One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:25 am

Jeff_36 has come across a source which suggests that the Russians had only 6000 functioning T-34's in the fall of 1941. Jeff_36 will investigate and report back to his co-discussionits in decent time.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:46 am

Jeff_36 wrote:. . . First and foremost, Jeff_36 would like to . . .

Bad.

Jeff_36 wrote:. . . that helps Jeff_36's thesis. . . .

Also bad.

Jeff_36 wrote:I read Stumbling Colossus a few years ago. . . I will try to attain a copy of it . . . In my recollections . . . I came away from reading it . . . I also got the impression . . .

Good, good, good, good, and good. Much better all around.


Jeff_36 wrote:. . . I think . . .

Well played.


Jeff_36 wrote:. . . I have already outlined . . .

Sweet.

Jeff_36 wrote:I did above. . . .

Good.

Jeff_36 wrote:Again, I will remind you . . .

Spot on.


Jeff_36 wrote:Jeff_36 has addressed . . .

Arrrrgh!!!!! No!!!!! Please!!!!!

Jeff_36 wrote:. . . I cannot conceive of a scenario . . . I just don't buy it.

That's better, a two-fer.

Jeff_36 wrote:. . . that I basically crippled . . . That is what I imagine his though process as.

Good, good.

Jeff_36 wrote:IIRC Jeff_36 found a chart . . .

Wrong move.

Jeff_36 wrote:It's my thesis. . . .

Excellent.

Jeff_36 wrote:. . . I do not deny that they were framed . . . Jeff_36 denies that they were fully . . . I deny that . . .

Good . . . terrible . . . good.

Jeff_36 wrote:Jeff_36 is not just addressing you. He is also addressing the arguments . . . when Jeff_36 mentions the 1941 date . . . he is not making false attacks on you generally, but rather critiquing . . .

Bad, bad, bad, bad.

Jeff_36 wrote: IMO . . .

Good one!

Jeff_36 wrote:I think he was suspicious of Hitler initially . . .I refuse to buy the notion of his being afraid of a Soviet attack, the documents simply refute that.

Good, good.

Jeff_36 wrote:. . . my Traynor thread.

Indeed!

Jeff_36 wrote:As am I. I am not only using Glantz . . . In my opinion . . .

All good.

Jeff_36 wrote:I will have to do some digging. . . I honestly do not think . . . For me it is a question of dates. . . .

Good, good, good.

On the whole, you're showing improvement. But in your next post, you suffered a terrible relapse. Please, please, please . . .
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:01 am

How about second person?

"you will go to the library to find Gorodetsky's book, you respond to the effect of....."

Jeff_36/I think(s) that second person sounds even worse than third person lol

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Matthew Ellard » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:41 am

Jeff_36 wrote:Jeff_36 has come across a source which suggests that the Russians had only 6000 functioning T-34's in the fall of 1941. Jeff_36 will investigate and report back to his co-discussionits in decent time.


You could just ask me. I have rather an extensive library on armour.

Dad was an RAAF officer and psychiatrist, treating drug & alcohol problems in Commonwealth services. and therefore thought anyone in the navy or army was "beneath him". When we were in Germany in the early 70's, I saw an armoured brigade loading onto a train. Dad called them "knuckle-scrapers on wheels". However, I became fascinated with all the different types of vehicles and that's still true 40 years later.

I'm the exciting bloke at parties, who gets worked up by the change in number of bolts on Panther road wheels. Feel sorry for my poor girlfriend who dragged around Europe to look at tank museums and arms shows.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:50 am

Jeff_36 wrote:How about second person?

"you will go to the library to find Gorodetsky's book, you respond to the effect of....."

Jeff_36/I think(s) that second person sounds even worse than third person lol

Just write like a normal person!
"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:15 pm

Jeff_36 will now write in first person

I'm the exciting bloke at parties, who gets worked up by the change in number of bolts on Panther road wheels. Feel sorry for my poor girlfriend who dragged around Europe to look at tank museums and arms shows.


I wouldn't feel sorry, that sounds like a hell of a good time to me!

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:59 pm

Thank you! LOL
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:56 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:Jeff_36 has come across a source which suggests that the Russians had only 6000 functioning T-34's in the fall of 1941. Jeff_36 will investigate and report back to his co-discussionits in decent time.


Welcome to the wonderful world of the sources and data of the USSR...
What do you mean by "ONLY" 6000 T-34 ?

My answer is also coming... ;)

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:22 pm

Balsamo wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:Jeff_36 has come across a source which suggests that the Russians had only 6000 functioning T-34's in the fall of 1941. Jeff_36 will investigate and report back to his co-discussionits in decent time.


Welcome to the wonderful world of the sources and data of the USSR...
What do you mean by "ONLY" 6000 T-34 ?

My answer is also coming... ;)


German and Soviet military doctrines were different. The Soviets preferred to use overwhelming numbers. 6000 is a lot of tanks, but not the number one would expect for a soviet invasion (again, factor in the differences in mentality). One could fit twice that number in a parking garage really.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Matthew Ellard » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:46 am

Matthew Ellard wrote: Feel sorry for my poor girlfriend who dragged around Europe to look at tank museums and arms shows.
Jeff_36 wrote: I wouldn't feel sorry, that sounds like a hell of a good time to me!
The hard bit is getting her to join the renactments. In this case, as one of Alexander Nevsky's foot soldiers, for the "Battle on the Ice", in St Petersburg. Some bloody Russian insisted on playing Alexander Nevsky, (the selfish bastard ), so I only got to play a peasant militiaman and face the Teutonic hordes with a moderately sharp stick.

(Apparently, the Russians were still fighting with sharp sticks in WW1.)
:D
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:20 am

IIRC the "Teutonic Hordes" at the battle of Lake Peipus were mostly just Estonian schmucks working for the actual Teutons.............

Some things never change eh? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:04 am

FWIW:

The Reich Foreign Minister to the German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg)

Telegram
VERY URGENT
BERLIN, June 21, 1941.

STATE SECRET

BY radio

For the Ambassador personally.

1) Upon receipt of this telegram, all of the cipher material still there is to be destroyed. The radio set is to be put out of commission.

2) Please inform Herr Molotov at once that you have an urgent communication to make to him and would therefore like to call on him immediately. Then please make the following declaration to him.

The Soviet Ambassador in Berlin is receiving at this hour from the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs a memorandum giving in detail the facts which are briefly summarized as follows:

I. In 1939 the Government of the Reich, putting aside grave objections arising out of the contradiction between National Socialism and Bolshevism, undertook to arrive at an understanding with Soviet Russia. Under the treaties of August 23 and September 28, 1939, the Government of the Reich effected a general reorientation of its policy toward the U.S.S.R. and thenceforth adopted a cordial attitude toward the Soviet Union. This policy of goodwill brought the Soviet Union great advantages in the field of foreign policy.

The Government of the Reich therefore felt entitled to assume that thenceforth both nations, while respecting each other's regime and not interfering in the internal affairs of the other partner, would arrive at good, lasting, neighborly relations. Unfortunately it soon became evident that the Government of the Reich had been entirely mistaken in this assumption.

II. Soon after the conclusion of the German-Russian treaties, the Comintern resumed its subversive activity against Germany, with the official Soviet-Russian representatives giving assistance. Sabotage, terrorism, and espionage in preparation for war were demonstrably carried out on a large scale. In all the countries bordering on Germany and in the territories occupied by German troops, anti-German feeling was aroused and the German attempt to set up a stable order in Europe was combated. Yugoslavia was gladly offered arms against Germany by the Soviet Russian Chief of Staff, as proved by documents found in Belgrade. The declarations made by the U.S.S.R. on conclusion of the treaties with Germany, regarding her intention to collaborate with Germany, thus stood revealed as deliberate misrepresentation and deceit and the conclusion of the treaties themselves as a tactical maneuver for obtaining arrangements favorable to Russia. The guiding principle remained the weakening of the non-Bolshevist countries in order the more easily to demoralize them and, at a given time, to crush them.

III. In the diplomatic and military fields it became obvious that the U.S.S.R.-contrary to the declaration made at the conclusion of the treaties that she did not wish to Bolshevize and annex the countries falling within her sphere of influence-was intent on pushing her military might westward wherever it seemed possible and on carrying Bolshevism further into Europe. The action of the U.S.S.R. against the Baltic States, Finland, and Rumania, where Soviet claims even extended to Bucovina, showed this clearly. The occupation and Bolshevization by the Soviet Union of the sphere of influence granted to her clearly violated the Moscow agreements, even though the Government of the Reich for the time being accepted the facts.

IV. When Germany, by the Vienna Award of August 30, 1940, settled the crisis in Southeastern Europe resulting from the action of the U.S.S.R. against Rumania, the Soviet Union protested and turned to making intensive military preparations in every field. Germany's renewed effort to achieve an understanding, as reflected in the exchange of letters between the Reich Foreign Minister and Herr Stalin and in the invitation to Herr Molotov to come to Berlin, brought demands from the Soviet Union which Germany could not accept, such as the guarantee of Bulgaria by the U.S.S.R., the establishment of a base for Soviet Russian land and naval forces at the Straits, and the complete abandonment of Finland. Subsequently, the policy of the U.S.S.R. directed against Germany became more and more obvious. The warning addressed to Germany regarding occupation of Bulgaria and the declaration made to Bulgaria after the entry of German troops, which was of a definitely hostile nature, were as significant in this connection as was the promise to protect the rear of Turkey in the event of a Turkish entry into the war in the Balkans, given in March 1941.

V. With the conclusion of the Soviet-Yugoslav Treaty of Friendship of April 5 last, which was intended to stiffen the spines of the Yugoslav plotters, the U.S.S.R. joined the common Anglo-Yugoslav-Greek front against Germany. At the same time she tried rapprochement with Rumania, in order to induce that country to detach itself from Germany. It was only the rapid German victories that caused the failure of the Anglo-Russian plan for an attack against the German troops in Rumania and Bulgaria.

VI. This policy was accompanied by a steadily growing concentration of all available Russian forces on a long front from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, against which countermeasures were taken by Germany only later. Since the beginning of the year this has been a steadily growing menace to the territory of the Reich. Reports received in the last few days eliminated the last remaining doubts as to the aggressive character of this Russian concentration and completed the picture of an extremely tense military situation. In addition to this, there are the reports from England regarding the negotiations of Ambassador Cripps for still closer political and military collaboration between England and the Soviet Union.

To sum up, the Government of the Reich declares, therefore, that the Soviet Government, contrary to the obligations it assumed,

1) has not only continued, but even intensified its attempts to undermine Germany and Europe;

2) has adopted a more and more anti-German foreign policy;

3) has concentrated all its forces in readiness at the German border. Thereby the Soviet Government has broken its treaties with Germany and is about to attack Germany from the rear, in its struggle for life. The Führer has therefore ordered the German Armed Forces to oppose this threat with all the means at their disposal."

End of declaration.

Please do not enter into any discussion of this communication. It is incumbent upon the Government of Soviet Russia to safeguard the security of the Embassy personnel.

RIBBENTROP



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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:00 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:
Balsamo wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:Jeff_36 has come across a source which suggests that the Russians had only 6000 functioning T-34's in the fall of 1941. Jeff_36 will investigate and report back to his co-discussionits in decent time.


Welcome to the wonderful world of the sources and data of the USSR...
What do you mean by "ONLY" 6000 T-34 ?

My answer is also coming... ;)


German and Soviet military doctrines were different. The Soviets preferred to use overwhelming numbers. 6000 is a lot of tanks, but not the number one would expect for a soviet invasion (again, factor in the differences in mentality). One could fit twice that number in a parking garage really.


Sorry, but i don't understand this reply? What is it your parking garage? :?:

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:54 pm

Thanks Xcalibur for your two contributions... This Hitler conversation is a great find.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:10 pm

Balsamo wrote:Thanks Xcalibur for your two contributions... This Hitler conversation is a great find.



My pleasure...

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:42 pm

Interesting that Ribbentrop casts the consolidation of Soviet power in the Soviet sphere of influence as a treaty violation. Ribbentrop alluded to, without specifically mentioning, the secret protocols of August (designating Estonia and Latvia; Finland; eastern Poland; Bessarabia/Moldova as in the Soviet sphere) and of September (moving Lithuania to the Soviet sphere and IIRC giving Germany another slide of Poland). Soviet occupation and imposition of Soviet power are described as a violation of the terms of the pact (USSR "intent on pushing her military might westward"), whereas Nazification in its various forms - occupation, annexation, imposition of German rule - in the German sphere of influence was fine and dandy, according to Ribbentrop. In this way, Ribbentrop defines the actions taken by the USSR during the treaty period, although "accepted" by Germany to a point, as evidence of aggression. Anyone know of any documents that tell us what actions were permitted by the parties, and which forbidden by them, in the mutual spheres of influence?

(I second Balsamo's thanks for these two sources, Xcalibur, very interesting stuff.)
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:59 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Interesting that Ribbentrop casts the consolidation of Soviet power in the Soviet sphere of influence as a treaty violation. Ribbentrop alluded to, without specifically mentioning, the secret protocols of August (designating Estonia and Latvia; Finland; eastern Poland; Bessarabia/Moldova as in the Soviet sphere) and of September (moving Lithuania to the Soviet sphere and IIRC giving Germany another slide of Poland). Soviet occupation and imposition of Soviet power are described as a violation of the terms of the pact (USSR "intent on pushing her military might westward"), whereas Nazification in its various forms - occupation, annexation, imposition of German rule - in the German sphere of influence was fine and dandy, according to Ribbentrop. In this way, Ribbentrop defines the actions taken by the USSR during the treaty period, although "accepted" by Germany to a point, as evidence of aggression. Anyone know of any documents that tell us what actions were permitted by the parties, and which forbidden by them, in the mutual spheres of influence?

(I second Balsamo's thanks for these two sources, Xcalibur, very interesting stuff.)



Ribbentrop is just doing his Job... these were indeed the "official justification" of Barbarossa.
We have to remember that Schulenburg had no clue about the preparation of Barbarossa, and my personal opinion is that even Ribbentrop was put in the known later, propably after 1941. As strange as it may seem, some within the foreign office really hoped for a consolidation of the Pact into a full alliance which would have created a "invincible continental block" that would go from Vladivostok to Madrid, fortunately Hitler (and i have my doubt about Stalin) never did.

