Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

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Dark Age
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Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 02 Sep 2020 01:30

Hello everyone, it has been a long-time since I posted. I wanted to start a thread regarding what would have been the Soviet Union's and Stalin's reaction if (two scenarios):

A) Turkey joins the Axis Powers in May 1941 (after the German Conquest of the Balkans)

B) Turkey joins Allies (Great Britain) in May 1941 (assuming probably an Axis attack after the German Conquest of the Balkans)

Most seem to be in agreement that Turkey had nothing to gain by joining either side early and midway through the war. It can therefore become difficult to imagine an alternate history where the country agrees to do so. Still, I wanted to explore the geopolitical consequences if they did.

In Spring 1941, Germany had three immediate geopolitical obstacles 1) Great Britain (in the West) 2) the Soviet Union (in the East) 3) Turkey (in the South East). Turkey may be the weakest link of the three but it's neutrality made it impossible for Germany to attack/possess the Soviet Union's oil reserves south of the Caucasus Mountains, and made it impossible for Germany to attack the Middle East (attacking the rear of the British forces fighting in Egypt and Libya), and made it impossible for Germany to gain access to Middle Eastern Oil (assuming adequate oil reserves were discovered in 1941).

FIRST SCENARIO

The importance of Turkey's geographical position seems undeniable. Knowing this, what if Hitler, after the Balkan conquest in April-May 1941, was able to convince Turkey to join the Axis (to regain territory lost in World War One). What would Stalin's/ the U.S.S.R's reaction be? History has shown that Stalin was afraid to go to war with Hitler in 1941 and was in denial of an impending attack. Having another potential country to fight (Germany, Italy, possibly Japan, and, now Turkey) could only make him more hesitant to commit any offensive strike.

Still, the fact that Hitler could now threaten the Soviet Union's southern flank and the majority of its oil fields by placing troops on the Turkish/Soviet border could cause alarm (similar to how the USA felt threatened in 1962 by the Soviet's suddenly placing nuclear missiles in Cuba). Would Stalin be compelled to act? Would Stalin at least attempt to act against Turkey?

SECOND SCENARIO

Now, what if Hitler, deciding not to attack the Soviet Union in 1941, decided, after the Balkan campaign, that he would steamroll Turkey instead if they choose not to join the Axis. In this scenario, Hitler seeks to gain access to the Middle East, and both Stalin's and the British Army's flank/rear. Or perhaps Mussolini provokes Turkey somehow causing it to join the war on the British side which forces Hitler to act. Using the word, "steamroll" is somewhat condescending. Turkey is an enormous country, with (I think) difficult terrain for tanks so to assume the Germany Army would just effortlessly crush the Turks is perhaps foolish. Plus there will be immense logistical issues. Still there is little doubt Turkey's small portion of land in Thrace (its European foothold) and its largest city, Istanbul (after likely a brief siege), would fall to the Wehrmacht.

Regardless, what would Stalin's reaction be in the case of war between the Axis and Turkey? Seeing Hitler have to fight another opponent would no doubt relieve worries of a German attack and perhaps bring great joy that the Germans (and the British and Turks) will further wear themselves out. Still, with Germany now controlling access to the Mediterranean Sea through semi-control (or full control) of the Bosporus Straits and with Germany still potentially posing a threat to the Caucasus oil fields (should Germany defeat the Turks and occupy Asia Minor), would Stalin be compelled to act? Or would he remain on the sidelines.

Thank you

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Aber » 02 Sep 2020 18:54

Key issues:

Terrain
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Tur ... 22!5m1!1e4

Railways for logistics
http://www.trainsofturkey.com/index.php ... esent_days

Neither is great for fighting through Turkey, or eastwards into the Soviet Union

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Kingfish » 02 Sep 2020 23:00

Dark Age wrote:
02 Sep 2020 01:30
FIRST SCENARIO

Still, the fact that Hitler could now threaten the Soviet Union's southern flank and the majority of its oil fields by placing troops on the Turkish/Soviet border could cause alarm
Question - when would this move be made?

Pre-Barbarossa would telegraph German intentions like nothing else. Post-Barbarossa would mean drawing German troops and logistics away from the main theater.

