Stalin, Soviet Strategy and the Grand Alliance
The German invasion of the Soviet Union launched on 22 June 1941 found London and Moscow each after its own fashion catastrophically unprepared for such an eventuality. Double-vision afflicted both in equal mèasure. The Foreign Office, though aware of the scale of the German military build-up in the east, was convinced that this was but a prelude to further Soviet-German negotiation and possible Soviet capitulation to German demands. Stalin, in possession of mountains of intelligence data,1 did not expect Hitler to embark on a two-front war; at worst, he anticipated that an ultimatum would precede war.. His immediate preoccupation was to avoid a ‘provocation’, British-inspired, to involve him in war with Germany. Alternatively, he had to be on the lookout to thwart any devious Anglo-German ‘compact’ for a separate peace which would free Hitler’s hands to strike in the east, a suspicion fuelled by the bizarre circumstances of the ‘Hess affair’.
KeywordsGeneral Staff Offensive Operation Soviet Force Eastern Front German Invasion
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- 1.See J. Lewis, Changing Direction: British Military Planning for Post-war Strategic Defence, 1942–47 ( London: Sherwood, 1988 ), pp. 138–9.Google Scholar