Yet another book about World War II and Stalin. How many are already gathering dust on the shelves of every bookshop! Is there anything new to be said on the subject? Perhaps the author had access to the secrets of the KGB or the Third Reich? Or maybe he uncovered some sensational documents in the depths of some secret war archives?
The answer is no. The reader will not find any sensational new documents here. But the problem is not in the absence of documents. There is no lack of documents about World War II. The problem is that we have many pieces of the jigsaw puzzle but are not able to put it together. Answers to the simplest questions are lacking: wherein lies the cause of the war, who was responsible for starting it, who was responsible for the crimes that it brought? Of course, the reader may interject that all this is well known: Hitler is to blame for it all. Hitler and Germany’s guilt is well known and beyond doubt, and rightly so. However, Hitler alone cannot be held responsible for all the crimes committed in this war. Who together with Hitler in 1939 started World War II by invading Poland, and then divided up its territory with him? Who then attacked Finland and took part of its territory? Who annexed Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and part of the territory of Romania? And who, committing an appalling war crime, massacred captive Polish officers at Katyn? The answers to all these questions are also well known. The responsibility for these crimes lies with the USSR and Stalin. However, at the end of the war when those responsible for war crimes were rightly convicted at the Nuremberg trials, Stalin, rather than appearing in the dock with them, stood among the accusers. Moreover, as a result of the war, the USSR became a permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council with the power of veto and received the right to determine the post-war world structure. How on earth did this happen?
The answer to this question is also well known. On June 22, 1941 Hitler attacked the USSR, and this event transformed the USSR from German ally into the victim of German aggression. And this is where the questions without answers arise.
Why did Hitler attack the USSR? At the time Hitler was engaged in a full-scale war with England, to which there was no close end in sight. It was at this time that the USSR de facto became an ally of Germany. In 1940, Hitler invited Stalin to join the Axis alliance. Although the union did not take place, the USSR strictly fulfilled its economic obligations to Nazi Germany, providing it with raw materials. These materials were strategically important to the Germans in their fight against Great Britain. If Stalin was really striving for peace with Germany, as official historiographers tell us, then there was no threat to Germany from the east: Germany had a friendship treaty with the USSR, which means that there was nothing preventing Hitler from continuing the war with Great Britain until he was victorious. The war against the USSR would only have made sense for Germany after a victory over Great Britain. However, Hitler attacked the friendly USSR and postponed the war with Great Britain for a future date. Why? Has historiography correctly interpreted the relations between Stalin and Hitler in the period 1939 to 1941?
Why did Stalin ignore all warnings that Hitler would attack the USSR? Can we believe that the attack, which he was warned about from all sides, was a surprise to him?
Hitler and Stalin’s behaviour before, and at the time of the attack has no logical explanation and as such is reminiscent of the behaviour of madmen.
On the one hand, there is the strange report from the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) dated 13 of June 1941, just two weeks before the invasion, in which Stalin dispelled rumours of an imminent German attack by announcing that relations between the USSR and Germany were good and anyone thinking otherwise was an enemy of the people. The directives to the Red Army on the day of German attack were formulated in the same unexplainable manner: “do not respond to provocations”. How could this be explained when the Red Army was facing a full-scale invasion?
On the other hand, Hitler, having only three thousand tanks, attacked a giant country; a country which had the most powerful army and four times the number of tanks concentrated on its western border. What exactly was he expecting?
During the fifteen pre-war years, the Soviet Union had spent all its strength in order to provide arms to the “invincible and legendary” Red Army, as it was called in songs composed in its honour. Well, this “invincible and legendary” army suffered a crushing defeat. In the span of just a few months it had retreated as far as Moscow. Four million Soviet soldiers ended up as German prisoners of war. Surprisingly, Hitler’s move looked like a justified one.
Has historiography been able to explain the actions of each side in this period of the war adequately? Are we able to understand the perplexing events at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War? Despite the abundance of books about the war, the answer is no. However, this signifies that we have no understanding of what happened at a crucial moment in World War II. This crucial moment was the beginning of unprecedented suffering and losses and hideous crimes committed on the occupied territories. Without this understanding, it is not possible to say that we have uncovered all the crimes committed in the course of the Second World War and that we have reached satisfactory conclusions. We must not forget that war crimes have no statute of limitations. The investigation of these crimes is a way to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for us.
How can we find the answers to these questions? How can we uncover these crimes?
When a detective investigates a crime, he always looks for the perpetrator’s motive. The most difficult crimes to solve are those committed by maniacs, as their motives are much harder to establish. But even maniacs have their own reasoning and motives; they simply differ from those to which we are accustomed. If their reasoning and motive can be understood, then uncovering the crime becomes routine.
The USSR and Germany were controlled by well-educated people with strong analytical skills. There is no reason to believe that these people made their decisions thoughtlessly or in a fit of emotion. Therefore, if some decisions seem irrational, it signifies that we have missed something in analysis and we have not fully understood something. How could this be? Hundreds of books about the war present and analyse these events from different angles. Even if some facts are still hidden in the archives, can they outweigh what is already known about the beginning of the war between the USSR and Germany? No, they cannot. The information available publicly is quite sufficient to uncover these crimes and to find the masterminds behind them. Everything the intelligence agencies are guarding in their secret archives, they can keep to themselves. The “new discovery” of a single fact from a closed archive should be treated with caution. Only fully open archives can allow us to ensure the validity of ‘accidentally uncovered’ documents.
