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Kershaw Presentation


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Analysis of Joseph Stalin\'s ideology and positioning of Red Army forces before and during the Nazi invasion of Russia.

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Kershaw Presentation

  1. 1. Stalin Decides He Knows Best <ul><li>Stalin Decides to Ignore the Threat of a Pre-1942 German Invasion of the USSR </li></ul><ul><li>A presentation by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chris Confer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jacob Connell </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frank Kuhne </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theresa Lebair </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zachary Wilfong </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. The Background to the Decision
  3. 3. Stalin’s Rise to Power <ul><li>With Lenin’s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin quickly rose through the ranks of the Communist Party. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1934, party boss and main rival to Stalin Sergei Kirov was assassinated. </li></ul><ul><li>Though Stalin benefitted from Kirov’s death, he also grew more paranoid. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Stalin’s Rise to Power <ul><li>Stalin consolidated his power within the Politburo, the party’s main decision making body. </li></ul><ul><li>He was able to have many other members reassigned to faraway posts, and to reduce the frequency with which they met. </li></ul><ul><li>He also reduced the size of the group during the purges. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Great Purge: 1937 - 1938 <ul><li>In his paranoia, Stalin approved lists naming 44,000 people to be killed or arrested. </li></ul><ul><li>Many Russians turned on each other, resulting in a plan by the Soviet secret police to kill 75,000 and arrest 225,000. </li></ul><ul><li>These figures snowballed as the purges began, until about 700,000 were shot and over 1,500,000 arrested and sent to prison or work camps. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Military Purges <ul><li>Over 34,000 officers were arrested, expelled, and/or shot. </li></ul><ul><li>Included in this, about 80% of the military’s supreme command was killed. </li></ul><ul><li>This eventually played a hand in the Soviet army’s unpreparedness for the Germans. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Military Purges <ul><li>Russia’s single greatest loss in the purges may have been Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, its greatest military strategist. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Soviet Intelligence <ul><li>Europe had many communist sympathizers who supplied information. </li></ul><ul><li>Not all intelligence received by the USSR agreed with facts or other reports, and Stalin came to distrust almost everything that he heard. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Soviet Intelligence <ul><li>The USSR’s main spies were codenamed “The Elder” and “Corsican” in Germany, and “Ramzai” in Tokyo. </li></ul><ul><li>Through March and April 1941, the former two reported that German leaders were planning the attack. They noted a massive invasion force on the Soviet border, and photographs German spy planes had taken of a Soviet naval base near Leningrad. </li></ul><ul><li>In early May, “Ramzai” reported Hitler’s determination to seize economic resources from the USSR’s east. </li></ul>“ The Elder” Harro Schulze-Boyzen “ Corsican” Arvid Harnack “ Ramzai” Richard Sorge
  10. 10. Attitude Towards Hitler <ul><li>Stalin knew that Hitler saw Russia as his “lebensraum”, and that he saw Bolshevism as a threat. </li></ul><ul><li>He did not think that Hitler would risk a two-front war. He thought that Russia could stay out of the conflict at least until the German-UK/France war was over. </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin believed in appeasement, as Chamberlain did. He was wrong for the same reason that Chamberlain was, that he thought and thought wrongly that he understood Hitler. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Military’s Preparedness <ul><li>Stalin needed to appease Hitler until 1942, when the country would be prepared to fight. </li></ul><ul><li>Following the great purge, there were hardly any officers left capable of command. </li></ul><ul><li>The failures in the Winter War demonstrated Soviet weaknesses. </li></ul><ul><li>By the time of the German invasion on 6/22/41, the majority of officers had held their posts less than one year. </li></ul>
  12. 12. STALIN’S RATIONALE <ul><li>Stalin was set on the thought that Hitler wouldn’t advanced into the Soviet Union before the complete conquest of Western Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>Russia was not prepared for war in the late 1930’s. </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin tried to delay the possibility of war with Germany for as long as possible, in order to buy as much time to allow for USSR military preparation. </li></ul>
  13. 13. STALIN’S RATIONALE <ul><li>Stalin believed that Hitler and Germany was not considering an invasion of the Soviet Union till at least 1942. </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin’s rational for this belief was the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact that was established in 1939 . </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin also thought that Germany wouldn’t attack the Soviet nation because it would have created a two front war for Hitler. </li></ul>
  14. 14. STALIN’S RATIONALE <ul><li>Stalin believed that Hitler would have given a clear ultimatum to an oncoming war </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin ignored the immediate threat of war, despite receiving numerous amounts of intelligence hinting otherwise. </li></ul>
  15. 15. STALIN’S RATIONALE <ul><li>Stalin’s disregard for the threat of an immediate war against Germany, and his lack of preparing the Soviet Union was a costly mistake. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Consequences Germany Invades Russia 22 June, 1941
