10 almost happened major wars
History does not tolerate the subjunctive mood. But we are all human beings, and sometimes you just want to fantasize about “what would happen if ...”. Moreover, often the consequences of these “if ...” are very serious, but millions of human lives are at stake. Here are 10 cases in world history, when several parties were on the verge of conflict, but at the last moment they happily avoided it.
Source: ЖЖ Журнал / p-i-f
1. The Caribbean Crisis
The Caribbean crisis, of course, is the most famous case in modern history, when two superpowers - the United States and the USSR - were on the verge of a nuclear war. It was provoked by the United States, which deployed missiles in Turkey capable of carrying nuclear warheads to the western part of the USSR. In response, the USSR placed its missiles in Cuba, the United States imposed a blockade, reconnaissance aircraft were shot down, and they went.
As a result, a crisis erupted that could well have ended in the US invasion of Cuba and, possibly, in a Soviet strike on the Americans.The situation was saved by the efforts of Soviet diplomats in Washington and the cold head of then-US President John Kennedy, who did not go on about the “hawks” of the Pentagon.
2. France nearly captured Australia
Not all countries have come to terms with the fact that Great Britain used the whole continent as one huge prison. American researchers recently found that in France there was a plan to seize Sydney. It was compiled in 1802 by the leadership of the French expedition to the shores of Australia. The scouts believed that only 1,800 soldiers would be enough to capture the city and that it was worth freeing the prisoners, how they would help deal with the remaining British soldiers and subdue the surrounding settlements.
The plan has never been implemented, and it is not known for certain why. Historians believe that the reason for the defeat in the Battle of Trafalgar - having lost a significant part of its fleet, France for a long time lost the ability to fight away from home shores.
3. Border conflict on the island of Damansky
In March 1969, the USSR and the PRC transferred the dispute over Damansky Island, located on the Ussuri River on the border between the two states,from the diplomatic plane to the military - at first the border guards just fought, and 10 days later there was a real battle, which the USSR won only because the Soviet military violated the order not to intervene in the frontier conflict and opened fire on the Chinese from multiple rocket launchers.
The outbreak of the crisis was quickly resolved, and the island went to China. Until recently, this conflict was not considered as something more serious than a simple border incident. However, in 2010, the newspaper Le Figaro published a series of articles claiming that in response to Chinese aggression on the island, the USSR was ready to launch a nuclear strike, and only the intervention of American diplomats who threatened it with a “retaliation” against Soviet cities stopped it from doing so.
4. USSR almost captured Israel (twice)
The USSR has always had its interests in the Middle East, and it manifested itself in different ways, including in the intentions of a military invasion of ... Israel. A number of historians claim that during the Six-Day War, which took place from June 5 to 10, 1967, the USSR was preparing a full-scale invasion of Israel with the aim of seizing or destroying its nuclear arsenals.
Moreover, it is believed that the USSR was the "conductor" of the conflict, hoping that Israel would not be able to fight on two fronts. Plans confused the rapid victory of the Israeli troops - no one believed that the war will last only a few days.
For the second time, the USSR threatened to launch an invasion of Israel in 1973 during the Doomsday War and even quite officially led seven airborne divisions into increased combat readiness. In the United States — Israel’s main ally — in response, the nuclear forces were declared anxious, but Israel did not tempt fate and stopped the offensive against the Arab positions that had become victorious by that moment.
5. Fashod crisis
The First World War could not have begun or would have begun much earlier and with a different alignment of forces if the Fashod crisis had not ended with the victory of the diplomats. It occurred in 1898 against the backdrop of the struggle of France and Britain for the partition of Africa. Everything happened in the small town of Fashod (today - Kodok in South Sudan). The city was captured by a small (120 soldiers) detachment of Major Marchand, which caused outrage of Britain, which considered the upper reaches of the Nile to be their fiefdom.
This was followed by a series of “dances with tambourines” around this territory, the outcome of which was the arrival of Anglo-Egyptian troops to the city.However, the matter still didn’t come to a military conflict - Great Britain, by which the war with France, by and large, was not needed, tried to take an opponent “to be afraid” and declared that she would take Fashoda’s casus belli capture (reason for declaring war), but will give the French a chance to get out of town. France needed even less war at the time, and she obeyed.
6. The blockade of West Berlin
The very first incident of the Cold War occurred in Germany, and specifically in Berlin, when in 1948 the USSR began a total blockade of West Berlin, trying to subjugate the city entirely. The United States and the Allies considered various solutions to the problem, including the military, but common sense won, and instead of trying to break the blockade by force, the United States began supplying goods and products to the "besieged" West Berlin by air.
In just 15 months, while the blockade lasted, over 275 thousand flights of transport aviation were flown to the city, delivering more than 2.3 million tons of cargo. As a result, the USSR, realizing the uselessness of the blockade, removed it.
7. The confrontation of India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan have been in a state of protracted conflict since the 1940s and regularly engage in skirmishes at the border, but on the verge of a real full-scale war, and with the use of nuclear weapons, they stood only once.This happened after October 1, 2001, Pakistani terrorists attacked the Indian parliament, killing dozens of people and wounding them even more. Considering that just two years before the next war ended on the border, the government of India, without thinking twice, put a million soldiers under arms.
In response, Pakistan also mobilized for everyone. The forces were pulled to the border, but it never came to a full-scale war - both sides knew well that it could start with a rifle shot, and it would end with nuclear strikes. As a result, after standing at the border for 10 months, the parties broke up with the world. However, globally in relations between the two countries, nothing has changed.
8. Crises in the Taiwan Strait
Taiwan has always been like a bone across the throat of Beijing, and over the past 50 years, the PRC has repeatedly undertaken acts of aggression against the rebellious island. Taiwan was an ally of the United States, and every time, without directly interfering in an armed conflict, the United States made it clear that they were ready for anything, including a nuclear strike on the territory of the PRC. As we see today, none of the crises led to a war between the United States and China, but Beijing has developed nuclear weapons and has become much more difficult to threaten.
9. Operation Fall Grün
The Second World War could have begun a year earlier - and then it would have ended if Hitler had insisted on the implementation of his plan to seize Czechoslovakia called Fall Grün. The beginning of the operation was scheduled for September 28, 1938, but in Germany many were against it, since the then allies of Czechoslovakia - France and Great Britain - made it clear that they would immediately enter the war. In Berlin, they even seriously considered the option of arresting Hitler in the event that he single-handedly gave the order to start the operation.
The Munich Conference put an end to operations, and France and Great Britain suddenly lost interest in Czechoslovakia, which, having transferred the Sudetenland of Germany, lost all its fortifications overnight. As a result, the invasion of Czechoslovakia happened on March 15, 1939, it was almost bloodless and the world remained “unnoticed”, which undoubtedly gave Hitler confidence. The rest is history. This.
10. The Hull incident
The expedition of the Second Pacific Squadron, who ingloriously perished in the Russian-Japanese war of 1905, was “cursed” from the very beginning. Barely out of the Baltic Sea,she provoked a serious crisis with the UK - as a result of the paranoia of Russian sailors and confusion of communications, several British fishing ships were shot down.
One ship was sunk, two sailors died. In Britain, this caused fury, and it came to the point that the British fleet blocked the Russians in the Spanish port and insisted on conducting a full-scale investigation. From the war with England, Russia was saved by 65 thousand pounds sterling and an apology at the highest level.