Anyone know of any documents that tell us what actions were permitted by the parties, and which forbidden by them, in the mutual spheres of influence?


This is a very interesting question you raise. If any exists, i would be fascinated by the answers.
For what i know, only Poland was the subject of a detailed partition. So as the first Soviet moves in the Baltic States was "only" to install bases and small garrisons was probably agreed. Lithuania on the other hand, with its important German minority as well as Bukovina, for the same reason, were excluded. Normally, when two States defines sphere of influence, both guarantee that they have not any interest in countries belonging to the other sphere (which is of course a lie on both side). This does not mean that annexation, building of fortifications and filling those countries with troops was foreseen in the deal and do not create tension. Of course, for propaganda reasons, denouncing those annexations is a must.

As you would expect, Ribbentrop takes some liberties with the truth... lol... like when he talks about the Comintern activities which were put almost to a stand still until, well march 1941. He also does not mention that Stalin accepted to compensate for Lithuania and Bukovina...
But it is always funny to read diplomatic exchanges between two powers which know very well there'll be war between them.
Even dictatorship do respect the formal language.

Points IV to VI deserve more attention, though. As those crisis were more serious.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Xcalibur » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:30 am

Okay, I do recall some idea of a Nazi-Soviet "super-alliance" (my words) being advanced at the time... Iirc, Ribbentrop did actively advance such notion to Hitler... can't remember whether or not Dolfy gave it any due consideration... trip to the attic for a book search hereby necessitated.

Anyway, yes, I agree with Balsy that any formal war declaration is loaded with BS and spin.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:57 pm

VI. This policy was accompanied by a steadily growing concentration of all available Russian forces on a long front from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, against which countermeasures were taken by Germany only later. Since the beginning of the year this has been a steadily growing menace to the territory of the Reich. Reports received in the last few days eliminated the last remaining doubts as to the aggressive character of this Russian concentration and completed the picture of an extremely tense military situation. In addition to this, there are the reports from England regarding the negotiations of Ambassador Cripps for still closer political and military collaboration between England and the Soviet Union.


Blatant BS. Barbarossa was planned and set into motion in October-December 1940. The Germans did not notice the Soviet deployments until March at the earliest, and even then most of their Generals (Jodle, Halder) dismissed it. Every indication shows that the Germans did not see their war as anything but aggressive.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:52 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:
VI. This policy was accompanied by a steadily growing concentration of all available Russian forces on a long front from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, against which countermeasures were taken by Germany only later. Since the beginning of the year this has been a steadily growing menace to the territory of the Reich. Reports received in the last few days eliminated the last remaining doubts as to the aggressive character of this Russian concentration and completed the picture of an extremely tense military situation. In addition to this, there are the reports from England regarding the negotiations of Ambassador Cripps for still closer political and military collaboration between England and the Soviet Union.


Blatant BS. Barbarossa was planned and set into motion in October-December 1940. The Germans did not notice the Soviet deployments until March at the earliest, and even then most of their Generals (Jodle, Halder) dismissed it. Every indication shows that the Germans did not see their war as anything but aggressive.



Please, Jeff, refrain from using BS that much.
No one is saying otherwise here... Xcaly asked if Dolfy gave the "continental" option a thought, and i was about to aswer: "morst certainly no". As i have already explained, such a deal would have appeared to him as a consolidation of Germany's dependency on the USSR. Europe might be a beautiful continent, ful of culture, etc. But it lacks everything that is needed to sustain a war. Given that the USSR asked for presence in Romania (Germany's only substantial oil source, naval bases in Bulgaria, all in all inacceptable demands in a German perspective, i doubt Stalin wanted such a deal too.
But Ribbentrop obviously did favor this option, as well as his staff, so it is likely that he was not put in the known about Barbarossa until after the negotiations.
In this marvelous conversation between Hitler and Mannerheim provided by Xcalibur, the Fuhrer is expressing his views quite clearly: Yes for a Continental solution, but under Germany's sole domination, he is caught to having said that he would have attacked earlier if he could...So i think one can exclude any consideration of the project under discussion in november 1940.

Keep in mind that this message is addressed to Schulenburg who had no clue about Barbarossa.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:17 pm

Exactly. Given that the Soviets denied the secret protocols for many years, the message is interesting in that it is - assuming a cry of forgery about the film copies of the protocols - one of those "indicators" that undermines denial of a document. It also seems to show the process of the "spin" which you and Balsamo mentioned being "spun."
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:03 pm

Roberto in his AHF days supplied a order from 1940 before the November meeting where Hitler said that the invasion would go ahead regardless of what went down.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:21 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:Roberto in his AHF days supplied a order from 1940 before the November meeting where Hitler said that the invasion would go ahead regardless of what went down.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 62#p116183?
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:06 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:Jeff_36 knows not what Balsamo's exact timeline in regards to this issue is, but Jeff_36's thesis is as follows.

In the opinion of Jeff_36, Stalin was building his army up for an eventual confrontation with Nazi Germany. He was cautious, only acting directly against smaller states (and with inconsistent results - see the case of Finland) while waiting until the Red Army was at full capacity before any action against Nazi Germany. This action may not have been an invasion of Europe up to the channel but rather the restoration of Russia's 1912 borders, but that is mere speculation. In 1941 the Red Army was far from ready for such an action and Stalin knew it. Thus, his focus was on extending the Pact. His intentions can be traced to his deep fear and awe at the German Blitzkrieg power, and a desire to be ready when the time came.

The Germans had decided to embark on a colonial campaign in Russia as early as October of 1940 for their own reasons, and were convinced that the Russians would not launch an attack. Thus it cannot be termed as a pre-emptive strike (which is how Sewverov describes it).

Jeff_36 thinks that Stalin, upon taking notice of the gathering Nazi hailstorm, decided in May or thereabouts to investigate the possibility of a pre-emtive attack on the amassed German forces. This was not an invasion but rather a defensive measure. However, we see a marked change in doctrine in early June 1941 as the deployments were stopped and a defensive positioning was ordered. It is Jeff_36's opinion that Stalin, upon noticing the unpreparedness and shoddiness of his army, canceled the plan and ordered a defensive posture whilst desperately attempting to end the conflict diplomatically. There is evidence that he attempted to send Molotov to Berlin to meet with Hitler on June 18th but this was rebuffed.

Thus, S0v0r0vi5im as a means of reviving the col war era "clean Heer" myth and by extension justifying the barbaric Nazi actions in occupied Russia. You cannot deny that that is what Soovorovisim seeks to accomplish, because that is what his adherents (hargis ect.) state to be the result of his (fraudulent) "research".

Stalin is characterized by Vlaso-Suvorovists as a diabolical genius. That is a half lie. He was evil but he was the literal furthest thing from a genius. In 1941 he was outplayed, outsmarted and just plain duped.


Ok Jeff, that was funny, and kind of scary at the same time...So i won't react to this post, or in other words only react to the only pertinent part of it, which is:

Jeff_36 knows not what Balsamo's exact timeline in regards to this issue is


I have been very critical on many points without explaining why I was critical, my mistake.

Introduction:

AS an instruction, let’s recall what the main differences between Trotsky and Stalin were: Trotsky was a great theorist who thought about how the “proletarian revolution” could spread across the world. His vision was that a revolution had to take place in every country through the “workers”, but nationally, through local actors. This revolution was meant to be permanent and of course supported until the world was free of Capitalism

Stalin was not a theorist. He was more of a kind of old fashion dictator.
In the "Stalinist" view, the “proletarian dictatorship” was to be consolidated in Russia first, concentrated and rationalized…in his hands. Initiatives from comrades were to be limited and even forbidden, dissonant voices, shut up. Once consolidated, the USSR would be the mean of spreading the “workers’ liberation” across the world.

None of those opposition views differed regarding the utlimate Marxist-Leninist legacy which was to liberate the working class from slavery imposed by the evil Capitalist Empires.
While, the "Socialism within one State" imposed itself. The first move was to rehabilitate the Russian State on the international scene as well as to gain reparation from the disaster of the Versailles treaty (yes, it does sound familiar). Along with the defeated (Austria, Germany and Turkey), Russia was one of the biggest loser of world war 1, which was followed by a defeat against Poland, and a cruel civil war.

Anyway, besides this consensus, in Stalin’s eyes (and in the eyes of his followers) Trotsky’s ideas were inefficient, unrealizable and dangerous. Inefficient, as shown the failure of Spartakism and other post war communist uprisings,illustrated by the apathy of the working class toward fascism. Dangerous because all those local and national communists were to be given too much liberty and could easily become rivals. The liberties within the Party, promoted by Trotsky, was chaos to Stalin, and the purges followed. Not only within the army which was Trotsky’s baby, but also among those foreign communist leaders: most of those who sought refuge in the USSR disappeared, members of the Polish communist party, and all soviet dissidents, and personalities like Bela Kun (and many others).

In the West, no big thoughts were given (at a governmental level) to what was going on in the USSR; all the beliefs were based on the almost destruction of the Russian States after the war against Poland and the civil war. Russia ceased not only to be considered as the Great Power it once was, it ceased to be considered as a power at all. All the Nobles were gone, the bourgeoisie fled, the financial market excluded the USSR from its notebook (but that was already the case with the Tzar): the USSR was bankrupt unable to feed its people (Holodomor), it basically ceased to exist diplomatically as well as politically and economically…It was just in most perception a retarded country, even if the size of a continent or two, run by illiterate peasants.

Now, in the USSR itself, those “peasants” realized that if they were to play a role, and in the early 20’s hold their role of leader of the “repressed labor forces”, it had to get the mean to realize the world revolution back on track, it had to re-enter the international scene, be recognized as State and a power, hence a very accommodating and discrete, almost inoffensive, foreign policy, led by Litvinov. Meanwhile, all Russia’s effort was dedicated to industrialization and the creation of a modern Red Army, while no one, and I insist, while no one cared a dime. Guess who the Soviets approached first? Germany – the Weimar Republic – which was after all the other real victim of Versailles. They signed the treaty of Rapallo as soon as 1922. The message was basically “we have been {!#%@} by those bastards, let’s get up together”. This treaty already had secret clauses. And Stalin was already there, somewhere, not Hitler, though. After 1933, the Soviets "posed" as the main protector of "collective security", called themselves the moral standard against Fascism (to justify their implication in the Spanish civil war).
In Europe, the Comintern was instructed to play the "democratic card" whenever it is possible, and this will lead to the Popular Front in France. The French Communist Party was becoming almost "respectable".

So, in order to regain access to the international stage, the USSR – which was already led by Stalin – tried to show its best “face”, joining the league of Nation, calling for “collective security” in front of the Fascist threat, while it was secretly rearming as hell. Some authors still believe this hypocrisy, forgetting that even Hitler once spoke about peace and global disarmament.

Nevertheless, the USSR was still considered as an irrelevant partner, most of the Great Powers never saw that this inoffensive Partner was putting the most sophisticated intelligence network the world then has even seen, was undertaking a heavy industrialization, and setting up a new Red Army. No one have seen the huge industrial rebuilding, even less that by 1937, the USSR dedicated 27% of its GDP to armament, that its tank production (Yes, Jeff tank again) for the year 1938 was of 2271 units… The USSR was still not worth to be invited at the “Munich Conference”…

The Real intentions:

So who knew that by 1940, the USSR was spending 40 billion rubles (20 billion Reichsmarks or 10 billion US dollars) in weapons? No one, Hitler even less.
Stalin said: “modern warfare is a war of machines; machines on land, machines on the sea and beneath the sea, machines in the air. The winner will be the one who will have the more and most powerful machines” (Marc Ferro, L'Aveuglement p 96)
The industrial orientation of the USSR was following this logic point after point.

But what had Stalin in mind?
No kidding, until today, the Soviets’ diplomacy is still resumed (and even taught at the college level) that the USSR out of fear of Nazi Germany was searching help (if not rescue) from the western democracies, and that because they have been rejected or ignored, it turned to its so call primal threat, Nazi Germany.
Who cared that in Stalin's eyes, all capitalist States - and especially Great Britain which was everywhere in Asia, was THE THREAT. Who cares if before 1939, Nazi germany, despite being Nazi, was no direct threat to Russia as it had no borders with it? Who cared that the Soviet Union saw the restoration of its 1914 frontiers as a primary step? That Poland, this Fascist State in Moscow's eyes, had to disappear?
Not many, so when the famous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed, it was a shock. Actually it was only a shock for those who really believed in the previous Soviet diplomacy - The USSR supposed to be the moral standard against Fascism in Europe.
And indeed, the world was shocked.

Stalin intentions revealed:

Here is one important Stalin speech, during the III international on the 7 of September 1939, sorry translated from French by me.

“This war between two groups of capitalist countries aims at a new sharing of the world, for the domination of the world. We have nothing against it. Let them fight each other and Let them use up their strength. We have space for maneuver and we have to make sure that they fight even harder. For the moment, the pact is quite favorable to Germany (…) Poland is a fascist State which oppresses the Ukrainian, the Byelorussians and the others. Its destruction would lead to that there is one fascist State less. Would there be something to be blamed if, after Poland’s defeat, we would spread the socialist system to new territories and new people?”


Later, Stalin continues by defending his policy shift towards the “Comintern” and will address a further blow by ordering the communist parties to take their distance with the “popular fronts” in a very interesting way, although hard to translate:

“Before the war, it was right to oppose the democratic regimes and the fascist ones, but since the war has started, it is not correct anymore. The division between those capitalist States between those which are democratic and those which are fascist, is now senseless. Popular front had been established to improve the situation of those slave workers under capitalist regime, while in condition of war it is the suppression of the “Slave system” in the full sense of the term that is what it is all about!”.


And as a matter of fact, Stalin will from now on condemn social democracies and make it one of its worst enemies.
You cannot define “war aims” more clearly: The war is seen as the mean to blow up Capitalism as a whole, its fascist forms as well as its democratic ones. And to achieve this goal, war among those capitalist states is not only a good thing, but the USSR and the Communist parties have the duty to make the war as hard as possible. Meanwhile the secret clauses of the Pact signed with Nazi Germany – and of course ignored by the attendees – gave the USSR its 1919 borders back, as a first step. Its economic section was clearly a part of the plan to “make the war possible and as hard as possible, by giving Hitler the resource he needed to lead his war.