Thus, we assume that the facts are already known. What prevents us then from understanding the logic behind these events? This is a key question. The problem is not that we do not know the facts. The problem is that in interpreting them, we limit our analysis by the assumption that leaders of countries act under the same moral imperatives as ourselves. We consider that the leader of a country thinks about the welfare of its citizens and the welfare of the country. But is this applicable to a country like the USSR? Was Stalin thinking about the welfare of his citizens when manufacturing Holodomor or building the Gulag? Obviously, he was not. But he made these decisions consciously and deliberately. We can continue. In 1937, he executed or sent to the Gulag the commanders of the Red Army. Was this action carried out for the good of the country or its citizens? The answer is also no. He definitely had his own logic and goals, but we do not know what they were. Who were the beneficiaries of his actions? We do not know, but we know that they were not the people of the Soviet Union. So, why have we decided that Stalin was thinking about defending the country in 1941? And why do we speculate as to why he did not take adequate measures to repel the aggression if we do not understand the logic which guided his actions? It is necessary perhaps to understand his logic and his motivation first, as Stalin’s decisions were determined by these specifically. Only then can we attempt to explain the events at the beginning of the war between the USSR and Germany, as well as the other perplexing facts from Soviet history listed above.
How can we possibly understand Stalin’s logic and motivation? After all, he did not leave us any documents with his signature and seal, spelling everything out.
We must return to the example of the detective and his actions when investigating a maniac’s crimes. A detective will look for common patterns or the characteristics of crimes. If all victims of crimes were women in red dresses, then we can expect that a murderer specifically would want to kill women in red dresses.
What were the results of the war? Stalin prosecuted Nazis at Nuremberg instead of sitting in the dock among the war criminals. New communist regimes were established in the “liberated” countries, under the USSR’s leadership. The so-called “World Socialist System” emerged. The USSR became one of the countries defining the world order. Is it not reasonable to suggest that all the above-mentioned results were in fact the goals Stalin was striving to achieve with the help of the war? What makes us think that all these results just fell into Stalin’s lap, that they happened accidentally? Such triumphs do not happen by chance; they have to be fought for. However, if we assume that the actual results of the war were Stalin’s original objective, then it is not very difficult to uncover what he had to do to achieve them. Then we can compare these finding with Stalin’s actual actions in order to confirm or refute the original hypothesis. Such an approach became the basis of this research.
This hypothesis, initially put forward as a trial version, immediately demonstrated its strength and made it possible to explain the events of the pre-war period and the beginning of the war. Much independent proof of the validity of this hypothesis was later found. In substance, it became clear that Stalin had an elaborately designed plan for the war. Stalin thought out and planned the strategy behind his actions long before the events of the war themselves took place. Further research was aimed at understanding the details of this plan, namely when it was created, what ideas were underpinning it and how Stalin implemented it. The picture obtained was quite startling. The whole history of the Soviet regime appeared in quite a different light. A picture emerged of a gigantic state, methodically and secretly preparing for war through the cold-blooded exploitation of the life forces of its people. When the military power of the Soviet Union had reached the planned level, Stalin started the diplomatic game, and by exploiting Germany’s aggressive policy, coldly drew the world into the Second World War. All the mysterious and sinister periods in the history of the USSR, so startling in their senseless brutality, suddenly revealed their true meaning: they were simply the stages of implementation of Stalin’s Plan. The plan he devised to achieve his main objective – the expansion of communist regime. Stalin appeared in his true guise – ‘the Architect of World War II’.
We can trace the start of the Plan’s implementation to 1927 when Stalin won a political victory over Trotsky and gained full power in the country. In 1946 the main objectives of the Plan were achieved, manifesting its end. The atomic bomb test in the United States during the Potsdam Conference in the summer of 1945 signalled that the era of Stalin’s Plan was coming to an end. Stalin had not factored for the atomic bomb. Therefore, Stalin's Plan spanned the period 1927 to 1946, which is the period of Soviet history covered in this book.
It might occur to the reader that this author wishes to absolve Hitler of the blame for the war by shifting it onto Stalin. This is categorically not the case. Germany and Hitler’s guilt are obvious and fully acknowledged by the world. Most importantly, Germany has acknowledged its guilt before the world. Together the world defeated Nazism, and the new Germany has nothing in common with what Hitler was trying to build.
The fate of the USSR and Stalin’s “heritage” was quite different. In 1939-1940, the USSR committed numerous international crimes, as mentioned above. As a result of one of these, the aggression against Finland, the USSR was expelled from the League of Nations. The other crimes of Stalin’s regime, including crimes against the peoples of the USSR, were not fully acknowledged. After the war, these crimes were forgotten for the sake of political expediency during the reconstruction of the post-war world. After the war neither the communist powers of the USSR nor Stalin changed, and they accepted no guilt before their country or the nations of the world. The underlying essence of the regime established by Stalin was maintained, and despite a formal condemnation of Stalin’s cult of personality during the Khrushchev era, it survived up until perestroika. However, during perestroika and thereafter, when the new Russia formally embarked on a different path of development, which had nothing in common with its communist predecessor, society was still not able to understand and fully evaluate its past.
This became apparent during the investigation into the Katyn tragedy. In 1991, the Soviet Union acknowledged its responsibility for the execution of Polish prisoners of war in 1940. An investigation into this crime was launched. However, in 2004 the investigation was closed, and the results of the inquiry were classified.
Meanwhile, as this book will show, the Katyn massacre had a direct connection to Stalin’s Plan, and an adequate investigation of these events would have uncovered the truth about Stalin’s real role in World War II.
The actions of the Russian authorities, classifying the results of an investigation into events that happened seventy years ago, prove their organic connection with the secret organization which committed these crimes. The investigation presented in this book sheds light on the Stalinists’ objectives and their methods to achieve them.
This book is a warning to those who are willing to forget past experience. Forewarned is forearmed.
The author wishes to emphasize that this book presents the results of an independent study, which was not supported or funded by any organization.