The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

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Futurist
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The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by Futurist » 14 Nov 2020 23:59

What if the Soviet Union (well, a somehow more rational Soviet Union) would have halted its northern offensive in the Polish-Soviet War at the Curzon Line (roughly the Grodno-Brzesc line) in July-August 1920--and setting up defenses there--as opposed to going all of the way to the outskirts of Warsaw? :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish%E2 ... t_1920.png

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In such a scenario, the Soviet Union would have decided to focus all of its military energies on conquering southeastern Poland--specifically the Lwow-Stryj-Stanislawow territories. Anyway, what would the Poles have done in such a scenario? Would the Poles have been able to protect southeastern Poland from being conquered by the Soviets and destroy the hypothetical Soviet defensive lines on the northern part of the Curzon Line--thus still allowing Poland to conquer the entire Kresy? Or would the Soviet gamble in such a scenario have actually succeeded--with the Soviets ultimately getting the Curzon Line as their western border in 1920-1921 in both the north and the south?

Also, what would have ultimately been the fate of the Baltic countries in such a scenario? Would the Soviet Union have managed to successfully conquer them in 1920-1921 or would they have still managed to protect and secure their independence during this time, as was the case in real life?

Thoughts?

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by wm » 15 Nov 2020 00:29

That's the biggest military mistake possible. To give the enemy respite, to give time to reorganize.
Defense is irrational, the last resort of the defeated, the sign of structural weakness.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by Futurist » 15 Nov 2020 02:01

So, you think that the Polonkadonks (Poles) in such a scenario would have still been able to reconquer the Kresy?

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by gebhk » 15 Nov 2020 05:11

Don't see it mate. The Soviet objective was nothing less than overrunning the whole of Europe, watering their horses in the Seine and all that. There is no earthly reason why they would have stopped on the Curzon line unless they had a department of crystal-gazing in the politburo which could have known the outcome of the Battle of Warsaw in advance (or had the benefit of hindsight as we do :wink:).

In much the same way we can speculate what would have happened if Hitler got the Sudetenland or Poland and stopped there. The point is he wasn't interested in the Sudetenland or Poland per se, his and his government's whole reason for being was to invade the USSR to gain lebensraum. In short your scenario would only have any foundation if the USSR wasn't the USSR - in which case there would have been no war in the first place.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by wm » 15 Nov 2020 07:50

Futurist wrote:
15 Nov 2020 02:01
So, you think that the Polonkadonks (Poles) in such a scenario would have still been able to reconquer the Kresy?
Of course, the Polish Army was the most modern in Eastern Europe, with lots of tanks and planes. The Bolsheviks had nothing.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by Art » 15 Nov 2020 08:35

gebhk wrote:
15 Nov 2020 05:11
Don't see it mate. The Soviet objective was nothing less than overrunning the whole of Europe, watering their horses in the Seine and all that.
That's Polish patriotic myth.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by Futurist » 15 Nov 2020 09:15

wm wrote:
15 Nov 2020 07:50
Futurist wrote:
15 Nov 2020 02:01
So, you think that the Polonkadonks (Poles) in such a scenario would have still been able to reconquer the Kresy?
Of course, the Polish Army was the most modern in Eastern Europe, with lots of tanks and planes. The Bolsheviks had nothing.
So, how did the Poles allow the Bolsheviks to get so close to Warsaw in the first place?

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by wm » 15 Nov 2020 11:55

Because of the enormous distances, the front was thinly manned and the (more numerous) Bolsheviks were repeatedly able to outmaneuver the Poles and threaten their logistics. But the Poles eventually, as they say, got their s. together at Warsaw.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by gebhk » 15 Nov 2020 23:17

That's Polish patriotic myth.
I've never thought of Michail Tukhachevski and JFC Fuller as Polish patriots, but anything is possible :wink:

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by Futurist » 16 Nov 2020 21:12

gebhk wrote:
15 Nov 2020 23:17
That's Polish patriotic myth.
I've never thought of Michail Tukhachevski and JFC Fuller as Polish patriots, but anything is possible :wink:
That Polska kielbasa can make anyone a Polish patriot! ;)

https://www.curiouscuisiniere.com/wp-co ... 947.21.jpg

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by wm » 16 Nov 2020 22:54

It seems the orders to conquer Germany and Western Europe were really given, even by Tukhachevsky (in his case probably for propaganda reasons).
But that reflected mostly the Soviet leaders' dilettantism and doctrinalism (the more advanced country the riper for revolution and similar nonsense) and nothing else. It was not going to happen.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by Art » 17 Nov 2020 08:05

