The Great Patriotic War

Barbarossa to Stalingrad
  • John Erickson


The plight of one Soviet soldier was an instance of the condition into which the Red Army had been plunged, in June 1941, unable either to attack or defend. The ensuing haplessness laid bare a warfare state without a functioning war machine, lacking a high command, bereft of operational plans. Not that the road to the catastrophe of 1941 was without its warning signs. They were strewn from east to west, beginning in Spain in 1936, moving from Lake Khasan in 1938 to Khalkin-gol and Zhukov’s declared “victory” in 1939, the “liberation march” into eastern Poland in 1939, and the humiliating disasters of the 1939–40 “Winter War” with Finland. What they conveyed were shortcomings in Red Army organization and performance disregarded or uncorrected, poor training, questionable morale, indifferent leadership, outmoded equipment, grave deficiencies in supply. What the war with Finland also demonstrated was dangerously defective strategy.


General Staff Military History Offensive Operation German Army High Command 
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Copyright information

© Robin Higham and Frederick W. Kagan 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Erickson

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