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No aggression coming from your pal Hitler, *wink wink*

Joseph Stalin was a historical figure in the context of Soviet history. He was notorious for his policies known as Stalinism which developed throughout his time in leadership of the Soviet government.  “He had claimed that Russia was “50 to 100 years” behind the West, and that without catching up in 10 years, Russia would be overrun (History Revision)”. This theory was Stalin’s justification behind his wide stretched and aggressive policies. He was well known for getting things done his way and removing any obstacles that appeared in his path of success. However, the Soviet’s army was notoriously unprepared for their war with Germany when World War Two rolled around. From a military standpoint, “their equipment was second rate” (History Revision), and their tactical capabilities were substandard in comparison to the Germans brilliance. Stalin’s miscalculations and lack of military capability almost lost the Soviet Union their homeland. The German economy had kicked into overdrive and was a well-oiled machine at the beginning of the German invasion. The Five-Year plan had been slowly increasing military budgeting and Army infrastructure which was strengthening the German’s overall economy due to the economic input that was taking place.

From a political standpoint the whole world was caught off guard by Germany’s invasion into Poland and then the Soviet Union. The Germans used their element of surprise to quickly sweep through Poland. In the Fall of 1939, Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with Poland in order to neutralize the possibility of a French-Polish military alliance. Hitler secretly wanted to invade Poland and re-gain the territories that Germany lost from WW1: West Prussia, Poznan, and Upper Silesia. By signing a peace treaty with Poland Hitler isolated Poland and allocated time for the German Army to mobilize and prepare for mass invasions. Next, Hitler signed a non-aggression act with the Soviet Union in the summer of 1939. The Germans and Soviets agreed to not take any military action against each other for a total of 10 years. The Soviet-German pact also agreed that the country of Poland would be “partitioned” (Holocaust Encyclopedia) between the two powerful countries. Hitler did this in order to completely isolate Poland from any support from the Soviet Union. Now that Poland was isolated from any support from any European powers Hitler invaded Poland in on September 1, 1939. Hitlers German Army quickly destroyed Poland. They were outmanned and outgunned. Upon Germany’s successful invasion of Poland, they next invaded the Soviet Union and once again took the country by surprise.

 

“Under the codename Operation “Barbarossa,” Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, in the largest German military operation of World War II” (Holocaust Encyclopedia). Only a little more than a year after the Soviet-German non-aggression pact, the German Army had invaded the Soviet Union. The Soviet Army’s were ill prepared after Stalin had just finished his military leadership purge. The Soviet Army had new leadership who was regarded as incompetent during Germany’s initial invasions. The Germans had achieved the perfect tactical surprise and initially overwhelmed the Soviets army. Germans continued to surround Soviet forces and cut off supplies and reinforcements. The parts of the Soviet Army that survived was forced to continue to withdraw further back into blizzards of Russia’s homeland. The Germans had planned on eliminating Soviet Russia before the winter came, however once the blizzarding winter hit the German army they quickly ran out of options. The German army continued to invade and proceed forward into Russia’s blizzarding mountains. Eventually the German army’s supply lines were cut thin through the treacherous mountains of Russia and they were eventually overrun and forced to withdraw from the outskirts of Soviet Russia’s capital. Soviet Army’s continued to withdraw further and further back into the freezing temperatures of Russia until they were able to collectively overrun the Nazi’s army. The Soviets can contribute their win against the German Army to their brilliant use of their surroundings and their use of total warfare to destroy any resources that the German Army could use to extend their supply lines.

Sources:

“AS – Why Was Stalin Not Better Prepared for WW2?” Historyrevision, 29 Apr. 2012, historyrevision.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/why-was-stalin-not-better-prepared-for-ww2/.

“History: Grade 9.” Pinterest, www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/300333868873978217/?lp=true.

“Invasion of Poland, Fall 1939.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005070.

WW II Cartoons, www.canadahistory.com/sections/voyager/2012/August/Cartoons.html.

2 Responses so far.

  1. I think something that is really interesting about the conflict between Russia and Germany is that Stalin thought he would be the one to decide when the conflict would occur. Perhaps it was a pride matter or simply an overlooked possibility. Regardless, the fact that Russia emerged successful has little to do with the military prowess of the Soviet Union and most to do with the unpreparedness of the Germany army. Great post!

  2. Spencer Maclay says:

    First off, I want to say that you included some fantastic media in your post. I especially like the poster of Old Man Winter. You hinted at the Soviet’s scorched earth strategy as a reason for success against the German invasion, which I agree played a role in the Soviet victory. I would like to ask how the Soviet citizens were impacted by the policy of scorched earth, did they retreat or were they left behind for German occupation?

    Additionally, I think you might want to check your source on the German-Polish Non-Aggression Treaty. I think the treaty was in 1934, not 1939.

    Good post

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