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What if WWII in Europe started in 1943?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Falcon Jun, Oct 10, 2007.

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  1. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    This is another can of worms being opened here.

    To do so Stalin would first have to go through Poland, which means that an alliance against the Soviet Union would be formed. Stalin knew that if he was to attack anyone he would be considered the agressor and ultimately the bad guy. He knew that war with Germany was inescapable and would much rather sit back and not fire the first shot...;)


    But then again this is just all speculation...
     
  2. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    All of this experiance was also held in 41, and we know how much it helped.

    Guderian published a book about Russian armor correctly predicting the number and quality. Hitler and most other Generals ignored it.

    Had Stalin started a war before the Germans did he would have faced a different foe than he did in 41. France and Britian would have come to some agreement with Germany and fought against her, this would also bring the US in against them as well. Russia was only marginally accepted as a friend by UK, Fr, and US after the German invasion.

    What justification are you refering to about the "enormous" and "greatly" changed French and British situations? They had always been interested in it, what would change? It was never a question of the equipment it is the tactics and polotics that were week.

    While Guderian did read Fuller, and others, his developments surpased those of British theorists.

    Very good points T.A. Would Japan have fought against UK, Fr, and Netherlands had Germany not done so in 39? I doubt it. At the same time China would have to be re-addressed as this was the problem with the US, and supply of material. Japan would have had to re-think its strategy.

    Why do you say that the German economy was on the verge of collapse? Heard his around, but dont know why?

    The Me 262 was in devlopment in 38, and flew in 41/42, production problems were becasue of Hitlers interferance and lack of proper materials.
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    And what is 'tactics and politics' if not doctrine?

    I'm not so dazzled by the Germans as you are Tikilal.
    Read more on the European political & military situation of the late 30's and you will find a more complex and nuanced story than popular received opinions.
    One small example is by 1943 there would likely be a great increase in cooperation between the attacked nations, the petty squabbling between France, Britain, Belgium, Holland etc. was frankly unbelievable even as the hammer fell, but much background work was already coming to fruition that would finally have allowed more cooperation and support from one state to another. Germany struck before these ongoing negotiations could be seriously completed, which in the detail of the Battlefield (such as French and British Units being held up by Belgian border officials even as the other half of their country was being swallowed up) often proved crucial.
    Another example is France's handling of her tanks, no other nation deployed so many so oddly, I refuse to believe that after four more years the hotbed of political intrigue that was the higher echelons of the French Army would not have reformed her usage of Army & Armour. They were not stupid, and Blitzkrieg falling against a force that size, but organised along more modern lines would have found lightning movement and skimpy supply lines of no use whatsoever.
    The slow trickle of realisation that things must change was already becoming a far greater force, accelerated by the ravings of the German neighbours for another four years I remain convinced that the fall of France & Western Europe would prove too great an undertaking for Nazism.

    Germany was lucky with the timing in France.
    Thankfully not so lucky that she wasn't eventually beaten.

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The Red Army in 1941 was in the middle of a transition. There were major reorgainzations of mechanized formations going on. Much of the equipment of every unit was obsolesent and being replaced by new designs that had not yet reached full quantity production. Many formations lacked radios, artillery, ammunition, motor vehicles, and a plethora of other equipment. By 1943 much of this would have been corrected even if the quality of manpower had not substancially risen.

    Are you refering to Achtung-Panzer!? His figures are very generalized as are his comments. The tanks he mentions are all pre-1939 designs. He lists the "M I and M II" which appear to be variants of the T 28 along with the "Vickers-Armstrong-Russky 6 ton," the T 26 and "Christie-Russky 34 with its 47mm gun and single machinegun" refering to the BT series. He lists their tank strenght at "10,000 machines."
    I don't think this was ignored. Rather, like the British, US, and other foreign observers of Soviet maneuvers and doctrine prior to WW II most dismissed the Red Army as clumsy and rather inept, which it proved to be initially.

