WAS SOVIET RUSSIA SO DUMB IN 1941?
The partial removal of the deep cover of censorship from Russian military and state archives for a period of just five years, between the collapse of the Communist Soviet Union in 1991 and the gradual recovery of conservative nationalism in the Russian government, marked, for example, by the rise to power of Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer. This gap of five years of relative openness was used by historians to access previously closed archives and reach documents which provide previously unavailable proofs.
The results from the studies were astonishing.
Stalin was not the naive fool who hoped Hitler would not attack Russia.
There was a long term Soviet plan of dominating Europe.
Under Stalin's dictatorship, Russia's military, industrial, domestic, and diplomatic preparations for a second World War were of greater magnitude. Furthermore, in August 1939 Stalin was in a position in which he could prevent Hitler's invasion of Poland, the invasion that started World War 2, and he knew it well and said so. But at that decisive point in history, instead of preventing war, Stalin did the opposite. He cleared the way and provided guarantees for Hitler to invade, after he knew for sure that this will start a war not just in Poland but also in Western Europe, a war that the Communist ideology expected, planned and prepared for, and desired. Then, with Germany at war with Britain and France, Stalin's Russia moved to the 2nd phase of its long term preparations. Russia moved to a maximum effort war regime in which it enormously expanded its military force and military production rates, expanded its territory westwards, by force, which also gave it a long common border with Germany, and finally in 1941 began to mobilize millions and transferred its enormous attack-oriented forces to the German and Romanian borders, and prepared to enter the European war in a gigantic attack that would:
1. Immediately cut Germany's main source of oil in Ploesti, in southern Romania, just about 120 miles from the Russian border, in order to paralyze Hitler's armed forces for lack of oil (as eventually happened in 1944).
2. Defeat the exhausted Germany and its allies across the entire front from the Finland in the North to the Black Sea in the South - a mirror image of the German attack that eventually started in June 22, 1941.
3. Continue with the Communist "liberation" of the entire Europe, by advancing all the way first to Germany, then to France, and Spain, bringing all of Europe under the brutal totalitarian regime which the Russian people already "enjoyed" then, that made Russia one big prison with countless prisons in it.
THE SOVIET PLAN TO CONQUER EUROPE
The plan to invade Germany and conquer all of Europe in the name of Communism's expansionist ideology, is likely the greatest secret of World War 2 that remains officially Top Secret. The Communist Empire kept that secret for five decades, preferring to appear peaceful and militarily incapable, even dumb, than to appear as the aggressive expansionist "Evil Empire" that it always was. And modern Russia, nationalist but no longer Communist, understandably might never officially admit that either, although key evidence slipped out of their control.
Some key details :
* Expansionist Ideology - While Hitler's Nazi ideology publicly officially and repeatedly declared since the 1920s that its goal is nothing short of global domination by force, the Communist Soviet Union declared the goal of global conquest by force, but it started even earlier. The Soviet Red Army's official defining goal is the same. Not national defense but rather global conquest by aggressive global war to bring Communism to power everywhere.
* Although they were natural enemies for centuries and fought each other so many times, including in the first World War, the Communist Russia made an allegedly irrational secret deal with post-WWI Germany in 1922, even before Hitler's era, in which in return for secretly providing nothing more than training grounds and facilities for the German military to keep its shape and further develop advanced military technology and tactics in total violation of the peace treaty imposed by the western countries, Russia in return got direct access to the best and latest tactics and military technologies of its most capable past and future enemy, the German military, which was indeed the most efficient and most technologically advanced military force in the world then. The mutual strategic interest of the two enemies created a secret deal that enabled a dramatic improvement of Russian military doctrines and technology, and supported a recovery of German military power after WWI, which was later turned against the western powers, as Communism predicted and wanted.
