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The German Soviet Pact and the Allies


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#51 LJAd

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 02:44 PM

Stalin did not ask the visit of the French/British second rang delegation to Moscow in august 1939.

About Munich : no one could help CZ : not the USSR , unless one thinks that Poland and Romania would have admitted the Red Army on their territory : CZ had no border with the USSR .

Not Britain and France : they had no forces that could be in Berlin before the WM would be in Prague, besides Britain never had guaranteed the CZ borders and France never had promised that it would march through Germany : it was the same in 1939 .The only thing Britain and France could do was to start a war of revenge that would destroy the continent and eliminate them as big powers . They did not do it in 1938 because there was no war, if there was a war, they would have done it, they did it in 1939 because there was a German aggression against Poland, there was no such thing against CZ

They had no leg to stand on in 1938 ..

#52 Sloniksp

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 04:31 PM

Thank you for the correction on Communist's being part of the ruling government, but the greater truth remains I think as they did have MP's in Britain and double digit's of seat's in France's legislative body. In Hitler's Germany Communist's were hunted down, in the west they could participate in the political process by voting and they had significant power in the trade union's of both countries.

The isolation of the SU went both ways, partly due to the west's fear of the spread of radical/revolutionary (to them at least) political idea's and deliberate isolationism imposed by the Soviet leadership who saw western ideals equally contagious. Thank you again for pointing out as I have posited Stalin sought out a anti-Nazi alliance (despite LJAd's continued insistence no such event happened). Indeed it failed to come to pass, partially because western intransigence and partly because Stalin wanted consideration for adjusting the political relationship's in countries not directly involved. Seems Hitlers stupidity/gamble caught Stalin completely of guard.

Of course all nations act in their own interest's foremost, that is normal. You say he saw Hitler break every promise he made politically and yet he could not imagine Hitler breaking his promise to him. For such a man who knew what Hitler said and did this seems incomprehensible, especially if you by into the 'buying time theory'. You don't need to buy time if you are sure you have a ironclad guarantee.

I am equally critical of the Anglo-French over Munich, they should have indicated they would have fought over Czechoslovakia's borders. The difference is they unlike the SU did not have a massive military to deploy. Neither the RN or the Maginot Line would work well stopping a German invasion of Czechoslovakia, or Poland for that matter.

Allowing Germany the opportunity to eliminate the other two 'Great' powers in Europe only leaves you alone to face Hitler's victorious armies. He gambled and Russia won a Pyrric victory.

I think we agree on most. I will state that I don't think Stalin ever doubted that Hitler would eventually break the treaty. I think Stalin was thinking from a strategical and logical view. He simply couldn't imagine that Hitler would voluntarily enter Germany into a two front war. It's precisely why Stalin didn't believe the reports (which were also changing almost daily) of a planned invasion and considered them Western Provocations.

I wouldn't call the Soviet victory pyrrhic tho. The cost was very high yes but Germany's defeat was complete just as was Soviet victory.

Edited by Sloniksp, 13 September 2016 - 04:33 PM.

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The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler

#53 Belasar

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 07:15 PM

I think we agree on most. I will state that I don't think Stalin ever doubted that Hitler would eventually break the treaty. I think Stalin was thinking from a strategical and logical view. He simply couldn't imagine that Hitler would voluntarily enter Germany into a two front war. It's precisely why Stalin didn't believe the reports (which were also changing almost daily) of a planned invasion and considered them Western Provocations.

I wouldn't call the Soviet victory pyrrhic tho. The cost was very high yes but Germany's defeat was complete just as was Soviet victory.

 

Generally we have always agreed more often than not, so thank you. Stalin's thinking might have seen as strategic from his point of view but I can not see it as logical, or even wise. Considering how quickly he broke the Munich accord no agreement with him an be a long term affair. Basically it counted upon a repeat of the trench warfare of WW I to be viable. 

 

As to the nature of the Soviet victory, if not Pyrrhic, it was not too short of that mark. More Soviet citizens lost their lives than any other nation and 3 to 4 times the number of German lost despite having to fight the US and British Commonwealth at the same time. An area larger than northwest Europe was devastated by the German invasion, yet Germany (West) fully recovered in a generation. It could be posited that the Soviet Union was mortally wounded and simply took a couple of generations to expire from wounds suffered in battle.