    Both were in the middle of rearmament programs in 1939. The British had really barely begun theirs in ernst at that point. By 1943 they would have had more tanks that were operationally fit than in 1939 and of better design in service. Guns like the 6pdr and 25pdr that were barely in the field in 1939 would have been in general service in 1943. Much of the obsolete equipment that the BEF had in France in 1940 would have been gone.
    A Pacific War would have meant mobilization and the result would have been a military with a great deal of recent war experiance that would have greatly increased the efficency of their military.
    For the French the same holds true. They would get a lesser degree of actual experiance but would have gotten a "lessons learned" from their allies along with being able to fix the worst of their doctrinal problems which in 1940 were severe. That doctrine negatively effected their equipment and orgainzation as much as anything else.

    Fuller was hardly the prophet many today make him out to be. While his theories were read few acted on them. The British made him and his acyrolite Liddell Hart into pariahs for their vitrolic condemnation of current British doctrines. In France he was ignored. Their doctrine of "Methodical Battle" had nothing in common with Fuller's theories and owed nothing to them. In Germany the Wehrmacht developed their tactics more from their successful Stroßtruppen tactics of late WW 1 (much as the French did Methodical Battle) than due to anything Fuller wrote. In the US Fuller was essentially ignored. None of the writings US Army theorists of the period made refered to him in any significant way. Certainly two of the best books to still be around, The Fighting Tanks by Jones, Rary, and Icks and the US Army's Infantry in Battle both show a very great depth of study into the WW 1 and interwar experiance making no mention of Fuller.



    If US Japanese relations take their original course the Japanese would have had little choice. The Pacific War was not largely due to events in Europe but rather hinged on US - Japanese economics and the situation in China. If the US imposes their original embargo Japan's economy will still collapse if they do not act. France wasn't a major threat in Indochina, the British would be at peace and possibly not have reinforced their Asian holdings as they originally did. These weaknesses might have enticed the Japanese to still try a military option as they did originally. Also, the US would likely have greatly reinforced the Philippines adding to the threat perceived by Japan, again forcing them into a corner.

    Because it was. Hitler's rearmament programs started in 1934 / 35 and by 1939 were consuming just over 20% of the economy and were growing. At this sort of level the economy of a nation in peacetime generally cannot sustain itself. The Soviet Union had reached just shy of 30% of their economy just before they collapsed. What had helped the Germans up to 1939 was the continued expansion of economic resources by annexation of various regions and Czechsloviaka. But this helped only so much.

    The original Me 262 project (Projekt 1065) was thrown out whole in May 1940 due to the completely unrealistic expectations placed on the P 3302 (BMW 003) jet engine. This forced a complete revision of the project so it really started over in 1940. It then underwent wholesale redesign between 1940 and 1942 as the engines kept changing in size and weight and between the BMW 003 and much larger and heavier Jumo 004.
    Because of continued problems in getting the turbojets to work reliably and safely the project drug into late 1943.
    By the time the decision was made to go into production and tooling up was finished it was into early 1944. By then it was too late. The technology was not up to the task and the German war economy wasn't either. On the first, the lack of certain materials for building the engines meant the Jumo 004 had a service life of just a few hours; typically 10 - 15. In many cases one engine per sorte was required to be replaced. The manufacturing rate was such that this literally ate up engines faster than they could be produced. The second problem was fuel. A fully loaded Me 262 took between 2 and 3 tons of fuel per sorte. By the beginning of 1944 German fuel production was running about 100,000 tons or less per month. A full panzer division on the move took about 100 tons a day to function.
    One quickly finds the Germans simply don't have the fuel to fly a large airforce on a sustained basis.
    Note how none of this really hinges on any of Hitler's decisions. There was a whole range of false steps and lack of economic means that went into the Me 262 not reaching wide service. With a peacetime military the rate of development would have been slower. I can't see the Luftwaffe putting into service a jet fighter with such a pathetic servicability rate as the Me 262 originally had.
     
  5. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Just what in the hell do you your doing, coming over to my side? :D :D :D
    Couldnt have said it better myself!
     
