Skip to comments.Operation Unthinkable (Churchills Plan for War with the Soviet Union)
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:23:50 PM PST by tonycavanagh
Within days of the defeat of Germany in World War II, Winston Churchill ordered his war cabinet to draw up contingency plans for an offensive against Stalin that would lead to ``the elimination of Russia'', according to top secret British documents.
The resulting battle plan included the use of up to 100,000 German troops to back up half a million British and American soldiers attacking through northern Germany. It assumed that Stalin would invade Turkey, Greece, Norway and the oilfields of Iraq and Iran in retaliation and launch extensive sabotage operations in France and the Low Countries.
A 29-page report, codenamed Operation Unthinkable, was presented to the Prime Minister on 22 May 1945, 14 days after the end of the war in Europe.
It assumed that the Third World War would start on 1 July 1945, probably with a surprise attack by 47 British and American divisions between Dresden and the Baltic.
The war cabinet plan ruled out ``total war'' against the Red Army, which outnumbered the Allies by more than two to one, adding that there was no reason why an Anglo-American invasion of Russia would fare any better than Hitler's Operation Barbarossa.
Historians had long believed that the tense period immediately after the meeting of the armies of West and East led to plans of this sort, but today's publication is the first proof of their existence.
Professor D.C. Watt, the eminent historian who has written the official history of the British cabinet office in wartime, said it was the first time the papers had been read by anyone other than the principals.
``Nobody has ever seen this kind of thing before,'' he said, ``but we have had strong suspicions that they must have been written.''
The Unthinkable plan was eventually rejected by Churchill on the advice of the Chiefs of Staff and replaced with a defensive scheme to guard against invasion by the Red Army..
I count myself amongst this lot.
Well, the Germans attacked Russia with over a million men and it did not turn out so well. On the other hand, I am sure American forces would also be coming WEST right after they finished up with Japan
I wonder if it has ever been wargamed.
Whoever thought of it, it was a brilliant plan. It would have saved a lot of global agony all these years.
As a wargamer, I can say that this, and just about any other scenario like it has been wargamed.
Assuming political unity, I think the men and material resources of the U. S. and Britain would have been more than a match for the Soviet Union. U. S. and British industry were outproducing the Soviets by far. We would have easily gained and held sea and air supremacy. And remember, we had the bomb by that point. Stalin wouldn't for many more years.
What was the result or results.
That is how I read it, the Soviet Union was an ally, there was still Japan to beat, and with Germany and Japan beaten the people would want their boys home.
Two million Soviet and Eastern Europeans found themselves on our side of the line when WWII ended. We shipped them back to imprisonment and death under Stalin. Many committed suicide rather than return. We could have used them to invade the Soviet Union.
We had a monopoly on the A-Bomb for 4 years.
The reason we did not push on to Moscow was not because it was impractical. It was because of traitors in both the US and British governments.
The German High command were willing to put German troops at the disposal of the Western allies to use against the Soviets, but I think Japan would of been a different matter.
Would the American public agree to Americans fighting along side Japanese soldiers.
I dont think the British public would agree and I think the reports of the holocaust would have had a major effect on any American, British German alliance .
The Soviets could have threatened Turkey, Greece, etc., but with heavy Anglo-American pressure on their forces in Central Europe and the possibility that the United States, after forcing the Japanese to an unconditional surrender, could have opened a second front in the Vladivostok area in short order, they would have been fools to do so.
In mid-1945, the U.S. leadership, including Harry Truman, could never have been persuaded to join the British in such a surprise attack. Remember that at the time, President Truman was making favorable remarks about "Unlce Joe" Stalin. Reportedly, Truman was angered at Winston Churchill's remarks, made in the President's home state of Missouri, about an "iron curtain" descending upon Europe. There were, in addition, highly placed Soviet agents in the U.S. State Department, of whom Alger Hiss was the most notorious. After Stalin had effectively communized most of Eastern Europe, Truman, Dean Acheson, et. al., turned anti-Communist. But by that point, any Allied military offensive in Europe was untenable.
The anti-anti-Communist mindset of the American leadership in 1945 was the probable reason that Churchill rejected the operation.
Never had chance to play it, but I can email you extracts if you like!!
An act of cold-blooded obscenity I have never understood.
Absolutely! This fact is the first thing I think of whenever Truman is praised.
Very few reporters understand that it is the job of military planners to come up with plans to do anything that might be conceivably required. The development of such plans has very little to do with what the intentions of their governments might be.
In July 1945, Japan was virtually prostrate, with their military forces pushed back to their home islands, Korea, and Manchuria. Allied bombing had, by mid-1945, greatly curtailed Japanese industrial might. There are those who believe that the Japanese government was suing for peace before the atomic bombings and that said bombings were unnecessary. Without discussing whether the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were necessary, suffice it to say Japan was in no condition to be of much assistance to the USSR.
