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  • Soviet strategy pre Barbarossa

    Hi

    I happened to get into a heated discussion regarding Soviet strategy prior to world war II. With the war against Finland and Poland and the ocupation of Baltic states and Bessarabia, that many regards as evidence of communist aggression(the arguments that were thrown at me, not my words) and Stalins will to spread communism

    My main point in the discussion was that even if we in the west tend to regards Stalin prior to the German invasion as an aggressor, I believe that Stalin had an defensive strategic vision, meaning that he was aggressive to the border nations to create better defenses for Soviet, but he didn't have an agenda of expanding communism abroad. I believe Stalin had an defensive strategic vision meaning that he was more concerned with defending his position and Soviet rather than expand communism and start "world revolution". Of course when I wrote this I was immediately accused of being a communist and apologetic of Stalin.

    But my main point is that we in the west tended to regard Stalin/Soviet as an aggressor that wanted to expand communism when that was not the case.

    Anybody has an opinion on this subject?

    And pleas can we refrain from accusing people of being communist and apologetic to Stalin, I'm just tying to have an discussion about how there strategic visions, nothing else.

  • #2
    I belive he was interested in re-capturing the lost parts of the Russian Empire.
    Wisdom is personal

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Karri View Post
      I belive he was interested in re-capturing the lost parts of the Russian Empire.
      That too, which of course would help defensively speaking.

      Comment


      • #4
        That was also an argument I made. When Soviet captured several countries directly after the end of the civil war they did that because they saw them self as the rightfully owner of those lands, and in their mind they were just reclaiming what was rightfully belonging to them, of course I was again accused of being communist and a Stalin fan.

        But I tend to think that it fitted better in the western world view that the Russians were coming and they were communist, when the fact was that the Russians were thinking that western world wanted to invade them. And in there fear of each other they created monsters that self-fulfilled thees prophecy.

        Comment


        • #5
          Here is the Russian opinion.

          By 1939 it was obviously seen that the world had been before a new large war.

          And the main threat was from Germany and Japan.

          So many territories could be considered areas for battles and sources of manpower, resources, industry for one of the sides.

          Before the gun fired both sides tried to reinforce their position with any methods.

          1. The main reason for the war against Finland was to move further from Leningrad the Soviet-Finnish border which was only 30 km from Leningrad which was the second important city in the USSR. From the line of the old border it was in the fire range of field artillery!!!

          So the Soviets offered to Finland to move the border from Leningrad and to pass a twice larger part of Soviet territory instead that piece of Finnish land.

          2. The Eastern Poland was an ancient Russian land (called Western Byelorussia and Western Ukraine) lost in the result of Soviet-Polish War of 1920-21. The USSR entered there its troops in September 1939 when the organized resistance in Poland finished (its government run away from Poland) and the alone other version of future of those territories was German occupation. A few months later those territories could be used as a forward position of Viermacht.

          3. Moldova - I don't remember exactly but as i remember it also was a part of Russian empire befire WWI.

          4. The Baltic Countries/ The question was that theu would join to the USSR or Germany - and there was no any other choice.

          It was too large territory in a very important place nearly of Leningrad, it contained a few important naval bases of the Baltic Sea to stay neutral in the Large War.

          It was also a part of Russian Empire before WWI.

          IN CONCLUSION:

          How many kilometers stayed between the Germans and Moscow, Leningrad outskirts in 1941, Volga coast in Stalingrad, the oil areas in Baku in the Caucasus in 1942 when the Germans were stopped by Red Army?

          The were stopped a few kilometers or a few dozen kilometers from their targets.

          So what would happen if the Germans would begin their advance in 1941 from the position a few hunder kilometers to east than it was in reality????

          EDIT: I can add a few other examples which were not related to the USSR

          1940 - the Royal Navy attacked the Fremch Naval Forces in the Oran Naval Base
          1940 - the Royal Navy entered in the coast waters of neutral Norway to capture Norwegian Narvik.
          1941 - British troops captured Madagaskar, French territory
          1941(?) - the US and British troops captured Iceland.

