Barbarossa

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 22 Apr 2002 23:51

Darrin wrote:
oleg wrote:Well actually there was a deployment of Soviet forces but it seems that it went along the lines that were different from ones proposed by Zhukov-Timoshenko. (for the refernce see "Report on the deployment of Soviet Forces in Case of War with Germany and its Allies" form June 13 1941 and signed by Vatutin) But Qvist is right than he says that it would be near to impossible to attack in 1941. Moreover Zhukov proposal does not call for the specific date for the attack and keeping in mind the fact that General Staff did not believe that Germans would initiate an attack with serious preparation for winter warfare the proposed preemption could be very well the deed for the distant future. It seems that you people assume that it was planed for summer on the basis that German attack eventually began in summer , but you overestimate the information that Soviet had on their hands.






The plan lists current german dispostions in may 41 and probable ger goals. Then suggest that the red army if attacked now will lose but suggests that a preemptive attack would suceed. Taking the initiative, preperation and planning out of the picture. Catching the ger in thier conc att pos vs proper def pos. I would assume the preemptive attack would be during summer of 41. All sov intel pointed towards the ger att in summer 41 to. It was just stalin that ignored it or never got it. I would not assume that Zhukov meant to lauch the premeptive attack any later with out some proof.

In regards to Soviet intel - from the "Activities and deployment and possible variants of military conduct of German Army against UUSR" from March 20th of 1941.

"Basing on the information received and analysis of possible variants of battle planning I conclude:
1. the most probable starting date for the German attack on USSR will be the time right after the German victory over the England or after the conclusion of honorable and profitable for Germany peace.
2. All rumors and documents that are suggesting the war between the USSR and Germany beginning this spring is to be regarded as disinformation that is initiated is either by British or even German intel."
Lieutenant-General Golikov

From situation assessment #1510 by NKGB from June 20 1941" The deployment of forces from Greece and France is continued in the area of Lublin, Brest and Eastern Prussia. Sanitary and fuel columns are registered. All seemed to be in preparation of big maneuvers that were announced to the border population."None of the NKGB assessments ever contained the conclusion of unavoidable German attack in the summer of 1941.

That pretty much makes your assumption wrong; moreover you are asking for the proof that attack was not planned for summer meanwhile you have no proof that it was.

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Starinov
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Post by Starinov » 23 Apr 2002 00:03

Marcus, please don't move this reply to Soviet Union forum. The question below is directly linked to this thread.

Does anybody have a good explanation why the GUGB (being one of the main offices of the NKVD in 1934-1941 and being responsible for purges) became independant in february 1941 and again became a main office in july 1941 until 1943?

The event of a possible German invasion is not to be taken into account since in july 1941 the NKGB lost its "independance". On the same note, the moment the Red Army started its slow advance toward Berlin in 1943, the GUGB became the NKGB. This change was not the result of somebody's fantasy but Stalin's will. He did that on purpose.

Any theories?

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 23 Apr 2002 03:23

Have you ever heard Stalin saying anything official? And if yes, did he do what he officialy said? Stalin never did what he was officialy saying.
No, unless someone brought him back from the dead I would have difficulty hearing him :P

Despite your rejection of the idea of policy being formed, the fact is the Soviet Union would not be able to function without policy, if Stalin gave a verbal directive to the military to prepare to invade Germany, we would have evidence of it through logistical buildups, refitting of units, moving of masses of forces to the frontier, all of these actions, especially in states such as Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, would require large amounts of paper work. Paper work which doesn't exist.

The only hints of any Soviet Aggression directed at Nazi Germany is through the occastionally document presented by a General, and a few war games. The is nothing to suggest that in the Summer of 1941, the Red Army was preparing to invade Europe.

And while we know from actions of General's like Kirponos that those in the frontier knew of the German threat, we also see the fact that Soviet Russia, while it saw Germany as a threat, was not preparing for defence under the orders of Stalin. They were not even preparing for war, which would have required mobilisation.

Stalin, through his actions of lacking a clear policy for the Red Army, whether defence or attack, paralysed any hope of the Russians launching a successful attack, or a solid defence.

