- The letter describes each nation and its threat level to the Soviet Union.
- The letter assesses a multitude of the war scenarios and strategies.
- All the information played a vital role in the analysis and signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
A document compilation entitled “Fragile World in the Doorstep of War” was just released by Russia’ central military archive. It contains an assessment of the war threat to the Soviet Union with unique information hand written by Boris Shaposhnikov. He was a Soviet military commander, Chief of the Staff of the Red Army, and Marshal of the Soviet Union. The letter was addressed to Kliment Voroshilov, who was a prominent Soviet military officer and politician during the Stalin era, and describes each nation and its threat level to the Soviet Union.
Moreover, the letter includes supplementary information pertaining to the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact (Deutsch-polnischer Nichtangriffspakt), an international treaty between Nazi Germany and the Second Polish Republic that was signed on January 26, 1934. Shaposhnikov states that the Soviet Union needs to be ready to fight Germany, Italy and possibly Japan.
The letter assesses a multitude of the war scenarios and strategies:
The enemy military capabilities estimate
- Germany: 30 tanks, 3000 jets, 5 division
- Poland: 1,450 tanks, 1,650 jets, 16 brigades
- Total: 7,250 tanks and 4,650 airplanes
Germany and Poland would have to leave some of its forces on the western borders, possibly they will use it in offensive operation against the Czechoslovakian army.
It is estimated, Germany will send 26 divisions, 800 aircraft. Germany will leave 20 infantry divisions at the French border. During this time, Germany would have almost half of its divisions (46) left at the western and southern borders. Soviet borders will see Germany send 65 infantry divisions, 20 tank battalions and up to 2,100 planes.
Finland, Estonia, Latvia have 20 infantry divisions, 80 tanks and 436 planes.
Romania has 35 infantry divisions, 200 tanks and 639 aircraft.
In the East region:
Japan at war with China will mobilized all their army: 1,553 tanks, 1,420 planes, 43 infantry divisions.
If there is an armed conflict with the Soviet Union, Japan would have to send the majority of its troops to Northern Manchuria, leaving at least 10-15 infantry divisions in China. It is expected Northern Manchuria and Korea, including Sachalin and Kamchatka, should expect 33 Japanese infantry division, 1,400 tanks and 1,000 planes.
Germany and Poland will combine forces in the north and south areas of the Podlasie Region.
- In the northern area of Podlasia (Germany, Poland, Latvia) expect 80 infantry divisions, 3,800 tanks and 2,700 airplanes.
- In the southern area of Podlasia , expect 40 infantry divisions, 2,500 tanks and 1,000 planes.
- Lithuania would be neutralized by German-Polish Forces.
- Latvia, Estonia, Finland will have to abide by German troops decisions and command on their territories.
- In the Northern Sea expect a submarine blockade at Murmansk and Archangelsk water ports.
- Soviet Navy ships would be pushed outward at the Baltic Sea.
- In the Black Sea, expect Italian submarines and possibly German submarines.
An estimated time for the mobilization is 14-16 days.
- In the northern area of Podlasia (Germany, Poland, Latvia) 41 infantry divisions, 1,400 tanks, 900 planes.
- In the southern area of Podlasia 79 infantry divisions, 4,700 tanks, 2,800 planes.
An estimated time for the mobilization 28-30 days.
The Soviet Air Force goals:
- Attacks on the Eastern Prussian Airports.
- Give aide to the Army.
- Mobilization of a military convoy.
- Direct attacks on the Polish warehouses.
- Attack on German aviation at the Latvian Airports.
- Defense against enemy aviation.
- Direct hits on Lvov.
Estimated time 16-17 days mobilization.
The Soviet Navy goals:
- Submarine use in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Active defense of the Soviet shores against Italian and German fleets.
- Prevention of enemy troops on the ground in Crimea.
- Destroy Romanian and Bulagarian fleets and their bases.
- Attack Turkish fleet in Black Sea.
USSR has to concentrate on a two front war and would need to mobilize 7,780 tanks and 5,136 planes.
All the above information played a vital role in the analysis and signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23, 1939, an agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.