The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Discussions on all aspects of the USSR, from the Russian Civil War till the end of the Great Patriotic War and the war against Japan. Hosted by Art.
Cheshire Cat
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 27 Aug 2009 20:25
Location: Dublin

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Cheshire Cat » 30 Aug 2009 07:50

The Role of the Soviet Union in the International Military Tribunal at
Nuremberg and Impact on Its Legacy


The Soviet Role in the International Military Tribunal Trial

The nation first to announce their its preference for a judicial process for the crimes of the Nazis was the Soviet Union. This was in 1944, even before the war ended, and was in opposition to the Americans, who at that time were favoring the plan of U.S.Treasury Secretary Henry Morgethau Jr. The so-called Morgenthau Plan aimed for the total denazification of Germany and severe economic reparations to make Germany into a weak agricultural state. As for individual criminal responsibility, “Morgenthau’s eyefor-an-eye proposal suggested summarily shooting many prominent Nazi leaders at the
time of capture and banishing others to far off corners of the world. Under Morgenthau’s plan, German POWs would be forced to rebuild Europe.” The British also were not keen on setting up a court to judge the Nazis. Winston Churchill favored execution by firing squad of the major Nazi war criminals. “Churchill reportedly told Stalin that he favored execution of captured Nazi leaders. Stalin answered, ‘In the Soviet Union, we never execute anyone without a trial.’ Churchill agreed saying, ‘Of course, of course. We shall give them a trial first.’” Linder, Id.
Of course, the Soviet understanding of the concept of judicial process was quite different than its meaning in the West. To the Soviets, the judicial proceedings – which they wanted to hold in Berlin – were going to be “show trials” of the kind they were quite used to under Joseph Stalin. In fact, Major General I.T. Nikitchenko, the judge appointed by the Soviet Union to the IMT, had earlier presided over some of the most notorious of Stalin’s show trials during the purges of 1936-1938. Nikitchenko publicly pronounced his view that all of the defendants were guilty even prior to the start of the IMT proceedings:
“We are dealing here with the chief war criminals who have already been convicted and whose conviction has been already announced by both the Moscow and Crimea [referring to Yalta] declarations by the heads of the governments…. The whole idea is to secure quick and just punishment for the crime.”
He then famously added: “If… the judge is supposed to be impartial [at Nuremberg], it would only lead to unnecessary delays.”
When it came time to render judgment, Nikitchenko dissented against the three acquittals issued by the other three judges, and also argued that Rudolf Hess, the great enemy of the Soviet Union for his effort to create a separate peace with the British, should also receive a death sentence. Nikitchenko also resisted French efforts to have the judgment against the defendants receiving a death sentence to be carried out by a firing squad − which was considered the more honorable way to die − than death by hanging, reserved for common criminals.
The Soviet Union played an active role in the London Conference, in which Britain, France, the United States, together with the U.S.S.R. in 1945 mapped out their plan to establish the IMT. The Soviets played a major role not only in drafting the procedural rules of the tribunal,6 but also in defining the legal theories under which the defendants would ultimately be tried. For example, the notions of criminal organizations “proved a major bone of contention from the start.”8 The Soviets maintained that the IMT should focus on the leaders and members of the Nazi organizations, with the authority to rule after each case whether the entire organization − for example, the Gestapo − constituted a criminal enterprise. This procedural move would thereby “eliminat[e] the need to prove the criminality of the organization in each subsequent case of prosecution of a member of the organization.”9 In the end, the Soviet position prevailed, and became an important prosecutorial tool during the trial.10 Additionally, the Soviets were responsible for the clause in the London Charter stating that the IMT “may require to be informed of the nature of any evidence before it is offered so that it may rule on the relevance thereof.” Moreover, the Soviets directed that the tribunal take judicial notice of facts of common knowledge instead of requiring their proof. They also attempted to have the judges agree – not always successfully, though − to take judicial notice of, among other things, the evidence propounded by committees established by the allies for the investigation of war crimes (such as the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, discussed below).
The Soviets and the Americans agreed that the tribunal need not be bound by the technical rules of evidence, allowing for introduction of any evidence considered to have probative value.13 In addition, the Soviets and Americans wholeheartedly agreed that waging an aggressive war constituted an international crime deserving of sanctions. Moreover, the Soviet terminology eventually used in the indictment, that of “crimes against peace”, prevailed over the then-existing draft by the United States of “crimes of war.” The Soviet insistence on the aforementioned terms of the IMT was not intended to cause conflict between the Soviets and the three other prosecuting nations, but was meant to encourage a “court drama that would lay bare all the evilness of the Nazi system by detailing in public the criminal career of its leading personages”.
One of the criticisms made of the IMT trial is that the accusers were also victims of the Nazis and acted as prosecutors, judges and executioners. Therefore, the argument runs, the defendants could not and did not obtain a fair trial. The general proposition that the victims (and here also the victors) cannot also be the adjudicators of guilt, while superficially appealing, is not correct. As Professor A.L. Goodheart of Oxford explained soon after the conclusion of the trials in an article entitled “The Legality of the Nuremberg Trials”,
“Attractive as this argument may sound in theory, it ignores the fact that it runs counter to
the administration of law in every country. If it were true, then no spy could be given a legal
trial, because his case is always heard by judges representing the enemy country. Yet no one
has ever argued that in such cases it was necessary to call on neutral judges. The prisoner
has the right to demand that his judges shall be fair, but not that they shall be neutral. As
Lord Witt has pointed out, the same principle is applicable to ordinary criminal law because
‘a burglar cannot complain that he is being tried by a jury of honest citizens.’”

to be continued...

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9690
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by ljadw » 30 Aug 2009 07:56

During the summer and autumn of 1941 (must by a typo ljadw ),neither Hitler,nor the OKW or the OKH ,were considering a war against the Soviet Union on the grounds of anticipating an imminent Soviet attack. From Hitler's War H_Magenheimer P 57 .

