Stalin's BlindnessStalin's Blindness
WHAT WAS JOSEPH STALIN THINKING when he allied himself with Adolf Hitler for nearly two years at the beginning of World War II? Historians have grappled with these questions ever since foreign ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov signed the infamous Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact on August 23, 1939, and the subsequent German attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. The German invasion blindsided Stalin and came closer than most people realize to achieving its aim of inflicting a swift, mortal blow to his country. In What Stalin Knew, David E. Murphy, a former CIA agent provides the most thorough answers to date. The Soviet leader was enthusiastic about dividing the spoils of Poland and the Baltic states. And, most tellingly, he slipped quite comfortably into the role of defending Germany and vilifying the British and the French. Murphy offers the first English translation of a speech Stalin allegedly made on August 19, 1939, right before formalizing his agreement with Hitler. In it, he argued that if the West defeated Germany in a long war, that country would be ripe for Sovietization; but if Germany won in a long war, it would be too exhausted to threaten the Soviet Union, and a Communist takeover would be likely in France. Hence a win-win situation for the Soviet Union, and his conclusion that "one must do everything to ensure that the war lasts as long as possible in order to exhaust both sides." Discussing the war "between two groups of capitalist countries, he asserted: "We see nothing wrong in their having a good fight and weakening each other." From Berlin, a source code-named Ariets reported on September 29, 1940, that Hitler intended to "resolve problems in the east in the spring of next year." Stalin reacted by ridding himself of Ivan Proskurov, the head of military intelligence who had consistently refused to buckle to his pressure to deliver better news. Murphy's book should put to rest the myth that Stalin was the brilliant savior of his country. Before he saved it, he almost destroyed it, when he had every opportunity to prepare his troops for the worst and at least limit their losses. In the end, 27 million Soviet citizens perished during "The Great Patriotic War."
Why didn't Hitler use WMD's?
The Allies were already baying for his blood; and that of his top cronies, so on that score he didn’t have much to lose. As for fearing that they (WMD’s) would have been used against his own forces and population centres, that doesn’t seem to wash either. He doesn’t exactly have a reputation for overly protective for either his fighting men, nor of the suffering of his civilian population. So the question remains why didn’t he use them? There were a few times when they could have been battle winners; especially during sieges. Like Leningrad,, Stalingrad (the early stages) and Sevastapol. The troops tied up there could most certainly have been put to a better use elsewhere. The one explanation that I have come across was that it was personal phobia with him. Albert Speer in his memoirs "Inside the Third Reich" writes that Hitler drew a line. No gas warfare as he had personally experienced the gas attack in WW-1.