What if Japan invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa?

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What if Japan invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa?

Post by Cold War Communist on Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:48 pm

The title says it all. What do you think would have happened if Japan joined the war against the USSR as Germany plunged ahead, the iron dagger to the heart of communism? You don't need to go very far ahead in time as far as effects, but feel free if you're so inclined.
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Re: What if Japan invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa?

Post by Cobius on Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:48 pm

Hitler meets with the Japanese high command and gives them details concerning Operation Barbarossa. The Japanese pledge their support, and devise a plan to push into Siberia and Mongolia, while invading northern Sakhalin. When the day of Barbarossa arrives, Stalin is shocked to see the Red Army in shambles as the Germans rush into the Soviet Union. To make matters worse, Stalin now has to fight a two front war against the rabidly advancing Japanese. The problem for the Soviets is that they basically have to choose to favor fighting the Germans or the Japanese, as doing both would be incredibly difficult. The USSR was a very big country, and diverting troops and supplies to both ends would wear down the Soviet economy, and would be impossible if enemy aircraft damaged the few roads/train tracks that connected both ends. Obviously, Stalin would prioritize fighting the Germans, as western Russia actually has a sizable population and industrial facilities, where Siberia does not. However, Stalin cannot pull Siberian troops to assist on the Western Front because doing so would give Japan an uncontested invasion. This means that the Germans could very well have taken Moscow and Leningrad as planned, assuming Hitler doesn't intervene as heavily as he did IRL. When winter sets in, the Germans hold up about thirty miles past Moscow and Leningrad, and prepare to defend against a Soviet counterattack. Meanwhile, much of Siberia and Mongolia is now under Japanese occupation, who use the winter as a chance to prepare defenses.
As Axis reinforcements arrive, the Soviets make a hastily planned counterattack against the Germans, on Stalin's order. The Red Army loses decisively, and the Germans use this as a chance to advance closer to the Urals, while the Japanese do likewise. Eventually, the Soviet threat is diminished because Stalin orders premature counterattacks and allows the Axis to advance further into it's territory. The Germans and Japanese leave a garrison force in the occupied territories and instead decide to focus on other more pressing fronts. Whether America joins the Allies or if Pearl Harbor even happens is up for debate, but I believe that with no Soviet threat to the Germans, they would easily have defended their European territories, and might have been able to conduct Operation Sealion. The Japanese could also try to wipe out China, but whether or not they could do this is uncertain.


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Re: What if Japan invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa?

Post by Cold War Communist on Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:56 pm

That is as well thought out a scenario as I have ever imagined.
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Re: What if Japan invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa?

Post by Kim Jong-un on Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:01 pm

I think the principal effect this would have on the outcome of the war is that the US would enjoy a significant advantage during the Cold War.

Firstly, the Pacific naval campaign would have been greatly expedited. By dedicating much of their resources to occupying and fortifying their continental conquests, Japan would be left with a weaker defensive effort in the Pacific as they would find it harder to supply their massive navy. The effect of all this would be that at the end of the war, the US would be able to seize much more territory than we did in our timeline.

Secondly, the Soviets would never have had the opportunity to gain the strategic position in East Asia they got in our timeline. The Soviet Union was a formidable force, but there is no way they could have conducted a defensive two-front war. Russia is a very big country, and at the time they had virtually no West-East transportation infrastructure to speak of. They simply did not have the means to supply a second front over thousands of miles of desolate terrain, especially as the Nazis were presenting an imminent existential threat from the West. Therefore, Japan would most certainly have been able to pursue a successful continental campaign. Since Japan would have pushed the Soviets out of East Asia, we would not have to contend with a Soviet presence in Korea, thereby averting the disastrous Korean War. We might even have been able to gain a strategic foothold on the Western side of the Bering Strait.

Thirdly, with the Japanese draining some of Russia's resources from the East, the counteroffensive of 1943 - 1945 would probably have been more protracted. I'm not saying the Nazis would have had any chance of success on the Eastern Front, but the Soviets would be slower to advance westward. The result would be a shift in the European balance of power in which the Western powers would likely come to control all of Germany and perhaps a bit of Eastern Europe as well.

In short, Russia would lose its transcontinental geographic advantage and its list of client states would be much shorter, making the Cold War much easier for the US to win.
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Re: What if Japan invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa?

Post by Cold War Communist on Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:57 pm

Another very interesting response. I did not think of the potential weaknesses the Soviet Union would have had because I didn't expect it to survive in its Communist form.
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