How would World War II Have Gone had The US and Britain not helped the Russians at all?

psikeyhackr

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So what material help did the UK and US provide to the USSR?
 

psikeyhackr

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I think a more pertinent question would be: could the allies have won if Russia had never been invaded?

The deaths in WW2 were around 55 million. Around 27 million of those were Russian. It’s simply staggering that even losing that number of people, the Soviet Union still took the fight right into the streets of Berlin.
Should we be grateful that ultimately Hitler and Stalin were both stupid?
 

reiver33

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If the Axis don’t attack the Soviet Union, and go for the Mediterranean strategy instead, they take Malta, Crete, Cyprus, North Africa and the Near East, aiming for the Persian oil fields. Then the Soviets attack in 42, after the mechanised corps have been reorganised and re-equipped - and Berlin is a metaphorical stones throw from Soviet-occupied Poland.
 

BAYLOR

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If the Axis don’t attack the Soviet Union, and go for the Mediterranean strategy instead, they take Malta, Crete, Cyprus, North Africa and the Near East, aiming for the Persian oil fields. Then the Soviets attack in 42, after the mechanised corps have been reorganised and re-equipped - and Berlin is a metaphorical stones throw from Soviet-occupied Poland.

If the Germans were to have gone though Turkey and secured Iraq possibly Saudi Arabia , they all the oil they needed would have been very close Stalins oil fields .
 

CupofJoe

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The Anglo Iraqi war of May 41 wasn't large but it decisively ended any real chance of Germany getting Iraqi oil.
And then followed up a couple of months later by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, just to make sure the oil came to the Allies and give another American supply route into Soviet Russia.
I've always wondered how Nazi Germany would have faired if they hadn't allied themselves militarily with Fascist Italy. The rot seems to set in once they are committed to supporting Italian moves in the Balkans/Greece and North Africa.
Hurray for politics and ideology before strategy!
 

BAYLOR

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The Anglo Iraqi war of May 41 wasn't large but it decisively ended any real chance of Germany getting Iraqi oil.
And then followed up a couple of months later by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, just to make sure the oil came to the Allies and give another American supply route into Soviet Russia.
I've always wondered how Nazi Germany would have faired if they hadn't allied themselves militarily with Fascist Italy. The rot seems to set in once they are committed to supporting Italian moves in the Balkans/Greece and North Africa.
Hurray for politics and ideology before strategy!

If Mussolini had stayed away from Hitler, stayed Neutral like Franco and, not engaged in any overseas empire building , he might well have lived to a ripe old age in office. Mussolini's foreign policy blunders no doubt caused Hitler to delay Operation Barbarossa by forced him divert troops to help bail him out.
 

Robert Zwilling

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One factor that helped the Russians immensely was the weather. Their equipment wasn't as sophisticated as the Germans but it was able to operate better in the cold winter weather. The Germans had advanced technology but they were fighting each other to stay in positions of personal power instead of working together. If you didn't deliver you fell out of favor which had all kinds of negative impacts.
 

CupofJoe

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If Mussolini had stayed away from Hitler, stayed Neutral like Franco and, not engaged in any overseas empire building , he might well have lived to a ripe old age in office.
Now there is a cheery thought... But he wanted his New Roman Empire so badly... :cry:
Mussolini's foreign policy blunders no doubt caused Hitler to delay Operation Barbarossa by forced him divert troops to help bail him out.
I'm sure I read that in the 30s, there was a German Ambassador's report back to his bosses in Berlin, along the line of Never under any circumstances get involved with Mussolini. I think the word delusional was involved...
 
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BAYLOR

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Now there is a cheery thought... But he wanted his New Roman Empire so badly... :cry:

I'm sure I read that in the 30s, there was a German Ambassador's report back to his bosses in Berlin, along the line of Never under any circumstances get involved with Mussolini. I think the word delusional was involved...
Given what delusional egomaniac Mussolini was , he was destined for bad end. In the early days, before he got into power , Hitler admired Mussolini and considered him to be role model . But over time , that changed.
 

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The truth is that we don't know how WW II would have played out without US and British aid to the Russians. I believe that you can make a case for almost any scenario from the war taking only a little longer, to Germany developing the atom bomb and winning the war. --- I don't see either as very possible, but possible none-the-less.

As mentioned up thread, the really key and really stupid move Hitler made was invading Russia in the first place. He'd have been much better served to forget about the invasion of Russia, who might well have stayed out of the fighting, and concentrate on the Western Allies. If he defeated them (I'd make his chances of success at about 35%) he could then try to kill off the Soviet leadership by bombs and assassination. Temporary world domination was not completely out of the question for Hitler.
 

paranoid marvin

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For me Hitler's biggest mistake was declaring war on the US. A war with Russia was at least tactically sound; Germany could gain desperately needed resources (especially oil) as well as securing the only land border where he could be threatened. Plus (because of Stalin's purges of the armed forces) Russia was never going to be weaker. It was almost inevitable at some point that Stalin and Hitler would go to war, so it might as well be whilst Germany had a fully mobilised army which was full of confidence after the conquest of Western Europe.