The text continues with:
“Only blinds may not see, and only charlatans and liars can deny that this war is not about the defense of democracy or the defense of liberty and the independence of small nations”


text available in Gregori Dimitrov, Journal (1933-1949), Ed Gael Moullec, Paris, Berlin, 2005.)


What it is not: A speech from a dictator scared by the events in the world who rushed to sign a pact to save his ass.
What it is: a legitimization of the actions already done by him, a clear presentation of its objectives. This war is an opportunity, not a threat.

Stalin in the war:

This has been neglected, but without Stalin guarantee that he would make up for the loss that German will inevitably endure from the Royal Navy blockade, Hitler might very well not dared to cross the Rubicon. In order to make the war profitable for him, he needed a war.

Of course, his timetable is expected to be long as he expected a repetition of world war 1, of course he was pissed off by the speed of the France’s defeat, as it surprised everyone: France had more troops, better tanks, great fortification (the Maginot line), it had a strong navy and the full support of Great Britain.

However, was Stalin really so scared to be “eaten the same way”? I will address the problematic of those testimonies later. Until then Stalin was feeding the wolf, which was in a more delicate situation than ever regarding supplies. As mentioned in a former post, he was supplying Hitler with 150.000 tons of oil monthly between late in 1939 and the offensive of may 1940. (following his program). That made it possible for Hitler to challenge the military power of France.
Was Stalin scared, and only fed the wolf so that he would not bite him? Pissed off, probably, surprised, of course, but scared?

This is not what can be concluded from this dialogue between Strafford Cripps, the british ambassador at a meeting with Stalin after the fall of France, when the British diplomat complained that Hitler benefited from the soviet resources, Stalin said, speaking about Germany:
“ To have vanquished France does not mean to dominate Europe, when one does not have nor the control of the seas, nor the resources (raw materials and commodities) nor colonies”.

( Marc Ferro, Ils etaient 7 hommes en guerre, Paris, 2007, p 97).

Contrary of those of a scared man, those are words of someone who rightly understood Hitler’s situation. Despite his victory, the Fuhrer was in deep {!#%@}.
This meeting, which discussed economic relations between Great Britain and the USSR, had at least the merit to reassure Stalin that Churchill would not seek peace with Hitler, the only thing he really feared at this stage.

This remarks makes full sense, and fits with the situation of Germany well described in E.ERICSON “Feeding the German Eagle” which I strongly recommend
( long extracts available through "google book".)

Anyway, it also fits with the Marxist approach of History (and I guess one can consider Stalin as a Marxist in this regard (maybe the sole point in common I would have with him). Hitler needed the Russian supplies even more as Great Britain was still a pain in his ass. The Luftwaffe lost 1700 planes during the battle of England, wasted most of its stockpile of bombs (over 30 tons or so), famine was starting to show up in occupied Europe (especially in those very not self-sufficient countries like Belgium and the Netherlands)…Some cracks were also appearing in the Axis victories…Italy was suffering in Africa, later in Greece, English bombs were falling on Berlin. He also knew very well the position of the USA (the USSR had hundreds of spies there up to the Whitehouse). Of course, he was disappointed that the war between the capitalist States did not last longer, but he also knew better than anyone that Hitler would not win a war of attrition, and would therefore lose without his support. He could see the barbaric treatments imposed by the Nazis, especially on the eastern part of Europe. He could legitimately think that he would be acclaimed when the hour of “liberation” would come.

His mistake was to underestimate the “gambler” nature of Hitler, and could not believe that Hitler would bet an “all in one” such as Barbarossa, which rapidly turned out to be a losing bet. His cautious nature could not conceive that kind of things, to launch such an ambitious attack with such a small force against my "modern army"? Will the wolf really attack the hand that feeds him?

We know that Hitler was thinking of what would become Barbarossa as soon as the fall of France. Stalin surely was told about, but again Stalin might have been blinded by his Marxist vision and concluded that even such a psycho like Adolf would not take such a senseless, and silly, decision. Stalin own foreign ministry was in contact with the Reich foreign ministry which was dominated by a personal which was favoring – like its minister Ribbentrop – a deep alliance with him, the famous “continental” option.
Both the diplomatic and military option aimed at the same goal: England could only make the war last longer with the hope of a American and/or Soviet intervention. This was also the perception of Stalin, as we have seen, and which explains the worry about being dragged into the war too early. So the Nazi logic was : "if the USSR is neutralized (through Diplomatic or military ways), the continent would be lost and there would be no more hope for Great Britain. In the Nazi thoughts, the USA would not insists if confronted with such a dire situation." Hitler gave his military order to prepare for the military option as soon as August 1940, while letting his foreign ministry dreams of a "continental solution" as a good way to lure his temporary partner.
Stalin could at least see that the German diplomats were sincere.

But there was Hitler.

Hitler was himself blinded by his Racist vision. We have seen that the USSR foreign policy, while trying to regain its place in the “concert of Nations”, duped everyone, France and Great Britain alike.
“Stalin is a Rabbit afraid of a snake” said Hitler once. France and Britain did not think that inviting the Soviets at Munich had any meanings. Some said Stalin felt humiliated – I do not think so – as he might very well enjoyed the disdain he was subject to. His victory on the far eastern fronts against Japan will not be publicized and remains secret from most Westerners who will later only focus on the winter war.
No one knew a clue about what was happening within the USSR, how many factories had been build, how many tanks had been build.
And most westerners, from Churchill to Hitler, had not even the condescension to put up some intelligence services at work. Stalin was free to act like a sheep while being a wolf himself.

Let’s stop the clock for one moment:

Here is the situation, Hitler invaded Poland and had to face the world against him (not that I contest the reaction), He, Stalin, on the other hand, had managed to annex three whole independent States, 12% of Poland (whatever the cost, he had what he was seeking), and a strategic position over Germany main oil supply, himself being among the principal), while being not only at peace with the world, but with nothing more to fear on his eastern border after his victories over Japan, but even more being courted by Great Britain…while holding, or so he thought, Hitler’s destiny in his hands…
Who could call this diplomatic masterpiece as from an idiot or a scared man?

The semi-disaster of the winter’s war – although he got what he sought – will not prevent him from pursuing the very same aggressive policy of annexation through military backed negotiations (ultimatums). For Bessarabia alone, he would gather almost 460.000 soldiers, 3000 tanks at the Romanian border, given the State of the Romanian Army, it was rather disproportionate, but it worked.

Some details on the so-called "accommodating" diplomacy toward Nazi Germany:

But to go back to some events which took place on the Soviet side during this strange period from June 40 to June 41. I have already mentioned the meeting of November 1940, during which Stalin clearly expresses his own ambitions (i have not listed them, but there are easily available). But I may have conclude too fast that everyone knew what I was talking about.

Let’s just take a deeper look at one of Molotov reports to Stalin: (again translation from French sources are mine, sorry for the results)
“For Stalin. Today, November the 13th, took place during 3h30 a conference with Hitler, and then after dinner, another with Ribbentrop. Here are quick information’s about those meetings, more details to follow.”

(to sum up the main disagreements were about Finland ( in which German troops had stepped in, and Bulgaria, as well as the guarantee given by Hitler to Romania, Hitler evaded most of those issues without replying directly, saying he needed Finland wood and pretending he could not take any decision about the Balkans without having spoken to the Duce.)
Here are the results, nothing to be proud of. But at least we know Hitler’s state of mind which we have now to count on”. ( or “we know what we’ll have to take into consideration in the future)


( M. NARINSKI, Kremlin, Komintern et politique exterieure, in La politique exterieure de l’URSS, Lectures, Collective (Communisme 47-51), 1997.


I invite you to search for more details on those negotiations, and this should lift any doubts about Hitler’s intention to sooner or later strike the USSR – that means for him the sooner the best, of course). But these conclusions could NOT have been missed or misunderstood by Molotov. And what follows show that the message had been well received.
On the 25th of November, Stalin writes to Dimitrov, the president of the Comintern (III International):

“Our relations with Germany have the appearance of friendship, but there are serious dispute between us.”

As we have seen, the more general subject of dispute between the USSR and Nazi Germany was about the Balkans (note that those were intended to be within the German sphere of interest by the Pact), and in first place, the kingdom of Bulgaria, which was to be prevented from joining the Axis before becoming a “Soviet puppet” first and having conceded naval bases on the black sea, and Stalin even conceded to Dimitrov that if that proposal was accepted, the USSR would eventually join the Axis as well.” Of course, why not? (Just take a map and look what Hitler's position would have been in this new form of Axis)

Without waiting for more clarification, Dimitrov contacted the Bulgarian communists in order to make sure that “popular movements” would support the Soviets’ propositions…But those Bulgarians did it too openly so that Dimitrov was ordered to withdraw those “initiatives from the Bulgarian people. There was indeed no way that king Boris would have submitted to Stalin without pressures from Germany, which never came. Dimitrov would be reprimanded but spared for this. Still at least, Bulgaria stayed out of the Axis, but Stalin did not get the naval bases he wanted.

What this episode, badly resumed, shows is that, even after having purged the Comintern, it was still a tool in Moscow’s hands, and more importantly, at Moscow’s order as never before.

We are not even in March 41 that another diplomatic burden arose between the two so called friends: Yugoslavia.

Basically the scheme is basically the same, but it went a step further. With a government (under Regent Prince Paul) ready to sign into the Axis, Dimitrov (again) on March 22th asked Tito “to take a strong position against any capitulation to Germany, To support national resistance movements to military intervention, to demand strongly a policy of friendship toward the Soviet Union”.

When, three days later, the Prime minister of Yugoslavia signed a protocol promising his country to join the axis, a coup is orchestrated by pro-British groups supported by the communist party (Tito). Stalin issued a guarantee on the new Regime. To say that Hitler was not pleased is an understatement.
Granted, Germany will intervene, and Stalin not fulfill his guarantee, but again this failure could not get unnoticed.

An important fact is that by April 1941 a set of directives was sent to various leaders of communists Parties, all across occupied Europe:
“On 12th of April 1941, the Austrian Communists were still urged to stand up to all imperialist war(…)Germany was singled out as the main imperialist adversary. (…) An address to the French Communists explicitly advocates the quest for national unity through a national front for national independence”
, those directives will be addressed to every Communist Parties.
Stanvoka, see below, p 173.
For the activity of the Comintern, and its relations with Moscow (see Marietta Stankova, Gregory Dimitrov, a biography , especially her chapter “War, not revolution”, London, 2010).

It is fair to say that the so called diplomatic relations between Stalin and Hitler started to look like a little “cold war”.

Military plans:

Stalin and his general staff did not wait for tensions to arise to get a little prepared. The original defense plan of 1938 started to be modified numerous times.

In august 1940, an important change was motivated by the change of borders. On the 18th of September 1940 was adopted after having been modified by Stalin himself. To quote Gael Moullec (“L’etrange defaite de Juin 41”, in la Politique exterieure de l’URSS,)
“In his (Stalin’s) mind, Germany had not the capacities to lead a long war wtihout seizing the resources which were vital for her, in the Ukraine and the Caucasia”.

Not only was that well thought, but it illustrates the way he thought about Germany real situation and its dependency on the USSR for about everything. (remember the Marxist vision)

Consequently, the defense plan of October 40 was forecasting an attack on the South. This plan was followed by initiatives by Jukov for plans that would consider attack on the North as well as the Center.

By December 40, Stalin organizes War games (December 40 – January 41). It was then that was decided to focus on the production of T-34 and KV heavy tanks (sources already given above) – 400 T-34 had already been produced in 1940), 2000 of those (T-34 and KV) would be ready in June 41, along with mass production of Bt-5 and Bt-7 (total tank production for the first 6 months of 1941 reached 6800 or so). Those war games were most probably a direct reaction to the failure of the November talks.

Still naive and unprepared?

On may the 5th 1941, there are those Stalin speeches at the Academia, as well as his famous toast, which have been used by “Sukovovists” (to use Jeff expression) and deniers as a whole, which does not make it less important nevertheless. Most would know the favorite quotes used by deniers, so I will leave them alone. Here are more neutral, but not less interesting ones:

« I have said that we have now a Modern Army equipped with modern weapons (…)
Before, the Red Army had 120 divisions, now it counts 300 divisions. Those divisions have been reduced so that they would be more mobile. Before the divisions were composed of 18 to 20.000 men, now they count 15.000. On this total, a third of our division is mechanized. (…)
Is the German Army really invincible? NO!
No army in the world is or has been invincible. There better armies, good ones and weak ones.
(…)
Militarily speaking, the German Army has nothing exceptional: not through their tanks, artillery, air force. A great deal of the German Army is losing the glow it had at the start of the war. In addition one can note an outbreak of tendencies to arrogance, disdain and over confidence.
Its military doctrines do not go forward (evolve) and its material is getting out of date.”


Dimitrov noted in his diary: "the USSR should prepare to war", and given the context of the speech and the content of Stalin's toast, to simply say that it was meant to be a "defensive war" is clearly dishonest.

Stalin, in his speech, knew very well what he was talking about, the complete text gives all the details about the weapons to the velocity of the new shells. As I said in another post, the Germans launched Barbarossa with the Panzer IV as their best tank, which was almost unable to defeat the T-34 face to face. The Germans did not have any anti-tank artillery against it, even less against a KV…

And this is when starts the “other dimension” and when we are told that the heads of General Staff will imagine a new form of plan all by themselves, because they…well…just felt like this…So on 15th of May, only 10 days, after Stalin’s speeches, when he call for his army to turn offensive, this new plan based on a preemptive strike suddenly appeared. (although there have been two meeting between Stalin and his general staff, Jukov and Timoshenko, on the 10th and 12th of May)
Anyway this plan was elaborated and existed, and it was basically the last of the series of plans elaborated for the last 12 months or so…

Here stops the facts!