While I do believe that Soviet Russia would have eventually invaded Europe, it certainly would not have happened in 1941, and most likely not 1942, perhaps from 1943 onwards the Red Army would begun to show itself capable of launching an offensive.

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Starinov
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Post by Starinov » 23 Apr 2002 15:34

Despite your rejection of the idea of policy being formed, the fact is the Soviet Union would not be able to function without policy, if Stalin gave a verbal directive to the military to prepare to invade Germany, we would have evidence of it through logistical buildups, refitting of units, moving of masses of forces to the frontier, all of these actions, especially in states such as Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, would require large amounts of paper work. Paper work which doesn't exist.

There is evidence of that activity, all the Soviet marshals and generals are telling that the troops were being transfered to the western border. The way the describe things it is nothing but aggressive preparation.

In 1992, the Deputy Chief of Red Army's General Staff, Army General wrote that the RKKA was doing nothing but preparing for an offensive in 1941. (Krasnaia zvezda 27/X/1992)

On the other hand, in 1941 marshal Zhukov ordered to built more railways in the border area, fortify bridges and take off all mine around bridges and roads in the border area. the GUPVO NKVD were ordered to withdraw their forces from the border on the eve of war leaving it unprotected. Thousands of artillery shells were brought to the border area and unloaded directly on the floor and not in a shelter on storage (If the RKKA was to attack in 1943, later or never they would never bring the shells near the border) ....

Unless of course, the RKKA did all this on purpose knowing that the Wehrmacht is attacking on June 22nd. You can say that Stalin was a beast and was stupid but i don't think he was THAT stupid.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 23 Apr 2002 16:18

Stalin was an evil fellow without any doubt, and there is also no doubt that he had plans for expansion of the Soviet empire in mind. The question is whether he was the man to risk an all-out military offensive against an enemy known to be well prepared and experienced, and, if so, whether he considered 1941 to be the right moment for that.

Most historians tell us that there is no evidence to there having been such an attack plan in 1941, that on the contrary all evidence points to Stalin having done everything to avoid or at least postpone the outbreak of war and to having even, stubbornly and against all reason, failed to heed warnings that a German attack was imminent. These historians include Alan Bullock, David M. Glantz, Richard Overy, Harrison E. Salisbury, Alexander Werth, Gerd Überschär and, according to the latter, even Russian historians Dimitrij Volkogonov, Vladimir Karpov and Valerij Danilov. The late Volkogonov, son of a man who perished in Stalin's purges, was the most unlikely apologist of Stalin that I can think of.

On the other hand, there is a guy who calls himself Viktor Suvorov and what seems to be an imitator of his, by the name of Meltiukov, both of whom have theories in the direction that Stalin was actually planning an all-out attack on Germany in 1941, not as a reaction to the imminence of German aggression but in pursuit of his own plans of conquest. Neither of both apparently produces any evidence that Stalin was on the verge of staging such an all-out attack, or documentation revealing why Stalin planned such an attack, when the decision was taken, what Stalin’s goals were, what he is supposed to have had in mind with the enemy he allegedly intended to conquer, what his plans for German-occupied Europe were in the event of a victorious outcome of the supposed attack, or anything showing when Stalin gave the order to work out the military planning for so vast an undertaking, when and how he introduced his commanders to his intentions. All such details are known with regard to Hitler’s plan to attack the Soviet Union. Why do we know so much about the origins and organization of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa but so little about Stalin’s allegedly intended thunderstorm, whatever it’s code name would have been?

It doesn’t seem as if Suvorov et al have anything palpable to show in the direction of an intended aggression by Stalin. From what I've learned about them in exchanges with their fans, they speculate on Stalin having intended an all-out attack in 1941 on the basis of the following considerations:

a) Stalin’s disbelief in the imminence of a German attack;

b) Deployment of Red Army forces near the frontier in a manner more suited for attack than for defense.

Rather meager indications to support a conclusion that Stalin was intending an all-out war of conquest, if you ask me.

