"Stalin's War of Extermination", by Joachim Hoffma

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 04 Nov 2002 00:51

Roberto wrote:By the way, Hoffmann doesn't provide evidence that Hitler even thought in terms of prevention when planning and launching the attack on the Soviet Union, does he ?


michael mills wrote:No, he does not, for the reason that he does not claim that the Germans knew of an impending Soviet attack, and launched their own invasion solely for the purpose of pre-empting it.


If the Germans didn’t know of the “impending Soviet attack” that Hoffmann dreams about, how could “pre-empting” it have been even one of their purposes?

michael mills wrote:Hoffmann's thesis is that both Germany and the Soviet Union were, independently of each other, preparing to attack each other, and that Germany managed to achieve a tactical advantage by striking first.


I know that’s what the old man would like to believe, but he doesn’t seem to have much to show for it.

michael mills wrote:What Hoffmann is attacking is not the thesis that Germany planned its own invasion of the Soviet Union, but the propagandistic image of a peace-loving Soviet Union that was taken totally by surprise by an unprovoked German attack.


If so, he’s splendidly crashing into open doors, for historiography has it that Stalin was pursuing an aggressive foreign policy while waiting for his turn to step in after Germany and the Western Allies had exhausted themselves fighting each other.

Which doesn’t make Hitler’s attack look as anything other than unprovoked, naked aggression, of course.

michael mills wrote:It is only dishonest propagandists who claim that Hoffmann is justifying the German invasion as a purely defensive measure.


Who is or has been claiming that?

The problem with Hoffmann seems to be that he holds a thesis that, whether or not the threat of a Soviet attack even entered the Nazi government’s considerations, would make the Nazi aggression appear in a more favorable light, without providing any conclusive evidence in support of that thesis.

michael mills wrote:Hoffmann is saying that the German invasion, planned for its own reasons, happened to pre-empt an impending Soviet attack, by accident as it were.

Here is what Hoffmann writes in his conclusion (pp 330-331):
The German-Soviet war was inevitable. The only open question was which of the two competing powers would strike first to preempt its adversary. The rapidly increasing superiority and strength of Soviet armaments, especially in tanks, aircraft, and artillery, over the troops of the Wehrmacht, dispersed over all parts of Europe, led the Germans to view June 1941 as the last possible opportunity for German initiation of preventive war.


Well, what Hoffmann writes here doesn’t exactly support Mills’ reading.

Hoffmann seems to contend that the Germans had prevention of a Soviet strike in the near future on their minds.

Has he got anything to show for that contention?

Hoffmann wrote:Further delay would have eroded the only factor favouring the Germans, which was their level of training.


Now that would be one hell of a justification for an all-out aggression, Mr. Hoffmann. Better attack your enemy today because tomorrow he may be too strong for you to attack him.

Hoffmann wrote:The most recent discoveries in Soviet archives illustrate the extent to which Soviet military preparation and deployment had in fact already been completed.


The Soviets were getting stronger, sure.

How fast that was happening I wouldn’t trust Hoffmann to tell me, but rather have a look at the “most recent discoveries in Soviet archives” that he offers in support of his contention myself.

What I also would like to see, once again, if evidence of any serious concern on the German side with a threat emanating from Soviet military preparation.

Hoffmann wrote:To all apppearances, Stalin moved the attack date forward from 1942 to the months of July-September 1941.


“To all appearances” is good.

What evidence does Hoffmann offer that Stalin was planning to attack in 1942?

What evidence that he moved the attack date forward to “the months of July-September 1941”?

Hoffmann wrote:This would offer a plausible explanation of Stalin's desire to postpone the initiation of hostilities "even if only for....a month, a week, or a few days", to complete his own military preparations - without the slightest fear of German attack.


Is that it?

There is much evidence indeed that Stalin was biding for time, but why would that necessarily make it time for preparing his own attack rather than time to have his forces in shape to withstand a German attack?

Stalin seems to have been a friend of playing it safe, requiring an overall superiority of at least two to one for a successful offensive. At least that’s what he told his generals at a conference at the Kremlin on 13 January 1941, following a war game that was run off between January 8 and 11 for top-ranking officers:

Harrison E. Salisbury wrote:Other listeners were deeply disturbed by Stalin’s pronouncement (faithfully approved by the meeting) that a superiority of at least two to one was required for a successful offensive not only in the area of the principal breakthrough but on the whole operational front. The application of such a doctrine would require numbers, equipment and rear support far beyond anything heretofore contemplated. The Soviet commanders agreed that overwhelming superiority was needed at in the breakthrough area, but they did not see why such great numerical concentrations were required on the non-active part of the front.


Source of quote: Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days, 1970 Avon Books, New York, pages 75 and following.

Emphasis is mine.

On pages 97 of and following of the same book,

Harrison E. Salisbury wrote:By June 21, 1941, the Soviets had deployed about 2.9 million troops in the Western defense districts against an estimated 4.2 million Germans. The total strength of the Soviet military establishment had been strongly expanded from the 1939 level – up to 4.2 million in January, 1941, against 2.5 million in January, 1939. The total stood just below 5 million June 1. The air force had been tripled and land forces increased 2.7 times. The army had 124 new rifle divisions.
But the numbers were deceptive. The army had only 30 percent of the automatic weapons provided by the table of organization; only 20 percent of the planes were of new modern types and only 9 percent of the tanks. When General M. Shtemenko took over the 34th Cavalry Division in July, 1941, he found it had no arms whatever. He finally got some 1927 vintage cannons but was unable to obtain enough rifles or ammunition to equip his troops. There were no antitank guns – nothing but Molotov cocktails (gasoline bottles with wicks). He got twelve antitank guns, but not until October 1941.


Salisbury demonstrates that Stalin had precise intelligence from various sources as to the strength of German forces on the Soviet borders.

That being so, and unless it can be demonstrated that Stalin renounced to his “at least two to one along the whole front” doctrine, how could Stalin have possibly seen himself as having the numerical superiority he considered necessary to mount a successful offensive?

And whence does Hoffmann derive the conclusion that Stalin had not “the slightest fear of German attack”?

What assessment does Hoffmann tell us that Stalin made of the German buildup at the frontier and the constant reconnaissance flights, unmistakable signs of a German attack in the making?

Hoffmann wrote:This does not, of course, constitute a justification of the politically and morally detrimental methods employed by Hitler in Russia (and Poland). Hitler planned a war of conquest, too.


What a generous concession by Mr. Hoffmann.

What other than conquest can he demonstrate to have been on the Führer’s mind?

Hoffmann wrote:The National Socialist war on the Soviet Union was conducted in the spirit of a statement once made by Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield: "The racial question is the key to world history".


Getting better.

Hoffmann is trying to hark back Nazi racism to a statement by a British politician, probably taken out of context, who happened to be a Jew IIRC.

No wonder Michael Mills is so enthusiastic about Mr. Hoffmann.

Hoffmann wrote:It should be boren in mind, in this regard, that, by the very nature of things, no conflict between the National Socialist German Reich and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, could possibly resemble an "ordinary" war; the war was inevitably fated to acquire extraordinary features from the very outset.


Superb. Hoffmann obviously considers the policies outlined in Hitler’s briefing of his generals of 30 March 1941 (

[….]
Colonial tasks!
Two world-views fighting each other. Demolishing verdict about Bolshevism, which is equal to asocial criminality. Communism is an enormous danger for the future. We must depart from the standpoint of soldierly comradeship. The Communist is no comrade before and no comrade afterwards. This is a fight to annihilation. If we don’t see it as this, we will defeat the enemy, but in 30 years we will again be faced with the communist enemy. We don’t make war to conserve the enemy.[...]


according to Halder’s notes, as quoted in Streit’s Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945 and translated by myself), the Hungerplan worked out by Nazi bureaucrats with Hitler’s and Göring’s approval (which envisaged the starvation death of “umpteen million” people in the territories to be occupied), the Commissar Order, the Kriegsgerichtsbarkeitserlass of 13.05.1941 (which established that acts of violence by German soldiers against Soviet civilians need not be prosecuted by military tribunals), and other niceties of the German war plans, as having been dictated “by the very nature of things”.

Or then his research into those matters was as sloppy and guided by wishful thinking as his research into Soviet military preparations.

michael mills wrote:The quote from Harrison Salisbury is not conclusive in itself.


The quote:

Harrison E. Salisbury wrote:The strongest support for the conclusion that Stalin remained confident even on the eve of war in his ability to prevent its outbreak is provided by the fact that on June 6 [1941] he approved a comprehensive plan for the shift-over of Soviet industry to war production. This timetable called for completion of the plan by the end of 1942! [emphasis author’s] It was an excellent detailed schedule, calling for the conversion of large numbers of civilian plants to military purposes and the construction of much-needed defense facilities.


is but one of several indications against the thesis that Stalin was planning to stage an offensive in 1941, as I pointed out.

michael mills wrote:It shows that the Soviet Government planned to have shifted to full war production by the end of 1942, and had only approved that plan in June 1941.

When did Germany originally plan to be fully prepared for war? It was about 1943, as I remember. And when did it shift to full war production? It was at the beginning of 1943, after the Stalingrad disaster, and after the appointment of Speer.

Would Roberto argue from those facts that, since Hitler originally planned to be ready for war in about 1942 or 1943, the outbreak of war in 1939 cannot have had anything to do with Hitler's actions?

When Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, in the full knowledge that thereby it risked war with Britain and France, it was nowhere near fully prepared for war, in fact well behind Britain and France. Nevertheless, it went to war against Poland and risked the outbreak of a general European war because of the situation in which it found itself, with the strategic situation beginning to move against it (a movement that was temporarily offset by the sudden agreement with the Soviet Union).

So it is entirely possible that the Soviet Union was planning for war with Germany by 1942, but brought its planning forward in response to strategic developments, perhaps its awareness of German preparations. That seems to be the nub of Hoffmann's thesis.


Mills is comparing apples with oranges here, for several reasons.

Hitler got a war with France and Britain on his hands much earlier than he would have wanted to and would have been convenient for him in view of Germany’s lack of preparation for war, because he gambled and lost. He thought he might get away with his attack on Poland as he had previously got away with the annexation of the Sudetenland and the rest of Czechoslovakia, and when, contrary to his expectations, Britain and France declared war, he anxiously stuttered “Was nun”? (“What shall we do now?”).

What Hitler had expected was a local conflict with Poland, but instead he got a major European war he didn't want to have before 1943.

Stalin, on the other hand, couldn’t have looked upon an attack on Germany as a local conflict and comparatively minor affair.

War with Germany was necessarily the decisive, all-out encounter with the Soviet Union’s major opponent in Europe.

It seems implausible that Stalin would have risked this encounter without considering his country to be fully prepared for it, its industry completely on war footing.

Stalin, as we have seen, liked to play it safe, requiring a two-to-one superiority along the whole front line for an offensive to be successful.

If Stalin’s intention had been too anticipate a German attack he considered to be in the making by an offensive of his own, he would hardly have allowed for such a generous time schedule to put the country on war footing, but required that such be accomplished within the shortest time possible and that especially the production of new models of tanks and aircraft be speeded up.

Yet there is no evidence that such urgency measures regarding war production were ordered by Stalin.

Which makes it reasonable to assume that Stalin counted on war not breaking out so soon, as Salisbury does.

Salisbury in fact presents interesting evidence (including a diary note by Halder on June 20, 1941, that translates "Molotov wanted to see the Führer on June 18", as above, page 100) suggesting that Stalin thought Hitler was trying to blackmail him into making concessions, and that he was seeking to avoid a German attack through an eleventh-hour meeting with Hitler where he would give in to the latter’s demands, thus “buying his way out of the cul-de-sac into which his policy had led his country and himself” as Salisbury (as above, page 99) puts it.

michael mills wrote:Roberto wrote:
Mills' speculation that the late summer of 1941 may have been the chosen date ..........


That in fact is Hoffmann's speculation. I am saying that Hoffmann's speculation may possibly be correct, but it is not certain.


