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Was Stalin about to invade Germany?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: June 07, 2012 
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Was Stalin about to invade Germany?




No, Josef Stalin wasn't … at least not in 1941. He had no illusions about how long he could count on the non-aggression pact to delay their inevitable confrontation, but he was hoping it had bought enough time to grab some strategically useful territory (eastern Poland, the Baltic states, part of the Karelian Isthmus and Moldavia) and upgrade the Red Army—whose shortcomings were made clear in the Winter War with Finland—before Adolf Hitler had finished with his activities in Western Europe. Hitler had always had the conquest and subjugation of the "inferior Slavic East" on his mind, and he was keen to attack before Stalin improved things. Only the unwelcome Balkan diversion spent bailing out Benito Mussolini in Greece (and eliminating a British threat from the south) prevented him from invading the Soviet Union sooner.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History




2 Responses to “Was Stalin about to invade Germany?”

  1. 1
    Bogdan says:

    Suvorov wrote some interesting books on that subject that might contradict you, Mr. Guttman. Of course, that doesn't make them necessarily true. Just a good read and a viable point of view.

  2. 2
    Marko says:

    Some authors had point it that the incorrect position of the soviet garrison in the south as a proof of the intentions of Stalin, the deployment was more offensive than defensive. I believe that is not unreasonable to think that Stalin thought that could invade in 1942 or as late as 1943 when its troops were all tune up as posible for the upcoming battle.

    The diversion in the Balkans as a cause of the late begining of Barbarossa is a myth, it´s more a consolation prize for the allied desastrous campaign. At most the only delay was the massive deploy of the Ju-52 in the operation Mercury that prevent its use in the deployment and logistics previous to the invasion.

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