Cheshire Cat
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 27 Aug 2009 20:25
Location: Dublin

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Cheshire Cat » 30 Aug 2009 08:02

Part II Nuremberg

It is clear from Nikitenko’s statements quoted above that he did not abide by this proposition as a judge at the IMT. Of course, this is not surprising, since the Soviet view of trials was not of a proceeding before finders of fact who aim to put their prejudices aside and decide culpability solely on the basis of facts presented to them. If the remaining three judges were also Soviet, or followed Nikitenko’s view, it is likely that today the legacy of Nuremberg would be quite poor.
The Soviet aim to make Nuremberg a “show trial” by putting forth mounds of evidence of Nazi atrocities, especially those committed after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, ironically had the effect of making the Nuremberg proceedings more legally effective. The chief Soviet prosecutor R. A. Rudenko and his staff were in many ways the most prepared prosecuting team of the four Allied prosecutorial teams.
Moreover, the Soviet presentation of their case through extensive documentary evidence played a critical role in the thorough documentation of Nazi crimes and the exposure to the world of the brutality of the Nazi regime. Rudenko offered vast amounts of paper evidence to support the counts of conspiracy and crimes against peace. Such evidence
included not only the official documents of the defendants and their associates, but also transcripts of speeches at congresses and Reichstag sessions, books, maps, private correspondence, diaries, and memoirs.20 Rudenko also presented material proof such as written depositions and statements of victims and witnesses, including those of the
Germans. The Soviets “claimed credit for convincing their partners not to build the proceedings around documentary evidence alone”, for the offering of live evidence would produce “a dramatic effect on the atmosphere in the court-room”.
Much of the Soviet evidence came from the work of their “Extraordinary State Commission for Ascertaining and Investigating Crimes Perpetrated by the German-Fascist Invaders and their Accomplices”. Created in November 1942, its task was to
“…keep complete records of the vile crimes perpetrated by the Germans and their accomplices and the damage inflicted by them on Soviet citizens and the socialist state; establish wherever possible the identity of the German-Fascist criminals guilty of the organization or execution of the crimes in occupied Soviet territories, so that they might be handed over to the courts for severe punishment; [and] unify and coordinate the work already performed by Soviet state organs in this area.”
Among the detailed and massive work performed by the Commission was inspection of graves and corpses, gathering of witness accounts, forensic examinations, and interrogations of captured Germans. The records contained “the most complete description possible of the crimes committed, the full name and place of residence of the individuals furnishing the evidence”, and “all the relevant documents” such as minutes of the interrogations, medical expert conclusions, German documents, and films. The Commission's extraordinary efforts resulted in an impressive list of “hundreds of Germans, from generals to humble privates”, and a “specific and detailed enumeration of the crimes of which they stood accused”. These records proved indispensable at the IMT.
The Soviets also had the earliest experience in trying Nazis. In December 1943, the Soviets conducted in the Russian City of Kharkov the first domestic trial of Germans accused of atrocities.The defendants consisted of a military intelligence captain, an SS lieutenant, a police private, and a Russian collaborator who chauffeured the Kharkov Gestapo. The Soviet prosecution in the Kharkov trial invoked the theme of collective complicity in that the atrocities committed by the defendants were “links in a long chain of crimes…committed by the German invaders on the direct instructions of the German Government and of the Supreme Command of the German Army”.The Kharkov indictment “sounded vaguely like a medium for indicting a criminal gang and so anticipated the novel concept of 'criminal organization' later consecrated in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal”.The Kharkov defendants admitted that the orders for atrocities for which they stood accused “emanated from the German government”. In its closing argument, the prosecution de-legitimized the defense of superior orders and “insisted that the accused be personally and individually held to account for their actions”.

At the same time, the prosecution did not hesitate to take advantage of the plea of respondeat superior in order to “trace the responsibility to the men at the top of the Nazi pyramid”, thus again emphasizing the notion of collective responsibility for the German atrocities.Thus, the importance of domestic war crimes trials such as the Kharkov trial lies not only in their bringing of Nazi war criminals to justice, but also their effect, as put by Professor George Ginsburgs, of “point[ing] the way toward the grand finale at Nuremberg”.
Last, the Soviet evidence at the IMT did not focus only on crimes against its own citizens. In total, the evidence presented by the Soviets
“…recorded the systematic execution by firing squads, torture, and abuse of Soviet, Polish, French, and English prisoners of war, the extermination and enslavement of peaceful population in “death camps” and in Jewish ghettos, the senseless destruction of towns and villages, the plunder of both public and private property, as well as historical and cultural treasures in Yugoslavia, Poland, Greece, and the U.S.S.R.”

Cheshire Cat
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 27 Aug 2009 20:25
Location: Dublin

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Cheshire Cat » 30 Aug 2009 08:15

The Crimes Committed by the Soviet Union During World War II
Under the IMT Charter

The criticisms made of the IMT trial that the accusers and adjudicators were also victims must be distinguished from another criticism: that the Allied Powers judging the individual German defendants at the dock also committed some of the same crimes for which the German defendants were being charged.
First on the list, of course, was the Soviet Union. It seems obvious that the Soviet Union also committed the crime of waging an aggressive war, its leaders – foremost Joseph Stalin − could be considered conspirators in that crime, and that the Soviets during the war committed both war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the same time, it must be remembered that the Soviets – among the Allies – were not only the greatest perpetrators of the crimes enumerated in the IMT Charter but also were the greatest victims of Nazi atrocities. Twenty million Soviet civilians and eight million Soviet soldiers perished at the hands of the Nazis.
A. Crimes Against Peace: The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and Soviet Conquest of the Baltic Republics and Eastern Poland
At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the official position of the U.S.S.R. was that of neutrality. Just a few weeks earlier, on August 23, 1939, the U.S.S.R. signed a treaty of non-aggression with Germany. This pact contained a secret additional protocol wherein in exchange for agreeing not to join the future war, Germany promised the Soviets the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. By signing the non-aggression pact with Germany and including the secret provisions, Stalin and his cohorts actively collaborated with the Nazis in Germany’s invasion of
Poland on September 1, 1939. On September 17, 1939, despite their “neutral” status, the Soviets marched into Eastern Poland, with the explanation of protecting the “ethnic brothers of [their] Ukrainian and White Russian populations”.
As Bradley Smith explains, “f the Nuremberg prosecutors were correct that there was conspiracy in the planning of aggression against Poland in 1939, then Stalin was one of the parties to the conspiracy.”
Indeed, the "most troublesome problem" facing the Nuremberg judges was that:
“Stalin's signature on the Nazi-Soviet Pact had left Hitler free to move against Poland. Once the secret clauses of that pact appeared in evidence, even in summary form, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that Stalin, like some of the
defendants in the dock, had continued to “cooperate” with Hitler after he knew of the Nazi attack plans. If this kind of conduct would earn defendants such as Wilhelm Frick prison sentences or death, what was the Court to say about the actions of the Soviet Union?”
As put by another author, if the participants at Nuremberg believed the “’rape of Poland’ to be an international crime ‘then there follows an irrefutable implication that Soviet Russia and its officials were participes crimines.’”