One of Germany's biggest mistakes in Russia was treating the population and prisoners of war so badly. Not only was it morally bad, but tactically unsound too. Russians knew that if they surrendered they would be badly treated by their German captors, and if they retreated they would receive worse treatment from their commanders (worse because not only would they be punished, but likely their families too). So they had to stand and fight, which cost the Germans not just men and munitions but valuable time too.

But going back to the USA, a declaration of war by Hitler was utterly bonkers. What's the point in declaring war on a country who you have no way of attacking; a country able to quickly manufacture huge stockpiles of munitions and war machinery, that has (virtually) unlimited resources (especially oil) and millions of potential troops ready to be conscripted into it's armed forces?

Some may say that he declared war because the US were about to declare war on Germany. But were they? WWII had been raging for 2 years and they hadn't declared war. And with Pearl Harbour being bombed, American eyes were turning East, not West, to deal with the most dangerous, most immediate threat - Japan. Hitler declaring war on the US must have been a huge relief to Churchill, and probably to Roosevelt as well.
 

Parson

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Some may say that he declared war because the US were about to declare war on Germany. But were they? WWII had been raging for 2 years and they hadn't declared war. And with Pearl Harbour being bombed, American eyes were turning East, not West, to deal with the most dangerous, most immediate threat - Japan. Hitler declaring war on the US must have been a huge relief to Churchill, and probably to Roosevelt as well.
I think it was plain that Roosevelt wanted to declare war on Germany. Over the course of the early years the US had moved closer and closer to the allies, and I believe eventually they would have. Notice that militarily the war in Europe was almost immediately the primary concern of the US, and the war on Japan was pushed to the back burner. But Hitler's move removed any doubt which might have lingered.
 

Bren G

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So what material help did the UK and US provide to the USSR?
Trucks were the biggest contribution as far as I know. I watched a great lecture by Victor Davis Hanson on Youtube a while back where he described how the Germans complained that the Soviet Army ran on Ford. Also, he states that horses were still very much in use and in great numbers on both sides, so the truck was indeed a differentiator across the vast distance of eastern Europe.

Here is an article I found that states the numbers of trucks, planes, tanks and more. Canada (who seems to get forgotten despite declaring war a week after the UK and which made disproportionate contributions in personal and material for its small size) made significant 'donations' to the Soviets as well, second only to the value donated to Britain.

***

Under president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Lead-Lease program, the United States sent the Soviet Union 13,000 fighter planes and bombers, 6,000 tanks and 430,000 trucks, jeeps and other wheeled vehicles, along with vast supplies of raw materials. While most of our production went to British and Commonwealth armies, Canada also played a significant role arming the Soviets. We gave Russia almost our entire supply of Valentine tanks, along with more than 1,300 tracked weapons carriers and several thousand of our useful CMP trucks, including 1,500 of the biggest six-by-six variant specially upgraded to Arctic conditions. And we repaired for free the Russian freighters needed to transport all this matériel. Of the $32 billion (2016 dollars) Canada handed out in Mutual Aid, Russia received the second-largest share after Britain.

Link -> Peter Shawn Taylor: The trucks that beat Hitler
 

Bren G

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The truth is that we don't know how WW II would have played out without US and British aid to the Russians. I believe that you can make a case for almost any scenario from the war taking only a little longer, to Germany developing the atom bomb and winning the war. --- I don't see either as very possible, but possible none-the-less.

As mentioned up thread, the really key and really stupid move Hitler made was invading Russia in the first place. He'd have been much better served to forget about the invasion of Russia, who might well have stayed out of the fighting, and concentrate on the Western Allies. If he defeated them (I'd make his chances of success at about 35%) he could then try to kill off the Soviet leadership by bombs and assassination. Temporary world domination was not completely out of the question for Hitler.
There seems to be evidence that the USSR was massing near Germany's borders for an invasion despite their treaty with the Nazis, and if this was indeed true, it is said by some historians that Hitler attacked Russia to be on the offensive and not on their heels. This set of events, the proponents historians claim, was buried to smooth over any negative perceptions of the USSR from the western media. The west didn't desire to continue the war, though some generals like Patton saw the threat that the USSR posed and wanted to finish the job (and some claim that was the real reason why Patton was sidelined). The rest of course ... is history.
 

BAYLOR

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There seems to be evidence that the USSR was massing near Germany's borders for an invasion despite their treaty with the Nazis, and if this was indeed true, it is said by some historians that Hitler attacked Russia to be on the offensive and not on their heels. This set of events, the proponents historians claim, was buried to smooth over any negative perceptions of the USSR from the western media. The west didn't desire to continue the war, though some generals like Patton saw the threat that the USSR posed and wanted to finish the job (and some claim that was the real reason why Patton was sidelined). The rest of course ... is history.

