Stalin was willing to fight to the last Russian - and most Russians were willing to die for their motherland and families - so a long war of attrition could doubtless have gone to the side with the most numbers of bodies to sacrifice in the cauldron of war. Had this happened, with the US or West out of the picture, I do not doubt that Hitler would have resorted to biological and chemical warfare at some point to try to get a force multiplier. The Soviets would have responded in kind. The ultimate price would not be paid by the armies, but by their respective civilian populations.
Actually, a lot of this wasn’t really true. Stalin didn’t really care how many died to preserve his power, that’s true enough, but he was wavering several times in the early days as to what to do. A lot of Russians, in the early days, also tried to treat the Germans as liberators, and IIRC a whole Russian division actually defected to the Germans and fought for them. The Germans were idiots, and threw much of this away with their absolutely beastly behavior, but early on the fanatical devotion of Russians to the Rodina really wasn’t there. They were seriously shaken, and their field armies were repeatedly decimated by German advances, so moral wasn’t all that great. The impression most folks have of the stalwart Russian and the Great Red Army, unstoppable and made of granite came later on down the line…maybe from late '43 or '44. I don’t think Germany would have needed to resort to chemical or biological weapons to defeat a Russia fighting without any outside support.
By aid, do you mean just supplies? I notice others have mentioned the military in Normandy and Africa.
If you mean just supplies, I doubt it. It is arguable but (as an example) the UK kept the supply line of Valentine tanks open during the war for the USSR. Not so they could be used in battle (they had the T 34) but as training vehicles as they were reliable. There was also the supply of knowledge of aircraft tooling and design and (as has been mentioned) the food stuff. (Soviets didn’t like Spam but they ate it).
If you mean the military as well, it has to be no, the Soviets could not have won. If the UK had made a negotiated peace there would have been no blockade, there would have been a hell of a number of Divisions free from Norway and Europe plus there would have been no bombing campaign to destroy German industry. All the AA guns and crews would have been available for the Eastern front- as would the nightfighters.
Hitler would not have had to wait for the invasion. he could have started as early as he wanted.
This argument tends to come up all the time, but really, I don’t get it. Who’s saying the would-have-been Allied Powers wouldn’t have sent materials to the soviets anyway? This isn’t addressed specifically to you, btw, just in general… The Nazis were not exactly on many people’s good side, and there have been proxy wars all throughout history. Why wouldn’t we have given material support anyway, the way the US was giving support to the British before we joined the war? And if Britain never did formally enter the war, they could’ve been funneling vast amounts into Russia as well. Including planes and design specs, training aircraft, or perhaps even pilot instructors.
It’s the theory posed in the OP, and so it is the very hypothetical under discussion.
But if we ignore the OP, I think it’s worth noting that prior to 1939, the Nazis and the Soviets were regarded with more or less equal loathing by the West. In all likelihood they would have been left alone to fight it out in the spirit of Henry Kissinger’s famous comment about the Iran-Iraq War, “It’s a shame they can’t both lose.”
Adding to this context was the pre-war pact between the two countries under which they jointly carved up Poland. The hostility felt in the West towards the Soviet Union didn’t prevent warnings from being sent to the Soviets (via Ultra intercepts) of impending German invasion. It was never realistic to think that the allies would take a chance on the Soviets being able to defeat Germany on their own.
While Hitler apparently labored under the delusion that he’d be able to prevent a fight with the Western Allies while eventually winning lebensraum in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, it was not to be. Germany faced a fatal handicap of going up against multiple strong allies in WWI while “fettered to a corpse” (Austria-Hungary); it maneuvered itself into again facing powerful allies in WWII while allied to…Italy.
There wouldn’t have been a logistical nightmare. They would have produced their own trains and trucks. Of course, they would have needed to reduce their production of something else.
But the general idea is that Soviet Union vastly outnumbered (taking into account all Axis forces, not only those on the Eastern Front) and also outproduced the Axis. That’s why a Soviet victory was unavoidable, IMO.
