Winston Churchill was one of the first major statesmen to label the Soviet Union as a threat after World War II (even though they had been an ally). On March 5, 1946, Churchill made his famous speech in Fulton, Missouri, about an ‘iron curtain’ having descended across Europe as Joseph Stalin consolidated his grip on the eastern half of the continent. (Read it here).

US President Harry Truman claimed not to have seen the speech in advance, even though he was physically present at the speech. Churchill made this speech in the presence of Truman at Westminister College, and it no doubt had a great influence on US opinion of the USSR. Churchill and Truman even formed a close personal rapport after that speech. They often exchanged handwritten letters and addressed one another by first name. (Read one of their letters here)

Churchill's speech no doubt played a formative role in the series of events that led to the Cold War. Russian historians even date the beginning of the Cold War to this speech.



Even though the West eventually ended up in a Cold War with Soviet forces, if Churchill had his way, it would have been a hot war with nuclear bombs.

Churchill believed a preemptive strike on Stalin’s Russia would potentially be the only way to stop Communism from conquering the West.

When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys is a book that offers a comprehensive history of the personal lives of the Churchills and the Kennedys. This book reveals the details of a previously unseen FBI memo. According to this memo, Churchill urged Right-wing Republican Senator Styles Bridges to persuade President Harry Truman to launch a nuclear attack, which would "wipe out the Kremlin" and make the Soviet Union a "very easy problem to deal with."

The Russians would have been defenceless against a nuclear attack at that time – they did not successfully test their own atomic bomb until 1949. The FBI document shows Churchill’s belligerence towards Britain’s former wartime ally ran so deep that he was prepared to tolerate the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Soviet civilians in a nuclear strike. The memo claims Churchill stated that the only salvation for the civilization of the world would be if the President of the United States would declare Russia to be imperilling world peace and attack Russia. Churchill further stated that if this was not done, Russia will attack the United States in the next two or three years when she gets the atomic bomb and civilization will be wiped out or set back many years.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and this did not occur.



While a hot war between Anglo-American and Soviet forces never happened, the British actually did have the details about how such a war would occur, plans that they were making for a preemptive attack before World War II even ended.

In the Spring of 1945, Winston Churchill ordered the British Armed Forces' Joint Planning Staff to develop a secret plan for Britain to invade the Soviet Union, "Operation Unthinkable." The first edition of the plan was prepared on May 22, 1945. In accordance with the plan, the invasion of Russia-held Europe by the Allied forces was scheduled on July 1, 1945. The stated goal of the plan was "to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire. Even though 'the will' of these two countries may be defined as no more than a square deal for Poland, that does not necessarily limit the military commitment." (Archived Operation Unthinkable Text)

The plan was for an attack to begin in July to allow operations before the winter weather arrived. The British planners assumed that Soviet Intelligence would detect Allied preparations and thus make an Operation Barbarossa style surprise offensive impossible. So, they knew the Allies would have a tough fight from the start.

Operation Unthinkable envisioned an offensive by the Anglo-American armies, plus a free Polish contingent (the Canadians were also informed about the plan). These forces would breach the forward Soviet defenses in Germany. The expectation was that the Soviets would then mass their army along the Oder and Neisse rivers, which the Soviets had made the new border between Germany and Poland. A gigantic Kursk-like armored battle would be fought around Stettin. If the Allies won it, they would advance to a 250-mile-long line between Danzig and Breslau, where they would halt to avoid exposing their flank to a southern attack from Soviet forces in Czechoslovakia.

Ironically, the plan bore many resemblances to Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, which also counted on defeating Soviet forces near the Russian border to avoid a prolonged campaign deep inside the vast nation.

Author Jonathan Walker commented about these plans in his book Churchill's Third World War: British Plans to Attack the Soviet Empire, 1945

“The planners believed that if they could secure this line from Danzig to Breslau by autumn 1945, it might be enough to bring Stalin to heel. But if the Allies reached that line by the autumn (discounting the huge advantage the Soviets held in manpower) and Stalin had not changed his mind about control of Eastern Europe—what then? With the forces available to them, Western commanders could not hold their line through the winter of 1945–46 and they would be forced either to retreat or push on into eastern Poland and the Soviet Union. Pushing on would undoubtedly result in ‘total war.’”

Total war against Russia months before the atom bomb was dropped on Japan was an outcome that few found desirable. The Allied forces had a mere 4 million men in Europe when Germany surrendered, the majority of which were Americans who would soon be transferred to the Pacific. The Red Army, by contrast, had almost 11 million men, and perhaps 20,000 tanks and self-propelled guns. The Allies definitely did not count on having the same advantages that enabled them to defeat Nazi Germany. The Allied tactical air forces would be outnumbered 2-1 by Soviet tactical air. But the Allies could count on better-trained pilots and the fact that the Soviets depended upon the United States for high-octane aviation fuel. However, the real ace in the air would be the 2,500 Allied heavy bombers in Europe. The Luftwaffe hadn’t been able to stop them, and the Red Air Force had no experience in stopping them.

Nevertheless, the British planners found themselves in the same conundrum that had destroyed Napoleon and Hitler. How to make Russia surrender against its will? If defeating the Red Army on German soil wasn't enough, then the only alternative was to push eastwards into Poland and then Russia.

“The planners now paled at the thought of the enormous distances the Allies would have to penetrate to secure victory,” Walker notes.

Meanwhile, the Allies had to contemplate the war expanding as the Soviets attacked Norway, Greece and Turkey (the British planners expected the Soviets to ally with Japan).

As for the atom bomb, the United States only had two in the summer of 1945, and they were earmarked for Japan. By 1946, America had only nine bombs. As powerful as they were, they could only inflict a fraction of the punishment that the Soviet Union suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

One particularly contentious part of the British Plan was the idea of re-arming ex-Nazis to fight the Russians.