* Since 1931, despite its bad economic situation, Russia increased its military industry potential to that of a super-power. Masked as public sports, it trained ten of millions of men in expensive state-paid military 'sports' like parachuting, gliding, flying, weapons training, and other 'sports'. Participation was initially voluntary, and then became mandatory. By 1935 Russia had 140,000 glider pilots, and in Dec. 1936 the government's youth newspaper called for training 150,000 aircraft pilots, all state-paid and of course quite expensive. By 1941 there were 121,000 'civilian sports'-trained pilots. The other pilots were of course trained, and then mass-trained, by the Russian Air Force. The number of flight schools in the Russian Air Force increased to 12 in 1937, to 18 in January 1940, to 28 in Sept. 1940, and to 41 in early 1941. Russia trained military and para-military pilots and paratroopers at an enormous cost and at an incredible rate which even dramatically increased in 1939 and then even further in 1940, far beyond any reasonable defensive need. In 1941 the Russians had a million trained military paratroopers, a fantastic number, suitable only for a gigantic war of aggression, not for defending Russia as plain infantry. Tens of millions were 'just' trained in the cheaper 'sport' of weapons training. By June 1941, after more than doubling the manpower of the regular military, Russia had an additional reserve military force of 29 million already trained soldiers.
* In August 1939, Stalin had secret negotiations with Germany and, seperately, with Britain and France. On one hand, Hitler told Stalin he was going to attack Poland and needed to know whether Russia will allow it (or even participate) or will it fight against it. On the other hand, Britain and France assured Stalin that if Hitler will invade their ally Poland they will declare war against Hitler. Knowing that, and knowing that Hitler did not believe in Britain's and France's resolution to defend Poland, Stalin gladly promised his support to Hitler. It is true that due to the 'weakness' of the French and British proposals, Russia had strong reasons to choose to make the deal with Hitler as it did, but historians now have the proof that Russia made the deal with Hitler with explicit intention and knowledge that this will start a European war that will first exhaust Germany France and Britain and then the fully prepared Russia will attack Germany and will occupy all of Europe. Stalin clearly explained all that to his government in a meeting on Aug. 19, 1939, in which he told them exactly why Russia is going to sign (four days later) the deal with Hitler's Germany, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, that cleared the way for Hitler to start World War 2.
* Between August 1939 and June 1941, when Germany was at war in the West, Russia devoted all its resources to prepare for war with Germany. In that period the regular Russian army expanded from 2,000,000 soldiers to 5,500,000 soldiers, and many millions more were given military training in order to be called as ready reserves once the war starts. In fact, between Aug. 1939 and June 1941, the Russian army expanded and moved towards the western border from remote inland regions at such rate that the German intelligence simply could not keep track of it, and was therefore terribly wrong in its estimates of the size of the Russian force it was about to attack.
* The Russian military industry, that was already enormous, switched, in January 1939!, to an extreme wartime regime, and produced vast quantities of tanks, aircraft, and particularly vast stockpiles of ammunition, so much that there was a separate government minister for ammunition production beside the minister of military industry. Work hours increased. In June 1940 the entire country switched to seven days of work per week, then work hours increased too, initially to 10 hours per day, then to 12 hours per day, and since mid 1940 the penalty for any failure to provide the requested quotas or product quality, or even just being late for work, was years in prison. This wartime work regime was so extreme that later, even in the worst days of the war, there was no need to add to it, since Russia was already making its maximum war effort since before Hitler invaded. The Russian army's General Staff also worked since 1940 around the clock, preparing for war like mad, although Russia was still allegedly with excellent relations with Germany. Since Feb. 1941, under Zhukov, the Russian army General Staff and units' staffs worked 15 to 17 hours per day, seven days per week, preparing for war.
* The military production and mobilization effort in Russia since January 1939 was so extreme that it could not be sustained for a long time. It was a major countdown for a planned war, exactly as designed by the Russian military doctrine, which defined not only wartime tactics but also put equal emphasis on detailing the optimal path to an optimal planned war - a full scale mobilization of the nation and the industry, to be followed by a gigantic surprise attack and the occupation of the enemy countries.
