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Was a German-Russo conflict inevitable?

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by PzJgr, Mar 4, 2002.

  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    We always hear about a war between Nazi Germany and the USSR being inevitable but really was it? The USSR was not massing troops on the border ready to invade German territory. Stalin was absolutely in shock over the invasion. The only areas remotely of interest to Stalin was the Balkan States. At that time, there was no instances of subversion on the Soviet's part to undermine and overthrow a government. It did invade Finland to gain some territory but paid a heavy price for it. Post WWII there are plenty of examples primarily because of the paranoia seeded by Barbarosa and by the distrust of the western powers. But, back then, USSR was not strong enough and in my believe did not plan on fighting Nazi Germany. What are your thoughts? Was this fight inevitable? Couldn't Germany survive without invading USSR disregarding Hitler's plan? Had Germany not invaded, what would the USSR have done?
     
  2. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    A week ago I would have said that war was eventually inevitable between those two. Now, I tend to favour the view that it was avoidable. Blame Kissinger for that, because reading his book is what altered my view. [​IMG]

    Germany was the only thing close to a friend that the Soviet Union had. War between the two was so unlikely, and brought about only by Hitler's mad desire for Lebensraum in the east.

    Stalin had no desire for a war at all. It would be wrong to say that Stalin was afraid of Germany, but he deeply respected it and treated it as an equal. He was well aware that victory in a war against Germany would be very hard to achieve, and impossible if Germany recieved aid from some quarter. Stalin apparently expected a German attack in 1942 at the earliest, and decided to wait and see until then, hoping to avoid it at the last moment by making concessions to Hitler.

    The Soviet Union certainly didn't want war in 1941 at any rate. The economic deals prove this if anything does, or Molotov's almost plaintive words upon recieving the declaration of war "Surely, we did not deserve this?".

    Stalin was a very patient man. He would have waited for Germany to be a lot weaker before trying something again. In fact, he would have probably turned his attentions further south or east, since it was impossible for him to make further gains in Europe with Germany so strong and guaranteeing Romania.

    In truth, Stalin not only had nothing to gain from a war with Germany with dubious outcome, he had everything to lose. His whole policy had been to drag the capitalist states into a war against each other which he hoped would drain them of their strength. He could not relish the prospect of a war against his only partner in the world which would definitely leave him weak, even if he won, to be picked apart by the capitalists at will.
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I have no real facts to back that up but my thoughts exactly. I would say the he was building up a defense force preparing for the worse but was not preparing for an attack on Germany. I can see him waiting for the outcome between Germany and the western allies and see how weak Germany became. I would agree that it was avoidable and beneficial for both not to attack each other.
     
  4. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Indeed, Stalin was more cautious than Hitler. He gave priority to his five years economic plans than rearment plans. He realised that his army was very bad prepared for a war in Finland in 1940 (becuase of his madness and paranoia), which was a very weak country. He could not imagine a war against a powerful country as Germany. But Georgi Zhukov and Simeon Timoschenko had advised Stalin several times that they should have made a preventive attack on Germany by the summer of 1942 or 1943 when USSR would have been strong enough.

    Let's say that USSR would have been strong enough and attacked Germany. It would have been extremly expensive for the Soviet Union, but it would not have been easy for Germany either, because Germany's officers were not very good in defensive tactics. Perhaps an exception was Wilhelm von Leeb or Erwin von Witzleben...
    But I do not know if Guderian would have done important things in a defensive way.

    Germany and USSR should have been at war because of the ideology. They were contradictory 100% and ezch one seeked to destroyed the other!
     
  5. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    Soviet attack on Germany

    1) Several years before Barbarossa(1935-36) the Soviets chose pre-emptive attack as their primary choice of defending the Rodina. Offense was taught with only a mention to defensive tactics in Soviet officer training academies. Equipment was designed to perform offensive manuevers, not defensive. Light, fast tanks built for the exploitation of breakthroughs(BT's, T-60's etc), the Air Force was supplied with a plethora of tactical bombers, but without decent fighters. In 1940 the Red Army was far more suited to "Blitzkrieg" than German units.

    2) In the summer of 1940 (after the fall of France) Stalin asked the General Staff of the Red Army to study what chance an attack on Germany in 1941 would have. The answer Stalin received was that any attack in the following year would be suicide. The report suggested that prior to an attack on Germany, a logistical supply infrastructure be constructed along with a large increase in the number of vehicle borne units, for rapid advance. The plan suggested a target date of summer 1944 for the attack, and outlined ways to reach the goals it had laid out.

    2)In the winter/spring of 1941 the Soviets started implementing the suggestions of the earlier report. Polish railways were converted to Soviet gauge rail. Surveying teams were sent out to plan new rail lines. New roads were built along with bridges capable of carrying tanks. More were being planned.

    3) In late March of 1941 Stalin was presented with another report. This one pointed out that the Red Army stood a good chance of a quick victory over Germany, if, and only if, the Germans attempted an invasion of the United Kingdom and put the bulk of the Wehrmacht in France.

    4) During April 1941 200,000+ more Soviets troops were moved to the German border.

    5) Almost every Soviet unit on the German border was issued reorganization orders in April and May. This reorganization was to transform the static units on the border, to rapid attack units, giving them more trucks and ridding them of heavier, antiquated eqiupment.

    Now.......
    What do you think the Soviets were doing?
     
