Was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact necessary?

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wm
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Re: Was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact necessary?

Post by wm » 13 Jan 2022 23:19

Were the handful of K-class submarines in Vladivostok to conquer India 15,000 kilometers away? Without breaking down traveling there?

Stalin was better than that. He was a good politician and didn't fight pointless, costly wars. A token response was sufficient; Soviet propaganda would do the rest.

But even if, what about this British response.
They sign another Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
Grant the Japanese access to all the oil they need.
The Japanese, hell-bent on revenge for Khalkhin Gol, invade Siberia (as they so wanted in reality). And Russian Sakhalin plus all the islands nearby.
They and the British shell into oblivion Vladivostok and all Soviet ports there were, and blockade Russian Far East.
And then, encouraged by this development, Hitler invades Russia a few months later.

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Re: Was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact necessary?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Jan 2022 06:49

wm wrote:Were the handful of K-class submarines in Vladivostok to conquer India...?
:roll:
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

KDF33
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Re: Was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact necessary?

Post by KDF33 » 15 Jan 2022 02:01

wm wrote:
13 Jan 2022 23:19
Were the handful of K-class submarines in Vladivostok to conquer India 15,000 kilometers away? Without breaking down traveling there?
In this scenario, Stalin would probably have used mobile and armored formations to eliminate British positions to his south. Although large and reasonably well-armed, submarines have been found wanting as a ground combat platform, among other reasons due to their limited cross-country capabilities.

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Re: Was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact necessary?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Jan 2022 06:08

KDF33 wrote:
15 Jan 2022 02:01
Although large and reasonably well-armed, submarines have been found wanting as a ground combat platform, among other reasons due to their limited cross-country capabilities.
During the monsoon, though, Soviet strategy would be combined-arms submarines and sharknado.

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A somewhat interesting "What if" - as opposed to strictly counterfactual testing of historical narrative - is the endgame for this war. Like how long do Germany and SU fight "back to back"? At what point would UK seek peace with one of its enemies and with which? Absent 1941 Barbarossa, does US back Japan into the oil corner (dissuading Japan joining Barbarossa being an underrated aspect of the oil embargo)? Does US enter the war at all? If SU mobilizes heavily for war with UK and Germany focuses on Sealion, does RKKA sweep across Europe rather than allowing Germany to beat Britain?

No strong feelings here other than it's almost certainly worse for the West. Perhaps much better for Eastern Europe, especially its Jewish populace.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact necessary?

Post by KDF33 » 15 Jan 2022 07:45

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Jan 2022 06:08
A somewhat interesting "What if" - as opposed to strictly counterfactual testing of historical narrative - is the endgame for this war. Like how long do Germany and SU fight "back to back"? At what point would UK seek peace with one of its enemies and with which? Absent 1941 Barbarossa, does US back Japan into the oil corner (dissuading Japan joining Barbarossa being an underrated aspect of the oil embargo)? Does US enter the war at all? If SU mobilizes heavily for war with UK and Germany focuses on Sealion, does RKKA sweep across Europe rather than allowing Germany to beat Britain?

No strong feelings here other than it's almost certainly worse for the West. Perhaps much better for Eastern Europe, especially its Jewish populace.
According to Wikipedia, Operation Pike was nearing readiness 5 days after Germany invaded the Low Countries. Let's assume that either the Allies finish their preparations a bit earlier, or that Germany initiates Fall Gelb a bit later than historically. In quick succession, the Anglo-French bomb Baku, the Soviets respond according to their contingency planning and launch a counter-offensive into Turkey and Iran, and Germany launches its decisive offensive against Western Europe, to which the French respond with the catastrophic Dyle-Bréda plan.

By June, the British have evacuated France, Italy has joined the war, Paris is an open city and the Soviets are bearing down on the Levant and Iraq, as well as occupying the Baltic and poised to seize Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. My bet would be that both France and Britain enter peace negotiations with Berlin, Rome and Moscow.

