What is the Cold War?

Background

In 1945, the Soviet Union liberated from the Nazis a large number of countries.

Before taking Berlin, Hitler almost completely cleared up the West (“Second”) front (troops from the United States, Great Britain and Canada). On the Russian (“East”) front the number of fascist divisions was increased by 3 times (!), and armored divisions –by 7 (!) times.

Despite the best efforts of Hitler, in May 1945 the Soviet troops took Berlin. Nazi Germany surrendered.

Churchill’s Horror

At the final stage of the war, Churchill offered Stalin a plan on how to divide Europe. Stalin indignantly rejected the plan, assuming that the decision should be made by the nations themselves. Stalin understood that the decision was likely to be in favor of a socialist model: big capital compromised itself with ties to the Nazi regime, and among the fighters against fascism in Europe socialist ideas were popular.

However, Churchill assumed that Stalin wanted “everything”. And he began to prepare.

By May 22, 1945 the document that was constructed in secret, the plan of the operation “Unthinkable” (released documents from the State archives of Great Britain)was ready.

The plan openly described the attack on Soviet Russia.

“… the goal – to impose on Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire …. If they want total war, they will get it. “

And more:

“taking Russia out of the game can be achieved only as the result of:

a) occupation of such a vast territory of Russia in order to reduce the military potential of the country to a level at which further resistance by Russia becomes impossible… “

Moreover, it was intended to use fascist divisions (some of the soldiers in captivity)

“Assistance from the Germans. … according to estimates, in the early stages it is possible to remold and re-equip 10 German divisions.”

According to the British plan, on July 1, 1945 the United States and Great Britain were to attack the USSR.

Obligations of the USSR

During the Yalta Conference in Crimea (USSR, USA, UK) in early 1945, the Soviet Union reaffirmed its alliance commitments – to help in the defeat of Japan. Japan ended up not attacking the Soviet Union during World War II, although it was under constant pressure from Nazi Germany and Hitler personally. The answer was in creating by the Soviet Union in the Far East of a major force grouping. Aggression on the part of Japan, an ally of Nazi Germany, was quite expected. Stalin could not allow himself getting twice in the same story with a surprise attack. How many more Russian lives were lost on the Russian front due to the need to keep a huge Russian army in the Far East – is another question.

In 1945, the United States, who fought against Japan, almost crushed its navy, but not the land army. Calculations performed by the USA, showed that the continuation of the war against Japan by the United States without the assistance from the USSR will cost Americans a loss of 1.6 million people, and the war between Japan and the United States will continue at least until 1947.

The Soviet Union, true to its duty as an ally, sent troops to the Far East after the surrender of Germany and already on August 8, 1945 declared a war on Japan (by that time the war on Japan was declared by about 60 countries).

Churchill’s Growing Terror: the Results of the USSR Declaring the War on Japan

Hoisting the banner in Port-Artur (1945)

Hoisting the banner in Port-Artur (1945) / Haldei / RIA Novosti archive

Within two weeks after the declaration of war, theUSSR completely defeatedJapan’s Kwantung Army. On September 2 Japan surrendered and the World War II ended.

It is widely believed that Japan was motivated to surrender after the United States exploded over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, which erased them from the face of the earth together with all their residents. The memoirs of Japanese high ranking officials show that the Japanese military were determined to continue the war despite the loss of the population of the two cities (nuclear explosions did not cause any noticeable damage to the Japanese army). According to Japanese memoirs, only proactive attacks by the Soviet army that defeated the Japanese troops forced Japan to surrender.

For Churchill a lightning victory over the Japanese army by the Soviet Union, which entered the war against Japan only on August 8, 1945, was a confirmation of his most terrible assumptions.

World War III that Never Happened

In 1946, the British Chiefs of Staff Committeepresented the report, according to which the Soviet Union significantly exceeded the combined land and air forces of the USA and the UK. Only allied naval forces outnumbered USSR navy, which guaranteed the protection of the Island. The report explicitly stated that the Soviet Union does not have the ability to attack the UK for at least several years.

In addition it would be difficult to the national army the reason to attack the victorious country (USSR), the soldiers of which inspired genuine admiration on both sides of the ocean. It is only today, thanks to the propaganda, for example, people in the USA believe that the victors of the World War II were only the United States. Most people do not even know that such countries participated in the war as the United Kingdom or the Soviet Union. Moreover, the situation is basically the same among even educated British citizens.

Nevertheless, the result was achieved. Due to lack of necessary military forces to attack the USSR, the World War III never happened. Military chiefs turned out to be smarter than politicians.

What is the Cold War

Imagine the post-war world. People around the world were appreciative of the Soviet Union and the Soviet people, who have borne the major brunt of the fight against fascism. Imagine the Great Britain, which before the war was the dominant power in Europe, and after the war was tailing. Imagine the United States, which suffered minimal losses as a result of the war, had unused reserves and were eager to make a statement in the world.

What if, suddenly, the communist ideology of the country-victor would spread onto them?

So, Churchill’s Fulton speech was basically predetermined. It didn’t matter who bore the main burden of the war. What mattered was the postwar world.

And in that new post-war world according to Churchill (the speech was preliminary read by Truman and caused no objections) former allies would become enemies: “the English-speaking peoples” should form a union, and the leading role in this union, according to Churchill, should belong to the United States. That speech also coined the famous expression: “iron curtain”.

Stalin responded to the speech as it was expected: “Basically, Mr. Churchill now stands in the position of the warmongers.”

Did Stalin Know about Churchill’s Plans?

Stalin paid priority attention to the Russian intelligence. He was aware of the plan of operation “Unthinkable” and Churchill’s intentions much earlier than the British would have liked.

Nevertheless, after the surrender of Germany, the Soviet Union announced its demobilization. By 1947 the number of Soviet troops decreased practically by 4 times. It was only in 1949, the USSR began to increase the number of Soviet troops in relation to the threats posed by established that year NATO.

The Meaning of the Cold War

The meaning of the Cold War was in infinite building up of armaments without entering into direct armed confrontation.

In fact, it was about dividing the world intwo parts.

At the same time the parties got actively involvedin indirect conflicts. The examples of such wars between the Soviet and the Western blocs: the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Afghan War.

This confrontation lasted for decades.

The Second Cold War

It would seem that with the collapse of the USSR in 1991 the Cold War was supposed to end.

And it was true for a while.

But some people were losing money. After all, if there is no war, at least a cold war, the weapons are not being sold.

It would seem that the very objective of NATO lost any meaning in 1991, because originally NATO was directly stated as a defense against the Soviet threat. Moreover, Russia for many years did not live, but merely survived.

However, over the past several decades, NATO somehow continued its “movement to the East”, multiplying its bases.

The reaction by Russia was quite expected.

What’s next, another Cold War?

P.S. Maybe all military manufactures should switch from making bombs to making bread or children’s toys? 

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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