The admission that Hoffmann’s thesis is mere speculation is appreciated.

michael mills wrote:Hoffmann also quotes a number of Russian sources in support of his position, mainly interrogations of captured Soviet officers (pp. 83-85).

Captain Krasko, Adjutant of the 661st Infantry Regiment of the 200th Infantry Division, declared on 26 July 1941: "In May 1941, among the officers, the opinion was already expressed that the war would begin right after 1 July".


A statement from a Soviet captain that war was expected to break out soon.

Salisbury’s book is full thereof.

It’s no secret that the Soviet military, wary of obvious German preparations for attack, counted on war being on the verge of breaking out, and that higher commanders urged Stalin to take preventive measures in the face of such threat, to which he reacted only half-heartedly and too late.

michael mills wrote:Major Koskov, Commander of the 24th Infantry regiment of the 44th Infantry Division, testified:
"In the view of the Regimental Commander, the justification - namely the evacuation of the Western Ukraine, 'because the Soviets were allegedly attacked without preparation' was in no way true, because Soviet lilitary preparations had been underway for a long time, and, in accordance with the extent and intensity of these military preparations, the Russians would have attacked Germany of their own accord in two to three weeks at the latest".

Colonel Gaevsky, Regimental Commander of the 29th Armored Division, declared to the Germans on 6 August 1941:
"Among the commanders, there has been a lot of talk about a war between Germany and Russia. There was the opinion that the war would break out on approximately July 15, 1941, upon which date Russia would assume the role of the attacker".

Lieutenant Kharchenko of the 131st Intantry Division stated on 21 August 1941:
"That large-scale preparations for war with Germany were underway since the spring of 1941. The general opinion was that war would have broken out at the end of August or the beginning of Septemebr at the latest, ie after the harvest, if Germany had not premepted us. The intent to conduct the war on foreign soil was obvious. All these leadership plans were upset by the outbreak of the war inside Russia".

Major Solov'ev, Chief of Staff of the 445th Infantry Regiment of the 140th Infantry Division, stated:
"Properly speaking, we expected the conflict with Germany only after the harvest, about the end of August or the beginning of Septemebr 1941. The over-precipitate troop movements in the last weeks before the outbreak of hostilities toward the western border could only be explained by the assumption that the Soviets had shifted the attack date forward"
(The second sentence was in response to a claim by the German interrogators that they had captured documentation clearly showing that the Soviet Union wished to attack Germany in the beginning of July).


Assuming that those interrogated were not just telling their interrogators what the latter wanted to hear, what we have here are personal opinions of captured Soviet officers regarding not the orders they had been given, but what the feeling among the officer corps as to what would happen had been – not surprising in an army whose doctrine was that in the event of war it would carry the fight to the enemy rather than be reduced to defending itself against an enemy onslaught.

As to Mills’ remark in brackets, the “documentation clearly showing that the Soviet Union wished to attack Germany in the beginning of July” was obviously invented by the interrogator so as to get his captive to state what he wanted to hear, for otherwise we would have Hoffmann and Mills triumphantly parading such documentation.

michael mills wrote:Lieutenant Rutenko, Company Chief in the 125th Infantry Regiment of the 6th Infantry Division, stated on 2 July 1941 that hostilities would have been initiated by the Russians on 1 September 1941, and that all preparations were made with reference to that date.

Lieutenant-Colonel Liapin, Chief of the Operations Branch of the 1st Motorised Infantry Division, stated on 15 Septemebr 1941 that a Soviet attack had been expected in the Autumn of 1941.

Lieutenant-General Masanov declared with certainty that Stalin would have begun the war with Germany in the autumn of 1941.

An unnamed Lieutenant-Colonel and commander of an artillery regiment declared on 26 July 1941 that Germany had "unilaterally broken the Non-Aggression Pact and attacked us", but added:
"But I admit that the concentration of the Red Army on your eastern border constituted athreat to Germany: after all, it was being said that the Germans could expect us to attack them in August of this year".


More of the same.

Even if we don’t assume that the captives were just telling their captors what they wanted to hear (the unnamed fellow’s alleged statement certainly points in that direction), the conclusion to be drawn from such statements is merely that i) the Soviet officer corps, more alert and realistic than its supreme commander, expected the war to be on the verge of breaking out and ii) some thought that, in accordance with Soviet military doctrine, it was the Soviet army that would take the initiative.

Such optimism, which seems to have existed only at ranks below divisional or even regimental level, was bound to be foiled by the insufficiency of the Soviet buildup to live up to Stalin’s above-mentioned requirements for a successful offensive, as described above, even if Stalin should have harbored aggressive intentions.

michael mills wrote:On 11 September 1945, Major-General Malyshkin, at that time Chief of Staff of the 19th Army [presumably the Vlasov army], stated to Filed-Marshal Ritter von Leeb: "that Russia would have attacked Germany in mid-August with approximately 350-360 divisions". Hoffmann remarks that those numbers are accurate.


Which makes me wonder whence Hoffman derives the conclusion that the Soviet buildup, which had reached 2.9 million men or the equivalent of less than 200 divisions on the eve of the German attack, would have increased to almost twice that number two months later.

Hoffmann, who seems to have gratefully taken Malyshkin’s statement at face value without bothering to ponder what knowledge the fellow could possibly have had of Soviet top-level planning in mid-1941 and what his service in the Vlassov army might tell us about his credibility, is obviously also unaware of Stalin’s above quoted statement on January 13, 1941, which makes clear that even 350-360 divisions would have been deemed by the supreme commander as insufficient to launch a successful offensive.

michael mills wrote:Hoffmann also refers to the book "Stalin Means War", published in London in 1951, and written by Colonel G.A. Tokaev, former Chief of the Aerodynamics Laboratory of the Aur Force Academy in Moscow. On page 34, Tokaev stated, with reference to the Commissar of War, General Klokov:
"The Politburo expected the Soviet-German war to start in very early August. That was the time that Stalin and Molotov considered most favorable to attack their friends Hitler and Ribbentrop".


Beautiful. Hoffmann blindly relies on a book written by a Soviet emigrant in London at the height of the cold war, without even looking at indications against the accuracy of the statement quoted therein, such as the interdiction of political indoctrination of the troops towards war by Stalin himself:

Harrison E. Salisbury wrote:On June 3 a meeting of the Supreme Military Council was convened in Moscow to approve a draft of instructions for the army’s political workers which would emphasize the need for vigilance and the danger of war. Stalin’s closest associate, Georgi M. Malenkov, attacked the draft in the sharpest terms, contending that it sought to prepare the troops for the possibility of war in the nearest future. Such a presentation, he said, was entirely unacceptable.
“The document is formulated in primitive terms”, Malenkov sneered, “as though we were going to war tomorrow.”
Stalin supported Malenkov’s opinion, and the instructions were not issued. The official attitude was unchanging: all rumors and reports of war were but a British trick to sow trouble between Russia and Germany.

[…]

The consequences of Malenkov’s intervention against realistic political instructions for the army quickly assumed a sinister aspect. Officers who continued to warn about German attack or speak of the danger of war were branded as provocateurs. Some were arrested. Others were threatened with arrest. Political commissars were sent out from Moscow. They described Stalin as carrying out the most delicate act in order to avoid war. “Stalin”, one said, “can walk so quietly he doesn’t even shake the china”. They referred to Bismarck’s dictum that Germany could not fight a war on two fronts.


Source of quote: As above, pages 90-92.

michael mills wrote:The range of dates given by the various Russian sources indicates that as of 22 June 1941 no target date for a Soviet attack had yet been communicated to the field ranks of the Red Army. That may be because the Soviet Government had not yet decided on a date, or that it had decided a date but kept knowledge of it restricted to the highest levels.


Or because the Soviet Government did not contemplate attack in the near future, which is the most plausible explanation in view of the evidence to Stalin’s military caution and appeasement efforts, and in the absence of any evidence - other than the dubious statement of Malyshkin and the equally dubious statement attributed to Klokov, see above - to the Soviet High Command having ordered or intending to order preparations for an all-out offensive.

michael mills wrote:
Mills obviously expects the audience to rely blindly on his somewhat less than honest assertions instead of looking up the previous thread, where it becomes clear that I was referring to Soviet preparations for an all-out attack on Germany in 1941.


Roberto is being less than honest here. In his post to which I originally responded, he did not nominate the date 1941 at all. Nor did I mention 1941 at all. The issue was whether, as Roberto claimed, the Germans failed to find "a single element of evidence hinting at a Soviet attack in the making" (Roberto's own words). Roberto was clearly trying to give the impression that absolutely NO evidence of Soviet preparations for an attack was found. My original response, and the material I have subsequently quoted, shows that, contrary to Roberto's rash assertion, Hoffmann was able to demonstrate that such evidence was indeed found.


Boy, this is getting boring.

Mills obviously considers the audience to be dumb enough not to realize that a statement regarding evidence to a Soviet attack in the making in the context of a discussion about the theories of “Suvorov” and others (including, as it seems, Mr. Hoffmann), who contend that Hitler’s aggression on 22 June 1941 barely anticipated a Soviet attack, must necessarily refer to a Soviet attack in 1941, and not to an attack that might have taken place in 1942 or later.

Mills himself knows this very well, of course.

Which is why his third attempt to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty, again resulting in Mills’ revealing his own, must be taken as an indication that the poor fellow has more than one screw loose inside his pitiable mind.

Roberto wrote:Last but not least, as it seems that Mills has in the meantime looked up Mr. Hoffmann's tendentious screed, maybe he can confirm that the following statements quoted by Hoffmann's professional colleague Wigbert Benz, already referred to in my post of Thu Oct 24, 2002 10:27 am on the above mentioned thread, are indeed to be found in Stalins Vernichtungskrieg:


Mills wrote:On what basis does Roberto call Hoffmann's work a "tendentious screed", since it is obvious that he has not even read it.


Well, I haven’t read Butz' “Hoax of the Twentieth Century” either, nor do I need to in order to know that it’s not worth the paper it was written on.

As to Hoffmann, the basis for my considering the fellow tendentious has been largely provided by Mills himself.

I call to memory the accusation of tendentiousness that Mills leveled against Christian Streit’s Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945, based on a statement of Hoffmann’s that Streit commented on as follows (my translation):

As was to be expected, the number of deaths I calculated - about 3 300 000 - led to protests. Alfred Streim estimates a number of “at least 2 530 000”. His calculation is mainly based on a listing by the OKW/Kgf. of 1 Mai 1944; and he considers a total number of about 5 200 000 prisoners. Whereas Streim openly shows his way of calculation, Joachim Hoffmann speaks of a total number of “exactly 5 245 882” and a number of victims of “around 2 million”, without providing a detailed justification of this number; he merely refers to “unknown original files and other documents” without providing evidence to their existence.


Emphasis is mine.

So Hoffmann accuses a professional colleague not only of being wrong but – according to the quote provided by Mills on the thread mentioned in my last post – of manipulating figures, invoking “unknown original files and documents” which he doesn’t even show.

What kind of a scholar is that?

A charlatan like Michael Mills, perhaps?

The impression was reinforced by Benz’ quotes from Stalin’s Vernichtungskrieg mentioned in my last post, especially this one:

Hoffmann wrote: Nicht am 22.Juni 1941 wurde Stalin von einem Schock getroffen, sondern (...als) klar wurde, dass die Deutschen im Kampf eben doch die Besseren waren.[…]


My translation:

Hoffmann wrote: Not on 22 June 1941 was Stalin his by a shock, but (…when) it became clear that the Germans were, after all, the better fighters.[…]


that sounds like the good old Nazi “Master Race vs. sub-humans” crap to me.

The quotes from Hoffmann’s screed commented on above do nothing to dispel this unfavorable impression of the man and his work.

On the contrary, they make him come across as an apologist of Hitler’s war of annihilation (referred to as such by the Führer himself, see above) against the Soviet Union.

Mills wrote:Of course, lack of knowledge has never prevented Roberto from opening his mouth to pour forth filth: that is why I have dubbed him the Borborygmite from Bogota.


