From left to right: head. Legal Department of the German Foreign Ministry Friedrich Gauss, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov during the signing of the pact. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Historians and publicists are still arguing about Stalin’s behavior on the verge of war. Why did he not heed the warnings of the Western powers and Soviet intelligence? Why to the last he held on to the illusion of an alliance with Germany and ordered the troops
“Do not give in to provocations”?
There were reports from Soviet intelligence about the upcoming German attack – from the famous Sorge, Olga Chekhova, the Schulze-Boysen group, and others.
There were warnings from foreign diplomats and politicians, from Churchill and Roosevelt. A lot of information about the preparation of the German offensive was received through various channels. Rumors about it circulated in Europe and America, were published in the press. Yes, and in the USSR they saw that the Nazis concentrated their divisions on the border.
Why didn’t Stalin react?
Misinformation or truth?
The problem is that everything is clear and understandable now. On June 22, 1941, the Wehrmacht launched an offensive. At the beginning of 1941, the picture was different.
So why did Stalin have to believe England?
British capital financed the Nazis, and from 1933 London directed Hitler to the war with Russia. That England consistently surrendered Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. That the British had, in effect, allowed the Germans to occupy Norway.
Trust the Americans?
The situation is no better. American capital also financed the Nazis and helped arm the Reich. Therefore, Stalin quite sensibly perceived the warnings of the British and Americans as an attempt to play off the Germans and Russians again, and at their expense to resolve the crisis of capitalism. And it was true.
Britain and the United States did their best to push Germany and the USSR against each other. The war between Russia and Germany was in full accordance with British and American interests.
There was no clarity in the intelligence data either.
In 1941 she reported not only the plans of the strike. The most varied and contradictory information flowed to Moscow from agents all over the world. The analytical department was still weak. I could not highlight the main thing, give a correct assessment, cut off the truth from misinformation and rumors.
The reports and rumors about the approaching war coincided with the information that came from Churchill. Therefore, they were treated with caution. It was suspected that this was part of a British information campaign aimed at pushing the Germans against the USSR.
Churchill also changed his testimony more than once: the timing of the attack changed, but the Germans did not attack everything.
Many knowledge – many sorrows
It is necessary to take into account one more important feature. Stalin was privy to many of the mysteries of history. He knew about the true background, preparation and goals of the First World War. How London managed to play off the Germans and the Russians. Destroy the Russian Empire.
Therefore, Stalin tried to avoid the mistakes of the tsarist government and Nicholas II. Avoid dragging Russia into a new world war, stay above the clash of capitalist predators.
Thus, Moscow managed to avoid the Japanese trap – a full-scale war in the Far East. Although England and the United States did their best to play off the Japanese and the Russians again, as in 1904.
If the tsarist government strictly and honestly adhered to the alliance with France and England, while the “allies” constantly betrayed us. That Stalin, seeing that the French and British are showing even more “flexibility” than on the eve and during the First World War, decided to reorient himself to Germany.
He did what Nicholas II could not – made an alliance with Berlin (this could save the Russian Empire, give it a chance to revolutionize “from above”). However, the Third Reich was very different from the Second (Prussian, monarchical line). Hitler was initially “sharpened” as a weapon against Russia. Therefore, the union was doomed to failure.
In the First World War, the events in the Balkans became the pretext for war. Our enemies used the traditional friendship between Russians and Serbs. Then the “world behind the scenes” managed to kill the Austrian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, by the hands of Serbian conspirators. In response, Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia. Russia stood up for Belgrade. Britain showed the Germans that it would remain neutral. Germany has declared war on Russia. And Europe flared up.
In 1941, a similar situation developed. Different parties fought for power in Belgrade. After the coup, the new government was frantically looking for someone to make friends with, and offered Moscow a treaty of friendship and non-aggression. Moscow was delighted, and the agreement was signed on April 5.
But when the German ambassador to the USSR Werner Schulenburg was notified of this, he was very alarmed (he was a supporter of an alliance with Russia and did not want a Russian-German war). He announced that the time was not right for this.
Indeed, on April 6, the Wehrmacht attacked Yugoslavia. As a result, the situation looked very similar to the summer of 1914. For provocation. Stalin did not intercede for Yugoslavia.