          The Soviet actions in 1939-40 were not worse than the above actions of the US and Britain...

          Comment


          • #6
            Another point also people miss is that Soviet had no reason to trust the western powers that has intervened in Russia during the civil war and supported the Bolsheviks enemies.

            The problem is that when they write history books in the west they are not even interested in listing to the Russian point of view, they don't have to agree, but at least they should make the effort to listen to the Russians.

            But if you say this thing you are always accused of being a communist.

            It another version of Godwind's law.

            But I have to point out that the Narvik operation had the support of the Norwegians, it was the mining of Norwegian waters before the invasion that was the breach of the country's sovereignty
            Last edited by Hippo; 29 Jul 11, 04:44.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hippo View Post
              Another point also people miss is that Soviet had no reason to trust the western powers that has intervened in Russia during the civil war and supported the Bolsheviks enemies.

              The problem is that when they write history books in the west they are not even interested in listing to the Russian point of view, they don't have to agree, but at least they should make the effort to listen to the Russians.

              But if you say this thing you are always accused of being a communist.

              It another version of Godwind's law.

              But I have to point out that the Narvik operation had the support of the Norwegians, it was the mining of Norwegian waters before the invasion that was the breach of the country's sovereignty
              Denmark gave Iceland and Greenland to the UK after they were invaded by Germany. The UK than transferred them to the U.S. to free up troops that were needed elsewhere.
              Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                Here is the Russian opinion.

                By 1939 it was obviously seen that the world had been before a new large war.

                And the main threat was from Germany and Japan.

                So many territories could be considered areas for battles and sources of manpower, resources, industry for one of the sides.

                Before the gun fired both sides tried to reinforce their position with any methods.

                1. The main reason for the war against Finland was to move further from Leningrad the Soviet-Finnish border which was only 30 km from Leningrad which was the second important city in the USSR. From the line of the old border it was in the fire range of field artillery!!!

                So the Soviets offered to Finland to move the border from Leningrad and to pass a twice larger part of Soviet territory instead that piece of Finnish land.
                It is highly unlikely (bordering on the impossible) that Finland would have ever attacked the USSR as happened in the continuation war if the USSR had left them alone in the first place.
                Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                  IN CONCLUSION:

                  How many kilometers stayed between the Germans and Moscow, Leningrad outskirts in 1941, Volga coast in Stalingrad, the oil areas in Baku in the Caucasus in 1942 when the Germans were stopped by Red Army?

                  The were stopped a few kilometers or a few dozen kilometers from their targets.

                  So what would happen if the Germans would begin their advance in 1941 from the position a few hunder kilometers to east than it was in reality????

                  Though a good counter-argument would be that wihthout Molotov-Ribbentrop pact such a 'zone' would not be needed...it does not apply to Leningra and Finland in the first place at all, since finns never shelled the city anyways(and AFAIK did not have any artillery with 30km range that would even be able to do so).
                  Last edited by Karri; 29 Jul 11, 06:30.
                  Wisdom is personal

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tsar View Post
                    It is highly unlikely (bordering on the impossible) that Finland would have ever attacked the USSR as happened in the continuation war if the USSR had left them alone in the first place.
                    True enough, and even in the "Continuation War" it will be noted that Finnish forces did not take an active role in the siege of Leningrad.

                    As for the situation prior to the onset of the "Winter War", I believe that Mannerheim himself advocated an adjustment to the border on the Karelian isthmus, plus the ceding of islands in the Gulf of Finland, to allay Russian fears for the security of Russia's second city.
                    "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                    Samuel Johnson.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hippo View Post
                      Another point also people miss is that Soviet had no reason to trust the western powers that has intervened in Russia during the civil war and supported the Bolsheviks enemies.

                      The problem is that when they write history books in the west they are not even interested in listing to the Russian point of view, they don't have to agree, but at least they should make the effort to listen to the Russians.

                      But if you say this thing you are always accused of being a communist.

