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message 1: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments How different do you think our world be today if we didn't have these two world wars 1 and 2? Would we be better or worse?


message 2: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7224 comments Rule Britannia! And may God save the queen and tsar of all Russia...


message 3: by Bernard (new)

Bernard Boley (bernard_boley) | 126 comments I tend to believe that the russian revolution would have happen anyway. Would Stalin succeded in controling everything? Seemingly yes. Hitler would probably have hesitated a bit in moving into Poland, and France.


message 4: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Mehreen wrote: "How different do you think our world be today if we didn't have these two world wars 1 and 2? Would we be better or worse?"

That is a very loaded question, Mehreen, with complicated historical ramifications. You could in fact easily write a thick book on the subject. I will however try to put my intelligence analyst training and history knowledge at work to try to paint a picture of today's World without WW1 and WW2, in VERY rough terms:
- WW1 is somewhat averted in 1914 (European powers manage to stop their conscription and troop buildup and allow diplomats to insert back some common sense in their lot);
- The old aristocracies whose misguided prides and ambitions caused the crisis in the first place are however still in place and resisting the rise of true democratic systems of government. Blatant, massive social inequalities and the excesses of the aristocracies and monarchies trigger a series of popular uprisings, revolts, mass manifestations and outright revolutions. Anarchists and leftist extremists further fuel the fire of popular discontent. The Tsar of Russia is overthrown by the Red Revolution in the early 1920s;
- The financial crash of 1929 and the Great Depression pushes the popular masses past the edge in a World already grossly unbalanced income and social-wise. The answer of the political elite and aristocracies is to crack down with more severe laws and mass imprisonment, creating rigid police states around the World (à la '1984'). Meanwhile, Japan develops into a superpower in its corner of the Pacific, ignored and underestimated by most other nations. As for Germany and Italy, the popular troubles actually help the rise to power of Hitler and Mussolini, who promise order and progress through firm leadership disconnected from the old aristocracies;
- 1939 arrives. The British and French governments, with their popular masses near revolt and with politicians bitterly divided, are too weak and fractious to oppose Germany's expansion eastward. Poland is gobbled up by Germany and the U.S.S.R. without a firm reaction from the West. Leftist movements and agitation mine the authority of the governments in many countries, including Great Britain, France and the U.S.A.. In the U.S.A., the big industrialists and bankers play the role of the European aristocracies, encouraging tough 'law and order' rules to keep the 'unwashed masses' in line and protect their profit margins.
- With most of the rest of the World being shaken by social and political troubles, Japan, with its rigid power system and imperial rule, stays monolithic and invades China, then expands through S.E. Asia. The U.S.A. tries to block that expansion through trade embargoes that only trigger a Japanese attack and war. However, this time, neither Great Britain or France are at war yet and are in fact socially and politically unstable.
- Not having been challenged when he took Poland, Hitler then decides that the time is rife to grab Soviet territory and resources. The British and French governements, being mostly hard right, actually like that, as they think that Hitler will rid them of the communist threat propagated by the Soviets. A long, bloody war ensues between Germany and the U.S.S.R. in the East, while a war goes on (badly at first for the U.S.A.) separately in the Pacific.
- After years of two separate wars, the 1940s produce an exhausted World with mostly right-wing or authoritarian governments, disenfranchised masses and poisoned social climate.

I am not saying that the above scenario is the only possible one to answer your question, Mehreen. In fact, we could run dozens of different historical scenarios on this subject, but it gets me to a few basic things I believe apply here:
1. The World in 1914 was ready for war and upheavil, due to the excesses of old aristocratic governments totally disconnected from the masses of their own citizens. Too many inequalities and injustices meant that the pot would have boiled over eventually.
2. Dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and the Japanese Generals always are better at exploiting social unrest than truly democratic governments. Some form of WW2 would have happened anyway in the early 1940s, with probably worst outcomes for Western democratic countries than in original WW2.
3. The boom of the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th Century, along with the political awakaning of the general population to the blatant exploitation by the aristocrats, big industrials and bankers, all but assured that the 20th Century would live through very troubled times.
4. To answer your question, Mehreen, my opinion is that without WW1, we would still have had some kind of WW2 and that the results of that last war would probably make for a worse world than the one we know now.


message 5: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Michel wrote: "Mehreen wrote: "How different do you think our world be today if we didn't have these two world wars 1 and 2? Would we be better or worse?"