“Filth” is what Mills calls substantiated criticism of his apologetic guru.

I’ll let this instructive statement and the ensuing puerile insult stand as a indication that poor Mills may be suffering from a bout of premature senility.

Mills wrote: Here are the only portions of text that I have been able to find that resemble the snippets quoted by Roberto:

Hoffmann wrote:As can be proven, with certainty, that the German-Soviet war - considered by Hitler to be inevitable following the fateful Molotov mission in November 1940 - just barely preempted a war of conquest that was planned and prepared under high-pressure by Stalin, even more historical facts can be demonstrated today.


Very similar to Benz’ citation, as translated by myself:

Hitler only narrowly anticipated an attack that Stalin was preparing with high pressure. 22 June 1941 was about the last date on which such a 'preventive war' could still be waged at all.


Even worse insofar as it speaks of a "war of conquest" under preparation by Stalin, as a matter of fact.

And the “historical facts” crap is a laughing matter, considering what Hoffmann offers as evidence.

Hoffmann wrote:This is confirmed by ever historical evidence today. Thus, it was not just Hitler, as a certain school of contemporary historigraphy would continue to have us believe, but Stalin, who, from the very outset, in his political and military leadership of the Red Army, employed methods of outrageous brutality that vastly surpassed anything that had ever previously occurred.


Getting better.

Hoffmann’s research again seems to have been hampered by his wishful thinking.

The following footnote I translated from Christian Streit's Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945 (1997 edition, footnote 155 to pages 108-109) may be of interest:

Otto Bräutigam wrote in his memoirs that in the late summer of 1941, upon his complaint about the bad treatment of Soviet prisoners of war, the Army High Command had replied that the Red Army treated German prisoners in the same way. When B. thereupon examined the collection of cases put together at the Army High Command, he came to the conclusion "that on the whole there were about 180 cases, of which several had obviously been reported by various entitities and were thus included in the collection several times". (Otto Bräutigam, So hat es sich zugetragen. Ein Leben als Soldat und Diplomat, Würzburg 1968, page 376. The files I examined confirm this impression. An "assessment of the enemy" by the Ic/AO of Army Group Center dated 10.3.1942, which the Wehrmacht High Command / Amt Ausl.Abw./Abw. II [Colonel Lahousen] communicated to the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, attributed the shooting of German prisoners of war to the "quickly spread knowledge of the misery of Russian prisoners of war": Federal Archives R 41/169, page 259.


Emphases are mine.

Hoffmann wrote:A myth was widely disseminated in Germany of the alleged possibility of waging "humane" warfare, and that this possibility only vanished due to Hitler's alleged refusal to consider humane methods of waging war.


Hoffmann apparently doesn’t know about Hitler’s briefing of his generals on 30 March 1941 and the other evidence to his policies mentioned above.

Hoffmann wrote:This myth is refuted by the fact that practically in the first days of the war, the members of the Red Army were systematically goaded toward violence and were, furthermore, incited to feelings of infernal hatred against all soldiers of the invading enemy armies.


And he obviously is neither familiar with the evidence mentioned by Streit, which suggests that Soviet atrocities at the beginning of the war were isolated occurrences than can hardly be blamed on the soldiers of the Red Army having been “systematically goaded toward violence” and “furthermore, incited to feelings of infernal hatred against all soldiers of the invading enemy armies”.

That can be said of the German army prior to the outbreak of the war, and it had the consequences described i.a. on the thread

Annihilation of Soviet Prisoners of War in Belorussia
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 78d762af7f

of this forum.

Hate propaganda in the Soviet army, on the other hand, did not precede Nazi aggression, but was a consequence of it and of the perceived need to bolster the fighting spirit of the troops, Nazi atrocities making it easy for that propaganda to find eager listeners.

Hoffman is putting the cart before the oxen, as it seems.

Hoffmann wrote: The collision between two dictatorially led socialist military powers obviously left little room, from the very beginning of the war, for considerations of humanity.


A wonderful statement, Mr. Hoffmann.

The Führer and Keitel themselves couldn’t have said that better.

Hoffmann wrote: Nor was there even respect for the laws and provisions of the International Conventions - which were, moreover, recognized by the German Reich, while the Soviet Union had strictly refused ratification.


And last but not least, we have that good old herring which ignores the fact that the laws of war consist not only of international conventions, but also of customs respected by a majority of nations over a given period of time.

In his article International Law and Soviet Prisoners of War, German historian and legal scholar Alfred Streim wrote the following:

The Soviet offer to the German Reich to keep the HRLW [Hague Rules of Land Warfare] on a mutual basis was also legally worthless, since the convention cannot be recognized by means of a treaty between parties to a conflict, but rather by means of an application under Art. 6 of the Hague Fundamental Agreement. This involves an official note to the government of the Netherlands together with the handing over of the certificate of accession. The question of whether the USSR’s note of 17 July 1941 can be considered an offer of a bilateral treaty based on the HRLW is a matter of conjecture, since Hitler rejected the offer, as we can see from the wording of the Foreign Office’s answer to the USSR.
The Foreign/Defense Department (Amt Ausland/Abwehr) of the OKW under Admiral Canaris said much the same in a memorandum of 15 September 1941, in reply to regulations issued by the OKW/AWA in a directive of 8 September 1941. This directive replaced that issued on 16 June 1941 concerning the analogous application of the Geneva Convention, and the new regulations for the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war in all German POW camps were mostly at odds with the rules of humanity in wartime. At the same time the memorandum clearly pointed out that the basic international principles (of war) concerning the treatment of prisoners were applied in the conventionless war. This was not affected by the escape clause in the Hague convention because the rules contained in this agreement had been accepted as customary law in the meantime. In this regard the memorandum referred to an enclosed Soviet directive on the treatment of POWs dated 1 July 1941, which largely corresponded with the fundamental principles of international law.
The ideas expressed by the Amt Ausland/Abwehr in its memorandum on the validity of customary law in the field of the law of war were nothing new; this was the opinion prevailing at the time.
The source of jus in bello, the law of warfare, is not just limited to the above positivist rulings. The source can be extended to unwritten customary law, as was emphasized after the was in the War Crimes Trial and the subsequent trials conducted by the United States in Nuremberg.
The Amt Ausland/Abwehr’s memorandum had no effect. The Chef OKW, Keitel, rejected it, noting that: ‘These reservations correspond to the soldierly views of chivalrous warfare; this war is about the annihilation of a Weltanschauung, and therefore I approve of and vouch for the measures'. Keitel had been swayed by Hitler’s opinion concerning the nature of war with the Soviet Union, and had thus squashed the plans of the AWA, his department responsible for prisoners of war, to treat captured Russians according to customary law analogous to the Geneva Convention.


Emphases are mine.

As I said, Hoffmann is dutifully echoing Keitel’s statement that the laws of war do not apply in a struggle between two Weltanschauungen – except that, in order to be less conspicuous, he speaks of “collision between two dictatorially led socialist military powers” instead.

Mills wrote: The second is on page 87:
With such an attitude, neither Stalin nor the Politburo itself, on June 22, 1941, doubted even for a moment that they would be successful in dealing Hitler the defeat that he deserved. General Sudaplatov, Chief of the Reconnaissance Service, even spoke of the "Big Lie of a panic in the Kremlin [Source: Pavel A. Sudoplatov, "Erinnerungen und Nachdenken des Chefs des russischen Aufklaerungsdienstes", a document in Hoffmann's own archives, "21: Beginn des Krieges"]. Stalin was not surprised on June 22, 1941, but, on the contrary, as Colonel General Volkogonov stresses, the shock set in only several days later, ie when the illusions evaporated and catastrophe was looming on the front line, a catastrophe in which it finally became clear that the Germans were, nevertheless, superior in combat [Source: Dimitriy Volkogonov, "Triumf i tragediia. Politicheskii portret J.V. Stalina", Moscow 1989, pp. 50, 154].


Unless the English translation deviates markedly from the German original, the snippets torm out of context by Wigbert Benz do not appear to have been reproduced with total accuracy, although they are not complete distortions. Benz' offence is to have taken the words out of their context, in which I have replaced them.


I would have to read Volkogonov’s statement to make sure that Hoffmann is not misquoting him, for the last passage is indeed not far away from the German text given by Benz as:

Hoffmann wrote:Nicht am 22.Juni 1941 wurde Stalin von einem Schock getroffen, sondern (...als) klar wurde, dass die Deutschen im Kampf eben doch die Besseren waren.[…]


which I would translate as follows:

Hoffmann wrote:Not on 22 June 1941 was Stalin his by a shock, but (…when) it became clear that the Germans were, after all, the better fighters.[…]


The context doesn’t make it sound much better.

Hoffmann is clearly indulging in nationalist pride here.

Not the German army was superior to the Soviet army in organization, armaments and tactics, but “the Germans” were “superior in combat” to their opponents, or “the better fighters”, as Hoffmann puts it.

Hail the German soldier!

Roberto wrote:In view of statements like the above, it is not surprising that Hoffmann's book is held in high esteem by one of Mills' more radical brothers in spirit:


Mills wrote:Dear oh dear! Another attempt to smear me (and Hoffmann) through guilt by association.


No, just a statement expressing my understanding as to why certain people – lying propagandists at a more or less sophisticated level – are so fond of Mr. Hoffmann.

Mills wrote:Does Roberto not have any better arguments?


Plenty thereof, see above and last post.

Mills wrote:Can he not address the data underpinning Hoffmann's theses?


He has done so copiously in both his last post and this one.

It just happens that, when faced with subjects like Mills, Roberto can’t resist the temptation to make clear, after having presented his arguments, what exactly he thinks of them.
Last edited by Roberto on 04 Nov 2002 02:15, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Roberto » 04 Nov 2002 01:11

Hans wrote:It appears to me that, after he left the reputative military research institute in Freiburg (where he had still the opinion that Stalin "sich über die Fortdauer des Nichtangriffspaktes Illusionen hingab und mit der Möglichkeit eines kriegerischen Konfliktes nur für den Fall rechnete, daß man auf "Provokationen" etwa von Seiten der "siegestrunkenen deutschen Generale" hereinfiel."- Boog et al. "Der Angriff auf die Sowjetunion", Fischer 11008, page 848), Hoffmann had developed himself to a kind of German issue of David Irving, who looked for vicinity of "revisionist" circles.


A statement worth translating for the benefit of our English-spreaking audience.

While Hoffmann was still at the Institute for Military Research in Freiburg, his opinion seems to have coincided with that of other historians in that "Stalin entertained illusions about the continuance of the non-aggression pact and counted on the possibility of a German-Soviet conflict only in case [the Soviet government] fell for 'provocations' that might come from 'German generals intoxicated with victory'."

Which is in line with the following assessment on page 90 of Salisbury's The 900 Days:

Thus it went to the end, Stalin trying in the final hours to stave off attack by ordering his armed forces not to fire at German planes, not to approach the frontiers, not to make any move which might provoke German action.
He held this conviction so stubbornly that (as Krushchev was to point out) when the firing started on the morning of June 22, Moscow still ordered the Soviet forces not to return it. Even then Stalin sought to convince himself that he was only contending with a provocation on the part of "several undisciplined portions of the German Army".


After he left the institute and associated himself with folks like Rudolf, however, what had been a serious historian became an apologetic charlatan earning the applause of "Revisionists".

Hans wrote:By the way, Hoffmann died early this year.


May he rest in peace.

