Did Communism and Stalin save the world from Nazism ?

Discussion in 'Military History' started by ashdoc, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    Recently I was reading a history of the second world war . While reading it , what becomes clear is the fact that the war had to be won or lost in Russia . More than 3/4ths of the german army was fighting against the Russians , with less than 1/4ths deployed on all other fronts put together .

    Had Russia collapsed , the the americans and the british would have been utterly incapable of liberating europe , as they would have been unable to face the might of the full german war machine .

    America would have remained protected by its distance from europe . But thats about it . Britain would have had to make peace with germany , on german terms , while eurasia would have been dominated by germany and its allies . Only Russia really stood between germany and final victory....

    .......And the war in Russia was fought with unprecedented brutality by the germans . It was a war of annihilation . Millions died in the fighting , and millions more were slaughtered in cold blood .

    In the initial months of the fighting itself, millions of russians were killed , and millions more were marched into captivity , where they eventually died due to appalling conditions .

    It is unlikely that a democratic regime or even a monarchy like the czar would have been able to stomach the collossal losses , and remain in the fight . In the first world war , the regime ruled by the czar collapsed before the german advance , and revolution occurred . In the second world war too ,the democratic regimes of countries like france , netherlands and belgium quickly surrendered before the germans , and britain was saved only because it lay across the sea .

    Only the communists , and above all the indomitable dictator , Stalin had the brutality and the sheer willpower to force the russian people to fight on inspite of unbelievable losses. By the most inhuman methods , incapable for a democracy , did stalin enforce among his people the will to fight .

    For example , all units had to stand and fight and hold their ground. Any unit , if it was encircled by germans , had to stay and hold its ground . If it fought its way out of the encirclement , all its men were shot dead , inspite of their bravery in fighting out of the german encirclement . Among the civilian population , anyone who did not co-operate with the war effort was rounded up and shot .

    It is obvious that only a brutal regime like the communists , and above all their brutal dictator Stalin , would have been able to make and enforce such rules . A democratic regime , or even a monarchy like the czar would have lacked the brutality for enacting such laws , and enforcing them .

    And it is difficult to imagine russia surviving against germany without such cruel discipline . So do we owe nazism's defeat to the commies ??
     
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  3. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    I believe if not for stalin's ruthlessness the russians wouldn't have fared better. Desperate situations call for desperate measures.

    It is well known to everyone except ignorant idiots that majority of the german was on the eastern front. Hollywood has made many believe that england and usa and its allies defeated germany which isn't correct.
     
  4. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    But the key question to ask is: would Russia have collapsed?

    The Germans simply touched the limits of geography. Soviet barrenness and its lack of development, by reducing its density of road networks, actually increased its chances of survival. Nazi Germany was prepared only for a short-term war- and Blitzkrieg simply never could have worked in Russia. Besides, although Germany's own resources were sufficient for 1940 victories in the West, massive Soviet shipments obtained during a short period of Nazi-Soviet economic collaboration were critical for Germany to launch Operation Barbarossa. So, if anything, Russia was responsible for early victories by Germany on its eastern front. Germany, I think, overestimated itself and its capabilities to wage war in Russia and capture key economic and critical infrastructure centres. Moscow might have been taken, but resistance could be organized by retreating to Yaroslavl, Nizhiny-Novgorod and or Perm-Yekaterinburg. That, I think, in the end was its undoing.
     
  5. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Tactics employed by the germans also were flawed. Instead of consolidating first then expanding they expanded too fast. They launched three separate operations into russia at one go without backup for any of them.
     
  6. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    But would a less brutal regime have organised a resistance by retreating to yaroslavl , nizhniy-novgorod and perm-yekaterinburg ? would they have had the stomach to continue battle after the collossal loses ?

    in the first world war ,the czar did not show the stomach.....and after the czar fell ,even lenin signed the treaty of brest-litovsk , and in effect surrendered to the germans . only stalin had the brutality to continue the fight in the second world war.
     
