Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stalin’s attack plans against Germany 1939.-1941

Since the end of the World war II where Allied powers along with Soviet Union crushed Nazi Germany. Undoubtedly Soviet Union made the most job defeating the Nazi Germany and Great Britain and US should be thankful for it. If Nazi Germany never attacked Soviet Union at June 22, history would be different and more gruesome for Great Britain and US. Because of this historians of the west have ignored the real reasons why Germany attacked Soviet Union and what was the role of the Soviet Union in the starting of the war. This article will discuss the different history of Word war II and the Soviet Union.

During the Cold war Soviet Union being main enemy of the west its role in the war and its crimes were never fully discussed in detail. First attempts to uncover the white spots of history were done by German historian Joachim Hoffman (1930.-2002) who published the book entitled The Stalin’s war of Destruction in 1995. He made a thesis that Stalin planned a full-blown attack on Germany at 1941, but was outscored by Hitler who managed to attack first. However he insists that Hitler had no knowledge of Stalin’s plans and his attack cannot be seen as defensive action. The book made a rage in ranks of German historians and politicians. He was even accused of being a Nazi. Thus his book was generally denounced in German historiography. That shows a pattern of ash scattering on themselves when German historians took all blame on Germany. In the same time a Soviet ex-spy Viktor Suvorov (Rezun) also worked on this thesis. He deserted the Soviet intelligence service and fled to Great Britain because he was disillusioned with the Soviet regime. Because of that Soviet Union gave him three death sentences. He begun his work in 1968 and in 1989 published his work "Icebreaker. Who started the world war?" in German. But it was the book translation in Russian on 1992, that made his work epic. He managed to stir up the ex-Soviet historian society and divide it in two sides. One who agreed with him, the other who vehemently disagreed. A whole branch of Russian historiography have been made to tackle Suvorov’s theory. Most of them are called ‘Antisuvorov“, The untruth of Suvorov” and other. While some try to counter his work with academical means others just denounce him as a traitor or even call him a pedophile. Since then Suvorov has published many follow ups heating the Russian historians even more.

So what is the conception of Viktor Suvorov? Let's describe it in short. Suvorov rejects the theory of Soviet peaceful stance on world affairs. On contrary, it was aggressive, based on communist-internationalist ideology, based on world revolution. Attempts on making the world revolution begun on 1917. In 1918 and 1920 the Red Army attempted to push forward to Berlin only to be halted by Polish and Baltic forces. After the civil war Soviet Union continued to stir up communist revolutions in Europe by supporting the uprising in Hamburg on 1923 and in Estonia at 1924. Despite the Stalin’s concept of “Socialism in sole state” during the years of depression at thirties, the Soviet union made forward a massive militarization. The Soviet Union had army of two million men and four fully complected tank corps. This wave of arming was not dictated by foreign threats because it started long before Hitler came to power. Soviet war theoretics made the concept of “deep operations” a large attack of tanks followed by air support. It was similar to German Blitzkrieg but earlier. Soviet Union believed that next global conflict will make the world revolution possible. On 1925, Stalin made it clear that socialism has no real chance to take over Europe by itself, so there is a need to stir up the western countries so they started a war in which Soviet Union would join as the last.

The chance for it came in 1939, August 23, when Soviet Union signed a treaty with Germany triggering a war in Europe. Germany never wanted to start a world war in 1939. The attack on Poland was to be localized in Hitler’s mind. Until the last-minute he believed that Great Britain will not declare war and spare Poland for him. In 1937, he declared that Germany will be ready for full-scale war only in 1943. Thus the attack on Poland was the first hand option, since Germans actually tried to make talks with Poland. They wanted to gain their demands but keep Poland as independent state. But dully brave Polish government halted the talks and made Hitler to decide to attack them. Hitler signed a deal with Stalin to guarantee on front war in Poland and keep Soviet Union out. Soviet Union had all the good reasons not to sign it, because leaving Poland and Baltic states between Germany and Soviet Union would make it much safer, than having a large border with it.

What are the main evidences of Stalin’s intentions of starting the war? One is a speech made in a Politburo meeting on August 19, 1939. Soviet government denied that such a meeting had taken place for years. Until D. Volkogonov found a document that in following day a decree has been made about withdrawal of mobilization of rail road workers. Then in 1994, T. Busheva in USSR Special Archive trophy fond acquired a transcript of Stalin's speech made in that meeting. In the speech Stalin announced that the question of peace has come to the critical phase. If Soviet Union signs an agreement with Great Britain and France the war will be averted. Germany will quit her aims on Poland and will be forced to search a common ground with the Allies. But that would be disadvantageous and dangerous for the interests of the Soviet Union. If she agrees with Germany, it will attack on Poland and Great Britain and France will be forced to act. That will make a lot of disorder in western Europe. By such means the Soviet Union will have the chance to wait for the right time to join the war.