Something else to consider: Turkey joining the Axis effectively puts them at war with the western allies, and thus opening up her entire southern border to attacks from the Levant.
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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by maltesefalcon » 03 Sep 2020 01:11

Turkey's best ploy was to sit on the fence and see who emerged the winner. That being said, they had suffered loss at the hands of Russia and the UK in previous years. So IMHO they would align politically with Germany-if not as an actual belligerent, they would be an Axis friendly power like Spain. Especially after Italian/German occupation of Greece and Crete.

Also like Spain, they would not have a great deal to contribute in terms of men or materiel. They could offer strategically located naval and air bases, that would threaten the NE Mediterranean and the Black Sea. As in WW1, the Dardanelles would be under threat as well, barring access to the Med from Black Sea.

Finally they could allow safe transit for Axis land forces to reach the oil supplies in Baku without going through the Caucasus mountains.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 03 Sep 2020 08:55

Dark Age wrote:
02 Sep 2020 01:30
Hello everyone, it has been a long-time since I posted. I wanted to start a thread regarding what would have been the Soviet Union's and Stalin's reaction if (two scenarios):

A) Turkey joins the Axis Powers in May 1941 (after the German Conquest of the Balkans)

B) Turkey joins Allies (Great Britain) in May 1941 (assuming probably an Axis attack after the German Conquest of the Balkans)

Most seem to be in agreement that Turkey had nothing to gain by joining either side early and midway through the war. It can therefore become difficult to imagine an alternate history where the country agrees to do so. Still, I wanted to explore the geopolitical consequences if they did.

In Spring 1941, Germany had three immediate geopolitical obstacles 1) Great Britain (in the West) 2) the Soviet Union (in the East) 3) Turkey (in the South East). Turkey may be the weakest link of the three but it's neutrality made it impossible for Germany to attack/possess the Soviet Union's oil reserves south of the Caucasus Mountains, and made it impossible for Germany to attack the Middle East (attacking the rear of the British forces fighting in Egypt and Libya), and made it impossible for Germany to gain access to Middle Eastern Oil (assuming adequate oil reserves were discovered in 1941).

FIRST SCENARIO

The importance of Turkey's geographical position seems undeniable. Knowing this, what if Hitler, after the Balkan conquest in April-May 1941, was able to convince Turkey to join the Axis (to regain territory lost in World War One). What would Stalin's/ the U.S.S.R's reaction be? History has shown that Stalin was afraid to go to war with Hitler in 1941 and was in denial of an impending attack. Having another potential country to fight (Germany, Italy, possibly Japan, and, now Turkey) could only make him more hesitant to commit any offensive strike.

Still, the fact that Hitler could now threaten the Soviet Union's southern flank and the majority of its oil fields by placing troops on the Turkish/Soviet border could cause alarm (similar to how the USA felt threatened in 1962 by the Soviet's suddenly placing nuclear missiles in Cuba). Would Stalin be compelled to act? Would Stalin at least attempt to act against Turkey?

SECOND SCENARIO

Now, what if Hitler, deciding not to attack the Soviet Union in 1941, decided, after the Balkan campaign, that he would steamroll Turkey instead if they choose not to join the Axis. In this scenario, Hitler seeks to gain access to the Middle East, and both Stalin's and the British Army's flank/rear. Or perhaps Mussolini provokes Turkey somehow causing it to join the war on the British side which forces Hitler to act. Using the word, "steamroll" is somewhat condescending. Turkey is an enormous country, with (I think) difficult terrain for tanks so to assume the Germany Army would just effortlessly crush the Turks is perhaps foolish. Plus there will be immense logistical issues. Still there is little doubt Turkey's small portion of land in Thrace (its European foothold) and its largest city, Istanbul (after likely a brief siege), would fall to the Wehrmacht.

Regardless, what would Stalin's reaction be in the case of war between the Axis and Turkey? Seeing Hitler have to fight another opponent would no doubt relieve worries of a German attack and perhaps bring great joy that the Germans (and the British and Turks) will further wear themselves out. Still, with Germany now controlling access to the Mediterranean Sea through semi-control (or full control) of the Bosporus Straits and with Germany still potentially posing a threat to the Caucasus oil fields (should Germany defeat the Turks and occupy Asia Minor), would Stalin be compelled to act? Or would he remain on the sidelines.

Thank you
In WW2 the Turkish opted to use their strategic position to gain the most of the conflict.

Attacking them would have been too costly compared to the gains, and leaving them be was probably the best option.

