Is it fair to say that the Soviet Union also started WWII? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

The Second World War (1939-1945).
Forum rules: No one line posts please.
#14514479
I think the West is generally taught that WWII started when Germany invaded Poland, but wouldn't it more accurate to state that WWII began thanks to not only Germany but ALSO the Soviet Union?

I am alluding to the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement which aimed to split Europe into spheres of influence. One common Soviet justification is that it was signed in order to "buy time" for an "imminent war" with Germany which seems rather spurious to me. After all, the Soviet Union did also invade Poland and annex it, in addition to invading other countries such as Finland and the Baltics. And why were the Soviets caught with their pants down when Germany did end up invading them?

It was only when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union that the Soviets could now come across as being "the good guys" because they were now fighting a common enemy with the allies, a fight which did indeed substantially contribute to the end of Nazi Germany.

But it seems like such a ridiculous episode.. it's as if someone tries to burn a house down, then decides to get a hose to put out the fire, and then this very person is suddenly called a hero for doing so.

So my question is, isn't it fair to say that WWII began because of Germany and the Soviet Union?
Last edited by TMPJ on 22 Jan 2015 08:27, edited 2 times in total.
#14514484
So my question is, isn't it fair to say that WWII began because of Germany and the Soviet Union?


No. This has been done to death.

1. West refused to form common alliance with USSR against Germany
2. West moves ahead with Munich pact without consulting USSR or Czechoslovakia
3. Germany/Hitler's rhetoric is always targeting USSR
4. USSR rightly feels west is of no help against Germany and may even act with Germany against them
5. MR pact was a pragmatic move which USSR had to and it did payed dividends, German expansion towards east was checked for the time being without MR pact a Barbarossa would had been started from positions that would had been much closer to Moscow, Leningrad etc and may have proved fatal.

why were the Soviets caught with their pants down when Germany did end up invading them?


Yes and no. They were caught because they were in middle of major reorganization and modernization which wasn't complete when Barbarossa begun but it allowed enough time to Soviets so that in the end red flag was over Reichstag. Just to give one hint, Red Army was almost tripled between MR pact and Barbarossa, so yeah the extra time proved to be very useful as Barbarossa failed and final result was Soviet Union's victory.
#14514536
The USSR benefiting from German aggression is not equal to "starting" WWII. German aggression was responsible for WWII. What other nations did is a separate issue. The USSR, engaged in conflict with various neighboring nations, was not responsible for war breaking out between Germany, France, Britain, etc. Germany was already on a path for self destruction and Hitler had already been gunning for more and more territory in Europe, and it was only a matter of time before he would have attacked Poland, regardless of a Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement.
#14514551
1. West refused to form common alliance with USSR against Germany
2. West moves ahead with Munich pact without consulting USSR or Czechoslovakia


Britain/France rightly feared the USSR as they were a huge threat to Europe. If it is unfair for the West to judge Russia for carving up poland with Germany then it is unfair to judge the west to be judged to avoiding an alliance with Russia.

Both partys were making choices that were in their own interests and against what was percieved a long term enemy.
#14514582
USSR was not a threat to west in the time period. There was no militaristic rhetoric coming out of USSR neither she had the means but Germany was actually dismantling the then security arrangement, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Rhineland were already gone and yet west refused although France was more than willing to go with USSR but didn't because of Britain and Poland.

The perceived threat was ideological and not militaristic and it went both way but regardless my attempt here was more to provide a background of the MR pact.
#14514589
The perceived threat was ideological and not militaristic and it went both way but regardless my attempt here was more to provide a background of the MR pact.


I think it is reasonable to think Stalin would expand through military means when he were capable and when it was convenient. He was almost certainly buying time until he could invade Germany. After that, and then the capitalist-democracys in Europe.

It kind of sounds as hollow as Nasser in the 6 days war. I think the arab socialists, as with the stalinists in Russia, were using the talk of being on the defensive for tactical reasons. They were every bit as ideologically agressive as the Nazis and I have no reason to think this wouldnt tanslate to invasion.
#14514600
I think it is reasonable to think Stalin would expand through military means when he were capable and when it was convenient. He was almost certainly buying time until he could invade Germany. After that, and then the capitalist-democracys in Europe.


Naah all indications of that time shows that he was more about preserving the status quo with his "Socialism in One Country" and there is no prove that he was looking to invade Germany (He was no fool) except for that crackpot book called "Icebreaker", if anything the militaristic rhetoric in Europe was more pronounced in its anti soviet stance.
#14514603
Naah all indications of that time shows that he was more about preserving the status quo with his "Socialism in One Country" and there is no prove that he was looking to invade Germany (He was no fool) except for that crackpot book called "Icebreaker",

Of course he wasnt openly saying it because the short term reality and pragmatism. His agressive measures to keep the USSR together, annexing half of poland and attacking finland. Then, after the war again he seems to push everything as far as he can. When the situation was there for the taking, he would take it. I have little doubt.

