Thursday, February 28, 2019

In For a Pound, in for a Penny

Reading new treatments of familiar subjects is always a good idea. I've been reading Antony Beevor's The Second World War. It is good.

Wait. What?

[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 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 paralyzed 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 those plans were aborted when Stalin learned from [Beria] 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, it seems, was the main reason why Stalin suspected that Roosevelt had been secretly assassinated. (765) ...

Stalin had achieved everything he wanted at Potsdam, even though he had been forced to cancel the invasion of western Europe out of fear of the atom bomb. (767)

After enduring perhaps 30 million casualties the Russians figured they might as well keep going.

After double majoring in history and political science I had never heard anything of the sort during or since the Cold War. Sure, I read that the USSR really did start the Korean War after all. And I read that the Soviets had plans to try the same thing using East Germany if that had worked out.

But never did I read that Stalin was thinking about going that big.

I don't want to hear another Goddamn word about how NATO provoked the Soviet Union into a Cold War when those poor exhausted Nazi killers just wanted peace.

And I don't want to hear another word about how NATO expansion into the former Soviet vassal states of eastern Europe and the Baltics alienated post-communist Russia and caused their current hostility.

These are paranoid, dangerous people and I don't know if anything we can do will change that.

Really, Russia's friendship with China is more like the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact that Russia used to aim Germany at France and Britain--but now Russia is trying to aim China at America--as it succeeded in doing with Japan in 1941.

Maybe China won't fall for that ploy.