In order to invade Turkey, one must have conduct an amphibious operation, an operation that Germany could not afford (especially not if they keep the British Isles as their strategic focus, and also the invasion of Crete destroyed a significant amount of their airborne troops and transports).

Even after a successful landing, the mountainous geography of Turkey allowed them to utilize their limited military resources, because infantry and artillery were exceptionally useful under these circumstances, while motorized troops and aircrafts were not. Also, attacking them would mean +1 ally for the British - something that Germany tried to avoid.

In the spring of 1941 there was a window of opportunity for the Germans; if they'd really want to crush the British Empire, they could have fared waaay better by military expeditions into Africa / ME, strengthening their alliance with the islam, and keeping the USA out of the war, etc. etc. If they chose to crush the BE in the region, support the local Arab independence (exterminate / deport the Jews and such, which was actually in line with the intentions of the local communities) rebellions, they could have force the Turkish to some degree of cooperation, as the Turkish allowed a train full of Axis war matériel through their territory in the Iraqi campaign.

In my opinion, the realistic Turkish cooperation with the Axis in this strategy could have been like "letting trains through" and trading with the Axis; but if we assume that the Axis focuses on this theater, the British troops in the region could have been overcame without too much Turkish assistance.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Sep 2020 02:31

Gorodetsky's Grand Delusion says that Stalin had resolved by '41 that a German move against Turkey would mean war. Stalin wanted the Straits and Hitler rebuffed him. By late '40 or early '41, the only path to Germany invading Turkey was in cooperation with Russia or in/after a war with it. The outline of a German-Russian agreement on the Straits, as proposed by Molotov and recommended to Hitler by Ribbentrop, would have given Germany naval bases on north side, Soviet bases throughout Turkey, and Soviet defense guarantee to Bulgaria.
Peter89 wrote:In order to invade Turkey, one must have conduct an amphibious operation, an operation that Germany could not afford (especially not if they keep the British Isles as their strategic focus
IMO from a strictly military view Germany could definitely have launched an invasion of Turkey as part of a Med strategy in '40-'41. Crete is a totally different case from invading Turkish territory just a few miles from secure German/Italian bases in the Aegean. Crete was rushed because of Barbarossa, after the lesson of Crete they'd come heavy with landing craft instead of paratroopers (as they did later in the war). Heavy field artillery (e.g. 17cm gun) and/or howitzers placed on Lesbos, Samos, Rhodes and Kos (and/or others) would make defending the Turkish coastline impossible for a country with little counterbattery weapons nor the ability to produce and supply them. Mostly-sheltered, calm waters separate those islands from the mainland by only 2-6 miles. The Germans showed their chops in amphibious landings in the Baltic, at Kerch/Taman, and in the Dodecanese campaign. These landing would be much easier, requiring only small pioneer boats under an of shore-based artillery and air power.


https://www.google.com/maps/place/Lesbo ... 26.2777073

Once ashore on bridgeheads from the near islands, Germany/Italy would rapidly capture the large coastal cities (Izmir most significantly). From these cities run the rail and road lines into inner Anatolia, including along long broad valleys that a German mobile division or two would overrun at blitzkrieg speed. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Lesbo ... 26.2777073

Taking these territories in the first few weeks, combined with the Heer overrunning European Turkey, would make total victory only a matter of time. If the British want to donate PoW's in Anatolia against, say, 50 German divisions supplied by sea and rail Hitler would welcome it. The only front-line British divisions able to interfere on a relevant timeline would come from Egypt so it'd be a choice of defending Anatolia or Egypt. To deploy significantly stronger forces to the MidEast would take months and to send/supply enough divisions to give the Heer a real battle would far exceed shipping capacity. There's a chance Britain would feel honor-bound to waste resources in Turkey as it did in Greece though.

This is, btw, one of the main reasons I see Turkey joining the Axis - at least against Russia - if the SU is on the verge of collapse. Ankara would be smart enough to realize that Germany could overrun them before any realistic hope of the necessary Allied forces arriving.