Now, according to Jukov himself, in an interview of 1965, the plan was never adopted, that when proposed to Stalin, the dictator started to boil and screamed “ What? You want to provoke the Germans?”…
And do we have anything else about the fate of this plan?
Nothing at all, just this “Jukov said so in 1965”.
Of course being a CT, I would want to ask how a plan, unknown by the Germans, and proposed in between important military meetings, can be by itself provocative in such a way that Stalin loses his nerves. And again this description of a rather sensitive and nervous Stalin, scared to death. Hm...
Jukov feel like adding, "quoting" Stalin: " I only told that to the boys (young officers) to reassure them"... It really should be funny! But it is nevertheless what is still accepted today to dismiss any aggressive idea by Stalin.

Other important diplomatic moves and some military consequences:


Thanks to Red Army victories on the far eastern front, Stalin signs in April 1941 a “treaty of non-aggression” with Japan.
Less than 1 month later, four whole Armies (the 16th, 19th, 21st and 22nd) are called back from the east to the western front, during the first week of June 1941, an order for a secret mobilization was issued, pretending a recall of reservist for maneuvers.
All in all, this represents an increase of 800.000 troops (MALLEC, p78).

Not only that, by the 15th of June, an even more important deployment was operated by the Red Army, with 32 reserve divisions with the prospect to reach their point of gathering on the 1st of July in zones between 20 to 80 km from the borders.
Meanwhile, the “Agenda” shows a multiplication of meetings between Stalin and his general Staff, on the 10th, 12th (the new plan arose through a spiritual inspiration in Jukov and Timoshenko’s minds on the 15th), then again on the 19th, 23rd of May 1941, an activity which will continue into June.

Again, here stop the facts.

So where do all those preconceived ideas come from?

As far as I know, the content of those meetings are still not disclosed, or maybe they were destroyed. Who knows?
There are – as far as I know – no plans or details of/about the exact disposition of the 303 divisions of the Red Army on the 22 of June 41.
All we have again are some testimonies from participants, given years later.

But from there, only hypothesis can be suggested. And here lies my problem with Jeff radical position.

Not playing the CT card (although one can argue that if only hypothesis can be formulated, then a CT is a hypothesis like any other), but one is forced to note that most of the crucial points in the narrative, those important turning points, are up to now mostly based on a well-placed testimonies. Most of those testimonies were given decades after the fact, and of course, after Stalin death, inspired by Krouchtchev example, in a period sometime called as “destalinization”.

For example, what I call the gambit which states that : “ The USSR destroyed by the civil war as so insecure in the 30’s, especially since Hitler raised to power, that it searched protection from “collective security” among the western democracies, but that hopeless and led by the disdain it suffered from those democracies, the USSR got close to Nazi Germany in hope to gain peace (save its ass from Adolf and his almighty army) and time”…
This comes directly from Krouchtchev’s speech of 1956 at the 20th Congress of the Communist party. Of course, conceded Krouchtchev, the Pact was one of many “mistakes” made by Stalin who was in fine the victim of the cult around his own personality.

If one wants to believe it, one has to agree with the whole logic that the USSR really believed, and even placed its hopes in a “collective security” controlled by capitalist Empires like Great Britain and France – in addition to the incoherence that any Revisionist States would adhere to a protection of existing frontiers – that the infamous pact was signed out of fear…that Stalin lost his mind because of the cult of personality which was forced upon him… (ironic)
No kidding, some still does.

That the rest of the speech is pure Soviet language and dialectic with all its charms, which in fine will turn Stalin into a well-intended but very naïve leader – all the crimes were committed by some of his followers like Beria (and all were already gone)… MISTAKE being the master word of this speech. Of course to come to this conclusion, one has to twist realities and facts, play with causes and effects, but that does not seem to matter.

All those honest witnesses:

The same goes with Stalin reactions on the 22nd of June…We have the Krouchtchev/Jukov always happy to depict Stalin as an almost sick and depressive person, but this is contested by Molotov. But Molotov is also a liar who denied the secret protocols of the pact which bears his name. So who should we believe? Krouchtchev who led the destalinization? Jukov who was promoted by Nikita? Molotov, discarded by Nikita, who suffered from strange form of amnesia?
Nevertheless, the “Agenda” shows that Stalin met 29 people on that day. But we are to believe that Stalin wanted 29 people to see how crying and desperate he was!
So yes, who to believe?

The same way witnesses, after the fall of France, depicts a devastated Stalin saying “they will eat us” for one, “Hitler will beat our brains in” for Krouchtchev… when we have the British ambassador meeting a rather calm and reasonable Stalin at the same time.

Maybe we should remember that Stalin’s death did not change the regime that much, the USSR stayed the USSR, all those “innocent witnesses” of the “mad tyran” were closed to him, the Soviet regime with heavy controls over scientific production, the media, with political police, goulags… It should force us to some prudence, but apparently not when it comes to Stalin, and those crucial days.
Maybe one should consider all the Soviet sources, before 1990, with some caution.

Would we accept testimonies from former Nazis had Germany, even defeated, been allowed to keep his national socialist regime? I guess not. Nevertheless, some authors are still happy with Jukov testimony which clears all doubt about Stalin possible intentions. Molotov called him a liar? Well he was a liar himself, right? SO, Jukov must have told the truth, right?
Well, under these circumstances, a little bit of modesty and humility would be welcomed.

As a conclusion, I feel that history about this astonishing defeat of the Red Army is still to be written. Unless one discovers what have been said during those crucial meetings between Stalin and his staff – all of them – we can only guess, and, as I said, emit hypothesis.
There is no doubt about the disaster endured by the Red Army during the first 3 months of Barbarossa.

But there is still a thick wall of mysteries concerning the reasons of this debacle. And if we still CANNOT (eddit) point out some definitive reasons, we can at least exclude some of the former proposed explanations which today cannot hold scrutiny, although there are still present and repeated blindly in many monographs on Barbarossa. And this includes:
- Outdated weapons and lack of modern tanks, ammunitions, etc.
- Lack of riffle (legend of soldiers charging without weapons)
- German attack being a complete surprise which caught a “peace time” red army.
- Stalin policy being solely motivated by the security of his country.

There are now too much positive documents and data which contradict those hypotheses.

Until we see more clearly, the field is of course favorable to crazy theories – and there are many – not only among Deniers. Of course, the notion of preemptive strike by Hitler, as a purely defensive measure, is absurd. Just as the traditional explanation of the Russian defeat, there are just too many data contradicting this silliness.
But that the simple idea that both dictator could have had two parallel projects for their specific war aims is rejected like an heresy is well... as i say scary...As if because Hitler wanted to conquest Russia (which is easily proven, by the way), Stalin could not have wanted to profit from the situation to expand Socialism to continental Europe (although many many elements tend to show that, i only gave a couple).
Does anyone give me a reason why both could not have been concomitant?


In this thread, I did not use any of Suvorov’s and others arguments. All my sources are from traditional historians, including Glantz. Not all are given though, as i most of the time rely of my "after reading note" put down for myself without any scientific pretensions.

PS: I have nothing against “hypotheses games” as long as it is clear that we are debating “hypothesis”. What i don't like is when hypotheses are proposed as indisputable scientific thesis whoever formulates them that way.
Personally, I think that it is about time that we reassess this too familiar vision we have on Stalin and the USSR behavior from 1933 to June 41.

Does that clarify things for you, Jeff ?
;)

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:33 pm

Balsamo wrote:Stalin intentions revealed:

Here is one important Stalin speech, during the III international on the 7 of September 1939, sorry translated from French by me.

“This war between two groups of capitalist countries aims at a new sharing of the world, for the domination of the world. We have nothing against it. Let them fight each other and Let them use up their strength. We have space for maneuver and we have to make sure that they fight even harder. For the moment, the pact is quite favorable to Germany (…) Poland is a fascist State which oppresses the Ukrainian, the Byelorussians and the others. Its destruction would lead to that there is one fascist State less. Would there be something to be blamed if, after Poland’s defeat, we would spread the socialist system to new territories and new people?”


Later, Stalin continues by defending his policy shift towards the “Comintern” and will address a further blow by ordering the communist parties to take their distance with the “popular fronts” in a very interesting way, although hard to translate:

“Before the war, it was right to oppose the democratic regimes and the fascist ones, but since the war has started, it is not correct anymore. The division between those capitalist States between those which are democratic and those which are fascist, is now senseless. Popular front had been established to improve the situation of those slave workers under capitalist regime, while in condition of war it is the suppression of the “Slave system” in the full sense of the term that is what it is all about!”.


And as a matter of fact, Stalin will from now on condemn social democracies and make it one of its worst enemies.
You cannot define “war aims” more clearly: The war is seen as the mean to blow up Capitalism as a whole, its fascist forms as well as its democratic ones. And to achieve this goal, war among those capitalist states is not only a good thing, but the USSR and the Communist parties have the duty to make the war as hard as possible. Meanwhile the secret clauses of the Pact signed with Nazi Germany – and of course ignored by the attendees – gave the USSR its 1919 borders back, as a first step. Its economic section was clearly a part of the plan to “make the war possible and as hard as possible, by giving Hitler the resource he needed to lead his war.

The text continues with:
“Only blinds may not see, and only charlatans and liars can deny that this war is not about the defense of democracy or the defense of liberty and the independence of small nations”


text available in Gregori Dimitrov, Journal (1933-1949), Ed Gael Moullec, Paris, Berlin, 2005.)
What it is not: A speech from a dictator scared by the events in the world who rushed to sign a pact to save his ass.
What it is: a legitimization of the actions already done by him, a clear presentation of its objectives. This war is an opportunity, not a threat.

Balsamo, this one nags at me. You don't say to whom Stalin was speaking. But this talk was 4 years or so after the last congress of the Comintern, which was the 7th Congress in 1935, where the popular front line was adopted. Thus, the talk was to a small group - neither a formal address to a Congress nor an internal CPSU/USSR meeting. It occurred about 2 weeks after the Non-Aggression Pact was signed and a week after Germany's attack on Poland . . . 10 days before the Soviet assault on Poland from the east. In the new situation, the Comintern parties would expect, and Stalin would want them to have, a party line to follow and to be prepared for upcoming moves. A line that the executive of the Third International would be responsible for - "The working class must be told. . . . Principal points of the ECCI presidium must be prepared and published."

Thus, the talk is aimed at that, getting the line down and putting it out, as I read the notes, not a clear definition of war aims, which aren't being decided or stated but rationalized and spun for the new opportunity. Spreading the socialist system, even if we take the points as policy points, is not necessarily the same as war - and certainly spreading socialism to Poland (and the Baltics) by "opportunistic collaborative" military occupation is not the same as a military threat to the Third Reich and, with the secret protocols in view, doesn't go much beyond what was agreed with Germany.

Dimitrov's notes indeed show Stalin spinning the new line in the new conditions, which doesn't hark back to the Third Period when Social Democracy (social fascism) was the main danger. Rather, what you quote shows that the evolving line is let the capitalists destroy each other and the Communists will gain. In fact, in a line you didn't quote, Dimitrov has Stalin saying that Germany was in the current period "objectively" helping the workers by continuing to wage a war that would bring down capitalism and thus help the communist movement gain power as the capitalist countries went at each other ("Hitler, without understanding it or desiring it, is shaking and undermining the capitalist system"). Joining Germany in the "rout" of Poland he rationalized on account of now-fascist Poland's oppression of Ukrainians and Belorussians - but this was Stalin's joint project with Hitler in 1939. "What would be the harm if as a result of the rout of Poland we were to extend the socialist system onto new territories and populations?" Stalin has it that with the Pact his hand was forced - "We preferred agreements with the so-called democratic countries and therefore conducted negotiations" - and that, given this, other steps follow. This all sounds more like taking advantage of the situation rather than long-term policy, yes, but opportunism hooked to Germany's war.

I fail to see this talk as important evidence of Stalin's "real" and timeless intentions - it reads more like another twist in the party line ("The war has precipitated a radical change" for the Communists in Europe) and prepping of the Comintern executive for the next move. Stalin had one hell of a task in this regard, turning the parties of the Third International, so the justifications had to play to the party leaders and rank and file. The line would change, of course, when the situation changed dramatically in 1941. The line of the Third International, and how the executive would rationalize the alliance to its member parties, hardly constitute evidence for the "real" military intentions of the USSR.

I think you need to say a lot more to convince me that this speech, at that time and in that setting, was a revelation of Stalin's fundamental military aims and the USSR's deep foreign policy objectives, and evidence of a near-term Soviet threat to Hitler's Germany, rather than instructions on how Communists should play the new conditions, the crushing of Poland in alliance with Hitler's Germany.
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Matthew Ellard » Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:38 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Thus, the talk is aimed at that, getting the line down and putting it out, as I read the notes, not a clear definition of war aims,
That all makes sense. Quick public policy changes in a rapidly changing political environment. That was a good post.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:16 am

8-) I'll be back tomorrow........

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:20 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Stalin intentions revealed:

Here is one important Stalin speech, during the III international on the 7 of September 1939, sorry translated from French by me.

“This war between two groups of capitalist countries aims at a new sharing of the world, for the domination of the world. We have nothing against it. Let them fight each other and Let them use up their strength. We have space for maneuver and we have to make sure that they fight even harder. For the moment, the pact is quite favorable to Germany (…) Poland is a fascist State which oppresses the Ukrainian, the Byelorussians and the others. Its destruction would lead to that there is one fascist State less. Would there be something to be blamed if, after Poland’s defeat, we would spread the socialist system to new territories and new people?”


Later, Stalin continues by defending his policy shift towards the “Comintern” and will address a further blow by ordering the communist parties to take their distance with the “popular fronts” in a very interesting way, although hard to translate:

“Before the war, it was right to oppose the democratic regimes and the fascist ones, but since the war has started, it is not correct anymore. The division between those capitalist States between those which are democratic and those which are fascist, is now senseless. Popular front had been established to improve the situation of those slave workers under capitalist regime, while in condition of war it is the suppression of the “Slave system” in the full sense of the term that is what it is all about!”.