That is a very loaded question, Mehreen, with complicate..."


Awesome. You could write a book now based on this premise alone.


message 6: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Hey, you are right! It would make a good alternate history novel. Unfortunately, it would have to wait before I could jump into that one: I already have many other projets for books in line or already started. I will certainly keep this one in mind.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Interesting analysis, well done, Michel! And food for novel-:)


message 8: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) The world would be extremely different, and it could take pages to explain why. But first, might I say, on behalf of all the history nerds out there (me included) thank you so very much for asking this question! Not only is it such a rich topic in terms of the history and sociopolitical development of the 20th century, but it's also alternate history gold (a fertile genre for writers).


message 9: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments Loaded question, indeed!

Michel's analysis makes a lot of sense. Really well done.

Here is my take:

1. The Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Tsarist empires were already near the end prior to WW1.
2. Without WW1, those empires hold on a bit longer. The Tsarist empire is the first to go because of the economic situation in Russia, the Ottomans are next because they have fallen way behind the rest of Europe, and finally the Austro-Hungarians once it becomes virtually impossible to contain unrest throughout the empire.
3. The USA doesn't benefit economically from WW1, so the post-war period is not nearly as prosperous.
4. Germany's economy does not crash, there's no hyper-inflation, no "stab in the back" theory, and much less fertile ground for a populist uprising
5. Britain and Germany, despite the arms race, continue to trade and enrich each other economically, leaving the less-modern economies behind.
6. Italy also does not have the conditions for a fascist uprising, and I really doubt Franco would've emerged as well.
7. With the Russians reeling, Japan takes full advantage in the east.
8. Then I think it would reach a point where Germany would attack its arch rival France in a repeat of the Franco-Prussian war. This could bring other players into the fold, but I'm not so sure, as I don't think England or the US would want to get involved.

9. Without WW2, the independence movements in the various colonies are delayed by 15-20 years because the colonial powers could still afford to keep them after not fighting an expensive war
10. There is no Cold War, as such, as there was no need for the fast development of a nuclear bomb and no creation of a USSR vs. USA competition for global supremacy.
11. No Marshall Plan dollars for Western Europe, no Domino Theory, no currying favour with corrupt dictators.

This is no doubt an oversimplified view of things. The full answer, as Michel said, would require a thick book and could be played out a 100 different ways.

To answer your question directly, I would say that economic, scientific, and political progress all over the world would have been slowed by the lack of 2 world wars. Conditions for the abrupt changes we saw in Germany, Russia, Italy, and Spain would've taken a lot longer to show up, and may not even have appeared at all. My guess is that there would've been political uprisings in Europe similar to 1848, but would not have been fascist or communist in nature. Finally, conflicts would not draw in third parties, however you would see an uptick in proxy conflicts as the richer countries fight it out in poorer countries.


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Michel suggests that some WW were still inevitable in his analysis, but if they were avoided, we'd be looking at totally different world's architecture today and maybe different powerhouses.
Not sure, US would be that dominant, if Germany, France, UK, Russia and Japan weren't exhausted and weakened by active participation in both WW. We'd have different countries, like Austro-Hungary still, maybe bigger Germany, smaller USSR/Russia.
Not sure, colonial policy would've been abandoned and we might have seen less independent states today.
Unrests based on economic issues might've characterized the last 100 years.
If we can draw parallels from the avoided (so far at least) showdown between US and USSR, China benefited the most and made a huge leap forward, unchecked by rivalry...
Wars cost a lot of money. Were this money put elsewhere, I think we'd be talking of much grandeur things today - like a colony of the Moon, more orbital stations, maybe London - NY and Tokyo-LA railroads (you decide - which technology to choose: underwater tunnels, pneumatics, whatever -:) ) and stuff like that.

So many people would've survived and we'd be looking at entirely different demographics..

Today too, territorial ambitions, enmity and fear take a huge toll at general well-being, benefiting a rather limited beneficiaries of military manufacturers...


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Cool analysis, Kent, haven't seen it while typing mine -:)


message 12: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments Nik wrote: "Michel suggests that some WW were still inevitable in his analysis, but if they were avoided, we'd be looking at totally different world's architecture today and maybe different powerhouses.
Not su..."


Thanks! It'd be great if Goodreads comments would live update. The technology has been around for quite a while.

