Table of contents:
- What was the purpose of the Unthinkable plan and what was it intended to do?
- "The Russians will not compromise, they need all of Europe": or how the United States and Britain were preparing to attack the USSR
- Who transmitted information about Operation Unthinkable to Moscow?
- Why Churchill's plan was not implemented
Before the Second World War ended, the British Joint Planning Headquarters of the War Cabinet began to develop a plan for another war - this time with the Soviet Union. The order to prepare an operation to seize the territory of an unsuspecting ally was issued in April 1945 by Winston Churchill. The British Prime Minister was convinced that after the withdrawal of American troops, the Russians would take over the whole of Europe, establishing their communist rule in it.
What was the purpose of the Unthinkable plan and what was it intended to do?
The plan, codenamed Unthinkable, was designed as a British offensive with the involvement of the United States against the USSR. The purpose of the aggression was: first in the forceful ousting of the Soviet army from the Polish lands liberated by it, and then in the invasion of the territory of the ally.
For a sudden blitzkrieg, borrowed from the German-fascist theorists, it was planned to involve not only Anglo-American troops, but also Polish, Hungarian, and even undisbanded German divisions that remained in the western part of Europe. The plan was developed in strict secrecy against the background of ostentatious friendliness towards the Soviet side. Preparations for the Third World War began almost a month before Germany signed the Act of Surrender, officially admitting defeat in the Second World War.
"The Russians will not compromise, they need all of Europe": or how the United States and Britain were preparing to attack the USSR
By May 22, 1945, the development of Unthinkable was complete - literally in a matter of weeks, the plan took its final form. Together with the objectives of the operation, it provided an alignment of the current situation, enumerated the forces involved, and predicted the likely results after specific strikes by Western and American allied forces.
There was also an appendix with additional information. It contained cartographic material, as well as data on the location of Western troops and units of the "Russian army" (this is the term used in English documents instead of the name Red Army). The main general political goal of the operation was to forcefully impose the will of Great Britain and the United States on the future of Poland on the Soviet Union. At the same time, the developers of the operation did not rule out that the conflict zone would go beyond the designated territory - up to Arkhangelsk and Stalingrad, where the defeated Hitler was striving, embodying the Barbarossa plan.
It was assumed that the land company would begin with a two-way attack: along the northern line of Stettin, Schneidemühl, Bydgoszcz; and southern - Leipzig, Cottbus, Poznan, Breslau. Together with the factor of surprise, the stake was placed on massive tank attacks and support for them with bombing air strikes. As for the composition of the troops, the British planned to use about 83 divisions in the operation, the total number of which exceeded a million soldiers.
Who transmitted information about Operation Unthinkable to Moscow?
According to recently declassified documents from the archives of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Joseph Stalin learned about Churchill's plans on May 18: it was on that day that the Kremlin received a telegram labeled "Superlightning" and "Top Secret." Strictly confidential and urgent information, which was transferred to the Center from Britain by the military attache, Major General Sklyarov, was obtained by a secret agent with the code name H.
According to the agent, whose authentic data are still under strict secrecy, preparations for a war with the Soviet Union have begun in Great Britain. For these purposes, at the direction of the Prime Minister, military specialists - Generals Peak and Thompson, Colonel Tangey, Deputy Chief of the Planning Department Colonels Barry and other authoritative employees - are accelerating the development of the plan "Unthinkable". Important messages related to the operation of the attack on the USSR were not the only reports of agent X. It is known that during the war the top secret agent transmitted many other, no less valuable information.
Why Churchill's plan was not implemented
The finished plan was to be approved by high-ranking military personnel; On June 8, 1945, they delivered their own, disappointing conclusion for Churchill. In the opinion of the senior staff officers, much more forces were required for the land attack operation than was available. So, American and Western troops could oppose 264 Soviet divisions with only 103 units of equal size, and 11,742 Soviet aircraft with only 8,798 units of Western air equipment, even with a double superiority in terms of strategic aviation. An indisputable, but in this case useless advantage, the Anglo-Americans had only at sea.
Based on the assessment of the alignment of forces, the British command made two conclusions: the impossibility of a quick end to the war and the lack of military forces in the event of its prolonged conduct. In addition, an all-out war would require a lot of money and the unshakable reliability of the allies. The Americans, on the other hand, had problems with the Japanese at that time, and considered it a priority to achieve success in the Pacific area. By the way, the Americans themselves did not show a desire to get involved in the war with the USSR at this stage. They were testing a nuclear bomb that promised them unprecedented military superiority, and ambition no longer allowed them to dance to the British tune. In addition, they had to defeat the Kwantung Army and they needed the help of the Soviet armed forces.
As a result, Churchill agreed with the arguments of his own and the American military, but did not abandon the idea itself: he instructed to rework the plan, making it in a defensive version. According to Sir Winston, after the withdrawal of the Americans from Europe, the Russians could advance to the North Sea and Atlantic, with the subsequent goal of capturing the British Isles. However, Churchill himself was unlikely to be sure of this development of events - when ordering the finalization of the plan, he said: "Leaving the operation of the old code name, we understand that the new version of the plan is a preliminary outline of what is more likely only a hypothetical probability …".
In ordinary life, the British Prime Minister was very fond of joking. Sometimes quite spicy. Curious to know why Churchill wanted to drink coffee with poison, as well as other jokes of great people.