As to a), it would be interesting to know what exactly these authors are referring to: Stalin’s apparent failure to heed warnings about the imminence of a German attack - even such that were not classified as unreliable by his intelligence services, which apparently did consider some as worth noticing -, or a lack of awareness that the Germans were preparing for war against the Soviet Union? Are they telling us that Stalin failed to notice the buildup of German forces on the German-Soviet frontier? That he believed German troops were being concentrated in Poland, Hungary and Romania to attack the British? That the numerous violations of Soviet airspace by German aircraft meant nothing to him at all? If so, one of the assumptions on which these authors base their conclusions seems to stand on shaky ground.

As to b), I think there’s nothing wrong in principle with speculations in the absence of conclusive evidence, but if a historian concludes on a certain intention from a certain behavior, as these authors obviously do, he must convincingly rule out other possible explanations for that behavior - something Suvorov et al obviously failed to do.

Have they convincingly ruled out the possibility that the concentration of Soviet troops at the borders with Germany and her allies was just a measure of preparation for the eventuality of war breaking out, pursuant to a strategy of forward defense followed by counter-attacks or to a military doctrine professing that in the event of war breaking out Soviet forces would immediately carry the fight onto enemy territory? The fact that military planning in the event of war breaking out was centered around attack rather than defense is no evidence that an all-out aggression was planned. It just shows that the Soviet military command believed its own propaganda BS that the Red Army was an offensive army and would rout the enemy on its own territory in the event of war breaking out instead of being constrained to defend itself against an enemy onslaught on Soviet territory.

Have they convincingly ruled out the possibility that Stalin may have feigned to ignore intelligence pointing to the imminence of a German attack that he actually took very seriously and to which he reacted by stepping up preparations for defense or attack, however late it was to do this?

Have they convincingly ruled out the possibility that Stalin’s concentration of troops at the border was but a show of force in order to deter Hitler from attacking or, as Stalin may have believed the intention of Hitler’s buildup to have been, persuade the other side to recommence negotiations?

Have they convincingly explained why an army supposedly on the verge of lounging at the enemy’s throat was not in a state of alert and thus caught with its pants down? Why Soviet troops didn’t know and asked for instructions about what to do when they realized they were being attacked?

There are other questions beside the above that Suvorov et al hopefully answered satisfactorily if their theories are to have any credibility. One is what advantage Stalin could have drawn from being the one to break a non-aggression pact that had been highly beneficial to him in the past, allowing him to swallow up Eastern Poland, the Baltic countries and a part of Romania, and continued to be so on account of the trade agreement that allowed him to acquire technology his army and his country badly needed and of the hope that the issues regarding German withdrawal from Finland, a free hand for the Soviet Union in Iran and the Persian Gulf and Soviet bases in Bulgaria and Turkey (the list of demands filed by Molotov with the German ambassador in Moscow on November 25, 1940) would be eventually resolved, despite the failure of Molotov’s visit to Berlin.

One of the sources Overy refers to is a 1995 publication by B. Pietrow-Ennker, Die Sowjetunion und der Beginn des Zweiten Weltkriegs 1939-1941. Ergebnisse einer internationalen Konferenz in Moskau. According to Overy:
This is an extensive report on a conference of historians in Moscow to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war. The Russian historians present confirmed that Stalin and Molotov were genuinely seeking a second pact.


Another is why Stalin, whose behavior so far didn’t exactly show him to be a military adventurer but rather a guy who liked to play it safe (he only attacked Finland because he incorrectly assumed it would be a walkover), would all of a sudden have turned into a gambler like Hitler, willing to take the risk of an all-out offensive against a force no one had stood up to so far. What would have brought about such a radical turnabout in Stalin’s attitudes and policies, causing him to abandon the principle of prodding with the bayonets but withdrawing them immediately as soon as they met steel? Did he have reasons to believe his own propaganda BS that “The Red Army is a modern army, and a modern army is an offensive army”, as he said in a speech on May 5, 1941?

Overy’s comment:
This, too, has been taken as evidence of malign intent. Yet it is entirely consistent with the Soviet view of fighting dating from the 1920s. Defense was regarded neither as an acceptable option for a revolutionary state, nor as militarily desirable. Stalin said nothing that had not been said a hundred times before.