More pneumatic tubes, please! :)


message 13: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) To answer that question, I'd say you'd have to split the things into three major categories - political, technological, and socio-economic - to really appreciate how much of an impact WWI and WWII had.

In terms of what would be different politically, the empires of Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan would have endured for much longer than they had. In fact, its entirely possible that countries like Rhodesia, Burma, the Belgian Congo, Palestine, and Iraq would still be colonies (or became independent much more recently).

The reason for this was that the wars dealt a major blow to the idea of European hegemony and cultural superiority. Not only were the empires forced to levy soldiers from their colonies, who tested their mettle fighting and killing Europeans, the sheer horror and destruction of the war discredited the idea that Europe was a great "civilizing" influence on the world. And of course, the wars bankrupted the European imperials, forcing them to take the independence movements that were springing up across their empires seriously.

In addition, countries like Israel would likely not exist, and settlement of the land called Palestine would have remained a limited venture. Anti-Semitism would also likely be more mainstream today in Europe, rather than considered hate speech and vile. The Soviet Union also would not likely exist, and it's a good bet similar revolutions would not have succeeded in Asia, Africa, South America, and other non-Western and post-colonial states.

Without the wars, we would be far behind where we are today in terms of technology. The wars brought about immense advancements in telecommunications and computing, mainly because armies needed ciphers, deciphers, telephones and wireless. Without that, the development of computers would have proceeded at a snail's pace, and we'd be likely using machines that were very similar to the 70s today - large, bulky, and neither personal nor portable. And you can forget about cell phones, smartphones, PDAs or other handheld devices.

And in all likelihood, space travel would still be a very limited thing, reserved to sending up satellites. No Mercury of Vostok programs, no Apollo Program, and no Journey to Mars at this point. Not only did WWII produce some amazing advances in aerospace and rocketry, but the Cold War which followed ensured that these advances were researched and expanded on because of the competition between the US and Soviets.

And in terms of socio-economic differences, in the developed nations of the world today, the rights of minorities, women, and First Nations would be far behind what they are today. Much like the colonial populations who stepped up to fight and contribute during the war years, women and people of color in the developed nations of the world did their part in order to ensure that their children would have a seat at the table as equals. When the wars were over, and attempts were made to quietly send them back to their status as 2nd class citizens, they said "No Way!"

The labor movement also benefited immensely from the war years. By the 1920s, industrialists were already figuring out that if they wanted to expand industry further and ensure stability with laborers, they needed shorter hours and better pay. By the early 20th century, governments had also figured out that social and public programs that ensured minimum living standards and health and safety benefited society as a whole. But the war years drove this home like never before.

Thanks to two major national efforts that highlighted the need for healthy citizens, a stable workforce, plentiful production, and social cohesion, things like socialized medicine, pensions, benefits, job security, income taxes, education, affordable housing, and public works expanded immensely between 1914 and 1945. Without the wars, the economic boom of the late 40s to the late 70s would not have happened. There would have been no Baby Boomer era, no Sexual Revolution, no social revolutions tackling the issues of sexism, racism, and colonialism.

In short, the world would have avoided some tremendous shocks, horrors and terrors. But it also would have avoided some serious change, development, and advancement. Basically, we'd still be living with elements of the 19th and 20th centuries today.


message 14: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Michel wrote: "Mehreen wrote: "How different do you think our world be today if we didn't have these two world wars 1 and 2? Would we be better or worse?"

That is a very loaded question, Mehreen, with complicate..."


I believe this too. Not having wars would lead to other forms of annihilation to keep order in society. (Logan's Run) Too many people leads to problems in society.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Kent wrote: "Thanks! It'd be great if Goodreads comments would live update. The technology has been around for quite a while.

More pneumatic tubes, please! :) ..."


-:)


message 16: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Matthew wrote: "To answer that question, I'd say you'd have to split the things into three major categories - political, technological, and socio-economic - to really appreciate how much of an impact WWI and WWII ..."

Interesting and thoughtful analysis too!


message 17: by Mehreen (last edited Jan 23, 2017 02:19AM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Matthew, I don't think wars necessarily lead to the invention of technology. Alan Turing was already thinking in those lines as to whether it is possible for machines to think, completely unrelated to war. Incidentally it was used in a war to break codes. Quite the opposite, in fact.


message 18: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin This is lining up to be one hell of an interesting thread. Thanks, Mehreen!