  6. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    I am not dazzled by the Germans. I do respect what they did, as I do to all remarkable achievements. What I do not buy into is the wholesale devaluation of the German army 39-45. While luck and chance help, there was some skill there.

    Since you feel that I am lacking in my reading please feel free to recommend books that you have read on the subject.

    What evidence suggests likely changes between the Belgians, French and the UK? France considered invading Belgium so that they could have moved their armies in. Regardless of the fact that that is what the Germans wanted.

    You also criticized the French armor, even though they never lost a battle. Which is why I dont think that the French needed 4 more years to change the make up of their divisions. When you win and are ordered to retreat, then your government surrenders, what needs to change?

    You also say that 4 more years would have been enough to change the atmosphere in France and Britain. Why? Hitler had been raving for 6 years before 39, what was going to change in 4 more years?

    Who was running these changes in the Red Army? Where they real changes or just updates in equipment? I dont think Russian tanks ever had radios in them. I am sure someone will show me that I am wrong on this too.

    Guderian latter notes that in 42/43 (cant remember off the top of my head) Hitler told him that if he had believed his stats on Russian equipment he would not have invaded Russia.

    Thanks for the other books, I also dont think Fuller was near as cool as he thought he was.

    I understand that what Japan did was not caused by what was happening in Europe but it did influence their strategies. I just question what might have changed knowing that they would have been the only ones fighting 3 to 4 major powers at once?

    This may seem like a silly question but why does the percentage of money spent on weapons and the military determine the state of an economy?

    I was aware of the difficulties of the Me 262 program I was just pointing out that is was still there. Several of the problems that Jumo and BMW had with their jet engines stemed from lack of material to make the high temp alloys needed to make the fan blades and turbine housings.

    All in all thanks for you response.
     
  7. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

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    One undeniable truth, wheather 1939 or 1943, Poland was going to be the victim in all of this, Germany was seething of losing territory to the new state of Poland, especially the Polish Corridor, The Soviet Union was seething as an independant Poland had never existed before robbing the Soviet Union of more territory in which it considered rightfully theirs, Poland unfortunately was the blight on the landscape created by the League of Nation of who had no idea on the rammifications of their ill concieved actions. War was inevitable, and as i said wheather in 1939 or 1943 Poland was the crutial key.
     
  8. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    If you have not already.. I'de recomend 'Wages of Destruction' by Tooze. It is the most current and amoung the most complete reviews of the nazi Germany economic strengths and weaknesses. Tooze publishes a lot of detail that was fomerly not in broad circulation, but his general agument is one that has been recognized by historians of the nazi regime since at least the 1960s. That is nazi Germany lacked sustain economic strength. The boost from hijacking the Austrian and Cezch government treasurys and banks in 1938-39 faded through 1940. Without the emergencys of war the finances of the nazi government, party members, and Germanys comerce would have been sliding into bankruptcy between 1940 - 1942.

    The changes had started back in the 1920s. The first wave of doctrinal change during the early to late 1920s was the refinement of what the French military saw as usefull from the Great War. Contrary to myth the doctrines of the 1920s were not simple reproductions of the techniques of 1917-1918, but were much refined.

    In all this the French cavalry was left out. It had long been clear horse cavalry was obsolete, so in the 1920s the politically connected and still well funded cavalry branch begain studying mechanization and armor. By 1928 a experimental mechanized cavalry divsion begain test exercises, by 1938 the mechanization of the cavalry divsions was well underway, and the inital establishment of the powerfull DLM type divsion was underway. Doctrine for the cavalry branch was influenced by traditional thinking, that is manuver and shock, but was clearly being modified by the possibilities of enhancing firepower through mechanization. Had the French turned over its armored development to the cavalry in the early 1930s its mechanized force would have looked far different than it turn out.