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Re: Re-Stalin's war of extermination

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 04 Nov 2002 01:15

wildboar wrote:michael mills
.

oleg
Agreed with your analysis. but where there any capable officer's left in red army to carry such modern military operations.?infacts stalins purges of officer's core of red army had weakened it such a extent that it was not fighting fit force but just hugh mob of unruly and poorly trained soldiers.
also all the persons who replaced the great officers who were removed during purges were only appointed for political correctness and they were not professional military officers and they owed there alligance personally to mr stalin & mr beria. how can such weakned force carry out such sophisticated military operation as suggested by mr mills.

plenty considering frequent reverses that German army suffered from very beginning as for second part of your post care to substantiate on that? In you opinion Zhukov, Vasilevskiy, etc were not capable enough

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 04 Nov 2002 01:18

1-Red army was weakned as result of stalins purges of officer core of red army and details of which i have mentioned above in response to oleg's reply.
2-according to dissident indian communist scholar soviet economy at the time of proposed offensive by stalin against germany was in doldrums and bad shape due to stalins faulty policy
3-Soviet union at that time was technologically a backward nation and stalin had signed moltov-ribbenstrop in his attempt to get access to german technology.
considering that just a fraction of that "bad-shape" industry was responsible for producing wealth of war-material that decimated Germans on Eastern front it seems that renegade (degenerate more like it) Indian communist has been smoking heavily

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Post by walterkaschner » 04 Nov 2002 01:28

Michael Mills wrote:
If Walter Kaschner wishes to smear Joachim Hoffmann through guilt by association, then he should at least get his facts right.

The english translation of May 2001 is published by Theses & Dissertations Press, PO Box 64, Capshaw, Alabama, according to the publication information.


My facts are right. Theses and Dissertations Press was merged into and is now a division of Castle Hill Publishing which itself is owned by Germar Rudolf. Castle Hill also owns the site http://www.vho.org, which it proudly proclaims to be the world's largest revisionist web site.

I certainly had no intention of "smearing" Joachim Hoffmann, although if associating Hoffmann with Germar Rudolf constitutes a "smear", then I guess I must plead guilty. As I believe I made it clear, I have never read Hoffmann's book and probably never will due to its price and local unavailability, either in German or in English. And although as Scott Smith pointed out, I could probably obtain a copy through an inter-library loan I'm just too lazy and lack sufficient interest to go through that process. I am perfectly willing to believe that the Soviets, and probably Stalin himself, contemplated attacking Germany at some point, although I think it unlikely that the planning was for the 1941 time frame. I need no further evidence to convince me of the ultimate expansionist intentions or iniquity of the Soviets under Stalin.

My point simply was that I think the association of Hoffman's book with Germar Rudolf is of some material relevance in evaluating its slant; I would feel much the same about a book published by the American Jewish Congress or the Anti-Defamation League, or indeed by the Democratic or Republican Party.

Michael Mills also wrote:

In any case, Walter Kaschner's objections relate only to the publication of the English translation. The German original was published in 1995 and again in 1999 by F.A. Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Thomas-Wimmer-Ring 11, Munich.

Will Walter Kaschner also claim that the above publisher is disreputable?

So far as I know, the German original, "Stalins Vernichtungskrieg", has not been banned in Germany, so obviously it has not been judged as in breach of the laws that prohibit "denial".


I would certainly not consider the Herbig Verlag in any way disreputable. I know it as a very fine old publishing firm, and I may even have a few of its publications in my library. The book is still listed for sale by Herbig, which I should think is ample proof that it has not been judged illegal. But as Hoffmann himself admitted in his Preface quoted by Michael Mills, he felt obliged to get someone to edit out the "criminal content" of his book before publication - the necessity for which, I quite agree with Hoffmann, is "a disgraceful situation." And I know not from what in my post Mr. Mill's perceives that I have any "objections" to the publication of the English translation of Hoffmann's book. I have none whatsoever. I am a long time member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a fervent believer that the market place of ideas should be free and open to all.

Michael Mills also wrote:


Walter Kaschner should address the material contained in the book, rather than attack it because of the publisher of the English edition, and to get it wrong at that. Such a premptory dismissal of the book suggests an unwillingness to come to grips with theses outside one's own ideological bubble.


I had no intention of attacking the book and certainly not of dismissing it. I thought I had made it tolerably clear that my "attack", if such my post is indeed to be construed, was against Michael Mill's failure to disclose what I consider to be a material fact, i.e. the close relationship of its English publication to a notorious and disreputable revisionist. I make no pretense at being qualified to judge the book's material; what little knowledge I have of the issue is derived from German sources rather than Russian, and from the former I am rather comfortably convinced that Barbarossa was not in any way conceived by the Germans as a preemptive strike in the commonly accepted meaning of that term, although in the context of long term strategy I do believe the Germans were to some degree influenced by the conviction that sooner or later a war with the Soviet Union was inevitable - a conviction with which, given the nature of the two opposing governments, I tend to agree.

And as my girth increases with age I am well aware that I have a physiological bubble around my midsection, but as to an ideological bubble (whatever that may be) I will have to leave it to others to decide.

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 04 Nov 2002 01:38

Lieutenant-Colonel Liapin, Chief of the Operations Branch of the 1st Motorised Infantry Division, stated on 15 Septemebr 1941 that a Soviet attack had been expected in the Autumn of 1941
that is especially interesting considering that chief of operational department of 1st Moscow Proletariat Motorized division was Capitan Ratner. Moreover, there is no colonel Liapin in division whatsoever. CO – Colonel (future general of the army) Yakov Kreyzer, deputy colonel (future lieutenant-general) Gluzdovskiy, chief of staff colonel Modeev.

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Post by michael mills » 04 Nov 2002 03:58

Walter Kaschner wrote:
I had no intention of attacking the book and certainly not of dismissing it. I thought I had made it tolerably clear that my "attack", if such my post is indeed to be construed, was against Michael Mill's failure to disclose what I consider to be a material fact, i.e. the close relationship of its English publication to a notorious and disreputable revisionist.


This is a misrepresentation, and a rather sneaky one at that.

I did not "fail" to do anything. The only knowledge I had of the publishers of the English edition was what was given in the book itself, and Hoffmann's reference to Dr Countess in the preface. Those names did not mean anything to me, or seem important.

What mattered to me was the content of the book. If persons whom Walter Kaschner considers disreputable saw it as in their interests to publish an English translation, so be it; that fact does not detract from the value of the work itself.

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Post by michael mills » 04 Nov 2002 04:57

Here is another seminal quote from Hoffmann, following on immediately from the passage I quoted in my previous post. It is found on pages 87-88 of the book.

If Stalin's arrogance appplied in the event of defense against enemy attack, then it applied equally to his own general offensive plans. In 1990, Colonel Karpov said with reference to the General Staff Plan of May 15, 1941:
"In the early grayness of a May or June morning, thousands of our aircraft and tens of thousands of our cannons would have dealt the blow against thickly concentrated German troops, whose location was known to us right down to battalion level - a surprise even more inconceivable than a German attack on us". [Source: Karpov, in 'Kommunist vooruzhennykh sil, 1990 {= The Communist of the armed forces}. See also 'Schlafende Aggressoren. Enthuellung in Moskau: Stalins Militaers wollten 1941 dem Angriff Hitlers zuvorkommen. Doch der Diktator mochte nicht hoeren", in: Der Spiegel, no. 22, 1990, pp. 170-172].

Stalin, the General Staff, and the GUPPKA, in any case, expected an easy victory by the Red Army. They expected that the huge offensive they were planning would end with the complete destruction of the enemy with only a few Soviet casualties. As for Hitler and the Germans, they had only a very complete notion of what the Soviets were preparing. When one considers the extent of these preparations, however, it becomes clear that Hitler under high pressure only barely preempted an attack planned by Stalin. June 22, 1941, was therefore pretty much the last date on which it would have been possible to initiate a "preventive war".

[Note by me. The passage bolded above seems to be the one plucked out of context by Wigbert Benz and trumpeted by Roberto. Once it is put back into context, Hoffmann's meaning becomes clear, and Benz' insinuations lose their force].

Colonel Petrov, a candidate in the historical sciences, expressed this in plain but accurate language on the anniversary of the victory on May 8, 1991, in a leading article of the official party organ Pravda:

"As a result of the overestimation of our own possibilities and the underestimation of enemy possibilities, we drew up unrealistic plans of an offensive nature before the war. In keeping with these plans, we began the deployment of the Soviet armed forces on the western border. But the enemy preempted us. [odnako protivnik upredil nas]"
{Source: Petrov, B. "Tragediia i muzhestvo. K 50-letiiu nachala Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny" {= tragedy and valour. On the 5oth anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War}, in Pravda, 8.5.1991, p. 3].

[Note by me. My Russian dictionary gives for "uprezhdat', perf. upredit'" the meanings "to anticipate, to forestall". Hoffmann's translation "preempt" therefore is reasonable, and does not distort the meaning.]

Finally, the Russian historian M. Nikitin should be mentioned who made a detailed analysis of the objectives of the Soviet leadership during the decisive months of May and June 1941. He summarized his research findings in the following words:

"We once again repeat that the fundamental objective of the USSR consisted of expanding the 'Front of Socialism' to the greatest possible terrirorial extent, ideally to include all of Europe. In Moscow's opinion, cicumstances favored the realization of this scheme. The occupation of large parts of the continent by Germany, the protracted futile war, the increasing dissatisfaction of the populace of the occupied countries, the dispersion of the forces of the Wehrmacht on various fronts, the prospects of a conflict between Japan and the United States - all these factors were thought to give the Soviet leadership a unique chance to smash Germany by surprise attack, and to 'liberate Europe' from 'rotting capitalism' ".
[Source: Nikitin, M. "Otsenka sovetskim rukovodstvom sobytii vtoroi mirovoi voiny (Po ideologicheskim dokumentam maia-iiunia 1941 g.) {= An evaluation by the Soviet leadership of the events of the second world war (on the basis of ideological documents of May-June 1941)}, in "Gotovil li Stalin nastupatel'nuiu voinu" {= Did Stalin prepare an offensive war}, pp 142, 146].

A study of the guiding documents of the Central Committee of the VKP(b), in Nikitin's view, "together with the data on the immediate military offensive preparations of the Red Army........unequivocally proves the intention of the Soviet leadership to attack Germany in the summer of 1941".


As is obvious from the above passage, the thesis that Stalin was on the point of attacking Germany in 1941 is not held by Hoffmann alone; it is also held by some Russian historians.

Now I have not read the works by the Russian historians referred to by Hoffmann, so I have no way of assessing their validity. Nor can I assess whether Hoffmann has used the material in them accurately.

But it is obvious that the Borborygmite from Bogota has not read them either, and he likewise has no way of assessing them. Of course, that does stop him from dismissing them, or insinuating that Hoffmann has somehow misused them.

Instead, Roberto chooses to rely on outdated works by Harrison Salisbury, ignoring the work done by Russian historians since the partial opening of the former Soviet archives. Obviously he will continue to ignore any material from any source that does not fit into his ideological bubble (or that of his minders).

Roberto also dismisses the revelations of Soviet officers interrogated by their German captors in 1941 and 1942, on the basis that they may have been telling their interrogators what they wanted to hear. In my original post on this subject, I raised that possibility myself, and said that such material needed to be treated with care.

However, Roberto's reservation about the value of interrogations only applies to one side. Let anyone suggest that Hoess, say, was only telling his Jewish interrogators in British and American uniforms what they wanted to hear, and Roberto will come down on him like a ton of bricks.

So in Roberto's ideological bubble, the following definitions apply:

- Red Army officers interrogated by their German captors = people saying what they think their captors want to hear, therefore untrustworthy, no matter how many of them say the same thing.

- Germans interrogated by their Allied captors, and Jewish survivors = compulsive truth-tellers, therefore totally trustworthy, especially when they say the same thing.

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Post by Hans » 04 Nov 2002 08:12

I was told you should read the following book by Russian and German historians if you're interested in the debate about the preventive war theses:

Gerd R. Ueberschär (ed.), Lev A. Bezymenskij (ed.), Der deutsche Angriff auf die Sowjetunion 1941. Die Kontroverse um die Präventivkriegsthese, Primus Verlag, 1999.

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Post by Hans » 04 Nov 2002 08:29

An unfriendly post by michael mills that added nothing to the discussion was deleted.

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Post by Roberto » 04 Nov 2002 13:06

michael mills wrote:Here is another seminal quote from Hoffmann, following on immediately from the passage I quoted in my previous post. It is found on pages 87-88 of the book.


Mills keeps trying to redeem his guru. Let's see what he's got today.