Here's my guesstimate of a (realistic) position for each party:

1. The USSR: They would push for acknowledgment by both the Axis and the Allies of a zone of influence comprising Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. All four countries would have to accept Soviet bases and mutual assistance treaties. The Strait would no longer be closed to Soviet warships. Moscow would guarantee to safeguard the British stake in the Iraqi and Iranian oil industries. Lastly, they would demand recognition of their annexation of Eastern Poland and Finnish areas conceded at the end of the Winter War, as well as the Baltic states, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. They would make no demand on British or French colonial possessions, not even in the Levant.

2. Germany: They would demand recognition of the annexation of Luxemburg, Eupen-Malmedy, Alsace-Lorraine and their share of Poland. Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands would become German satellites, with basing rights and mutual assistance treaties. They would be fully integrated economically and militarily, if not yet politically, to the Reich. France would preserve its independence, but would have to pay reparations and limit itself to a 'Versailles-style' metropolitan Army of 100,000 men under arms. Germany would demand the return of the colonies lost during WWI, save those seized by Japan.

3. Italy: They would try to receive colonial concessions from France and Britain.

4. France: They would seek to preserve a maximum of their colonies, and have the Germans depart France as quickly as possible.

5. Britain: They would seek to preserve a maximum of their colonies, patch things up with the USSR and accomodate Japan. Germany would still be perceived as the primary latent threat, given its geographical proximity to the Home Islands.

The U.S. would be effectively cut-off from the new Eurasian world order, but would probably try to maintain the best possible relations with Britain. They would thereafter invest significantly more resources into the development of their military forces, irrespective of the end to the conflict.

The world outside the Americas would settle into an awkward, multi-power security competition, with:

-Germany having fought Britain, and been a co-belligerent of the USSR after years of tensions with the latter. Soviet gains in Eastern Europe and the Middle East would, however, mean that a majority of the known oil deposits of Eurasia would now be either under Soviet control, or within striking distance of Soviet military forces. Distrust, and misaligned interests, would endure.

-The USSR having fought Britain and Japan, and living as next-door neighbor with a largely consolidated, German-led Central Europe.

-Britain having fought Germany, Italy and the USSR. Save for the (very disappointed) United States, Japan would be the only remaining state of significance with which it wouldn't have come to blows.

-Japan would feel let down by Germany, and with the end of active warfare in Europe, the USSR would probably be less interested in concluding a non-aggression pact with Tokyo. Thus, the USSR would remain its principal threat.

-France would be relegated to middle power status, and Italy, whatever its pretensions, would remain one. They would both be aligned with Germany to a greater or lesser extent, with France hoping to gradually restore its military capabilities and eliminate reparations payments by proving its use to Berlin - perhaps as a security partner united by wariness of Soviet power? As for Italy, they would have a hard time expanding into the Balkans without entering into a crisis with the Soviets.

-There'd be practically no small, genuinely independent European states left. The total list (minus the micro-states) would amount to:
--Finland
--Greece
--Hungary
--Portugal
--Romania (essential to Germany, but half-encircled by Soviet forces)
--Spain
--Sweden
--Switzerland (in time partitioned between Germany, France and Italy?)
--Yugoslavia

In the absence of war, the Jewish population of German-held Poland would probably not be exterminated, but would still live and die under a brutal, dehumanizing tyranny. Perhaps their best outcome is a mass exodus to Mandatory Palestine, but will the Germans and British allow it? As for ethnic Poles, they would only have it slightly better.

The populations of the Western European satellites would likely make their peace with the new order.

The development of nuclear weapons would, in all likelihood, be pushed back to an unspecified point past 1945. Unless another, more protracted world conflagration breaks out early.

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Re: Was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact necessary?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Jan 2022 10:22

KDF33 wrote:
15 Jan 2022 07:45
[snip]
This is a plausible, even likely, scenario. The key issue is for how long Britain is willing to hold out in a war they can't win. They couldn't have beaten the OTL Axis alone either, yet held out hoping for US entry. Do they do the same here?

