Friday, March 16, 2007

Why did Germany attack the USSR on June 22, 1941? by Louis Evan Palmer

As has been said many times before, history is written by the victors; and, in those histories, some things will never get recorded while others will be recorded in a biased, often distorted, way.

In the post-war realm of courtrooms and the world stage, it is rare to see prosecutions of the victors for doing the same actions that see the losers jailed and/or hung. The crimes and indiscretions of the victors will likely stay secret for a long time. The new truths being delayed long enough so that all attendant benefits have been gained by various interested parties.

For example, many existing histories of the second World War make no mention of the breaking of the Enigma code and its immense role in the waging of the Allied western campaign. Its revelation is fairly recent. It is easy to assume that many other actions and records remain hidden? There's no doubt that there will be numerous other revisions to the historical record but because each set of “facts” and attendant myths have their beneficiaries, there is always resistance to any substantive change to the historical record. Potentially, this is one such change.

On June 22, 1941, the German Reich launched a massive attack into the Soviet Union; within a short time, this became known in the West as the infamous “Eastern Front”.

There have been assertions as to why Germany would launch such an invasion at that time but they ring false given that Hitler and his General Staff were acutely aware of the dangers of a two-front war. Why with Britian & her colonies still resisting, and America leaning their way, would Germany engage another much more dangerous adversary? To try to pin the entire rationale for this stupendous decision on the meglomania of Hitler and his demand for “living space” at that particular moment seems to stretch our credulity to the breaking point.

Another aspect of the attack that causes one to wonder is the fact that German forces were not prepared for winter. To have expected the eastern war to have concluded before winter does not make any sense. The completeness and efficiency of the German staff would not have normally countenanced this lack of preparedness.

What does make sense, however, is that there was an over-bearing reason for Germany to attack at that time and no later. The attack date had already been delayed several times. The logical reason for the Reich's invasion is that the Soviet Union was manouevering itself into an attack position and Germany could not allow that to occur. The longer the Reich delayed, the greater the danger became.

In fact, an expatriate Russian intelligence officer with access to Soviet era archives makes this very claim. In his book “Icebreaker” (and other books), Victor Suvorov states that Stalin had put the USSR onto a war footing in 1939 with plans to be ready to launch a Soviet invasion in 1941. Suvorov claims that the USSR was set to invade Germany and the rest of Europe a mere two weeks after Germany launched her own surprise attack. American historian Professor Stolfi in “Hitler's Panzers East” also contends that Stalin amassed troops on his western border in preparation for a Soviet invasion planned for later that summer. Professor Albert Weeks in his book “Stalin's Other War” makes the same point.

Evidence that Suvorov gives of the offensive nature of Stalin's preparations include secret positioning of troops and munitions in forward bases near the border. The large number of paratroopers that were trained with gliders ready. The large number of fast attack tanks that were similarly ready and in forward positions. The Soviets also had produced more submarines than any other country. All of these developments and deployments were suited to an offensive operation.

These circumstances explain clearly and powerfully why the Germans launched their invasion when they did. They had to pre-empt the Soviet attack or face rapid and certain defeat. In fact, all of Europe would have been quickly rolled up. It also explains why the German advances were so startling and deep – the Soviets were positioned for offensive operations and could not switch to defense in time. Millions of Soviet soldiers were captured or killed. Soviet supplies and equipment were used by the Germans to continue their advance into Russia.

This scenario also fits in with Communist doctrine of the time – eventual world domination, using capitalism to defeat itself economically and through inevitable internal conflicts, using war to advance the revolution of the proletariet.

Time will tell if this version of this part of history gets validated. These events as with others have become heavily politicized and propagandized and mythologized to the extent that certain “facts” and interpretations are considered dogma and others heresy. It may be that another sixty plus years may be needed to gain an adequate distance for dispassionate and impartial investigations.

But, it is not surprising that two dictators would want to take over surrounding territories and would be willing to wage war to get them. It is not surprising since they shared common borders that they would eventually go to war with each other - each vying for the element of surprise. After all, by that date, the USSR had taken over the three Baltic nations and half of Poland, tried to conquer Finland and murdered millions of its own citizens. As with many things, the real question is in the timing.
Why did Germany attack the USSR on June 22, 1941?, The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer,

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Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications.

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