Did he have reasons to believe that the Red Army was an army ready for large-scale offensive operations not only on propaganda posters, but in actual fact? Evidence points to exactly the contrary. There was the disastrous experience of the Winter War against Finland, in which entire Soviet divisions were annihilated by much smaller Finnish detachments and it took the deployment of an enormous numerical superiority in manpower and armament to eventually break the Mannerheim line, Soviet casualties being five times higher than those of the Finns. There was the rather unconvincing performance of his general staff at the war games held in January 1941, which is reported by Marshal Yeremenko to have driven Stalin into a fit of rage. What was there, beside numerical superiority, to make Stalin assume that his forces were capable of staging an all-out offensive against the Wehrmacht with a good chance of success? What numerical superiority did he reckon to be necessary in view of previous experiences, especially the Winter War, to overcome the German armed forces? Did he consider the Soviet Union able to achieve such numerical superiority? And if the answer to these three questions were “yes, because ...”, would the assumed advantage be enough to turn Stalin, the cautious and cunning manipulator, into Stalin, the Hitler-like military adventurer? Events showed that strong doubts as to the offensive capacities of the Soviet forces were all too justified. Effective as the Red Army eventually turned out to be in defensive fighting, it botched up almost all of its offensive operations prior to Stalingrad and wasn’t able to conduct successful offensives in summertime until after Kursk.

Yet another question is related to the fact that, if I’m not mistaken, the Red Army was undergoing a process of armament modernization that was not expected to be complete before 1942: Substitution of obsolete types of tanks by the new T34 medium and KV heavy tanks, introduction of new fighter and ground-attack planes and of other new artillery weapons like the “Katyusha” multiple rocket launcher. I’m no expert in military affairs, but wouldn’t it have been total nonsense from a military point of view to launch a large-scale offensive before this modernization was completed, while most tanks and planes were still of obsolete types?

I wonder what answers Suvorov et al have to all these questions.

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Post by Starinov » 23 Apr 2002 18:37

Still nobody can answer my previous question? Why the GUGB became independent from the NKVD by becoming the NKGB in february 1941 an then 1943? Come on, give me an answer. It will help to know if USSR was about to attack Germany or not.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 23 Apr 2002 18:54

Starinov wrote:Still nobody can answer my previous question? Why the GUGB became independent from the NKVD by becoming the NKGB in february 1941 an then 1943? Come on, give me an answer. It will help to know if USSR was about to attack Germany or not.
Hardly so. A restructuring of secret services may be an indication of many things or of nothing at all. Speculation is not a substitute for evidence, especially in the absence of answers to the questions I would expect the proponents of this absurd theory to be able to answer.

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Post by Starinov » 23 Apr 2002 20:23

medorjurgen wrote:
Starinov wrote:Still nobody can answer my previous question? Why the GUGB became independent from the NKVD by becoming the NKGB in february 1941 an then 1943? Come on, give me an answer. It will help to know if USSR was about to attack Germany or not.
Hardly so. A restructuring of secret services may be an indication of many things or of nothing at all. Speculation is not a substitute for evidence, especially in the absence of answers to the questions I would expect the proponents of this absurd theory to be able to answer.
It is not so absurd as it appears.

The GUGB is responsable for the Great Terror in Soviet Union. While the terror lasts it is dependant of the NKVD. The moment it stops and war seems imminent, it becomes independent as a Peoples' Commissariat. You may say it is because war was imminent but why is restructurated again when war starts?

Again when the Red Army stats to go West in 1943, The GUGB becomes one more time the NKGB. There is a purpose behind that. That change could not be ordred by Beria or Merkulov. Only by Stalin. In both cases. And Stalin always worked with a purpuse.

The purpose is that in 1941 there was a plan for invading Germany and the General Governement. GUGB was not able to look for ennemies of the Soviet State if it was dependant of the NKVD since that Commissariat has no authority upon people living on the other side of the border.

In both cases, in 1941 and 1943, the Red Army was advancing in enemy territory, or was to advance, so the GUGB had to be independant from the NKVD to fullfill its task: hunt ennemy of the soviet state.