  7. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    the real flaw was massacre of innocent people in the areas the germans conquered . initially , the population had welcomed the germans as liberators from stalin's brutality , especially in ukraine , where they hoped for some kind of independent ukraine under german tutelage . but soon they discovered that the germans intended to annihilate them . so ,partisans were organised behind the frontlines in german conquered territory to harry the germans in the rear . fighting these partisans took up vital german divisions from the frontlines . besides , stories of german brutality meant that people who would have otherwise surrendered had no choice but to fight .
     
  8. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    The main German error was invading Russia in the first place. History's dustbin is full of empires which have collapsed due to invading Russia.

    What Germany should have done is focus on winning the Battle of Britain and launching Operation Sea Lion to capture the British Isles by 1941, thus winning World War II.
     
  9. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    True. But Hitler had reasons to invade USSR.

    He wanted access to the oil-fields of the Caucasus. There weren't too many oil-fields in the West.

    He also targeted Moscow and Leningrad so that he could siege the political power centres. That would have given him control of the Trans-Siberian Railway and it would have been easy to get resources from the East, where Japan was an ally in control of vast swathes of Asia-Pacific. Remember, the Allies were getting resources from the US, so Hitler needed resources from somewhere.
     
  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Totally agree. Stalin, although autocratic, did what was necessary. Had it not been for him, it is difficult to say whether USSR would have survived or whether the Allies would have won.
     
  11. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    That is a matter of speculation. Of course, Stalin did not have to contend with a fallen <or potentially fallen> Moscow.

    The Russians also were the aggressors in WW1, and lost by an Act of aggression. Russia launched it's first offensive against Prussia in 1914, as it was the natural course for the Russians to take upon declaration of war with Germany. The Russian First Army (commanded by Rennenkampf) aimed straight into the heart of East Prussia, while the Russian Second Army (commanded by Samsonov) aimed to cut off the German Eighth Army's (stationed in E Prussia) line of retreat. Once Eastern Prussia was secure, the Russian Ministry of War planned to march on Berlin. The First and Second Russian Armies moved so fast that they outran their logistical supports. After weeks of loses, the remaining German Eighth Army (led by Ludendorf) left their defensive positions and marched between the advanced positions of both Russian armies. The German Army then turned West and attacked the flank of the Russian Second Army. Within four days of fighting, bogged down in lakes and swamps, the Russian Second Army was defeated. Samsonov shot himself. A week later, General Hindenburg led the Eighth German Army, bolstered by reinforcements, to drive the Russian First Army completely out of Prussia. That singular battle at Tennenberg and the defeat therein turned the tide irreversibly against their favor.

    The formation of the People's Soviets and the disbandment and mutinies of soldiers along the Southern front immediately prior to and during the Bolshevik Revolution further catalyzed the process. The Soviets could not hope to hold on to, during a period of dual-power, and fight a war simultaneously, and hence Lenin signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with an already weakened Prussia in 1918.

    In the Second World War, the Soviets had no choice. They had to keep fighting, or risk defeat, against a determined enemy. They were also on the defensive, which meant that they could've kept retreating and fighting- indefinitely. The fact that any war on the Asian continent meant a protracted war- further asservates this position.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
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  12. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Russia's national response in the two great wars in Europe was corollary to the national mood of Russians visa viv the state of war and its impact on their lives.Czar's resolve to continue the great war may have waned as result of civil insurrection in his country,but even the provisional govt who replaced the Czarist regime also decided to continue the war effort,it was the communist who read the mood of the people correctly,who had by the end become weary of the war and wanted it to end somehow,it was the Bolsheviks strident stand against the continuation of Russia's war efforts which made them extremely popular.The treaty of Brest-Litovsk may have been humiliating enough,but the fact it concluded Russia's war with Germany and that's what the people wanted ultimately.