The context of the speech was known to west, because the text leaked in the Swedish, Finnish and French press. Stalin replied to this in newspaper Pravda declaring that those are lies and are made in some nightclub. Historians are still disusing about the authenticity of this speech. T. Busheva had not found the original document but the transcript taken from a French newspaper. So the original transcript has not been found. Also there is no strong proof about the meeting itself. However, Soviet meetings were not always official and were made on mutual agreement. It’s also worth to note that in the speech transcript a secret protocols from Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was mentioned. Soviet Union denied the existence of these protocols, describing the split of Poland and Baltic states between Germans and Soviets for over 50 years. Even if this speech was a falsification it clearly shows a situation in 1939, and can bee seen as valuable historical source.

Similar Stalin’s intentions can be seen in chief of the Comintern Georgi Dimitrimov's diary. In there Stalin tells him that war in Europe is fight between two capitalist blocks, that are destroying capitalist system itself. So Soviets will have a chance to move one block away from other and spread socialism in new territories. Other proof is directives made by the Comintern after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. In there it was explained why Soviets made a deal with Nazis, because that would subvert the capitalist system. In so Soviet Union needs to wait for conflict to prevail and step in when it’s needed.

On May 5 1941, Stalin made a speech in Kremlin to Red Army officers. In this speech Stalin made it clear that peace process is ended and the period of violent spreading of socialism has begun. Now when the Soviet army is modernized and regrouped it's time to switch from defensive stance to aggressive stance. It also reported that he said that the enemy will be Germany.

These are the speeches now about Soviet military plans. The planning against Germany started in October 1939. All available plans show Soviet movement outside Soviet Union. Two variants of attack were made intending to attack in very deep German territory. Plans ordered to increase the size of the Red army near borders. On these two variants the Northern and Southern was the main plans of action for Soviet Union. Also a war games were played on January 1941, simulating a Soviet attack on Germany to seek out a best form of attack. A” attack” on Eastern Prussia was not successful but invasion in southern Poland was much better. So they decided to use the South variant. Soviet propaganda tells tales of simulation of German attack on Soviet Union, where General Zhukov was the Soviet and Gen. Pavlov was the German, and brilliant Zhukov stopped him. In reality no defensive war games never happened and Pavlov lead the Soviets against Zhukov who was badly beaten. These plans were not designed as preventive war action against Germany, Stalin was as badly surprised as other when Germans invaded. These were aggressive plans intended to attack Germany from behind.

What about the Red army itself? Was it even ready for such ambitious attack? The plan of mobilization was assigned in 1941,January 12. According to it the Soviet army should consist 8,9 million men, 37,000 tanks and 22, 2 airplanes. Most of the armies were already formed since 1939, and mobilization was secret. In April 1941, 247 divisions were allocated for war with Germany, along with 15,000 tanks and 12,000 airplanes. In Soviet inner region a reserve echelon was made consisting of 114 divisions. Across the border a 41 percent of all Soviet strategic war materials were located. In July 25 more divisions where assigned to border area. Foreigners were forbidden to enter border areas and field command posts were set up. At June 21 1941, all army headquarters were moved from main regional centers (Riga, Kiev, Odessa, Minsk) to field command posts near the border. That is a clear sign for preparedness for war. Such actions were made before attack on Poland in 1939 and the attack on Finland the same year. This shows that Red army was in the last stages of war deployment and its attack on June-July 1941, was imminent.

If they were ready to attack what was the attack date? It is a difficult question. Viktor Suvorov sets out 6, July. However his arguments are weak on this matter. Other historians agree on attack date somewhere between June. Others push it far behind to 1942. Russian historian Mark Solonin believes the attack should happen on 23, June, meaning Hitler outmatched Stalin just by one day. But main concept is that attack should happen in the summer of 1941, when the Red army was in the last stages of deployment and heating up for action. Further delays would make the situation worse for the Soviets, for they could not hide their army from the Germans forever. Yet no one cannot fully discover the exact date of the attack, but judging by documents describing the Soviet military movements before June 22, it should happen anywhere at that time.

The research done by historians and publicists destroys the myth of “peaceful Soviet Union”. It shows that Stalin was about as aggressive as Hitler. His policy was the reason why Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Germans had no clear knowledge that Soviets were planning to attack them. However Hitler witnessed the Stalin’s aggressive actions against Finland, The Baltic states and Romania. He knew Soviet demands on Eastern Europe and feared a Soviet alliance with Great Britain. The attack on Soviet Union was done for strategical reasons to prevent possibility of further Soviet expansion in German sphere of interests.

Suvorov conception has survived the years and gained a sizable support from other authors. Arguments shown here are not only from Suvorov’s works but from other Russian authors who support him. A large “industry” of anti-suvorov books has not yet succeeded to destroy his theory. One part of the these books are written in low academic level with biased arguments and even personal insults. A heavy campaign against Suvorov and his supporters shows that Russia has got something to hide from the public and fears the complete revision of the myth of the Great Patriotic war.