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Old 06-21-2009, 03:18 PM
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Raellus Raellus is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Marana, AZ
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Originally Posted by kato13
Personally I feel the declassified materials released since 1989 drastically lower my opinion of what the USSR was capable of long term. They could have caused incomprehensible damage to western Europe in a short conflict, possibly destroying NATO but IMO internal pressures and logistical issues would have dealt them a serious blow if the conflict went on beyond 3 months.
I'd be interested to read this stuff. I'm not sure exactly what materials you're referring to but I am aware of the great internal and external pressures the Soviet economy was under during the late eighties. It simply could not compete with capatalist systems in the global, free market economy. But we're talking about a wartime economy here and that is quite different. A command economy has certain advantages over free market economies in wartime. For example, workers need not be paid in cash. Resources needed for war-related production can simply be commandeered instead of paid for. The USSR had a wealth of natural resources and wouldn't need to look outside its borders for much, negating the need to use hard-to-find hard capital. The Soviet Union prior to WWII was no economic powerhouse but it was able to mobilize and retool its industries to produce massive amounts of military hardware. In many ways, the pre-WWII economy was in worse shape than the USSR or 1989. The West simply doesn't have those luxuries.

Most wartime economies rely on defecit spending, and a command economy allows for a certain degree of added leeway that capitalist economies won't sanction. Just look at the defecit the U.S. has run up during the last 8 or so years which was due, in large part, to financing two "low-level intensity" wars. If anything, the western [capiltalist]democracies may have more trouble ramping up and maintaining the flow of weapons, munitions, and supplies under high-intensity war conditions. If the argument is that the Soviet Union couldn't have paid for a full-scale, two front war, it could just as easily be argued that the NATO nations couldn't have either.

With almost a year of full-scale combat with China under its belt, the Soviet Union would be well on its way to achieving a wartime economy. As Leg pointed out, reserve units would already be at least partially mobilized and factories would already be cranking out replacement weapons and munitions by the time Germany sprung its surprise reunification party. In that regard, at least, the Soviets would certainly have a leg up on the West.
Author of Twilight 2000 adventure module, Rook's Gambit, and campaign sourcebook, Korean Peninsula, available-
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