    On the contrary during the second world war Soviet Russia was buoyed by a nationalist spirit and it was clear to the population that Nazi German war machine was more ruthless in treating occupied territories and the populace than Imperial Germany,no doubt there was a sense that he Russians were fighting for their lives here.There is however no doubting that in Stalin,Russia had the leader with demeanor and ruthlessness to take risky decisions and remain steadfast to it.Russia's defense of its cities during the German surge was expensive in terms of Russian lives that were lost,somebody less determined than Stalin could have dithered employing such a strategy.Stalin also had the motivation to contemplate no other option but to survive Hitler,otherwise given Hitler's hatred for everything communist,humiliation or suicide was the only consequence of defeat.

    Given a choice however Stalin would have been happy to remain at peace with Hitler's Germany,the Nazi-Soviet pact is evidence of that,but then with Hitler, peace was German peace or nothing else.
     
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  13. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

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    Had a quick glance through - wanted to post before the words slipped out of my head!

    You compare Hitler's nazism and Stalin's communism - but were they really that different? Both forms of government relied on the leaders for direction - so the question ultimately comes down to much of the views of Hitler and Stalin.

    One great book is:
    Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives by Alan Bullock. Its quite hefty, but I read it a couple of years ago in 9th/10th grade. It really opened my eyes to some of the similarities of those two dynamic men.

    Really recommend it!
     
  14. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Stalin followed communism in the typical fashion it has been followed in all communist countries--- authoritarianist and dictatorial. It has been widely reported that the USSR conscripts were so scared to desert the battle front that they preferred to fight and die by charging forward rather than running back in a situation where they had to to save themselves and then only to face Stalin's firing squad. This insane and scare-mongering attitude of Stalin cost USSR 11 million soldiers against the sam handful of Germans at all fronts.

    Rather than using strategy, Stalin preferred pushing young men into the slaughterhouse with human wave attacks. They won the war but with almost as bad as a defeat. On the other hand, US did the tiniest bit mainly in the Pacific, dropped the nukes and took away all the glory leaving Soviets and Europeans to lick their wounds. If Stalin had been more flexible to accepting opinions, many Soviet lives could have been saved. This is only WW2; he killed another 3 million Russians in the Great Purges. I don't see the man any different from Hitler. In fact he was worse than Hitler. Hitler was ruthless to non-German origin people; Stalin was a monster for his own people.
     
  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well one thing is a fact, the sacrifices in terms of lives lost and the most difficult battles fought Russians were first and foremost. I would'nt classify that as Communism armies or Stalinist armies because they were basically fighting on the basis of Russian identity primarily. And in fact Poland and many of the countries that later became part of the Soviet bloc welcomes the Russian troops as liberators.

    This is a prime example when two enemies (capitalist US,UK and Communist Russia) dissolved their differences to fight a common enemy Nazi Germany. And once the enemy was defeated, then rivalries among the two came to the fore leading to new hostilities.
     
  16. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    It's an interesting fact that 8 out of 10 Wehrmacht casualties were caused by the Russians, the other 2 was caused by US,UK,France,Poland combined. Without the Russians the German defeat would have become very very difficult, but not impossible.


    IMO, if it hadn't been for Stalin, the Soviets would have fared far better. It was Stalin who initiated the purge of top Generals in the Red Army, seriously affecting it's ability to fight. It's also Stalin who refused to believe the German attack was imminent, even when the entire Wehrmacht was massing on the Russian border. The initial collapse of the Red Army would not have occurred without Stalin.
     
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  17. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I'd say that Russia was among the principal reasons for the defeat of Nazism. Tshering is right in that Stalin was about as brutal as Hitler. But Stalin was brutal to his own people while Hitler tried a world conquest. That, and the fact that Stalin was on the allied side in WW2, have resulted in Stalin being shown in a more positive light than he deserves.

    My belief, which concurs with what many historians say, is that Russia is unconquerable. The sheer size and scale of the nation make any kind of occupation impossible. It is possible to inflict military defeat on Russia, as with any other nation, but an invasion and occupation of the nation is unthinkable, whether the Russian leadership is communist, capitalist or anything in between. All conquerors who have tried a military occupation of Russia have had to bite the dust.

