Today concluding our review of Herman Sadulaev’s historical thesis, according to which Hitler truly managed to take the Soviet Union by surprise. Because the Soviets thought that his (Hitler’s) next target was Iran; and after that, India. They believed that Hitler was just showing some muscle on his Eastern front and might demand a corridor on his way to Iran; or might even try to provoke a border spat in order to obtain the corridor and other concessions, etc. But no way did they think that he (Hitler) was crazy enough to launch a full-out invasion of the USSR, what with England and the U.S. still unconquered and in his rear-view mirror.
Sadulaev’s thesis makes a lot of sense (to me), and explains a lot of otherwise contradictory facts.
Nobody in the Soviet leadership, Sadulaev goes on to say, had any illusions about Hitler’s good intentions, or believed that it would be possible to avoid being sucked into the war. They knew well that the Nazis considered Communism as their main ideological foe. The German Communists had been subjected to the cruelest possible repressions.
Nonetheless, the Soviet strategists reckoned that Hitler had to solve his “England” problem first, before attacking the USSR. It was well known that Hitler was an Anglophile. It was not his goal to destroy or subjugate England, he simply wanted Germany and England to rule the world together. More than anything, the Soviets feared that Germany and England would unite against the USSR. Forgetting and forgiving whatever mutual hurt feelings towards each other, these imperialist forces would unite their considerable assets to pillage and destroy the USSR. As actually happened 70 years later, in 1992! Hitler in fact, after conquering France, offered a deal to England, a peace treaty; but the latter turned him down.
Wheeling and dealing, Hitler then approached the USSR with a proposal to unite against England. The Soviets procrastinated, hoping for better conditions. For example, Berlin suggested that Moscow seize Iran and India; but Moscow didn’t want them; she wanted Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The USSR also didn’t want to openly come out on Germany’s side against England and America. If for no other reason: They knew that, the moment Hitler finished solving his “England” problem, he would attack them! As one can see, this was an extremely complex game of 3-D chess, and the men conducting this game, on all sides, were not at all stupid people.
Hitler himself was a master of the game, but he had his Achilles heel, when it came to the long play: He was impatient. And his generals gave him some bad advice to boot: They convinced him that, in the course of just one summer campaign, they could destroy the Red Army entirely. After which England would have to play nicer. The “Barbarossa” Plan was such a gift to England, that it is impossible not to suspect the work of English agents of influence within the German High Command. Having said that, there is no proof, and there will never be any proof of that suspicion.
On the tactical front, Hitler out-played Stalin. He genuinely confused the Soviet leadership and came very close to destroying the Red Army, as planned. The Soviet army was truly unprepared for this onslaught, which explains the catastrophic losses in the first campaign.
Strategically speaking, on the other hand, Hitler’s action can be considered a reckless adventure. He gambled everything on one single outcome: namely, the full and complete victory of the Wehrmacht in the summer of 1941. Just a couple of months later, in the fall, when the Soviets pushed the Germans out of Rostov-on-Don; when the offensive fury of the Germans started to fade and the Soviet defense stood firm on a broad line from the Baltic to the Black Seas — then the outcome was already foretold: Hitler’s gamble had failed, he had already lost the war. What he should have done, at the end of that summer, was called it quits on the Eastern front, signed a separate peace with the Soviet Union, and returned to his war against England. But no….
After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the world geopolitical situation changed overnight. All the complications fell away, pure clarity ruled. Moscow, London and Washington were now allies. The Berlin-Tokyo-Rome axis had zero chance of winning against such a coalition. Although it has to be said, in truth: Our new “allies” took their sweet time to help us, methinks they were secretly hoping that Hitler’s Blitzkrieg might succeed after all… ? With allies such as this, who needs enemies? The Soviet Union continued to plug along in its mostly lonely war against the Nazi hordes.
Due to this, we can consider ourselves grateful for our survival and our victory, not to our “allies”, nor the mythological “Second Front”, nor “Land Lease” — but mostly thanks to ourselves; to those Red Army soldiers and Commanders who, in the summer of 1941, fought fiercely, defended themselves, counter-attacked, were taken prisoner, fled from the prison camps, suffered defeat after defeat, retreated when they had to; but then came back, to take that river bank; that cliff; that hill; who held back the onslaught of the enemy; who destroyed his soldiers and equipment… Those brave people who broke the back of the “Barbarossa” Plan.