Stalin's Other War: Soviet Grand Strategy, 1939-1941

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Overview

On June 22, 1941, just less than two years after signing the Nazi-Soviet Agreements, Adolf Hitler's German army invaded the Soviet Union. The attack hardly came as a surprise to Josef Stalin; in fact, history has long held that Stalin spent the two intervening years building up his defenses against a Nazi attack. With the gradual declassifying of former Soviet documents, though, historians are learning more and more about Stalin's grand plan during the years 1939-1941. Longtime Soviet expert Albert L. Weeks has studied the newly-released information and come to a different conclusion about the Soviet Union's pre-war buildup_it was not precaution against German invasion at all. In fact, Weeks argues, the evidence now suggests Soviet mobilization was aimed at an eventual invasion of Nazi Germany. The Soviets were quietly biding their time between 1939 and 1941, allowing the capitalist powers to destroy one another, all the while preparing for their own Westward march. Stalin, Weeks shows, wasn't waiting for a Nazi attack_Hitler simply beat him to the punch.

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Editorial Reviews

Comparative Strategy
Stalin's Other War is an excellent study that thoroughly covers the subject matter under discussion, and Weeks provides an exceptionally good overview of the current state of the debate among Russian scholars who are making use of the new evidence that is progressively becoming available as the Soviet archives are opened to scholarly scrutiny. The book includes an excellent discussion of the issue of the supposed 'defensist' orientation of Soviet policy. Stalin's Other War presents substantial evidence that Soviet warplanning reflected its expansionist orientation. Provides an excellent update on the current status of a very contentious and important historical debate. Weeks does an excellent job of describing Soviet diplomatic and military strategy and supports his core arguments with solid evidence. Stalin's Other War is a sound contribution to the scholarly literature on the Soviet Union and a useful addition to the debate on the pre-Barbarossa relationship between two predatory empires.
The Washington Times
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, new documents have surfaced which show, according to Albert Weeks in Stalin's Other War, one of our leading Sovietologists, that, on the contrary, Stalin had developed an offensive-war strategy against both Nazi Germany and the Western democracies as well. Mr. Weeks has produced a volume of history which is bound to stir controversy. Mr. Weeks's analysis of Soviet archives is a piece of scholarly revisionism of major significance.
— Arnold Beichman
Choice
Recommended.
Strobe Talbott
Nazi Germany's invasion of Soviet Russia had immense consequences for the world, lasting into the 21st century. Albert Weeks has made imaginative use of recently released archives to shed new light on this crucial conflict. This book is a reminder that history is anything but static—it requires constant revision, in the light of new information and fresh perspective.
The Washington Times - Arnold Beichman
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, new documents have surfaced which show, according to Albert Weeks in Stalin's Other War, one of our leading Sovietologists, that, on the contrary, Stalin had developed an offensive-war strategy against both Nazi Germany and the Western democracies as well. Mr. Weeks has produced a volume of history which is bound to stir controversy. Mr. Weeks's analysis of Soviet archives is a piece of scholarly revisionism of major significance.
Richard Raack
This slender volume is a must study for scholars and history buffs on the Second World War, and, especially for skeptics who still doubt Stalin's aggressive designs. First of all, the author judiciously weighs the Russian and English-language sources. Second, he tells his history engrossingly. Third, he prints in appendices key documents that have previously not appeared in English, or which have been hard to find. Fourth, he relates—this is an outstanding contribution to understanding the current Russian state of mind—Russian textbook presentations on the controversial topic.
CHOICE
Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742521926
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert L. Weeks has been an expert on Soviet Russia for more than fifty years. Weeks has served as a journalist, policy analyst, and professor, and is credited with coining the name 'Sputnik' while working for Newsweek in 1957. Stalin's Other War is his eighth book.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Soviet Expansionist Ideology: Propaganda or Blueprint? Chapter 3 Prewar Diplomacy and the Comintern Chapter 4 The Soviets' Pro-German Posture Chapter 5 Nazi-Soviet Agreements (1939-40) Chapter 6 Stalin Prepares for What Kind of War Chapter 7 Stalin's Response to "Barbarossa"— I Chapter 8 Stalin's Response to "Barbarossa"— II Chapter 9 Conclusions Chapter 10 Appendix 1: Stalin's Third Speech, May 5, 1941 Chapter 11 Appendix 2: May 15, 1941, Memorandum Chapter 12 Appendix 3: Stalin's Speech to the Politburo, August 19, 1939 Chapter 13 Appendix 4: Russia's New History Textbooks

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2003

    A poor, and late, imitation of Viktor Suvorov?

