World War III
World War III was the biggest war that never happened. World War III was to be the final conflict between the Socialist Camp and the Western Imperialists. Possibly the Cold War was World War III in very slow motion. In 1990, events in Eastern Europe created the strange possibility that the threat of World War III was over.
C. Wright Mills went after the American "power elite" and their "crackpot realism," which, in his view, would inevitably lead to nuclear war sooner or later. Dire warnings about the imminence of World War III were common in the 1950s, as the world adjusted to the introduction of nuclear weapons. C. Wright Mills and other critical writers exaggerated the power of the military in American society and the weakness of civilian social forces. Mills acourgeds uncommitted, stand-aside intellectuals and asserts their role as moral and cultural critics, interpreters, and informants to the people. In the years since Mills published The Causes of World War III, the mass society asserted itself and nonnuclear conflicts became the major threats to world peace.
Tensions between the Soviet Union and the West escalated during the post-World War II period and declarations by leaders on both sides, including Stalin and Churchill, and strategists, such as United States diplomat George Kennan, began to formally announce the existence of a Cold War. At the heart of their message was recognition of the posturing by the two superpowers with opposing ideologies and world views.
In February 1946, Stalin’s Soviet Party Congress speech made the growing East-West conflict seem inevitable. Cold War historian Walter LaFeber discussed how Stalin’s speech cast a pall over contemporary East-West negotiations, “In an election speech of February 9, the Soviet dictator announced that Marxist-Leninist dogma remained valid, for ‘the unevenness of development of the capitalist countries’ could lead to ‘violent disturbance’ and the consequent splitting of the ‘capitalist world into two camps and the war between them.’ War was inevitable as long as capitalism existed. The Soviet people must prepare themselves for a replay of the 1930s by developing basic industry instead of consumer goods and, in all, making enormous sacrifices demanded in ‘three five- year plans, I should think if not more.’ There would be no peace, internally or externally. These words profoundly affected Washington. Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, one of the reigning American liberals, believed that Stalin’s speech meant ‘The declaration of World War III.’”
Two weeks after Stalin’s speech, in late February 1946, United States diplomat George Kennan responded to a State Department request for an analysis of Soviet expansionism and global intentions with what became another such declaration of a Cold War. Kennan’s response, later given the descriptive title “The Long Telegram,” warned that Soviet policies assumed western hostility and that Soviet expansionism was inevitable.
Conflict continued with the Soviet Union determined to push the United States and its allies out of West Berlin. In June 1948, the Soviets imposed a blockade on West Berlin in an attempt to cut off supplies to the city. The United States and its allies began to supply the city with a massive airlift of unprecedented size, and the Soviets ended the blockade in May 1949. The United States’ commitment to Western Europe’s defense, exemplified by efforts during the Berlin Blockade, led to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in April 1949.
Shortly after the lifting of the Berlin Blockade, in August 1949, the Soviet Union broke the American nuclear monopoly by developing its own atomic bomb. The Soviets had matched the United States’ key technology sooner than most expected. Communism seemed everywhere on the move, exemplified by the crises described above and then most dramatically with the North Korean invasion of June 1950 that began the Korean War.
In World War II, the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan), did not wage war until they were on a military par with their enemies. This was predicated on the traditional military and political theories of war prevailing at the time.
Avoiding World War III in Asia
For a time, following the entry of Chinese troops in late November 1950, there was widespread concern in the United States that the Korean invasion was the first phase of a Soviet-inspired World War III that would soon engulf Europe as well as Asia. Planning began to simultaneously provide massive support for anti-Communist guerrillas in China and paramilitary activity in Europe. Emergency war plans were drawn up. In this crisis atmosphere, the Department of Defense urged the CIA to begin to accelerate many other war-related programs: evasion and escape planning, the build-up of supplies, training of para-military forces, increased propaganda, encouragement of Soviet defections, economic defense programs, and the like.
Truman's primary concern was preventing World War Three. by its timing, its course, and its outcome it functioned as a substitute for World War III. it helped to prevent the occurrence of an even more destructive conflict in Europe.
In the age of "nuclear holocaust" with fears of World War Three prevalent, President Truman did not want to take any unecessary chances. He was in fear of "gambling his career on an unpopular strategy, and losing." It was at this point in the war that Truman decided on a plan of limited war, i.e., limited objectives. As the fighting continued on the Korean peninsula, many senior US State and Defense officials believed that Korea was the beginning of World War Three. These officials thought that Korea was a distraction and the "real war" would entail a Soviet invasion of Europe.
