Today is the anniversary of the German invasion of Russia, known to history by the name Operation Barbarossa. This was the start of what was undoubtedly the most titanic struggle in human history, between two incredible fighting machines, the German Wehrmacht and the Soviet Red Army.
Typically it is presented as a simple German act of aggression in pursuit of something called Lebensraum, and no doubt it was, but it was much more than that. It was also part of a great ideological and geopolitical struggle, and an event that had an enormous and unexpected impact on the world.
Those on the alternative right tend to view Hitler’s decision to attack Russia as an unfortunate event, both because it was a war in which White man killed White man, and because it laid the foundations of the globalist, anti-White world we live in now. It is difficult not to sympathize with that position and to have wished that Hitler had never made his ill-fated decision to launch three million men and three thousand tanks against the numerically superior Red Army. But if Hitler had not invaded the Soviet Union, how would the world have been different?
When hostilities commenced exactly 74 years ago today, Germany was already involved in the occupation of France and several other countries as well as an unresolved war with the British Empire that it had no simple way of winning. The Soviet Union meanwhile had revealed itself to be an entirely ruthless and expansionary nation itself.
To view Nazi Germany as the only brutal and voracious state in Europe is clearly a mistake. In 1939, the Soviet Union had participated in the same invasion of Poland that had involved Germany in war with Britain and France. That same Winter the Red Army launched a massive, unprovoked attack against Finland, which bravely resisted. After heavy losses, this resulted in gains that the Russians continue to hold to this day. 1940 also saw the Soviet invasion of the peaceful Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
In each of these cases, whenever the Red Army rolled into town, the NKVD was not far behind. Tens of thousands of innocent people were arrested, tortured, and “disappeared,” as with the executions of Polish officers and other elites at Katyn Forest.
The chief Soviet executioner, Vasily Blokhin, personally dealt with a quota of 300 executions a night. Dressed in a leather apron and leather gloves, he would wait in a soundproof room, painted bright red with a sloping floor and drain, and shoot the prisoners as they were brought in one-by-one in the base of the skull. For these and other heroic services he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, twice (1940, 1944), the Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1943), the Order of Lenin (1945), and the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class (1945). Blokhin and his master, Stalin, typify the kind of regime that the Soviet Union was.
The idea that nothing would have happened if Hitler had sat still seems extremely unlikely. There is every indication that Stalin had plans to expand further West. The rapid German successes of 1940, when France unexpectedly fell and the British retreated to their home island, no doubt upset his calculations. Stalin’s plan was to allow Germany and the Western powers to exhaust themselves in the West, while he built up his strength in the East. This strategy was revealed in a speech he gave six months before WWII, when tensions were high following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia:
“Nonintervention represents the endeavor… to allow all the warmongers to sink deeply into the mire of warfare, to quietly urge them on. The result will be that they weaken and exhaust one another. Then… (we will) appear on the scene with fresh forces and step in, naturally ‘in the interest of peace,’ to dictate terms to the weakened belligerents.”
Stalin quoted in Stalins Falle by Adolf von Thadden
It is a remarkable fact that when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, the Red Army had a three-to-one superiority in tanks and aircraft, and they were already mass producing their main battle tank of the war, the T-34. This was not some peaceful Ruritania cruelly invaded by the fascist jackboot.
Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun, a Soviet intelligence officer who defected to the UK in 1978, wrote a famous book Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War? under the pen name Viktor Suvorov. This contends that Operation Barbarossa was a preemptive strike by the Germans against a Soviet invasion that was planned for July 6th. While this date seems a little too precise and Rezun’s thesis over-dramatic, the essence of his claims are far from preposterous.
Military expansion was in high gear well before the Germans even invaded Poland. By 1941, the Red Army surpassed 5 million men. According to historian Roger Reese:
“There were 198 rifle divisions in 1941, compared to fewer than 30 in 1927; 31 motorized rifle divisions in 1941 and none in 1927; 61 tank divisions in 1941 and none as late as 1939.”
Roger Reese, Stalin’s Reluctant Soldiers: A Social History of the Red Army, 1925-1941
It is often said that the bloody nose the Red Army received from the Finns in the Winter War, in which they suffered over 300,000 casualties, persuaded Stalin to avoid war with Germany for as long as possible. This is not entirely believable.
Firstly, the Winter War was fought under unusual conditions that would not be repeated in a Summer war with Germany; secondly the Red Army was concentrating much of its build-up on offensive weapons like tanks and planes, and believed in a theory of offensive warfare; and, thirdly, when the Germans struck, much of the Red Army was exposed by being placed too far forward in positions more suited to attack than defence. This last reason also accounted for the extremely high number of Red Army casualties in the opening months. Soviet officers, like Major General Pyotr Grigorenkocommented on the large concentration of Soviet forces near the German frontier in occupied Poland:
“More than half the troops of the Western Special Military District were stationed around Bialystok and to the west, therefore in territory extending like a wedge deeply into that of the probable enemy. A troop arrangement of this kind would only have been justifiable… if these troops had been earmarked to launch a surprise attack. Otherwise, half of them would have been surrounded in a moment.”
Quoted in Unternehmen Barbarossa by Walter Post
But whatever the exact details of the military situation, it is clear that Stalin believed war with Germany was inevitable, and was hoping to pick the moment, preferably after Germany had been weakened by other conflicts, and intended to fight it on advantageous terms with a great superiority of force. If the Germans had not attacked, you can sure that the Red Army would have done so, at least within a few years.
But surely none of this is important, some will say. After all, Germany lost the war anyway, and all of Eastern Europe fell under Communist tyranny for 40 years. Yes, that’s true but think of the difference between a war of Stalin’s own choosing and the one foisted upon him by operation Barbarossa.
In the first case, the Red Army would be starting from the line of the Vistula and advancing in full strength against a Germany involved in war with Britain and possibly America. Victory would have meant the conquest of not only Eastern Europe, but probably also Central and even Western Europe, with Germany and France falling into the Stalinist orbit. We can guess what kind of job opportunities this would have created for the likes of Vasily Blokhin.
Instead of this scenario, however, the Red Army got the stuffing kicked out of it and started its advance from the Volga. By the time they reached Berlin, they had lost around 14 million servicemen dead and many millions more wounded. They were a much weakened and demoralized force that was incapable of going much further against organized resistance, and could only be impelled forward by the prospect of raping German women.
Operation Barbarossa was also a major factor in bringing America into the war, both by raising the stakes and by making American involvement in a war against Germany an easier burden to bear. Without an Eastern Front, the US would have faced the full brunt of German power in the Battle of the Atlantic and North Africa, the likely point of engagement. It is unlikely that the US would have relished that. Operation Barbarossa made American involvement in the European war a much easier proposition, and was thus the reason that the Americans were in Europe at the end of WWII, armed with nuclear weapons, and able to keep the Red Army at bay.
Operation Barbarossa was many things, including a brutal grasp by the Nazis for living space, but it was also a historical event of overwhelming importance that, in the dislocation of Stalin’s evil plans for World dominance and the damage it inflicted on the Red Army, was the main reason that Western Europe remained free to make its own mistakes in the post-war period.