    I'd say that Hitler's ill thought out invasion of Russia was one of the prime causes of his downfall, and I wouldn't necessarily give communism the credit.
     
  18. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    That is interesting indeed. Would you mind, if I asked where you read that?

    Keep in mind, though, with any figures of Wehrmacht casualties: that they included about 215,000 Soviet citizens conscripted into the Germany Army.

    See particularly: Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg by Rüdiger Overmans.
     
  19. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Great book. I'd also recommend: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder

    And I found this on youtube:



    Watch particularly part 2







    +1

    I'd also want to add: that Germany believed the motorization of its infantry would allow it to traverse long distances in short times. That was not the case, as their BMW, NSU, DKW, and Zundapp motorcycles got stuck in the snow of winter.

    One of the key factors in their defeat in the Lage Ost was their alliance with the Italians. Italy caused them more harm than good, ie the time Hitler had to take to save Italy from the Greeks, delayed their Russian invasion, leading to the failure on the eastern front.

    The argument is a little more nuanced, however: the German Army achieved rapid success when it first applied its Blitzkrieg in deployments in close concentrations along the eastern front, when Germany, together with its allies (Finland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy), invaded Russia in a gigantic surprise attack. The delay, however, cost them dear as their mechanized operations and logistics support got caught in the peak of winter.

    For an even more detailed understanding of small unit actions, check out;

    http://www.allworldwars.com/Small-Unit-Actions-During-German-Campaign-in-Russia.html

    Additionally, Hitler's failure to mount a successful long sea-borne campaign in the English channel, to engage the U.K and coerce it into signing a peace-treaty, cannot be discounted as reasons for his defeat. Germany knew that their best chance for victory was for the war in Europe to be ended swiftly, and faced with the alternatives of a protracted naval engagement against a sea-faring power and a land-battle against a large territorial enemy, Hitler chose the latter. Hubert Menzel, who was Major in the General Operations Department of the OKH (the Oberkommando des Heers) actually drew up the plans for invasion of the Soviet Union. To him, it seemed clear: deal with the greatest ideological enemy now, and hope for a settlement despite not being able to break the impasse on the English Channel, all the while building up naval strength for a future confrontation with the United States + Great Britain.

    In the end, it was perhaps the threat from all three Allies that forced Hitler to take the decision he did, relying on what he thought, was their greatest chance of victory, and infact American and British aid that allowed the Soviet Union to continued a prolonged battle, in a scenario of protracted naval engagement in the English channel, which the Germans were unable to break.
     
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  20. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    The first time I heard that was in BBC when they were commemorating a major V-Day anniversary. I was pretty surprised to hear that, as watching hollywood movies I was under the impression that it was the US that won the war and USSR played a minor role.

    Here is a site giving breakup of Wehrmacht Casualties. Wikipedia also has a good breakup of the casualties on the eastern front, (they are quoting Overman as well)
     
  21. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Some thoughts:

    Good post. If I may add, it was not only the Russians, but also the non-Russians from different SSRs (Soviet Socialist Republics) also participated in the war. The total casualties across all the nationalities in the USSR was approximately 26 million.

    Again, good points. Yes, Stalin did certain things that did not particularly help the Soviet Red Army. It is controversial why he did that. The reasons were many were sympathetic to the former Tsarist Russian Empire and Stalin did not have much confidence in their loyalty to the USSR. One needs to keep in mind that many Caucasians Ethnic Groups and the Ukrainian Guards were collaborating with the Germans.

    I would like to ask you in particular and everyone in general: If it hadn't been for an authoritarian man like Stalin but a democratic man like Gorbachev, would the USSR have succeeded in defeating the Germans?

    Once we satisfactorily answer this question, we can shed a lot of light on whether USSR would have fared better had it not been for Stalin.

    Russia is not really inconquerable, from a broader historical perspective. Of course, two invasions failed, one by Napoleon and one by Hitler. Kindly note that the Russians were at one time vassals to the Kazan Khanate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011

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