As a child of the 80s, I remember how we thought of the USSR as our enemy. Korean Airlines 007, arms race, political cartoons with the Eagle and Bear facing off, the 80 and 84 Olympic boycotts. Movies like Red Dawn, War Games, The Day After, and Amerika. Computer games featuring Migs vs F-15s. Schoolyard scenarios about World War III (“okay, if we rule out nukes, who would win?”). And this was a generation after Checkpoint Charlie and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It may sound strange today, as we realize now that the USSR was significantly weaker. But, back then, boy, the USSR was the Evil Empire who only respected power. They were chomping at the bit to attack the capitalist imperialist Americans. The only thing holding them back was MAD. And those dastardly Commies were always thinking of ways to get around that (like in Firefox and Hunt for the Red October).
Now the Cold War is nearly 20 years behind us. With our improved relations and more insight into Russia, did they ever want to invade and take over the US?
I doubt it. They definitely wanted to promote communism in the US, though, just as the US wanted to promote liberal capitalism in the USSR. Since either ideology “winning” would bring the “losing” country at least somewhat under the “winner’s” sphere of influence, this is somewhat a matter of semantics.
I doubt invasion of the US was ever in the cards. At most it would have been nuclear holocaust. They wanted to invade and conquer Western Europe, however, and had plans that were never realized for that contingency.
I think their plan for the US was more along the lines of waiting for the inevitable revolution that would overthrow our decadent capitalist democracy and put in place a peoples government.
Well, that’s not exactly what I said (FWIW, a quick Google search turns up plenty of hits like this on plans the Soviets had to invade Western Europe). Here is what I said:
They wanted to invade and conquer Western Europe (certainly Stalin did, and I doubt he was the only Soviet leader who ‘wanted’ too do so) and they had plans to do so (again, every military has plans to do anything that might be asked of the…the US probably had plans to invade the Soviet Union in some filing cabinet somewhere).
‘Serious intentions’ does not constitute either ‘plans’ or ‘want’. It takes things from a purely theoretical (which, thankfully it remained, since the alternative would have been all out war) to actively pursuing. See the difference?
So the USSR wanted to conquer Western Europe as much as the United States wanted to invade the USSR, that’s your take? I dont really see the point in stating that, though.
In real life, the USSR didnt seem very intent on taking Western Europe.
I’ve never seen any evidence that Stalin wanted to conquer Western Europe. If you want to argue that he was a megalomaniacal monster, and that a megalomaniacal monster must by definition want to conquer Western Europe, I’m afraid that’s not going to be too convincing. The Telegraph link only shows that the Soviets preapred a plan for it. We prepared a plan for attacking the Soviets in the same way, and updated them frequently. It’s not an indication of any intent to do so. Militaries prepare plans for any contingency they can think of.
Um, no. Is it really this unclear? Both the US and USSR had various contingency plans which would have included an invasion of Western Europe by the Soviets (and the defense against said invasion by the US) and probably an invasion of the USSR by the US and western powers (and defense against said invasion by the Soviets). As for ‘want’, that’s subjective. I ‘want’ a billion dollars and a harem of large breasted luv muffins to do my bidding, but reality intervenes, sadly. Stalin could WANT to invade Western Europe until the cows came home, but if it wasn’t realistically achievable then ‘want’ is as far as it went.
Fine by me. If you want to believe that Stalin et al had no designs on Western Europe and that all that preparation to defend it was just a waste, well, that’s no skin off my nose. It’s not exactly central to the thread, and it’s not important enough to go digging up cites for things that were and probably still are classified and unknowable.
As to your point about plans…well, that’s what I said, ehe?
Putting it another way, if the US or western Europe was sufficiently weak militarily such that Russia could take it over with low to moderate causalities, would they have done so without any other provocation? Also if the situation was reversed would the US have attacked Russia?
I suspect the view from the USSR was roughly similar to the view from the US, except that they just had suffered an invasion and breathtaking slaughter on their own soil, and didn’t even have an ocean between that soil and the front.
No. No one, except the most ignorant backwoods Birchers, thought that they did.
What the USSR, at its most interventionist, hoped to do in the U.S. was threefold:
The U.S., as the sworn enemy of the Communist International, interfered with communist and socialist governments, revolutions, and movements all over the world. The USSR sought to prevent this by interfering with the U.S.'s ability to do so: by propping up those movements etc.; by discouraging U.S. allies from joining in on such efforts; by influencing opinions in the U.S. – via PR efforts, paid shills, fellow travelers, and outright spying, among other means.
The USSR , if they wanted to invade anywhere, wanted to invade Western Europe, both because it was “ready for communism,” and because they thought “A free and independent Western Europe is WWII waiting to happen again.” Failing that, they supported communist parties and terrorist groups in various European countries. The U.S., on the other hand, wasn’t really ripe for either of those scenarios.
The USSR viewed the U.S. as a threat to their existence: to their hegemony, including Eastern Europe; to the USSR (as in separating the Baltic states, etc.); to their regime, as rulers of Russia and the rest; and to Russia itself. They sought to minimize this threat both by building up their own defensive capability (including spying on us) and by weakening ours, mostly using the means in (1), but also through treaties and negotiations, separating us from allies, and such.
The idea of the USSR invading the U.S. isn’t so ridiculous that they never imagined it – I’m sure they did. But it’s ridiculous enough to put it under the category of “tell you what – go ahead and write an invasion plan for the U.S., right after you finish your invasion plan for Germany, France, England, Spain, Britain, Italy, China, Japan, Australia, South America, and Africa. Ooh, and Belgium – I want some chocolate!”
That’s more or less how I see things, along with cohorts of historians.
The “Western Europe was under constant and direct threat of conquest” trope sounds like newt gingrich’s usual bullshit of:
USA= good, defends, manly.
The US had plans to attack Canada or GB. If we went with XTisme’s line of reasoning it would mean that only a lack of opportunites has prevented the US from actualling attacking and conquering those countries.
You would have to be able to look at the force mix and have a clue what it means, um, Capitaine. When come back, bring some sort of clue on the subject, as it will make discussion more interesting.
Hint…this is not a defensively oriented force mix. You might also want to take the time to look up what we had in Western Europe at the time (added to what the Western Europeans had)…or, possibly look up what the US has in South Korea and the South Koreans have verse what the North Koreans have…