 

It was mentioned that the Soviet Union was not offered the respect deserved. In my humble opinion respect is equal parts earned and given. Looked at From the West's perspective there was little to respect. The rapidity in which the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was enacted they could be forgiven for concluding it had been in the works from the start. We know now it wasn't, but the moves made (dismembering Poland, annexing the Baltic state's and Bessarabia, the Winter War) in the wake of the Pact indicated that Stain was a defacto Nazi ally from the perspective of the Anglo-French.

 

Stalin did what he accused the West of trying to do, basically involving them in a war to deplete them while sitting back to collect the spoils in the aftermath. I hope you can agree the West did not intend to do this to the SU based upon their actual actions. They could have cut Poland loose (no DoW on 9/3/38) if they wanted to, let Hitler focus on his impending invasion of Russia and sat back to enjoy the show. They acted on principle, how ever belatedly (should have done so at Munich) and thus earned respect. Stalin did not, he acted on pure self interest and in my opinion greed.

 

Stalin, and by extension the Soviet people, was exceptionally fortunate that Churchill was not the anti-communist they made him out to be but rather a realpolitik leader. Imagine a different speech to Parliament made by Winston, a Stalin like approach:

 

" I come here today to inform you that Germany has Invaded the Soviet Union. Stalin, who supped with the Devil, forgot to bring a long enough spoon and now pays the price for his failure to join us in September of 1939 to stop Naaazi aggression. A battle we have fought for nearly two years and for the last year, alone"

 

*Applause*

 

" We hope the Soviet people throw back the invader and demonstrate the same resolution shown by the People of Britain and her  Commonwealth in this great struggle"

 

* Applause and cheers*

 

" Though we fight the same foe it must not be mistaken as a alliance. We are cobeligerent's in this struggle. There are far too few differences between Stalin's empire and that of Herr Hitler. We will, however, continue this fight to liberate the Free nations of Europe from the Naazi Jackboot!"

 

*Applause*

 

" We will provide our men with every weapon and tool of war we can possibly produce to bring this war to a rapid conclusion, we will rally the Free nations of the world to this great task. We will not flag or fail in this great undertaking. We will see this.to the end. We will prevail and see freedom restored to Europe. We stood resolute at the beginning and we will be standing resolute at the end when peace returns to the blighted nation's of Europe!

 

* Applause and wild cheers*

 

Churchill did not have to go to Russia at some personal risk. He did not have to offer all the aid  possible. He could have taken a Finnish approach where Britain fought for her reasons alone. He could have nixed the idea of Lend-Lease/aid in the bud. In short be the anti-communist Stalin thought he was.

 

Russia doesn't collapse with the loss of Western aid, but the cost of victory becomes much greater. Perhaps by 10 or 15 percent. Perhaps they are lucky to reach the German frontier or maybe the Vistula by the time the Western Allies crush Germany proper. All the effort to get aid to Russia, (fuel, ships, money, lives etc.) redirected to fight Germany in the West, likely bringing victory there sooner.

 

This could have happened if a Stalin led the West, fortunately for the Soviet Union, a Churchill and Roosevelt led them. The difference between a Soviet strategic thought and logic and a Western one.  


Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)


#54 Sloniksp

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:23 PM

Generally we have always agreed more often than not, so thank you.

Yes we have and as usual a very well thought out and constructive post to which I must thank you. This will be the last however. We can't be getting all mushy and crap or we'll be an danger of being devoured by some of these vultures, besides I have a reputation to uphold here. :D

Stalin's thinking might have seen as strategic from his point of view but I can not see it as logical, or even wise. Considering how quickly he broke the Munich accord no agreement with him an be a long term affair. Basically it counted upon a repeat of the trench warfare of WW I to be viable.

IMO, there was a very big difference between the Munich and the Molotv agreements. Unlike the Munich, the Molotov pact virtually fed Germany with everything she needed to build up her military and finance a war. The promise of nonaggression was Ofcourse a bonus. As far as Stalin saw it, this gave Russia and Germany time to concentrate on their national interests. Stalin always knew that Hitler would eventually break the treaty, he simply thought it wouldn't happen while the war in the west wasnt finished. This is quite reasonable considering Germany's delimma during the Great War. To bite the hands that feed you seemed crazy and perhaps was the sole reason for Stalins skepticism when confronted with numerous reports alleging Hitler intentions prior to finishing off GB. Only a mad man would do this. Hitler proved to be just that.