And as a matter of fact, Stalin will from now on condemn social democracies and make it one of its worst enemies.
You cannot define “war aims” more clearly: The war is seen as the mean to blow up Capitalism as a whole, its fascist forms as well as its democratic ones. And to achieve this goal, war among those capitalist states is not only a good thing, but the USSR and the Communist parties have the duty to make the war as hard as possible. Meanwhile the secret clauses of the Pact signed with Nazi Germany – and of course ignored by the attendees – gave the USSR its 1919 borders back, as a first step. Its economic section was clearly a part of the plan to “make the war possible and as hard as possible, by giving Hitler the resource he needed to lead his war.

The text continues with:
“Only blinds may not see, and only charlatans and liars can deny that this war is not about the defense of democracy or the defense of liberty and the independence of small nations”


text available in Gregori Dimitrov, Journal (1933-1949), Ed Gael Moullec, Paris, Berlin, 2005.)
What it is not: A speech from a dictator scared by the events in the world who rushed to sign a pact to save his ass.
What it is: a legitimization of the actions already done by him, a clear presentation of its objectives. This war is an opportunity, not a threat.

Balsamo, this one nags at me. You don't say to whom Stalin was speaking. But this talk was 4 years or so after the last congress of the Comintern, which was the 7th Congress in 1935, where the popular front line was adopted. Thus, the talk was to a small group - neither a formal address to a Congress nor an internal CPSU/USSR meeting. It occurred about 2 weeks after the Non-Aggression Pact was signed and a week after Germany's attack on Poland . . . 10 days before the Soviet assault on Poland from the east. In the new situation, the Comintern parties would expect, and Stalin would want them to have, a party line to follow and to be prepared for upcoming moves. A line that the executive of the Third International would be responsible for - "The working class must be told. . . . Principal points of the ECCI presidium must be prepared and published."

Thus, the talk is aimed at that, getting the line down and putting it out, as I read the notes, not a clear definition of war aims, which aren't being decided or stated but rationalized and spun for the new opportunity. Spreading the socialist system, even if we take the points as policy points, is not necessarily the same as war - and certainly spreading socialism to Poland (and the Baltics) by "opportunistic collaborative" military occupation is not the same as a military threat to the Third Reich and, with the secret protocols in view, doesn't go much beyond what was agreed with Germany.

Dimitrov's notes indeed show Stalin spinning the new line in the new conditions, which doesn't hark back to the Third Period when Social Democracy (social fascism) was the main danger. Rather, what you quote shows that the evolving line is let the capitalists destroy each other and the Communists will gain. In fact, in a line you didn't quote, Dimitrov has Stalin saying that Germany was in the current period "objectively" helping the workers by continuing to wage a war that would bring down capitalism and thus help the communist movement gain power as the capitalist countries went at each other ("Hitler, without understanding it or desiring it, is shaking and undermining the capitalist system"). Joining Germany in the "rout" of Poland he rationalized on account of now-fascist Poland's oppression of Ukrainians and Belorussians - but this was Stalin's joint project with Hitler in 1939. "What would be the harm if as a result of the rout of Poland we were to extend the socialist system onto new territories and populations?" Stalin has it that with the Pact his hand was forced - "We preferred agreements with the so-called democratic countries and therefore conducted negotiations" - and that, given this, other steps follow. This all sounds more like taking advantage of the situation rather than long-term policy, yes, but opportunism hooked to Germany's war.

I fail to see this talk as important evidence of Stalin's "real" and timeless intentions - it reads more like another twist in the party line ("The war has precipitated a radical change" for the Communists in Europe) and prepping of the Comintern executive for the next move. Stalin had one hell of a task in this regard, turning the parties of the Third International, so the justifications had to play to the party leaders and rank and file. The line would change, of course, when the situation changed dramatically in 1941. The line of the Third International, and how the executive would rationalize the alliance to its member parties, hardly constitute evidence for the "real" military intentions of the USSR.

I think you need to say a lot more to convince me that this speech, at that time and in that setting, was a revelation of Stalin's fundamental military aims and the USSR's deep foreign policy objectives, and evidence of a near-term Soviet threat to Hitler's Germany, rather than instructions on how Communists should play the new conditions, the crushing of Poland in alliance with Hitler's Germany.


First thank you for addressing my insanely long post - i did not realize.

You are right, my mistake. This was taken from personal reading notes - quite old - and under the title Dimitrov/Comintern/III international/Stalin speech. I should have double checked of course.
So I have checked in Dimitrov biography (which i still have contrary to his diary), as i should have, and indeed, this "intervention" by Stalin was made during a meeting between Himself, Dimitrov, Molotov and Zhadnov. But that makes it even more important/pertinent, not less.

French Historian Francois Furet, in The Passing of an illusion: the idea of communism in the 20th century concludes that:

"Nothing better manifests better the extraordinary discipline, unique in history of humanity, of the multinational political movement that Communism was than this manner in which Stalin's statement to Dimitrov on 7 september became within a few weeks the universal breviary of the Movement"


Of course, it would make it easier if i knew what your Stance on Stalin is, as i can only guess right now, with the risk of misunderstanding.

My impression, reading you, is that you suggest that Stalin fundamental change of policy would be a reaction to a new situation, making it a consequence instead of a cause of the event, is that right?
The problem is that this speech is held after the war has started, and longer after the Pact, which brings back the question: "would have Hitler cross the Rubicon without this Pact?".
Such a stance seems to ignore the role of Stalin in the event, the fact that on the 7th of September he is justifying an anterior policy, and tends to take for granted that pre-war Germany was a real threat to the USSR, in spite of the fact that there was a State between them, a State which enjoyed a guarantee by the world power. It also ignores that without the USSR cooperation which compensated the effect of the British Blockade, Germany would have lost through attrition sooner than later.
Statmec, specifically:
Spreading the socialist system, even if we take the points as policy points, is not necessarily the same as war

Well, invading a country, and in the following months declaring war on Finland, annexing three independent States, a a couple of province belonging to another independent State, and spreading socialism in all of them, can be considered closer to war than pure timeless foreign policy. Dedicating a third of its GDP as soon as 1937-38 does also not make sense if one believes that the USSR was really primarily relying on "collective security" which would be the only clear objectives of those negotiations. And as i sated later in my post, and possibly in previous ones, it make little sense for a "revisionist State" to promote a doctrine which aims at the consolidation of current frontiers.

Now it is indeed strange, that this "intervention" is most of the time quoted incomplete. Those who quote the allusion to negotiation with democratic States, rarely quote that from now on the role of communist parties to make the war last as long as possible.

Given the absence of arguments regarding the benefits of negotiation with the democratic powers - except the threat of a Nazi Germany - while there a re numerous allusions to threats posed by the imperialist powers.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:42 pm

Balsamo wrote:So I have checked in Dimitrov biography (which i still have contrary to his diary), as i should have, and indeed, this "intervention" by Stalin was made during a meeting between Himself, Dimitrov, Molotov and Zhadnov. But that makes it even more important/pertinent, not less.

Not when the men are specifically discussing the spin they need for the new situation and how to pitch the line to the "workers' movement" - which they'd conditioned to an entirely different stance. I don't see how you can use as evidence for development the Soviet policy and its aims a meeting having the "clear" (stated) focus on the international line for the Comintern, where the conclusion is what the workers are to be told by the executive of the Comintern.

Balsamo wrote:Of course, it would make it easier if i knew what your Stance on Stalin is, as i can only guess right now, with the risk of misunderstanding.

I have heard criticisms, some of them very harsh, of the Dear Father . . . these criticism linger to this very day, is my impression.

Balsamo wrote:My impression, reading you, is that you suggest that Stalin fundamental change of policy would be a reaction to a new situation, making it a consequence instead of a cause of the event, is that right?

No.

Anyway, Stalin would not have attacked Poland had doing Germany not planned a war of aggression. His first option, IIRC from Overy, was alliance with the British. I don't see evidence that without the German war plan the USSR would have occupied the Baltics either. But I am not disagreeing that the period was fundamentally unstable, the early 20th century balance of power and continental leadership having fallen away, and that all powers were maneuvering, testing, probing, and so on. But there's a difference between unstable international relations, probing, etc and a military attack . . . which is what we're talking about. Germany was clearly willing in situations where other countries weren't, or were reluctant to, to start war and to lead in starting war, even wars that had a high likelihood of becoming general wars.

Balsamo wrote:The problem is that this speech is held after the war has started, and longer after the Pact, which brings back the question: "would have Hitler cross the Rubicon without this Pact?".

The answer to that doesn't answer Stalin's fundamental military aims and foreign policy goals.

Balsamo wrote:. . . invading a country, and in the following months declaring war on Finland, annexing three independent States, a a couple of province belonging to another independent State, and spreading socialism in all of them, can be considered closer to war than pure timeless foreign policy.

Not necessarily a war of aggression against Germany. Which I thought was the topic. As noted earlier, there's a "defensive" (Realpolitik) explanation for these moves. I still am not seeing good evidence for the USSR preparing to attack Germany in the time frame we're discussing, not that Germany didn't have something coming. Sure, there is evidence for other "negative" aspects of Soviet policies (may the Dear Father forgive me for saying so) but that's not the question.
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Jeff_36 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:23 pm

In addition to defensive realpolitik we must understand that Stalin wished to restore Russia's 1914 borders, which did not include Germany. His actions in the Baltics and Bessarabia can be seen as part of that push.

Furthermore, his speech in September of 1939 in of itself proves nothing. Glantz does not dispute long term Soviet ambitions but utterly made mincemeat of the ludicrous notion of a 1941 attack.

And all of this is moot anyway because Hitler had non-humanitarian motives for the invasion and launched it not as a preventative attack but as a strike against a force that his Generals had assured him did not pose a threat.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:30 pm

Statmec:

Not when the men are specifically discussing the spin they need for the new situation and how to pitch the line to the "workers' movement" - which they'd conditioned to an entirely different stance.

That, of course, could make sense...if this meeting had taken place like in may 1939. In a context like, Stalin saying "there is nothing to hope from Britain, we have to secure good relations with Germany, even if Fascist and Nazi. We'll have to pass the message to the comrades though, any ideas?"
The problem is that it did not happened like that.
Stalin had a very low opinion of the Comintern as a whole - a disdain i explained from its core disagreement with the Trosky approach (which focused mainly on the international to achieve the victory of Socialism) - a disdain reinforced by the failure of the Spanish civil war. At the end of 1940, he even considered the dissolution of the International and Comintern, he did not take this ultimate decision because by then he had a complete control over this organization, thanks to Dimitrov complete submission. Hence the thousands of execution among the foreign communist leaders well before the Pact. (as mentioned in the first part of my post).

The second important point is that he did and will do exactly what he said. And again, Stalin actions have to be considered from the start.
As Jeff just said in his last post, the recovery of 1914 borders was a objective since 1918. Any sincere adherence to the western Great Powers concept of " collective security" would have annihilated this fundamental project. And this is why - and given the turn of events - i am more than skeptic about these "pro-west foreign policies", they just had no point.

StatMec:

I have heard criticisms, some of them very harsh, of the Dear Father . . . these criticism linger to this very day, is my impression.


As you might have guessed, i am not interest in hearing that Stalin was a monstrous criminal - it is rather obvious that he was. It is about his role in the tragedy.

The answer to that doesn't answer Stalin's fundamental military aims and foreign policy goals.


How so?
Granted, Hitler planned a war of aggression, i do not contest that of course. But once planned, it has to be executed.

Let's imagine that he would have attacked anyway without Stalin. France and Great Britain would have declared war anyway of course.
First the operation in Poland might have lasted longer, as the Soviets took a great deal of polish prisoners, and drained a little more resources from the Wehrmacht which therefore could not have been redeployed so fast to the west.

The Blockade by the Royal Navy would have had much more effect, depriving Germany from anything it needed, from Rubber (from Asia), chrome, Maganese and the vital oil and food, among many other things. Just to give a small example, even today and the PAC or ACP, Belgium if faced with an embargo would run out of food in weeks!
I have shown above that the first three months of Barbarossa blietzkrieg had consumed half a million ton of fuel. And consider that Stalin was delivering 150.000 tons of fuel monthly, which clearly up to May 40, clearly made up for the fuel consumed in Poland.
had he not recieved this supply and had the campaign of Poland lasted longer than expected, (and consumed more fuel out of the stockpile), it would have been even riskier to launch another Blitzkrieg against France.

In addition, Hitler would have faced the risk of a two front war (which was his nightmare) as his Wehrmacht had not the strength to be in the west and in the east at the same time.
Would this incurable gambler and bluffer that was Dolfy played that All in one in September 39 is far from obvious.

On the other side, Stalin would not have been able to seize his part of Poland not even the Baltic, and would have faced war with the west in case of an invasion of Finland (much probable if the powers would have been at peace with Germany).

So yes, i think this answer is quite fundamental.
By promising to offset the loss resulting from a expectable blockade, and delivering everything that Nazi Germany needed to execute its war of agression, Stalin did exactly what he explained during this meeting.

Not necessarily a war of aggression against Germany. Which I thought was the topic. As noted earlier, there's a "defensive" (Realpolitik) explanation for these moves. I still am not seeing good evidence for the USSR preparing to attack Germany in the time frame we're discussing, not that Germany didn't have something coming. Sure, there is evidence for other "negative" aspects of Soviet policies (may the Dear Father forgive me for saying so) but that's not the question.


Actually no, as we are here in two different period.
I am not pretending that Stalin had any idea of attacking Germany in september 1939.

For this period, i contest that Stalin signed with Hitler because he was scared and wanted to "save peace" and "to gain time". And this assertion is basically the basis of some key of understanding of the 1940-41 Soviet policy, and for that reason i do not agree with the analysis, defended by Jeff, of the next period.

So i do not agree with the concept that Stalin was an opportunistic profiting of global instability. In my views he played his part in this instability in order to profit from it. Stalin did not fear this instability, and was certainly not affraid to contribute to the start of the war. He knew exactly that with his guarantee, Hitler would execute his plan, and he knew that Hitler would probably have failed ot hesitaded (after all the German army military build up was meant to last until 1943) without his support. And the prize for this support is what he got: most of the Russian 1914 borders, Finland would come next)...by August 1939 as well as on 7 September 39 , Stalin was a very happy man, and by May 1940, he was even happier.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:46 am

Balsamo wrote:As Jeff just said in his last post, the recovery of 1914 borders was a objective since 1918. Any sincere adherence to the western Great Powers concept of " collective security" would have annihilated this fundamental project. And this is why - and given the turn of events - i am more than skeptic about these "pro-west foreign policies", they just had no point.