Alfred Seidl, attorney for Rudolf Hess, was most insistent in raising this argument during the course of the IMT proceedings. As Conot explains, “By revealing to the world that Germany and the Soviet Union had agreed to divide Eastern Europe between them in 1939, Seidl aimed to blow Count One, the Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War, right out of the trial: For if there had been a conspiracy, then one of the conspirators, the Soviet Union, was in violation of all legal standards, participating in the prosecution and the judging of the case. If, on the other hand, the Moscow Pact had
not constituted a conspiracy, then the Germans could be no more guilty than the Soviets.”

B. War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: The Katyn Massacre

One of the most embarrassing events at the IMT was the attempt by the Soviets to pin the massacre of 15,000 Polish officers, a proportion of whose bodies were discovered by the Germans in 1942 at the Katyn Forest near Smolensk, upon Germany.
In the course of the IMT proceedings, Soviet assistant prosecutor Y.V.Porkovsky brazenly asserted,
“[O]ne of the most important criminal acts for which the major war criminals are responsible was the mass execution of Polish prisoners of war shot in the Katyn forest near Smolensk by the German fascist invaders.”
The United States and the United Kingdom refused to support the charge, and Justice Jackson, the American prosecutor, tried, but was unsuccessful, in convincing the Soviets to drop the Katyn matter. Unable to dissuade the Soviet prosecutors, the Soviets were given the opportunity to to go forward and prove German culpability. This proved
to be a disaster for the Soviets. German defense lawyers had a field day with this accusation by mounting an effective defense. As Conot explains, “Katyn consequently had become an albatross hung around their own neck by the Russians….” After much embarrassment, the Soviet prosecutors eventually agreed to drop the Katyn incident from the proceedings, and there is no mention of Katyn in the Nuremberg final judgments.
In 1990, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged that the Soviets were indeed the ones who carried out the massacre, under the direct orders of Stalin. While one scholar commented that, technically, “the killing of Polish officers…at Katyn and elsewhere on Soviet soil would not qualify as a war crime or even a crime against humanity on the Nuremberg model,” he admits that the massacre would “still leave the Stalin regime guilty of…the common crime of mass murder, notwithstanding today's preference…for calling the case a war crime”. Thus, although the Katyn episode “raised few side questions” at Nuremberg, it succeeded in demonstrating that the “Nazis might not have a monopoly on atrocities.”

To Poland’s great displeasure, an official Russian commission examining events at Katyn decided that the massacre was not a crime against humanity or a war crime, but an ordinary criminal act. The Russian government also refused to open their archives on the matter to a Polish commission of inquiry. For this reason, 65 years after the event, the Katyn massacre remains a sore point in Polish-Russian relations.

III. The Legal and Moral Implications of the Soviet Role as Prosecutors at
Nuremberg
The culpability of the Soviet Union in committing similar offenses, and worse, its complicity in the commission of some of the crimes charged, arguably de-legitimizes the authority of the IMT to “judge and condemn their fellow criminals and
accomplices.”
From a purely legal point of view, however, any accusations of crimes committed by the Allies during World War II could not be adjudged by the IMT tribunal. The London Charter, issued on August 8, 1945, specifically pronounced that the proceedings were restricted to the “trial and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries.” If Stalin was a major war criminal, Nuremberg was not the place where his crimes would be adjudged. As Linder explains,
“The indictments against the defendants would prohibit defenses based on superior orders, as well as tu quoque (the “so-did-you”) defense. Delegates [to the London Conference] were determined not to let the defendants and their German lawyers turn the trial into one that would expose questionable war conduct by Allied forces.”
When the German defense attorneys attempted during the course of the IMT trial to introduce the behavior of the Soviet Union as a defense to their clients’ actions, Soviet prosecutor Rudenko correctly objected: “We are examining the matter of the crimes of the major German war criminals. We are not investigating the foreign policies of other states.” Moreover, in any trial the adjudicators need not be completely innocent to be able to fairly judge the accused. William Shakespeare, in his play Measure for Measure, pointed out this reality: “The jury, passing on the prisoner's life, /May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two/ Guiltier than him they try.”
Benjamin Ferencz, the chief prosecutor in the Einzatzgruppen trial at the subsequent Nuremberg zonal trials, similarly countered this argument in a Court TV interview on the Nuremberg Trials, by noting that the individuals defendants were on trial for the acts they themselves committed, and their “You too” or “You also” argument bears no relevance on their individual guilt or innocence for such acts. From a moral or ethical point of view, the Tu Quoque [You Also/You Too] argument is also not recognized as a valid excuse. As the Encyclopedia of Fallacies explains, “[Tu Quoque] is a fallacy regardless of whether you really did it or not.
. . .For example, when one is arguing “Jack is a murderer”, Jack’s defendant says “You’re a murderer too”. The response is only blaming the claimer for the same thing he/she did as well. This doesn’t refute the fact that Jack is a murderer, but only draws away the attention by involving another person.”
As with children, therefore, the cry of “Everyone else is doing it,” should have no consequence.

IV. Conclusion
The Soviet Union's suitability to play prosecutor and judge at Nuremberg understandably diminishes the legacy of the IMT. The secret collaborations with Germany makes the Soviets appear more as accomplices to some of Germany's crimes
than the neutral bystanders or pure victims they held themselves out to be. In addition, the Soviets themselves were guilty of direct perpetration of atrocities not only against their “enemies”, but also against their own people.
Nevertheless, the Soviets did not play a passive role in the development of the trials. Because of the enormity of the atrocities committed on Soviet soil by the Germans, the Soviets had a legitimate stake in the outcome of the trial of the
perpetrators, and in that sense, were no different from the other prosecuting teams who were also directly impacted by the war. Indeed, Soviet contributions to the trials were numerous; from their scrupulous gathering of evidence, to the precedents set by their domestic trials of war criminals, to their substantial hand in the drafting of the London Charter, and to their presentation of the records of massive Nazi atrocities on Soviet and foreign soil alike. Such contributions cannot be underestimated and lends credence to the legitimacy of the trials as a whole.
Last edited by Cheshire Cat on 30 Aug 2009 10:10, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Steen Ammentorp
Member
Posts: 3171
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 12:48
Location: Denmark

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Steen Ammentorp » 30 Aug 2009 08:33

Cheshire Cat - Stay on topic! Your own topic. SU's role in the Nuremberg trials is irrelevant at the topic at hand.