As to the nature of the Soviet victory, if not Pyrrhic, it was not too short of that mark. More Soviet citizens lost their lives than any other nation and 3 to 4 times the number of German lost despite having to fight the US and British Commonwealth at the same time. An area larger than northwest Europe was devastated by the German invasion, yet Germany (West) fully recovered in a generation. It could be posited that the Soviet Union was mortally wounded and simply took a couple of generations to expire from wounds suffered in battle.

When speaking of a "pyrrhic" victory, it's generally a reference to a nations military capability on the battlefield or lack there off. As a result large casualties would result. This isn't what happened on the eastern front. While Ofcourse, the Soviet Union suffered from shortages of many sorts when the war commenced, I am more inclined to believe that the main reason for such high casualty rates amongst the military and civilians in the USSR were the direct result of Germany's policies in the region. No one could imagine that over 3 million Soviet POWs would be systematically starved while in captivity or Germany's intentions for the city of Leningrad. Had Germany conducted itself in the East in the same manner which it had in the West, the casualty rate would have been far lower. I very much doubt that 20,000 villages would have simply been wiped off the map along with over 9000 towns and cities. This destruction was a direct result of Nazi policies towards a people considered "sub-human".

It was mentioned that the Soviet Union was not offered the respect deserved. In my humble opinion respect is equal parts earned and given. Looked at From the West's perspective there was little to respect. The rapidity in which the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was enacted they could be forgiven for concluding it had been in the works from the start. We know now it wasn't, but the moves made (dismembering Poland, annexing the Baltic state's and Bessarabia, the Winter War) in the wake of the Pact indicated that Stain was a defacto Nazi ally from the perspective of the Anglo-French.

German and Russian relationship didn't start in 1939 but much earlier. Where was the "respect" towards Russia when the Versailles treaty was signed? Russia fought alongside the allies and not only received nothing (in terms of political friendship etc.) but was also forced to fight the same nations during its own revolution. Ofcourse there is an argument of "well Russia signed a seperate truce" and a valid point/argument. The fact remains, however while losing millions for the same cause Russia was left out of all European affairs. A strong distrust amongst the Bolsheviks arose forthose very nations who sided with the "whites" during a civil war. I am a strong believer that Europe was afraid of Communism. When you put communism and Russia together..... Scary!

Stalin did what he accused the West of trying to do, basically involving them in a war to deplete them while sitting back to collect the spoils in the aftermath.

I don't think Stalin ever accused the west of trying to forge a war between Germany and Russia. If war was to break out between Germany and the West, I don't think Stalin was in any hurry to come to theyre rescue either.

I hope you can agree the West did not intend to do this to the SU based upon their actual actions. They could have cut Poland loose (no DoW on 9/3/38) if they wanted to, let Hitler focus on his impending invasion of Russia and sat back to enjoy the show. They acted on principle, how ever belatedly (should have done so at Munich) and thus earned respect. Stalin did not, he acted on pure self interest and in my opinion greed.

Yes we do agree that the west did not intend to do this to the SU. I will say that it wasn't only principle that forced France's and GB's hand. Had they let Poland to simply fall without backing her as promised, then they would risk having their "word" questioned. For all countries especially those that are world players and have colonies, it is imperative that others believe and trust them. It wasn't just "principles" that drove them to do the right thing but also self interests.

Stalin, and by extension the Soviet people, was exceptionally fortunate that Churchill was not the anti-communist they made him out to be but rather a realpolitik leader. Imagine a different speech to Parliament made by Winston, a Stalin like approach:

" I come here today to inform you that Germany has Invaded the Soviet Union. Stalin, who supped with the Devil, forgot to bring a long enough spoon and now pays the price for his failure to join us in September of 1939 to stop Naaazi aggression. A battle we have fought for nearly two years and for the last year, alone"

*Applause*

" We hope the Soviet people throw back the invader and demonstrate the same resolution shown by the People of Britain and her Commonwealth in this great struggle"

* Applause and cheers*

" Though we fight the same foe it must not be mistaken as a alliance. We are cobeligerent's in this struggle. There are far too few differences between Stalin's empire and that of Herr Hitler. We will, however, continue this fight to liberate the Free nations of Europe from the Naazi Jackboot!"

