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What Could've Provoked A Soviet Invasion of West Germany?

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  • What Could've Provoked A Soviet Invasion of West Germany?

    I've been intrigued by the so called "War That Never Was". An all out, mostly nonnuclear conflict between NATO and the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact in the 1987-1990 timeframe.

    One thing I've been wondering is what could actually have provoked such an attack?

    I'm convinced of the following:

    1) Another leader would have had to be in charge of the Soviet Union. I've always thought that Gorbachev believed his western press clippings too much. There is no scenario where he would've seen a massive invasion as the most desirable course of action.

    Romanov or some early 1980s hardliner would have to have been in charge.

    2) It would've had to be a breakdown in Eastern Europe. Most certainly in Eastern Germany. For example, the Soviets trying a Tianemman Square type of crackdown in late 1989 for example.

    The Tom Clancy "Red Storm Rising" scenario with the Soviets launching an invasion because they are running out of oil just doesn't wash. I can't see the Soviets gambling so much just because they are facing a couple of years of low oil and gas supplies.

    3) The actual crisis would have to come quickly and take Soviet leaders by surprise. A matter of weeks at most so that they saw no obvious way out besides military action.

    I've developed my own WWIII scenario where the Soviets clamp down bloodily in Dec. 1989 leading to a steady decline in relations with the west followed by another rebellion in East Germany and Poland in the late summer of 1990 that convinces the Soviets that military action against the west is necessary.

  • #2
    Have you perchance looked up the NATO's Parallel History Project? It would answer a lot of your questions.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
      Have you perchance looked up the NATO's Parallel History Project? It would answer a lot of your questions.
      I've heard references to it.

      Do you have a link?

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      • #4
        This is the subsite to which you're probably interested in

        http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/index.cfm

        It contains the known war plans of the Warsaw Pact. Just be advised that the war plans from 1970 on is still state class protected in Moscow, so we don't know what they are but I don't think that operationally that they would deviate too far from what has been presented, only the locations would have changed, ie eastward.

        Do search through the site, especially with interviews with former Warsaw Pact Officers. They do provide a clear and concise view of the military confrontation as they saw it. In short, I don't see the minimum 160+ nukes on the first day of WWIII to change anywhere.

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        • #5
          I can't see how the USSR invading Germany wouldn't have gone nuclear unless they did it while Jimmy Carter was president. :))

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          • #6
            If you looked at the war plans, it would have gone nuclear the 1st day. However, from the interviews with the Warsaw Pact Generals, during the Reagan years, they decided on a defensive doctrine in which they've decided the the Polish-German border was the point of launch, not the West German-East German border. In other words, they expected NATO to cross into East Germany and then afterwards, all nuclear hell are to be unleashed.

            Furthermore, if you read the interviews again, none of the Warsaw Pact officers did not expect the conflict to go nuclear. They all thought that a strategic nuclear exchange was inevitable.

            NATO's PHP is on par with S-2 find.

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            • #7
              Still, regardless of war plans, using nuclear weapons would've been a political decision.

              And one wonders what the Soviets would've thought given that apparently preparations by the SRF to launch a strategic nuclear strike could be detected well in advance.

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              • #8
                Again, if you read through the war plans, it was one front alone, not the entire Warsaw Pact and that front was Czech, not Soviet. In short, the final release authority was Czech, not Soviet. In other words, release authority was already given before the 1st strike across the Fulda Gap.

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                • #9
                  War plans or not, the Czechs would never use nuclear weapons without prior Soviet approval.

                  You can argue "nuclear or not" but I seriously doubt regardless of existing war plans that we know about that the Soviets would launch a nuclear attack just because of a dust up in Eastern Europe.

                  If NATO invaded perhaps.

                  But not as part of preplanned offensive action.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dayton3 View Post
                    War plans or not, the Czechs would never use nuclear weapons without prior Soviet approval.
                    That's the point! Please read the war plans and apply what you have just said.

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                    • #11
                      Furthermore, if you read the interviews, all the Warsaw Pact Generals assumed the next war was going to be nuclear - at the strategic level. In other words, they believed WWIII was going to be a strategic nuclear exchange right off the bat.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                        If you looked at the war plans, it would have gone nuclear the 1st day. However, from the interviews with the Warsaw Pact Generals, during the Reagan years, they decided on a defensive doctrine in which they've decided the the Polish-German border was the point of launch, not the West German-East German border. In other words, they expected NATO to cross into East Germany and then afterwards, all nuclear hell are to be unleashed.
                        Which, de facto, meant that World War III would never have occurred, given that scenario...because I cannot possibly imagine a realistic scenario wherein NATO, defensive organization that it is, collectively decided to invade East Germany, much less continue on into Poland.

                        Or maybe I'm just uninformed.
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

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                        • #13
                          Like others said, Joe, be thankful we never found out.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                            Like others said, Joe, be thankful we never found out.
                            True, so true
                            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

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                            • #15
                              Some thought a tit for tat move during the Cuban missle crisis as the Soviets were moving in multiple directions and an attack on their missle sights in Cuba may have given them a green light to do just that.
                              Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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