As for the Germans, remember that the Red Army took merciless vengance upon their nation. An important Soviet general bragged that "the blond hag (Germany) was in for a hard time." Soviet troops raped several million German women, from eight to 80 years of age. Most items of any value that were not hidden were stolen by the Russians. Unspeakable atrocities were inflicted on German POWs in Soviet camps. Machinery and factories would be boxed en masse back to the USSR, and over a million Germans died on a "Trail of Tears" from areas that had been German for centuries, like Silesia and the Sudetenland, to what would later become West Germany.
It is no wonder that German refugees fled from the Soviet enemy lines on the east to the Anglo-American lines on the west and why the German military fought the Soviets fiercely on a two year retreat from Russia back to Berlin, while fighting the Americans and British far less intensely. It is extremely unlikely that German soldiers would shoulder arms with such mortal enemies. On the other hand, they would have welcomed the chance to avenge their wives, girlfriends, mothers, and sisters, under the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes.
As for the Poles, the main resistance before the Soviet takeover was from the anti-Communist Polish Home Army that was more or less intact in mid-1945. The Baltic States, victims of mass exile by Stalin and too-willing collaborators with Hitler, were also an area that would have risen if given an opportunity. Don't forget, too, that guerilla warfare against the Soviet state continued in Ukraine until the early 1950s.
On top of all this, Stalin was a consummate realist who also believed in the inevitable victory of Communism. As a result, he would have retreated to the 1939 boundaries and await the next opportunity to advance the Communist cause. Furthermore, the British had no desire to recreate Operation Barbarossa. Thus, it would appear that had the British and the Americans took on the Soviets in mid-1945, the Red Tide would have retreated at least from the future East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the Baltic States.
Additionally, I believe that even if the Soviets courted the old Nazi leadership, the German armed forces, especially the Wehrmacht, would have supported a renewed Third Reich. Both the officers and the troops would have been happy to fight, even in American or British uniforms, to free their land from the Soviet yoke. The hard core Nazi group was so connected to Hitler that the fall of the Third Reich discredited them. Look how rapidly the West Germans adapted to democracy and free market economics after 12 years of Naziism and three years of Allied military occupation.
In short, the Red Army would have been facing Anglo-American forces, armed with nuclear weapons, in the unfriendly climes of East Germany and Poland. BTW, I believe the U.S. could have built numerous atomic bombs in short order, as the nation's industrial and scientific bases was at full steam in 1945.
The following is a summary account of events in East Prussia at the end of the war (from Eastern Documentation Section of the German Federal Archives at Koblenz):
"In East Prussian villages within the triangle Gumbinnen-Goldap-Ebenrode the same scenes were witnessed, old men and boys being castrated and their eyes gouged out before being killed or burned alive. In nearby Metgethen, a suburb of Königsberg, recaptured by the German 5th Panzer Division, around 60 women were found in a demented state in a large villa. They had been raped on average 60 to 70 times a day. In nearly every home, the bodies of women and children were found raped and murdered. The bodies of two young women were found, their legs had been tied, one limb each between two trucks, and then torn apart when the trucks were driven away in opposite directions. At Metgethen railway station, a refugee train from Konigsberg, consisting of seven passenger coaches, was found and in each compartment seven to nine bestially mutilated bodies were discovered. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an ex captain in the Soviet Army, recalls, 'All of us knew very well that if girls were German they could be raped and then shot. This was almost a combat distinction.'"
A German-Russian alliance in 1945 would have been as inconceivable as a Nazi-Zionist one.
Where can I buy this game.
Rear area security would of been a problem for both the Western Allies and Russia, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish nationalists on one side and Communist resistance on the other side.
Both sides would of been able to recruit German Troops, the Western allies could of used the remnants of the Russian Liberation Army to build a Russian army to fight on the Western side.
I cant see the Population of the West supporting another European war so soon after the defeat of Germany, and with the details of the holocaust coming out there would of been a revulsion at the thought of dealing with the Germans as allies.
Britain could of lost the Empire a lot quicker as troops ear marked for empire duties in the Middle East far East and Africa, would instead be needed on the new Front. The NKVD and SMERSH forerunners of the KGB and GRU would of been used to formant wars of revelation and liberation across the globe.
Also such a war would of further bankrupt Europe as money that was earmarked for national reconstruction such as the Marshal plan would instead be needed to maintain the armies needed to fight.
I think it was too much of a risk.
Even if we had beaten Russia what then there would still of been wars to fight in Africa, the Middle East and far East, Europe would be in a worse shape than after the Second World war. And with communism gone you would still get liberation movements accept they would be nationalist or religious
With the end of the Second World war Britain was broke, and the Empire was in trouble local liberation movements were popping up all over the empire, troops were needed, troops that could not be spared to fight the Russians.
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Isn’t it too old of a thread?:))