From: Cornucopia, WI
The absolute best job/profession/career in the Soviet Union in 1945-48 was to be in the military. Military families received all sorts for perks like food, an apartment with running heated water, medical care, and money. The very things that many Soviet citizens did not have.
Stalin was no fool and he made sure that his standing army got an abundance of food while much of the peasantry was starving. The military knew how good they had it as well and competition was great for any openings. The best and brightest that the Soviet Union still had, was in the military.
They had 61 well equipped, crack divisions sitting near the border between the British and US occupation zones. Let’s say that represented 15,000 x 61 = 915,000 of the best the Soviet system could provide after years of slaughter. The Soviets drafted a staggering 34,000,000 soldiers over the course of the war. Of these 8,700,000 were casualties. That left 25,000,300 trained veterans available for WWIII in May 1946. During the war 394 divisions were fielded. 15000 per division x394 = 5,910,000 with 8.7 million casualties for a total of men 14,610,000 needed for the entire war. 25,000,300-14,600,000, on paper they still had 10,000,000 veterans that they could call upon. Lets say that 20% were unfit for duty, 10million x 80% = 8 million conservatively available.
In August of 1945 Operation August Storm took place. So less than 3 months after doing their part to rid the world of Nazis they had gathered over 1.5 million men using a single track railroad. By May Those troops minus 13000 casualties, were back West.
1.5 million men equals 100 division full of veteran fighters. They demonstratively had troops to spare to invade western Europe and slice through the 16 divisions of ill trained, non-veterans who were playing policeman. Yes they lost a lot of men but the 1.5 million veterans that were out east would be enough in May 1946.
How would you motivate your battle weary men to go back to war? The riches of Western Europe, with the biggest prize Switzerland had in its vaults unimaginable Nazi loot and treasure, Jewish jewels and gold.
By May, 1946 Germany was asking permission to export manufactured goods such as locomotives and rail cars. 80% of the bridges in Germany were repaired or replaced. In Germany food was being rationed to 1200 calories a day, not because there was a shortage but for political and punitive reasons. 2/3 of France was untouched by the war. Spain and Portugal had luxuries beyond a Soviet soldiers imagination.
Imagine this: You are summoned to a special meeting and only your company. It's held in the Officers building where the top brass gets briefed before telling you what to do no questions asked. Some atrocities are presented to demonize the remaining German population, the French,
British and Amerikosi. Highlighting the death camps and the use of the Germans for slaves, starving them, the French humiliating the women who had German soldiers for mistresses, with all the incongruities sweep under the table.
The presentation is incredible, going on and on about the treasures the Nazis have hidden and you're given a choice. For the first time in the Soviet Military system you are given a choice to stay in the desolate camps, walking the same trench system on guard duty for months on end or looting, pillaging and of course fighting Capitalism and its many cruelties.
Oops there I go with the Alternate History thread. Sorry about that.
Beria had taken the backbone and starch out of the Ukrainian Army and they were no longer a threat of any consequence to Stalin.
“By 1946, the UPA was reduced to a core group of 5-10 thousand fighters, and large-scale UPA activity shifted to the Soviet-Polish border. “
Ten thousand fighters is still a large rebellion but it was clear who was going to prevail and the rebellion was contained and without outside intervention. In my books they get that outside intervention but they are a work of Alternate History, whereas in reality they did not get the assistance they needed. The movement was exterminated by 1949.
WW III 1946 Books
SC3 EAW WW Three 1946 Mod and Naval Mods
WarPlan and WarPlan Pac Alpha and Be