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Thread: Cold war does not happen - Stalin dies in 1945.

  1. #1
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    Cold war does not happen - Stalin dies in 1945.

    Just a scenario that has been playing out in my mind the past few days. What if the Soviet Union put its faith in its alliance with the United States and the principle of Collective Security rather than try and take over Eastern Europe? This would have been incompatible with paranoid personality of Stalin so the assumption is that he is out of the picture soon after V-day and a relatively more pragmatic leadership evolves around a personality like Beria, or Zhukov. This leadership honors its commitments to the alliance and does not impose Communist Governments in the Eastern countries but allows most of the existing regimes to continue after purging the fascists while simply supporting the local communist parties. A range of Governments would emerge in time of Eastern Europe; from those dominated by the left wing like in Yugoslavia to staunch anti communists in countries like Poland.

    A few short term scenrio's might be; the alliance with the US would continue and there would be no NATO. There was mutual goodwill between the two countries during their common struggle against Nazism, so in the absence of a Communist takeover of Eastern Europe there is no reason why this wouldn't continue. Germany would be allowed to reunify, but would remain disarmed for much longer and probably have to pay more reparations. Given the absence of the Soviet threat, the first German election might have been won by Kurt Schumacher and the Social Democrats, instead of Konrad Adenauer, given that Eastern Germany was more likely to support the SPD in the Weimar Republic. De-Nazification would continue for a lot longer and many more Nazi criminals would be brought to justice. Left wing parties in general would be stronger across most of Europe

    Colonialism might have ended even sooner, with the two superpowers united in their opposition to it. Wars might still have occurred in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan but might not involve major operations by the superpowers.

    Overtime, some tensions and cracks would appear in the alliance given the extreme divergence between the Communist and free market world views. The centuries old Russian tradition of expansion and interference in neighboring countries would have manifested itself in different ways. After Europe recovers from the devastation of the war, it tries to re-assert its authority and influence by some form of unity between the major powers like Britain, France and Germany and pushing to the creation of the EU.

    A more enlightened Soviet leadership might take steps to reform the Communist system following stagnation would probably still would have happened by the 1970's. In the absence of a costly arms race with the West, it might have succeeded into evolving into an authoritarian Corporatist state like China today and manage to preserve its unity to the current day, with secessionist movements in places like the Baltics, Western Ukraine and the Islamic republics.

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    Beria or Zhukov is old school and that means war reparations. They would have demanded all axis powers be bankrupt to pay for rebuilding the USSR.

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    that's pretty much what stalin did, seeing as how the axis powers WERE all bankrupt at the end of WWII. he physically removed industries from silesia and whatever parts of germany he controlled, along with the industries in manchuria. POWs were kept for years afterwards for slave labor.

    stalin was relatively pragmatic, for all that he was a mass murderer. if stalin dies in '45, there would have been a short sharp internecine fight between zhukov and beria, which zhukov would likely have won given the strength of the Red Army in '45. my guess is that zhukov -wouldn't- have wanted to be top dog; he'd probably give it to Khrushchev or Molotov, with the unspoken agreement afterwards that whatever the Red Army wanted, the Red Army would get. the leadership would be more stable and probably be less prone to crises such as Berlin or Korea, although it's important to note that given the Cold War scenario these things happened anyway-- see the U2 incident or the Cuban missile crisis, all without Stalin's hand.

    the alliance with the US would continue and there would be no NATO. There was mutual goodwill between the two countries during their common struggle against Nazism, so in the absence of a Communist takeover of Eastern Europe there is no reason why this wouldn't continue.
    extremely unlikely. the Russians under any leadership would demand Eastern Europe-- it had already been agreed to at Yalta, plus the Russian populace demanded buffer states.

    Germany would be allowed to reunify,
    no, even the Western Allies were not in favor of this at the time.

    Wars might still have occurred in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan
    Korea would likely not happen without Stalin. after a few years the butterfly effects make the rest hard to predict.