  17. 17. Completely Unprepared <ul><li>Stalin stunned and in denial of invasion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggested it was German Officers acting under their own initiative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Made preparations for counter-attack </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ordered ground troops not to cross border </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aircraft ordered to bomb German territory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Majority of air-force lost (1,200 planes lost, 800 on ground) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unreality of counter-offensive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ordered attack of Lublin, 55 miles inside German occupied Poland </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Vast Conquest by Wehrmacht <ul><li>28 June 1941, Minsk fell into German Control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stalin described the fall as ‘inconceivable’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 400,000 troops captured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opened way to Smolensk and Moskow </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wehrmacht advanced 300 miles into Soviet Territory in under a week </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin contemplated “feelers” to halt German attack </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Idea was to allow USSR to re-gather military strength </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Moscow <ul><li>Germany broke through city’s main defenses on October 15, 1941 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survival of Moscow and Soviet State in question </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stalin contemplates leaving Moscow </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decides to stay; boosts morale and marks turning point against Germany by December 1941 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>After WWII ended, May 8, 1945, 25 million Soviet citizens lay dead and the Soviet country lay in ruins. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Stalin’s Correctness Did Stalin actually know best?
  21. 21. No, He did not! <ul><li>Stalin’s narrow-mindedness and belief that he figured Hitler out damaged the Soviet Union and cost many lives. </li></ul><ul><li>He acted like Chamberlain in hopes to appeases Hitler to gain time. However, during the appeasement, Hitler consistently berated the U.S.S.R. and set up for an attack. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Continued <ul><li>Stalin, surrounded only by “yes men”, did not think Hitler would attack until 1942 and was unprepared when it happened in 1941. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Purging? <ul><li>Furthermore, the purging of the top military masterminds and officers was without a doubt a bad choice. </li></ul><ul><li>It left the military new, poorly trained, and morale at an all time low. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Germans? What Germans! <ul><li>Possibly the most insane and poorly made choice was the ignorance Stalin took towards his own spies. </li></ul><ul><li>Harro Schulze-Boysen: “The Elder”, </li></ul><ul><li>Arvid Haraack: “Corsican,” and </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ramazi” risked their lives for dire intelligence only to be ignored. </li></ul>
  25. 25. OH S***! There’s the Germans! <ul><li>Five days before the attack Vsevolod Merkulov warned Stalin of the imminent attack. </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin’s response- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Comrade Merkulov. You can tell your “source” from German air force headquarters to go F--- his mother.” </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. The “Yes Men” Try <ul><li>Timoshenko and Zhukov, the most trusted (define trust) advisors suggested that the USSR attack Germany in a pre-emptive strike over a month before the Nazis invaded. </li></ul><ul><li>Again Stalin knew best and ignored their pleas. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Vanity, thy name is Stalin <ul><li>Because Stalin ignored the clear signs of an attack, the advice from his advisors, the warnings of spies, and his belief that he had “tricked Hitler” the U.S.S.R. was damaged badly. </li></ul>
  28. 28. The Fatefulness of Stalin’s Decision <ul><li>Fatefulness of Stalin’s overall stalling strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Fatefulness of the USSR’s entrance into the Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact </li></ul><ul><li>Fatefulness of Stalin’s military purges </li></ul>
  29. 29. Fatefulness of the Stalling Strategy <ul><li>Military mobilization began too late </li></ul><ul><li>Dangerous strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative option available and worth choosing </li></ul><ul><li>Highly criticized by Marshal Alexander Mikhailovich Vasilevsky and Khrushchev </li></ul><ul><li>As a result, the USSR military was unprepared when Germany invaded. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Fatefulness of Negotiations with Germany <ul><li>Also gave Germany additional time to rearm </li></ul><ul><li>Gave Hitler control of land nearby Russia </li></ul><ul><li>Broke Soviet influence on Yugoslavia and Greece </li></ul><ul><li>Gave Germany more advantages than the USSR </li></ul><ul><li>Contributing cause to the devastating German invasion where Germany was clearly more powerful than the USSR </li></ul>
  31. 31. Fatefulness of Stalin’s military purges <ul><li>Mass-murder of military personal detrimental to USSR military </li></ul><ul><li>Unnecessary </li></ul><ul><li>Gave Hitler a notion of a weak USSR military </li></ul><ul><li>Convinced Hitler that Stalin was mad </li></ul><ul><li>Could not be rectified by rearmament program </li></ul><ul><li>Leading cause of the Soviet’s relative military weakness and unpreparedness </li></ul>
  32. 32. Stalin’s Decision was Fateful <ul><li>Horrible Consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Stalin was paranoid; paranoia influenced decision </li></ul><ul><li>As time passed, Stalin’s options narrowed </li></ul><ul><li>Initially, had Stalin acted differently, the outcome of his decision would be very different </li></ul>