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Stalin's Folly by Constantine Pleshakov

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  • Stalin's Folly by Constantine Pleshakov

    It appears this text has raised the claim, again, that Red Army deployments in 1941 were precursor to invasion of Nazi occupied Poland and that Hitler simply beat Stalin to the punch. I have read some reviews that state that Pleshakov, like Suvorov before him, is not supported by any real archival backing but the theory is more of a case of circumstantial evidence.

    How has this book been received by both professional historians in Russia and elsewhere?
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

  • #2
    Purist,

    This topic seems to come up time and again - and always seems to rest upon either a misreading of available documentation at best or no documentation at worst. I had a rather lengthy engagement with Exo about a year ago in which I provided translations from Soviet battle orders from the spring of 1941 - those same battle orders which are generally cited as providing evidence of a pre-emptive strike, but which actually disclose that Soviet plans presupposed an existing state of war, and did not comprise elements of a planned surprise attack.

    Originally Posted by Exorcist
    Hypothesis; Stalin planned to attack in the west to forestall a Nazi offensive. Time; early June, 1941.
    A report was written by People's Commissar of Defense, S. Timoshenko, and Chief of the General Staff, G. Zhukov, outlining a strategic plan in case of war with Germany and was sent to Stalin on 15 May 1941.

    Докладываю на Ваше рассмотрение соображения по плану стратегического развертывания Вооруженных сил Советского Союза на случай войны с Германией и ее союзниками.
    I am reporting for your consideration the details of a plan for the strategic deployment of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union in case of a war with Germany and her allies.

    Note: the report assumes a state of hostilities existing between the USSR and Germany.

    Чтобы предотвратить это [и разгромить немецкую армию], считаю необходимым ни в коем случае не давать инициативы действий Германскому командованию, упредить противника в развертывании и атаковать германскую армию в тот момент, когда она будет находиться в стадии развертывания и не успеет еще организовать фронт и взаимодействие родов войск.

    In order to forestall
    (a German attack) [and destroy the German Army], I consider it necessary in any case not to give the German command the initiative in operations, to hinder the deployment of the enemy and to attack the German Army at that moment when it is in the stage of deployment, not having the opportunity to organize a front and coordinate its forces.

    Note: The paragraph again assumes some state of obvious hostilities between Germany and the USSR and presumes that Germany will require some time to deploy its forces prior to launching an offensive. This does not support the claim that the Soviets intended to launch a "surprise" attack against Germany. The "forestalling" of a German attack, which you mention, must be considered in this light. It means beating Germany to the punch once a state of hostility has become known. This is in full accordance with the belief on the part of the Soviet Command that there would be some definite period of breakdown in relations or a declaration of war, prior to actual military operations.

    Originally Posted by
    Exorcist
    Method; Spoiling attacks in Poland, designed to cripple German offensive ability, and to possible "liberate" Poland. At the same time- the major blow falls on Romania, aimed at the only large oilfield accessible to Hitler.
    Incorrect. The exact opposite was the case.

    II. Первой стратегической целью действий войск Красной Армии поставить - разгром главных сил немецкой армии, развертываемых южнее Демблин, и выход к 30 дню операции на фронт Остроленка, р.Нарев, Лович, Лодзь,Крейцбург, Оппельн, Оломоуц. <Последующей стратегической целью иметь:наступлением из района Катовице в северном или северо-западном направлении разгромить крупные силы Центра и Северного крыла германского фронта и овладеть территорией бывшей Польши и Восточной Пруссии.
    Ближайшая задача - разгромить германскую армию восточнее р. Висла и на Краковском направлении, выйти на p.p. Наров, Висла и овладеть районом Катовице>, для чего:
    а) главный удар силами Юго-Западного фронта нанести в направлении
    Краков, Катовице, отрезая Германию от ее южных союзников;
    б) вспомогательный удар левым крылом Западного фронта нанести в на направлении Седлец, Демблин, с целью сковывания Варшавской группировки и содействия Юго-Западному фронту в разгроме Люблинской группировки противника;
    в) вести активную оборону против Финляндии, Восточной Пруссии, Венгрии и Румынии и быть готовыми к нанесению удара против Румынии при благоприятной обстановке.
    II. To propose that the first strategic goal of operations of the Red Army be the destruction of the main forces of the German Army deployed south of Demblin and to reach the line of Ostrolenka, Narew River, Lovicz, Lodz, Kreuzberg, Oppeln and Olomutz by the 30th day of the operation.
    <To have as the subsequent strategic goal: an offensive from the Katowice area in a northern or north-western direction to destroy the major forces of the Central and Northern wing of the German front and to take possession of Eastern Prussia and the former territories of Poland.