Walker writes, “One of the most contentious issues in the Unthinkable plan was the use of German forces within the Allied camp. It was anticipated that ten German divisions could be utilized for offensive operations, but because it would take time for them to be re-equipped from Allied sources, the units would not be ready for 1 July and would only become available in the autumn; that they should be used at all was likely to be highly controversial.”

But re-arming ex-Nazis paled in comparison to the absolute foundation of Operation Unthinkable, which was that the United States would join Britain in an attack on the Soviet Union. President Roosevelt, and initially Truman (until he knew better) were convinced that it was possible to work out a postwar accommodation with Stalin. They were wrong, but they did not know that until the Spring of 1945. And there was still the victory with Japan to be won — for which Soviet help was essential. So in other words, America had just finished a crusade against Nazism in Europe. It wasn't about to embark on a crusade against Communism just yet.

Considering that Operation Unthinkable involved the exhausted armies of Britain and America to become trapped in a land war against the world's foremost land power, the operation aptly named, was truly unthinkable.



The Americans had their own plans for preemptively attacking Soviet Russia. Between 1945 and the USSR's first detonation of a nuclear device in 1949, the Pentagon developed at least nine nuclear war plans targeting Soviet Russia according to US researchers Dr. Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod. In their book To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon's Secret War Plans, they reveal information from declassified top secret documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

"The names given to these plans graphically portray their offensive purpose: Bushwhacker, Broiler, Sizzle, Shakedown, Offtackle, Dropshot, Trojan, Pincher and Frolic." The US military knew the offensive nature of the job President Truman had ordered for them to prepare for and had named their war plans accordingly," remarked American scholar J.W. Smith. (Sputnik News)

These "first-strike" plans were developed by the Pentagon were aimed at destroying the USSR without any damage to the United States.

"The 1949 Dropshot Plan envisaged that the US would attack Soviet Russia and drop at least 300 nuclear bombs and 20,000 tons of conventional bombs on 200 targets in 100 urban areas, including Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg). In addition, the planners offered to kick off a major land campaign against the USSR to win a 'complete victory' over the Soviet Union together with the European allies. According to the plan Washington would start the war on January 1, 1957." (To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon's Secret War Plans)

However, there was an obstacle to these plans. The Pentagon did not possess enough nuclear bombs to make it a reality.

At this time, US generals desperately needed information about the location of Soviet military and industrial sites. The US launched thousands of photographing overflights of Soviet territory. This triggered concerns in the USSR about the potential of a Western invasion. The Soviets began to beef up their military in response. The military and political decision makers of the West used their rival's military buildup as justification for building more weapons.

When the US had 250 bombs in their nuclear arsenal, they finally believed that a victory over the Soviet Union was possible. But then in 1949 the Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb, dealing a blow to US militarist's plans.




Eventually, in 1960, the US formalized its nuclear war plans in SIOP.

US nuclear war plans during the Johnson administration included the option of a retaliatory strike against nuclear, conventional military, and urban-industrial targets with the purpose of removing the Soviet Union “from the category of a major industrial power” and destroying it as a “viable” society. This is one disclosure from a Joint Staff review of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) obtained via a Mandatory Declassification Review request by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive. (NSA Archive)

At first, the SIOP envisaged a massive simultaneous nuclear strike against the USSR's nuclear forces, military targets, cities, as well as against China and Eastern Europe. It was planned that the US strategic forces would use almost 3,500 atomic warheads to bomb their targets. According to US generals, the attack could have resulted in the death of 285-425 million people. Some of the USSR's European allies were to be completely "wiped out."

"The document, the Joint Staff’s review of SIOP guidance in June 1964, showed continued acceptance by policy makers of the cataclysmic nuclear strike options that had been integral to the plan since its inception. Accordingly, the SIOP set high damage requirements—95 percent for the top priority nuclear targets—ensuring that it remained an 'overkill' plan, referring to its massively destructive effects. Prepared and continually updated by the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, the SIOP has been characterized by some as a 'doomsday machine.'” (David Alan Rosenberg on: U.S. Planning for a Soviet Nuclear Attack)

"'We're just going to have to wipe it [Albania] out,' US General Thomas Power remarked at the 1960 SIOP planning conference, as quoted by MacKenzie."(Sputnik News)

However, the Kennedy Administration introduced significant changes to the plan, insisting that the US military should avoid targeting Soviet cities and had to focus on the rival's nuclear forces alone. In 1962, the SIOP was modified, but still it was acknowledged that the nuclear strike could lead to the deaths of millions of peaceful civilians.


Read Transcript Here



Churchill's Third World War: British Plans to Attack the Soviet Empire, 1945 by Jonathan Walker (on Amazon)

When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys by Thomas Maier (on Amazon)

To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon's Secret War Plans by Dr. Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod (on Amazon)



"Operation Unthinkable" Archived Text

Operation Unthinkable (Wikipedia)


Operation Dropshot Text

Operation Dropshot (Wikipedia)


Single Integrated Operational Plan SIOP (Wikipedia)



U.S. Nuclear War Plan Option Sought Destruction of China and Soviet Union as “Viable” Societies (NSA Archive, 8-15-18)

Operation Unthinkable: Britain's Secret Plan to Invade Russia in 1945 (National Interest, 9-28-17)

Post WW2 World Order: US Planned to Wipe USSR Out by Massive Nuclear Strike (Sputnik News, 8-15-15)

Winston Churchill wanted to nuke Kremlin ‘to win Cold War,’ FBI memo reveals (RT, 11-9-14)

Winston Churchill's 'bid to nuke Russia' to win Cold War - uncovered in secret FBI files (The Daily Mail, 11-8-14)