Using newly released Soviet documents and reevaluating existing material, The Chief Culprit analyzes Joseph Stalin's strategic design to conquer Europe and his support for Germany, which helped bring Hitler to power and sustained him. Stalin's strategy leading up to World War II grew from Vladimir Lenin's belief that if World War I did not ignite the worldwide Communist revolution, then a second world war would be needed to achieve it. Stalin saw Germany as the power that would fight and weaken capitalist countries so Soviet armies could sweep across the European continent to the Atlantic. Viktor Suvorov reveals how Stalin conspired with German leaders to bypass the Versailles Treaty, which forbade German rearmament. Secretly, the Soviet Union trained German engineers and officers as well as provided bases and factories for war. In 1939, the nonaggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany allowed Hitler to proceed with his plans to invade Poland, fomenting war in Europe. Stalin emerges as a diabolical genius consumed by visions of a worldwide Communist revolution at any cost, the leader who wooed Hitler and Germany in his own effort to conquer the world. The author debunks the myth that the Soviet Union was a victim of Germany's aggression. Instead, he insists that Stalin neither feared Hitler nor mistakenly trusted him. Suvorov argues that after Germany occupied Poland, defeated France, and started to prepare for an invasion of Great Britain, Hitler's intelligence services detected the Soviet Unions preparations for a major war against Germany. In 1940, Germany drafted a preemptive war plan, which it launched in June 1941, the invasion of the USSR.
|Publisher:||Naval Institute Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.30(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Viktor Suvorov is the author of eighteen books, including three works of fiction. He was a Soviet Army officer who served in military intelligence (GRU). In 1978, he defected to the United Kingdom, where he worked as an intelligence analyst and lecturer. He lives in England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Suvorov makes a very persuasive case that the Red Army, far from being the bungling, ill-equipped force overrun by the Germans in their surprise attack on the Soviet Union, was in fact in possession of weapons that surpassed those of the Germans (indeed anyone in the world) in both quality and quantity. It also had large numbers of highly trained, specialized troops. The problem was that all of their weapons and training were offensive rather than defensive.They had vast numbers of dive bombers very similar to those used by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. These planes are attack planes, with little armor or defense capability. They are designed for surprise attack when they can catch their enemies unprepared and on the ground.They had huge numbers of very high quality tanks, more than Hitler had at his disposal at the time. They even had amphibious tanks at at time when no one else had any. If you are fighting a defensive war, you have no use whatsoever for amphibious tanks. You simply fortify yourself on one side of the river and repel all comers.They had artillery which was unexcelled in the world, including the Katyusha rocket launcher. These were mobile artillery units designed for offensive mobility.They had a million highly trained paratroopers. Paratroopers are assault troops; you don't have a use for them in a defensive war.Why then did the Germans overrun the Red Army so easily in the early weeks of the war? Suvorov's argument, well documented, is that Stalin planned a surprise attack on the Germans and indeed the order for mobilization for attack had already been given. Troops were converging, or had already arrived, at the border. Those which had arrived prepared no defensive positions; their mission would be to attack and fight on the enemy's soil not their own. Planes were lined up wingtip to wingtip awaiting the order to scramble for attack. These resources were coming from all over the Soviet Union, but the largest numbers were coming from the East beyond the Caucausus. These are huge distances. The effort failed because Hitler had only to move his troops relatively short distances to put them in attack position on the Eastern Front. He attacked first and the rest is history.I expect this book will be savaged by professional historians as acceptance of its basic arguments would require a complete rethinking and rewriting of much of the history of World War II in which many of them have a vested interest; indeed, for some of them a life's work. The theses are too important and too persuasively put forth to be quietly set aside. They should be aired and debated.
Yes, this is the currently available "bad boy" of 1941 Soviet military and diplomatic history. Add it to your shelf soon, who can say when they'll be gone for good - practically - like the author's English translation of THE ICEBREAKER. + + + The Viktor Suvorov thesis should be well known to you by know; it has drawn flak from around the world so it must have heaved onto target or close to it. David Glantz, for example, sharply challenges the argument that Hitler's Operation Barbarossa invasion of the former Soviet Union anticipated a more deliberate, longer laid plan to strike at Nazi Germany from the east by mere weeks. As Viktor is about the only one forcefully making the claim, he should be read and his evidence considered carefully. I've a really old German translation of P.G. Grigorenko, published in Switzerland, around here not seen, or re-read, for years. Pyotr was the first to blow this particular whistle if memory serves. A few Russians are lifting up the banner these days, evidently, including Constantine Pleshakov (STALIN'S FOLLY, ISBN 0-618-36701-2) altho they attract little attention and less sensation. A professional spy, like our Viktor, on the other hand knows how to draw a crowd when he wants to. Please see the introduction to David's STUMBLING COLOSSUS (ISBN 0-7006-0879-6) for scathing criticism of Viktor Rezun - or as the target prefers, Viktor Suvorov, and his ideas. As suggested above, this book touches certain raw nerves. A good thing this is, right? + + + Those lucky, as I was, to absorb THE ICEBREAKER a dozen or so years ago, will note many a poor editorial choice made throughout this clumsily translated text; letters missing from words, spaces missing between works, exceptionally bad punctuation, that sort of thing. And this should raise one's eyebrow given the fact the updated, recast ICEBREAKER is published under the rubric of a beloved and admired Naval Institute Press. Yet the quality of paper used is high. Go figure. The translation is cruelly bad, atrocious even. Small wonder it is no one stepped up to take "credit" for the Russian-to-English effort here. + + + If you detect a theme in this review, good for you. There is less original material in here than one might suspect given recent political changes in Russia and a brief period of relatively good access to archival material in and around Moscow afforded to non-governmental researchers. This may be explained, perhaps, by the implication our friend "Viktor" is not particularly welcome to return to his home country from self-imposed exile dating back to the good ol' cold war days. The bibliography here contains few new titles either. Hmmmmmmm. For a more contemporary, tho less bold, excursion in fresh material from the horse's mouth flip through David Murphy's WHAT STALIN KNEW: ENIGMA OF BARBAROSSA (ISBN 0-300-10780-3). Don't get me wrong here, "Suvorov" does summon a few new facts and figures: Take a gander at Footnote Ten, Chapter Twenty-one on Page 300. Wow. No, double wow. + + + This leaves me to a final point, and I'll make it brief. Not wishing to criticise CHIEF CULPRIT for what it fails to do, I'd like to put the call out for a detailed study of Red Army troop dispositions, 1938-41. Would someone kindly take this project on? Make it as boring as possible, go ahead, only I must warn you: I'll review it right here at Barnes and Noble dot com. + + +