    Suvorov has already done the research here, his book 'Icebreaker' (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1990) being the leading work on this subject, along with two sequel volumes which have not yet appeared in English (will they ever appear? I hope so). Stalin was not merely intending to 'eventually' invade Nazi Germany, but to imminently invade, conquer, and Sovietize the whole of Europe. The Germans's own ('preemptive strike'?) invasion of the USSR preempted that by a mere two weeks. One could even argue that thanks to the Nazis, half of Europe at least was saved from 50+ years's worth of Marxist tyranny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2003

    Stalin's plan to pre-empt Hitler revealed

    This is an important new book by an expert on Soviet history in an updated Paperback edition. Professor Weeks presents the reader with a lot of newly discovered secret information from documents from formerly closed Soviet archives. Among these documents are transcripts of Stalin?s famous toast to graduates of the Military academies from the 5th of May, 1941, and the text of Stalin's previously hotly disputed secret speech to the Soviet Politburo, dated August 19, 1939, just days before the signing the Hitler-Stalin Pact including its secret protocol about the territorial division of Poland, the Baltics and Bessarabia. The text was discovered in Russian archives and has also been confirmed by diary entries of Comintern head Dimitrov. Stalin predicts that Germany will have to fight a long war against France and England, allowing the Soviet Union to sovietize not only defeated Germany but also France. An even more important document is from the Soviet General Staff. It is a war plan against Germany, calling for a pre-emptive strike against German forces! The document, titled 'Considerations of the Plan for the Strategic Deployment of the Armed forces of the Soviet Union in Case of War with Germany and its Allies', is dated May 15, 1941. It has been prepared mainly by General, later Marshal, A. Vasilievsky, Deputy Head of the Operations Department of the Soviet General Staff (Stavka). The Memorandum was presented to Stalin by Commissar of Defense S. Timoshenko and Chief of the General Staff G. Zhukov. The document 'Considerations ...' (15 handwritten pages long) is explicitly calling for a pre-emptive strike against German forces. This is fully in line with the offensive military doctrine of the Soviets that called for 'Deep Operations' into enemy territory (a fact confirmed by many Soviet Officers and historians, but neglected and disputed by Colonel Glantz and historian Gorodetsky, both of whom are using pro-Soviet arguments throughout their books. In fact, Weeks deals both Glantz's and Gorodetsky's apologia of Stalin a deadly blow with his well researched book. Glantz and Gorodetsky have been granted access to Soviet archives precisely because they stick to the official Soviet historiography, I believe). Weeks uses a number books and documents that have only recently been published in Russia, and thereby allows the reader to form his own opinion based on these materials. This is a great advantage over many other books that try to ignore every little detail that might contradict the author's arguments. Some of the documents in this book have never been published in English language before in their entirety. The wealth of information Weeks is able to present Stalin's 'offensist' intentions is convincing to anyone with an open mind. There can be no doubt: Stalin had detailed plans of attacking Hitler, it just happened that Hitler managed to strike first. The only criticism I have about this book is, that the 'Considerations...' are not published in their full length (The document has been fully published in Austria and Germany, however). Anyone with an interest in the latest revelations from Stalin?s archives should read this fascinating book. Highly recommended!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2002

    Stalin's offensive war plans against Hitler documented

    This is an important new book by an expert on Soviet history. Professor Weeks presents the reader with a lot of newly discovered secret information from documents from formerly closed Soviet archives. Among these documents are transcripts of Stalin?s famous toast to graduates of the Military academies from the 5th of May, 1941, and the text of Stalin's previously hotly disputed secret speech to the Soviet Politburo, dated August 19, 1939, just days before the signing the Hitler-Stalin Pact including its secret protocol about the territorial division of Poland, the Baltics and Bessarabia. The text was discovered in Russian archives and has also been confirmed by diary entries of Comintern head Dimitrov. Stalin predicts that Germany will have to fight a long war against France and England, allowing the Soviet Union to sovietize not only defeated Germany but also France. An even more important document is from the Soviet General Staff. It is a war plan against Germany, calling for a pre-emptive strike against German forces! The document, titled "Considerations of the Plan for the Strategic Deployment of the Armed forces of the Soviet Union in Case of War with Germany and its Allies", is dated May 15, 1941. It has been prepared mainly by General, later Marshal, A. Vasilievsky, Deputy Head of the Operations Department of the Soviet General Staff (Stavka). The Memorandum was presented to Stalin by Commissar of Defense S. Timoshenko and Chief of the General Staff G. Zhukov. The document "Considerations ..." (some 15 pages long) is explicitly calling for a pre-emptive strike against German forces. This is fully in line with the offensive military doctrine of the Soviets that called for "Deep Operations" into enemy territory (a fact confirmed by many Soviet Officers and historians, but neglected and disputed by Colonel Glantz and historian Gorodetsky, both of whom are using pro-Soviet arguments throughout their books. In fact, Weeks deals both Glantz's and Gorodetsky's apologia of Stalin a deadly blow with his well researched book. Glantz and Gorodetsky have been granted access to Soviet archives precisely because they stick to the official Soviet historiography, I believe). Weeks uses a number books and documents that have only recently been published in Russia, and thereby allows the reader to form his own opinion based on these materials. This is a great advantage over many other books that try to ignore every little detail that might contradict the author's arguments. Some of the documents in this book have never been published in English language before in their entirety. The wealth of information Weeks is able to present Stalin's "offensist" intentions is convincing to anyone with an open mind. There can be no doubt: Stalin had detailed plans of attacking Hitler, it just happened that Hitler managed to strike first. The only criticism I have about this book is, that the "Considerations..." are not published in their full length (The document has been fully published in Austria and Germany, however). Anyone with an interest in the latest revelations from Stalin?s archives should read this fascinating book. Highly recommended!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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