World leaders' view that the escalation of the war to include atomic weapons may provoke the Soviets into the war on the side of the Chinese. Fear of a similar atomic response from the Soviets may launch World War Three. President Truman responded by announcing that only the President could authorize the use of atomic weapons, thus comforting the world with the belief that this limited war would not escalate into a total war using atomic weapons.
Truman's decision to commit American power to save South Korea from Communist aggression in late June 1950 stands as perhaps America's finest moment of the Cold War. By making a difficult commitment, by sacrificing over 30,000 American lives in the end, Truman upheld Western values and interests where they were directly threatened.
The United States and Soviet Union engaged in an arms race involving weapons of land, sea, and air. There was even a competition in space. There were crises. A few crises did become wars (e.g., Korean and Vietnam Wars). The Cuban Missile Crisis came close to igniting World War III.
Operation ANADYR, as the secret deployment of the Soviet missiles in Cuba that led to the showdown with the United States in October 1962 was code-named, proved to be the most dangerous moment during the Cold War. The two superpowers were face to face in a dispute over nuclear weapons. Had either Kennedy or his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev reacted too sharply, the crisis would have escalated into the Third World War. The US naval quarantine of Cuba was accompanied by a series of military and diplomatic moves and countermoves which were not all authorized by the political leadership of the two main opponents. Remarkably enough, Khrushchev stepped back after a week of taut confrontation.
During Vietnam, Johnson was preoccupied with the fear of war with China or even worse, World War Three and nuclear confrontation.
After two decades of skirting World War III in the Pacific, the focus turned to Europe. The Pacific theater was neglected in in a NATO-Warsaw Pact war because most war scenarios envisioned a struggle lasting no more than 30 to 60 days. As a result, the conflictis over too quickly in most scenarios for the interrelationships between the NATO and Pacific theaters to develop conceptually. However, in a long-war scenario, the Pacific theater's importance in the course and outcome of such a conflict becomes apparent. The military, industrial, and technological potential of the Pacific nations, especially China and Japan, combined with the U.S., constitute a reserve of strength capable of containing or reversing any Soviet success in a conventional conflict in Europe.
NATO and the U.S. Pacific Command seemed to be preparing for different wars. Because the conventional balance favored the Soviets in Europe, NATO held out the possibility that the allies might resort to nuclear weapons to halt a conventional attack by the Soviet Union. Thus, NATO refused to abandon a "first use" nuclear option, even though Moscow's buildup in strategic, theater, and tactical nuclear weapons had rendered NATO's nuclear threat less and less credible. US commanders in the Pacific, on the other hand, favored a conventional war because US naval forces enjoyed an edge in that area over the Soviet Pacific Fleet. In short-war scenarios, the conflict would be over too quickly for the interrelationships between the two theaters to develop conceptually. So NATO and the Pacific Command planned for two separate wars.
Imagining World War III in Europe
If the deterrent aspect of containment failed, an invasion of Western Europe would represent a desperate effort by the Soviet Union to break out of containment - whatever the precipitating cause in various scenarios: opportunism vis-a-vis Yugoslavia as in Hackett's Third World War: a need for Gulf oil as in Clancy's Red Storm Rising: or internal troubles in the Soviet Union or Eastern bloc. It would signify Moscow's failure to undermine containment through diplomacy, intimidation, or ideological example. However, it would also represent a determination by the Kremlin that the "correlation of forces" favored the Soviet Union, and that containment could be broken by military action.
Soviet conventional superiority on the continent had posed a problem for NATO planners since the inception of the alliance. Moscow's conventional strength was largely countered by U.S. superiority in strategic and tactical nuclear weaponry. By the late 1970s, the Soviet Union had caught up with the U.S. in numbers and sophistication of both strategic and tactical weapons.
By the 1980s, as the Soviet Union's strategic, theater, and tactical nuclear capabilities had grown to the point that they had largely neutralized the U.S. advantage in these areas, the Soviets put increasing emphasis on a NATO-Warsaw Pact war fought entirely at the conventional level. Because the Soviets enjoyed a decided edge in conventional capabilities, the U.S. and its NATO allies would be forced to decide whether to use nuclear weapons. The idea of using nuclear weapons would raise the specter of a Europe and perhaps an America devastated beyond recovery. If the Soviet Union can put NATO in the position of having to decide on suicide or defeat, NATO might well accept defeat.
Arguing for one’s ideas regarding tomorrow’s warfare through narrative fiction is a time-honored tactic among defense futurists. Hector Bywater’s 1925 novel The Great Pacific War, which was remarkably (though not perfectly) accurate in describing World War II in the Pacific 15 years later. What is not as well-known is that Bywater, a top naval writer of his time wrote a nonfiction book in 1921 called Sea Power in the Pacific that described much of his views.