Of course from a broader perspective I don't think there's a chance of this happening without war against Russia, whether chosen by Hitler or not.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 04 Sep 2020 07:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Sep 2020 02:31
Gorodetsky's Grand Delusion says that Stalin had resolved by '41 that a German move against Turkey would mean war.
All the more reason NOT to attack Turkey.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Sep 2020 02:31
Peter89 wrote:In order to invade Turkey, one must have conduct an amphibious operation, an operation that Germany could not afford (especially not if they keep the British Isles as their strategic focus
Taking these territories in the first few weeks, combined with the Heer overrunning European Turkey, would make total victory only a matter of time.
Exactly: time. Time that the Germans could not have wasted. If they occupy Turkey, they are not closer to defeating the BE - on the contrary, they are farther from it. To be honest the Second Vinson Act and the Two Ocean Navy Act, as well as the AFV and aircraft expansion programs started to produce results from early 1943, so by that time the Med is either sealed off by the Axis at Gibraltar and Suez, or the Axis can't hold Turkey or Africa.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Sep 2020 02:31
This is, btw, one of the main reasons I see Turkey joining the Axis - at least against Russia - if the SU is on the verge of collapse. Ankara would be smart enough to realize that Germany could overrun them before any realistic hope of the necessary Allied forces arriving.
There was no way that Turkey would join the Axis unless a total Axis victory (meaning no enemy of the Reich left). This situation never came...

The logical fallacy here is that in order to win the war, the Germans had to defeat the BE. If they can't defeat it, the war is not over, and it is only the question of time until the BE can mobilize its resources and the US will respond to the threat and fully enter into the war.

To occupy Turkey, to attack the SU, to do anything in 1941 only made sense from a German perspective if they could defeat Britain in that year or the next. If they can't, it's a wrong call.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Sep 2020 12:08

Peter89 wrote:All the more reason NOT to attack Turkey.
Yep that was my point (you might be agreeing with me, can't tell). Attacking Turkey means war with SU; you don't want a big war in Anatolia while dealing with SU. Hitler knew this, IMO.
If they occupy Turkey, they are not closer to defeating the BE
Taking Turkey allows Axis to roll up the whole Middle East, attacking Suez from two sides. Logistics through Turkey-Syria to Egypt would be much better than across the Med - there's actual railroads on the whole route.

Logistics for the other move - down the Euphrates and beyond - are a little worse but if Germany isn't at war with Russia it has 600k trucks available to support the Mittelostheer.

Churchill once remarked that he feared that Germany, "dominant in the Middle East and North Africa," would force Britain to peace. He knew quite a bit about what it would take for Britain to make peace...

With the Med closed at Gibraltar and Suez, it's the Axis mare nostrum. Torch would be a fool's errand - can't support an army via Gibraltar and can't interdict Axis shipping much from Morocco's Atlantic coast. Aside from hoping the bombing campaign works and waiting for the A-bomb, what's the Allies move? (again assuming no Russian front). You can build a huge army but raising it implies a significant drop in war production (as discussed in my manpower resources thread). W.Allies need more army material so they'd have to give up the bombing campaign or make a dishonorable peace with Japan. An un-bombed Germany sees ~40% greater war production vs OTL in 1944. That's before considering increased foreign labor and net "imports" from occupied/terrified countries.
Exactly: time.
If Axis invades Turkey in summer '41 it's all over by early '42. So suppose the German drive on Palestine and Mesopotamia begins in March '42. Question- do you think the W.allies can stop even 20 German divisions coming from Turkey? I don't - Monty had 10 division at 2nd Alamein and that buildup took forever. How do the W.Allies reach force parity in the MidEast against 20 divisions and how do they win land battles in '42 without far more than parity (see U.S. army performance in Tunisia that year)? Which means Suez, Gibraltar, and Basra/Abadan are gone by Fall '42 at the latest. Now what?

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 04 Sep 2020 14:28

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Sep 2020 12:08
Peter89 wrote:All the more reason NOT to attack Turkey.
Yep that was my point (you might be agreeing with me, can't tell). Attacking Turkey means war with SU; you don't want a big war in Anatolia while dealing with SU. Hitler knew this, IMO.
If they occupy Turkey, they are not closer to defeating the BE
Taking Turkey allows Axis to roll up the whole Middle East, attacking Suez from two sides. Logistics through Turkey-Syria to Egypt would be much better than across the Med - there's actual railroads on the whole route.

Logistics for the other move - down the Euphrates and beyond - are a little worse but if Germany isn't at war with Russia it has 600k trucks available to support the Mittelostheer.

