10 World-Changing Military Operations … That Never Happened

Military operations can change the world dramatically, but not all of them actually happen. If these world-changing military operations actually went on, the world might look very different than it does today. Check out these events that could have changed your life completely.

Scenario 1: War Plan Red — U.S. invades Canada

US soldiers stand at attention during the official closing ceremony of the multinational military exercise

They had everything planned. | Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images

Post-World War II, after its recent victory in Europe, the United States fortified its military to compete with other world powers. At that time, global imperialism reigned supreme. Consequently, the U.S. drew up a series of “Rainbow War Plans,” filled with theoretical, color-coded scenarios. They dubbed the first on the list War Plan Red: The U.S. War with Britain.

Strategists believed capturing Canada would force Britain to sue for peace. The first step involved an American invasion of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, followed by Quebec. Taking that province would prevent Canada from moving men and supplies in either direction. Next, they planned to take the Canadian industrial stronghold in the Great Lakes and from there, the Canadian Central Rail system in Winnipeg, to further stymie movements.

Next: Conversely, Canada formulated plans of its own.

Scenario 2: Canada invades the U.S.

Running soldiers carrying weapons

Good thing we’re allies now. | ChrisSupersea/iStock/Getty Images

Literally called Defence Scheme No. 1, Canada’s plan called for immediate action as soon as officials discovered evidence of an American invasion plan. The Canadians thought the U.S. planned to strike Montreal and the Great Lakes regions first, then head Westward toward British Columbia.

In 1930, Canadian intelligence developed its own strategy, which intended to buy Canada time to receive help from Great Britain. Speed-optimized units would take major cities in Washington State, while others in the East would capture cities in Minnesota and the Great Plains. French Canadian forces would move into New York while an amphibious assault would attack Maine. As the Americans moved to remove the Canadians, retreating troops intended to destroy food any infrastructure as they went.

Next: This operation would have served as the largest marine operation ever.

Scenario 3: Allied forces invade Japan in Operation Downfall

Japan Self-Defence Force honour guards make a line prior to a welcoming ceremony for Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

All this was nixed for an atomic bomb. | Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

The Allied invasion of Japan at the end of World War II received the code name Operation Downfall. Japan surrendered after the United States dropped two atomic bombs, and the Soviet Union entered the Pacific War, easily defeating Japanese troops in China. That said, the Downfall invasion would have ranked as the largest amphibious operation in history, even larger than Normandy.

The invasion involved two parts: Operations Olympic and Coronet. Olympic consisted of capturing of the southern portion of the Japanese island of Kyushu. Coronet used assets captured in Olympic to take the island of Honshu and areas near Tokyo. It called for a staggering 5 million American and 1 million British forces. Experts say the Japanese kept 35 million active, reserve, and drafted soldiers. One study estimated 1.7 million Allied casualties, if the event took place.

Next: This proposed invasion required nuclear weapons.

Scenario 4: Soviets invade Western Europe

Russian military personnel, wearing Red Army uniforms

Americans called for nuclear strikes. | Mikhail Klimentiev/Pressphotos/Getty Images

None of the Soviets’ war plans involved nuclear weapons until after Joseph Stalin’s 1953 death. After that, nuclear tensions heightened in Europe. The U.K. alone intended to drop at least 40 nuclear weapons on Eastern Europe. Furthermore, the American Single Integrated Operation Plan of 1960 called for thousands of nuclear strikes on Communist countries, even those that remained neutral. The West believed the total destruction that followed did not require subsequent plans. The Soviets thought otherwise.

After the exchanges, Eastern military would invade the West, capturing cities from West Germany to France. Czechoslovak armies would advance from the middle of Europe toward the Atlantic Coast. Its planned five-to-one advantage would, in theory, take them to the coast within two weeks.

Next: The following exchange almost turned into nuclear war.

Scenario 5: Sino-Soviet War

Russian soldiers participate in a military parade on Red Square in Moscow.