Sir John Hackett’s superb book from 1978, The Third World War, with the assistance from numerous military and civilian experts, foretold the beginning and conduct of World War III — starting in 1985. Readers knew it was fiction, but the details within the book made it seem so incredibly real. It was a powerful book, -- it's little known now. Hackett, a retired British Army general officer, was aided in the writing of his novel by other retired NATO officers.
The Third World War: August 1985 is a thought-provoking work by retired British General Sir John Hackett and an advisory team of experts. Hackett’s purpose was to present his thesis that the only alternative to a nuclear holocaust in World War III is for the West to be prepared adequately to wage the most advanced conventional war against the Soviet Union and its satellites. To dramatize his argument, Hackett constructed a detailed account of a hypothetical three-week war between West and East erupting and ending in August 1985. In that war, a West much more powerful in conventional weapons and armed forces than are the United States and Europe today just barely manages to bring the Soviet onslaught to a halt. The Soviet Union’s failure to achieve victory swiftly triggers its disintegration.
One chapter, dedicated entirely to Ireland, has the Republic joining the war effort after a gradual pre-war withdrawal from neutralism based in part on her membership of the EEC, and in part on a Franco-Irish defense pact concluded well before the outbreak of hostilities. According to Hackett, Irish facilities would be important: "The use of Shannon and west coast sites , was vital for maritime operations in the Atlantic; availability of Irish airfields and ports was essential for the successful operation of the Atlantic 'air bridge' reinforcement operations into France and Britain for the European front; and the deployment of mobile radar and other surveillance systems would give much needed depth to NATO's air defence against Sovie% attack, by sea or air, from the West."
In Hackett's second offering, "Third World War: The Untold Story", a Soviet incursion into Yugoslavia in July 1985 is blunted by defeat at the hands of the U.S. Marine Corps, an incident publicized worldwide. This embarrassment accelerates the Soviet decision to invade and conquer West Germany, the Benelux nations, Scandinavia, and south-central Europe, and to gain control of the Dardanelles—in ten days, according to plan—and then call for negotiations with the United States from a position of strength. The Warsaw Pact forces advancing into West Germany meet with greater than expected resistance and are brought to a virtual standstill far short of their objective, the Rhine River. Mounting allied counterattacks, the defection of some satellite and even Russian military units, and anti-Soviet partisan operations behind the lines compel Soviet retreats in West Germany.
In a last-ditch effort to frighten the West into negotiations, the Russians explode a nuclear missile over Birmingham, England, devastating that city. In retaliation, four American and British nuclear missiles destroy Minsk, the capital of Byelorussia. With disorganization and revolt in the Soviet sphere increasing rapidly, Ukrainian nationalists seize control of the Russian Politburo, and the Ukraine and other Soviet constituent republics declare their national independence. The threat to the West from the Soviet Union ended.
John Skow, one of Time magazine’s regular contributors, for instance. He denigrated the thrust of Hackett’s first book as merely a request to support "our local military-industrial complex." He dismisses the theme of the new book in similar terms: it is "to trust the West’s stalwart military men and give them whatever costly whizbangs they ask for." Skow accuses the author of galling "Blimpish prejudice," "a tone of righteous contempt," "lip-smacking language," and making the "military mind seem demented."
The locale "First Clash: Combat Close-Up in World War Three", by Kenneth Macksey is West Germany during the opening days of World War III. At face value, the book might appear to be similar to General Sir John Hackett's The Third World War, August 1985, but First Clash concentrates on warfare as seen by tankers and infantrymen at the platoon, company, and battalion level. He writes in vivid detail of their anxiety at what awaits them during deployment and as they take up battle positions prior to being probed by reconnaissance elements of the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Division.
When the heat of the main battle is described in vivid detail, the reader feels as if he is there in person. First Clash also puts in perspective the command pressuresfor success placed on both the defenders and the attackers, both through theeyesand thoughtsof the men fighting and dying, as well as from the standpoint of officers commanding the units engaged. The book is filled with photos taken during actual field exercises. It also capsulizes key leadership and tactical lessons, which are worthwhile for commanders and staff officers to take note of.
RedStorm Rising is the story of World War III in Europe and the Atlantic. The entire novel is reminiscent of Sir John Hackett's opening chapters in The Third World War, August 1985. Red Storm Rising, though, was one of the best war novels to come out in the past twenty years. Clancy didn't claim to be predicting anything; he simply was telling a story.
