What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survived?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
User avatar
peter_suciu
Member
Posts: 199
Joined: 29 Nov 2002 16:49
Location: New York City

Post by peter_suciu » 07 Feb 2003 00:14

Why would a Russian military dictatorship result in a civil war? This didn't happen in Poland, or in the Baltics.


Poland had a military dictatorship throughout the 1920s so it wasn't like they installed one in 1935. Furthermore if the a military dictatorship is able to displace a Czarist or Socialist faction than various military rivals would probably rise up.

The Czar abdicated and the Socialists were trying to function as a government and the the Reds rose up, followed by the Whites. If the Reds rise up in the 1930s there are still going to be Whites, and if it is some fascist Browns that rise up, than the Reds and Whites might both rise up too.

But to be honest I don't see a way that Russia could have transitioned from Czar to any other form of government without a civil war...that is why they had one. It went from revolution to all out civil war. Too many factions, too many unhappy people and too much in the way to win or lose!

User avatar
Kokampf
Member
Posts: 185
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 19:45
Location: London, UK

Post by Kokampf » 07 Feb 2003 22:53

Tim Smith wrote:I think that the Czarists, had they survived into 1941, would have been too unpopular with the Russian people to survive a Nazi invasion.


The Communist government was thoroughly feared and hated when Germany invaded. Stalin survived and rallied the population because the actions of the German authorities made it clear that the peasants would still be collectivised slaves under German rule, and be equally or even more likely to be murdered out of hand. Under Czarist rule, there would have been no Ukrainian famine genocide, no collectivisation and no GULAG, so the Germans would be most unlikely to be welcomed as liberators. The peasants would still own their own farms in many cases, so would bitterly resist the re-imposition of serfdom by the Germans.

When Stalin rallied the population it was under the banner of Russian patriotism rather than communism. A Czar, who would historically embody the concept of the Russian nation, would have found it far easier to do this, and would have had the Orthodox church to back him up. And as to the quality of the armed forces, they would most likely have been backward but would not have been crippled in the first instance by pre-war purges and by co-leadership by political commissars.

In this scenario, the Germans would also have lacked anti-communist volunteers. In fact, without communism, it is hard to see how Nazi Germany could have come into existence , let alone wished to wage a crusade against a 'Judeo-Bolshevism' which would not exist.

User avatar
Kokampf
Member
Posts: 185
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 19:45
Location: London, UK

Post by Kokampf » 07 Feb 2003 22:57

peter_suciu wrote:But to be honest I don't see a way that Russia could have transitioned from Czar to any other form of government without a civil war...that is why they had one. It went from revolution to all out civil war.


The transition from Imperial rule to the Provisional Government under Kerensky did not result in civil war. The civil war broke out because the Bolsheviks overthrew the fragile legitimate government with a small minority of (overwhelmingly urban) popular support.

User avatar
peter_suciu
Member
Posts: 199
Joined: 29 Nov 2002 16:49
Location: New York City

Post by peter_suciu » 08 Feb 2003 01:55

The transition from Imperial rule to the Provisional Government under Kerensky did not result in civil war. The civil war broke out because the Bolsheviks overthrew the fragile legitimate government with a small minority of (overwhelmingly urban) popular support.


But that was exactly my point...the transition still ended up with a civil war. The Kerensky government wasn't strong enough.

I know that he had the option of arresting Lenin and the other Bolsheviks at one point and was urged to do so by the British and French. He shouldn't have merely arrested them, he should have had them lined up as traitors to the state and shot. End of the civil war with a handful of bullets.

User avatar
Kokampf
Member
Posts: 185
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 19:45
Location: London, UK

Post by Kokampf » 08 Feb 2003 13:46

me... wrote:The transition from Imperial rule to the Provisional Government under Kerensky did not result in civil war. The civil war broke out because the Bolsheviks overthrew the fragile legitimate government with a small minority of (overwhelmingly urban) popular support.


peter_suciu wrote:But that was exactly my point...the transition still ended up with a civil war. The Kerensky government wasn't strong enough.


Ah...sorry. :)

IMO Kerensky was doomed when he gave in to Entente pressure to stay in the war. For Russia's sake he should have withdrawn from the war immediately.

peter_suciu wrote:I know that he had the option of arresting Lenin and the other Bolsheviks at one point and was urged to do so by the British and French. He shouldn't have merely arrested them, he should have had them lined up as traitors to the state and shot. End of the civil war with a handful of bullets.