Hoffmann wrote:If Stalin's arrogance appplied in the event of defense against enemy attack, then it applied equally to his own general offensive plans. In 1990, Colonel Karpov said with reference to the General Staff Plan of May 15, 1941:
"In the early grayness of a May or June morning, thousands of our aircraft and tens of thousands of our cannons would have dealt the blow against thickly concentrated German troops, whose location was known to us right down to battalion level - a surprise even more inconceivable than a German attack on us". [Source: Karpov, in 'Kommunist vooruzhennykh sil, 1990 {= The Communist of the armed forces}. See also 'Schlafende Aggressoren. Enthuellung in Moskau: Stalins Militaers wollten 1941 dem Angriff Hitlers zuvorkommen. Doch der Diktator mochte nicht hoeren", in: Der Spiegel, no. 22, 1990, pp. 170-172].


Karpov seems to have placed high hopes in a plan that Richard Overy, in his book Russia's war (page 68 ), referred to in the following terms:

In May 1941 Zhukov and Timoshenko produced what turned out to be the last version of the deployment plan before the German invasion. It varied little from the plan drawn up the previous October, except that it now postulated two counter-offensives into German-held territory: one towards Cracow, to cut Germany off from her southern allies; one towards Lublin, with the ultimate object of securing German-occupied Poland and East Prussia. A section of this document has been seized upon as evidence that the Soviet Union was planning a pre-emptive strike against Germany in the summer of 1941, a strike undone by the sudden launching of Barbarossa. The document in question, an unsigned memorandum dated May 15, was not an order or directive but an explanatory recommendation for force deployment entirely consistent with the planning of the previous two years. There is no evidence that Stalin saw it, but even if he had there are no grounds for thinking that this was anything other than a continued review of the forward defense posture on which Soviet strategy had relied since the 1930s. Some form of pre-emption through spoiling attacks on the mobilizing forces of the enemy was an integral part of that posture. It did not signify a Soviet intention to launch unprovoked war but was, on the contrary, a desperate gambit to obstruct German mobilization against the Soviet Union.


Hoffmann wrote:Stalin, the General Staff, and the GUPPKA, in any case, expected an easy victory by the Red Army.
They expected that the huge offensive they were planning would end with the complete destruction of the enemy with only a few Soviet casualties.


Very seminal indeed. What evidence does Hoffmann present that "Stalin, the General Staff, and the GUPPKA" expected the plan produced by Zhukov and Timoshenko to save the day, even provide for "an easy victory" by the Red Army "with only a few Soviet casualties" - quite a feat of wishful thinking after the disastrous performance in the Winter War against Finland and, more recently, at the war games in January 1941, by an army that would not master the art of offensive warfare in summer until more than two years later?

Overy refers to the above mentioned war games as follows (as above, pages 66/67):

The war games followed a week-long conference that began on December 23. The object was to thrash out the lessons of the year and to review the current state of military planning. No serious attempt was made to challenge the central principles upon which Soviet war-planning rested. The war games were staged to confirm what was seen as a received wisdom. The first was fought between Zhukov and General Dimitri Pavlov, chief of the Soviet mechanized forces, on New Year’s Day, 1941. Zhukov was the German side, Pavlov the Soviet. Although Pavlov was able to bring his forces to bear on East Prussia, consistent with the strategy of the massive counter-offensive, he was routed by Zhukov. In the second game, played a week later, the players were reversed. This time Zhukov pushed successfully across the frontier into Hungary; Pavlov’s weak counter-attack attempted to parry. The outcome said a great deal about Zhukov’s battlefield skills, even on a table-top. But there were worrying signs for Soviet strategy. When Stalin assembled the commanders and officials for the second game, a curious drama unfolded.
The chief of staff was asked to report on the outcome of the games. Meretskov spoke hesitantly. Rather than say out loud that the Zhukov Germans had won the first game, Meretskov applauded the early stages, when Pavlov with sixty divisions had overcome the fifty-five German divisions defending the Reich frontier. Stalin angrily took the floor and exposed as nonsense the view that a ratio of little more than one division to one could overcome the fixed German defenses. It was all right ‘for propaganda purposes’, he told the assembly, ‘but here we have to talk in terms of real capabilities’. The uncomfortable Meretskov was then asked about the second game but would give no definite answer on the outcome, which was inconclusive. When one of Timoshenko’s deputies followed the discussion by insisting on voicing his own belief that infantry divisions should be horse-drawn rather than mechanized, Stalin’s patience was stretched to the limit. The General Staff left the conference in a despondent mood. The following day Zhukov was appointed Chief of the General Staff, and Meretskov was put in charge of training.


If despite all these indications against the Red Army being prepared to wage offensive war, and despite the fact that it did not come close to mustering the numerical superiority of at least two to one considered mandatory by Stalin (according to his address on 13 January 1941 cited by Salisbury, see my post of Mon Nov 04, 2002 12:51 am on this thread), he nevertheless saw the prospect of an "easy victory", then why didn’t he give the go ahead for this marvelous offensive?

Why, as is obviously pointed out in the Spiegel article cited by Hoffmann, did he refuse to listen to his generals?

Hoffmann wrote:As for Hitler and the Germans, they had only a very complete notion of what the Soviets were preparing.


Before I show clear evidence to the contrary presented by Hoffmann’s colleague Wigbert Benz, I would first like to see what Hoffmann has provided by way of evidence in support of this contention.

Hoffmann wrote: When one considers the extent of these preparations, however, it becomes clear that Hitler under high pressure only barely preempted an attack planned by Stalin. June 22, 1941, was therefore pretty much the last date on which it would have been possible to initiate a "preventive war".


Here we are. The quintessence of Hoffmann’s nonsense, bolded by one of his faithful fans.

Mills wrote:[Note by me. The passage bolded above seems to be the one plucked out of context by Wigbert Benz and trumpeted by Roberto. Once it is put back into context, Hoffmann's meaning becomes clear, and Benz' insinuations lose their force].


I guess you have to be Mills to consider that the context makes Hoffmann’s unsubstantiated contention look any better.

Hoffmann wrote:Colonel Petrov, a candidate in the historical sciences, expressed this in plain but accurate language on the anniversary of the victory on May 8, 1991, in a leading article of the official party organ Pravda:

"As a result of the overestimation of our own possibilities and the underestimation of enemy possibilities, we drew up unrealistic plans of an offensive nature before the war. In keeping with these plans, we began the deployment of the Soviet armed forces on the western border. But the enemy preempted us. [odnako protivnik upredil nas]"
{Source: Petrov, B. "Tragediia i muzhestvo. K 50-letiiu nachala Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny" {= tragedy and valour. On the 5oth anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War}, in Pravda, 8.5.1991, p. 3].


What I understand Petrov as saying here is that, notwithstanding all indications to the contrary, the Red Army kept believing its own propaganda that it was an offensive army which, if war broke out, would carry the fight to the enemy, that it thus deployed as it had been taught to do notwithstanding the fact that it was not in conditions to wage this kind of warfare, and that the enemy fell upon it before it had finished a deployment that, as Petrov acknowledges, would not have got it anywhere.

To read anything further into Petrov’s statement requires a fair amount of wishful thinking and ignoring all evidence speaking against an all-out Soviet attack in the making, including but not limited to Stalin’s mentioned requirement of a numerical superiority of at least two to one along the whole front line for an offensive to be successful.

Mills wrote: [Note by me. My Russian dictionary gives for "uprezhdat', perf. upredit'" the meanings "to anticipate, to forestall". Hoffmann's translation "preempt" therefore is reasonable, and does not distort the meaning.]


Thanks for that rare bout of honesty, Mills.

Petrov is saying that the enemy "anticipated/forestalled" the Red Army, i.e. fell upon it before it could conclude a deployment that was in line with its operational doctrine but, according to Petrov himself, out of touch with its real capabilities.

Hoffmann’s translation “preempt”, on the other hand, conveys the impression of a pre-emptive strike anticipating a Soviet offensive in the making (and not just the conclusion of deployment for offensive warfare in accordance with the Red Army’s operational doctrine).

Hoffmann's translation can therefore be looked upon as a distortion of the meaning of Petrov’s original statement.

Hoffmann wrote:Finally, the Russian historian M. Nikitin should be mentioned who made a detailed analysis of the objectives of the Soviet leadership during the decisive months of May and June 1941. He summarized his research findings in the following words:

"We once again repeat that the fundamental objective of the USSR consisted of expanding the 'Front of Socialism' to the greatest possible terrirorial extent, ideally to include all of Europe. In Moscow's opinion, cicumstances favored the realization of this scheme. The occupation of large parts of the continent by Germany, the protracted futile war, the increasing dissatisfaction of the populace of the occupied countries, the dispersion of the forces of the Wehrmacht on various fronts, the prospects of a conflict between Japan and the United States - all these factors were thought to give the Soviet leadership a unique chance to smash Germany by surprise attack, and to 'liberate Europe' from 'rotting capitalism' ".
[Source: Nikitin, M. "Otsenka sovetskim rukovodstvom sobytii vtoroi mirovoi voiny (Po ideologicheskim dokumentam maia-iiunia 1941 g.) {= An evaluation by the Soviet leadership of the events of the second world war (on the basis of ideological documents of May-June 1941)}, in "Gotovil li Stalin nastupatel'nuiu voinu" {= Did Stalin prepare an offensive war}, pp 142, 146].

A study of the guiding documents of the Central Committee of the VKP(b), in Nikitin's view, "together with the data on the immediate military offensive preparations of the Red Army........unequivocally proves the intention of the Soviet leadership to attack Germany in the summer of 1941".


Nothing against Hoffmann quoting like-minded scholars (I wouldn’t be surprised if he also quoted his brother in spirit “Suvorov”), but does Nikitin present any evidence in support of his contentions that can be considered more conclusive than what Hoffmann comes up with?

What "guiding documents of the Central Committee of the VKP" does he show to back up his assertions?

Could it be that he didn't share such key documents with his colleague Hoffmann, or that Hoffmann didn't even care to contact him about what, if substantial, would have made his day?

Mills wrote:As is obvious from the above passage, the thesis that Stalin was on the point of attacking Germany in 1941 is not held by Hoffmann alone; it is also held by some Russian historians.


And so?

Sensationalist fuss-makers who base their contentions on far-fetched speculation rather than evidence can be found anywhere.

“Suvorov” is also a “Russian historian”, isn’t he?

Mills wrote: Now I have not read the works by the Russian historians referred to by Hoffmann, so I have no way of assessing their validity. Nor can I assess whether Hoffmann has used the material in them accurately.

But it is obvious that the Borborygmite from Bogota has not read them either, and he likewise has no way of assessing them. Of course, that does stop him from dismissing them, or insinuating that Hoffmann has somehow misused them.


No, I would just say that, in view of what I have so far seen from Hoffmann, I wouldn't give his quotations of like-minded scholars too much weight unless shown the evidence that those scholars based their contentions on.

Mills wrote: Instead, Roberto chooses to rely on outdated works by Harrison Salisbury,


Whatever “outdated” is supposed to mean, such works support their contentions by evidence rather than far-fetched speculations, which is why I have a distinct preference for them indeed.

Mills wrote: ignoring the work done by Russian historians since the partial opening of the former Soviet archives.


Who told Mills that Mr. Nikitin is representative of current Russian scholarship rather than a scorned outsider?

Are his theses in accordance with, for instance, those of his colleagues Dimitrij Volkogonov, Vladimir Karpov and Valerij Danilov ?

A question that our fellow poster Oleg could perhaps enlighten us about.

Mills wrote: Obviously he will continue to ignore any material from any source that does not fit into his ideological bubble (or that of his minders).


Unlike Mills, Roberto has no “ideological bubble”. He just thinks that theses regarding historical events should be based on solid evidence rather than speculation, especially where they challenge acknowledged notions in regard to such events.

Mills wrote:Roberto also dismisses the revelations of Soviet officers interrogated by their German captors in 1941 and 1942, on the basis that they may have been telling their interrogators what they wanted to hear.


