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Imperial Russia in WW2

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  • Imperial Russia in WW2

    Here's an idea I thouht of durring my European history class.

    Looking at a map of Russia during the revolution, the White russians owned almost all of the territory sorrounding the Red Russians, and outnumbered them by a great deal.

    Evidently, the Whites could have estroyed the revolution quickly if they had just attacked en masse, but instead they were divided by internal conflicts and personal quests for power.

    So I propose this: What if the White Russians had been able to unite themselves and attack the Reds, destroying the revolution and re-establishing Tsarist Russia.

    So going into the 40's, how would this have affected the political landscape of WW2? Would Germany, instead of striking a deal with the Soviet Union (the Molt.-Ribb. pact), been forced into a two front war earlier than expected when Russia honors her alliance with France, sending troops into Poland to oppose the Blitzkrieg there?

    There might not have been a Winter war between Russia and Finnland, so the Russian army would not have gained the experience it needed there. Also, it's industrial base would likely still be backwards compared to the rest of Europe, meaning the Germans would face less Russian tanks.

    How do you see this situation playing out?

    Perhaps another WW1, with Germany forced to fight a 2 front war from Day 1?

  • #2
    Wow, Interesting scenario. Imagine a world without communist Russia. A lot more people would be living in Russia today. The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrot Pact, I can't imagine anyone other than Stalin making such a deal. Hitler would of invaded Poland with or without Russian agreement. I think Hitler's thousand year Reich would of last less than twelve years. If the Russians did make a deal to carve up Poland people the Germans would be goose-stepping around Europe today.
    "I think the mistake a lot of us make is thinking the state-appointed shrink is our friend."

    Jack Handy

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    • #3
      Without Bolshevism Hitler is going to lose a large part of his raison d'etre. But putting that aside, if Russia made the move toward being more democratic it would also lose the willingness to accept the kind of casualties taken historically by the Red Army. The army itself would probably be smaller, although better officered. I can't see Poland being any more inclined to ally with the Russians so it's quite possible that whilst a 'Triple Entente' would form on siimilar lines to WW1, Poland itself would be friendless. Thus, after the 'Lightning War' of 1939 in which Poland was once more erased from the map of Europe how long would it be before a general war broke out?
      Signing out.

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      • #4
        a non-bolchevist russia was a very probable possibility - indeed the bolcheviks were a historical oddity in russia.

        however the idea of a tsar is far-fetched. but of a republican russia is very possible.

        indeed, with no communist russia to back communism movements across europe, nazism would have had to find another boogeyman. but indeed, if Nazi Germany and Republican, democratic Russia would have been at war in 1941, I think Russia would have, despite having more manpower, better officers, perhaps even a better industrial base, had serious problems if the german attacks went well.

        a very puzzling what if though.
        "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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        • #5
          Hitler stills comes to power because of the stab in the back theory and he still wants liebenstraum (spelling?)--living space, so he hits Russia at some point.
          One real question is just where the Russian borders are. Do the Nazis or Russians control The Baltic States? Do the Nazis control all of 1939 Poland?
          If the Nazis have the Baltics, then Leningrad is an easy shot--if 1939 Poland, Moscow is an easier shot--if both goodby Russia.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by grognard
            One real question is just where the Russian borders are. Do the Nazis or Russians control The Baltic States? Do the Nazis control all of 1939 Poland?
            If the Nazis have the Baltics, then Leningrad is an easy shot--if 1939 Poland, Moscow is an easier shot--if both goodby Russia.
            Would there be the Russo-Polish War of 1920? It's quite possible that Poland's borders would be further west than they were historically so that even if Germany conquered Poland it would start any war with Russia from positions little different from where they were in the OT.

            As for the Baltic States, could this be the spark for outright war as both Nazi Germany and Russia seek to gain influence?
            Signing out.

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            • #7
              The real issue is what is the level of industrialization of Russia. Stalin forcibly built a modern industrial state because he saw it as a required pillar of strength.

              I don't think the whites would have done as much. That would mean fewer tanks, aircraft, guns etc for the Russians.

              The other thing Stalin did was build a very large reserve. In the dark days of 1941 he was able to call up trained reservists to stop the Germans. I'm not sure the whites would have done that.