Churchill once remarked that he feared that Germany, "dominant in the Middle East and North Africa," would force Britain to peace. He knew quite a bit about what it would take for Britain to make peace...

With the Med closed at Gibraltar and Suez, it's the Axis mare nostrum. Torch would be a fool's errand - can't support an army via Gibraltar and can't interdict Axis shipping much from Morocco's Atlantic coast. Aside from hoping the bombing campaign works and waiting for the A-bomb, what's the Allies move? (again assuming no Russian front). You can build a huge army but raising it implies a significant drop in war production (as discussed in my manpower resources thread). W.Allies need more army material so they'd have to give up the bombing campaign or make a dishonorable peace with Japan. An un-bombed Germany sees ~40% greater war production vs OTL in 1944. That's before considering increased foreign labor and net "imports" from occupied/terrified countries.
Exactly: time.
If Axis invades Turkey in summer '41 it's all over by early '42. So suppose the German drive on Palestine and Mesopotamia begins in March '42. Question- do you think the W.allies can stop even 20 German divisions coming from Turkey? I don't - Monty had 10 division at 2nd Alamein and that buildup took forever. How do the W.Allies reach force parity in the MidEast against 20 divisions and how do they win land battles in '42 without far more than parity (see U.S. army performance in Tunisia that year)? Which means Suez, Gibraltar, and Basra/Abadan are gone by Fall '42 at the latest. Now what?
Well, I think that the Germans had their best chance in Africa / Middle East, and not just to grab those lands or resources for themselves, because it is questionable whether they had the logistical support and the time to utilize these resources or not. It could have meant a serious blow to the colonial empire concept (so it is in line with the American interests); the Arabs were ready to rebel, just as India. Persia and South-Africa was temporarily pro-German, etc. etc. We couldn't know what it would mean to land a serious blow to the BE before the US entry into the war.

Furthermore, that would have been a war that the Reich could actually afford (unlike the Eastern front).

Also, we don't know what would have happened if the Germans cooperated with the Japanese, and didn't let them to drag the US into the war for some minor damage on a few old battleships. One had 3 ways to defeat the BE: occupy the British Isles, rule the seas or rule the colonies. Anything else was to be a diversion; the occupation of Turkey is a fine example for that.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 04 Sep 2020 21:52

Kingfish wrote:
02 Sep 2020 23:00


Question - when would this move be made?

Pre-Barbarossa would telegraph German intentions like nothing else.
Stalin wasn't really good at reading the warning signs (the Germans already telegraphed an attack historically) and stationing troops on Turkish/Soviet border doesn't necessarily mean an attack anyway (enter some defensive excuse). The question is whether the Soviets would allow German (Axis) troops to threaten the southern Caucasus in the first place (I'm not sure what their initial reaction would be).
Kingfish wrote:
02 Sep 2020 23:00
Post-Barbarossa would mean drawing German troops and logistics away from the main theater.
True. The Soviets would also have to devote more troops to the Caucasus though so it isn't necessarily that much of an absolute weakening of German strength in the East when compared to the Soviets. The Soviets might have easier logistical issues though (both due to it being a more natural border and they are on defense) so I suppose there would some disadvantage to the Germans in this alternate timeline. Still, if Turkish troops are fighting with the Axis, this disadvantage is offset.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 04 Sep 2020 22:31

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Sep 2020 12:08
Yep that was my point (you might be agreeing with me, can't tell). Attacking Turkey means war with SU; you don't want a big war in Anatolia while dealing with SU. Hitler knew this, IMO.
To be honest, this might be a good thing for Germany. It's hard to imagine war with both Turkey and the Soviet Union as working in the German's favor but Stalin attacking the Germans in 1941 would lead to military disaster for the Red Army. Germany's problem was that it invaded the Soviet Union, not as liberators, not as conquerors, but as exterminators. This gave the Soviets moral superiority to fight on (even I could cause significant damage to a professional cage fighter if he invaded my house with intent to kill me due to moral superiority). Stalin attacking Germany in 1941, however, doesn't provide this moral advantage and the Russians always historically perform poorly when on the attack, meaning when they aren't being invaded. (Seven Years War, Napoleonic Wars, World War One).

The Soviets attacking the Germans in 1941 is the best thing that could happen to Germany imo, even if Germany is at war with Turkey (a military weak country which probably is too feeble to invade from Asia Minor and would likely just change sides if the Soviets are defeated).

