Operation Unthinkable

WWII - Germany capitulated in May of 1945.

British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill wanted Britain, the U.S. and 100,000 defeated Wermacht troops to launch a surprise attack on the Soviet Army and drive it out of Europe.
The Red Army numbered 11 million men in Europe.
British and US Armies numbered about 5 million.

Churchill was relying heavily on air superiority and the Manhattan Project (he knew about it) to assure victory.
The U.S. said No. Churchill’s own generals said No. The proposal was scrapped
This plan was only declassified in 1998.

Almost all military scholars say it wouldn’t have had a chance of success. Most say the Soviets would have quickly obtained their own A Bombs and Europe would have been left in radioactive shambles.

I don’t know.
What do you think?

Didn’t MacArthur also want to go into Russia from Japan?

Yes, in a different context.
Russia had declared war on Japan two days after Hiroshima.
When Japan surrendered, Stalin planned to move Soviet troops to occupy Hokkaido, one of the three main Japanese islands.
MacArthur threatened to drive him back if he did. Evidently, Stalin believed him. He didn’t do it.

Gen Patton advocated exactly what Churchill advocated. That’s probably where Churchill got the idea.

Patton had some ‘choice’ words to say about Russia and the need to invade Russia at the end WWII, if you ever get to read the Patton diaries.

The problem was, Patton was saying that publicly. Even if we were going to do it, talking about it was the last thing we wanted.

It was a horrible idea.

It would have been an absolute disaster for everyone involved.

I think that any attack from the US and Britain against the Soviets would have been rapidly repulsed. The most likely outcome is that the Soviets would have ended up controlling the continent of Europe all the way to the English Channel with millions of dead soldiers and civilians.

Exactly. Either that or it would have devolved into a stalemate on the French/German border and would have went on for years with the resulting millions of casualties.

My observation is that many people in the west grossly underestimated the capability of the Soviets. Two-thirds of the German forces faced the Soviets during the war, and the Germans had expected a quick victory. Yet the Soviets defeated the German armies and ended up taking Berlin, not the Americans.

The Soviet response to the German advance in 1941 was scorched earth even though it resulted large numbers of Soviet civilian deaths. The Soviets would surely have done the same in occupied Germany and Poland if US and Britain were able to advance. The result would have been millions of starving civilians.

What is more likely is that the Soviets would have defeated any attack and pushed the US and UK back to the sea. Think Dunkirk 1940.

It wouldn’t have been the cake walk for the Soviets that I am seeing here.
Britain and the U.S. had vast air superiority and could have bombed the hell out of the Soviets.
Soviet supply lines would have been another problem. They were a long way from home.

In real time the Soviets didn’t have an A-Bomb until 1949.

The US had two in July 1945. They could have probably have produced one a month there forward.

I think it would have devolved into a stalemate pretty quickly.

Another thing we aren’t mentioning is American and British morale. Those guys just spent the better part of a year slogging it out with the Germans while at the same time being told that the Soviets, British, and Americans were all in that suffering together.

Now you have to ask them to die by the hundreds of thousands to fight the Soviets over what they MIGHT do, not what they have done.

I think it would have crushed allied morale.

Soviet morale doesn’t really count because the NKVD special detachments would gladly shoot anyone who retreated.

There wasn’t an equivalent to that in the West.

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The U.S. vetoed their part in it because we still had a war to win in the Pacific.
In July, 1945, we were still planning a million man invasion of the Japanese home island.
There is no way we could have participated in it. Without us, it couldn’t have happened.