I believe that the truly pivotal moment in all this was just a few years before 1914, when Europe was still led and controlled by aristocracies like the Tsarist Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the French Republic, with its overseas colonial empire, Germany, which was still very much the old Prussian Empire, and the Belgian and Dutch royalties controlling their respective overseas colonies. Take out WW1, which historically signaled the end or near end of most of these empires, and you end up with a totally different 20th Century, one filled with massive social inequalities, less collective care and, as pointed out by Matthew, less advanced science and technologies. So, the period 1900-1914 would be most crucial in my opinion to analyze properly the advent/non-advent of WW1 and WW2.


message 19: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Don't think wars had any decisive impact on technological advances, more on their military applications. Telephone and other communication devices, electrification, engines and cars all developed before and after the wars. Don't think computers, internet, cellular should be attributed to wars that preceded them by many years..
I think were it not for the need to deal with military applications and huge resources 'eaten' by military spending and rebuilding purposes in the aftermath of the wars, we could've been more advanced today...


message 20: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments Nik wrote: "Don't think wars had any decisive impact on technological advances, more on their military applications. Telephone and other communication devices, electrification, engines and cars all developed b..."

I think war provides the catalyst for such advances. In peace time, change takes time, especially in the aristocracies Michel mentioned. War, on the other hand, creates the necessity for improvement. You either advance and live or remain stationery and die.

Michel wrote: "This is lining up to be one hell of an interesting thread. Thanks, Mehreen!

I believe that the truly pivotal moment in all this was just a few years before 1914, when Europe was still led and con..."


An interesting counterpoint is that the aristocracies held the common people to a higher standard. They were educated, well-spoken, refined, and trained to run countries. Not to mention any names, but those role models seem a lot more palatable then some of the leaders we have today.


message 21: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin This thread is firing me up by the second! I have thus made my mind that the next ebook I write after finishing my present draft will be about such an alternate history of the 20th Century. I even started thinking about an appropriate title for it and would like you guys opinions about it:

A CENTURY OF OPPRESSION - An Alternate History of the 20th Century

So, what do you think? Would such a subject attract many readers?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Michel wrote: "This thread is firing me up by the second! I have thus made my mind that the next ebook I write after finishing my present draft will be about such an alternate history of the 20th Century. I even ..."

Yes, incredible amounts of interest in the WWs.


message 23: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Mehreen wrote: "Matthew, I don't think wars necessarily lead to the invention of technology. Alan Turing was already thinking in those lines as to whether it is possible for machines to think, completely unrelated..."

Yes, but if he hadn't been recruited by Bletchley Park to break the German Enigma codes, he likely would never have built Colossus or tested out his theories. He also wouldn't have been paired with some of the greatest mathematical minds of his generation to develop and test his theories.

And code-breaking is not the opposite of machine processing, btw. It's the very purpose for which computers were initially created - to process mathematical equations that humans minds were incapable of doing on their own.


message 24: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Matthew wrote: "To answer that question, I'd say you'd have to split the things into three major categories - political, technological, and socio-economic - to really appreciate how much of an impa..."

Thanks, Nik. I wanted to say, "in brief", when I started writing, but as you can see, it became anything but. There's loads more, that others have pointed out. Like the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Forgot about those guys! :)


message 25: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Michel wrote: "A CENTURY OF OPPRESSION - An Alternate History of the 20th Century
So, what do you think? Would such a subject attract many readers? .."


Nothing seems to be as big as romance, but history and alternate one have a solid readership too -:) The title sounds good


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9489 comments My view is the world would be totally different, but in what way? First, WW2 was really a continuation of WW1, so no WW1, no Hitler rising to power (he would have been yet another impoverished artist with little talent), there would be no Israel, so no Palestinian crisis, Britain would not have been essentially bankrupted. However, I think the social changes were on their way anyway - the aristocracy had had their day. There would not have been the massive movement of scientists to the US, so the US would not have its great technological advantage, there would have been no successful Russian revolution leading to Lenin (that worked largely because of the hiding the Russian army had against the Germans, but I equally think Russia would have displaced the Tsars with something (a) less violent, and (b) less horrible. (Hard not to be better than Stalin.) AS far as technology goes, I don't know, but I suspect Europe would be the leader.


message 27: by Mehreen (last edited Jan 23, 2017 04:01PM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Michel wrote: "This thread is firing me up by the second! I have thus made my mind that the next ebook I write after finishing my present draft will be about such an alternate history of the 20th Century. I even ..."