Trying to outplay the opponent
The Soviet leader also knew that from the very beginning there was a strong pro-Western wing in Berlin, which pushed Hitler to an offensive not against France and England, but against Russia. Many representatives of the German elite wanted an alliance with Britain directed against the USSR.
Soviet intelligence informed Stalin about the continuation of secret contacts between the German elite and the British. This convinced Stalin of the correctness of his own conclusions and of the hypocrisy of the Western powers. It was necessary to push Hitler to the right choice. Replay Western democracies and German Westernizers.
If the war cannot be avoided, so that it is almost impossible, then it can be postponed. Complete military programs. Wait until the major Western powers are defeated or weakened, enter the war at the right time and avoid heavy losses (as the United States did).
Stalin assumed that Hitler could be deceived, misled. That misinformation is being launched by the Americans and the British. Therefore, he made every effort to gain time, to postpone the war. I made various concessions.
So, in the spring of 1941, Germany suspended the execution of Soviet orders at its enterprises. And the USSR will continue to drive echelons with resources to the Reich. Even ahead of schedule. German assurances about the difficulties of wartime were “believed”.
The more frequent provocations of the German military at the border turned a blind eye. The question of a personal meeting between Stalin and Hitler was being worked out in order to dispel all misunderstandings.
Mission of Hess
On May 10, 1941, one of the Fuehrer’s deputies for the party, “Nazi number three” Rudolf Hess, flew to England. According to the official version, this was a personal initiative of Hess, who wanted to achieve reconciliation with England. He was a good pilot, he flew during the First World War. I was going to land at the estate of the Scottish Lord Hamilton, his friend, and begin negotiations. But he was allegedly mistaken and had to jump out with a parachute.
Hess was never in opposition to Hitler, was one of his most loyal associates. He knew about almost all the secrets of the Nazis, in particular, about the funding channels in the 1920s and early 1930s. He was also a hierarch of the secret society “Thule”, which studied secret sacred knowledge.
It is worth noting the role of the “black sun” in the history of the Reich and Hitler.
Hitler and his entourage believed in secret knowledge. A number of magicians and astrologers acted as consultants to the Nazis in all matters. In turn, the secret clubs and orders of the Reich were associated with Masonic structures in Western democracies. Occultists suggested to Hess that a secret alliance between England and Germany was inevitable.
However, Moscow had excellent agents in England, and learned a lot about this mission. It turned out that through Hess, Hitler was offered a secret alliance with London.
The British cabinet was afraid that the Reich would really take over England. War at sea and in the air will be intensified. Hitler will postpone plans for a war in the East. Will build a powerful fleet, especially the submarine.
After Greece and Yugoslavia, there will be Turkey, German divisions will appear in the Middle East, they will occupy Suez and Iraq. They will target Iran, where pro-German sentiments are strong, and then India. The Germans will occupy Gibraltar and destroy the British bases in the Mediterranean. In this case, the defeat of Britain is inevitable.
To push the Germans against the Russians again, the British played another provocation. Hitler was promised that while he was fighting the Russians, there would be no real second front. Only an imitation of an irreconcilable struggle.
What actually happened until 1944, when it became obvious to London and Washington that the Reich had lost to the Russians and it was time to share the skin of the German bear. Therefore, Hess was never released from prison, apparently, he was poisoned there. He knew a lot about the Reich, Hitler, his connections with Western democracies and his secret mission.
In Germany itself, seeing that the secret was not being respected, they renounced Hess and declared him mentally ill. The British edited the minutes of the negotiations with Hess and sent them to Moscow. Like, this is proof of Hitler’s meanness and his readiness to attack the USSR. It was assumed that Stalin would join the new Entente and prepare the army for war with Germany. It is possible that it will even deliver a preemptive blow to the Germans.
It was these facts that could be used to play off the Germans and the Russians again. Stalin learned this.
Thus, the provocation with Hess became further proof of the meanness of Britain. Increased Moscow’s distrust of information that came from London and Washington.
Moscow, as before, tried with all its might to postpone the outbreak of the war.
It is also necessary to remember about objective data.
Stalin knew that Germany was not ready for a long, difficult war. Joseph Vissarionovich had a better opinion of the Fuhrer, believed that he would not go on an adventure. Germany, its armed forces and economy were not ready for a war with the USSR.
However, Hitler made a fatal choice and bet on a blitzkrieg.