    A more enlightened Soviet leadership might take steps to reform the Communist system following stagnation would probably still would have happened by the 1970's.
    you're talking about a difference of eight years. Khrushchev made a few halting steps to reform but that got killed when his foreign policy gambits failed.
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    extremely unlikely. the Russians under any leadership would demand Eastern Europe-- it had already been agreed to at Yalta, plus the Russian populace demanded buffer states.
    In hindsight taking over Eastern Europe and locking into a costly arms race with the US and the West was absolutely the worst thing that the Soviet Union could do. It bankrupted the country, made the economic stagnation worse and made certain that when Communism collapsed it would mean the end of the Russian empire as well with all Soviet Republics breaking away. None of the Eastern European countries were a threat to the Soviet Union in themselves; the only threat came from a possible resurgence of Germany. And ironically under the cold war West Germany was allowed to start re-arming in just about a decade after the war.

    If the alliance with the US had not broken completely, Germany would probably have been kept disarmed for decades at least. And the Soviet Union could keeps its influence in its near abroad, even have a buffer state in Poland, but not appear threatening enough start a cold war.

    This scenario is based on the assumption of a Soviet leadership that would see confrontation with the West to be unfavorable in the long run and try to avoid a total breach of the WW2 alliance.

    no, even the Western Allies were not in favor of this at the time.
    It was my understanding that Germany was kept divided mostly because of Cold war politics, the end of the cold war coincided with the reunification of Germany.



    you're talking about a difference of eight years. Khrushchev made a few halting steps to reform but that got killed when his foreign policy gambits failed.
    A Soviet Union that was not exhausted by decades of confrontation with the West and not bankrupt from the arms race might have been in a better position to weather a transition from the stagnation of communism to something more sustainable without experiencing collapse.

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    inexile,

    in hindsight taking over Eastern Europe and locking into a costly arms race with the US and the West was absolutely the worst thing that the Soviet Union could do. It bankrupted the country, made the economic stagnation worse and made certain that when Communism collapsed it would mean the end of the Russian empire as well with all Soviet Republics breaking away. None of the Eastern European countries were a threat to the Soviet Union in themselves; the only threat came from a possible resurgence of Germany. And ironically under the cold war West Germany was allowed to start re-arming in just about a decade after the war.
    well, the arms race and the Cold War didn't come BECAUSE the USSR took over Eastern Europe. it came because of two opposing ideologies. the destruction of the nazi power and the fall of the British Empire meant that there were only two superpowers with their respective client states.

    If the alliance with the US had not broken completely, Germany would probably have been kept disarmed for decades at least. And the Soviet Union could keeps its influence in its near abroad, even have a buffer state in Poland, but not appear threatening enough start a cold war.
    peacetime alliances are hard to keep up. the US has had a hard time keeping up the NATO alliance, and that's with smaller powers with similar ideologies.

    This scenario is based on the assumption of a Soviet leadership that would see confrontation with the West to be unfavorable in the long run and try to avoid a total breach of the WW2 alliance.
    a nice thought but it wasn't going to happen. this was a clash of ideologies, not just a clash between nation-states. moreover russian paranoia, even without the ideology overlay, is tremendous...just see what's going on today.

    It was my understanding that Germany was kept divided mostly because of Cold war politics,
    that was partly the reason. but also partly because everyone feared germany after germany started two world wars in two generations.

    the purpose of NATO was to "keep the russians out, the americans in, and the germans down", said the first NATO secretary general-- a brit.

    A Soviet Union that was not exhausted by decades of confrontation with the West and not bankrupt from the arms race might have been in a better position to weather a transition from the stagnation of communism to something more sustainable without experiencing collapse.
    too hard to have a Soviet Union in the first place without that type of extreme defense spending.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    the Russians under any leadership would demand Eastern Europe--
    Be int Imperial Russia. Soviet Russia or Post Soviet Russia, Russians see themselves as a rightful imperial power and regional hegemon to whom all other slavic states owe suzerainty.

    I agree with you Stalin dying doesn't matter. The USSR's post war actiosn were driven less by ideology and more by practical necessity. They had to occupy and loot Eastern Europe and Manchuria to get the materials to rebuild. They had to use POW's as slaves to have the man power to rebuild. No touchy feely goody-goodyness will erase those imperatives or they tension they cause with the West.