But since Germany attacked first, there was no need to keep the NKGB independant and it was re-put under the control of the NKVD until 1943.

Nothing in Stalin's Siviet Union was done without a purpuse

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 23 Apr 2002 20:50

Starinov wrote:
medorjurgen wrote:
Starinov wrote:Still nobody can answer my previous question? Why the GUGB became independent from the NKVD by becoming the NKGB in february 1941 an then 1943? Come on, give me an answer. It will help to know if USSR was about to attack Germany or not.
Hardly so. A restructuring of secret services may be an indication of many things or of nothing at all. Speculation is not a substitute for evidence, especially in the absence of answers to the questions I would expect the proponents of this absurd theory to be able to answer.
It is not so absurd as it appears.

The GUGB is responsable for the Great Terror in Soviet Union. While the terror lasts it is dependant of the NKVD. The moment it stops and war seems imminent, it becomes independent as a Peoples' Commissariat. You may say it is because war was imminent but why is restructurated again when war starts?

Again when the Red Army stats to go West in 1943, The GUGB becomes one more time the NKGB. There is a purpose behind that. That change could not be ordred by Beria or Merkulov. Only by Stalin. In both cases. And Stalin always worked with a purpuse.

The purpose is that in 1941 there was a plan for invading Germany and the General Governement. GUGB was not able to look for ennemies of the Soviet State if it was dependant of the NKVD since that Commissariat has no authority upon people living on the other side of the border.

In both cases, in 1941 and 1943, the Red Army was advancing in enemy territory, or was to advance, so the GUGB had to be independant from the NKVD to fullfill its task: hunt ennemy of the soviet state.

But since Germany attacked first, there was no need to keep the NKGB independant and it was re-put under the control of the NKVD until 1943.

Nothing in Stalin's Siviet Union was done without a purpuse

Mr Starinov your questions are pretty much repetitive of the ones in the Suvorov book. However the book fails to the account the document quoted several posts above. Mr Suvorov (Rezun) ,who wrote quite a bit after the Ledokol, never addressed the document in question. Moreover he was caught on multiple occasions to lie and to twist his sources. Nobody ever denied that army was moving towards the border, whoever if there is one thing that is clear from Zhukov-Timoshenko proposal that it moved there as a response to German deployment. Soviet military doctrine was an offensive one - hence the planning. If you read Russian I can direct towards sides that deal with the subject directly.

Roberto, Meltuhov hardly is Rezun follower, the only thing he has with Suvorov in common is that he aggress that USSR was preparing an offensive and that its deployment was not an answer to German one. He ,however, ridicules Suvorov's July 6th date for the speculated start of offensive date.

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Post by Starinov » 23 Apr 2002 21:47

To Oleg

Sorry I have not read any Suvorov's books for 2 or 3 years now. And if you think this is repetitive why don't give me an explanation for the question I posted. I would like to see your version of things since you live in Russia and have access to Soviet material...

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 24 Apr 2002 13:16

I believe you'll find that there was an article recently posted on this Forum relating to the Suvorov books, it was a review by John Erickson. In this Erickson effectively rubbishes the conclusions drawn by Suvorov, and shows that if anything, the Soviet Military was not preparing for an invasion in 1941.

The idea of Barbarossa being a preemptive strike stems from the belief that Stalin was eventually going to invade Europe anyway. Hitler sensed this, and appears to have taken advantage of the weak state of the Red Army in 1941 to launch his attack. Hitler launched a preemptive strike against a long term threat, against a Soviet Invasion that was not going to be launched in 1941, but possibly in the next few years.

As I have said before, I have yet to be shown any evidence supporting the idea of a Soviet Invasion in 1941 that can, without question, disprove the well established ideas of people such as John Erickson.

It is not a question of producing proof that there was not going to be an invasion, its a question of those believing their to be an invasion to prove their beliefs are true, as the rest of us are drawing on the works of established and reliable historians.

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 24 Apr 2002 13:18

In fact I believe this is what I was talking about, provided the link works...

http://thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1704

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