* All resources were put into mobile aggressive military measures and units (tanks, a million paratroopers !!, tactical attack aircraft, etc), not into defensive or 'static' measures ( land mines, fortifications, anti-aircraft units, long range bombers etc.). The entire doctrine of the Russian armed forces was aggressive. Defensive tactics were not taught at all and were considered defeatist in an army that by definition was intended to conquer all other countries.
* Millions of maps of Germany and Romania were distributed in the Russian army. Maps of Russia were few.
* Hitler always intended to invade Russia and declared it, but the war against Britain forced him to delay that, but when Stalin annexed the eastern part of Romania by ultimatum, and got his army to a distance of just 120 miles from his source of oil in Ploesti, Romania, that's when Hitler realized how dangerous his position was, and that he had to move fast, so although this meant war in two fronts (Britain in the West and Russia in the East), a thing that Germany always wanted to avoid, he ordered his army to prepare to invade Russia as soon as possible, "in the first clear days of May 1941". Unexpected complication in the Balkans eventually postponed the German attack until June 22nd, 1941.
* In June 1941, shortly before the German invasion, Russia removed border fences and other obstacles along its western border, to enable rapid border crossing - of the the Russian army moving West, not in order to help the enemy cross into Russia. The entire NKVD border guards force evacuated the border and moved inland, replaced in their positions by regular army units.
* The majority of the Russian army and Air Force and enormous stockpiles of ammunition were concentrated along the border, not inland. Furthermore, the enormous piles of ammunition were plainly deployed in the fields and near the border region's train stations, exposed to the weather, not in weather-proof depots and bunkers, so they could not survive the autumn rains and the winter. This in itself has only one meaning, that Russia was going to invade Germany in the summer of 1941.
This enormous amount of ammunition was placed very close to its consumers, the artillery, armor, and infantry units, and was going to be consumed soon, in the planned Russian attack. Russia even placed many new large ammunition factories, built in 1939-1941, close to the border, not inland, where their output could be quickly shipped to the border, but where they were also very vulnerable in case of an invasion into Russia.
* The most significant concentrations were in Poland and along the Romanian border in the South. Along the southern end of the Romanian border, near the Black Sea, and near Ploesti, were very large concentrations of mountain infantry, Marines, amphibious units, paratroops, bombers, which were far more useful to attack Romania's mountains, and oil fields, than to defend the Russian flat terrain behind them. For defensive purposes, the entire Russian military array at the southern end of the border was simply irrational, and very vulnerable to attack, but it was perfect for attacking Romania and cutting off Hitler's oil supply as fast as possible.
* The only doctrine in the Soviet military was that of a full scale surprise attack that comes after a hidden mobilization, and followed by deeper attacks into enemy territory. Nothing else was taught in Russian military academies.
* The modern Russian military historiography is full of evidence that the Russian army was preparing since 1940 for a planned aggressive war against Germany.
* The Russian Air Force always used long range heavy bombers. In August 1939 Stalin ordered to abandon further procurement and development of heavy bombers and shift all resources to tactical ground attack aircraft, which are more suitable for an aggressive war, in which the plan is to conquer vast enemy territories in a fast war, not destroy its cities with bombers in a long war of attrition. This is exactly like what happened in the German Air Force, for the same reasons. Britain and the US developed long range bombers - but they did not intend to conquer enemy countries. Germany, and Russia, did. Also, the date of Stalin's decision, and other similar military procurement and mobilization decisions, matches that of his his main decision to star a war to conquer Germany and the rest of Europe, the decision in Aug. 19, 1939 that opened the door for Hitler to invade Poland and conveniently start that war for Stalin.
* In June 1941, behind the Soviet armies on the border, in addition to the military police units that were supposed to block deserters there were also three full mobile armies of the NKVD, the Russian secret police, and of Communist party officials. Their role was to take full political control of the occupied countries and eliminate all resistance. Blocking deserters is useful for defense too, but such an enormous political-police force is useful only for a planned war of occupation.
A Russian soldier unites with his family
There is still some fighting to be done.