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What if Soviets and the West had clashed in 1945? Who'd win that hypothetical World War 3?

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This video analyses the balance of military power in 1945, right after WW2 ended. Had a new world war broken out then, would the Soviets or the Western Allies fare better? Geography, production, population, technology as well as military power taken into account.


Image elements used in the thumbnail:

Winston Churchill by British Government / Public domain

C-47s at Tempelhof Airport Berlin 1948 by U.S. Air Force / Public domain

B-29 Superfortress by U.S. Air Force / Public domain










💬 Comments on the video
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"Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia."

Author — Charliecomet82

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Ultimately allied naval power and the fact that so much of their industry was safely hidden away in North America and England would have left Russia in the same situation as the Germans. A strong start, followed by a slow crushing loss by attrition. I don't doubt Stalin realized that

Author — nom chompsky

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Ussr: Yay there is only one plane
Ussr: “Remembers what some guy in Japan said about if you see a lone plane”
Ussr: “ ahhhh”
USA:”Why are you running”

Author — Garin K

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Patton wanted to attack Russia knowing that they were just as much a threat as the Nazis were. He wanted to enlist the defeated German Army to help. He was quite vocal about which is why they murdered him.

Author — Studa Baker

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This under estimates the vital importance of US aid, especially food, to the Soviets during the war. There was a bad famine in the USSR after the war and that was during peacetime with huge manpower being freed up to farm. Now imagine war continuing with the American lifeline cut off, the Baku oil fields being destroyed in bombing raids (no fertilizer, no tractor fuel), etc

Author — IrishCarney

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You mentioned it briefly when you talked about the Soviet losses in WW II, but Manpower would be quite a serious issue for the Red Army. MHV mentioned it in a bit more Detail in his "Top 7  Red Army Myths" Video, but to make it short: By late 1944 mayne Soviet nunits were under-strenght because they no longer had enough new recruits to fill the gaps, despite already recuiting a lot of people they would have deemed unfit before. In 1945 the situation only worsened.
Now Britain wasn't that much better of, the US was though, as was France.

Author — Stefan M

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The West would win this battle hands down because of the insane air superiority, the atom bomb, b-29s, many more allies, and the soviets were generally disliked by the world. Another major issue is that the soviets had lost a ton of people in the previous war and the amount conscripted was starting to destroy their economy. They were having manpower shortages in 1944 so while they have a ton of people in their army, the losses couldnt be replaced like the west could without destroying their war economy.

Author — JMK

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There is nothing the Soviets could do. Historically, they barely avoided famine at the end of WW2 and in the years immediately following, and only did so thanks to food shipments from America. If the Soviets went to war against the West, these food shipments would not come anymore. Can they wage a world war against a foe with atom bombs while they starve? I doubt it.

Author — Millitron

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Soviet manpower was nearly exhausted by 1945. It is unlikely the Soviets could’ve sustained a war for very long so unless they can make a rapid push to Paris and hope the Allied populations simply give up, there’s no way they could win. Although in contrast, I don’t think the Allies would be capable of actually successfully invading the USSR. Even with proper supplies for Winter, the infrastructure would be practically non existent at that point in the war. Once they reach the border, the US would probably just nuke them until they surrender or the citizens revolt against the government and end the war that way.

Author — SuperZombieBros

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My grandfather was a 1st sergeant(German was his first language) at Battle of the Bulge and was wounded. After he recovered in Britain he was put to interrogating German prisoners and he said "every single one asked when he would be given his American Uniform and guns to go fight the Soviets." Every single one asked him that, so they expected to fight the Soviets and they wanted to do it.

Author — Kyle Lassiter

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Ever one seems to forget the USSR lost 10 million of there army. Most of there main front line troops. They don't have
much left to draw on.

Author — Larry Rhoads

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Ah, the good old Comment Section. Where everyone is a Historian and also a War Analyst. Where disputes are solved by polite and constructive discussions.

Author — MrBlackHawk888

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Why they haven’t made a movie about this scenario is beyond me.

Author — Jon Raybon

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The west would have won, although it would have been a very bloody conflict.