/Steen Ammentorp

Crazy_Ivan
Member
Posts: 236
Joined: 29 Aug 2009 18:15

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Crazy_Ivan » 30 Aug 2009 09:04

1. Surely Mein Kampf makes Hitlers plans very clear non? Hitler makes his feelings about Russia very clear.

2. Using testimony from defendants who are on trial for their lives as irrefutable proof is dodgy.

3. October 17 1939, Hitler says to Keitel as per William Shirer that Polish territory "is important to us from a military point of view as an advanced jumping-off point and for strategic concentration of troops. To that end the railroads and communications channels are to be kept in order." Surely it is clear what the implication is there?

Cheshire Cat
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 27 Aug 2009 20:25
Location: Dublin

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Cheshire Cat » 31 Aug 2009 12:44

Soviet soldiers and officers were preparing for a victorious march on Berlin, but the war against Germany in 1941 didn’t run according to plan. As a result, when Soviet commanders were captured, the Germans found quite interesting maps and curious orders in their bags. Thousands of soldiers had Russian-German and Russian-Romanian phrase books. Many simply did not think of the necessity to get rid of this compromising evidence.

The commander of the 5th Battery of the 14th Howitzer Regiment of the 14th Tank Division of the 7th Mechanized Corps, Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili, son of Stalin, was no exception. He was taken prisoner, but at first he was not recognized. The senior lieutenant was betrayed by his subordinates. Stalin’s son was searched and questioned. A letter was found in his pockets, from a certain junior lieutenant in the reserves named Victor: “I am at the training camps, I would like to be home by fall, but the planned walk to Berlin might hinder this.” The letter is dated June 11, 1941. The contents of this letter were reported to Hitler personally; he mentioned it on May 18,1942. (Piker, Hitler’s Table Talks, 303)
In June 1941, German intelligence officers showed the letter to Yakov Dzhugashvili and asked him to clarify the statement about the “planned walk to Berlin”.
The questioning protocol recorded Stalin’s son’s reaction. He read the letter and quietly muttered: “Damn it!”

During questioning, Stalin’s son was asked why the Soviet artillery, which had the best cannon and howitzers in the world, and in incredible numbers, fired so poorly. Stalin’s son answered: “The maps let the Red Army down, because the war, contrary to expectations, unfolded to the east of the state border.”
Stalin’s son told the truth. In 1941, the Red Army fought without maps. There simply weren’t any. But the artillery couldn’t fire without maps. Direct aiming and firing was just a small fraction of the work done by artillery in war. Most of the time artillery fired beyond the horizon.

“It turned out that in Soviet Russia a map-making industry was created that surpassed everything that had ever been done before in its size, organization, volume, and quality of work,” concluded the Germans about Soviet topographic services (Petermanns geographischen Mitteilungen (Germany, 1943), vols. 9, 10)
How do we reconcile the best map-making industry in the world with the complete absence of maps?
General A.I. Lossev explained: “Storages of topographic maps, located unreasonably close to the border, were either seized by the enemy, or destroyed by the enemy during the first bomb raids. As a result, the troops lost 100 million maps.”

This is a modern-day evaluation, and the numbers are lowered. Lieutenant General M.K. Kudryavtsev, who under Stalin was director of the topographic services of the Red Army, said that during the first days of the war, and only in the Baltic, Western, and Kiev military districts, the Soviet troops destroyed during retreat over two hundred railcars of their own topographic maps.
The smallest cargo railcar in the Soviet Union in 1941 could carry twenty tons. Even if we supposed that the smallest cars were used to store the maps, four thousand tons of maps were destroyed in the three districts. Kudryavtsev said that, on average, every railcar contained 1,033,000 maps. Two hundred cars equaled 200 million maps.
Which of the two generals is right? They both are. One talked about what the Germans troops destroyed, 100 million, and the other added that the Soviets themselves destroyed 200 million maps, so they would not go to the enemy.

If the Soviet army planned to defend Moscow, Kursk, and Stalingrad, it needed maps of those regions. There was no reason to transport these maps to the state border.
At the border, the army needed maps of border regions. And, if there was a plan to advance, the army needed maps of the territories that lay ahead. If the Soviet Union planned to take over large territories, it needed the corresponding number of maps, to supply a multimillion-strong army. The Red Army did not save its maps in the border regions, because they were useless for defending the country. In 1941, the plans for the “liberation” of Europe crumbled, and the value of the maps that were kept in railcars on the border became zero. Millions of Russian-German and Russian-Romanian phrase books were burned along with the maps.
The Soviet population was expecting a war, but it didn’t anticipate a German invasion. Therefore, once the Germans attacked, everyone was shocked. Major General of the KGB O.D. Gotsiridze remembered: “Before July 3, when Stalin made a public appearance, it was completely unclear as to what were to do. Everyone thought that the war would be quick and on foreign soil.”
“The complete demoralization among our troops occurred because…the people had planned to fight on the enemy’s territory, and our military commanders were dreaming of a blitzkrieg no less than the Germans were. But everything turned out not quite so happily…..The sudden need for defense turned into a total retreat on all fronts for the troops and the people” (A.B. Zubov, Continent, no 84 (1995))

User avatar
bf109 emil
Member
Posts: 3627
Joined: 25 Mar 2008 21:20
Location: Youngstown Alberta Canada

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by bf109 emil » 31 Aug 2009 13:27

How do we reconcile the best map-making industry in the world with the complete absence of maps?
General A.I. Lossev explained: “Storages of topographic maps, located unreasonably close to the border, were either seized by the enemy, or destroyed by the enemy during the first bomb raids. As a result, the troops lost 100 million maps.”
The fact these maps where stored and not given to artillery commanders, armor units, generals and thus every single one of them was destroyed also points to the fact that even though the SU had maps of the other nations, they also had no plan for attacking other then being pre-pared, hence all the maps where indeed in storage...

but lets not forget Germany also had maps of the east and where quite frequently flying over Soviet territory in a pre-invasion flights to maps, chart, and located Soviet military positions which indeed, unlike the Soviet Union acted upon and used in an intentional, un prevoked act of violence...the fact Russia had detailed maps of borders to the west of theirs is not a justification nor a legal stance for the intentional and undeclared attack upon the Soviet Union and a violation as the declaration came post.

