The Soviet Invasion of West Germany was a Soviet military operation in Western Germany taking place on December 3rd, 1962 and is generally seen as the catalyst for World War III. The invasion occurred following an armed standoff between Soviet and American forces near Cuba. The invasion began by surprise and without declaration of war by the Soviet Union. Armed response by NATO followed. Many Warsaw Pact nations helped the Soviet Union, with East Germany acting as a springboard for Soviet troops.
Tensions in the Cold War had been running high since the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba by the United States. Following the discovery of missiles in Cuba that were capable of inflicting massive damage to the United States if installed with nuclear warheads, the United States blockaded Cuba to prevent the warheads from being delivered to Cuba.
The blockade quickly turned sour, resulting in several naval battles in the Gulf of Mexico and an invasion of Cuba by the United States. By the time the Gulf Skirmish was over, all known missile sites and Air Force bases in Cuba had been bombed out of commission by the United States and Fidel Castro had been killed by an American strike team, resulting in Cuba's demise.
Following the skirmish, the UN held a meeting to attempt to negotiate peace between the United States and the Soviet Union. The meeting did not go as intended; as described by several ambassadors, the meeting had "turned into a screaming match between the United States and the Soviet Union." Though subsequent peaceful negotiations were attempted, they were all unsuccessful.
Before the assault, the Soviet Union had stolen several commercial and farming planes. Using these planes, they infiltrated West Germany and began landing paratroopers in West Berlin and West Germany. Berlin quickly fell, being surrounded by East Germany. In West Germany, for the first half-hour, armed resistance was minimal. However, the West Germans mobilized their military quickly and attacked several points where Soviets were coming in, but were ultimately forced to retreat.
There were three entry in the invasion; the northern front, the southern front, and the central front. By December 10th, 1962, Soviet forces held parts of Bavaria, Hesse, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein.
Czechoslovakia served as a springboard for the Soviet invasion of Bavaria. The initial assault took almost half of Bavaria, but a combined assault by Austria, Italy, and West Germany forced the Soviets out of half that area, leaving a quarter of the state under Soviet control. Much of Bavaria became a battlefield. The Soviets held Upper Franconia and Upper Palatine.
Hesse was almost immediately taken by Warsaw Forces. A huge NATO push, however, carved into occupied Hesse. About 60% of Hesse still remained in Warsaw-occupied territory, but battles constantly pushed the numbers to the 70% or the 50% mark. On January 5th, a napalm strike on parts of NATO Hesse allowed the Soviets to push further into Hesse, now controlling no less than 75% of the state. On January 9th, NATO was told to retreat from the state.
Soviet ships blockaded the Baltic Sea and allowed for Soviet marines to land in parts of Schleswig-Holstein, taking the state by December 20th. A large patrol on the Danish border, along with a blockade of Denmark, was established, preventing Denmark from attempting to retake the state. Some troops from the Schleswig-Holstein offensive then joined already present Warsaw forces to capture Lower Saxony. The Battle of Hamburg resulted in high casualties on both sides, but was ultimately won by Warsaw forces. Bremen was surrounded by Warsaw Forces and surrendered on December 28th. Lower Saxony fell by January 4th, 1963.
North Rhine-Westphalia Offensive
A final push into West Germany by the Warsaw Forces went underway on January 23rd, 1963. The goal was to capture the capital of West Germany, Bonn. The assault began when forces from Lower Saxony and Hesse invaded the Detmold and Münster districts of Westphalia, taking control of them by February 2nd, 1963. A detachment invaded Arnsberg as a massive offensive went into Düsseldorf.
Valentine's Day Tragedy
February 14th saw the atomic bombing of the city of Düsseldorf, resulting in the death of over fifty million people. Following a tactical nuclear strike on a Warsaw supply line, a nuclear weapon was used on Düsseldorf by the Soviet Union. Initial NATO reports believed several nuclear weapons to have detonated when, in truth, one was detonated.
The bomb was detonated in the capital of the city. The district, being in the middle of the city, was an optimal target due to the damage to the city and the following fallout. The bomb was a 400 kiloton weapon. Most of the city was destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. To add to the destruction, the Rhine River was polluted with nuclear material. The resulting cloud of fallout hit the city of Dormagen and just barely reached Cologne.
From this moment onwards, it became clear that this was going to be a very costly war.
Capture of Bonn
With Cologne now uninhabitable, the surrounding state was captured without much of a problem. The last piece of resistance was in Bonn, the capital of West Germany. The Battle of Bonn came almost a week after the destruction of Düsseldorf. Though NATO forces attempted to fight the Soviets out of Bonn, but were unsuccessful. Bonn fell and West Germany surrendered on February 27th, 1963.
Following the fall of West Germany, NATO officially declared war on the Warsaw pact, triggering World War III. The United Nations, seeing that its peacekeeping duties have failed, disbanded on March 1st, 1963. The Soviet Union invaded Denmark soon after and had moved on to Austria by August of 1963.