Amen to that! :D

Annoying that he chose to take Entente advice on continuing the war, but not on this other important point!

User avatar
Sieger
Member
Posts: 84
Joined: 14 Jan 2003 20:39
Location: exiled in siberia

Post by Sieger » 12 Feb 2003 06:43

As an amusing note, I remember when I was reading the book Panzer Commander by Col. Hans Von Luck (who served under Rommel in Africa). During his role in operation Barbarossa he ran into a village that apparently the reds forgot. He was greeted with "How is our dear father(Czar)?" by the locals. 8O

One thing for sure, the Russians would be a lot more clueless than they actually were. :lol:

MihaiC
Member
Posts: 41
Joined: 26 Apr 2003 23:06
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Post by MihaiC » 15 May 2003 09:29

Germany rearmament was greatly helped by Czech industry. With a capitalist Russia (Kerensky), even if it was a weak Russia, Entante will still be in place, and Germany expansion would have to face Britain, France, Czechoslovakia AND Russia. If it wasn't abandoned, Czechoslovakia was ready to fight and fortificated position in Sudet mountain combined with Czech war industry was going to case trouble to germans forces. I doubt that Hitler was ready to attack a determined Czechoslovakia with the risk of intervention from Britain, France and Russia.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7327
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survi

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 06 Nov 2011 04:29

Interesting thread. I've seen the same subject brought up elsewhere with differing responses. In this case I think the last post brought up a critical point. Absent a Communist regime Britian and France will have no objections to a alliance with 'Russia' in 1939. In fact it is probable France will have maintained some sort of relationship with Russia through the interwar years and have a mutual defense alliance already in place when Hitler gets frisky.

How friendly this kinder & gentler Russia might be with Poland is a interesting question, but one certainly has room for speculation how the chips might fall in 1938 & 1939 without the fear of the Reds and the baggage of a Bolshivik/Polish fracas in the 1920s.

There was a assumption appearing several times in this thread, that this hypothetical Russia would remain a 19th Century agrarian nation without Stalin's force industrialization. I cant see this at all. The historical trajectory of industrialization of pre 1914 Russia was accelerating upwards. With no civil war between Red & White and a moderate democratic government post war I am convinced the prewar trend would resume. Absent some sort of dysfunctional socialist regime my take is industrial growth in Russia would be large through the 1920s & slow less than elsewhere in the 1930s The end result might not be the 10,000 tanks of the 1941 Red Army, but it would likely be 3,000 that ran properly, with the ability to build another 50,000 and a proper logistics infrastructure to support them.

James A Pratt III
Member
Posts: 706
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 00:08
Location: Texas

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survi

Post by James A Pratt III » 12 Nov 2011 01:32

It should also be pointed out that the population of Russia dropped by 12 MILLION under Lenin's rule 1917-24. Two million fled the country including large numbers of the educated middle class. The remaining 10 million died as a result of the civil war,peasant revolts, the Red terror, famine and epidemics. It should be it pointed out the Reds liked to jailed and shoot members of the middle class simply because they were educated. Then Stalin came along and we all know what he was like.
Nicholas II and Alexandra deserve to be damned for lots of things. However, they were not mass murdering monsters like Lenin and Stalin. It should also be pointed out that the economy of Russia was booming 1900-14. In fact a French Econmist predicted if the Russian economy kept growing like it did from 1900-10 the country would be the leading economic power in the world by 1950! Add to this alot of the so called economic progress under Stalin was basicly him just getting Czarist era factories running again that had fallen into disuse do to Lenin's economic incompetance. Czarist Russia had a free press (not Pravada), an elected Duma (parliment), jury trials and being sent to Siberia ment you had to go live there no Gulag Slave labor ect. The country was also rather friendly to the West ect. When Nicholas II abdicated he expected whoever succeeded him to do a better job waging war against Germany he did. Instead the country started falling apart. Lenin seized power with the help of lots of german gold and aid and becomes a defacto ally of them. Nicholas II, Alexandra and their children get murdered by him and we know the rest of the story. If Russia had stayed in WW I it would have ended sooner. There would have been no German "Stab in the back " myth. They were overcome by superior numbers. it is possible that the Germans could have gotten better peace terms, remained a monarchy, and possibly Hitler may never have gotten into power.

