Stalin’s simple purpose for declaring war against Japan was for territorial gain, for which he was prepared to pay heavily. Before launching their assault in Manchuria, the Soviets made provision for 540,000 casualties, including 160,000 dead. This was a forecast almost certainly founded upon an assessment of Japanese strength, similar to what the US estimated for a landing at Kyushu.
Since 1941, Stalin had maintained larger forces on the Manchurian border than the Western Allies ever knew about. In the summer of 1945, he reinforced strongly, to create a mass sufficient to bury the Japanese. Three thousand locomotives labored along the thin Trans-Siberian railway. Men, tanks and matérial made a month-long trek from eastern Europe.
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