Mills obviously hasn’t read my post too carefully, or then he’s again counting on the laziness and gullibility of our readers:

Roberto wrote:Assuming that those interrogated were not just telling their interrogators what the latter wanted to hear, what we have here are personal opinions of captured Soviet officers regarding not the orders they had been given, but what the feeling among the officer corps as to what would happen had been – not surprising in an army whose doctrine was that in the event of war it would carry the fight to the enemy rather than be reduced to defending itself against an enemy onslaught.

As to Mills’ remark in brackets, the “documentation clearly showing that the Soviet Union wished to attack Germany in the beginning of July” was obviously invented by the interrogator so as to get his captive to state what he wanted to hear, for otherwise we would have Hoffmann and Mills triumphantly parading such documentation.

[…]

More of the same.

Even if we don’t assume that the captives were just telling their captors what they wanted to hear (the unnamed fellow’s alleged statement certainly points in that direction), the conclusion to be drawn from such statements is merely that i) the Soviet officer corps, more alert and realistic than its supreme commander, expected the war to be on the verge of breaking out and ii) some thought that, in accordance with Soviet military doctrine, it was the Soviet army that would take the initiative.

Such optimism, which seems to have existed only at ranks below divisional or even regimental level, was bound to be foiled by the insufficiency of the Soviet buildup to live up to Stalin’s above-mentioned requirements for a successful offensive, as described above, even if Stalin should have harbored aggressive intentions.


It should become clear from the above that I don't rely only on the assumption that the captives may have tried to please their captors as an argument against the evidentiary value of the testimonials adduced by Mills (one of which, according to Oleg, came from an officer who never existed in the unit referred to).

A misrepresentation of my statements that can so easily be shown as such again raises the question not only about Mills’ intellectual honesty, but also about his intelligence.

Mills wrote:However, Roberto's reservation about the value of interrogations only applies to one side. Let anyone suggest that Hoess, say, was only telling his Jewish interrogators in British and American uniforms what they wanted to hear, and Roberto will come down on him like a ton of bricks.


Roberto will do so if there are reasons to assume that the person under interrogation was not just trying to please his captors (such as self-incrimination and other independent evidence supporting his statements), and he doesn’t remember having done that in regard to Höss’ statements towards his “Jewish interrogators in British and American uniforms”.

He remembers, however, having demonstrated that certain statements of Höss in his memoirs written in Polish captivity, which went against the grain of what his captors would have liked to hear, strongly speak against the notion that Höss’ writings were in any way influenced by his captors.

Mills wrote:So in Roberto's ideological bubble, the following definitions apply:

- Red Army officers interrogated by their German captors = people saying what they think their captors want to hear, therefore untrustworthy, no matter how many of them say the same thing.

- Germans interrogated by their Allied captors, and Jewish survivors = compulsive truth-tellers, therefore totally trustworthy, especially when they say the same thing.


I wonder if Mills is capable of realizing what a bloody fool he is making out of himself with the above ramblings.

Maybe he doesn’t even care anymore and is just shooting off his mouth to vent his frustration at having realized that he’s going nowhere on this forum with his Nazi-apologetic, judeophobic nonsense.

Let’s have more from Mr. Hoffmann, please. I can only be grateful to Mills for having handed over the fellow – may he rest in peace – to my dissecting knife.

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Post by michael mills » 05 Nov 2002 09:19

Roberto follows his usual tactic of slandering the late Dr Joachim Hoffmann and his sources by casting unproven aspersions on them, without adducing any evidence to demonstrate that his Russian sources are incorrect.

He then quotes from Overy, on the assumption that Overy's interpretation of events is ipso facto correct.

What we have here is two historians interpreting historical events in different ways, How do we know that Overy's interpretation is correct? To what extent does he rely on Soviet-era sources, or sources that have an interest in maintaining the establishment history of the Soviet era?

The only way to resolve that issue would be to consult the Russian sources used by the late Dr Hoffmann, to determine their value. I have not done that, and neither has Roberto, but that does not stop the latter from opening his mouth to pour forth slander.

Roberto asks whether Hoffmann's theses agree with those of Volkogonov, Karpov and Danilov. Well those three sources are heavily relied on by Hoffmann. Karpov is in fact the source of the statement quoted by Hoffmann, that if the Zhukov-Timoshenko preemptive attack plan had been implemented, it would have achieved a greater surprise than the later German attack.

Roberto also engages in some very dishonest hair-splitting over the meaning of the Russian verb "uprezhdat' ", rather similar to the hair-splitting over the meaning of the German verb "ausrotten". The meaning of the passage by Colonel Petrov quoted by Hoffmann is quite clear; the enemy (Germany) launched its attack before the Soviets could implement their offensive plans, which were being unfolded at the time. The fact that Petrov calls those offensive plans unrealistic is irrelevant; he is saying that the Red Army was deploying in accordance with plans for an offensive.

The verb "uprezhdat' " is derived from the word "prezhde" = before, and is therefore equivalent to the German "zuvorkommen", which is probably the word Hoffmann originally (Roberto says Hoffmann used the word "preempt", but that is of course the translation; Roberto knows that, but in his usual deceitful way conceals it).

Roberto's speculation that Nikitin may be a "scorned outsider" says a lot about his mentality. For him, historians either belong to the "establishment", or they are "scorned outsiders". Scorned by whom? By former Soviet-era propagandists, such as Lev Bezymenski?

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Post by Roberto » 05 Nov 2002 12:01

michael mills wrote:Roberto follows his usual tactic of slandering the late Dr Joachim Hoffmann and his sources by casting unproven aspersions on them, without adducing any evidence to demonstrate that his Russian sources are incorrect.


Wrong.

Where Hoffmann refers to primary sources (documents, eyewitness testimonials), I analyze the probatory value thereof in what concerns Hoffmann's theses.

Where Hoffmann refers to secondary sources (like Nikitin), I state that I would like to see what those sources based their claims on - a legitimate pretension in the face of indications warranting the assumption that Hoffmann is somewhat less than objective and accordingly selective in regard to the secondary sources he refers to.

michael mills wrote:He then quotes from Overy, on the assumption that Overy's interpretation of events is ipso facto correct.


No historian's assessment is "ipso facto correct", but some historians are more likely to have objectively weighed and assessed the evidence than others who, like Hoffmann, are obviously out to convey a version of historical events that corresponds to certain pre-conceived notions of theirs.

michael mills wrote:What we have here is two historians interpreting historical events in different ways, How do we know that Overy's interpretation is correct?


We don't. It just stands a greater chance of being correct in the absence of indications against the scholar's objectivity.

michael mills wrote:To what extent does he rely on Soviet-era sources, or sources that have an interest in maintaining the establishment history of the Soviet era?


Overy’s Russian sources mostly correspond to the glasnost or post-Soviet periods, from what I’ve seen.

And then, Soviet-era sources were not necessarily meant to maintain “the establishment history of the Soviet era” for the simple reason that there was no such thing as a continuous “establishment history”, as an example from Salisbury's The 900 Days will illustrate:

Harrison E. Salisbury wrote:The question of Stalin’s leadership and the precise assessment of responsibility for the terrible failures of policy and intelligence in the months before the Nazi attack is one of the most sensitive topics in Soviet historiography – so sensitive as to reveal clearly the role Stalin and his conduct still play in Kremlin politics. For example, Maisky spoke freely of his doubts about Stalin and his alienation from Stalin’s policies in Novy Mir (No. 12, December, 1964). But when the book version of the memoirs appeared six months later, Maisky’s expressions of doubt regarding Stalin’s leadership had vanished. And Maisky’s description of Stalin’s difficult, labored broadcast of July 3, 1941 was sharply censored. (I.M. Maisky, Vospominaniya Sovetskogo Posla, Moscow 1965, pp. 140-147.) Also compare Admiral N.G. Kuznetsov’s account of 1965 and that of 1968, in which Stalin’s collapse vanishes! (Oktyabr, No. 11, November, 1965, and Oktyabr, No. 8, August, 1968.)


Source of quote: Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days, footnote 16 on page 103.

michael mills wrote:The only way to resolve that issue would be to consult the Russian sources used by the late Dr Hoffmann, to determine their value.


Or to have a look at the evidence collected by other historians that questions the accuracy of those "Russian sources", by which Mills presumably means the Russian historian Nikitin, a secondary source that I have expressed my doubts about on the basis that i) it was chosen by Hoffmann and ii) Hoffmann apparently does not detail the evidence adduced by Nikitin which, if existing, would greatly help him make his point. Why does Hoffmann limit himself to quoting Nikitin's final conclusions, rather than letting his readers look at the documents Nikitin claims to have examined?

michael mills wrote:I have not done that, and neither has Roberto, but that does not stop the latter from opening his mouth to pour forth slander.


Questioning a historian's objectivity on the basis of concrete indications against that objectivity, such as have been adduced in regard to Hoffmann, can hardly be termed "slander". The founded suspicion that a historian is pursuing an ideological agenda casts the shadow of doubt on the accuracy of his own conclusions and of such secondary sources relied on that are not acknowledged as reliable by the academic community. In the latter case, the suspicion of misrepresentation is warranted.

michael mills wrote:Roberto asks whether Hoffmann's theses agree with those of Volkogonov, Karpov and Danilov. Well those three sources are heavily relied on by Hoffmann. Karpov is in fact the source of the statement quoted by Hoffmann, that if the Zhukov-Timoshenko preemptive attack plan had been implemented, it would have achieved a greater surprise than the later German attack.


Without having seen more of Hoffmann's references to Volkogonov, Danilov and Karpov, I cannot tell whether my above mentioned suspicion in this respect is confirmed. The quote from Karpov transcribed by Mills seems to be accurate, and I have commented thereon stating that Karpov may have placed too much reliance in the effectiveness of a measure that Overy considered "a desperate gambit to obstruct German mobilization against the Soviet Union". Considering the fact that it took the Red Army another two years to be fit for offensive warfare in summertime, Karpov's contention that the offensive move proposed by Zhukov and Timoshenko would have been a splendid success appears fraught with wishful thinking indeed.

michael mills wrote:Roberto also engages in some very dishonest hair-splitting over the meaning of the Russian verb "uprezhdat' ", rather similar to the hair-splitting over the meaning of the German verb "ausrotten".


Poor Mills, again expecting the audience to read only what he writes.

Roberto was manifesting his disagreement to Mills' contention that translating the Russian term for "anticipated, forestalled" as "pre-empted" was not bound to convey the wrong impression of Petrov's statement.

michael mills wrote:The meaning of the passage by Colonel Petrov quoted by Hoffmann is quite clear; the enemy (Germany) launched its attack before the Soviets could implement their offensive plans, which were being unfolded at the time. The fact that Petrov calls those offensive plans unrealistic is irrelevant; he is saying that the Red Army was deploying in accordance with plans for an offensive.


Let’s look again at Petrov’s statement quoted by Hoffmann.

Hoffmann wrote:"As a result of the overestimation of our own possibilities and the underestimation of enemy possibilities, we drew up unrealistic plans of an offensive nature before the war. In keeping with these plans, we began the deployment of the Soviet armed forces on the western border. But the enemy preempted us. [odnako protivnik upredil nas]"
{Source: Petrov, B. "Tragediia i muzhestvo. K 50-letiiu nachala Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny" {= tragedy and valour. On the 5oth anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War}, in Pravda, 8.5.1991, p. 3].


What Petrov is stating here, first of all, is that the Red Army drew up “plans of an offensive nature”. In the absence of other evidence to the drawing up of such plans signaling an intention to engage in all-out aggression, they are nothing other than contingency plans for the eventuality of a war breaking out, and what Petrov is saying is that those plans were unrealistically offensive, which was in keeping with the Red Army’s military doctrine.

When Petrov says “the enemy pre-empted us”, he is strictly saying nothing else than that the enemy anticipated the conclusion of the Red Army’s preparations. What the aim of those preparations was he doesn't tell us. It may have been an all-out attack on the enemy prior to a declaration of war. It may also have been standing ready for such an all-out attack in the event that push came to shove and diplomatic relations were broken off. What exactly it was cannot, in my opinion, be inferred from Petrov’s statement alone.