              Hitler's racism meant that if he came to power was with the slavic peoples is inevitable.

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              • #8
                I'm in agreement with Full Monty, that if the Whites had won the course of WWI and post-WWI would have been altered significantly in the political geography and conditions that shaped events prior to WWII.

                From a military point of view, a Russian army in the hands of a Tsar with aristocratic military leadership would not necessarily have fashioned a future army that embraced the new technologies and thought in terms of an offensive doctrine. A Russian army would probably have been less prepared for a German invasion(if events would lead to it) and it would not have had the draconian will to sacrifice for the state to replicate the Red Army turnaround.
                Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 12 Jul 06, 10:24.
                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by piero1971
                  however the idea of a tsar is far-fetched. but of a republican russia is very possible.
                  Yes, in retrospect I really didn't litterally mean a Tsar in power (but I wrote it anyway -_- ), however I did imagine that if the Communist revolutionaries were crushed, the Russian government would have become a very Reactionary and conservative government.

                  Perhaps less a Republic than an Oligarchy as the succesfull leaders of the Whites consolidate power.


                  Oli oli oli-garchy!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong
                    I'm in agreement with Full Monty, that if the Whites had won the course of WWI and post-WWI would have been altered significantly in the political geography and conditions that shaped events prior to WWII.

                    From a military point of view, a Russian army in the hands of a Tsar with aristocratic military leadership would not necessarily have fashioned a future army that embraced the new technologies and thought in terms of an offensive doctrine. A Russian army would probably have been less prepared for a German invasion(if events would lead to it) and it would not have had the draconian will to sacrifice for the state to replicate the Red Army turnaround.
                    Yes, but such a less-radical government was much more likely to have recieved more aid from the United States and the Westerna llies, along with more buisness investments in the intervening years between WW1 and WW2.

                    Likewise, while I dont believe a non-communist Russia would have the same level of industrialization as the Soviet Union (just much more effecient), there would be a number of factors in its favor.

                    First off, the Soviet Union (namely Stalin) ignored facts and was caught off guard when Hitler invaded. A non-communist Russia would not have such close ties to Germany, still remembering WW1 and thier defeat then.

                    The second Germany crossed Polands borders, the Russian army would be placed on standby I imagine. When Germany invades Russia (if Russia doesnt go to war sooner) it would not have the same opportunity to destroy the Russian Air Force on the ground, for instance.

                    Second, the Imperial Army would not have suffered the purges that Stalin inflicted, and its moral and leadership would be much more effecient for it.

                    Another question one might ask is this: what about Japan? Would there have been a Russo-Japanese war in the 30's? And if there wasn't, would Japan have been more likely to invade Eastern Russia having not suffered such a defeat earlier?

                    And if so, might Pearl Harbor and the US's coming to the war been delayed?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by piero1971



                      had serious problems if the german attacks went well.


                      this had something to do with one soldier getting a rifle and the other getting 5 bullets and then charging into german lines.

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                      • #12
                        I think there has been a lot of overestimates about White Russia in this thread.

                        1. No good relations with Germany means that officers don`t get educated in German academies. You have to understand that the officers which were executed during the purges were those who were educated in Germany due to the secret agreement beetween Germany and the Soviet Union.

                        Also, while there would be no large scale purges, there would have been common replacements. Also, there would be a lot of internal strife. Already during the Civil War several White officers fought for control over the country. A united White victory would only mean the delay of this fight for power. No army has even worked well with internal strife.

                        2. While there would have been foreign investements into Russia, this would have more gone to the already existing infrastructure rather then building of new ones. For example, foreign capital dominated Yugoslavia in the mid-war years, yet prior to WWII industry presented only 12% of the national income.

                        3. Stalin did ignore facts that Hitler would attack soon, but he knew that war was inevitable beetween the countries. That is why he had so much of the Red Army stationed on the western border even though Japan presented a "greater" threat during the time. With White Russia, that wouldn`t have been the case.