Sounds Awesome Michel. Go for it!


message 28: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments Michel wrote: "This thread is firing me up by the second! I have thus made my mind that the next ebook I write after finishing my present draft will be about such an alternate history of the 20th Century. I even ..."

Interesting. Would it be presented in a non-fiction way or would it be a fictional story set in, say, 1990 assuming that the wars had not happened?


message 29: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Kent wrote: "Interesting. Would it be presented in a non-fiction way or would it be a fictional story set in, say, 1990 assuming that the wars had not happened?
..."


In order not to utterly confuse the readers, I intend to show in chronological order, starting around 1900, the main historical events and individual acts that eventually led to WW1. However, once in 1914, I will start to introduce modification in those individual and collective actions after the assassination of ArchDuke Franz Ferdinant that will result in WW1 not happening as we know it. From there, I will show, again in chronological order, the chain of changes to history that initial change caused. This way, the readers will be able to follow and understand why things evolve in a certain way and which key actions were involved. Once I finish in 1-2 months the novel I am currently working on, I intend to dive into this historical fiction novel with gusto.


message 30: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Michel wrote: "Kent wrote: "Interesting. Would it be presented in a non-fiction way or would it be a fictional story set in, say, 1990 assuming that the wars had not happened?
..."

In order not to utterly confu..."


Sounds like a comprehensive plan.


message 31: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments Michel wrote: "Kent wrote: "Interesting. Would it be presented in a non-fiction way or would it be a fictional story set in, say, 1990 assuming that the wars had not happened?
..."

In order not to utterly confu..."


Looking forward to it!


message 32: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Better yet, what will happen after the millennium of peace, and what causes it to change.


message 33: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments GR wrote: "Better yet, what will happen after the millennium of peace, and what causes it to change."

Good point.


message 34: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9489 comments If anyone thinks they can tell what happens for a century, please tell me what is going to happen over the next five years :-)


message 35: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Ian, we may have to rethink having atom bomb shelters in our back yard. Remember the 1950s?


message 36: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9489 comments GR, yes I sort of recall Dr Strangelove. However, anything built in the average back yard would have been a waste of money.


message 37: by Eric (new)

Eric Klein (wheelguyeric102963) | 20 comments what kind of books came from ww1 or ww2


message 38: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9489 comments Eric wrote: "what kind of books came from ww1 or ww2"

From WW1, try Erich Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front". There are piles of them from WW 2


message 39: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Read John Dos Pasos, Hemingway, Remarque, Wouk, etc. Everybody had something to say about war.


message 40: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Just saw a couple series' on Netflix which were adapted from Prof. David Reynolds books. There's the Long Shadow, which is all about the legacy of WWi (loved that one, since it involved him going to a number of monuments that I got to visit in recent years). Then there's Armistice, which looks at the ceasefire that ended WWI in a larger historical context.

Beyond that, there's also 1941 and the Man of Steel (all about Joseph Stalin and his leadership of Russia during WWII) and World War 2: 1942 and Hitler's Soft Underbelly, which covers Churchill's decision to fight in the Mediterranean during WWII instead of landing in France.


message 41: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Ian wrote: "Eric wrote: "what kind of books came from ww1 or ww2"

From WW1, try Erich Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front". There are piles of them from WW 2"


Yeah. This is a great book.


message 42: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments I loved this one, where the author tried to prove that Hitler beat Stalin to it attacking two weeks earlier than Stalin had planned:

Ice-Breaker: Who Started the Second World War? Ice-Breaker Who Started the Second World War? by Viktor Suvorov


message 43: by Matthew (last edited Jan 26, 2017 12:27AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Ah yes, that guy! I was just reading about him not long ago, had no idea he wrote a book about it. In many ways, this guy is the same as the one who defected during the 1930s and claimed that Staling was trying to become an ally with Hitler. This gave rise to the school of thought during the Cold War that this was Stalin's interwar policy, and all his Collective Security attempts were somehow a front.

Of course, that theory was roundly debunked from the late 60s onward. Not only was the evidence flimsy, but there too, the case all came down to the word of a defector who was in no position to know what Stalin or the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs was really planning, since all those decisions and communications were above his pay grade.