Mills wrote:The verb "uprezhdat' " is derived from the word "prezhde" = before, and is therefore equivalent to the German "zuvorkommen", which is probably the word Hoffmann originally.


“Zuvorkommen” is the equivalent of “forestall” or “anticipate” and signals that the Red Army was kept from concluding its preparations for whatever the Soviet High Command may have had in mind, as explained above. Whether that was staging an all-out attack on the enemy without a prior declaration of war or standing at ready to stage such an attack as soon as diplomatic relations were broken off does not, as also explained, become clear from Petrov’s statement.

Mills wrote:(Roberto says Hoffmann used the word "preempt", but that is of course the translation; Roberto knows that, but in his usual deceitful way conceals it).


Mills seems to be suffering from a memory failure. If I remember correctly,

Mills wrote:[Note by me. My Russian dictionary gives for "uprezhdat', perf. upredit'" the meanings "to anticipate, to forestall". Hoffmann's translation "preempt" therefore is reasonable, and does not distort the meaning.]


I might not have even noticed this detail if it had not been for Mills’ above remark.

Mills wrote:Roberto's speculation that Nikitin may be a "scorned outsider" says a lot about his mentality. For him, historians either belong to the "establishment", or they are "scorned outsiders".


No, such thinking is classic “Revisionist” lunacy.

I, on the other hand, presume that there is such a thing as a prevailing opinion in historical scholarship, as there is in legal scholarship, meaning the opinion that has come to be acknowledged among academics as a result of a process of mutual peer-review.

An opinion going against such prevailing opinion is not necessarily wrong, but it should be supported by strong evidence and arguments if it is to be more than a laughing matter, and it should be able to conclusively demonstrate where the prevailing opinion is wrong and why that is so.

I have seen nothing in Mills’ quotes from Hoffmann’s books that would comply with these requirements.

Mills wrote: Scorned by whom? By former Soviet-era propagandists, such as Lev Bezymenski?


Mills is really a funny bone.

He takes issue with me on account of having expressed my doubts about the writings of Mr. Nikitin for the reasons explained above and in my last post, but then he calls Bezymenski a “Soviet-era propagandist” without providing any explanation whatsoever as to why he places this label on the man.

That is what I would call slander, Mr. Mills.

The impression left by Mills last post is, on the whole, an even sorrier one than that conveyed by his previous contributions on this thread.

He seems to have run out of arguments in support of his contentions and is now reduced to empty “bad Roberto this, bad Roberto that” – bitching that, while adding nothing to the topic under discussion, provides a splendid insight into the workings of Mills’ mind.

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Effects of stalins purges are nelected

Post by wildboar » 05 Nov 2002 15:26

Roberto & michael mills
in your fury of debate you have missed a vital point.
stalins purges of officer core of red army had made it just a bunch of armed mob lacking basic military disipline?
how can such a depleted force wage a pre-emptive agressive war against well disiplined wehermacht.
stalin felt the effect of lack of disipline in red army during opertation barbbossa who would same army launch a agressive war? a million dollar question to ponder.
here i quote stalins order no 227 dated July 28, 1942 which states lack of basic military disipline in red army--

ORDER no 227 BY THE PEOPLE’S COMMISSAR OF DEFENCE OF THE USSR
July 28, 1942
Moscow


The enemy feeds more and more resources to the front, and, paying no attention to losses, moves on, penetrates deeper into the Soviet Union,
captures new areas, devastates and plunders our cities and villages, rapes, kills and robs the Soviet people. The fighting goes on in Voronezh
area, at Don, in the Southern Russia, at the gates of the North Caucasus.
The German invaders are driving towards Stalingrad, towards Volga, and
want to capture Kuban and the North Caucasus with their oil and bread riches at any price. The enemy has already captured Voroshilovgrad,
Starobelsk, Rossosh, Kupyansk, Valuiki, Novocherkassk, Rostov on Don, half of Voronezh. Some units of the South front, following the panic-mongers, have abandoned Rostov and Novocherkassk without serious resistance and without order from Moscow, thus covering their banners with shame.
The people of our country, who treat the Red Army with love and respect,
are now starting to be disappointed with it, lose faith in the Red Army,
and many of them curse the Army for its fleeing to the east and leaving
the population under German yoke.
Some unwise people at the front comfort themselves with arguments that we can continue the retreat to the east, as we have vast territories, a lot
of soil, many people, and that we will always have abundance of bread. By these arguments they try to justify their shameful behaviour at the front.
But all these arguments are fully false, faked and working for our
enemies.
Every commander, every soldier and political officer have to realise that our resources are not infinite. The territory of the Soviet Union is not a
wilderness, but people – workers, peasants, intelligentsia, our fathers
and mothers, wives, brothers, children. Territory of USSR that has been
captured by the enemy and which enemy is longing to capture is bread and other resources for the army and the civilians, iron and fuel for the
industries, factories and plants that supply the military with hardware
and ammo; this is also railroads. With loss of Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, Donetsk basin and other areas we have lost vast territories, that
means that we have lost many people, bread, metals, factories, and plants.
We no longer have superiority over enemy in human resources and in bread supply. Continuation of retreat means to destroy us and also our
Motherland. Every new piece of territory that we leave to the enemy will
strengthen our enemy and weaken us, our defences, our Motherland.
This is why we have to eradicate the conversations that we can retreat
without ending, that we have a lot of territory, that our country is great
and rich, that we have a lot of population and we will always have enough
bread. These conversations are false and harmful, as they weaken us and
strengthen the enemy, for if we do not stop retreating, we will be left without bread, without fuel, without metals, without raw materials, without factories and plants, without railways.
The conclusion is that it is time to stop the retreat. Not a single step
back! This should be our slogan from now. We need to protect every strongpoint, every metre of Soviet soil stubbornly, till the last droplet of blood, grab every piece of our soil and defend it as long as it is possible. Our Motherland is going through hard times. We have to stop, and then throw back and destroy the enemy, whatever it might cost us. The Germans are not as strong as the panic-mongers say. They are stretching their strength to the limit. To withstand their blow now means to ensure victory in the future.
Can we stand and throw the enemy back toward west? Yes, we can, as our plants and factories in the rear areas are working perfectly and are
supplying our army with more and more tanks, planes, artillery and mortars.
So what do we lack? We lack order and discipline in companies, regiments
and divisions, in tank units, in the Air Force squadrons. This is our major drawback. We have to introduce the strictest order and strong discipline in our army, if we want to save the situation and defend our
Motherland.
We can no longer tolerate commanders, commissars, and political officers,
whose units leave their defences at will. We can no longer tolerate the
fact that the commanders, commissars and political officers allow several
cowards to run the show at the battlefield, that the panic-mongers carry
away other soldiers in their retreat and open the way to the enemy. Panic-mongers and cowards are to be exterminated at the site. From now on the iron law of discipline for every officer, soldier, political officer should be – not a single step back without order from higher command. Company, battalion, regiment and division commanders, as
well as the commissars and political officers of corresponding ranks who
retreat without order from above, are traitors of the Motherland. They
should be treated as traitors of the Motherland. This is the call of our
Motherland.
To fulfil this order means to defend our country, to save our Motherland,
to destroy and overcome the hated enemy.
After their winter retreat under pressure of the Red Army, when morale and discipline fell in the German troops, the Germans took some strict measures that led to pretty good results. They have formed 100 penal companies that were comprised of soldiers who broke discipline due to cowardice or instability; they have deployed them at the most dangerous sections of the front and have ordered them to redeem their sins by blood. Further on, they have formed around ten penal battalions comprised of officers who had broken discipline due to cowardice and instability, deprived them of their decorations and put them at even more dangerous sections of the front and ordered them to redeem their sins by blood. At last, the Germans have formed special guards units and deployed them behind unstable divisions and ordered them to execute panic-mongers at the site if they tried to leave their defensive positions without order or if they tried to surrender. As we know, these measures were effective, and now the German troops fight better than they fought in winter. What we have here is that the German troops have good discipline, although the not have an uplifted mission of protection of the Motherland, and only have one goal – to conquer a strange land. Our troops, having defence of defiled Motherland as their mission, do not have this discipline and thus suffer defeat.
Shouldn’t we learn this lesson from our enemy, as our ancestors learned
from their enemies in the past and overcame their enemies? I think that we should.
THE SUPREME COMMAND OF THE RED ARMY ORDERS:
1. The military Councils of the fronts and first of all front commanders
should:
a) In all circumstances decisively eradicate retreat attitude in the
troops and with an iron hand prevent propaganda that we can as should continue the retreat to the east, and this retreat will not be harmful to us;
b) In all circumstances remove from offices and send to Stavka for
court-martial those army commanders who allowed their troops to retreat at will, without authorisation by the Front command;
c) Form within each Front 1 to 3 (depending on the situation) penal
battalions (800 personnel), where commanding, senior commanders and political officers of corresponding ranks from all services, who have
broken discipline due to cowardice or instability, should be sent. These
battalions should be put on the more difficult sections of a Front, thus
giving them an opportunity to redeem their crimes against the Motherland
by blood.
2. The Military Councils of armies and first of all army commanders
should: a) In all circumstances remove from offices corps and army commanders and commissars, who have allowed their troops to retreat at will without authorisation by the army command, and send them to the Military Councils of the Fronts for court-martial;
b) Form 3 to 5 well-armed guards (barrage) units (zagradotryads), deploy them in the rear of unstable divisions and oblige them to execute panic-mongers and cowards at site in case of panic and chaotic retreat, thus giving faithful soldiers a chance to do their duty before the
Motherland;
c) Form 5 to 10 (depending on the situation) penal companies, where
soldiers and NCOs, who have broken discipline due to cowardice or
instability, should be sent. These units should be deployed at the most
difficult sectors of the front, thus giving their soldiers an opportunity
to redeem their crimes against the Motherland by blood.
3. Corps and division commanders and commissars should:
a) In all circumstances remove from offices regiment and battalion
commanders and commissars who allowed their troops to retreat at will without authorisation from divisional or corps command, deprive them of their military decorations and send them to the Military Councils of
fronts for court-martial;
b) Provide all possible help and support to the guards (barrage) units
(zagradotryads) of the army in their work of strengthening discipline and order in the units.
This order is to be read aloud in all companies, troops, batteries,
squadrons, teams and staffs.


The People’s Commissar for Defence
J.STALIN


Source-http://www.battlefield.ru/library/archives/reports/reports1.html

How would a such depleted and rudderless force launch a agressive war -point to ponder?
infact stalins purges had crippled red army that it could not perform such task as suggested by mr mills.