"Socialism in One Country" maybe be more convincing the the post stalin USSR.

if anything the militaristic rhetoric in Europe was more pronounced in its anti soviet stance.


I do not deny it was pronounced and genuine from the other side.
#14514605
Of course he wasnt openly saying it because the short term reality and pragmatism. His agressive measures to keep the USSR together, annexing half of poland and attacking finland. Then, after the war again he seems to push everything as far as he can. When the situation was there for the taking, he would take it. I have little doubt.


As I said it was all "security arrangement" after all talks with west failed for which all responsibility lays on west's hand. With western leaders just after the war were talking about "operation unthinkable" and generals like "Patton" talking about rearming Wehrmacht and marching towards Moscow, only a fool would had let eastern Europe to fall from their hands after all soviets bled for liberating these regions.

Note, no such rhetoric like unthinkable was coming out of USSR and while west wanted themselves to be part of post war arrangements in the region which was liberated by red army no such concession was given to USSR in the regions liberated by west.

If USSR had been militaristic, it would had easily kept Austria and Finland with her too but she didn't while Stalin's call for a demilitarized neutralized united Germany with no condition on political and economical system was rejected by western powers, they were adamant on rearming Germany.

What was Soviet Union supposed to do then? Let an armed Germany on their border after all they have been through recently.
#14514616
As I said it was all "security arrangement" after all talks with west failed for which all responsibility lays on west's hand.


Yes but I wouldnt be too hard on the west for this. It simply wasnt clear at the time who the biggest threat was, from a British perspective at least.

With western leaders just after the war were talking about "operation unthinkable" and generals like "Patton" talking about rearming Wehrmacht and marching towards Moscow, only a fool would had let eastern Europe to fall from their hands after all soviets bled for liberating these regions.


An "operation unthinkable" was feasible, though very dodgy, for the west. It would have been totally impossible for stalin to pull off a similar move. His supply lines would be cut to pieces.

Are you really claiming here that if the Stalin had the power, he would not have used it. Lets assume the soviets had the bomb and 4x the land, air and naval power than the US + allies. You think he wouldnt have pushed his lot further?

What was Soviet Union supposed to do then? Let an armed Germany on their border after all they have been through recently.


In reality there would have been no risk though the paranoia is understanable. This need to paint the soviets as merely defensive at this stage is a little suprising to me though.
#14514619
Are you really claiming here that if the Stalin had the power, he would not have used it. Lets assume the soviets had the bomb and 4x the land, air and naval power than the US + allies. You think he wouldnt have pushed his lot further?

The same can be said of any nation and of any national leader. In Stalin's own words: "Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise." Implicit in this position, of course, is its reverse: territories which your armies cannot reach must be left alone. This is why northern Korea became communist, for example, and southern Korea didn't.
#14514622
The whole you are more expansionist than me argument is silly. Its like the one over the crusades. If you believe your system is qualitatively better, in fact if you believe your system is good and the alternatives evil, then surely it is your moral duty to expand your system to the whole world. If your a Christian how can you leaves souls unsaved under Islam. If you are a Communist how can you leave foreign workers unsaved under capitalism. Ditto for anti racist Liberalism.

The funny thing is that racists are less expansionist than anti racists, because as a racist you only have to look after your own people where as an anti racist its your moral duty to liberate the whole the world.

What's also amusing is the that the Nazis but even more so our modern day Neo Nazis move back and forth between Volk selfishness and human universalism. So if you listen to modern say facists they seem to be pushing a form of multiculturalism. Apartheid of course was a form of multi cultural-ism, or at least purported to be as did the Jim Crow system.

Edit I posted this before I saw Potemkin's post: great minds think alike!
Last edited by Rich on 22 Jan 2015 15:00, edited 1 time in total.
#14514624
Yes but I wouldnt be too hard on the west for this. It simply wasnt clear at the time who the biggest threat was, from a British perspective at least.


It was quite clear.

Austria, Czechoslovakia, Rhineland. What more you want?

An "operation unthinkable" was feasible, though very dodgy, for the west. It would have been totally impossible for stalin to pull off a similar move. His supply lines would be cut to pieces.


I am not talking about feasibility (I don't think it was) but intentions, rhetoric and why USSR will feel threatened unlike west.

Are you really claiming here that if the Stalin had the power, he would not have used it. Lets assume the soviets had the bomb and 4x the land, air and naval power than the US + allies. You think he wouldnt have pushed his lot further?


Yes. Plus your "assumption" isn't valid here, what if Somalia had all those things today, will it invade Canada and hence any aggressive stance against Somalia today is justified?

There was no signs at all of Soviets invading west in reality whereas there were many threatening voices coming out from west.

In reality there would have been no risk though the paranoia is understanable. This need to paint the soviets as merely defensive at this stage is a little suprising to me though.