    The extensive codification of the doctrine of the Methodical Battle, and the system of training the reserve officers ensured change would be very slow in the inafantry/artillery branches. The primary impetous was coming from the motorization of the infantry and artillery. The conversion of infantry divsions to motorized (seven converted by 1940) and artillery regiments (over 30% vs 20% for the Germans) was leading the younger officers to rethink the doctrine they were training with. Exactly where that might have led I cant say, but the seeds for change were planted before 1939. Even at the upper levels there wereGenerals like Flavigy who saw possibilites for new methods deriving from mechanization.

    This falls into the variables of French politics and whatever possibilites to learn from a Pacific might occur. If the leaders of 1936-40 remain near & in the offices of power then little changes. But, many were growing old and with each year younger faces appeared in the circles of power.

    I think you are on to something here. The purge starting in 1937 did not simply remove the senior leaders from the Soviet Army. It reached deep into the ranks and casued a horrendeous loss of trained leaders, both thru removal to the Gulag or executioner, and thru over promotion of the replacements. Second there was a vast program of expansion undertaken, the ground forces were to be trippled in size. This effort further diluted the expertise of the leadership thrugh to rapid training and more over promotion to fill the new command and staff positions.

    Seperate from this was a fundamental recommitment to the doctrines of the 1920s. The army was reorganized back into infantry/artillery/horse cavalry branches with the concept of combined arms groups not extending much below corps level. Tugachevskys mechanized or armored corps were broken up and tanks returned to the infantry commanders with a doctrine of using them as supporting weapons, much like French infantry doctrine. By 1939 the reorganization was complete and the purges & expansion ensured the commanders and staff remembered little of of the mechanized combined arms doctrines of the Tugachevsky era. This was only reversed after the Polish campaign of 1939 demonstrated the bankruptcy of the current doctrines. There were orders to revive to doctrines and organizations suitable for mobile mechanized warfare , but this effort was relatively slow. The collapse of the Allies in 1940 in the face of Guderian doctrines truly grabed the attention of the senior Soviet Army leaders and frantic efforts were made to field large scale mechinzed/armored combined arms formations.

    Without the example of the Polish and Western campaigns it is possible the Soviet Army of 1942 would have been wholly incapable of 'modern' warfare.

    The experts on this subject tell me many tried to warn Hitler of the real capabilities of the Soviet mlitary. He dismissed the warnings and made it clear he only wanted to see information that supported the the strategy the Germans were capable of. Suspossedly intellegence officers such as Gehlen quit trying and fed Hitler what he wanted to hear. Beyond that the German intellegence service were erratically developed and lacked large blocks of critical information on their enemys.

    Again quite a few variables here. I'd recomend John Costellos 'The Great Pacific War' as a recent and readable history of the background of this half of WWII.

    Historically Japan was forced into war through a combination of a arrogant group of leaders in the Cabinent, backed by powerfull businessmen who did not have a grasp of Western military capability, and by the trade embargos of 1941. Cutting off Japans imports of oil, steel, alloys, machine tools, ect... was a declaration of economic warfare. The Japanese leaders of 1941 were faced with the necessity to make substantial concessions in their negotiations with the West (Britian & the US). This was entirely beyond their character, so they choose to strike out with their military in hopes of: A. taking the sources of critical raw materials. B. Shocking the Western leaders into backing down. In 1941 Japan did have leaders who favored dropping the worst sapects of the imperialist policys, and negotiating a workable (tho humiliating) settlement, but they were out of power. Given the frequent assasination of the moderates when they attempted to implement thier ideas its likely they would remain out of power.

    In simple terms its money thrown into a hole. Money spent on military goods produces some short term beneifits, mostly the labor paid to make the weapons and to build the factorys to make the weapons. In that sense it functions economiclly like a welfare make work project. Pay people to dig holes and pay others to fill them. There are some long term benifits from reserch and development that accompanying military spending and certain social benefits from part of the population having military service.

    These benefits can be countered when the expendentures exceed the ability of the economy to sustain them with surpluss labor, cash flow, and mateial. A healthy economy produces quie bit of surplus. Much of it is wasted, but the governemnt can skim off a portion of the surpluss to sustain military expenses. The trick is to keep the government spending within the confines of that surpluss. If you are Hitler and spending x Marks per citizen expanding the military, when infact only 90 %, 75%, or 50% of that can be sustained, then you are headed for trouble.
     
