After nearly two months of dealing, Russia announced that it would be joining Hitler’s Axis. Stalin had ordered his minister Molotov to widen the scope of the discussions in Berlin to solve potential problems with spheres of influence. Simultaneously, Soviet ambassadors appeared in Sofia, promising the Bulgarian Prime Minister that Russia’s objection to Bulgaria joining as well would be withdrawn as per the shared military rights among the Axis nations. The world was shocked by the news, especially Britain as it faced the horrors of the Blitz against an even stronger foe.
Hitler, too, was shocked. Months ago, he had ordered “Instruction Number 18” on November 13 to plan for an invasion of Russia to solidify control of oil reserves and begin the enslavement of the Slavs. Now, Stalin had agreed to Hitler’s terms with a few added secret terms:
• German troops leaving Finland in exchange for guarantee of Soviet peace with Finland as well as supplies of nickel and wood.
• A mutual assistance treaty Bulgaria.
• The southern boundary of the Soviet Union guaranteed at Baku and Batumi with special consideration given to Germany to supply oil from Azerbaijan.
• Japanese handover of Sakhalin oil and coal in exchange for compensation and similar consideration.
• Soviet bases established in Bulgaria.
While the renewed pressure on the Bosporus irked Hitler, the guarantee of oil impressed him too much. He shelved his invasion plans, for the time, and met with Stalin in Sofia for the signing ceremony December 7, 1941. Though unknown at the time, Hitler had also been pressuring Japan into a sneak attack on the United States, but, seeing his war with Britain over soon, reneged on the plan, prompting Japanese command to call back the fleet hours after its launch on November 26. Franklin Roosevelt, wary of the significance of the diplomatic dealing, referred privately to the signing of the pact as “a date which will live in infamy.”
Hitler realigned his troops into new position and re-activated the invasion of Britain through Operation Sea Lion for 1942. Though the Germans were unable to achieve full air superiority, the German Navy managed to hold off the Royal Navy long enough for the largest amphibious assault in human history behind a screen of mines. Initially, the Germans would overcome British defenses, pressing nearly to London, but Churchill kept his vow of continuing the fight from his bunker beside Parliament and held the Germans at the GHQ line. While the Royal family was evacuated to Scotland, thousands of Brits rose up in defiance with sabotage behind German lines. The Royal Navy and the RAF continually challenged German superiority at sea and in the air, leaving historians to claim that the defense of Britain counted as the longest siege of the modern day.
The Invasion of Britain would prove to be Hitler’s quagmire. At last the American people would stand against German aggression as well as Japanese invasion of the Philippines, sending thousands of troops to the British lines. Nearly 3.9 million German troops would be involved in the effort, but the resilience of the British and her allies became unbreakable over the course of two years. After the introduction of the V-2 rocket, which struck targets after sub-orbital arches and beyond the speed of sound, the Germans gained the upper hand by devastating the defending fleets. With secure supply lines, German forces finally overwhelmed the island. In 1948, Hitler would tour conquered London while the Crown established a government-in-exile in Canada.
Meanwhile, Stalin began his “liberation” of the Turks from British influence. The invasion and occupation of Turkey would lead Soviet forces to further “peacekeeping”, marching into the Middle East and securing Iraq and Iran’s rich oil fields. The sites proved instantly rebellious, and millions would die as Stalin attempted to purge any anti-Soviet thought from the deeply rooted Muslims. The continual struggle against imperialism wore down the Russian people, prompting a revolution after the Stalin’s death in 1953.
Russia turned on itself, and an aging Hitler finally saw his chance. He had been held at the Atlantic by Allied submarines, pushing southward into Africa in association with the Spanish and Italians. In 1955, under the pretext of defending German economic interests and the pledge of Russian oil, the Red Army marched on Moscow as it had meant to do 14 years before. While the various parties of Russia had fought one another, they all agreed upon the goal of ridding Russia of invaders, and the whole of the nations turned on Hitler.
Atomic bombs, which had been used by Americans to bring down the Japanese Empire, proved an ineffective strategy for Hitler’s army as the peoples of the former Soviet Union were ubiquitous rather than isolated. It is said that the stress of the Russian occupation delivered the stroke that killed Adolph Hitler April 30, 1957, at age 68. Infighting among his potential heirs weakened the Nazi regime, which would fall apart as Stalin’s had done.
With renewed opportunity, the stalemate across the Atlantic had broken, and the Allied forces charged into Europe through the rebellion of Britain. Conquered lands erupted in anti-Nazi revolution, and soldiers routinely deserted than fight for a colony whose mother country was in such peril. By 1964, the last Axis government in Bulgaria would surrender, and World War II would be declared over. Led by the United States, a new world order under democracy through the United Nations would be attempted with its founding in 1966.
In reality, Stalin did not offer Hitler rights to oil. Albert Speer, Minister for Armaments and War Production for Germany, would later admit “the need for oil certainly was a prime motive” for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Predicting war as inevitable, Hitler signed War Directive No. 21 on December 18, just weeks after refusing to reply to Stalin’s counteroffer of an alliance.