At this point, I am not sure what you think Stalin's talk on 7 September 1939 proves . . . you first said it showed his "real intentions" and was "a clear presentation of [the USSR's] objectives" . . . what is certainly not the case is that Stalin stated clearly the aim to recover Russia's 1914 borders, which we all seem to agree was something he sought. Also first you argued that the speech was an important policy statement to the Comintern, now you argue that the Comintern wasn't important to Stalin . . . so I've gotten lost.

Balsamo wrote:As you might have guessed, i am not interest in hearing that Stalin was a monstrous criminal - it is rather obvious that he was. It is about his role in the tragedy.

But we're trying to figure out what this piece of evidence tells us - not what we want to tell this piece of evidence. My point is that important pieces of evidence you're using have interpretations that differ to what your idea tells them to have - they fit as well, or better, with a very different interpretation to yours. You're still not convincing me that this speech is good evidence for your pov.

Balsamo wrote:Let's imagine that he would have attacked anyway without Stalin. France and Great Britain would have declared war anyway of course. . . . Would this incurable gambler and bluffer that was Dolfy played that All in one in September 39 is far from obvious.

This is a different question (what would have prevented the German attack, I think, is an agreement between the USSR and Britain and France . . . ): all that this line of reasoning suggests is that Hitler used Stalin. Hitler was hoping to neutralize Britain and France or the USSR or both. That aim doesn't speak to Stalin's goals, short term or long term.

As to Stalin's goals, the situation before the end of August had been growing more threatening to all parties - that doesn't mean that the risky situation could not also be an opportunity. IIRC Stalin wanted a 3-way agreement with Britain and France to guarantee borders and to actually act against Germany (Dimitrov's notes allude to all this). The western powers, not trusting Stalin, wouldn't go along, with a last gasp effort in August not succeeding (Poland didn't want protection from the USSR either!). As a result, Stalin was left with Hitler, and the western powers were left to face Germany without a big Stalin deal. (I would have to dig this up but didn't Stalin also have concerns about Japan that he was juggling?) The Pact came on top of this, and, yes, Hitler and Stalin were trying to use each other - but the question is to what ends. As for Germany, I don't see how you've shown that the deal with Stalin was necessarily make or break - it did, in Hitler's mind, limit risks of a general war.

Balsamo wrote:Actually no, as we are here in two different period.
I am not pretending that Stalin had any idea of attacking Germany in september 1939.

Again, not sure what key part of your argument you think Stalin's talk supports - Stalin said that he hadn't gotten a deal with the Brits and French - his first choice - so he made one with Germany - and in the current context the two camps were likely to weaken each other, to the Soviet Union's eventual advantage. How does this factor into 1941?

Balsamo wrote:For this period, i contest that Stalin signed with Hitler because he was scared and wanted to "save peace" and "to gain time".

I don't think that Jeff has argued Stalin was motivated to save peace in that way - but maybe he has, so I will just say that's not how I understand things. But nothing you've shown is incompatible with the concept that there were limits to his goals. Overy puts it differently, IIRC, that Stalin didn't want a general war and that his intent during 1938-1939 was to avoid that. Dimitrov's notes seem to show that Stalin thought he got that but also a bonus - a sphere of influence, including Finland, the Baltics, and part of Romania. Stalin's talk doesn't say anything different and doesn't spell out clear goals different to this reading.

Balsamo wrote:So i do not agree with the concept that Stalin was an opportunistic profiting of global instability. In my views he played his part in this instability in order to profit from it.

I don't get the distinction.

Balsamo wrote:Stalin did not fear this instability, and was certainly not affraid to contribute to the start of the war. He knew exactly that with his guarantee, Hitler would execute his plan, and he knew that Hitler would probably have failed ot hesitaded (after all the German army military build up was meant to last until 1943) without his support. And the prize for this support is what he got: most of the Russian 1914 borders, Finland would come next)...by August 1939 as well as on 7 September 39 , Stalin was a very happy man, and by May 1940, he was even happier.

I do get your position here - but not how Stalin's September 1939 talk proves it, especially when he said that his position at that time was his second choice. Sure, he was convinced he'd struck a deal to his (eventual) term advantage. The dangerous situation was the underlying international one, not the Pact he'd just signed with Germany, which gave the USSR some advantages. So of course Stalin was pleased with the Pact. The Germans would face the capitalist English and French. The USSR, Stalin thought, had won the ability to operate within a sphere of influence, agreed by Germany - and the the war would, in the long run, weaken Germany and the Brits - without embroiling the Soviet Union. That's what I read Dimitrov's notes saying, I don't see how that supports your position on 1940-1941.
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:04 pm

StatMec:
At this point, I am not sure what you think Stalin's talk on 7 September 1939 proves . . . you first said it showed his "real intentions" and " was "a clear presentation of [the USSR's] objectives" . . . what his certainly not that Stalin's aim was to recover Russia's 1914 borders. I've gotten lost.


Another RADICAL foreign policy shift after the one of 1934, and in my eyes, a return to the original one. More on this follows.

But we're trying to figure out what this piece of evidence tells us - not what we want to tell this piece of evidence.


Indeed, but this is not a reason to isolate completely this piece of evidence from its broader context. It is one piece of a chain in my insanely long post.
This is why i insisted that the foreign policies from the Soviet Union had to be considered from the start, at least the early 1930's.

This is a different question (what would have prevented the German attack, I think, is an agreement between the USSR and Britain and France . . . ): all that this line of reasoning suggests is that Hitler used Stalin. Hitler was hoping to neutralize Britain and France or the USSR or both. That aim doesn't speak to Stalin's goals, short term or long term.


Well, it seems you respond to my question by asking another one... ;) Fair enough. Of course, if the project was still the preservation of peace at all cost like in 1934, indeed, the best solution, the obvious one was to find an agreement with Britain in France. But it did not happen, and not only because Poland was playing the "dickhead". Poland was not duped by Stalin previous " Soviet collective security" gambit, and IMHO, rightly so.
As you may have guessed, i do not think Stalin - dispite his line in the text - was willing to sign a deal with the west, as i said there were just no perspective in that, as that would meant to share a guarantee of Poland, and Polish borders.
Because we were not in 1934 anymore.
More on this bellow.

Regarding Hitler aims and objective, i do not deny them at all, but i am focusing on Stalin, not on Hitler. I personally do not have any difficulty two concomitant plans. What Hitler had in mind does not automatically influence what Stalin had in his.

As to Stalin's goals, the situation before the end of August had been growing more threatening to all parties - that doesn't mean that the risky situation could not also be an opportunity. IIRC Stalin wanted a 3-way agreement with Britain and France to guarantee borders and to actually act against Germany (Dimitrov's notes allude to all this). The western powers, not trusting Stalin, wouldn't go along, with a last gasp effort in August not succeeding (Poland didn't want protection from the USSR either!). As a result, Stalin was left with Hitler, and the western powers were left to face Germany without a big Stalin deal. (I would have to dig this up but didn't Stalin also have concerns about Japan that he was juggling?) The Pact came on top of this, and, yes, Hitler and Stalin were trying to use each other - but the question is to what ends. As for Germany, I don't see how you've shown that the deal with Stalin was necessarily make or break - it did, in Hitler's mind, limit risks of a general war.


I think here lies our main disagreement.

First, for reason i will explain, i think the turning point was Hitler's aspiration on Danzig, and more specifically the 28 of April 1939 - when Hitler loudly revoked the pact between Germany and Poland. This changed the configuration completely the game. After this date, any deal with the western powers made no sense at all, and i am ready to concede, offered the opportunity Stalin was looking for.

Regarding Hitler, i think it is fair to say that the period between January and September 1939 was the period during which he was caught hesitating the most. As i am not focusing on this part of the equation, i'll leave it there. Still my original question is still valid. To strike or not to strike was the question troubling Hitler's mind. Would Great Britain and France stand up for Poland or settled like in Munich? What if they do?

My opinion is that Hitler feared less the prospect of a general war (which seems to be confirmed by his decision to go ahead) than NOT to have the means to win this conflict in case it was inevitable.

I could show memorandum which considered the economic impact of an eventual British Blockade, and it is well known that Goering was not favoring the assault on Poland at that time. Others memos clearly indicate 1943 as the objective for the Wehrmacht built-up, along with a focus on doubling the production of synthetic fuel during that period.
E.ERICSON clearly shows that Germany lacked about everything of what was indispensable for leading a long term war and was in no position to withhold a blockade.

So it was not enough to just neutralize some of those powers. It all depended on Great Britain and its capacity to blockade Germany trade's routes. France was on paper the strongest military force on the continent (or so it was thought). Hitler did not fear confrontation with France, but feared the Blockade.
So even in the case where the Soviets would just have stood by, that is without signing with the Allies or with Germany, the bet to risk a global confrontation with Great Britain by invading Poland, would have been really risky, hence the hesitations.

But as i have said, this topic is about Stalin, and his role in the start of the conflict, his reason, and specifically in this post, the correlation between what he said on the 7th of September 39 and his previous actions.

As you have mentioned Richard Overy a couple of time, what follows is based on one of his earlier work, The Road to war

My main disagreement with the more traditional perception of the motivations behind the shift in the Soviet foreign policy that occurred in 1934 is that it tends to consider it as the only rational moves by the USSR, and thus, ignored the previous ones.

In my long post, i have tried to point out that the inherent vocation of the Communist revolution was to be spread at all cost. Only a true victory of the capitalist imperialists was to guarantee the security of the USSR. In the early 20's, the Soviet Union faced the hostility of 14 of these imperialist States which supported heavily the Whites up to direct military intervention. The USSR was saved by the bell, but left in ruins.

As i have said, Russia was along with Germany and Austria the biggest losers of the Treaty of Versailles, the attack of Poland was the way to correct this, but it turned out as a disaster. But the core project to reestablish the old imperial frontiers never died.

By 1922, and i repeat myself here, the only support it could find was Germany which will stay its favored and most important economic partners up to 1934.
Both Germany and the USSR felt like the unjust victims of the "international powers that be" in those days, France and Great Britain.
Remembering its civil war, the USSR in the 20's lived in the paranoia of a international capitalist coalition that would crush here. Even when Mussolini took power, it was seen as a positive sign of a breach within the imperialist structure. At first, diplomatic relations between fascist Italy and the USSR would be pretty good ones.

Anyway, back to Stalin, Overy quotes a interesting speech by Stalin of 1931 in which Stalin identifies the reasons of former disasters that stoke Russia, basically it was backwardness in every domains, with a special focus on industrial and military backwardness. Stalin launched his 5 years plans, and gave ten years to the Soviet Union to fill the gap.
Tukhachesky, head of the Red Army and loser of the war against Poland, published “the future war” in 1928. “He favored large offensive backed by thousands of tanks and aircrafts, and supported by a militarized industry”
Quoting again Overy,
“In his view (Stalin’s) military security depended on raw materials and skilled workers as much as it did on tanks and aircrafts. Under the 5 years plans, the USSR got both.”
Steel yearly output grew from 4 to 18 million tons, oil from 11 to 28 million tons. From 1000 aircrafts built in 1930, it reached 10.000 by 1940. From 170 old fashioned tanks in 1930, the USSR will have 5000 modern machines 6 years later (1936).
Overy to conclude:
“Soviet rearmament was on a scale unmatched by any other powers. The 5 years plans did very little for Soviet living standards but they laid the foundation in the 1930’s of the soviet superpower.”
To make a pause: The first of those 5 years plan was launched in 1931. The main perceived threat was not Fascism but still Great Britain and the rest of the capitalist world, especially the 14 which took part in the Russian civil war. The military doctrine was offensive and mechanized, with a focus on militarized industry. Among the “timeless” objectives were still the restoration of the 1914 borders and the spread of socialism. I may add that one of the major Marxist principals is that Imperialism inevitably leads to war.
This will be the reality up to 1934.
Contrary to what is often believe (broadly of course), it is not the raise to power of the Nazis that broke momentarily broke the close relationships between the Soviet Union and Germany, but more decisively the signature of the first Pact between Germany and hated Poland. Now a clear military threat was indeed at the Soviet border, and by 1934, the USSR was indeed not ready at all!
It is this pact that will provoke the first extraordinary political shift by Stalin.
To quote Overy again:
“Within a year the Soviet Union was transformed from a unrelenting critics of imperialist powers to an enthusiast for foreign democracies and the international status quo.”

The shift is at least as radical as the one which will happen 5 years later.

Through Litvinov, Stalin will agree to sign a “whole rash of non-aggression pacts with European States” among them (don’t laugh): Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and even France. The new policy also implied the radical change of Communist parties, invited to join the popular fronts.

The USSR joined the League of Nations once qualified by Stalin (or was it Lenin?) as the “Robbers league”.

This shift does not mean that the plans launched 4 years before were changed or interrupted, quite the contrary. (I already gave the numbers and ratio of military expenditure/GDP).

In 1934, this political shift made a lot of sense, and it was rather effective. It responded to a new political situation, that is Germany and Poland getting closer, which clearly posed a direct security threat to the USSR which was in the middle of its build up.
But I see this period as a parenthesis in Stalin’s global policy, not like any form of final achievement.

In the beginning of 1939, it was clear that the relations between Germany and Poland were at an all times low. The loud revocation of the existing pact with Poland by Hitler in April 1939 completely changed the global configuration.

The very reason which motivated the 1934 shift just disappeared, and with it all the reasons to continue the so called “peaceful policy” based on “collective security” and the status quo.
Indeed, instability was also at an all times high, and finally Marx prediction of a war between Imperialists power was a very true probability. There was indeed a huge opportunity to profit from the situation and to get Russia’s borders back, maybe more if the war between the imperialist powers turns out as hoped.

The shift of policy is as radical as the previous one.
In May, Litvinov is sacked. Negotiations with Germany can start a deal can be found, and a pact is signed. On the 7 of September 39, the new policy is explained. End of September, the Russian part of Poland is annexed. End of November, starts the Reconquista of previous borders and the war with Finland, despite the USSR still being member of the League of Nations; the USSR leaves this useless league.
World war is launched and Hitler under Soviet supplies, time is won, time to get ready.