                      It another version of Godwind's law.

                      But I have to point out that the Narvik operation had the support of the Norwegians, it was the mining of Norwegian waters before the invasion that was the breach of the country's sovereignty
                      I can agree that the Soviet Union had no reason to trust the west after their intervention during the Russian Civil War.

                      That said, I think that your accusation that history books published in "the West" make no mention of Russian heroism and sacrifice in The Patriotic War is quite unfounded, and borders upon paranoia.

                      Would you care to cite an example ?

                      There are certainly differences in emphasis. For example ,would a Russian readership be interested in the conflict in New Guinea between Australian forces and the Japanese invader ?

                      Probably not:- and I can assure you that would not be accused of being a Communist if you displayed such a lack of interest.
                      Last edited by BELGRAVE; 29 Jul 11, 07:03.
                      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                      Samuel Johnson.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I didn't write that they don't mention the sacrifice, did I?

                        The problem is that when they write history books in the west they are not even interested in listing to the Russian point of view, they don't have to agree, but at least they should make the effort to listen to the Russians.
                        I wrote that they don't mention that Russia had no reason to trust the western powers in regard to Hitler, and there is lack of will to understand the Russian point of view.

                        People are right that Finland had no aggressive intention towards Russia. But I belive (I'm not using any sources to back this up), but Soviet/Stalin viewed Finland with distruss because the Finnish civil war had ended with a victory for the white side.

                        Yes Stalin was paranoid and didn't trust anybody, but the white side in Finland had also masacred severla communist after/during the civil war (yes the red side did aslo kill people) and Finland had a quasi-facist movment (the Lapua movment). I think with this information Stalin viewd Finland with distrust, even if Finland was not goint to atack Russia.

                        Finns are a very peaceful people unless they win the world champinship in hockey or the Eurovision song contest.

                        With that said of course it was wrong to atack Finland, and I'm not trying to justifie Stalin/Soviets actions, but trying to understand them in a historical context.

                        Regarding New Guinea.
                        I don't want to be condescending, but there is a large difference in so many aspect between the eastern front and the battles in New Guinea, and last time I checked there were now communists involved in New Guinea, so I don't think anybody Is going to accuse you of being a commie if you want to talk about Australia's involvement in the battle of New Guinea, maybe calling you convict lover or something like that (how do you insult the Australians?).

                        I'm not Russian but there is probably some Russians that are interested in Austrailias involvement in wwII.
                        Last edited by Hippo; 29 Jul 11, 07:44.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hippo View Post
                          With that said of course it was wrong to atack Finland, and I'm not trying to justifie Stalin/Soviets actions, but trying to understand them in a historical context.
                          You already understand them, you explained them yourself.

                          Originally posted by Hippo View Post
                          Stalin was paranoid and didn't trust anybody
                          Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Actually, I am not sure Stalin was paranoid. Somehow Stalin have become synonymous with paranoia, but if you look at it this way. The USSR was invaded by a number of "Western" countries, Germany, Italy etc. And Stalin was murdered. If the USSR had been neutral throughout the war, there was no "traitors" within the USSR wanting to overthrow him or gain independence for some region and He died of old age. Then I would agree that he was paranoid. However history showed his paranoia was quite real, real enough to eventually kill him. So is it then really paranoia?
                            “For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy.”

                            Max Sterner

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Erkki View Post
                              Actually, I am not sure Stalin was paranoid. Somehow Stalin have become synonymous with paranoia, but if you look at it this way. The USSR was invaded by a number of "Western" countries, Germany, Italy etc. And Stalin was murdered. If the USSR had been neutral throughout the war, there was no "traitors" within the USSR wanting to overthrow him or gain independence for some region and He died of old age. Then I would agree that he was paranoid. However history showed his paranoia was quite real, real enough to eventually kill him. So is it then really paranoia?
                              He slaughtered the army leadership, as well as many intellectuals because he didn’t trust them and believed that they were working to overthrow him and the party. Sounds paranoid to me.
                              Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

                              Comment

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