    The immediate task - to destroy the German Army east of the Vistula and in the Krakow sector, to reach the Vistula and Narew rivers and to seize the area around Katowice> for which:
    a) the main blow is to be carried out by the forces of the South-West Front in the direction of Krakow and Katowice, cutting Germany off from its southern allies;
    b) a supporting attack carried out by the left flank of the Western Front in the direction of Seydlitz and Demblin, with the goal of pinning down the [German] forces around Warsaw and assisting the South-West Front in destroying the enemy forces around Lublin;
    c) to conduct an active defense against Finland, East Prussia, Hungary and Rumania and to be prepared to launch a blow against Rumania under favourable circumstances.

    Originally Posted by Exorcist
    For the reasons already stated, cooler heads must have prevailed in Moscow, and Stalin had to drop his plans as being unrealistic. I will add to that the fact that the Germans wrapped things up in the Balkans with amazing speed and efficiency... and the poor weather in Russia itself at the time;
    Error in three parts.
    1. This was not Stalin's plan, but had been formulated instead by Timoshenko and Zhukov.
    2. This was not a plan for a surprise offensive against Germany requiring "cooler heads" to prevail against it. Instead, it was an elaborated plan for a preemptive strike against Germany "in case of war" which presumed Germany requiring some time to deploy its forces. See above.
    3. There is no evidence that this plan was ever considered to any extent by Stalin, nor is there any evidence that the quick German campaign in Greece upset these plans, as this plan was submitted to Stalin on 15 May 1941, while the campaign in Greece was effectively over at the end of April.

    As evidence that this plan was never given any real consideration is the fact that before 20 May 1941, [only 5 days after Timoshenko and Zhukov forwarded their report] the People's Commissar of Defense [Timoshenko] and the Chief of the General Staff [Zhukov] had sent detailed instructions to the Military Districts on the Western Front for the defense of the Western borders - not for an attack.

    I will cite report No. 503859 directed to the Western Special Military District.

    С целью прикрытия отмобилизования, сосредоточения и развертывания войск округа, к 20 мая 1941 г. лично Вам, с начальником штаба и начальником оперативного отдела штаба округа, разработать:
    а) детальный план обороны государственной границы от Канчиамиестис до оз.Свитез (иск.);
    б) детальный план противовоздушной обороны.
    /. Задачи обороны:
    1. Не допустить вторжения как наземного, так и воздушного противника на территорию округа.
    2. Упорной обороной укреплений по линии госграницы прочно прикрыть отмобилизование, сосредоточение и развертывание войск округа.
    3. Противовоздушной обороной и действиями авиации обеспечить нор-
    мальную работу железных дорог и сосредоточение войск.
    With the goal of protecting the mobilisation, concentration and deployment of the district's forces, you are to work out personally, along with the Chief of Staff and the Chief of the Operations Section of the District Staff, the following by 20 May 1941:
    a) a detailed plan of defense of the state frontier, from Kanchiamiestis up to but not including Lake Svites;
    b) a detailed plan for air defense.
    /. Defensive tasks:
    1.To prevent the intrusion of enemy ground and air forces into the district territory.
    2. The stubborn defense of fortifications along the line of the frontier to provide solid protection for the mobilisation, concentration and deployment of the district forces
    3. Air defense and aerial operations to ensure the normal working of the railroads and the concentration of forces.

    There is no mention in this document of Timoshenko and Zhukov's plan for a pre-emptive attack in case of war having been considered or rescinded.
    Originally Posted by Exorcist
    Most of the Mechanized units were able to be repositioned in a more defense-oriented manner, somewhat.... it seems that they may have been placed to do both, and succeeding at neither.
    There is no evidence that Soviet mechanized forces had been involved in any re-deployment in response to Timoshenko and Zhukov's plan which appears never to have been given serious consideration in the first place. Report No. 503859 - cited above - and Report No. 503862 directed to the Kiev Special Military District were both in accordance with the general Soviet plan of having the majority of the mechanized forces deployed behind the front to deal with any German breakthroughs and for launching a strategic counter-attack.