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    well, the arms race and the Cold War didn't come BECAUSE the USSR took over Eastern Europe. it came because of two opposing ideologies. the destruction of the nazi power and the fall of the British Empire meant that there were only two superpowers with their respective client states
    I am not sure that there would have been an complete breakdown in the wartime alliance leading to confrontation and a cold war if the USSR had not taken over Eastern Europe and the Communists were looking dangerous enough to take over even some Western European countries. The United States was bitterly opposed to Communism since the October revolution, but it was content to remain in Isolationism and took few steps to actually oppose the Soviets in the inter war period. It took a world war and the menace of the the whole of Europe falling to Communism that lead the US to make it a policy of actively opposing Communism anywhere in the world, even at the risk of nuclear war. NATO was mainly about drawing a line in the sand, the Soviet Union could expect an armed response to any further expansion by force.

    In the world today, China is often spoken of as an up and coming superpower (although they have a large gap to overcome before they catch up with the West). Many in the West are bitterly opposed to the authoritarian Chinese ideology. The Chinese leadership is mostly pragmatic, but they have made some aggressive moves in recent years, especially against Japan. There are elements in the US that would like to follow a more confrontational policy with China, but I think most Americans realize the Chinese are not an aggressively expansionist power. The result is what we have today, mostly coexistence, with some containment , and even some co-operation.

    Russia has been a expansionist power for centuries, the Soviets seized opportunities to grab territory pre-war. But it was only after the war, with their complete superiority in the conventional military sphere that they began following an extremely aggressive expansionist policy under the banner of Communism that threatened the whole of Europe and the rest of the world. That I think, was the main reason for the Cold War, not merrily the presence of opposing ideologies.

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    Russia paid an extremely heavy price for victory. At least 9 million military dead and 11 million civilian dead.

    Look at it this way. You're a Red Army soldier just finished marching to Berlin and you're going home to see your wife and kid that you haven't seen in years. Do you want your son to march through the hell you've just been through? Would you allow any man to allow Germany to get on her feet again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Russia paid an extremely heavy price for victory. At least 9 million military dead and 11 million civilian dead.

    Look at it this way. You're a Red Army soldier just finished marching to Berlin and you're going home to see your wife and kid that you haven't seen in years. Do you want your son to march through the hell you've just been through? Would you allow any man to allow Germany to get on her feet again?
    Ironically then, because of the cold war, West Germany was allowed to re-arm, just a decade after the end of WW 2. If the war alliance had not fallen apart, Germany might have been kept disarmed for decades.

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    And the chances of another German invasion of the USSR was zero during all that time.

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    If the cold war did'nt happen we would never get the 007 movie series.
    Military technology would still be less deadly than what it is now.

    Pakistan would be a peaceful country (almost). Afghanistan would be under Soviets.

    There would be no Non-Align Movement...etc etc

    Cheers!...on the rocks!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontree View Post
    If the cold war did'nt happen we would never get the 007 movie series.
    Military technology would still be less deadly than what it is now.

    Pakistan would be a peaceful country (almost). Afghanistan would be under Soviets.

    There would be no Non-Align Movement...etc etc
    We would not have so many Russian women in Goa either. Can't be all that bad this Cold War thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InExile View Post

    . There was mutual goodwill between the two countries during their common struggle against Nazism, so in the absence of a Communist takeover of Eastern Europe there is no reason why this wouldn't continue.
    .
    Who ordered Khrushchev to starve Ukraine in 32/33 and sell the food to countries like america?

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    You that fucking stupid! The Cold War was 32/33?
    Chimo

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    If the Cold War didn't happen, I think the world would have witnessed major destabilising cleavages faster, e.g. the Sino-Russian split may have occurred sooner, Islamist fundamentalism would have risen in the Middle East before the 70's.

    I don't think it's a realistic scenario. Russian fear and hatred of Europe would have dictated the need to dominate Eastern Europe, sparking tension- assuming Zhukov beats Beria and influences policy, the likeliest outcome would be something akin to a 1970's detente, but the underlying ideological tensions, and Russian nationalism, would still be there.

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