How might world history be different if the Nazis had never attempted to invade the USSR?
I was looking at the answers and honestly, I think that they were missing out on something.
First of all, invasion of Soviet Union was not a terrible move had it come months earlier, considering the fact that sooner or later, the Soviets could have mounted a full scale offensive directed at Germany, and the preparations that were going on and the modernization of the Red Army. It was kinda necessary to pull the trigger yourself first.
In fact, I would argue that the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece was a terrible plan, (thanks Mussolini) which lead to a considerable delay in the invasion plans, that finally took off on June 22 with Operation Barbarossa. The original date was May 15.
In military terms, it was a big gamble.
But since that is not the question, we're coming to the point.
All the answers conveniently ignore a possible Soviet offensive, while the Germans were busy with the Brits. This could have landed them in a mess, with a mighty, and now better armed and organized Soviet forces, right at their doors.
Germany of 1940 was ahead as far as military and economic preparedness is concerned, however, the Soviets began closing in, and the Germans seemed to ignore that, partly due to their overconfidence.
German Blitz tactics were nothing new, because such techniques of overwhelming your enemy with rapid movements were as old as mankind. In fact, Soviet High Command had a similar tactics in about 1943–44.
Therefore, it was the panic of the Allies, which had made the Germans victorious until now.
Stalin was not interested in spreading the "glory" of communism to other nations (at this point of time). I bet that there could have been another leader in the Kremlin (possibly Lavrentiy Beria) who might have been interested in this plan, and convinced Stalin to go ahead with this nightmare, for strategic reasons.
The USSR commanded the largest army of the world, with thousands of tanks and airplanes and a seemingly unlimited supply of men and material. The Soviets had learned much from the winter war with Finland in 1939, and this "knowledge" might have been used against Germany in maybe 1942 or 1943, in the hypothetical Soviet invasion.
It's true that Soviets lacked a competent leadership initially due to Stalin's Great Purge, but all they needed was time, which the Germans were providing in this scenario.
Therefore, once the time seemed ripe, the Soviet leadership would have taken the opportunity and struck the mighty hammer and sickle on the face of Germany, this time the whole Germany.
I am in no way saying that it would be a cakewalk for the Soviets at this time, this is another interesting case. Maybe you would want to talk about it?
The Japanese would watch this invasion in shock and horror, and fear that they might be the next, while they were busy with China. Therefore, I doubt that Pearl Harbor incident would have taken place, which means no American involvement in any war. Whatever the Japanese had, would have gone to Manchuria.
Once Germany crumbles, along with its allies at this point there would be an awkward situation, what to do with France. Stalin promises a "free" election, but the world is surprised by the election of the communists in power.
So, we conclude that world would view communism with even more hostility, even more so in the US. Europe would have a really tough time, if that was the case.
Would it be preposterous to say, that invasion of USSR by Germany on June 22, 1941 was ultimately "good" for the rest of Europe?
In the off chance that Hitler had decided not to go ahead with Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the USSR, he might have isolated Britain from its colonies by taking over the Mediterranean basin, beginning with Malta (base of vital importance for the Britain to re-supply its troops in the Middle East and keep the Axis flow of supplies to North Africa in check), following Egypt and the Suez Canal, and then the whole Middle East and the vast oil reserves of the region.
The moment the Germans took over the Suez Canal, Stalin would have realized that the next step of the Germans, the Middle East, would have encircled a significant portion of the USSR, so he would make a move to take up Iran and Iraq in order to rob Hitler of his coveted oil. A Russo-German war might have been fought on Iraqi soil, and given the bad track record of the Soviet troops fighting in foreign lands (the Russo-Polish War of 1921, and the Russo-Finnish War of 1940), they would have most likely been beaten by the Germans. Besides, you have to take into account that the red Army had recently undergone the Great Stalnist Purge and lost its most capable leaders and officers at all ranks, which would have made a Soviet expedition disastrous.
After that point, it's likely that the USSR and Germany had signed a treaty, leaving Iran to the Germans. By followeing the route of Alexander the Great, the next natural step would be to invade India, taking advantage of the anti-British sentiment among most Indians (which Churchill did little to alleviate by starving nearly a million Indians out a personal and racist whim of his).