The reader of this book sees the war through the eyes of the intelligence officer, the pilot of a STEALTH F-19, the submarine captain, an isolated US Air Force lieutenant on an invaded Iceland. a US Navy frigate captain, the platoon leader in the 1 1 th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and SACEUR. But there is also get the other side. From the highest levels of Soviet political leadership to the commanders of Soviet airborne and tank divisions, the opening weeks of World War III play out. The action is fast-paced and real.
Clancy recreates the tension of waiting for a Soviet regimental attack and the action that results within the turret of the M1. We live through the stress faced by seamen in the combat information centers on board both our nuclear submarines and our surface action ships. We learn what it's like to attack across the Inter-German border at treetop level in the dark of night inside the super-secret F-19 STEALTH aircraft.
World War III was a classic cold war movie /miniseries made in 1982. When starving mobs begin rioting in the streets of Moscow, Soviet leaders believe they have no recourse but to seize the Alaskan pipeline to force the United States to end the grain embargo that has brought turmoil to the U.S.S.R. These are the events, so terrifyingly similar to yesterday’s headlines that bring the superpowers to the brink of World War III. Starring Brian Keith in an extraordinary performance as the Soviet Secretary-General and Rock Hudson as the beleaguered American President, World War III is suspense and intrigue in epic proportions. From a lonely battleground at an Alaskan valve station to the inner sanctums of world power, World War III brings the worst fears of humankind to the screen with an intensity that is all the more nightmarish because is it so believably real.
Six short novels were published in the Tales of World War III: 1985 series. The books contained in this bundle cover various characters and settings in a mid-80s war-that-never-was between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Circles of Damage: The 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group faces off against a determined Soviet tank regiment commander on a vital mission. Storm Scarred Banner: Norway is invaded by the Soviet Union on the first day of the war. Two young men on opposite sides of the conflict must come to terms with the reality that confronts them.
A Hollow Victory: A Polish airborne and Soviet amphibious invasion in Denmark forces the country to surrender but resistance within the country builds as the occupation brutally attempts to suppress dissent. Enemy Lines: A US Special Forces team operating behind enemy lines is sent on a series of missions that could sway the outcome of the war in the Central European theater. The Battle for Berlin: The Special Emergency Commando unit is assigned the impossible task of defending West Berlin from the East Germans. Can the team survive both betrayal and bloodshed? Harrier Air War: 1985: With most of NATO's airbases damaged or destroyed, a flight of Harrier pilots conducts a guerilla-style air war on the first day of the conflict.
Each book is approximately 20,000 to 30,000 words in length. The stories are based both on research and scenarios played out in wargames. They are written primarily for audiences who enjoy reading fast and fun military action.
In The Red Tide, book #1 by Harry Kellogg, the attack takes place a good year later in August of 1946, postulating that Stalin continued to keep his troops in Europe and armed rather than what he historically did. On the border of West Germany; Stalin has 60 mechanized divisions, composed of the battle hardened veterans. The US and Britain have demobilized their armies. Britain is bankrupt and rationing bread. Its empire is crumbling and its colonies are in revolt. Tens of thousands of USAAF and RAF planes have been dumped into the ocean, pushed into piles, crushed and left rotting in jungles around the world.
As a result much of the Allied infrastructure has already been converted back over to civilian construction and many of the best personnel have been discharged. These books are not written in any traditional style but is a combination of historical facts, oral histories, third person and first person accounts. They were inspired by "The Good War": An Oral History of World War Two (1984 in literature) by Studs Terkel and Cornelius Ryan's wonderful books "The Longest Day" and "A Bridge too Far". There is no hero or character development.
Over the years, the NATO Allies beefed up their ground capability, while the Soviets increased their air capability, even as the new jet and missile age began. The focal point of conflict remained in Germany — specifically the flat North German Plain and the Fulda Gap — through which the Soviets could pour all the way to the Channel if the Allies proved unprepared (or unable) to stop them.
Even if the Soviets were to succeed inoccupying much of West Germany in a short campaign, most of Europe's economic strength would be available to the alliance if the allies managed to hold at the Rhine. Indeed, West Germany east of the Rhine would be largely devastated and of little industrial benefit to the Soviet Union. Even if Europe west of the Rhine suffered economic losses (or were also lost), the U.S. would have access to Japan's economic and technological strength, which was second only to the US's own. A long-war strategy would pit U.S. strength against Soviet weaknesses — the potential capability of the US and its allies to wage a protracted war against an economically, industrially, and technologically inferior foe.
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