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Sep 2020 12:08
Gorodetsky's Grand Delusion says that Stalin had resolved by '41 that a German move against Turkey would mean war. Stalin wanted the Straits and Hitler rebuffed him. By late '40 or early '41, the only path to Germany invading Turkey was in cooperation with Russia or in/after a war with it.
You mean the Germans and Soviets dividing Turkey in 1941 like they did Poland in 1939? Not sure if the Soviet would go along with this but if they did, it still gives Germany access to the Middle East to defeat the British and gain oil.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Sep 2020 01:49

Dark Age wrote:Stalin attacking the Germans in 1941 would lead to military disaster for the Red Army.
If the Germans stayed on the defensive for the first couple of months it's hard to envision the military disaster being worse than OTL: there would be no giant encirclements so the casualty and equipment loss ratios would ~5:1 at worst instead of 1941's >12:1.

More important than the SU's OTL military disasters in the first 3 months was the economic disaster, something people often overlook. SU lost ~1/3 of its population and ~half of its heavy industrial base in Barbarossa (1942 steel production was <half of 1940's, for instance). In '42 its GDP was lower than the Japanese Empire's.

Had the Soviets not lost all that territory/population in '41, its '42 army could easily have been 50% stronger. That's a disaster for Germany; Hitler is dead by the end of '43 at the latest.
Not sure if the Soviet would go along with this but if they did, it still gives Germany access to the Middle East to defeat the British and gain oil.
Read Gorodetsky's Grand Delusion or Kotkin's biography of Stalin. There was a potential agreement re Turkey. Not to split a la Poland and exterminate the state de jure but for the Soviets to have bases throughout Turkey and the Germans on the European side.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Kelvin » 05 Sep 2020 07:32

USSR and Turkey were traditional enemy for several centuries. If Turk had received opportunity to do this , she must go ahead. But past experience with Russian army, like Turkish expedition towards the Caucasus during 1914-15 was not distant memory. Turkish had the territorial design over Russia, but they only joined the war when Russian defeat was inevitable.
Also, Russian military manpower was formidable, once the war broke out in June 1941, Soviet mobilized a number of big size units in frontiers with her potential enemies. She mobilized 44th, 45th, 46th and 47th Armies in Turkish border to prevent any Turkish military aggression, also 53rd Army in Iranian border to alert any Iranian military provocation. In the Far East, Russia already had a large military presence to prevent any Japanese aggression, however, she further mobilized 35th and 36th Armies in June 1941. Even in the most darkest period in November 1941, Soviet still had 1.2 million troop in Far East while her Japanese counterpart only had 700,000 troop (Kwuntung Army and Chosen Army). Soviet military still had enough military manpower for prevent any invasion from other sides.
Under that circumstances, Turkish military intervention seemed unlikely and risky except German victory was certain.

And Turkish first president Kemel Ataturk also told his successor, if next world war broke out, he insisted Turkey must join the British camp and as he thought British side always won. Turkey hatred Russia and Russia was British ally, and Russian defeat is unlikely in 1941, so keep neutral is best option.

By the way, the value of the Dardanelle and Bosphuros straits and Constantinople (Istanbul) are reduced after WWI, If USSR no interest in the Meditterean and they no longer need to become the Third Roman Empire. Strong Russian Black Sea Fleet posed a strong deterent to any enemy aggression from outside Turkish straits.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Sep 2020 12:08

Why would Turkey join the Axis in May 1941?

Was it even asked?

A mystified Sid

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Kingfish » 05 Sep 2020 12:53

Dark Age wrote:
04 Sep 2020 21:52
Stalin wasn't really good at reading the warning signs (the Germans already telegraphed an attack historically) and stationing troops on Turkish/Soviet border doesn't necessarily mean an attack anyway (enter some defensive excuse).
There are warning signs and then there are warning signs. Massing troops along the demarcation line in Poland is one thing, having Turkey joining the Axis camp and allowing German troops along it's border with Russia is something else. Couple the two together and I don't believe even Stalin could hand wave that away.
Still, if Turkish troops are fighting with the Axis, this disadvantage is offset.
Perhaps, but as mentioned earlier this new alliance means their southern border needs attending to. This would be especially true if the German forces earmarked for Turkey come from those historically assigned to North Africa. That would free up a significant number of Commonwealth units for duty in the Levant.
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