How does the British-Soviet invasion of Iran compare with the German invasion of Belgium in WWI?

The Allied invasion in Iran in 1941 was handled much more competent than the German invasion in Belgium in WW1

“War does not determine who is right, war determines who is left”, – Murphy’s Combat Laws.

The scale of civil/paramilitary resistance to occupation was incomparable. Belgium had its brave franc-tireurs that inflicted painful casualties onto advancing Germans to the point where the Germans decided they needed to make an example by shooting innocent civilians and destroying their property. Civilians in Iran either didn’t have the weapon or din’t feel compelled to try and help their overwhelmed troops. So beyond some sporadic rapes and violence that usually goes with wartime foraging, the Soviet and British troops didn’t see the point in making the civilians suffer more than necessary.

Iran could only dream of the war propaganda machine that the powers of Entente Cordiale possessed. Whatever crimes on the Iranian soil might have been committed, they didn’t come on record or weren’t used for whipping up nationalistic sentiments, and waned from memory.

Germans didn’t even try at first to cover up their own atrocities. They saw public executions as a warning for civilians not to get involved in resisting occupation. Therefore, plenty of pictures, witness evidence, documentation. And certainly, educated urban Belgians and their allies were in a much better position at documenting atrocities than

Iran, where poor illiterate farmers and shopkeepers made the vast majority at the time. As to Soviet Union of WW2, we learned the lesson from the WW1 Germans very well, and when messing with prisoners, or restive civilians, or class enemies we were always making sure there was not much evidence left.

War history is written by victors. We have to live with it.

Why WW2 began in the west, while the stated Nazi expansion plans were in the east?

The West had to be crushed first, before Hitler could open the second front in the east. Failure to do so led to his ultimate defeat in WW2

Contrary to the established terminology, the “Second Front” during WW2 was opened by Hitler on June 22, 1941. This was the day when Nazi Germany attacked their former ally, the Soviet Union, in the hope of a quick victory. In the meantime, even after the defeat of France in 1940, there were continuing military clashes in the west: in Africa, in the skies above Britain and around the Atlantic ocean.

Why did Hitler found himself fighting in the west long before the war with the Soviet Union, in spite of his old program of expansion to the East of Europe?

Imminence of threat

France was considered much more dangerous than anyone else. Militarily, it had the largest land force (Hitler didn’t know about the scale of Soviet military build-up), was closer to the German heartland than the USSR, and enjoyed strategic support from the UK.

As an ally of Poland, France find itself obliged to declare a war on Germany in September ’39. Going east with such an enemy force in the back in the state of war for Hitler would be an unacceptable risk. He needed to finish off the French before everything else.

Economic considerations

Hitler had an unsustainable budget deficit throughout his entire rule and started WWII with a debt of 40 billion Reichsmarks against a GDP of 30 billion Reichsmarks. Back in the 1930s, if you had the choice of Bolshevik Russia versus France for where to go for good old sacking and plunder, the choice was obvious.

Imperatives of national psyche

France was seen as the evil force in the recent German history. First as primary driving force maintaining German nations divided and in conflict with each other during the 17th and 18th century. Then, the brutal robber of German land, pride and wealth as the victor in WWI.

Strategic realities

France is much more suited for “blitzkrieg”, the cherished baby of Hitler´s geopolitical brain, than Russian plains where nature and the soil itself rejects paved roads. Besides, before engaging the USSR, he needed to take Poland, and Poland was tied with France.

Fateful error

The West had to be crushed first, before Hitler could open the second front in the east. With Britain defeated, or with a simple truce across the Channel, Hitler could have avoided dragging the US into the fray. Failure to do so led to his ultimate defeat in WW2.

Paradoxically, this also caused the annihilation of almost the entire Red Army in the battles of 1941. Stalin gambled that Hitler wouldn’t attack before striking a deal with Churchill — and almost lost the war.

Did Russia use chemical weapons in WW1?

Did Russia use chemical weapons during World War 1?

Russia was slow to adopt chemical weapons in WW1 but made extensive use of it starting in the second half of 1915.

One of the most successful uses was during the last victorious battle of the Russian Empire, Brusilov Offensive, one of the most lethal offensives in history with 2.000.000 troops lost on both sides.

According to HQ Commander of 7th Army General Nikolai Golovin, only during May 22th and 23rd, 1916 the Second Army Corps delivered 3,500 chemical munitions to Austrian positions. There is also documented use of chemical shells by the 9th Army of Infantry General Lechitsky during the Chernovtsy offensive.