User avatar
Markus Becker
Member
Posts: 641
Joined: 27 Apr 2005 17:09
Location: Germany

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survi

Post by Markus Becker » 12 Nov 2011 21:49

"The 5 yr plans begun in the late 20s forcibly acceleraetd the development of industries at great cost."

I strongly dispute the idea that the Commies accelerated anything but death!

In 1914 the Russian were building battlecruisers of 32k tons armed with 14" guns.

Guess what they were building 20 years later? 2.5k ton destroyers and even that they could not do on their own, they needed help from Italy.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7327
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survi

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 12 Nov 2011 22:21

Thats a eye catching sample. I supose to truly understand the difference a bunch of comparative statistics for coal production, railroad construction, cement production, lumber milled, & what all would be needed. More convincing would be he industrial trends of Russia and several other European nations from the 1890 to 1914 graphed out, and then projected forward into the 1920s. I recall exactly that from some history book circa 1973, and of course cant recall the title or the details of the analysis.

A factor I recall from eleswhere was the sale of Urkrainian grain to western Europe (mostly Germany?) pre 1914 and post 1920. If the claim it was significant is correct then its a source of cash for a business style economy & incentive for industrialisation of agriculture as in the US during the same years.

User avatar
Markus Becker
Member
Posts: 641
Joined: 27 Apr 2005 17:09
Location: Germany

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survi

Post by Markus Becker » 12 Nov 2011 23:20

Another eye catching sample:

"Also they weren't that great
with supplying their troops. A lot
soldiers din't have rifles and were told to get them from their comrades as soon as they fell from battle."

The very same thing happened again in 1941/42. So Communism ruined the navy and didn't improve things for the infantry.

User avatar
Terry Duncan
Forum Staff
Posts: 5749
Joined: 13 Jun 2008 22:54
Location: Kent

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survi

Post by Terry Duncan » 14 Nov 2011 19:47

Yes, Russian infantry without rifles were not exclusive to the Tzarist government, though I cannot recall reading of the human wave tactics sometimes mentioned in accounts of events leading up to Stalingrad being recorded in WWI?

The 14" gunned Borodino class battlecruisers were far from all that was in the pipeline for the Russian navy, there were more and larger ships from the Putilov designers too, of which very little info survived and even less has found its way into English;

http://www.gwpda.org/naval/irn16bb.htm

It is interesting to see the final ship on the page has a passing resemblance to the later Littorio class.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 1774
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survived?

Post by Futurist » 02 Jan 2017 02:16

Sieger wrote:Do you think Czarist Russia would have survived in 1941?
Without the butterfly effect, No; indeed, I simply don't think that Tsarist Russia would have sufficiently reformed in time.

However, even if Hitler still comes to power in Germany in this TL, there would be an opportunity for the Fall of France to be completely avoided if France, Britain, and Russia all simultaneously gang up on Germany in the late 1930s in this TL. After all, in such a scenario, Germany might not use the Manstein Plan in the West.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 1774
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: What if Russia hadn't gone communist would it have survi

Post by Futurist » 02 Jan 2017 02:18

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Interesting thread. I've seen the same subject brought up elsewhere with differing responses. In this case I think the last post brought up a critical point. Absent a Communist regime Britian and France will have no objections to a alliance with 'Russia' in 1939. In fact it is probable France will have maintained some sort of relationship with Russia through the interwar years and have a mutual defense alliance already in place when Hitler gets frisky.

How friendly this kinder & gentler Russia might be with Poland is a interesting question, but one certainly has room for speculation how the chips might fall in 1938 & 1939 without the fear of the Reds and the baggage of a Bolshivik/Polish fracas in the 1920s.

There was a assumption appearing several times in this thread, that this hypothetical Russia would remain a 19th Century agrarian nation without Stalin's force industrialization. I cant see this at all. The historical trajectory of industrialization of pre 1914 Russia was accelerating upwards. With no civil war between Red & White and a moderate democratic government post war I am convinced the prewar trend would resume. Absent some sort of dysfunctional socialist regime my take is industrial growth in Russia would be large through the 1920s & slow less than elsewhere in the 1930s The end result might not be the 10,000 tanks of the 1941 Red Army, but it would likely be 3,000 that ran properly, with the ability to build another 50,000 and a proper logistics infrastructure to support them.
Oh, sure, Tsarist Russia would have somewhat modernized and industrialized up to 1941 in this TL; however, whether it would have been enough is debatable.

Return to “What if”