If Germany had attacked the USSR first could they have beaten them? If so would they have had the capacity to wage war on France and England later? Thanks
That’s a very hypothetical question. “What if this”, “what if that…” It’s all speculation and as such, every single answer needs to be reminded of that, that in the end, it is nothing else but speculation.
That said though, this is a fascinating guess, but then I ask, what does “beating the USSR” mean? Taking Moscow? Reaching the Urals? Or conquering the entirety of the Russian lands, all the way to Kamchatka? The Nazis there would need to handle the three great Russian advantages: winter, population, and infinite land.
They were probably better equipped by 1939, before expending so many resources on the west, so maybe there was a good chance for winter equipment, and the USSR was still too stupid before learning their lessons from the war in Finland. The Nazis didn’t yet have their ego blown by their early successes so we could expect them to have a better planning.
Yet, I think that Hitler really wanted that, hinting us by the Anti-Comintern pact of 1936 — and endless comments in Mein Kampf pointing at the Bolsheviks as the real enemy. But that’s the point: even when Germany was still intact, and his blood still cold, and his planning still accurate, he endlessly tried to secure Japanese support in the East, at the very least to divert parts of the Red Army away from his own front.
So if he wasn’t sure he could do it alone, it makes me think that the chances of success were not as high.
And to get to the USSR, by all means you need to override Poland (no way to supply such an immense army without it), which would drag France and the UK into the war anyway, hence giving him the much-dreaded two fronts war way too early.
So say, Poland would collaborate in supplying the Werhmacht into the USSR —there’s seriously no universe in which I could imagine something like that possible, but, ok, just speculating—, so France and UK won’t be dragged into the war; and Japan would not be so busy negotiating with the US and invading China so to divert forces into the USSR; then well, there, are the big chances of successfully beating the USSR.
And that leads to what happens after beating them. Chances of keeping the Russians under control? With such a vast land and large population, wouldn’t internal resistance movements keep the whole thing umprofitable? I’m sure Stalin would have played the scorged-the-earth policy for every lost field, hence delaying immensely the chances of taking profit from the newly acquired land. And then there’s Poland in between the USSR and Nazi Germany, which when override, would drag France and UK into the war, which for sure have been arming themselves heavily seeing the enemy coming. Hmm… but then there’s Franco and Mussolini, which hated the Communist so much I think they would have joined Hitler at once at this point.
So we have the Nazis hardly taking profit of the newly acquire Russian land, at least for the time being, but securing two new allies in the Mediterranean. Perhaps facist movements in the UK could have grown stronger by the massive propaganda movement of the successes in the USSR, but still having no match for the Royal Navy, and the American industrial power.
I don’t know what to guess next. Somebody in this forum said once that the Nazis were defeated with British Intelligence, American Industry, and Russian Blood. At this point they have beaten the last one, but there’s still the first two.
Oh, yes, the massive brain-drain that the prosecution of the Jews in Germany caused, in favour of the US, where most of them emigrated. That’s another factor to consider.
What’s next? I don’t know
Thanks for answering. The reason the question came to me is, as you pointed out Germany had more resources early on and if Chamberlain was still the PM in England then it’s possible (in theory) that he wouldn’t have done anything more than protest Germany invading Poland and if England doesn’t do anything then France may not have done anything either. As far as defeating the USSR I was thinking along the lines of defeating enough of their army to cause internal turmoil while Germany takes needed resources like the oil fields. I totally agree that Germany couldn’t have occupied the USSR. If Germany told the everyone that Russia had been trying to stir up a communist revolt in Germany then the people of France and England would have had even less reason to support war against Germany over their invasion of Poland imo.
Again, thanks for replying with such a well thought out answer. Love your channel. Have a great day.
Ahaha but first of all it’s not my channel, I’m just another patreon supporter like you
Yeah, the best bet Hitler had was some anti-communist PR. But he sucked at PR, specially when it comes to not picture himself as a monster at the light of the mass killings he was undertaking on occupied territories. I recommend you a book I read recently, very short and incredibly easy to read: “The Meaning of Hitler”, by Sebastian Haffner. There’s a piece were he precisely deals with how Hitler’s was presenting himself to foreign political powers and how he sucked at PRs.
About Chamberlain never doing anything, you have to remember that when Hitler invaded Poland in September’39, Chamberlain was indeed the PM, and he did declare war immediately (although it still took him a while to actually do something…). Churchil wasn’t PM until May’40.
The oil fields, that surely would make a difference, but they were actually taken in the invasion, in July’42, and it still didn’t save the Germans. I don’t know much details about that, but I’m sure we will discover in about two years when Indy and the crew tell us the stories!
If Germany attacked the USSR first, then they would have had even worse issues with supply and logistics. The Wehrmacht used thousands of captured trucks, and a huge number of trucks ordered from factories in occupied France (23000 of one Renault 2 tonne truck alone).