Nuclear conflicts were a serious threat. | Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

This “border conflict” between two Communist countries almost escalated into a nuclear conflict. Tensions rose over a less than mile-wide island in the Ussuri River. That river provides the border between Russia and the People’s Republic of China. In 1964, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ceded the island to China, but took it back after Chairman Mao threatened to take over other Russian areas. By 1968, the Red Army assembled on the border.

The Politburo in Moscow believed the USSR would use nuclear weapons to win. Leonid Brezhnev even asked the U.S. to remain neutral if the Russians did enact nukes. Fortunately, it never happened.

Next: This short but intense conflict could have involved the U.S.

Scenario 6: Soviets invade Israel

Israeli Air Force cadets practice marching before being sworn in for duty at a Western Wall ceremony.

Israeli soldiers attacked Egypt. | Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

The 1967 Six-Day War started with a giant Israeli pre-emptive strike against Egyptian airfields. Within hours, the Israeli army decimated the Egyptian Air Forces before they even left the ground. Israeli forces then moved into the Gaza Strip and into the Sinai Peninsula, leveling heavy casualties on Egypt. Consequently, Egypt asked Jordan and Syria to intervene. That led to the Israelis taking the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Golan Heights.

Next, the Russians prepared a marine invasion of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, as well as aviation backup. Strategic bombers and nuclear-armed naval forces positioned themselves toward the Middle East, when the Soviet Premiere delivered his threat to Washington.

Next: We often forget this threat to the Southern U.S.

Scenario 7: Mexico invades the U.S.

Mexican Soldiers

Germany offered to help Mexican soldiers take back territories. | Fox Photos/Getty Images

Immediately prior to the U.S. entering into World War I, British intelligence intercepted a telegram from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman to the German ambassador in Mexico. It told the ambassador to offer a German-Mexican alliance in case the Americans join World War I against Germany. Germany promised to fund a Mexican invasion of territories it ceded during the Mexican-American war in the 1840s.

The plan involved invading and annexing Texas, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Arizona, as well as parts of Utah, Colorado, and Oklahoma. Even if Mexico failed to conquer that territory, Germany believed that declaration of war would at least keep American resources in the West and out of Allied hands. When the telegram got published in the U.S. instead, it created huge public fury against Germany.

Next: If this invasion happened, our lives could change significantly.

Scenario 8: Germany invades the U.S.

German Navy Kaiser class battleship

They were considering invasion of New York. | Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1897, the German Kaiser ordered his intelligence to develop an invasion of the United States to staunch its burgeoning influence. However, the Imperial German Navy never grew large enough to carry out any of his grand plans.

After the Americans won the Spanish-American War, the plan changed. Now, the kaiser focused on invading New York and Boston. The world-changing military operation required a total of 60 warships and 100,000 German troops to invade the largest cities on the Atlantic coast. Fortunately, that plan never reached fruition, either.

Next: Confederate expansion involved this proposed move.

Scenario 9: The Confederacy invades Mexico and the Caribbean

American Civil War

The Confederates had plans beyond the Union. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Even after the Civil War, the Confederacy still made military plans. Confederate leaders formulated an expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean. They tried to destabilize areas of Mexico, with an eye to move right into Mexico City. Forces wanted to expand the slave terrorities into Brazil, where two explorers set up colonies called New Texas and Americana. While 20,000 rebels did make the trip, the annexation in total did not come to pass.

Next: Napoleon authorized the following military operation that never succeeded.

Scenario 10: France invades Australia

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon sent a search expedition. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1800, Napoleon sent a French expedition to British New Holland, which is now Australia. The trip technically intended to survey the georgraphy and cultural heritage of the region. A French explorer named Nicolas Baudin sailed two ships for three years around Australia and Tasmania, and collected specimens to send back home. He “discovered” a whopping 2,500 species, but died in Mauritius in 1803.

During that time, one of the explorers, Francois Peron, reported to Napoleon that the English had engaged in “land grabs” in the region. His confidential report posited that France could use the land better. Subsequently, the explorer sent military and political information back to France. Baudin allegedly prepared a strategy for invasion, which included sending 1,800 French troops, as well as Irish soldiers and convicts to take over the region.

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