And in this guy's case, his arguments have been fodder for revisionist historians who have attempted to "rehabilitate" Nazi Germany and Hitler by claiming they weren't to blame for the war. Not exactly a good case to be making.

Still, a good topic on its own. Any takers?

German school of though vs. Collective Security?
Stalin preparing for attack vs. preparing TO attack?


message 44: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Hitler started the war, there is no doubt about it.. Could've it been Stalin? Suvorov obviously thinks - yes and we can theorize whether he would've...
Never treated Suvorov sufficiently solid for non-fic, but enjoyed the book anyway -:)
As of the threads - I guess the best way to test interest, is through setting it/them up -:)


message 45: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Hitler started the war, there is no doubt about it.. Could've it been Stalin? Suvorov obviously thinks - yes and we can theorize whether he would've...
Never treated Suvorov sufficiently solid for ..."


Well for one thing, Stalin was a paranoid megalomaniac who had always concerned himself with his power base inside Russia, rather than events outside it. He also never went on the attack unless he knew he had the advantage. So him invading Germany was most unlikely. And while its true Hitler saw Russia, Stalin and communism as a threat, it was more existential and ideological than strategic.


message 46: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Hitler started the war, there is no doubt about it.. Could've it been Stalin? Suvorov obviously thinks - yes and we can theorize whether he would've...
Never treated Suvorov sufficiently solid for ..."


Yes, I shall do so... just as soon as I've had some sleep :)


message 47: by Matthew (last edited Jan 26, 2017 08:42PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Alright! So to introduce the topics mentioned above. First, you've got the German vs. Collective Security schools of thought. These historical narratives address Soviet interwar diplomacy - between the Nazi rise to power (1933) to the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (1939) which guaranteed Soviet neutrality, and culminating in the German invasion of Russia (1941).

Which sounds truer to you?

The German school of thought maintains that Stalin's policy, once it became clear Hitler wasn't going anywhere, was to secure an alliance with him by any available means. These efforts are seen as having come to fruition with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The main line of evidence is the testimony of a defector who claimed Stalin's attempts during the mid-30s to repair relations with Germany (which was a trade partner prior to the rise of the Nazis) as part of a covert plot to use Hitler's aggression against the Western Allies.

All his other attempts, according to this theory, to seek alliances to contain Hitler were just a front. And when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, Stalin got what he wanted - which was to work with Hitler to divide up the spoils of Europe (in this case, Poland and the Baltic States). He was naturally betrayed by Hitler, but managed to secure his ultimate goal in 1945 with his invasion of Eastern Europe.

The Collective Security school of thought, on the other hand, points to the incredible (and very public) efforts by the Soviets to secure alliances with France, Britain, and Czechoslovakia during the interwar years to create a Collective Security Pact to contain Hitler. Stalin and his colleagues knew that Hitler's virulent anti-communism and his proposal for "lebensraum" meant that sooner or later, he would turn east.

Ergo, they intended to have allies so they wouldn't be fighting Nazi Germany alone. These efforts failed due to the mistrust of the allies - particularly the British, who put their faith in a policy of Appeasement (and of course Stalin's own Purges, which severely discredited his regime). By the time the Allies signed the Munich Agreement, it was apparent the Soviets would have to go their own way and seek agreements that would ensure their own borders. This was the basis of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which kept Russia neutral from 1939-1941; during which time, Stalin looked to bolster his defenses in preparation for Hitler's eventual attack.


message 48: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13459 comments Stalin failed to read the map and was so sure that Hitler wouldn't turn against him that he ignored intelligence forewarning him about the invasion. From this man, for example:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard...

So many Soviet forces were wiped out during the first days of the war that USSR had to pay a gigantic toll to avert the attack...


message 49: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Yes, all that because of the paranoia and megalomania of one man (Stalin)!


message 50: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Stalin failed to read the map and was so sure that Hitler wouldn't turn against him that he ignored intelligence forewarning him about the invasion. From this man, for example:
https://en.wikipedia..."


This is true, and remains a mystery to scholars. The smart money seems to be on Stalin simply thinking that he had more time to prepare than Hitler was giving him, and that he wholly believed that Churchill was trying to lure him into a fight with Germany that he was willing to dismiss any intelligence that he received.

World War 2: 1941 and the Man of Steel is an exceptional documentary on Stalin's war leadership (or lack thereof). Definitely sums up his monumental failures in 1941 and after.


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