Stalin's Intent for Europe

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Volyn
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Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Volyn » 02 Apr 2019 13:36

I have read in several different articles over the years that Stalin would have attacked Europe if Germany had not invaded the USSR first, was this German propaganda or would Stalin attack Europe? Do we have information about Stalin's plans and intentions for Europe in the 1940's without having to fight Germany?

It seems that Stalin had always been more interested in preserving the territorial boundaries of Imperial Russia and not expanding beyond that. The September Campaign against the Poles and Baltic states, and the Winter War with the Finns is an example of that. Would the world have seen more situations like Spain where the Soviets would send military aid, expeditionary forces, etc. in the attempt to create new Soviet friendly governments?
Last edited by Volyn on 02 Apr 2019 20:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by wm » 02 Apr 2019 14:38

Stalin to a group of Czechoslovak communists after the outbreak of the WW2:
If the USSR had concluded a treaty with the Western powers, Germany would never have unleashed a war from which will develop world revolution which we have been preparing for a long time.. .. A surrounded Germany would never have entered into war... . We cannot afford Germany to lose because if she should come under the control of the West and Poland [were to be] reestablished, we would be cut off from the rest of Europe. The present war must last as long as we want... . Keep calm because never was the time more favorable for our interests than at present.
Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler by Igor Lukes

ECCI Secretariat Directive on the Outbreak of War, 8th September, 1939
The current war is imperialist and unjust. The bourgeoisie of all the warring states is to be held responsible for it. This war cannot be supported by the working class of these countries, not to mention its communist parties. This war is not waged against fascism by the bourgeoisie despite the affirmations of Chamberlain and the leaders of social-democracy. This war takes place between two groups of capitalist countries for world domination. The international proletariat should not defend fascist Poland which had refused the assistance of the Soviet Union and which oppresses other nationalities.

The communist parties are against the Munichites since they always wanted to create a genuine anti-fascist front with the participation of the USSR, but the bourgeoisie of England and France pushed aside the USSR in order to wage a war of pillage.

This war has radically changed the situation: the division of the capitalist states between fascist and democratic is not in force any longer. As a result it is necessary to change tactics.

The tactics of the communist party of the belligerent countries at this point is to expose its imperialist character, have communist deputies vote against war credits, tell the masses that the war will give nothing but privation and suffering. In the neutral countries the communist parties should expose those governments who on the one hand remain neutral in their country but on the other support the war in other countries in order to take advantage of it, as the government of the USA does with respect to Japan and China. The communist parties of all countries should be on the offensive against the treacherous stand of social-democracy. The communist parties, specially the French, American, and Belgian, who oppose these directives should immediately correct their political line.

Stalin on 7 September 1939:
A war is on between two groups of capitalist countries...for the re-division of the world, for the domination of the world!
We see nothing wrong in their having a good hard fight and weakening each other.

It would be fine if at the hands of Germany the position of the richest capitalist countries (especially England) were shaken. Hitler, without understanding it or desiring it, is shaking and undermining the capitalist system....
We can maneuver, pit one side against the other to set them fighting with each other as fiercely as possible. The non-aggression pact is to a certain degree helping Germany.
Next time we we’ll urge on the other side.
The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 1933-1949

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Art » 02 Apr 2019 15:33

wm wrote:
02 Apr 2019 14:38
Stalin to a group of Czechoslovak communists after the outbreak of the WW2:
That's an apocryphal text, in a nutshell an anonymous letter received by the US consulate in Prague and relayed to the State Department:
https://misha-shauli.livejournal.com/2714.html
In the original text the words quoted were attributed to Aleksandrov instead of Stalin.

Comintern's instructions from 1939 are well known, but they don't really support the thesis of "preventive war".

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Art » 02 Apr 2019 15:45

Volyn wrote:
02 Apr 2019 13:36
I have read in several different articles over the years that Stalin would have attacked Europe if Germany had not invaded the USSR first, was this German propaganda or would Stalin repeat what Trotsky attempted?
Eh, what did Trotsky attempted? Long story short: Hitler on 22 June 1941 declared that operation "Barbarossa" was a preventive war against a coming Bolshevik invasion. This thesis became a common motif in propaganda was more or less the thing that many in German military believed in. After the war some authors like Suvorov or Hoffman tried to give it a new life using various information from post-war historiography. In the present moment the mainstream historiography most keeps aloof from the "preventive war" concept in its pure form, although some authors like Meltyukhov used it as a starting point for discussions of Soviet part in the struggle for power in Europe.