    2. В случае прорыва крупных межсоединений противника, на подготовленных рубежах обороны и в противотанковых районах, задержать и дезорганизовать его дальнейшее продвижение и концентрическими ударами мехкорпусов, совместно с авиацией, разгромить противника и ликвидировать прорыв.
    3. При благоприятных условиях быть готовым, по указанию Главного Ко
    мандования, нанести стремительные удары для разгрома группировок противника, перенесения боевых действий на его территорию и захвата выгодных рубежей.

    2.In case of a breakthrough on the part of major formations of the enemy against the prepared defensive lines and anti-tank sectors, that its further advance be delayed and disrupted and that the enemy be destroyed and the breakthrough eliminated by concentrated blows conducted by the mechanised forces in tandem with aerial attacks.
    3. To be prepared, upon favourable circumstances and under instructions from the Supreme Command, to launch swift attacks for the destruction of enemy formations, the shifting of military operations onto enemy territory and the seizing of advantageous positions.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for that Skoblin. It fits with information I have (but not in Russian). Do you have any take on what, if any, traction this latest version is gaining in Russia itself. I know that more archival access has been granted to Russian researchers in the past few years and that a number of texts in Russian have been published.

      This re-occurrance of the Suvorov-like theory can only add ammunition to the conspiracy crowd. Do you know of any peer reviews either supporting or countering Pleshakov's work?
      The Purist

      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Purist View Post
        Thanks for that Skoblin. It fits with information I have (but not in Russian). Do you have any take on what, if any, traction this latest version is gaining in Russia itself. I know that more archival access has been granted to Russian researchers in the past few years and that a number of texts in Russian have been published.

        This re-occurrance of the Suvorov-like theory can only add ammunition to the conspiracy crowd. Do you know of any peer reviews either supporting or countering Pleshakov's work?
        Purist,

        I can't say I know much about Pleshakov other than that he wrote a book about the Romanov's and teaches at a small college in the States. I did find a short review of his book on Stalin done by the London Sunday Times in which they remark...

        Operation Barbarossa has a vast literature and Constantine Pleshakov was ill-advised to subtitle his book The Secret History of the German Invasion of Russia. It is abreast of the latest Russian documentary publications, but there is nothing in his pages that amounts to a revelation.
        http://entertainment.timesonline.co....icle548451.ece

        As for the Suvorov theory, I know it has taken a drubbing in Russia and the reasons are not hard to find - the complete lack of any compelling documentary evidence other than an interpretation of certain circumstantial facts regarding Soviet deployment in 1941. The fact that the Sunday Times reviewer found it necessary to mention that Pleshakov's book contains nothing revelatory, should make it clear that this work is unlikely to stir the pot much - except among those conspiracy theorists who continue to cling to Suvorov's claims despite ample evidence to contrary.

        Comment


        • #5
          EDIT: It appears that the "documentary evidence" cited by Pleshakov comes from the anthology of documents contained in the book "1941 god" [The year 1941] which is the same book that I used as a source in my first post in this thread - and very likely the same main document. Hence, Pleshakov is apparently not providing any new information at all.

          Сегодня в России находится немало сторонников его точки зрения. В недавно вышедшей книге 'Сталинское безрассудство', рассчитанной скорее на широкого читателя, чем на научную аудиторию (так, в ней проводится параллель между Марксом и Стивеном Кингом (Stephen King)), молодой российский журналист Константин Плешаков [так в тексте. К.В. Плешаков - кандидат исторических и доктор политических наук, автор ряда научных трудов - прим. перев.] повторяет тот же тезис, утверждая, что у него есть новые данные в поддержку гипотезы о том, что Сталин планировал наступать, а не обороняться. Упомянутые им материалы - несколько проектов документа 'О принципах развертывания вооруженных сил СССР', относящихся к 1940 и 1941 г. - опубликованы и в сборнике '1941 год'.
          http://www.inosmi.ru/world/20050617/220368.html

          K. V. Pleshakov....asserts, that he has new information supporting the thesis that Stalin planned to attack, and not defend. The material mentioned by him - several drafts of a document entitled "Regarding the Principles of Deployment of the Armed Forces of the USSR", dated from 1940-1941 - was published in the collection "1941 god" [The year 1941].