I think it's a fairly common conjecture for people to think "Well, if only the Nazis hadn't invaded the USSR". However, if you look more closely:
- The entire POINT of Hitler's war was to invade the USSR and seize land, ‘depopulating' the entire area as he went along. We know this because Hitler wrote his plans down in his "second book". A Hitler who doesn't invade the USSR is a very different Hitler.
- Declaring war immediately stopped imports of things necessary to run the German economy.
- Germany was in debt up to their eyeballs and needed to loot other countries to keep going.
- Where do fresh slaves come from? Faced with massive labor shortages, Germany attempted to convince people from other countries to come and work in German factories. It was politically unacceptable, however, for non-Germans to be fed as well as or better than Germans ... so eventually Germany resorted to force and starving and working people to death who would be replaced with fresh people, etc.
Maybe not much, Hitler and Stalin were each just waiting for an opening they were bound to fight. If Hitler gained too much power Stalin wooild likely have attacked, both sides knew the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was just to buy time when they signed it. One side or the other was bound to have broken the pact. Also note that while we look back on the invasion of the USSR and scoff today at the time the world was holding it's breath, Hitler came within a figurative stone's throw of taking Moscow and other key cites. Lucky for us two factors worked against Hitler, the sheer size of the USSR and the fact that the Soviets despite a decimated officer corp, picked the right spots to dig in. But, contemporary sources show that with the rapid advance of German forces many military planners and news agencies around the world thought the USSR was done for.
That said with more resources Britian would likely have fallen orb at least been invaded requiring a massive commitment from the rest of the world or the best jumping off point for an invasion of Europe would have been lost. But if no other factors changed the US would have eventually flown bombers out of Africa or Italy and dropped atomic bombs on German holdings. Contrary to what pooular fiction seems to think the Nazi's we quite a way off from the bomb. The war would have been longer and Hitler's fanaticism would have required a bomb kill him (or his own people but the guy had a knack for dodging assassination attempts) or Germany would suffer as more bombs were built and deployed.
We will never know. However, I would like to look at this topic from a different perspective: Nazi Germany was doomed from the moment it declared war on the US.
Even if the USSR and Nazi Germany never waged war against each other, there would be no way to defeat the combined forces of the UK, France and US. Remember that the English and French colonial empires were among the largest empires in existence and, as you know, the German invasion of Britain failed despite the fact that the Germans took various European countries before launching the operation. While I am aware that the US were not necessarily ready for war when it started, the US military developed rapidly and surpassed every other country's military force in 1943. It took only 2 years to make such progress!
The animosity between the USSR and the US did not quite exist on the same scale it did after 1945. Actually, neither side thought much about the other because they had no conflicting interests to settle. Due to that, the USSR might have joined the Allies or remained neutral if Germany had honoured the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
Well, it would have been different because Hitler wouldn't have invaded Russia. Now imagine if Hitler would have channeled all of his charisma towards improving relations with the rest of the World, and wouldn't have imagined to kill all them Jews, but made them his collaborators. Imagine if he would have drunk a beer instead of invading Poland. Imagine ... imagine a WWII never happening. Imagine them Japanese living in peace with China and going to Pearl Harbor as tourists. Imagine all the effort wasted on destruction, being employed instead on education and constructive endeavors. Imagine the World population being kept at a reasonable limit. Imagine using only renewable energy. Imagine ...
Had the Germans not attacked in 1941 (catching the Soviet forces in exposed "attack" positions) the Soviets would have attacked, in overwhelming force, by 1942 Germany would have been utterly crushed - Stalin would have taken over all of mainland Europe. Germany was crushed anyway in 1945 - but the Americans were in Western Europe in our time line - they would not be had the Germans not declared war on the United States (which, I believe, does not happen in your time line). And certainly even in our time line there were no American forces in Continental Europe (the mainland) in 1942.
Hitler and his National Socialists were evil - but so were Stalin and his Marxists.
Stalin backed Hitler in 1939 so that the Germans could smash up Europe - but Stalin never meant for Hitler to keep Europe, Stalin meant to take it for the Soviet Union.