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Volyn » 02 Apr 2019 16:35

Art wrote:
02 Apr 2019 15:45
Eh, what did Trotsky attempted?
Maybe I am mistaken, but I thought Trotsky was in charge of the Red Army during the Polish-Soviet war? If they had won I believe their plan was to continue into the rest of Europe?
Art wrote:
02 Apr 2019 15:45
Long story short: Hitler on 22 June 1941 declared that operation "Barbarossa" was a preventive war against a coming Bolshevik invasion. This thesis became a common motif in propaganda was more or less the thing that many in German military believed in. After the war some authors like Suvorov or Hoffman tried to give it a new life using various information from post-war historiography. In the present moment the mainstream historiography most keeps aloof from the "preventive war" concept in its pure form, although some authors like Meltyukhov used it as a starting point for discussions of Soviet part in the struggle for power in Europe.
So if Germany did not attack was Stalin going to remain behind their borders?

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by wm » 02 Apr 2019 16:57

Art wrote:
02 Apr 2019 15:33
That's an apocryphal text, in a nutshell an anonymous letter received by the US consulate in Prague and relayed to the State Department:
https://misha-shauli.livejournal.com/2714.html
In the original text the words quoted were attributed to Aleksandrov instead of Stalin.
Of course you are right, but it seems both the author (Misha Shauli) and Ladislav Kudrna believe in its authenticity.
The reason is a forgery wouldn't serve any purpose and everything mentioned there actually happened:
This is the document from Český otisk v tajné světové diplomacii by Ladislav Kudrna.
prot1.jpg
prot2.jpg
prot3.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by David1819 » 02 Apr 2019 19:26

Volyn wrote:
02 Apr 2019 13:36
I have read in several different articles over the years that Stalin would have attacked Europe if Germany had not invaded the USSR first, was this German propaganda or would Stalin repeat what Trotsky attempted?
If you read Hitler's letter to Mussolini. It seems there was a real belief that the USSR would attack.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Adolf_Hi ... viet_Union

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Volyn » 02 Apr 2019 20:27

David1819 wrote:
02 Apr 2019 19:26
If you read Hitler's letter to Mussolini. It seems there was a real belief that the USSR would attack.
Art wrote:
02 Apr 2019 15:45
After the war some authors like Suvorov or Hoffman tried to give it a new life using various information from post-war historiography. In the present moment the mainstream historiography most keeps aloof from the "preventive war" concept in its pure form, although some authors like Meltyukhov used it as a starting point for discussions of Soviet part in the struggle for power in Europe.
Since the Soviet archives have been opened is there any evidence to support Hitler's belief that Stalin would have attacked? According to Art the matter appears open for debate. The West has been taught that the Soviets wanted to conquer Europe, but are there any facts to show this was actual Soviet policy?

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Art » 02 Apr 2019 20:43

Volyn wrote:
02 Apr 2019 16:35
Maybe I am mistaken, but I thought Trotsky was in charge of the Red Army during the Polish-Soviet war? If they had won I believe their plan was to continue into the rest of Europe?
Formulated in such way that's a patriotic Polish myth. Soviet policy in the SP war was opportunistic. In general there were options of a complete defeat of Poland or some truce on compromise terms which were both pursued simultaneously. There were some nebulous ideas that the defeat of Poland was going to contribute to revolutionary fermentation in Europe but they didn't take a form of a strict and certain plan. Trotsky himself was cautious regarding prospects of the Polish War and recommended to accept the Curzon's note and to make a truce (see his memoirs, for example). The idea that the Red Army in its state of 1920 could cope with a first-rate European Army like French is simply laughable.