          Comment


          • #6
            I think generally it's true. Stalin was not that stupid,he spent months reading Mein Kampf again and again he knew what Hilter intended and sought to delay war untill the Red Army was ready, (the myth that peacefull Stalin/USSR was betrayed and attacked by backstabbing Hilter: it's popaganda) it explains alot:the signing of the The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact turning Hilter to the attack the west and the occupation of Poland/other states putting USSR in a better strategically positon.
            A great opportunity to ensure that Germany and UK/France spend a couple of years fighting each other in the west, weaking themselves especially Germany! Who would of thought the Wermacht would defeat the allies in the Battle for France in less than 2 months!! certainly not Stalin!
            Giving him time to reorganize/increase the Red Army (especially after the Winter War) to increase the production of tanks(T34) and aircaft.
            Then attacking Germany when ready in the ass! if it was still fighting in the west againist France/UK. Bringing the revolution to Germany and adding it to the World Republic (USSR) which was the original plan of the Bolshevik's (the Russian civil war/Polish Soviet really the same one) after the revolution. All new territory was axed into the USSR.

            Someother things: the large number of paratroopers, the large number of BT series of tanks (road tank, large range), the 5 year plan increase of the military.
            the destruction of the main defensive line and the moving of the Red Army/Airforce to large concentration's further west.
            Stalin reaction to the warning's of an attack in 1941, dismissing them not wanting to believe that his whole strategy for the last 2 years regarding Hilter was a failure (not going to war untill USSR was ready/France surrendered!) and his major depression after the attack!
            Hilter got there first the Red Army wouldn't have been ready untill 1942 at the earliest!

            Put simply: playing both sides against the middle!, getting your enemies to fight eachother and then kicking the crap out of them when they have weakened themselves.
            Stalin was a panariod devious fr
            Last edited by Tealo; 02 Nov 10, 02:02.
            • 'If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.' Sun Tzu

            Definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself" by Ibn Khaldun

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tealo View Post
              I think generally it's true. Stalin was not that stupid,he spent months reading Mein Kampf again and again he knew what Hilter intended and sought to delay war untill the Red Army was ready, (the myth that peacefull Stalin/USSR was betrayed and attacked by backstabbing Hilter: it's popaganda) it explains alot:the signing of the The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact turning Hilter to the attack the west and the occupation of Poland/other states putting USSR in a better strategically positon.
              A great opportunity to ensure that Germany and UK/France spend a couple of years fighting each other in the west, weaking themselves especially Germany! Who would of thought the Wermacht would defeat the allies in the Battle for France in less than 2 months!! certainly not Stalin!
              Giving him time to reorganize/increase the Red Army (especially after the Winter War) to increase the production of tanks(T34) and aircaft.
              Then attacking Germany when ready in the ass! if it was still fighting in the west againist France/UK. Bringing the revolution to Germany and adding it to the World Republic (USSR) which was the original plan of the Bolshevik's (the Russian civil war/Polish Soviet really the same one) after the revolution. All new territory was axed into the USSR.

              Someother things: the large number of paratroopers, the large number of BT series of tanks (road tank, large range), the 5 year plan increase of the military.
              the destruction of the main defensive line and the moving of the Red Army/Airforce to large concentration's further west.
              Stalin reaction to the warning's of an attack in 1941, dismissing them not wanting to believe that his whole strategy for the last 2 years regarding Hilter was a failure (not going to war untill USSR was ready/France surrendered!) and his major depression after the attack!
              Hilter got there first the Red Army wouldn't have been ready untill 1942 at the earliest!

              Put simply: playing both sides against the middle!, getting your enemies to fight eachother and then kicking the crap out of them when they have weakened themselves.
              Stalin was a panariod devious fr
              The fact remains: unless you can point to some documentary evidence, this remains mere conjecture. Despite the opening up of the Kremlin archives, and the work done by Международный фонд "Демократия" [International Archive "Democracy"] - which can hardly be considered a pro-Stalinist or pro-Communist organisation - there has been no evidence ever brought forth in support of the thesis that Stalin planned any attack upon either Germany in particular or Europe in General. In fact, almost all documentary evidence shows that Stalin's main strategy was defensive, based upon the establishment of a buffer zone between him and Germany.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes he did during and after the Russian Revolution/Civil War/Polish Soviet War.
                The 'Socialism in one country' was mostly due to the defeat at the battle of Warsaw/Polish Soviet War. Lenin/Stalin being the paranoid/devious Bd and being realistic saw that the new Workers World Republic hadn't a chance in hell in taking Poland lat alone Germany. Plus the continued involvement of the Allies in the USSR had to end somehow. (another Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact scenario). Demonstration of realpolitik! worked then not with Hilter. I doubt he ever believed in Socialism in one country it was just politics being politics.

