Would the world be better now if we nuked Moscow at/after the end of WWII?

First off, I know why it didn’t happen. But

“Once the war against Nazi Germany was over, Patton spoke of “pushing on to Moscow,” if need be with help from what remained of the Wehrmacht, while Montgomery called for the immediate establishment of “a flank facing east.” In Patton’s view, the United States had come to Europe to give the peoples there the right to govern themselves. The Nazis had denied them this right, and now the Soviets were threatening to do so. Thus America’s “job” in Europe was not yet done. “We must finish the job now, while we are here and ready,” he declared in May 1945, “or [finish it] later under less favorable circumstances”

No Cold War, democracy to all of Europe 50 years earlier allowing it to start spreading from then, rather than the 90s. Less military spending, and a US nuclear monopoly for much longer.

On the other hand, many of the advances of the last century were brought on by the military. Would we have still gone into space, invented the internet? We would have more resources to do so, but would the drive to do so have existed? What does the Dope think about this?

And what makes you think that? What makes you think that kind of mass murdering treachery would do anything but enrage the Russians and turn our allies against us?

The Russian government would be gone, and the people would have direct say in the implementation of a new one. No more mass murder, no more intentional famine, no more concentration camps or gulags. We liberated our allies from an aggressive, repressive murderous occupier, and most of eastern Europe could possibly see us as the same. Granted they would likely be wary given the last couple invaders. Obviously in this world the people were in no mood for more war for any reason. In the scenario posed in this topic, the people (if not all, at least a sizable minority, enough to prompt such action) went along with it. I’m not saying it would be moral, but if one million were killed then, leading to no USSR and so possibly no communist China, then perhaps tens of millions would still be alive instead of dead in the Great Leap Forward. In any case, with a nuclear monopoly, the world wouldn’t have a choice but to go along with it. Given this, then what happens?

There’s even more Communism because we’ve validated their claims that capitalists are ruthless and treacherous? “Look what they did to Moscow! They killed millions because they feared the truth!”

You also presume that the replacement government wouldn’t be virulently anti-American and Communist, with more popular support. And you presume that it would slow nuclear proliferation instead of encouraging it. In your hypothetical world where America has become a mass murdering nuke-waving tyrant everyone is going to want nukes, so they can point them at us. Or use them on us.

Well that didn’t occur to me. But then that’s why I asked, to get other (possibly more accurate) views. Proliferation might slow because at the time, no other country could afford them. Of course, seeing what the US had done, secrets would probably leak even faster than in this timeline. Given the choice, do you think the Russians would willingly elect a communist government?

The Soviet Union had just survived a Nazi invasion, the slaughter of millions of its citizens, and the destruction of a number of cities. Nuking Moscow would not have toppled the Communists. If anything it would have strengthened their hold on the country.

You seem to be assuming that nuking Moscow at the end of WW II would have defeated the USSR all by its lonesome. And you know what happens when you assume.

Japan was one thing - exhausted, harried and beaten and they knew it ( a few fanatics excepted ). The USSR was triumphant and had the largest military in the world ( maybe larger than the rest of the world combined according to some ) and a well-equipped one with some quality generals at that. Miss some key leadership in Moscow and you are facing an almighty mother of a conflict in an already wrecked and exhausted Europe. I don’t think it is easy to predict the outcome of such a thing, nor how many people may have rallied behind the USSR in time if it was perceived as the defender of a battered subcontinent against a U.S. set on prolonging their misery.

An easier thing to do would have been to do more encourage the anti-Nazi resistance in Germany especially by not demanding unconditional surrender and perhaps guaranteeing 1937 borders (ie pre Anschluss, pre-Munic). Another option would have been to simply press deeper into Germany by not assaulting Bavaria for fear of the National Redoubt and keeping those areas we captured. In addition Chiang needed to be given massive amounts of aid and possibly direct military assistance against the CCP. Without a Communist China and a smaller Warsaw Pact, the USSR’s position would be far weaker without risking a war with them.

Makes sense. Given all that, why did Patton and a few others still want to go on? Did they see the things mentioned in this topic as possibilities? Assuming they did, what were their responses to such issues?

All due respect to Patton, who had his strong points. But the man was a vainglorious egomaniac at times. HE may have been certain he could have pulled it off.

Me, I would have bet on Zhukov.

Could Zhukov have done it before the US had more nukes? There’s only a window of a few months… or given the delivery methods of the day, would it be impossible to drop one on an army? If so, I suppose one could be buried with a timer, to detonate when the advancing army is above, although the power would be severely lowered…


But then are we talking about obliterating Russian cities as quickly as we can produce nukes until the USSR caves? I dunno that is any more viable long-term. Would the U.S. and its POV really have won that propaganda war in Europe, especially if the USSR got stubborn? Would the UK and other allies have backed such a program? I have my doubts.

Drop one on an army in the field and suddenly we’re not talking about dropping a bomb in Russia, but rather in Germany or elsewhere in eastern Europe. Again, not gonna win friends or foster local allies.

True. If it came to that, it’s a hell of a choice for those eastern countries… would they rather have a nuclear bomb or a Soviet army in their territory… devastating short term damage or crippling long term developmental damage. Even 2 decades on there’s a big contrast between east and west Germany, meanwhile Hiroshima is doing quite well. Hindsight is 20/20 though; it’s hard to believe they’d see it as such at the time.

Even if the UK and other allies disapproved, could they have actually done anything? The US was the only major power to come out doing well, with massive industry and having suffered no significant attacks with the exception of Pearl Harbor. Churchill wasn’t a supporter of a push to Moscow, but given his opinions it seemed more from the difficulty of the task rather than lack of desire.

So the Soviets play a major part in defeating Hitler, and we thank them by dropping an atomic bomb on their capital?

Churchill had the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff draw up a contingency plan for war with Russia after Germany had surrendered. While the planners were unaware of the bomb, the conclusions they came to were quite bleak and its name Operation Unthinkable rather apt. The text of it is here

They were both evil, thus we allied with the lesser danger to destroy the greater one.

When are you talking about going to war with the Soviet Union, before or after Japan surrendered?

And what exactly would have been the cause for declaring war against the Soviet Union? Or do you think we should have just done it for no reason?

Should we have also declared war against the British Empire, our other potential post-war rival?

I did not endorse war against the USSR, I was merely responding to your post.

The U.S. didn’t have an atomic bomb until August, so that means Patton and Montgomery would have to fight a conventional war for at least three months. In that time they might have pryed Poland and Czechoslovakia loose, but certainly wouldn’t have made much headway in the Soviet Union proper.

So August comes, and we drop a bomb on Moscow. Now all we’ve done is manage to piss off the Soviets. To defeat the Soviet army at that point we’d need so much men and material that it would’ve made Operation Downfallook like a picnic.

And by the way, we were still at war with Japan.

Who, the Soviet government, or the Russian people?