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Art » 02 Apr 2019 20:59

wm wrote:
02 Apr 2019 16:57
Of course you are right, but it seems both the author (Misha Shauli) and Ladislav Kudrna believe in its authenticity.
I see that. The problem is that anybody could write this letter, hence there is no way to prove its authenticity. See also a similar apocryphal text:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27 ... ugust_1939
The reason is a forgery wouldn't serve any purpose and everything mentioned there actually happened
The purpose could be obviously an anti-communist propaganda. That everything mentioned in the text happened to be true is not quite correct. The text talks about an agreement regarding the Carpathian Ukraine, which as we know simply didn't exist. On the other hand it doesn't mention Finland assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence, which usual observers in the autumn of 1939 were not informed about.

In general the thesis "Stalin/Communists concluded a pact with Hitler to ignite the world war and revolution" circulated quite widely in 1939, however it is actually very different from the thesis "Stalin was going to attack Hitler in 1941 or later"

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Art » 02 Apr 2019 21:00

Volyn wrote:
02 Apr 2019 20:27
Since the Soviet archives have been opened is there any evidence to support Hitler's belief that Stalin would have attacked?
You're better to formulate the exact question you want an answer to.

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Art » 02 Apr 2019 21:15

David1819 wrote:
02 Apr 2019 19:26
If you read Hitler's letter to Mussolini. It seems there was a real belief that the USSR would attack.
I don't think so:
The concentration of Russian forces—I had General Jodl submit the most recent map to your Attaché here, General Maras—is tremendous. Really, all available Russian forces are at our border. Moreover, since the approach of warm weather, work has been proceeding on numerous defenses. If circumstances should give me cause to employ the German air force against England, there is danger that Russia will then begin its strategy of extortion in the South and North, to which I would have to yield in silence, simply from a feeling of air inferiority. It would, above all, not then be possible for me without adequate support from an air force, to attack the Russian fortifications with the divisions stationed in the East
That was not obviously a fear of direct attack. Hitler's letter repeats many points he made on other occasions: England pins its hopes on Russia, Russian armed forces progress the war is dragging on etc etc. In general there are few indications that Hitler or German command were much concerned with a hypothetical Soviet attack in 1941. However, they saw an unreliable Soviet position as a danger in prolonged attritional war: a mere containment of the USSR required too much resources which couldn't be directed elsewhere.

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Volyn » 02 Apr 2019 21:35

Art wrote:
02 Apr 2019 21:00
Volyn wrote:
02 Apr 2019 20:27
Since the Soviet archives have been opened is there any evidence to support Hitler's belief that Stalin would have attacked?
You're better to formulate the exact question you want an answer to.
Maybe it is better to ask in two questions:

1. Was Stalin really interested in conquering Europe without the German invasion?

2. Are there actual Soviet documents claiming that Stalin would have attacked Europe in the 1940's or did he even try to plan for such a thing?

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by wm » 03 Apr 2019 11:07

You have your answer above.
The doctrine (the second wave of proletarian revolutions), based the most fundamental tenets of communism, was that only violent explosion (e.g. a war) would create the conditions under which a serious communist offensive in Europe would be possible. The Soviets were aware that European capitalist countries in their contemporary form were too strong and cohesive to fail on their own. To fail and succumb to the revolution they needed lots of help.

It would be fine if at the hands of Germany the position of the richest capitalist countries (especially England) were shaken. ...
We can maneuver, pit one side against the other to set them fighting with each other as fiercely as possible.


It made no sense to attack Germany after Germany defeated France, at the height of its power. Germany defeated Russia once, with one hand tied behind its back, and the communists including Stalin surrendered Russia to Germany then. One defeat was quite enough.

It made no sense to risk the very existence of the Soviet Union and pursue a goal which according to their doctrine was achievable without war.

If you want to understand Soviet politics in the thirties and forties you should always keep "only violent explosion would create the conditions under which a serious communist offensive in Europe would be possible" in mind.
Their goal was a (political or military) offensive, enabled by an internal collapse of their victim.

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Re: Stalin's Intent for Europe

Post by Futurist » 03 Apr 2019 23:25

The Soviets also thought that Communism would become much more popular in the West after 1945 as a result of their belief that demobilization would result in an economic crisis in the West, no?

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