*Applause*

" We will provide our men with every weapon and tool of war we can possibly produce to bring this war to a rapid conclusion, we will rally the Free nations of the world to this great task. We will not flag or fail in this great undertaking. We will see this.to the end. We will prevail and see freedom restored to Europe. We stood resolute at the beginning and we will be standing resolute at the end when peace returns to the blighted nation's of Europe!

Churchill was a brilliant man and politician and so was the speech above and for those reasons is so staunchly studied but he was also very much against communism. While he was a realist it's Roosevelt you would have to thank for the alliance bearing so much fruit. He convinced Churchill that Stalin would play along and he did, never breaking a single promise. Stalin and Churchill were both excellent politicians who while not liking each other did respect one another. Churchill wanted to go to war with the Soviet Union, Roosevelt would hear none of it. It was also Stalin who first proposed the idea of Jews having their own state. Knowing that this was in GB lands he wanted to less her influence. When such plan was announced it was quickly backed by Roosevelt, Churchill immediately conceded.



Churchill did not have to go to Russia at some personal risk. He did not have to offer all the aid possible. He could have taken a Finnish approach where Britain fought for her reasons alone. He could have nixed the idea of Lend-Lease/aid in the bud. In short be the anti-communist Stalin thought he was.

Both were realists and saw the imminent danger unfolding. Joining forces was the best solution for the fastest resolution.

Russia doesn't collapse with the loss of Western aid, but the cost of victory becomes much greater. Perhaps by 10 or 15 percent. Perhaps they are lucky to reach the German frontier or maybe the Vistula by the time the Western Allies crush Germany proper. All the effort to get aid to Russia, (fuel, ships, money, lives etc.) redirected to fight Germany in the West, likely bringing victory there sooner.

LL was instrumental in shortening the war and saving countless more lives. The Russians are greatful for the help till this day and have never denied the aid even during Stalins time.

Edited by Sloniksp, 14 September 2016 - 11:31 PM.

The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler

#55 Belasar

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 12:03 AM

Yes we have and as usual a very well thought out and constructive post to which I must thank you. This will be the last however. We can't be getting all mushy and crap or we'll be an danger of being devoured by some of these vultures, besides I have a reputation to uphold here. :D

IMO, there was a very big difference between the Munich and the Molotv agreements. Unlike the Munich, the Molotov pact virtually fed Germany with everything she needed to build up her military and finance a war. The promise of nonaggression was Ofcourse a bonus. As far as Stalin saw it, this gave Russia and Germany time to concentrate on their national interests. Stalin always knew that Hitler would eventually break the treaty, he simply thought it wouldn't happen while the war in the west wasnt finished. This is quite reasonable considering Germany's delimma during the Great War. To bite the hands that feed you seemed crazy and perhaps was the sole reason for Stalins skepticism when confronted with numerous reports alleging Hitler intentions prior to finishing off GB. Only a mad man would do this. Hitler proved to be just that.

When speaking of a "pyrrhic" victory, it's generally a reference to a nations military capability on the battlefield or lack there off. As a result large casualties would result. This isn't what happened on the eastern front. While Ofcourse, the Soviet Union suffered from shortages of many sorts when the war commenced, I am more inclined to believe that the main reason for such high casualty rates amongst the military and civilians in the USSR were the direct result of Germany's policies in the region. No one could imagine that over 3 million Soviet POWs would be systematically starved while in captivity or Germany's intentions for the city of Leningrad. Had Germany conducted itself in the East in the same manner which it had in the West, the casualty rate would have been far lower. I very much doubt that 20,000 villages would have simply been wiped off the map along with over 9000 towns and cities. This destruction was a direct result of Nazi policies towards a people considered "sub-human".

German and Russian relationship didn't start in 1939 but much earlier. Where was the "respect" towards Russia when the Versailles treaty was signed? Russia fought alongside the allies and not only received nothing (in terms of political friendship etc.) but was also forced to fight the same nations during its own revolution. Ofcourse there is an argument of "well Russia signed a seperate truce" and a valid point/argument. The fact remains, however while losing millions for the same cause Russia was left out of all European affairs. A strong distrust amongst the Bolsheviks arose forthose very nations who sided with the "whites" during a civil war. I am a strong believer that Europe was afraid of Communism. When you put communism and Russia together..... Scary!