                        4. There are several other reasons why the mayority of the VVS got destroyed in the initial stages of Barbarossa, besides the suprise. One of them was the fact that at the central frontier, airfields were too close to the front. Some were even in range of German long-range artillery. That is why so many planes got destroyed on the ground. Also, the Luftwaffe surpassed the VSS by quality of men and material by far. The Soviet I-15s and I-16s were a no match to the German Me-109F. The air force of a White Russia wouldn`t have been much better of the historical VVS. You have to understand that they would most likely import aircraft from elsewhere. Nationalist China did the same thing and even had foreign volunteers to fly their planes for the most part. The Japanese still made short work of them. I can`t imagine it being any better in a case of a White Russia.

                        But this is an interesting scenarion. One has to wonder what would have happened to Ukraine and Byelorussia had they been allowed to exist? (Historiclly, the Soviets conquered these two countries and adopted them into the Soviet Union as SSRs.)
                        "Beneath its gilded beauty, though, there lies a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest; and if you think about it, that's a good representation of capitalism" - Nightfreeze about Eve Online

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                        • #13
                          Wow, that was a good post Tom!

                          You pointed out some interesting things.

                          So, I think the critical things to consider when we look at a White Russia v. Soviet Union in WW2 boil down to thier comprable industrial power, military strength, and political relations.

                          We know Stalin created a vast industrial complex that, though ineffecient, would propel the Soviet Union to world power status.

                          Personally, I don't see the Whites building such an economy, as they would be dealing with too much internal strife. However, one bonus I do see the Russian's getting is much more aid from the US.

                          The Unites States send large amounts of lend-lease equipment to the Soviet Union. Some of it was just waste, like obsolete tanks. However, other items were vastly more important like water-proof wire (for telegraphs and such) and trucks, because the S.U.'s truck factories had been converted into tank producing ones.

                          Now, while the SE did recieve much aid, I believe the US would have been a little more goving if Russia had not been a communist state. If the White Russians were at War with Germany, the US could send lots of aid very quickly to Russia, perhaps making up for the losses of industrial power a non-communist government would have initiated.

                          And who knows? Maybe the US troops would have been sent to Moscow and England, participating in D-Day and Kursk?

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                          • #14
                            But there is a problem with that. Assuming that events in the Pacific would have taken place just as they did, who is to say that the Whites will be able to hold on long enough for the US to join the war? Given the various elements, they would be much worse prepared for a possible invasion then the Soviets were and the initial aid would have still been small.

                            You have to understand that White Russia would have lacked two important elements: industrial capacity and the will to fight. Industrial capacity would have been lower since there wouldn`t have been such a direct and deadly pursuit for a great industrial base. Besides that, it is unlikely the White Russians would pursue the Scorched Earth policy. Meaning many industrial machinery gets left behind to the Germans.

                            As for the will to fight....the communists were very effective in propaganda. They had lots of practice prior to the October Revolution. This wouldn`t have been the case with White Russians, meaning they have lesser capability of ralling the masses. Also, there was a lot of supressed nationalities in Tsarist Russia so we can assume it would be similar in White Russia. And to top it all, internal rivlary among commanders would crumble the effectivness of the Russian army.
                            "Beneath its gilded beauty, though, there lies a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest; and if you think about it, that's a good representation of capitalism" - Nightfreeze about Eve Online

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                            • #15
                              Ah yeah. I was just kinda ignoring Japan's role in WW2 for the sake of my imagination.

                              Truthfully, I agree with you in that White Russia would be weaker than the USSR.

                              The leadership would be less decisive, industrial power would be weaker, and the pwople would be less motivated to fight for the motherland (exspecially if the Whites failed to institute any kind of reforms).

                              The one thing I do think the Russians would have going for them would be an earlier entrance into the war (possibly).

                              Also, the White Russians wouldn't have suffered through Stalin's purges, but the lack of a serious industrial base probably negates this.

                              If Russia was still in an alliance with France, would Hitler risk an invasion of Poland knowing that his armies would have to take ALL of Poland, and afterwords instead of turning around to fight France his men would instead stay in Poland to fight Russia?

                              If Russia did still honor thier alliance with France, would the allies be much more likely to invade western Germany instead of holding the 'phoney War' along the border there?

                              Would the British and French have been willing to step in and enforce the Treaty of Versailles earlier knowing that they had an ally to the east?

                              I guess it's all about how one percieves how the different nations would have reacted to a White, rather than Red, Russia.

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