After being repeatedly told that the Left is neither Imperialists nor Nationalists, it is always interesting to read the details of “the Great Patriotic War that saved the Motherland”.
“It must be very pleasant for you,” Harriman said, making conversation [at the Potsdam Conference] “to be in Berlin after all your country has suffered.”
The Soviet leader eyed him. “Tsar Aleksandr went all the way to Paris”, he replied.
This was not entirely a joke.
A meeting of the Politburo in 1944 had decided to order the Stavka to plan for the invasion of France and Italy, as General Shtemenko later told Beria’s son. The Red Army offensive was to be combined with a seizure of power by the local Communist Parties.
In addition, Shtemenko explained, a landing in Norway was provided for, as well as the seizure of the straits with Denmark. A substantial budget was allocated for the realisation of these plans. It was expected that the Americans would abandon a Europe fallen into chaos, while Britain and France would be paralysed by their colonial problems. The Soviet Union possessed 400 experienced divisions, ready to bound forward like tigers. It was calculated that the whole operation would take no more than a month.
All these plans were aborted when Stalin learned, from Beria [via his spies within the Manhattan Project], that the Americans had the atom bomb and were putting it into mass production. Stalin apparently told Beria that, “If Roosevelt had still been alive, we would have succeeded”.
This passage says much about the Left, nuclear deterrence, and adds countless saved lives to the argument that constantly surrounds the nuclear program. Tangentially, it’s none too complimentary of Roosevelt…but that’s for another post.