    Slipdigit likes this.
  9. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    If you have not already.. I'de recomend 'Wages of Destruction' by Tooze. It is the most current and amoung the most complete reviews of the nazi Germany economic strengths and weaknesses. Tooze publishes a lot of detail that was fomerly not in broad circulation, but his general agument is one that has been recognized by historians of the nazi regime since at least the 1960s. That is nazi Germany lacked sustain economic strength. The boost from hijacking the Austrian and Cezch government treasurys and banks in 1938-39 faded through 1940. Without the emergencys of war the finances of the nazi government, party members, and Germanys comerce would have been sliding into bankruptcy between 1940 - 1942.

    The changes had started back in the 1920s. The first wave of doctrinal change during the early to late 1920s was the refinement of what the French military saw as usefull from the Great War. Contrary to myth the doctrines of the 1920s were not simple reproductions of the techniques of 1917-1918, but were much refined.

    In all this the French cavalry was left out. It had long been clear horse cavalry was obsolete, so in the 1920s the politically connected and still well funded cavalry branch begain studying mechanization and armor. By 1928 a experimental mechanized cavalry divsion begain test exercises, by 1938 the mechanization of the cavalry divsions was well underway, and the inital establishment of the powerfull DLM type divsion was underway. Doctrine for the cavalry branch was influenced by traditional thinking, that is manuver and shock, but was clearly being modified by the possibilities of enhancing firepower through mechanization. Had the French turned over its armored development to the cavalry in the early 1930s its mechanized force would have looked far different than it turn out.

    The extensive codification of the doctrine of the Methodical Battle, and the system of training the reserve officers ensured change would be very slow in the inafantry/artillery branches. The primary impetous was coming from the motorization of the infantry and artillery. The conversion of infantry divsions to motorized (seven converted by 1940) and artillery regiments (over 30% vs 20% for the Germans) was leading the younger officers to rethink the doctrine they were training with. Exactly where that might have led I cant say, but the seeds for change were planted before 1939. Even at the upper levels there wereGenerals like Flavigy who saw possibilites for new methods deriving from mechanization.

    You also say that 4 more years would have been enough to change the atmosphere in France and Britain. Why? Hitler had been raving for 6 years before 39, what was going to change in 4 more years?[/QUOTE]

    This falls into the variables of French politics and whatever possibilites to learn from a Pacific might occur. If the leaders of 1936-40 remain near & in the offices of power then little changes. But, many were growing old and with each year younger faces appeared in the circles of power.

    Who was running these changes in the Red Army? Where they real changes or just updates in equipment? I dont think Russian tanks ever had radios in them. I am sure someone will show me that I am wrong on this too.[/QUOTE]

    I think you are on to something here. The purge starting in 1937 did not simply remove the senior leaders from the Soviet Army. It reached deep into the ranks and casued a horrendeous loss of trained leaders, both thru removal to the Gulag or executioner, and thru overpormotion of the replacements. Second there was a vast program of expansion undertaken the ground forces were to be trippled in size. This effort further diluted the expertise of the leadership thrugh to rapid training and more overpormotion to fill the new command and staff positions.

    Seperate from this was a fundamental commitment to the doctrines of the 1920s. The army was reorganized back into infantry/artillery/horse cavalry branches with the concept of combined arms groups not extending much below corps level. Tugachevskys mechanized or armored corps were broken up and tanks returned to the infantry commanders with a doctrine of using them as supporting weapons, much like French infantry doctrine. By 1939 the reorganization was complete and the purges & expansion ensured the commanders and staff remembered little of of the mechanized combined arms doctrines of the Tugachevsky era. This was only reversed after the Polish campaign of 1939 demonstrated the bankruptcy of the current doctrines. There were orders to revive to doctrines and organizations suitable for mobile mechanized warfare , but this effort was realatively slow. The collapse of the Allies in the face of Guderian doctrines truly grabed the attention of the senior Soviet Army leaders and frantic effforts were made to field large scale mechinzed/armored combined arms formations.