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:43 pm

Balsamo wrote:Well, it seems you respond to my question by asking another one... ;) Fair enough. Of course, if the project was still the preservation of peace at all cost like in 1934, indeed, the best solution, the obvious one was to find an agreement with Britain in France. But it did not happen, and not only because Poland was playing the "dickhead". Poland was not duped by Stalin previous " Soviet collective security" gambit, and IMHO, rightly so.
As you may have guessed, i do not think Stalin - dispite his line in the text - was willing to sign a deal with the west, as i said there were just no perspective in that, as that would meant to share a guarantee of Poland, and Polish borders.
Because we were not in 1934 anymore.

Overy writes that Stalin tried first to get a deal with France and the UK - however, the UK was unwilling pretty much from the outset and eventually France also got cold feet. Overy says that the USSR was sent only low level representatives in August, not Stalin's choice for sure. The way Overy describes this is congruent with Stalin's 7 September talk - pretty much Stalin's effort which the Brits and French doubted and treated as not very serious. They didn't trust or want a deal with Stalin, despite Stalin's desires.

Balsamo wrote:Regarding Hitler aims and objective, i do not deny them at all, but i am focusing on Stalin, not on Hitler. I personally do not have any difficulty two concomitant plans. What Hitler had in mind does not automatically influence what Stalin had in his.

Right, you brought up a Hitler hypothetical and I did reply with a sentence or two to that . . . ????

Balsamo wrote:Still my original question is still valid. To strike or not to strike was the question troubling Hitler's mind. Would Great Britain and France stand up for Poland or settled like in Munich? What if they do?

I believe I gave an answer to this. Not that I really know . . . LOL

Balsamo wrote:So it was not enough to just neutralize some of those powers. It all depended on Great Britain and its capacity to blockade Germany trade's routes. France was on paper the strongest military force on the continent (or so it was thought). Hitler did not fear confrontation with France, but feared the Blockade.

Again, Overy has it one or the other deal . . .

Balsamo wrote:So even in the case where the Soviets would just have stood by, that is without signing with the Allies or with Germany, the bet to risk a global confrontation with Great Britain by invading Poland, would have been really risky, hence the hesitations.
Getting lost as I thought your argument was about USSR policy . . . ????

Balsamo wrote:My main disagreement with the more traditional perception of the motivations behind the shift in the Soviet foreign policy that occurred in 1934 is that it tends to consider it as the only rational moves by the USSR, and thus, ignored the previous ones.

I don't understand this point. Can you say more or re-state it?

Balsamo wrote:In my long post, i have tried to point out that the inherent vocation of the Communist revolution was to be spread at all cost.

I don't think so. What's the evidence for this?

Balsamo wrote:By 1922, and i repeat myself here, the only support it could find was Germany which will stay its favored and most important economic partners up to 1934.
Both Germany and the USSR felt like the unjust victims of the "international powers that be" in those days, France and Great Britain.
Remembering its civil war, the USSR in the 20's lived in the paranoia of a international capitalist coalition that would crush here. Even when Mussolini took power, it was seen as a positive sign of a breach within the imperialist structure. At first, diplomatic relations between fascist Italy and the USSR would be pretty good ones.

Anyway, back to Stalin, Overy quotes a interesting speech by Stalin of 1931 in which Stalin identifies the reasons of former disasters that stoke Russia, basically it was backwardness in every domains, with a special focus on industrial and military backwardness. Stalin launched his 5 years plans, and gave ten years to the Soviet Union to fill the gap.
Tukhachesky, head of the Red Army and loser of the war against Poland, published “the future war” in 1928. “He favored large offensive backed by thousands of tanks and aircrafts, and supported by a militarized industry”
Quoting again Overy,
“In his view (Stalin’s) military security depended on raw materials and skilled workers as much as it did on tanks and aircrafts. Under the 5 years plans, the USSR got both.”
Steel yearly output grew from 4 to 18 million tons, oil from 11 to 28 million tons. From 1000 aircrafts built in 1930, it reached 10.000 by 1940. From 170 old fashioned tanks in 1930, the USSR will have 5000 modern machines 6 years later (1936).
Overy to conclude:
“Soviet rearmament was on a scale unmatched by any other powers. The 5 years plans did very little for Soviet living standards but they laid the foundation in the 1930’s of the soviet superpower.”

No disagreement up to here . . .

Balsamo wrote:Indeed, instability was also at an all times high, and finally Marx prediction of a war between Imperialists power was a very true probability.

Which is very different to launching a war against Germany, which was only one of the capitalist powers and had been in a weakened position vis-a-vis the major powers for almost twenty years.

Balsamo wrote:There was indeed a huge opportunity to profit from the situation and to get Russia’s borders back, maybe more if the war between the imperialist powers turns out as hoped.

The shift of policy is as radical as the previous one.

I don't see where you're headed. All the powers were maneuvering, and, sure, the USSR and Germany were the "rising" powers. This though is a general observation and doesn't tell us about Soviet intentions during 1940-1941. It tells us that the situation was unstable and the powers were using various means to take advantage of it. That there was a danger of war due to the instability. Something that isn't in question.

Balsamo wrote:In May, Litvinov is sacked. Negotiations with Germany can start a deal can be found, and a pact is signed.

You're leaving out the breakdown of the Soviet approach(es) to the British and the French. To which Stalin specifically alluded in the talk you cite! Obviously if the "standard" histories deal with this, they will differ to a "history" that doesn't!

Balsamo wrote:On the 7 of September 39, the new policy is explained. End of September, the Russian part of Poland is annexed. End of November, starts the Reconquista of previous borders and the war with Finland, despite the USSR still being member of the League of Nations; the USSR leaves this useless league.
World war is launched and Hitler under Soviet supplies, time is won, time to get ready.

For what?

To my mind, this isn't answering the question, which is how Stalin's moves and in this case his 7 September 1939 speech are part of a proof not of hostility to capitalism but of an aggressive intent against Germany, that is, help show that Soviet policy and actions prompted a preemptive attack from Germany. I am quite lost! My thought at this point is that you and Jeff resume, and I keep following along to see if anything comes out of the discussion to answer what I've questioned.
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:45 pm

StatMec:
To my mind, this isn't answering the question, which is how Stalin's moves and in this case his 7 September 1939 speech prove an aggressive intent vis-a-vis Germany, that is, a Soviet policy and actions that prompted a preemptive attack from Germany. I am quite lost


:lol:
Of course you are lost if you still think that all i am doing is to defend the notion that Barbarossa was a preemptive strike!!! :lol:

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:55 pm

Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
To my mind, this isn't answering the question, which is how Stalin's moves and in this case his 7 September 1939 speech prove an aggressive intent vis-a-vis Germany, that is, a Soviet policy and actions that prompted a preemptive attack from Germany. I am quite lost


:lol:
Of course you are lost if you still think that all i am doing is to defend the notion that Barbarossa was a preemptive strike!!! :lol:

Ah, looking back I see you called the idea of a preemptive strike absurd. My bad. I missed that. Perhaps a simple, direct explanation of what you are arguing and how Stalin's speech fits in would help . . . written as a kind of headline, stated in just a couple of sentences, with the detail left out or held for another post?
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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:48 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
To my mind, this isn't answering the question, which is how Stalin's moves and in this case his 7 September 1939 speech prove an aggressive intent vis-a-vis Germany, that is, a Soviet policy and actions that prompted a preemptive attack from Germany. I am quite lost


:lol:
Of course you are lost if you still think that all i am doing is to defend the notion that Barbarossa was a preemptive strike!!! :lol:

Ah, looking back I see you called the idea of a preemptive strike absurd. My bad. I missed that. Perhaps a simple, direct explanation of what you are arguing and how Stalin's speech fits in would help . . . written as a kind of headline, stated in just a couple of sentences, with the detail left out or held for another post?


No offense taken, my friend.
Well, i really wish i could summarize that subject into a few headlines, but i'll try.

First i wish to address some of your last points - because i like to do it...And it will help with my headlines stuff. ;)

So here it is:
StatMec:
Overy writes that Stalin tried first to get a deal with France and the UK - however, the UK was unwilling pretty much from the outset and eventually France also got cold feet. Overy says that the USSR was sent only low level representatives in August, not Stalin's choice for sure. The way Overy describes this is congruent with Stalin's 7 September talk - pretty much Stalin's effort which the Brits and French doubted and treated as not very serious. They didn't trust or want a deal with Stalin, despite Stalin's desires.


I guess you are mostly referring to "1939" which is a bit short to my taste, but i have a deep respect for Overy and do own many of his books.
Nevertheless, i feel it is my right to take the information provided by historians without agreeing with their conclusions. I call it the "Browning effect" as a Joke. His "Origins" is a magistral work, but i could not believe or even understand how he came up with his conclusions which is almost incompatible with the content of his work. But in all case, i am always grateful with the facts they provide.

So taking only the fact, let's see (using Overy but mostly the Road to war) what is at stake:

On April the 17th, Stalin (through Litvinov) made his proposal to Great Britain:
“A triple alliance between France, Britain and the USSR to guarantee the integrity of every State from the Baltic to the Mediterranean and to defend each other if attacked by Germany.”

Stalin was also asking for military access rights through Polish and Romanian territories, a thing that none of those democratic allies could promise without breaking international law and which was clearly opposed by the two concerned countries.

This proposal was made on April the 17th, that is at the very same time when preliminary contact were made with Germany. But that was unknown by the British and French diplomats, of course.
This proposal could of course, if accepted, have prevented World War 2, but it was rejected by Great Britain and France, why? Because, the Allies did not trust the Soviet diplomacy at all, because they considered it as a retarded regional power at best (just like Germany, they had no clear intelligence of what was happening within the USSR about almost everything).
And they were right to do so. They would 6 years later learn how the Soviets interpret diplomatic agreements their own way, especially definition as “free elections”, “territorial integrity”.

But the best illustration that Soviet and Nazi diplomacy was alike unprincipled, is that the deal which was made with Germany was clearly on the opposite bases, that is not the guarantee of whatever nation, but the surrender of those very same nations to their sphere of influence, that is full annexations.
Is not that call Diplomatic duplicity? Unless on can show me that Stalin would have had any interest in Britain accepting his terms of the deal.
I personnaly can see none.

Strangely enough, it is some historians or obersers of TODAY who still put the Soviet good faith forward, contrary to the contemporary observers, and who pretend that Stalin would have protected (if an agreement with Britain) the States he would annexe a couple of month later(according to the agreement with Hitler, if he had been treated decently... It should sound like a joke to everyone, but no... Truth the Allies knew very well that Stalin could not be trusted more than Hitler (and the previous diplomatic experiences they had with the later kind of justify this attitude).
The only difference is that they overestimated the power of Hitler and at the same time underestimate the power of the USSR.

As Overy notes,
“Joseph Davies” (the US ambassador)” gained the clear impression, in the spring of 1938 that the Soviet Union might seek a “realistic union of forces with Germany in a not too distant future”.

Overy also recalls that:
“Germany and the Soviet Union had been allies in the 1920’s. The treaty of Berlin in 1926 was still technically in force. Even after 1933 the Soviet leadership tried to keep open the door to a possible rapprochement. (…) Between Rapallo and the German invasion in 1941 there were only five years when there was no active agreement and cooperation between the two States.”


But granted, the Allies did not see it that way.
MY HYPOTHESIS is that the Soviets through their amazing intelligence network might have know very well that by asking something that Chamberlain could not grant, their "good faith" proposal would be refuse.
But the truth is that they will sign an agreement on the opposite bases.

Right, you brought up a Hitler hypothetical and I did reply with a sentence or two to that . . . ????


Given what i just wrote above, and given the content of Stalin speech, things should appear more clearly.
Stalin knew the Allies were putting some faith in a agreement with him, but without knowing nor his strength (at least on paper), while over estimating Hitler's. And this can be understood given Dolfy's gambler attitude.
So as a matter of fact, there was one side (the Allies) quite condescending, and the other (the Nazis) ready to give everything they could to keep going on...
If one accepts Stalin duplicity during the first 8 months of 1939, things get much more logical.
As a matter of fact, he wanted to stay out of this European conflict between, while hoping this conflict to occure.

Hitler wanted this conflict, but needed the means to lead it.
Isn't that a great basis for a deal?

I believe I gave an answer to this. Not that I really know . . . LOL


mm...not sure you did.
Hitler was an insane gambler, but i really doubt it was at the point to declare war at two empires without any backup solution for his supplies, at least i do not. By assuring that he would recieve this backup, Stalin was sure that he would start the world war.

Again, Overy has it one or the other deal . . .


Maybe, but while he can see the Soviet interest in the last one (the deal with Hitler), he cannot give any good reason for the first one...

Getting lost as I thought your argument was about USSR policy . . . ????


And it is, hence all my lines.
But as you came up with Hitler, well that was concerning him. As i am trying to say, a world war 2 without Stalin support, even with him only standing on the sideline, to Hitler would have been short lived. Something France or Britain does not like to hear because it would look like they are bearing a share of the responsability of WW2, which i do not agree with. Believe it or not, both of them could have crushed "Dolfy the Luni" had they taken the good decision at the good time. But they did not, hence the myth of the invulnerability of the 1939-40 Wehrmacht. Well, Dolfy was maybe the best bluffer in History, had he not been a dictator he could have had become the best poker player of all time...for while at least, as i am pretty sure he would have died broke anyway... ;)

I don't understand this point. Can you say more or re-state it?


Well i did, but i'll do it again.
Above is Overy summary of the relation between Germany and the USSR from 1922 to 1941, and he clearly says that there were only 5 years without cooperation or agreement of any form. States have core objectives and the USSR makes no exception. If one wants to apprehend the Stalin approach, one has to start from the begining and not in 1934. Until that date, Germany was the closest partner of the USSR, almost an ally in the 20's.
1934 was a shift because, caught in the middle if those 5 years plans, it saw Germany and Poland signing a Pact. This really change the configuration, and really created a situation of threat to the USSR. But the situation created by the pact ceased when Hitler turned to Poland agressively, and this changed the configuration which changed the 1934 Soviet stance. Am i clear? Hence, the reasons for Stalin to play the fool with the Western imperialistic powers ceased to exist.