Viktor Suvorov a Soviet writters has written theories and published work that Suvorov's most controversial assertion was that Stalin originally planned to use Nazi Germany as a proxy (the “Icebreaker”) against the West. For this reason Stalin provided significant material and political support to Adolf Hitler, while at the same time preparing the Red Army to “liberate” the whole of Europe from Nazi occupation. Suvorov argued that Hitler lost World War II the moment he attacked Poland: not only was he going to war with the Allies, but it was only a matter of time before the Soviet Union would seize the opportune moment to attack him from the rear. This left Hitler with no choice but to launch a preemptive strike on the Soviet Union, while Stalin's forces were redeploying from a defensive to an offensive posture, providing Hitler with an important initial tactical advantage.

but his work and maybe a Ukarainain heritage which many saw Germany as a savior in order to be granted Independant Statehood and a removal from Soviet Rule has had his work and theories termed by many historians as inaccurate or false..."Suvorov's assertions remain a matter of debate among historians. While most agree that Stalin made extensive preparations for an upcoming war and exploited the military conflict in Europe to his advantage, the assertions that Stalin planned to attack Nazi Germany in the summer of 1941, and that Operation Barbarossa was a preemptive strike by Hitler, is widely disputed."Imagehttp://www.sonic.net/~bstone/archives/980531.shtml
As a result, when Soviet commanders were captured, the Germans found quite interesting maps and curious orders in their bags. Thousands of soldiers had Russian-German and Russian-Romanian phrase books. Many simply did not think of the necessity to get rid of this compromising evidence.
why should they as having maps and phrase books are hardly comprising, and evidence towards what?...and can you source what curious orders where found in their bag if indeed there where any?
Millions of Russian-German and Russian-Romanian phrase books were burned along with the maps.
considering most Slavs at the time where illiterate and couldn't read nor write, seems like a waste printing more books then their where troops and I suppose they made a good fire to cook upon as their intended usage would have not been justified or put to heart.

Cheshire Cat
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 27 Aug 2009 20:25
Location: Dublin

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Cheshire Cat » 31 Aug 2009 13:41

Wolfgang Strauss, a respected German Slavicist and political analyst, explains this clarifying historical process in "Operation Barbarossa and the Russian Historians' Dispute,"

A radical revision of World War II history, Strauss contends, became possible only after the collapse of the multinational Soviet Union (1991), when some 14 million previously classified documents dealing with all aspects of Soviet rule were finally open to free examination. This book's greatest contribution may well be to highlight for non-Russians the research of Russian revisionists. Strauss is very familiar with this important work, which has been all but entirely ignored in the United States. The most important publications cited by Strauss in this regard are two Russian anthologies, both issued in 1995: "Did Stalin Make Preparations for an Offensive War Against Hitler?," and "September 1, 1939-May 9, 1945: 50th Anniversary of the Defeat of Fascist Germany."[note 13] The first of these contains articles by revisionist scholars as well as by critics of revisionism. (The "Russian historians' dispute" referred to in the subtitle of Strauss' book echoes the "German historians' dispute" of the 1980s, in which Ernst Nolte played a major role.)

As Strauss notes, the most prominent critic of the revisionist view of Suvorov and others has been Israeli historian Gabriel Gorodetsky, who teaches at Tel Aviv University. (Strauss suggests that he is an long-time apologist for Stalin.) Gorodetsky is the author of a 1995 Russian-language anti-Suvorov work, "The 'Icebreaker' Myth," and a detailed 1999 study, Grand Illusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia.

In his discussion of "Did Stalin Make Preparations for an Offensive War Against Hitler," Strauss writes (pages 42-44):

Even though revisionists as well as the critics of revisionism have their say in this book, the end result is the same. The anti-Fascist attempts to justify and legitimize Stalin's war policy from 1939 do not hold up. The view that the Second World War was "a crime attributable solely to National Socialist Germany" can no longer be sustained. The historical truth as seen by Russian revisionists is documented in this collection of articles published by Bordyugov and Nevezhin as well as by the renowned war historian Mikhail Melitiukhov, academic associate of the All-Russian Research Institute for Documentation and Archives.
This most recent compendium of Russian revisionist writings deepens our understanding of Stalin's preparations for a military first-strike against Germany in the summer of 1941. The strategic deployment plan, approved by Stalin at a conference on May 15, 1941, with General Staff chief Georgi Zhukov and Defense Commissar Semen Timoshenko, called for a Blitzkrieg:

Tank divisions and mechanized corps were to launch their attack from the Brest and Lviv [Lemberg] tier accompanied by destructive air strikes. The objective was to conquer East Prussia, Poland, Silesia and the [Czech] Protectorate, and thereby cut Germany off from the Balkans and the Romanian oil fields. Lublin, Warsaw, Kattowice, Cracow, Breslau [Wroclaw] and Prague were targets to be attacked.

A second attack thrust was to be directed at Romania, with the capture of Bucharest. The successful accomplishment of the immediate aims, namely, to destroy the mass of the German Army east of the Vistula, Narev and Oder rivers, was the necessary prerequisite for the fulfillment of the main objective, which was to defeat Germany in a quick campaign. The main contingents of the German armed forces were to be encircled and destroyed by tank armies in bold rapid advances.

Three recurrent terms in the mobilization plan of May 15 confirm the aggressive character of Stalin's plan. "A sudden strike" (vnyyzapni udar), "forward deployment" (razvertyvaniye), and "offensive war" (nastupatel'naya voyna). Of the 303 [Soviet] divisions assembled on the western front, 172 were assigned to the first wave of attack. One month was allotted for the total deployment -- the period from June 15 to July 15. Mikhail Melitiukhov: "On this basis it appears that the war against Germany would have to have begun in July."