Why? They were defensive. The better question is why west was adamant at rearming Germany rather than have an united neutral non communist Germany?
#14514625
The same can be said of any nation and of any national leader.


I personally wouldnt say it was it was this absolute.

In Stalin's own words: "Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise." Implicit in this position, of course, is its reverse: territories which your armies cannot reach must be left alone.


I guess I rest my case then?

what if Somalia had all those things today,


Come on now. Somalia does not have a marxist state which has the inherit motivation for world revolution.

Why? They were defensive. The better question is why west was adamant at rearming Germany rather than have an united neutral non communist Germany?


I do not for a moment consider the soviets to be defensive. They were "on the defensive" a lot because they were always behind the US, post war. Before the war they were building up the largest armed forces the world had ever seen.

I still beleive it would have been used, had things gone differently. Used to attempt incitement and, if needed, conquest of europe.
#14514631
I guess I rest my case then?

So you're basically complaining about the fact that nations jostle against each other, competing for power, influence and resources? What are you, some kind of muesli-munching sandal-wearing liberal peacenik hippie UN supporter?
#14514640
So you're basically complaining about the fact that nations jostle against each other, competing for power, influence and resources? What are you, some kind of muesli-munching sandal-wearing liberal peacenik hippie UN supporter?


Oi, I wasnt complaining.

I was just nitpicking at this argument from soviet fan boys that they were defensive, in the grand strategic sense. It was merely a tactical move.


I am not really making a moral judgement as they were effectivly little different from 19th century great power politics. The German-Soviet pact was therefore morally neutral from my view. Not "wrong" from the soviet side but certainly not "wrong" from the British side like so many suggest.

Basically layman, your argument now is just, "I believe, I feel like", can't argue with that.


You want me to list out of the evidence that the soviets were aggressive? These are fairly well documented. Hardly based on just "feelings". What about Potemkin's own quote above?

I am honestly quite suprised you seem to view them as passive
#14514667
Is it fair to say that the Soviet Union also started WWII?

No, neither would it be fair to say that Nazi Germany and the USSR were allies when they invaded Poland.

TMPJ wrote:I think the West is generally taught that WWII started when Germany invaded Poland, but wouldn't it more accurate to state that WWII began thanks to not only Germany but ALSO the Soviet Union?

WWII began thanks to a lot of things, I'm not sure if the USSR was in the top ten.
#14534521
I think the issue to bear in mind vis-à-vis Poland is that the Red Army's foray into eastern Poland was considered by some in the West as a sequel to the Polish-Soviet War of 1920, and it was understood that the Soviets would conquer, assimilate/absorb, and go beyond if it was within their power. I believe it was Lenin who referred to Poland as the door to Europe. The initial plan was for a Polish SSR and to subsequently using the country as a base for material support to communism in Germany, which was considered a very tangible prospect (after what's known as the German Revolution of 1918) and even in France, furthering the goal of red Europe and world revolution. Yet this was all halted after losing the Polish-Soviet War, when Pilsudski triumphed and the Soviets were crushed at Warsaw. At the time the Soviet Union hadn't even yet come into being, but this was still a relatively fresh memory. Also, occupation of the Baltics was considered menacing, and Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian exile governments existed in the West pre-WWII to 1991, and the Winter War/invasion of Finland was considered by some liberal-conservatives and the old Tories associate with Lord Halifax's faction as no less provocative than any German invasion of Poland. Swedish and other Western volunteers were already streaming into Finland and many were looking for a reason to hit back at the USSR when time was ripe, only to be bitterly disappointed.
#14534527
FRS wrote:I think the issue to bear in mind vis-à-vis Poland is that the Red Army's foray into eastern Poland was considered by some in the West as a sequel to the Polish-Soviet War of 1920, and it was understood that the Soviets would conquer, assimilate/absorb, and go beyond if it was within their power. I believe it was Lenin who referred to Poland as the door to Europe. The initial plan was for a Polish SSR and to subsequently using the country as a base for material support to communism in Germany, which was considered a very tangible prospect (after what's known as the German Revolution of 1918) and even in France, furthering the goal of red Europe and world revolution.


But let's not forget that this conflict was initiated by Poland and not USSR.

Also, occupation of the Baltics was considered menacing, and Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian exile governments existed in the West pre-WWII to 1991, and the Winter War/invasion of Finland was considered by some liberal-conservatives and the old Tories associate with Lord Halifax's faction as no less provocative than any German invasion of Poland. Swedish and other Western volunteers were already streaming into Finland and many were looking for a reason to hit back at the USSR when time was ripe, only to be bitterly disappointed.


Indeed. The plan was I believe that after occupying Norway (But Germans preempted them with their Weserubung), they will move in to aid Finland but till then winter war was already over.

Also, operation pike.

Well the first thing you can be relieved about is[…]

Yes, that is the beauty of free market capitalism[…]

The answer is simple. Stop invading, Russia. Se[…]

Actually, the big fall on monday was due to the h[…]