                Two things: "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State."
                The USSR was never meant to be a country but a collection/alliance (policital,economic,military) made of Soviet Republics, according to the Soviet Constitution all Soviet Republics had the right to leave (this wasn't used until Yeltsin used it to break up the USSR)
                Last edited by Tealo; 02 Nov 10, 06:48.
                • 'If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.' Sun Tzu

                Definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself" by Ibn Khaldun

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tealo View Post
                  Yes he did during and after the Russian Revolution/Civil War/Polish Soviet War.
                  The 'Socialism in one country' was mostly due to the defeat at the battle of Warsaw/Polish Soviet War. Lenin/Stalin being the paranoid/devious Bd and being realistic saw that the new World Republic hadn't a chance in hell in taking Poland lat alone Germany. Plus the continued involvement of the Allies in the USSR had to end somehow. (another Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact scenario). Demonstration of realpolitik! worked then not with Hilter. I doubt he ever believed in Socialism in one country it was just politics being politics.

                  Two things: "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State."
                  The USSR was never meant to be a country but a collection/alliance (policital,economic,military) made of Soviet Republics, according to the Soviet Constitution all Soviet Republics had the right to leave (this wasn't used until Yeltsin used it to break up the USSR)
                  First, the Polish-Soviet War of 1920-1921 was initiated by Poland, not the USSR.
                  Second, Stalin was not the leader of the USSR at this time, Lenin was, and the main proponents of carrying the war forward to Warsaw and beyond were Bukharin, Trotsky and other members of the Bolshevik left - not Stalin.
                  Third, regardless of what the actual ideology of Bolshevik Communism advocated, in practice - and in Stalin's hands - World Revolution was not on the table. How else to explain his constant willingness to sacrifice Communist movements in other countries when they conflicted with his idea of what was necessary for obtaining the security of the USSR?

                  Back to the main topic. What separates true historians from charlatans like Suvorov is the use of documentary evidence to support argument and claims. There has been a tremendous amount of publication of formerly secret documents held in the Soviet archives. I, myself, have 10 volumes of documents published by the International Fund "Democracy" dealing with activities of the NKVD, the Cheka, Soviet policies regarding minorities, repression of intellectuals and military policies. None have ever included any document showing any plan on the part of Stalin to attack Germany in 1941 or any other year. Suvorov's [and Pleshakov's] claims are based almost entirely upon a misreading of the document I cited in my first post in this thread, and assumptions made upon where Soviet forces were deployed on the eve of the war (close to the USSR border) and the types of military equipment (flying tanks and paratroopers) that the Soviets had experimented with. By this same logic, Poland was planning to attack Germany in 1939 as the bulk of the Polish Army was located near the border, and Britain and France were planning an aggressive war, since the British had submarines and the French had heavy tanks.
                  Last edited by Skoblin; 02 Nov 10, 07:01.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    But not the general aim of the Russian Revolution/Bolsheviks or Comintern (why I included Lenin) history is about the day or years before not just what happened on a specific date, admittedly they really are Stretching things (but maybe not Stalin Motivation! and his train of thought on what he was trying to do) just that keeping this in mind some actions of the USSR at the time makes abit more sense! just an assumption I admit shame he didn't keep a set of private diaries which could been discovered and then published!

                    (The Revolution Betrayed/The First Five Years of the Communist International, Volume 1 and 2 by Trotsky is amust read to understand the history/background of the period in regards to USSR)

                    Stalin was a firm believer in doing what was the most expedient method of solving a problem (loyalty=gulag or death, fear of being replaced=NKVD/Cheka (what people are upto?) see first one, achieving socailism in industrial/agriculture (increasing production?) no need to explain that one, and takin advantage of a political situation on domestic and international fronts!