I don't think so. What's the evidence for this?


Bad boy, now you want me to dig into my books dedicated to Bolshevism to bring an evidence that the world revolution was the ultimate goal of bolshevism? It is a bit like asking for evidence that the USA wanted the world to adopt liberal capitalism...
Well, what was the point for the Red Army to invade Poland, reach Warsaw, next step Berlin supported by Spartakists? They got involved in the Spanish civil war just for the nicer climate, etc.
Anyway, this was what the International Comminust was all about: to wipe out boudernies between States.
Overy quoting Lenin: " It will not be long and we shall see the victory of communism in the entire world" and Stalin : " ‘which is a necessity from the standpoint of Soviet Russia, is also a necessity from the standpoint of the world revolution’."
Wasn't that one of the main cause of the Cold war?


Which is very different to launching a war against Germany, which was only one of the capitalist powers and had been in a weakened position vis-a-vis the major powers for almost twenty years.


Again, as we are in september 1939, there was of course no intention to declare war on any powers. In the text we are talking about, Germany - although favored by the pact - is described as a capitalist states like the others. The point here was to have those imperialist States fight each other to death, so that a definitive coup could be thrown at the whole Capitalism system, and that was exactly what in september 1939 was going to happen.
of course, the priority at this stage was to stay out of the conflict, and of course, the rapidity of the French collapse changed the configuration once again. And the prospect of a war with Germany was quite obvious from day 1. Even Krouchtchev admitted it. The Soviets just thought they had time on their side.

I don't see where you're headed. All the powers were maneuvering, and, sure, the USSR and Germany were the "rising" powers. This though is a general observation and doesn't tell us about Soviet intentions during 1940-1941. It tells us that the situation was unstable and the powers were using various means to take advantage of it. That there was a danger of war due to the instability. Something that isn't in question.



Well of course all the Powers were maneuvering, but what matters is what was each of them seeking. Obviously, Great Britain and allies were maneuvering to keep the Status quo, and the European order intact. Hitler having been identified as the trouble maker. Hitler of course wanted to shake this European order, that is clear. But what was Stalin seeking? And all my posts are essentially targeting this last question.

You're leaving out the breakdown of the Soviet approach(es) to the British and the French. To which Stalin specifically alluded in the talk you cite! Obviously if the "standard" histories deal with this, they will differ to a "history" that doesn't!


I have answer that. But even Overy does not offer any explanation of what would have Stalin gained from a deal with the allies. No one does, by the way. As for Stalin allusion in the text, it takes only one phrase versus the rest of the text...and even then Stalin does not say why "he would have prefered" as the rest of the text clearly shows he is very happy with the current deal and all its advantages.
There is this little things one tends to forget. All what is known about the Pact comes from German documents, all the Soviet ones have dissapeared...nada, niet...At least as far as i know

For what?


For the final confrontation with Germany, without any speficic timeframe in mind.
But as i have shown, the military preparations were forecasting this eventuality since 1940, armements productions were increased, focus on T-34 and KV, etc... Well, i agree with Jeff that Stalin was cautious at the extreme and would have felt more confortable with 40.000 tanks than with 20.000 tanks, etc... But that is not covered by the text.

;)

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:35 pm

Balsamo wrote:This proposal could of course, if accepted, have prevented World War 2, but it was rejected by Great Britain and France, why? Because, the Allies did not trust the Soviet diplomacy at all, because they considered it as a retarded regional power at best (just like Germany, they had no clear intelligence of what was happening within the USSR about almost everything).
And they were right to do so. They would 6 years later learn how the Soviets interpret diplomatic agreements their own way, especially definition as “free elections”, “territorial integrity”.

But now you're arguing the aims and considerations of the UK and France - not those of the USSR, the ostensible subject of the last part of the discussion.

Balsamo wrote:Unless on can show me that Stalin would have had any interest in Britain accepting his terms of the deal.
I personnaly can see none.

An "interesting" deal was made between the Germans and the Soviets - but, again, Stalin's first choice was an "interesting" deal with western countries. The argument is good faith - how good was the faith of the countries "behind" Czechoslovakia?

Balsamo wrote:As Overy notes,
“Joseph Davies” (the US ambassador)” gained the clear impression, in the spring of 1938 that the Soviet Union might seek a “realistic union of forces with Germany in a not too distant future”.

Overy also recalls that:
“Germany and the Soviet Union had been allies in the 1920’s. The treaty of Berlin in 1926 was still technically in force. Even after 1933 the Soviet leadership tried to keep open the door to a possible rapprochement. (…) Between Rapallo and the German invasion in 1941 there were only five years when there was no active agreement and cooperation between the two States.”


But granted, the Allies did not see it that way.
MY HYPOTHESIS is that the Soviets through their amazing intelligence network might have know very well that by asking something that Chamberlain could not grant, their "good faith" proposal would be refuse.
But the truth is that they will sign an agreement on the opposite bases.

So I'm left with your hunch and Overy's assertion . . . what's the evidence for your hunch?

Balsamo wrote:If one accepts Stalin duplicity during the first 8 months of 1939, things get much more logical.

I more or less assume that diplomacy involves duplicity all around - at least to some degree. Maybe too influenced by Arno Mayer's book on WWI.

Balsamo wrote:mm...not sure you did.

I think I answered it, I think you don't agree with the answer. LOL.

Balsamo wrote:Maybe, but while he can see the Soviet interest in the last one (the deal with Hitler), he cannot give any good reason for the first one...

He does though. From Stalin's pov, not from the pov of the British and French.

Balsamo wrote:As i am trying to say, a world war 2 without Stalin support, even with him only standing on the sideline, to Hitler would have been short lived. Something France or Britain does not like to hear because it would look like they are bearing a share of the responsability of WW2, which i do not agree with. Believe it or not, both of them could have crushed "Dolfy the Luni" had they taken the good decision at the good time. But they did not, hence the myth of the invulnerability of the 1939-40 Wehrmacht. Well, Dolfy was maybe the best bluffer in History, had he not been a dictator he could have had become the best poker player of all time...for while at least, as i am pretty sure he would have died broke anyway... ;)

This is very far away from 1941 - and it does sound to me that all the countries failed in specific ways . . .

Balsamo wrote:Bad boy, now you want me to dig into my books dedicated to Bolshevism to bring an evidence that the world revolution was the ultimate goal of bolshevism?

No. Just not to skip over the differences among the Soviet leaders. And to differentiate short-, middle- and long-term goals - and tactics. One example: the PF.

Balsamo wrote:Well, what was the point for the Red Army to invade Poland, reach Warsaw, next step Berlin supported by Spartakists? They got involved in the Spanish civil war just for the nicer climate, etc.

IIRC Stalin had strong differences on tactics in the Polish war, about which Poland had some say and border goals of its own . . . not sure that the Polish-Russian war was truly the start of the world revolution . . . the way this reads is that the USSR was thoroughly Trotskyist.

Balsamo wrote:Wasn't that one of the main cause of the Cold war?

Not really, IMO.

Balsamo wrote:of course, the priority at this stage was to stay out of the conflict, and of course, the rapidity of the French collapse changed the configuration once again. And the prospect of a war with Germany was quite obvious from day 1. Even Krouchtchev admitted it. The Soviets just thought they had time on their side.

Again, I can't tie this to 1941 . . . which is what I thought the focus here was on.

Balsamo wrote:But what was Stalin seeking? And all my posts are essentially targeting this last question.

And I still could not put into words what you think he was seeking, as I do not believe it was world revolution . . . I more or less have concluded that you think that the USSR's policy had Germany in the cross-hairs, but that is what I can't see the support for.

Balsamo wrote:But even Overy does not offer any explanation of what would have Stalin gained from a deal with the allies. No one does, by the way.

Sure he does.

Balsamo wrote:As for Stalin allusion in the text, it takes only one phrase versus the rest of the text...and even then Stalin does not say why "he would have prefered" as the rest of the text clearly shows he is very happy with the current deal and all its advantages.
There is this little things one tends to forget. All what is known about the Pact comes from German documents, all the Soviet ones have dissapeared...nada, niet...At least as far as i know

Overy says that some of the Soviet archives remain closed. There are British and French documents, of course, on the broken attempt by Stalin at a deal with those two countries.

Balsamo wrote:For the final confrontation with Germany, without any speficic timeframe in mind.

But you say Stalin wanted world revolution, which is different to singling out Germany, and the 7 September talk has Stalin expressing satisfaction that the capitalists on all sides are bringing themselves down - not projecting a showdown with Germany. And you argued that the talk was a clear statement of Stalin's aims. This is how I get lost!
"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:07 pm

But now you're arguing the aims and considerations of the UK and France - not those of the USSR, the ostensible subject of the last part of the discussion.

Well,
Yes Great Britain had very little confidence in Stalin, although it did not fear him like it feared Hitler Germany.
I have mentioned British objectives only because it gives sense to Great Britain attitude. As it wanted to preserve the status quo, better not to involve another revisionist State (which it fought 19 years ago).

But now you're arguing the aims and considerations of the UK and France - not those of the USSR, the ostensible subject of the last part of the discussion.



Please, be my hero...explain to me how the deal with the UK and France could be considered as interesting.

He does though. From Stalin's pov, not from the pov of the British and French.


I have read both the road to war and 1939, and i have not noticed anything persuasive at all. Maybe you did?

And I still could not put into words what you think he was seeking, as I do not believe it was world revolution . . . I more or less have concluded that you think that the USSR's policy had Germany in the cross-hairs, but that is what I can't see the support for.


The USSR had the whole world in the cross-hairs, Germany maybe less than the others, Great Britain and France, certainly, Poland absolutely, Romania, the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Turkey,... As for the "world revolution", it is at the core of the communist doctrine the same way as "free-trade" is in Capitalism...

Overy says that some of the Soviet archives remain closed. There are British and French documents, of course, on the broken attempt by Stalin at a deal with those two countries.


Whether destroyed or closed to consultation, the result is about the same. We have no knowledge of what happened in the Soviet side. And we indeed have information from the opposite sides.
Diplomacy may imply duplicity, but there is always one goal. What was Stalin's goal when proposing his terms which were refused? To gain access to Romania and Poland, is what seems obvious. Why was this proposal reject? maybe, because the Brits did not trust allowing the red Army further west?

And please do not drag me into the Spies network the USSR had in every important country.

Again, I can't tie this to 1941 . . . which is what I thought the focus here was on.



Well it all started by the defeat of June 41 and its reasons, and through this very strange post by Jeff promoting Glantz vs Suvorov (which was quite unrelated to the discussions that were going on), and the reasons of this disaster.
Everything here is like a chain linked together in a timeline. Jeff proposed his time line the Monstrous way which was even more anachronic than the Krouchtchev/Jukov views.

In my humble understanding, history should follow a timeline that start in the past to go the future. Like in those video tapes, it should make sense both way, that is putting the tape on rewind should confirm what actually took place on forward (don´t know if i am clear on that one).

The problem i have with the usual explanations of the defeat of the Red army in the first month of 1941, most of which were promoted by the Soviets themselves, is that they make no sense in the rewind mode. So instead of adapting the explanation, one adapted what happened before the disaster, so the disaster can be explained.

To take an example:
The Red Army lost in 1941 because its armament was outdated, the army was not ready and even in "peacetime mood", therefore Stalin's policy in the first 1941 had to be "accommodating" only, out of fear of a German attack. If the Red Army was not armed and ready in 1941 after almost two years of world war, it was even less so in 1939, hence his foreign policy HAD to be all about self preservation (fearing the all mighty Wehrmacht even more), so when the USSR pleaded Great Britain for deal that would have protected her from Germany, it HAD to turn to the Evil itself in a kind of hope it the Devil would spare it. And as an additional prove of this Soviet version, which is still believed by many or so it seems, one shows the nice attitude of the USSR between 1934 and 1939. And this attitude was the consequence of the complete ruin of Russia after the civil war... AND CASE IS CLOSE!
The USSR is innocent, your honor.

The only allusion that a State building up an incredible army for the last 12 years, turning up most of its industry to military, might have been up to something, like an...invasion at some point?... is almost heretic, or so it seems.

Most of those points have been addressed in my too long post, you chose to focus on that speech. Yes i see it not only as a proof of Stalin's intentions, but even more as a justification of his previous actions. of course, if one isolates it completely, it is easy to downgrade it as just a speech, but part of chain - which goes from the past to the future, instead of the other way round, it takes its consistency.

So when new elements appear, like this intervention or the speech of may 1941, a kind of reflex suddenly appear...The first one - even if it match with what was going on - is to be put into a timeless perspective, and doubts to be cast on the second, when a offensive plan appears on the 15th of the same months, it is dismissed because Jukov says so. Some even questioned if this speech had really been pronounced.

The same attitude with some question which should appear as obvious to anyone like : how can a State preparing itself for 12 years be not ready, or how can a Red Army disposing of thousands of modern tanks, technologically ahead of any competitor, can be supposed to have an outdated armament, is just beyond me.

And the list is endless: The Red Army had been crushed completely because of all those reasons, but by december 1941, it had 343 divisions and 98 brigades and around 4 million soldiers(GLANTZ, Barbarossa, p 192)... The USSR lacked transport capacity but managed to displace thousands of factory across huge distances, It lacked modern Aircraft but gained at least parity at the start of 1942, it was not ready for war but had an industry producing like 12.000 modern tanks a year (1941), twice that much in 1942... Basically, the USSR managed to do in 6 months under fire what it could not in 12 years.

The main issue is this disaster, and many BS have been proposed to explain it. BS which served as bases for the explanation of the former Soviet political actions. So in order to achieve that, one has to integrate annexation of nations, provinces and territories into a strange "defensive realpolitik" for whatever that means. Stalin having no reliable army, although the USSR dedicated like 30% of its GDP on it, could therefore had no invasion ambitions, the first ones being defensive by nature (again never heard before) and ending up seizing half of Europe, just the result of yet another opportunity offered by the circumstances...

Go figure...

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Re: One of the grand myths of World War II Soviet propaganda

Post by Balsamo » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:53 pm

sorry purely personal and selfish UP so i don't lose this thread...