    Without the example of the Polish and Western campaigns it is possible the Soviet Army of 1942 would have been wholly incapable of 'modern' warfare.

    Guderian latter notes that in 42/43 (cant remember off the top of my head) Hitler told him that if he had believed his stats on Russian equipment he would not have invaded Russia.[/QUOTE]

    The experts on this subject tell me many tried to warn Hitler of the real capabilities of the Soviet mlitary. He dismissed the warning and made it clear he only wanted to see information that supported the the strategy the Germans were capable of. Suspossedly intellegence officers such as Gehlen quit trying and fed Hitler what he wanted to hear. Beyond that the German intellegence service were erratically developed and lacked large blocks of critical information on their enemys.

    I understand that what Japan did was not caused by what was happening in Europe but it did influence their strategies. I just question what might have changed knowing that they would have been the only ones fighting 3 to 4 major powers at once?[/QUOTE]

    Again quite a few variables here. I'd recomend John Costellos 'The Great Pacific War' as a recent and readble history of the background of this half of WWII.

    Historically Japan was forced into war through a combination of a arrogant group of leaders in the Cabinent, backed by powerfull businessmen who did not have a grasp of Western military capability, and by the trade embargos of 1941. Cutting of Japans imports of oil, steel, alloys, machine tools, ect... was a declaration of economic warfare. The Japanese leaders of 1941 were faced with the necessity to make substantial concessions in their negotiations with the West (Britian & the US). This was entirely beyond their character, so they choose to strike out with their military in hopes of: A. taking the sources of critical raw materials. B. Shocking the Western leaders into backing down. In 1941 Japan did have leaders who favored dropping the worst sapects of the imperialist policys, and negotiating a workable (tho humiliating) settlement, but they were out of power. Given the frequent assasination of the moderates when they attempted to implement thier ideas its likely they would remain out of power.

    This may seem like a silly question but why does the percentage of money spent on weapons and the military determine the state of an economy?[/QUOTE]

    In simple terms its money thrown into a hole. Money spent on military goods produces some short term beneifits, mostly the labor paid to make the weapons and to build the factorys to make the weapons. But, the weapons themselves are a dead end. They can not be used to produce other goods or raw materials. They are not consumer goods that make life easier for the individual or make the individual more productive. In that sense military expenses function economiclly like a welfare make work project. Pay people to dig holes and pay others to fill them. There are some long term benifits from resaerch and development that accompanying military spending and certain social benefits from part of the population having military service, but these are in general economic terms not profitable on large military costs.

    These benefits can be countered when the expendentures exceed the ability of the economy to sustain them with surplus labor, cash flow, and material. A healthy economy producees quite bit of surplus. Much of it is wasted, but the government can skim off a portion of the surplus to sustain military expenses. The trick is to keep the government spending within the confines of that surplus. If you are Hitler and spending x Marks per citizen expanding the military, when infact only 90 %, 75%, or 50% of that can be sustained, then you are headed for trouble.
     
  10. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    I will look into them thanks.

    It all depends on who was making the calls, just as it was in 40.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    On the other hand the true hopelessness of the IJN when confronted with an undistracted USN and RN with the Dutch and the French thrown in may have become apparent. The result could well have been a coup by the navy and army moderates and an accommodation of some sort with the West. This probably doesn't see any of the Western powers scaling back their military until late 42 or 43 at the earliest.

    In any case a lot would depend on what Japan, Hitler, and Stalin do in the mean time. An over extended Hitler my see an economic collapse and possibly the over throw of Hitler or perhaps the entire Nazi regime. Hitler might also be able to paint Stalin as the chief bad guy as others have suggested.

    I've been going on the assumption that Hitler stops after Czechoslovakia and doesn't attack Poland at least until 43. If he is less aggresive earlier the West may be less well prepared.
     
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