Nazi German – Communist Soviet Union relations 1941

Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler addressing the Reichstag in 1941
Soviets taken prisoner by Waffen-SS in Operation Barbarossa 1941
Summary Execution of a Partisan by the so-called Kettenhunden
In the 1930s Soviet production of military equipment grew steadily, and in the pre-war years the economy became progressively more oriented toward military production. The Soviet numerical advantage in heavy equipment was also more than offset by the greatly superior training and readiness of German forces. The Soviet officer corps and high command had been massacred in Stalin's Great Purge (1936–1938). In total, some 30,000 Red Army personnel were executed, while more were deported to Siberia and replaced with officers deemed more politically reliable. Soviet Red Army occupied eastern Poland in September 1939, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in October 1939 and the Romanian territories of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina in June 1940. Only Finland resisted Stalin's program of expansion. On May 5 1941, Stalin gave a speech to graduates of military academies in Moscow declaring: War with Germany is inevitable. If comrade Molotov can manage to postpone the war for two or three years that will be our good fortune. Immediately after the German invasion of the USSR, Adolf Hitler put forward a thesis that the Red Army made extensive preparations for an offensive war in Europe, thus justifying the German invasion as a pre-emptive strike. After the war this view was brought forward by Wehrmacht leaders, like Wilhelm Keitel. This Soviets taken prisoner by Waffen-SS in Operation Barbarossa 1941 thesis was reiterated in the 1980s based on the analysis of circumstantial evidence. Thus, it has been found that a proposal was drawn up by Zhukov and signed by Aleksandr Vasilevsky and Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin suggesting secret mobilization and deploying Red Army troops on the western border. The proposed operation's objective was to cut Germany off from its allies, especially Romania with its oilfields that Germany needed to conduct the war. According to Viktor Suvorov, Stalin planned to use Germany as a proxy against the West. With the complete annihilation of the encircled German Army thus made inevitable, a Red Army offensive into the rest of Europe would follow. Suvorov argued that Barbarossa was actually a pre-emptive strike that capitalized on the Soviet troop concentrations immediately on the 1941 borders. Some others who support the idea that Stalin prepared to attack, like Mikhail Meltyukhov, reject this part of Suvorov's theory, arguing that both sides prepared for an attack on their own, not in response to the other side's preparations. Credit: Wikipedia. Top image: photograph showing the Führer in the Reichstag in 1941. Fair use. Middle image: Soviet soldiers surrender to members of SS-Division Leibstandarte SS during Operation Barbarossa. Millions of Soviets taken prisoner by the Germans perished in captivity. Many of those who survived to return were sent straight to the gulags - the Soviet labor camps. Commons: Bundesarchiv. Bottom image: an SS-Feldgendarmerie operating behind the Eastern front line in 1941. The military police units combed the villages looking for partisans and weapons. In the first photo of a series of pictures the alleged partisan is seen handing over a cassette box with disc-shaped magazines to a Degtyaryov machine gun before he is summarily executed. Photo probably taken by SS-Kriegsberichter Franz Roth. Commons: Bundesarchiv.


  1. Bachelor in History28/4/18

    I've been a World War Two buff for many years – books, movies, documentaries – and recently found this site via the book The Assault Generation by Gerry Villani. A great website filled with historical facts and without political bias. Thank you.

  2. The Pickle King12/11/18

    The middle man in the bottom photograph is armed with the very rare German machine pistol Erma EMP.