They shelved Operation Unthinkable
 

pogopossum

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I am interested in Bren's comment re Stalin "massing" as I remember being taught the opposite. Not that hitler was not afraid that Stalin would attack, but that the Soviets were still preoccupied with absorbing Poland and consolidating generally, there were relatively few forces anywhere near the Border. We all know that the initial German attack was a cakewalk with what few Russian forces that were in their way being quickly destroyed.
Bren gives the answer as to the level of support provided to Russia from the US (and Canada). There was also support for what became a huge Russian industrial capacity.
Counterfactual arguments are easy to make as one can always find what seemed to be crucial decisions and assume that if they hadn't happened outcomes would have changed substantially.
If Germany had not attacked Russia they would have had eight to ten times the forces available for North Africa. Memoirs suggest that FDR was happy that Germany declared war as he felt that the us should get in, but that Congress would not go along as Japan had attacked the US and the initial sentiment was to fight them first. Hitler took that choice away within the week.
FDR supported England. Churchill made it clear that supporting Russia (which he hated) was necessary to the support of England.
Of course Stalin was paranoid. But false conspiracies like the"Doctor's Plot" and purges kept his enemies or potential enemies fearful and probably unable to mount any opposition. He did not "trust" Hitler but with the Soviet Nazi pact thought that Hitler was a pragmatist and just did not see how it could benefit Germany to attack him.
So why did it happen? Was Hitler just such a paranoic hater of Communism? Was he incompetent, thinking it would be a quick war as the Russia or at least the Soviet regime, would collapse? Or did he actually expect an attack, perhaps later when Russia would be stronger and felt attacking was necessary?
I remember a comment that Stalin's purge of his top military, while disruptive, made every general personally responsible to him and destroyed the one potential focus of opposition to his rule. He acted similarly after the war, purging his most popular general.
My personal take on the original question is that without US support, Russia would not have been able to hold the Nazis, certainly not at Stalingrad and (I forget the name) the major subsequent battle. Stalin would have signed a treaty giving Hitler any resources he demanded or have been knocked out sufficiently so that Hitler could seize them, but that would not necessarily have worked to win the war, more probably leading to a hugely more difficult grinding campaign across Europe.
Hitler could not have knocked out the US & Canada and Australia et al, but with twice the forces available would without doubt it would have
been a different war. Industrial capacity and population would have taken years longer to win it and perhaps there would have been a more divided America for continuing the fight.
 
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jjcomet

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Another reason for the US (FDR) to support the UK (and his good friend Churchill) when war was declared would be the loss of England as a base of operation. It would have been a logistical nightmare to try and mount a invasion on either Africa or Europe if England fell. The U-Boats would have had a field day. And again if Hitler did not invade Russia, Operation Sea Lion would have been on. True the Battle of Britain may have convinced him otherwise.
Much of the US populace wanted to go after Japan with everything starting Dec. 8th 1941, yet England prevailed.
 

CupofJoe

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I think we are getting away from the original post... .
But Operation Sea Lion was planned for the Summer/Autumn of 1940. And Barbarossa was almost a year later in the Spring/Summer of 41. Hitler may have turned to Barbarossa so early because Sea Lion didn't happen. If there hadn't been a Battle of Britain the Luftwaffe would have been far stronger in 41, so who knows what affect that might have had.
I don't think the German military were ever truly set up for Sea Lion. The 1974 Operation Sea Lion war game showed how badly it would have gone [and just look at the "cast" list!].
 

paranoid marvin

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I think it was plain that Roosevelt wanted to declare war on Germany. Over the course of the early years the US had moved closer and closer to the allies, and I believe eventually they would have. Notice that militarily the war in Europe was almost immediately the primary concern of the US, and the war on Japan was pushed to the back burner. But Hitler's move removed any doubt which might have lingered.


Yes, he knew that he needed to get Hitler beat before he consolidated his forces in Europe and made it an impregnable fortress. On the flip side, there was always the danger that Russia would defeat Germany and become the dominant force; either was not a good option.

I think US would have eventually declared war on the US but I think that without a German declaration of war , Roosevelt would have had a tough time persuading them to declare war on Germany when Japan had just bombed Pearl Harbour.
 

paranoid marvin

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Another reason for the US (FDR) to support the UK (and his good friend Churchill) when war was declared would be the loss of England as a base of operation. It would have been a logistical nightmare to try and mount a invasion on either Africa or Europe if England fell. The U-Boats would have had a field day. And again if Hitler did not invade Russia, Operation Sea Lion would have been on. True the Battle of Britain may have convinced him otherwise.
Much of the US populace wanted to go after Japan with everything starting Dec. 8th 1941, yet England prevailed.


It would have been virtually impossible. It was incredibly dangerous and touch and go with the short crossing from the English south coast to France. Travelling from the US would have been impossible. On top of that the U boats operation out of England with no Royal Navy? Forget about it.
 

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