#2. Defense Scheme No. 1, aka The Canadian Invasion of the U.S.
Remember that whole invasion of Canada we were just talking about? Well, it turns out that the whole time the U.S. Army was planning to invade Canada, the Canadians were secretly planning their own invasion of the United States of America. Defence Scheme No. 1 was the brainchild of Canada's Director of Military Operations and Intelligence Lieutenant Colonel James "Buster" Sutherland Brown.
With a hat like that, he could have conquered anything.
Which Buster probably wouldn't have done if The New York Times hadn't accidentally broke a story on their front page about War Plan Red on May 1, 1935.
What Stopped It:
Despite being described as a "fantastic desperate plan [which] just might have worked," Defence Scheme No. 1 was terminated by the Canadian Chief of the General Staff Andrew McNaughton on the grounds that Canada had better things to do than invade the U.S. The scheme and its schemer were dismissed as "quixotic," which is probably a good thing in light of how Defense Scheme No. 1 was basically the bow and arrows to War Plan Red's uzis.
Actually, "Quixotic" was a good word to describe it.
If The War Had Happened...
If "Buster" Brown had his way, Seattle, Great Falls and Minneapolis would have all felt the full might of the Mounties in a spectacular sneak attack. Then, Albany and Maine would have been invaded as part of a counterattack against an anticipated Yankee invasion.
Canada would then fight a defensive war with the U.S. while they waited for the Royal Navy to sail in and finish the job from either ocean. The U.S. would have been under siege from every front. Had the United States and Canada gone to war again, there's a good chance that the winner would have been whoever struck first.
#1. Operation Unthinkable
As World War II started to wind down in Europe, it became clear that the U.S. and USSR would emerge as the two dominant superpowers of Earth. This did not bode well with various Allied leaders on account of Joseph Stalin being just as big an asshole as Hitler, but seriously... what could these guys do?
Without Stalin, they didn't have a prayer of winning "Best A Capella Group" in the talent show.
The Soviets had already taken the biggest beating in history and emerged stronger than the Incredible Hulk. They possessed half of Europe, some of the best generals that ever lived and a military that now numbered something north of 10 million; the largest army in history, ever, and perhaps the most experienced one to boot. Seriously, who would want to mess with these guys, especially after winning World War II thanks enormously to their help?
Google the nearest liquor stores to your house and drive to 10 of them. You still won't see half as much booze as this man alone put away between '39 to '45.
Churchill's fear of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe led to the British Chiefs of Staff Committee forming Operation Unthinkable on May 22, 1945. Although Churchill insisted that the operation was purely "hypothetical," it is worth noting that the plan's "overall or political object is to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and British Empire." In short, it was a contingency plan for a Soviet invasion that the Brits knew would never be coming because it was actually Churchill's plan for a preemptive war with the Soviet Union.
Operation Unthinkable called for "the date for the opening of hostilities" on July 1, 1945, a declaration of World War III while World War II was still winding down. And it didn't help that Churchill was fully aware of America's successful nuclear tests. In his mind, the United States and the United Kingdom would United Ass Kick the USSR if the Soviets kept up their aggressive posturing in Europe.
What Stopped It:
Numbers. Sheer numbers.
Ten million commies ain't nothin' but a thang.
As blood drunk as Churchill was, his Chiefs of Staff were sober enough to recognize that the Soviet land forces outnumbered the Allies two to one. And that's after the British planned to rearm 100,000 captured German soldiers to invade the Soviet Union. Bear in mind, this would be the second time the Germans invaded the USSR.
Second time's a charm!
The success of Operation Unthinkable would depend on the Americans, who weren't interested in jumping back into war while they were still fighting in the Pacific. Or, at all. Truman wasn't interested in fighting the Soviets. Ultimately, the whole thing was dropped before it got off the ground. And then Churchill was given the sack.
If The War Had Happened...
If there is one thing that should be taken out of the entire chronicle of military history, it is that Russia is really freaking hard to conquer. Hell, we're not even talking about Moscow here; Stalin was prepared all the way back to the Ural Mountains during WWII. Russia had winters, it had rivers, it had more mud than roads, it had the army that killed the most of the Germans during World War II.
Also, bear cavalry.
The only way we could have come even close to winning this war would be if the U.S. dropped the A-bomb. Since the U.S. had only two of them in its arsenal and it took exactly two to win the war in Japan, we would have pretty much started this war by stalling the one in the Pacific.
Most likely scenario: the Soviets would have kicked the ever-loving shit out of England and marched all the way to the Channel, while Truman told Churchill "I told you so."
For more baffling plans of war, check out Nuke the Moon: 5 Certifiably Insane Cold War Projects. Or learn about some conflicts that were just plain stupid, in The 5 Most Retarded Wars Ever Fought.
And stop by Linkstorm to see who's winning the Internet War.
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