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Re: Effects of stalins purges are nelected

Post by Roberto » 05 Nov 2002 16:34

wildboar wrote:Roberto & michael mills
in your fury of debate you have missed a vital point.
stalins purges of officer core of red army had made it just a bunch of armed mob lacking basic military disipline?
how can such a depleted force wage a pre-emptive agressive war against well disiplined wehermacht.
stalin felt the effect of lack of disipline in red army during opertation barbbossa who would same army launch a agressive war? a million dollar question to ponder.
here i quote stalins order no 227 dated July 28, 1942 which states lack of basic military disipline in red army--

ORDER no 227 BY THE PEOPLE’S COMMISSAR OF DEFENCE OF THE USSR
July 28, 1942
Moscow


The enemy feeds more and more resources to the front, and, paying no attention to losses, moves on, penetrates deeper into the Soviet Union,
captures new areas, devastates and plunders our cities and villages, rapes, kills and robs the Soviet people. The fighting goes on in Voronezh
area, at Don, in the Southern Russia, at the gates of the North Caucasus.
The German invaders are driving towards Stalingrad, towards Volga, and
want to capture Kuban and the North Caucasus with their oil and bread riches at any price. The enemy has already captured Voroshilovgrad,
Starobelsk, Rossosh, Kupyansk, Valuiki, Novocherkassk, Rostov on Don, half of Voronezh. Some units of the South front, following the panic-mongers, have abandoned Rostov and Novocherkassk without serious resistance and without order from Moscow, thus covering their banners with shame.
The people of our country, who treat the Red Army with love and respect,
are now starting to be disappointed with it, lose faith in the Red Army,
and many of them curse the Army for its fleeing to the east and leaving
the population under German yoke.
Some unwise people at the front comfort themselves with arguments that we can continue the retreat to the east, as we have vast territories, a lot
of soil, many people, and that we will always have abundance of bread. By these arguments they try to justify their shameful behaviour at the front.
But all these arguments are fully false, faked and working for our
enemies.
Every commander, every soldier and political officer have to realise that our resources are not infinite. The territory of the Soviet Union is not a
wilderness, but people – workers, peasants, intelligentsia, our fathers
and mothers, wives, brothers, children. Territory of USSR that has been
captured by the enemy and which enemy is longing to capture is bread and other resources for the army and the civilians, iron and fuel for the
industries, factories and plants that supply the military with hardware
and ammo; this is also railroads. With loss of Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, Donetsk basin and other areas we have lost vast territories, that
means that we have lost many people, bread, metals, factories, and plants.
We no longer have superiority over enemy in human resources and in bread supply. Continuation of retreat means to destroy us and also our
Motherland. Every new piece of territory that we leave to the enemy will
strengthen our enemy and weaken us, our defences, our Motherland.
This is why we have to eradicate the conversations that we can retreat
without ending, that we have a lot of territory, that our country is great
and rich, that we have a lot of population and we will always have enough
bread. These conversations are false and harmful, as they weaken us and
strengthen the enemy, for if we do not stop retreating, we will be left without bread, without fuel, without metals, without raw materials, without factories and plants, without railways.
The conclusion is that it is time to stop the retreat. Not a single step
back! This should be our slogan from now. We need to protect every strongpoint, every metre of Soviet soil stubbornly, till the last droplet of blood, grab every piece of our soil and defend it as long as it is possible. Our Motherland is going through hard times. We have to stop, and then throw back and destroy the enemy, whatever it might cost us. The Germans are not as strong as the panic-mongers say. They are stretching their strength to the limit. To withstand their blow now means to ensure victory in the future.
Can we stand and throw the enemy back toward west? Yes, we can, as our plants and factories in the rear areas are working perfectly and are
supplying our army with more and more tanks, planes, artillery and mortars.
So what do we lack? We lack order and discipline in companies, regiments
and divisions, in tank units, in the Air Force squadrons. This is our major drawback. We have to introduce the strictest order and strong discipline in our army, if we want to save the situation and defend our
Motherland.
We can no longer tolerate commanders, commissars, and political officers,
whose units leave their defences at will. We can no longer tolerate the
fact that the commanders, commissars and political officers allow several
cowards to run the show at the battlefield, that the panic-mongers carry
away other soldiers in their retreat and open the way to the enemy. Panic-mongers and cowards are to be exterminated at the site. From now on the iron law of discipline for every officer, soldier, political officer should be – not a single step back without order from higher command. Company, battalion, regiment and division commanders, as
well as the commissars and political officers of corresponding ranks who
retreat without order from above, are traitors of the Motherland. They
should be treated as traitors of the Motherland. This is the call of our
Motherland.
To fulfil this order means to defend our country, to save our Motherland,
to destroy and overcome the hated enemy.
After their winter retreat under pressure of the Red Army, when morale and discipline fell in the German troops, the Germans took some strict measures that led to pretty good results. They have formed 100 penal companies that were comprised of soldiers who broke discipline due to cowardice or instability; they have deployed them at the most dangerous sections of the front and have ordered them to redeem their sins by blood. Further on, they have formed around ten penal battalions comprised of officers who had broken discipline due to cowardice and instability, deprived them of their decorations and put them at even more dangerous sections of the front and ordered them to redeem their sins by blood. At last, the Germans have formed special guards units and deployed them behind unstable divisions and ordered them to execute panic-mongers at the site if they tried to leave their defensive positions without order or if they tried to surrender. As we know, these measures were effective, and now the German troops fight better than they fought in winter. What we have here is that the German troops have good discipline, although the not have an uplifted mission of protection of the Motherland, and only have one goal – to conquer a strange land. Our troops, having defence of defiled Motherland as their mission, do not have this discipline and thus suffer defeat.
Shouldn’t we learn this lesson from our enemy, as our ancestors learned
from their enemies in the past and overcame their enemies? I think that we should.
THE SUPREME COMMAND OF THE RED ARMY ORDERS:
1. The military Councils of the fronts and first of all front commanders
should:
a) In all circumstances decisively eradicate retreat attitude in the
troops and with an iron hand prevent propaganda that we can as should continue the retreat to the east, and this retreat will not be harmful to us;
b) In all circumstances remove from offices and send to Stavka for
court-martial those army commanders who allowed their troops to retreat at will, without authorisation by the Front command;
c) Form within each Front 1 to 3 (depending on the situation) penal
battalions (800 personnel), where commanding, senior commanders and political officers of corresponding ranks from all services, who have
broken discipline due to cowardice or instability, should be sent. These
battalions should be put on the more difficult sections of a Front, thus
giving them an opportunity to redeem their crimes against the Motherland
by blood.
2. The Military Councils of armies and first of all army commanders
should: a) In all circumstances remove from offices corps and army commanders and commissars, who have allowed their troops to retreat at will without authorisation by the army command, and send them to the Military Councils of the Fronts for court-martial;
b) Form 3 to 5 well-armed guards (barrage) units (zagradotryads), deploy them in the rear of unstable divisions and oblige them to execute panic-mongers and cowards at site in case of panic and chaotic retreat, thus giving faithful soldiers a chance to do their duty before the
Motherland;
c) Form 5 to 10 (depending on the situation) penal companies, where
soldiers and NCOs, who have broken discipline due to cowardice or
instability, should be sent. These units should be deployed at the most
difficult sectors of the front, thus giving their soldiers an opportunity
to redeem their crimes against the Motherland by blood.
3. Corps and division commanders and commissars should:
a) In all circumstances remove from offices regiment and battalion
commanders and commissars who allowed their troops to retreat at will without authorisation from divisional or corps command, deprive them of their military decorations and send them to the Military Councils of
fronts for court-martial;
b) Provide all possible help and support to the guards (barrage) units
(zagradotryads) of the army in their work of strengthening discipline and order in the units.
This order is to be read aloud in all companies, troops, batteries,
squadrons, teams and staffs.


The People’s Commissar for Defence
J.STALIN


Source-http://www.battlefield.ru/library/archives/reports/reports1.html

How would a such depleted and rudderless force launch a agressive war -point to ponder?
infact stalins purges had crippled red army that it could not perform such task as suggested by mr mills.


Before we even get to that part, and as I already said, Stalin seems to have been a friend of playing it safe, requiring an overall superiority of at least two to one for a successful offensive. At least that’s what he told his generals at a conference at the Kremlin on 13 January 1941, following a war game that was run off between January 8 and 11 for top-ranking officers:

Harrison E. Salisbury wrote:Other listeners were deeply disturbed by Stalin’s pronouncement (faithfully approved by the meeting) that a superiority of at least two to one was required for a successful offensive not only in the area of the principal breakthrough but on the whole operational front. The application of such a doctrine would require numbers, equipment and rear support far beyond anything heretofore contemplated. The Soviet commanders agreed that overwhelming superiority was needed at in the breakthrough area, but they did not see why such great numerical concentrations were required on the non-active part of the front.


Source of quote: Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days, 1970 Avon Books, New York, pages 75 and following.

Emphasis is mine.

On pages 97 of and following of the same book,

Harrison E. Salisbury wrote:By June 21, 1941, the Soviets had deployed about 2.9 million troops in the Western defense districts against an estimated 4.2 million Germans. The total strength of the Soviet military establishment had been strongly expanded from the 1939 level – up to 4.2 million in January, 1941, against 2.5 million in January, 1939. The total stood just below 5 million June 1. The air force had been tripled and land forces increased 2.7 times. The army had 124 new rifle divisions.
But the numbers were deceptive. The army had only 30 percent of the automatic weapons provided by the table of organization; only 20 percent of the planes were of new modern types and only 9 percent of the tanks. When General M. Shtemenko took over the 34th Cavalry Division in July, 1941, he found it had no arms whatever. He finally got some 1927 vintage cannons but was unable to obtain enough rifles or ammunition to equip his troops. There were no antitank guns – nothing but Molotov cocktails (gasoline bottles with wicks). He got twelve antitank guns, but not until October 1941.


Salisbury demonstrates that Stalin had precise intelligence from various sources as to the strength of German forces on the Soviet borders.

That being so, and unless it can be demonstrated that Stalin renounced to his “at least two to one along the whole front” doctrine, how could Stalin have possibly seen himself as having the numerical superiority he considered necessary to mount a successful offensive?

The inherent flaws of the Red Army are another factor to consider, as wildboar pointed out. Not even Stalin could have been so blind as to ignore the sad fact that, apart from being short of achieving the numerical superiority he required, the Red Army was qualitatively in no shape to wage offensive war.

Richard Overy (Russia’s War, page 67) wrote:In March [1941] the Government called for the creation of twenty mechanized corps to be distributed along the frontier, but by June less than half were equipped. The air force was ordered to establish 106 new air regiments, using the new models coming into production, but by May only nineteen were complete. These forces were crammed into a narrow belt behind, or sometimes straddling, the frontier. They absorbed four-fifths of the production of the new T-34 tank, the most advanced in the world, and half of the available modern aircraft, but they lacked the training (and spare parts) needed to operate them effectively. Morale among the forward troops was at its nadir; officers were losing control of their men. Crime and insubordination were widespread.


How Mr. Karpov could under these conditions state that the pre-emptive attack proposed by Zhukov and Timoshenko would have brought about a splendid success if it had been unleashed is beyond my understanding.

German military intelligence of the Wehrmachtsabteilung Fremde Heere Ost, at any rate, didn't see the Soviets as being up to much.

Feindbeurteilung vom 20.5.1941:

"Die Rote Armee steht mit der Masse der Verbände des europäischen Teils der UdSSR, d.h. mit rund 130 Schützendivisionen - 21 Kavalleriedivisionen - 5 Panzerdivisionen - 36 mot.-mech. Panzerbrigaden entlang der Westgrenze von Czernowitz bis Murmansk...Die Tatsache, dass bisher weit günstigere Gelegenheiten eines Präventivkrieges (schwache Kräfte im Osten, Balkankrieg) von der UdSSR nicht ausgenutzt wurden, ferner das gerade in letzter Zeit fühlbare politische Entgegenkommen und festzustellende Bestreben der Vermeidung möglicher Reibungspunkte lassen eine Angriffsabsicht unwahrscheinlich erscheinen... Grenznahe, zähe Verteidigung, verbunden mit Teilangriffen zu Beginn des Krieges und während der Operationen als Gegenangriffe gegen den durchgebrochenen Feind...erscheint aufgrund der politischen Verhältnisse und des bisher erkennbaren Aufmarsches am wahrscheinlichsten."
(Quelle: BA-MA Freiburg, RH 2/1983)


Source of quote:

http://hometown.aol.com/wigbertbenz

My translation:

Assessment of the Enemy, 20.5.1941:

"The Red Army stands with the mass of its units in the European part of the USSR, i.e. with about 130 rifle divisions - 21 cavalry divisions - 5 tank divisions - 36 motorized – mechanized tank brigades, along the western border from Czernowitz to Murmansk. The fact that hitherto far more advantageous opportunities for a preventive war (weak forces in the East, war in the Balkans) have not been taken advantage of by the USSR, furthermore the political condescension that has made itself especially felt more recently and the apparent endeavor to avoid possible points of friction, let the possibility of an attack seem improbable... Tough defense near the border, combined with partial attacks at the beginning of the war and during the operations as counterattacks against the enemy who has broken through ... are what in the face of the political situation and the so far recognizable order of battle seems most probable."
(Source: BA-MA [Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv = Federal Archives-Military Archives of the FRG], Freiburg, RH 2/1983)

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