  6. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Surely the clash of ideologies would have resulted in war? ALthough if you read 'Mein Kampf' Hitlers intentions in the East seem very clear.
     
  7. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    That is precisely what I said... :D
     
  8. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    imho, the clash was ineviable. They were the 2 most powerful nations in europe looking to expand thier borders. The only question was, would it be a war of aggressors, meaning both were looking for a titaninc struggle for european supremacy by launching offensives simultaniously, or a preventive war which one side would suprise the other to acheive dominace.
     
  9. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    I think both... :confused:
     
  10. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Good thread...
    I'd have to side with the war being inevitable idea, based on ideology. Stalin certainly seems to have been mixed on the idea. But Hitler apparently had no second thoughts- he hated Russia and the Bolsheviks, and I think this would have dictated his policy. Exactly like RedBaron says, Hitler had very clear plans for the East...
     
  11. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Stalin perfectly knew about the danger, however he trusted Hitler for a while and used this time to prepare the Soviet Union for the inevitable conflict. Marshalls Timoschenko and Zhúkov told Stalin that they should launch a warning attack on Germany by summer 1943... Stalin refused and we all know that the war came much earlier.
     
  12. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    True, Friedrich.
    Interesting is Stalin's denial early on. Not only did he ignore the warnings of his generals... The treaty he signed with Hitler dictated that Russia supply Germany with certian amounts of supplies, mainly grain I believe- the last shipment of these supplies crossed german borders as the panzers were rollign forward on barbarossa. And I'm sure you know of Stalin's retreat- barbarossa began on june 22- it was not until july 10 that Stalin re-organised his command structure and actually assumed command. One cannot entirely blame the russians for their tactical incompetence early on- because of their terror of Stalin, the only order they would give was simply to attack, or move forward.
     
  13. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    It was grain indeed, but also petrol was sold to Germany. And we cannot forget that there were military exchanges with the Soviet Union in decades 20s and 30s. It was not a cold relationship at all.
     
  14. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Correct Friedrich. Most of what I have read has Stalin in total shock at the unexpected attack. He really did not believe that Hitler would have attacked. After the signing of the Russo-Nazi pact, Stalin made comments to Hans Krebs of being friends forever. As a matter of fact, after hearing the rumours of war, Stalin actually increased the number of supply trains heading into Germany. There were reports of Germans going east and the supply trains heading west at the onset of Barbarossa. Perhaps Stalin was also mesmerized into thinking that Hitler was too busy with the West. I really do not think Stalin wanted to start a war with Germany but He did want to be ready for a war with Germany just in case.
     
  15. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Indeed. There is a comment of a British soldier to a Russian one: "Do you remember when the Germans were bombing London with Soviet petrol in their aeroplanes' tanks?" Or something like that...
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hi everybody!

    The situation of whether the russians were ready for an attack of germany in 6/1941 will remain a mystery unless the files that hopefully open one day tell us the truth. Anyway, we all make our own judgement by what we read and hear.

    I think Stalin knew that war was inevitable and probably was hoping that Germany would fight itself out and would have been an easy cake to eat for him. Just like Japan in 1945 as Russia declared war in 8/45 and caught some pice of land. There a files with plans for russian attack in 1942, but they probably are the kind of plans everybody is making for certainty. We´ll never know now.

    I do think it is funny that Stalin beleieved that Hitler sent troops to Poland so that British bombers coulnd´t hit them, as much as 3.5 million men! Even the russian search planes, of which germans kept shooting down, must have sent some message that there are loads of men around.I guess Stalin believed that his country is strong enough to hold germans back in every situation.

    here´s some funny things about the war.Did you know thet germans sold the pressing machine to russians in 1939, with which the soviets made the cover of T-34?? the germans thought it was useless!!

    Also as I have read the book on negotiations between Stalin and his generals after the winter war, it is obvious that russians found that the old tanks weren´t good enough and Stalin ordered T-34 to be mass produced since summer 1940. And T-34 was the tank that actually won the war, I think. So if Finland would have lost the winter war then T-34 would have been postponed and germany would have won the war, right? Actually, I am just playing with thoughts but isn´t it funny what sometimes comes up?

    Ok.Bye-bye
     
  17. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    HEY!Dont u dare say the finns shouldve lost the winter war! I see your new here, but youll come to realize that i am a strong finnish advocate.
    BTW, Welcome!
     
  18. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    That is an interesting idea though. If the Finns had lost the winter war, the weaknesses of russian armor might not have been clear to Stalin. And had Stalin not decided to speed up T-34 production, there might have been a significantly smaller number of T-34s produced early on. And the whole production program would have taken longer to get moving, with improvements potentially coming far more slowly.

    Interesting...
     
  19. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Suposse that Hitler do not attack the USSR but Stalin and that Stalin want to attack Germany. It would not have been a successful attack, even if it had occured in 1943 when the Red Army would have been more powerful.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    So sorry if it looks like my text says I wished the russians should have won the winterwar. Never in a million years,man!I am proud of the guys who beat the russians and I would myself fight to the end if someone tried to conquer our beautiful country!

    It´s just that there are coincidences that makes you wonder what would have happened if and if...If Russia would have taken Finland like the baltic countries with minimal damage then Stalin would not have had a meeting with the generals what should be changed and no T-34´s would have come up during operation barbarossa. That´s what I meant.
     

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