Here is a list of western advantages;
1. Only the USA had nuclear weapons
1a. Only the Allies had methods of delivery for said weapons, to the point where the Soviets directly copied the B-29.
2. The Allies had air superiority in fighters, bombers, attackers, and trained crew.
3. The allied war machine was massively outproducing the USSR even before war.
4. The Allies could easily protect their air operations, using F-82s and P-80s, both in serial production in 1945.
5. Soviet technology was not up to spec with western technology, as seen in both aviation and tanks.
6. Following the scorched earth policy, the Soviets wouldn’t have too many defenses after fighting Germany, while the US lost less than 10, 000 people from attacks on its own soil.
7. Although it likely could have won the war agains the Nazis on its own, the USSR did extensively use American equipment through the lend-lease program, such as the M4 Sherman, P-39 Airacobra, P-63 Kingcobra, and A-20 Havoc.
8. There would likely be a lot of anti-Soviet sentiment in Germany that the allies could use to enlist more troops early in the war.
9. With the capture of Wernher Von Braun and his team, as well as America’s own guided weapons and rocket development, would lead to more accurate and more destructive missiles, and likely an alternate history space race where the USSR was never ahead.
10. The US was setting up relations with Japan as well, and could wage a two-front war against the Soviets with Japan as a starting base and troop supply.
11. The allies had the most experience in logistics, with capable freight aircraft like the C-47 and C-54, freight rails being built, and cargo ships being produced faster than they were being sunk.
12. Soviet quality of life was less than the allies, contrary to what twitter may make you believe. This would lead to a higher death rate and defection rate than the allies, while also wearing down Soviet populations.
12a. With dissenters being actively imprisoned or killed, the Soviets used a lot of resources and manpower to do so, in a similar way to how the Nazis used many resources and many men for the Holocaust, among other genocides and winderwaffe (important to note that not doing the Holocaust would not have saved Germany anywhere near enough resources to have a chance at victory).
13. Oil is important. The state of Texas ALONE outproduced Nazi Germany NINE TO ONE. In ten days the US produced more oil than Germany did per year. The US outproduced the Soviets on oil, and would screw over Soviet oil fields with air strikes.
14. The Soviets were worn down after WWII and would not be ready for another war, while a majority of the white US population lived happy, dancing to Jazz every night. The reduced morale would lead to less effectiveness and higher defection rate.
15 (final reason for now). The Allies had a much stronger bond than Soviet satellite states, as they allied willfully while the USSR was expanding and forcing communism. This would make both a material and moral difference, with many deaths, defections, and slow rebuild coming from the East.

Author — TheKSPGuy

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the only nuclear power in 1945, was the US

Author — DigitalFaction

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The Russians would have little to no ability to interdict Western industrial capacity or logistics. Strategically, this puts them on the defensive. However, tip of the spear they had more experience moving and coordinating large formations. Russia would have to try to force the Allies out of continental Europe quickly. Russia beat Germany when their airforces approached parity or when they had the superiority. They would not have this advantage against the West. Additionally, Russia relied heavily on American equipment for logistics, both road and rail. While this would still be available at the start of hostilities, spare parts would no longer be. Russian airpower was very good at low altitudes, but superior numbers from the west would cancel each other. High altitude, long range air warfare would favour the west. Without a very quick victory, Russia would be defeated by economics, food production issues, and the eventual loss of oil production, either from conventional or nuclear attack.

Author — Kevin W

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If this would have happened, Vatican San Marino, Malta, Andorra, Liechtenstein and the Isle of Man would have created an alliance and conquered the world

Author — Make Romania great again

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Yes! I've been waiting for something like this!

Author — Original Name

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Atomic bombs would have been used very quickly on Moscow

Author — Colin Jones

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Allies would quickly gain air superiority, could supply the troops on the western front through the Baltic Sea, (as well as attack Leningrad), open up multiple fronts in the soviets south, and East. Iran, India, pacific. Absolute naval and air supremacy, a weakened soviet power without lend lease? The allies win hands down. Bloody, millions dead. But a definite allied victory.

Author — Travis Schwartz