Transcript

OPERATION UNTHINKABLE

REPORT BY THE JOINT PLANNING STAFF

  1. We have examined Operation Unthinkable. As instructed, we have taken the following assumptions on which to base our examination:
    1. The undertaking has the full support of public opinion in the British empire and the United States...
    2. Great Britain and the United States have full assistance from the Polish armed forces and can count upon the use of German manpower and what remains of German industrial capacity...
  2. Owing to the special need for secrecy, the normal staff in Service Ministries have not been consulted.

    OBJECT

  3. The overall or political object is to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and 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. A quick success might induce the Russians to submit to our will at least for the time being; but it might not. That is for the Russians to decide. If they want total war, they are in a position to have it.

  4. The only way we can achieve our object with certainty and lasting results is by victory in a total war but in view of what we have said in paragraph 2 above, on the possibility of quick success, we have thought it right to consider the problem on two hypotheses:

    1. That a total war is necessary, and on this hypothesis we have examined our chances of success.
    2. That the political appreciation is that a quick success would suffice to gain our political object and that the continuing commitment need not concern us.
  5. TOTAL WAR

  6. Apart from the chances of revolution in the USSR and the political collapse of the present regime - on which we are not competent to express an opinion - the elimination of Russia could only be achieved as a result of:

    1. the occupation of such areas of metropolitan Russia that the war making capacity of the country would be reduced to a point at which further resistance became impossible.
    2. Such a decisive defeat of the Russian forces in the field as to render it impossible for the USSR to continue the war.