1939. But if Germans could have taken Poland without needing to worry about Allies, then Adolf could have invaded USSR at any moment he fancied. Joe would have drawn his own conclusions.
And his conclusions, as always, would have been self preservation, mixed with a healthy dose of oppurtunism. If Hitler had offered the MR Pact after the invasion of Poland, there is every likelyhood Uncle Joe would have accepted it.

Hitler could have offered an M-R pact for the following reasons

1 as a smoke screen

2 to stop any alliance between the Soviet Union and the western allies, who would have been severely worried after the invasion of Poland.

It doesn't necessarily follow that in this hypothetical situation that Hitler would have felt strong enough to invade the Soviet Union in 1940 or even 1941. (I know you said "could have invaded " so please don't think I'm missquoting). IIRC there was some grumbling after the invasion of Poland about the will to win of the German soldiers, and so Hitler may not have felt confident enough in 1940 to invade the Soviet Union. Also, his generals may well have dissuaded him from invading Russia. It real life, after the invasion of Western Europe, he was in too strong a position to be dissuaded.

Furthermore, as pointed out before, the Soviet Union was still regarded as very strong militarliy, and in 1940 Hitler could well have baulked at invading.

As for Stalin, he may well have still invaded Estonia and Latvia. Don't know about Finland, I can't remember exactly why he invaded that

Cheers

Ed

P.S hope this makes some kind of sense. I hit the damned Add Post while I was still thinking about it, and lost whatever train of thought may have existed

[ December 09, 2004, 08:14 AM: Message edited by: Eddy ]

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Originally posted by Sergei:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Michael Emrys:

Since he could get no commitment from Britain and France to a mutual defense pact, he seized on a chance to move his frontier as far west as he could and to play for time while he rebuilt his army (although the need for the latter would not become quite so painfully apparent until the Winter War). So I can't see him turning it down if it's offered in your scenario.

Stalin knew that Hitler didn't want a two-front war, which is why he could trust Germans so much in 1939. But if Germans could have taken Poland without needing to worry about Allies, then Adolf could have invaded USSR at any moment he fancied. Joe would have drawn his own conclusions. </font>

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Originally posted by Eddy:

As for Stalin, he may well have still invaded Estonia and Latvia. Don't know about Finland, I can't remember exactly why he invaded that

It seem pretty clear that Stalin was intent on restoring all the territories of Imperial Russia to the Soviet Union. Also, there were strategic reasons for all those grabs. The war with Finland moved the frontier farther away from the important railway to Murmansk. The invasions of the Baltic states moved the frontier 500km farther away from Leningrad. It didn't stop the Germans from getting there, but it took them longer, which gave the Soviets more time to organize its defense.

Michael

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