By “without aid” I thought the OP meant “without direct military aid”, not no aid whatsoever.
Begging the question of exactly when and how it came down to Russia V Germany. Seeing as how Hitler really didn’t like England very much, but hated Russia more, I always thought the most likely scenario for Britain exiting the war would have been after the Battle of Britain through Hitler’s olive branch, so he could reinforce the invasion of Russia. If the other Allies were never directly brought into the war at all, then sure, that’s a different set of circumstances entirely.
“Outnumbered” isn’t a meaningful term in military matters unless it’s qualified. Outnumbered with what? Men? That means little, as evidenced by the crushing defeats of 1941-1942. The Germans conquered France in a matter of weeks despite the numbers being even, at best - except on the Alpine front, where the Italians outnumbered the Feench two to one and were slaughtered.
Handwaving away the issue of trucks and trains by saying “oh well, they would have built them, they just would have had less of something else” is nonsensical. You have to then consider that they would have had less of everything else, and their production in generalwould have been less specialized and so less efficient. It also ignores the fact thatt he USA sent the Soviets piles of the raw materials they used to make the stuff they did make. Well, plus 10,000 combat aircraft, 10,000 armored fighting vehicles, about one third of all ammunition and ammunition components used by the Soviet Union (how would the USSR have fared without that, I wonder) and food, and clothing…
If the USA had sent the Soviets all the tanks they had used people would acknowledge they were a major part of the Soviet victory. That they don’t say the same thing for the USA sending them all those trucks, food and whatnot is - and I am sorry to say it but it is true - illogical and ignorant. Trucks are every bit as important to a modern army as tanks. A mechanized army lives and dies on logistics.
The Soviets spend 45 years trying to forget, and make the world forget, that he Western Allies helped bail them out of a horrible situation. We aren’t obliged to ignore the facts to help the wounded pride of a bunch of Communists.
Rickjay, I think we are arguing on the same side. However, I am curious as to where you source your facts. I know the West supplied the Soviets with a lot of material but all the aircraft and fighting vehicles? I am not saying you are wrong; I just haven’t heard those figures.
As an aside, how did the supplies reach the Soviets after Pearl Harbor? Was it through the Middle east?
I do not deny that trucks are as important as tanks. But producing a truck isn’t an engineering feat. Had it come down to it, they could have produced them easily, as I said only at the expense of not producing something else. On the other hand, producing T-34, that were exceptional and relatively cheap tanks, was remarkable. So, it’s not only that they outnumbered/outproduced Germany, but they did so with good stuff (including personal weapons), arguably better stuff.
As for forgetting about the USA, as a Frenchman I was educated with the concept that the USA won WWII single-handedly, basically, so it’s not that I’m falling for communist propaganda but that I have reexamined my misconceptions and came to another conclusion. IMO, it’s the west that spent 45 years trying to forget the role of the Soviet Union in WWII.
Through Persia, convoys via Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, and (oddly enough) right past the Japanese into Vladivostok. Japan made a point of not interfering with Soviet flagged convoys for fear of provoking them.
It wasn’t a snotty reply. It was pointing you back at the answer to your question, which was already given in the thread.
NOW I will be snotty about it: If you cannot bother to read the answers that are given in the thread, why should anyone answer you when you ask the same questions (that have already been answered)? Is it everyone elses job to post the same things over and over until you get around to reading it? Or your job to actually read the thread?
I mentioned this in another thread on the same question but several years ago when military historian John Lukacs came out with his book “The Duel”, he told Brian Lamb of C-SPAN Booknotes that all three Allied powers necessary to defeat Germany. Lukacs felt that no combination of the two would have done the trick.
I suppose one question to ask is what were Great Britain, the United States, France and other nations doing. Were they trading with either country?? Giving financial aid? Imposirg an embargo?
I think it would have been easier for Germany to get foreign supplies from a willing West.
If I had to pick one, I’d go with Germany but I can see the viewpoint of those who argue for the Soviet Union.