This anthology also devotes much attention to analyzing Stalin's speech of May 5, 1941, delivered to graduates of Soviet military academies. In this speech Stalin justified his change of foreign policy in connection with the now decided-upon attack against Germany. From the Communist point of view even a Soviet war of aggression is a "just war" because it serves to expand the "territory of the socialist world" and "to destroy the capitalist world." Most important in this May 5 speech was Stalin's efforts to dispel the "myth of the invincible Wehrmacht." The Red Army was strong enough to smash any enemy, even the "seemingly invincible Wehrmacht."

Strauss lists (pages 102-105) the major findings and conclusions of Russian revisionists, derived mostly from the two major works cited above:

Stalin wanted a general European war of exhaustion in which the USSR would intervene at the politically and militarily most expedient moment. Stalin's main intention is seen in his speech to the Politburo of August 19, 1939.
To ignite this, Stalin used the [August 1939] Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, which: a) provoked Hitler's attack against Poland, and b) evoked the declarations of war [against Germany] by Britain and France.
In the event Germany was defeated quickly [by Britain and France], Stalin planned to "Sovietize" Germany and establish a "Communist government" there, but with the danger that the victorious capitalist powers would never permit a Communist Germany.
In the event France was defeated quickly [by Germany], Stalin planned the "Sovietization" of France. "A Communist revolution would seem inevitable, and we could take advantage of this for our own purposes by rushing to aid France and making her our ally. As a result of this, all the nations under the 'protection' of a victorious Germany would become our allies."
From the outset Stalin reckoned on a war with Germany, and the [Soviet] conquest of Germany. To this end, Stalin concentrated on the western border of the USSR operational offensive forces, which were five- to six-times stronger than the Wehrmacht with respect to tanks, aircraft and artillery.
With respect to a war of aggression, on May 15, 1941, the Red Army's Main Political Directorate instructed troop commanders that every war the USSR engaged in, whether defensive or offensive, would have the character of a "just war."
Troop contingents were to be brought up to full strength in all the western military districts; airfields and supply bases to support a forward-strategy were to be built directly behind the border; an attack force of 60 divisions was to be set up in the Ukraine and mountain divisions and a parachute corps were to be established for attack operations.
The 16th, 19th, 21st, 22nd and 25th Soviet Armies were transferred from the interior to the western border, and deployed at take-off points for the planned offensive.
In his speech of May 5, 1941, to graduate officers of the academies, Stalin said that war with Germany was inevitable, and characterized it as a war not only of a defensive nature but rather of an offensive nature.
Stalin intended to attack in July 1941, although Russian historians disagree about the precise date. Suvorov cites July 6, [Valeri] Danilov [a retired Soviet Colonel] gives July 2, while Melitiukhov writes: "The Red Army could not have carried out an attack before July 15."

Ardee
Member
Posts: 275
Joined: 17 Sep 2006 04:58
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Ardee » 31 Aug 2009 17:27

I will confess: I read the first couple of posts in this thread, skimmed a couple of more, and skipped the rest. The mere title of the thread does betray a certain bias: "...Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II." Hello? I thought the war had had already been going on for quite some time prior to June 1941. And while I at first thought the thread might be discussing manipulations prior to 1939, instead it jumped right to Barbarossa. JMHO, but to talk of him "starting the War" by invading eastern Europe after the war had already started seems slightly, um, disingenuous.

So far as the theory of Stalin preparing an invasion goes, I have been under the impression that it has been debunked many, many times. The Red Army preparing for an offensive to launch just a few days later than Hitler? Amazing! Where were all the fuel and ammo depots Hitler must have captured? I don't recall reading about this, or any other "logistical evidence" to support an imminent Soviet invasion. However, I do recall reading many Soviet troops had guns, but...no ammo. Yup -- sure sounds like an invasion was ready to jump off the green line any moment. It also seem kind of funny that the USSR was making (defensive) fortifications along their new borders -- why spend precious resources to fortify places you plan to soon be far, far behind the front lines? Where was the mighty Soviet fist, the well-supplied, well-prepared army poised to go on the offensive in a "few days" -- surely it would have been able to do SOMETHING in the open days of the German invasion? If nothing else, at least put up a good defense?

How about exercising a little critical thinking skills, folks? I, at least, find it curious the person who started this thread used the User Name of "Cheshire Cat" - a figure from the "Alice in Wonderland" series, in case the allusion is lost, and one associated with being ... a trickster.

User avatar
bf109 emil
Member
Posts: 3627
Joined: 25 Mar 2008 21:20
Location: Youngstown Alberta Canada

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by bf109 emil » 31 Aug 2009 18:21

Wolfgang Strauss, a respected German Slavicist and political analyst, explains this clarifying historical process in "Operation Barbarossa and the Russian Historians' Dispute,"
Strauss's works and conclusions are those of Surovov...
The best known Russian historian to advance revisionist arguments on Stalin's preparations for a first-strike against Germany has been Viktor Suvorov (pen name of Vladimir Rezun). Strauss recapitulates his main arguments (which have been treated in detail in the pages of this Journal).[note 11]
source book review by Daniel W. Michaels

also when quoting or copying from a book review as the source of your work, please add the URL as plagiarism is frowned upon on this site as your quotes are from a book review by Daniel W. Michaels and not your words...from source http://www.gnosticliberationfront.com/e ... .htm#37926

likewise what you write about Strauss's review is plagiarized from Daniel Michaels book review in which you wrote and copied without listing a URL or source
A radical revision of World War II history, Strauss contends, became possible only after the collapse of the multinational Soviet Union (1991), when some 14 million previously classified documents dealing with all aspects of Soviet rule were finally open to free examination. This book's greatest contribution may well be to highlight for non-Russians the research of Russian revisionists. Strauss is very familiar with this important work, which has been all but entirely ignored in the United States. The most important publications cited by Strauss in this regard are two Russian anthologies, both issued in 1995: "Did Stalin Make Preparations for an Offensive War Against Hitler?," and "September 1, 1939-May 9, 1945: 50th Anniversary of the Defeat of Fascist Germany."[note 13] The first of these contains articles by revisionist scholars as well as by critics of revisionism. (The "Russian historians' dispute" referred to in the subtitle of Strauss' book echoes the "German historians' dispute" of the 1980s, in which Ernst Nolte played a major role.)
http://www.gnosticliberationfront.com/e ... .htm#37926