Reasons pro:
  • [insert campy schlock about British pluck and Hollywood version of Churchill]
  • They believed war would cause internal Soviet collapse and maybe wait a few years to see if that prediction comes true
  • Delusions. The same delusions that cause them to pull the trigger on bombing Baku in the first place.
  • Eventually the US will come in and defeat the entire world.
Reasons con:
  • 1. Axis+ will take all of Eurasia absent peace.
  • 2. Likely lower US enthusiasm about defeating the entire world, versus defeating Hitler.
The critical anterior issue determining the critical proximate issue of British staying power then is British perception of America's likely course, just as in OTL.

So what does US do?

Reasons for >OTL US engagement:
  • Moral ambiguities recede because all the bad guys are on the other side.
  • ???
Reasons for <OTL US engagement:
  • Too many enemies to defeat.
  • Greater perception of long-term threat to Hemispheric Defense arising from combination of Axis+ powers. Military/political voices counselling against LL and in favor of husbanding resources for Hemispheric Defense will be much stronger.
IMJ the US doesn't stick its neck out as much in this war, counsels Britain to make peace before the bad guys take all of Eurasia. That kneecaps British strategy and hope; peace ensues.

But who knows? There is a powerful bombing lobby whispering in FDR's ear that the Norden bombsight means USAAF can beat Germany on its own. Maybe FDR is desperate enough to buy that line in this ATL, maybe his heart fails earlier from stress and somebody else buys it.

IF the US underwrites British resistance and gets in the war before Sealion works (seems likely if by 1942), then we have the three-way Mexican standoff in Eurasia with each side trying to flip the SU and/or maybe (depending on governments) trying to flip Germany/Japan against the SU (which has acceded to Evil Empire status a decade earlier). In 1937 Churchill said he'd not choose Communism over Nazism if forced; maybe bloodshed recalls that prior position (or a Churchill successor feels similarly). The Holocaust wasn't known in Britain until after Barbarossa, Stalin was a pretty bad guy, so maybe this choice makes sense to a contemporary if you squint and think of The Empire (which Hitler is ready to guarantee, let's say).
KDF33 wrote:1. The USSR: They would push for acknowledgment by both the Axis and the Allies of a zone of influence comprising Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. All four countries would have to accept Soviet bases and mutual assistance treaties.
This is primarily why I think we get a Mexican standoff dynamic. Hitler isn't willing to abide this indefinitely. He'd perceive (perhaps correctly) that his ability to maintain control in Europe/Germany depends on not being excessively supine vis-a-vis Stalin.
KDF33 wrote:The populations of the Western European satellites would likely make their peace with the new order.
A depressing idea but seems largely true of Western Europe's OTL behavior. Like Nazi-averse Germans circa 1930, they'd probably appreciate the dungeons full of communists (those who didn't so feel being relegated to said dungeons).
KDF33 wrote:The development of nuclear weapons would, in all likelihood, be pushed back to an unspecified point past 1945.
FDR approved the Manhattan Project in October 1941; had been preliminarily pursuing it since 1939. Here the US feels its position more directly threatened than OTL and has more reason to see A-bomb as a security backstop.

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Even if Britain gives up in 1940, I can't see Nazi-Soviet peace holding past 1942. In that fork we could see a war basically similar to OTL, with Britain jumping back into hostilities and US joining them at some point. Or we could see a fairly united European crusade against Communism, with heavy contingents of French or even British forces perhaps. Or we could see an even-less-mobilized Germany (slacks off after British armistice - Hitler expressed this concern to Halder) getting rinsed by a far stronger RKKA. Then maybe we see a united Europe trying to hold somewhere between the Rhine and Oder, after initial German defeats.

Anyway this is a "What If" in which it's IMO difficult to make strong alternate theses. The determining questions are moral/psychological rather than military. To have convinced most Europeans/Americans that Stalin was worse than Hitler wasn't a big ask in 1940-42; our opposition to Hitler stemmed from geopolitical more than moral grounds. The world is different, perhaps radically so.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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