I don't think Stalin ever accused the west of trying to forge a war between Germany and Russia. If war was to break out between Germany and the West, I don't think Stalin was in any hurry to come to theyre rescue either.

Yes we do agree that the west did not intend to do this to the SU. I will say that it wasn't only principle that forced France's and GB's hand. Had they let Poland to simply fall without backing her as promised, then they would risk having their "word" questioned. For all countries especially those that are world players and have colonies, it is imperative that others believe and trust them. It wasn't just "principles" that drove them to do the right thing but also self interests.

Churchill was a brilliant man and politician and so was the speech above and for those reasons is so staunchly studied but he was also very much against communism. While he was a realist it's Roosevelt you would have to thank for the alliance bearing so much fruit. He convinced Churchill that Stalin would play along and he did, never breaking a single promise. Stalin and Churchill were both excellent politicians who while not liking each other did respect one another. Churchill wanted to go to war with the Soviet Union, Roosevelt would hear none of it. It was also Stalin who first proposed the idea of Jews having their own state. Knowing that this was in GB lands he wanted to less her influence. When such plan was announced it was quickly backed by Roosevelt, Churchill immediately conceded.



Both were realists and saw the imminent danger unfolding. Joining forces was the best solution for the fastest resolution.

LL was instrumental in shortening the war and saving countless more lives. The Russians are greatful for the help till this day and have never denied the aid even during Stalins time.

 

I would say in effect if not design they were about equal, with Munich possibly being the more damaging. While the West was hopeful Hitler would be satisfied with the Sudetenland, as the Soviets thought he would equally satisfied with Poland and aid, it allowed for Germany to swallow up without cost the remainder of the Czech republic. Germany got heavy industry from the Czech's that it didn't get from Poland/USSR. That in my opinion makes it equal in my mind, what upsets the balance is the precedent the West set in making a 'buying time at the expense of others' deal with Germany. If they make a self serving deal, why not us?

 

With respect I'm not sure how or why casualties occur mitigate the nature of a victory, no one goes in desiring or working towards greater losses than your opponent. I get it, The Great Patriotic War is the defining event in modern Russian history. We in America call our vet's The Greatest Generation, yet of all major participants suffer the least in all respects. There is strong resistance here to criticize their choices, their actions. It would be harder still for a Russia to do such a thing. Pow's have never fared well in long conflict's no matter who is the captor. The West did rather well until the very end of the war when they took millions of sick, malnourished, wounded and depressed former Wehrmacht personnel upon the surrender without either the plan or resources to care for them with all the other tasks before them. As a final note even Soviet era records indicate that until the last year of the war Soviet's were suffering higher rates of KIA, WIA and MIA than their German counterparts for the same battles. I agree the majority of Soviet losses were due to German Race policies, but certainly not all.    

 

You are correct, the first contact between the Soviet Union and Germany occurred well before the rise of Hitler, but it was with a radically different Germany than the Nazi Reich who shut these contacts down as soon as they took power. As to the Versailles Treaty, with the possible exception of Great Britain and Serbia, no one came out thinking they got what they deserved. America came away disillusioned which led to a generation of isolationism. Germany thought it too harsh (it was), France thought it not harsh enough. Two former allies dropped their alliances to pursue wars of aggression. Many groups of peoples have their hopes  of self determination shattered. To be fair its hard to include a nation involved in a civil war in a treaty and made no easier when that side is not the one they want to see win that civil war. Does that fully absolve them of post war relations, certainly no. It should be recalled that all nations, for their individual reasons, tended to look more inward than outward. As stated, America drifted into isolationism, Britain and France looked to integrate their new imperial acquisitions while tamping down restlessness in the ones they already possessed. Japan and Italy begin to eye grand empires of their own. Their was no great incentive to extend a hand to a entity seemingly dedicated to their destruction if you believed their dogma. Not much for foresight I grant you. 

 

I grant you FDR had greater faith in 'Uncle Joe' than Winston ever did, but at the critical moment (June 1941) it was Churchill embraced the idea of treating the Soviet Union as a full ally and considering who and what he was it did show him as a man willing to set aside his prejudices for the greater good. At this point in time all FDR could offer Churchill was his good wishes for doing this. Until the US enters the war Churchill is the driving force for a Western Allied-Soviet alliance from the side of the west..  


Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)





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