User avatar
Kunikov
Member
Posts: 4454
Joined: 20 Jan 2004 19:23

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Kunikov » 31 Aug 2009 18:44

Cheshire Cat wrote: The commander of the 5th Battery of the 14th Howitzer Regiment of the 14th Tank Division of the 7th Mechanized Corps, Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili, son of Stalin, was no exception. He was taken prisoner, but at first he was not recognized. The senior lieutenant was betrayed by his subordinates. Stalin’s son was searched and questioned. A letter was found in his pockets, from a certain junior lieutenant in the reserves named Victor: “I am at the training camps, I would like to be home by fall, but the planned walk to Berlin might hinder this.” The letter is dated June 11, 1941. The contents of this letter were reported to Hitler personally; he mentioned it on May 18,1942. (Piker, Hitler’s Table Talks, 303)
No such book entitled "Hitler's Table Talks" exists. There is a book entitled "Hitler's Table Talk" but the author is not 'Piker.' Within the latter there is nothing of the above on either pg. 303 nor on May 18, 1942, which can be found on pgs. 489 and 490. Somehow I believe the participants in this thread should begin looking into the sources being presented, because as with Suvorov, someone else also likes to make things up.
"Opinions founded on prejudice are always sustained with the greatest violence." Jewish proverb
"This isn't Paris, you will not get through here with a Marching Parade!" Defenders of Stalingrad

mezsat2
Member
Posts: 98
Joined: 05 Jun 2009 12:02

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by mezsat2 » 03 Sep 2009 14:30

Ardee wrote:I will confess: I read the first couple of posts in this thread, skimmed a couple of more, and skipped the rest. The mere title of the thread does betray a certain bias: "...Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II." Hello? I thought the war had had already been going on for quite some time prior to June 1941. And while I at first thought the thread might be discussing manipulations prior to 1939, instead it jumped right to Barbarossa. JMHO, but to talk of him "starting the War" by invading eastern Europe after the war had already started seems slightly, um, disingenuous.

So far as the theory of Stalin preparing an invasion goes, I have been under the impression that it has been debunked many, many times. The Red Army preparing for an offensive to launch just a few days later than Hitler? Amazing! Where were all the fuel and ammo depots Hitler must have captured? I don't recall reading about this, or any other "logistical evidence" to support an imminent Soviet invasion. However, I do recall reading many Soviet troops had guns, but...no ammo. Yup -- sure sounds like an invasion was ready to jump off the green line any moment. It also seem kind of funny that the USSR was making (defensive) fortifications along their new borders -- why spend precious resources to fortify places you plan to soon be far, far behind the front lines? Where was the mighty Soviet fist, the well-supplied, well-prepared army poised to go on the offensive in a "few days" -- surely it would have been able to do SOMETHING in the open days of the German invasion? If nothing else, at least put up a good defense?

How about exercising a little critical thinking skills, folks? I, at least, find it curious the person who started this thread used the User Name of "Cheshire Cat" - a figure from the "Alice in Wonderland" series, in case the allusion is lost, and one associated with being ... a trickster.
I would tend to agree with this assessment, despite the insightful, and fascinating, "table talk". As
an aside, however, Stalin would have almost certainly invaded Europe at some point before 1950 were
it not for the mass buildup of American military power and the advent of nuclear weaponry. In a sense,
therefore, it was a "defensive" attack- just not in the timeframe proposed in some of these snippets.

One must certainly take Nuremburg testimony with a grain of salt (for obvious reasons).

Cheshire Cat
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 27 Aug 2009 20:25
Location: Dublin

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Cheshire Cat » 03 Sep 2009 14:54

For decades the prevailing and more or less official view in the United States and Europe has been that a race-crazed Adolf Hitler, without warning or provocation, betrayed a trusting Josef Stalin by launching a treacherous surprise attack against the totally unprepared Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Von Thadden's book -- which is based in large part on recently uncovered evidence from Russian archives, Stalin's own statements, and new revelations of Russian military specialists -- persuasively debunks this view.

Many Soviet documents captured by the Germans during the course of the war, as well as German intelligence reports on the Soviet buildup in 1941, amply justify Hitler's decision to strike. Presented before an impartial tribunal, this evidence surely would have exonerated the German military and political leadership. Unfortunately, all of these documents were confiscated and kept by the victorious Allies.

In his lengthy December 11, 1941, speech declaring war against the United States, Hitler described in detail the Soviet menace, which was being aided and abetted by Britain and the (still officially neutral) USA. In this historic Reichstag address, the German leader said:

Already in 1940 it became increasingly clear from month to month that the plans of the men in the Kremlin were aimed at the domination, and thus the destruction, of all of Europe. I have already told the nation of the build-up of Soviet Russian military power in the East during a period when Germany had only a few divisions in the provinces bordering Soviet Russia. Only a blind person could fail to see that a military build-up of unique world-historical dimensions was being carried out. And this was not in order to protect something that was being threatened, but rather only to attack that which seemed incapable of defense ...

When I became aware of the possibility of a threat to the east of the Reich in 1940 through [secret] reports from the British House of Commons and by observations of Soviet Russian troop movements on our frontiers, I immediately ordered the formation of many new armored, motorized and infantry divisions ...

We realized very clearly that under no circumstances could we allow the enemy the opportunity to strike first into our rear. Nevertheless, the decision in this case was a very difficult one ...

A truly impressive amount of authentic material is now available that confirms that a Soviet Russian attack was intended. We are also sure about when this attack was to take place. In view of this danger, the extent of which we are perhaps only now truly aware, I can only thank the Lord God that He enlightened me in time, and has given me the strength to do what must be done. Millions of German soldiers may thank Him for their lives, and all of Europe for its existence.

I may say this today: If the wave of more than 20,000 tanks, hundreds of divisions, tens of thousands of artillery pieces, along with more than 10,000 airplanes, had not been kept from being set into motion against the Reich, Europe would have been lost ...
During the great Nuremberg trial of 1945-1946, former high-level Third Reich officials testified about the background to the Barbarossa attack, describing the Soviet threat in 1941, and the staggering amounts of war materiel they encountered after their forces penetrated Soviet territory. But this evidence was brusquely dismissed by the Tribunal's Allied-appointed judges.

Von Thadden cites, for example, the Nuremberg testimony of Hermann Göring:

We learned very quickly, through our close relations with Yugoslavia, the background of General Simovic's coup [in Belgrade on March 27, 1941]. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed that the information from Yugoslavia was correct, namely, that a strong Russian political influence existed, as well as extensive financial assistance for the undertaking on the part of England, of which we later found proof. It was clear that this venture was directed against the friendly policy of the previous Yugoslav government toward Germany ...

