The Unthinkable War

World War II, the most destructive conflict the world has ever seen, almost didn’t end on May 8th, 1945 in Europe. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain during the war, did not trust the Soviet Union or Joseph Stalin. Not only because he felt a hatred towards communism, but because as the Red Army fought the Germans across Eastern Europe, governments were being established in countries such as Romania and Poland that were communist as well. Fearing that post-war Europe would resemble a Russian Empire that stretched across the continent, Churchill began planning for a new war.

The war was called “Operation: Unthinkable,” and as the name implies, could have caused unthinkable consequences for the world and changed everything about the world as it is today. It called for the combined forces of Britain, Canada, America, some Polish forces and (Controversially) 100,000 re-armed German soldiers from the Wermacht to assist.

The beginning of the operation was set at July 1st, roughly a month before Victory in Europe Day would be declared.

The goal, as Churchill put it, was to “impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire.” Not only would that require combating the Red Army (Which strategists had determined would require at least forty-seven divisions) and pushing them out of Eastern Europe, but there are also the many communist movements loyal to the Soviets that would have to be dealt with, as well as the matter of invading the Soviet Union itself.

In 1941, Germany, Romania, Italy, Hungary, Finland, Slovakia, and Croatia all contributed to the German invasion of the U.S.S.R. involving 5,500,000 soldiers, 4,300 tanks, 46,000 artillery and 4,400 aircraft at a time when the Soviets had just been defeated in the Polish-Soviet War and again defeated in the Winter War of 1940, not to mention Stalin had crippled the Red Army by purging almost all of its capable leadership and leaving it mortally under-supplied.

Four years later, the Red Army conquered Eastern Europe, raised a hammer-and-sickle flag over Berlin, and emerged a world superpower.

Now Winston Churchill wanted to attack the same army, which by 1945 was very well supplied, utilized cutting-edge arms, had an entire economy geared towards the war effort, possessed generals like Georgy Zhukov (Who is still revered today as a military genius), and numbered upwards of 10,000,000 soldiers. The British and American forces during World War II had helped defeat the Germans and Italians on the Western Front, but 3/4 of Germany’s resources and men were being directed towards the Eastern Front trying to slow the Red Army, while Italy surrendered midway through the war and caused logistical troubles for retreating German forces.

Fortunately, other Allied commanders realized the sheer futility of Operation: Unthinkable and believed it was the result of Churchill having controlled too much power or being too blood drunk from the war. A major problem was that of simple numbers. The Red Army was twice as large as the Allies, and it’s soldiers in particular had just defeated the world’s greatest military at the time and survived one of the worst winters in years despite high casualties and poor supplies. The only way the plan could have succeeded was with the use of atomic weaponry. Churchill himself knew about the Manhattan Project and expected the Americans would contribute atom bombs to the war against the U.S.S.R.

However, on top of a war that the Americans would not take part in, there was also the war in the Pacific against the Japanese Empire that the United States was largely fighting on its own. And the fact that the Manhattan Project had only produced two atom bombs (Little Boy and Fat Man), and it would takeboth to defeat Japan without a massive invasion of the Japanese island, meant the U.S. wouldn’t use them in a war everybody knew was unwinnable.

Churchill was voted out of office in 1945, and Operation: Unthinkable never took place. Although it was drawn up and planned for, even the strategists responsible for working out Churchill’s plan knew it was impossible and no high-ranking commanders ever gave it a serious thought. Had it occurred, the Red Army would likely have overrun the Allies and conquered the rest of the European continent, triggering a worse war that would kill millions more before Nazi Germany had even formally surrendered.


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