gebhk wrote:
15 Nov 2020 23:17
That's Polish patriotic myth.
I've never thought of Michail Tukhachevski and JFC Fuller as Polish patriots, but anything is possible :wink:
I don't remember that Tukhachevsky said or wrote anything like that. The Soviet leadership was toying with ideas of revolutionazing Poland from abroad, but this was an opportunistic reaction to military success on the front rather than some well defined and well thought plan. The idea of the Red Army of 1920 coping with the first-rate European army like the French Army is simply laughable for anybody knowing its situation.
It's important that the Soviet government rejected the British mediation but didn't refuse from negotiations with Poland in principle and even claimed for PR purpose that they were ready to agree to a border east of the Curzon line. They didn't put eggs in one basket. Both scenarios (Polish-Soviet armistice based on some borderline, and a military collapse of Poland) were possible in principle.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by wm » 17 Nov 2020 11:45

Against the French Army with its artillery, tanks, planes it would be a suicide.
But Trotsky probably would have said that French workers, lead by their class instinct would surely desert en-masse and join class-brothers of theirs, i.e., the Red Army.

Actually, the core of the Polish Army - The Blue Army was a part of the French Army just a few years earlier, fought on the Western Front, was equipped with the most modern (French) weapons there were at that time.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by gebhk » 17 Nov 2020 12:56

From Tukhachevski:

There can be no doubt that if we had been victorious on the Vistula, the revolutionary fires would have reached the entire continent

Heroic soldiers of the Red Army!
The time of reckoning has come!
The army of the Red Standard and the army of the rapacious White Eagle are facing each other before battle to the death.
The road to worldwide conflagration leads over the corpse of White Poland.
On our bayonets we will bring happiness and peace to the working masses.
To the West!
(Order No 1423, Smolensk, 2 July 1920) - ie before the show even kicked off..... The objective of the operation - the spreading of international revolution beyond Poland on the point of a Soviet bayonet - could not be more clearly set out.

And this from Budyonny - a reference to the 300K cavalry the Tsar had at his disposal:
If I had had those 300 thousand, I would have ploughed Poland over and before the end of the summer, our horses' hooves would have thundered in the squares of Paris.

The following from Lenin, 1920:
German steam hammers together with Russian bread will conquer the world.

and later:
Everything in Europe was for the taking. However, Pilsudski and his Poles caused a gigantic, unheard of calamity to the worldwide revolutionary cause.

Clara Zetkin, German communist, 1929:
I wrote Lenin what the avant-garde of the German working class felt, when comrades with the Soviet Red Star on their caps (-) were steering their brave little horses straight for the German border.

I could go on interminably, quoting Soviets, Americans, Frenchmen, Britons but the above is more than enough. It is not a myth but a commonly-held opinion - one could go so far as to say: a consensus of opinion or position. Secondly it is an opinion that is not held or generated exclusively by Poles (patriotic or otherwise) but internationally.

How much of the commonly held view is realistic and how much of the Soviet pronouncements both before and after the event were pure bombast (Budyonny springs to mind) and/or propaganda is an altogether different matter - probably worthy of a separate thread. The problem with rational analysis of (say) how the Red Army would match up to the French one is that that is not how much of the Soviet leadership viewed the matter. Like all ideologues they had their blind spot and theirs was that 'simply waving a red flag' (not my words, but alas can't bring to mind exactly whose), was going bring out the masses in support of the Red Army. Needless to say not everyone shared this point of view - some at least more realistic individuals viewed, at least privately, the Polish adventure as a test case and were quickly disabused of any illusions they may have had. The overall lesson, however, was well-learnt and thenceforth more subtle approaches than the point of a bayonet were adopted to spread world-wide revolution.

However, WM is absolutely right that in 1920 the Red Army was not going to stop until it was stopped. Therefore the scenario of the Red Army stopping on the Curzon line and negotiating when they were, for the moment, motoring along, is simply a nonstarter I'm afraid. Yes, I am sure the Soviets had a contingency plan for a negotiated peace along the Curzon Line (and no doubt many other scenarios) but this was only going to be put into effect if the Red Army was stopped on or around the Curzon Line.

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Re: The Soviet Union halts its northern offensive at the Curzon Line in July-August 1920

Post by gebhk » 17 Nov 2020 13:06

The Blue Army (-), was equipped with the most modern (French) weapons there were at that time.
The Poles also had a massive advantage in that they had broken the Soviet cyphers as early August/September 1919. Coupled with an (for the time) efficient radio-eavesdropping network, they were privy to much of Soviet strategic and operational planning.

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