The new Yugoslav government, quite obviously and beyond doubt, clearly stood in closest relationship with the enemies we had at that time, that is to say, England and, in this connection, with the enemy to be, Russia.

The Simovic affair was definitely the final and decisive factor that dispelled the Führer's very last scruples about Russia's attitude, and prompted him to take preventive measures in that direction under all circumstances.

As von Thadden also relates, General Alfred Jodl, one of Hitler's closest military advisors, similarly testified before the Nuremberg Tribunal about Germany's "Barbarossa" attack: (note 4)

It was undeniably a purely preventive war. What we found out later on was the certainty of enormous Russian military preparations opposite our frontier. I will dispense with details, but I can only say that although we succeeded in a tactical surprise as to the day and the hour, it was no strategic surprise. Russia was fully prepared for war.

Allied authorities at Nuremberg denied to the German defendants access to the documents that would have exonerated them.note 5 Germany's military and political leaders were hanged, committed suicide, or were deported to the Soviet Union for slave labor or execution. As a result, the task of setting straight the historical record has been left to others, including scholars in Russia and the United States, as well as such honorable Germans as von Thadden.

Further evidence cited by von Thadden about the German-Russian clash was provided by Andrei Vlassov, a prominent Soviet Russian general who had been captured by the Germans. During a conversation in 1942 with SS general Richard Hildebrandt, he was asked if Stalin had intended to attack Germany, and if so, when. As Hildebrandt later related:

Vlassov responded by saying that the attack was planned for August-September 1941. The Russians had been preparing the attack since the beginning of the year, which took quite a while because of the poor Russian railroad network. Hitler had sized up the situation entirely correctly, and had struck directly into the Russian buildup. This, said Vlassov, is the reason for the tremendous initial German successes.

No one has done more than Viktor Suvorov (Vladimir Rezun), a one-time Soviet military intelligence officer, to show that Stalin was preparing to attack Germany and the West as part of a long-range project for global Sovietization, and that Hitler had no rational alternative but to counter this by launching his own attack. (note 6) In "Stalin's Trap," von Thadden discusses and confirms Suvorov's analysis, while also citing the findings of other Russian military historians who, working in archives accessible only since 1990, support and elaborate on Suvorov's work. These include retired Soviet Colonel Aleksei Filipov, who wrote "The Red Army's State of War Preparedness in June 1941," an article published in 1992 in the Russian military journal, Voyenni Vestnik, and Valeri Danilov, another retired Soviet Colonel, who wrote "Did the General Staff of the Red Army Plan a Preventive Strike Against Germany?," which appeared first in a Russian newspaper, and later, in translation, in the respected Austrian military journal, Österreichische Militärische Zeitschrift.

On the 46th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, the influential Moscow daily Pravda (May 8, 1991) told readers:

Unrealistic [Soviet] plans of an offensive nature were drawn up before the war as a result of an overestimation of our own capabilities and an underestimation of the enemy's. In accordance with these plans we began deploying our forces on the western frontier. But the enemy beat us to it.

More recently, two prominent European historians, one German and one Austrian, have presented further evidence of Soviet preparations for an attack against Germany. The first of these is Joachim Hoffmann, who for many years was a historian with the renowned Military History Research Center in Freiburg. He lays out his evidence in Stalins Vernichtungskrieg, 1941-1945 ("Stalin's War of Annihilation"), a work of some 300 pages that has appeared in at least three editions. The second is Heinz Magenheimer, a member of the Academy of National Defense in Vienna, and an editor of the Österreichische Militärische Zeitschrift. His detailed book has recently appeared in English under the title Hitler's War: German Military Strategy, 1940-1945 (London: 1998).

Von Thadden also reviews a series of articles in the German weekly Der Spiegel about Soviet plans, worked out by General Georgi Zhukov, to attack northern Germany and Romania in early 1941. Commenting on this, Colonel Vladimir Karpov has stated:

Just imagine if Zhukov's plan had been accepted and implemented. At dawn one morning in May or June thousands of our aircraft and tens of thousands of our artillery pieces would have struck against densely concentrated enemy forces, whose positions were known down to the battalion level -- a surprise even more inconceivable than the German attack on us.

Ardee
Member
Posts: 275
Joined: 17 Sep 2006 04:58
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start WW II

Post by Ardee » 03 Sep 2009 17:14

In this historic Reichstag address, the German leader said:
Interesting that a character from Alice in Wonderland is quoting and apparently giving credence to Adolf's speeches. I suppose "Cheshire Cat" also believes the Poles really did attack the the German radio station, as Hitler claimed to justify that invasion.

And yes - gasp! - it is amazing that the USSR, which claimed dominion over such a large portion of the Earth's land mass, also actually had a large army! Even more amazingly, in a time of violent military actions in neighboring regions, Stalin was taking steps to strengthen that army -- and not telling Hitler about it, like a good neighbor should! Well, a lot of folks have slighted Stalin's manners.... :roll:

Stalin was an opportunist, and certainly was not with his ambitions for territorial gain. Certainly, his actions in the Ukraine prior to the war indicate he was not overly concerned with humanitarianism or ethics; and Finland, the Baltic States, and Poland show he was not above using some muscle. What would have happened if Germany hadn't invaded the USSR in 1941? My crystal ball is just refusing to work today, darn it. It seems likely a conflict would have been inevitable between such diametrically opposed neighbors - but then again, the same might be said for the USA and USSR in the 1950's, etc. - and yet that War remained cold. (Yeah, I know nukes may have altered that comparison unfairly, but still...)

Concerning a Soviet push west in June of 1941 - well, let's see. Physical evidence is about as close to zero as such things can be, while physical evidence to the contrary seems to be quite available. Psychologically, Stalin would have had to have been in a truly interesting state to be contemplating an assault against a Germany at the height of its power with an army that had just had difficulties with - some would say a sound thrashing from - tiny Finland. Historically, there are a few documents -- which may be incomplete, have been edited for propaganda purposes, manufactured out of whole cloth, mis-translated, and/or taken out of context. Golly gee, I can't see why anybody would have trouble buying into this notion!

Return to “The Soviet Union at War 1917-1945”