                    Heve you heard of the Polish Soviet Socialist Republic?
                    Last edited by Tealo; 02 Nov 10, 10:11.
                    • 'If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.' Sun Tzu

                    Definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself" by Ibn Khaldun

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tealo what does any of this have to do with the issue at hand? You have not posted any evidence, skoblin has!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by skoblin View Post
                        ...Back to the main topic. What separates true historians from charlatans like Suvorov is the use of documentary evidence to support argument and claims. There has been a tremendous amount of publication of formerly secret documents held in the Soviet archives. I, myself, have 10 volumes of documents published by the International Fund "Democracy" dealing with activities of the NKVD, the Cheka, Soviet policies regarding minorities, repression of intellectuals and military policies. None have ever included any document showing any plan on the part of Stalin to attack Germany in 1941 or any other year. Suvorov's [and Pleshakov's] claims are based almost entirely upon a misreading of the document I cited in my first post in this thread, and assumptions made upon where Soviet forces were deployed on the eve of the war (close to the USSR border) and the types of military equipment (flying tanks and paratroopers) that the Soviets had experimented with. By this same logic, Poland was planning to attack Germany in 1939 as the bulk of the Polish Army was located near the border, and Britain and France were planning an aggressive war, since the British had submarines and the French had heavy tanks.
                        Thanks again, Skob.

                        The response I got from posting the text of tje orders to the Western Mlitary district was that the counterattack orders could easily have changed to an attack order with the strioke of a pen. While I am sure they could be I would also want to see evidence that there was intent to do so. Of course, the other side in the debate would not be able to provide any but that's nothing new.

                        Excellent information. I appreciate the assistance.
                        The Purist

                        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes I have and I admit the actual evidence of this is bit scetchy (in regards to the book!!) what remains of the records (wouldn't be the first time certian papers get destroyed by a government cause it a bit Embarrassing/Writing history)
                          Just it makes a bit more sense the actions of Stalin, preattack on the USSR.
                          • 'If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.' Sun Tzu

                          Definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself" by Ibn Khaldun

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tealo View Post
                            Yes I have and I admit the actual evidence of this is bit scetchy (in regards to the book!!) what remains of the records (wouldn't be the first time certian papers get destroyed by a government cause it a bit Embarrassing/Writing history)
                            Just it makes a bit more sense the actions of Stalin, preattack on the USSR.
                            Sketchy? Non-existent, barring the document cited, taken out of context. It is not a tenable thesis. Asserting that there is no evidence "because someone must have destroyed it" is a cop-out, and wouldn't even get you a D on a paper.

                            Moreover, you have things all mixed up and no coherent timeline. "Socialism in One Country" was a reversal of Communist doctrine that came about after the XVII Congress in the mid-30s, after the collapse of revolutionary movements in Germany and elsewhere. The country was in the midst of a huge building program as part of the first Five Year Plans, Trotsky and the other Internationalists been exiled or murdered, and Stalin, who had never paid more than lip service to World Revolution, had turned to a domestic agenda. It had NOTHING to do with Poland, and was some fifteen years after the Russo-Polish War.

                            You comment about the Molotov-Ribbentrop 'improving' the defensive position of the USSR by providing for the incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldavia, Bessarabia, etc is quite mistaken. In point of fact, there was a well-engineered fortification system along the 1939 border that was left far in the rear area (The Stalin Line) and had the weaponry removed for use elsewhere. NKVD construction battalions were supposedly building new fortifications and airfields, but the work was far from complete when the Germans attacked. One of the primary reasons the Red Air Force was all but annihilated on the first day was the fact that there were only a handful of airfields, they were crammed with aircraft, and very little had been done in the way of dispersal pits, hangars, or anti-aircraft defenses. The situation with fortifications was similar.

                            It is important to remember that western perceptions of the USSR is rather greatly tainted by sixty years or myth and propaganda in which all manner of evil is ascribed to the regime. Stalin was not a nice man, there is no doubt. He was cunning and ruthless, but he had a finite agenda that did NOT include invading Europe, not in 1935, not in 1939, not in 1945, not in 1950. He was determined to recover territory that had been part of the Russian Empire before World War One, which included the Baltic States, Finland, and parts of Romania and Hungary, but other than that the USSR was very much defensive, during the 1930s and in the decades after the GPW.

                            Scott Fraser
                            Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                            A contentedly cantankerous old fart

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                            • #15
                              You forgot Poland, in regards to invading the rest of Europe and taking control of it (Eastern Bloc). isn't that what he did?
                              • 'If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.' Sun Tzu

                              Definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself" by Ibn Khaldun

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