by Diego Ramiro Lattes & Serban V.C. Enache
It was Stalin’s fault for the Winter War AND the Nazi invasion [at least, for why Germany invaded when it did]. The Red Army was demoralized and suffered massive losses. Things might have gone differently if Stalin had left Finland alone. It was the [Soviet] Winter War’s failure that tempted Hitler to invade. Imagine the intelligence reports:
“Confidence in the leadership waning after the war. Soviet leadership unity is at an all time low. Talks of a coup spoken in whispers…”
“Stalin’s credibility also at all time low. Former supporters critiquing his decision to invade Finland almost openly.”
“Red Army morale is terrible. Losses compounded by recent purge from years back, disorganization levels high, etc.”
But at least Stalin learned something from the USSR’s shameful defeat at the hands of the brave Fins. [Finland’s 300,000–340,000 soldiers, 32 tanks, 114 aircraft vs Soviet Union’s 425,000–760,000 soldiers, 2,514–6,541 tanks, and 3,880 aircraft]. The war’s conclusion? 70,000 total casualties [human & material] for Finland and 321,000–381,000 total casualties [human & material] for the Soviets.
Stalin used the country’s geography and climate to his advantage, allowing the Nazis to move in, instead of mounting resistance from the beginning. And, of course, he benefited from raw materials and military supplies coming in from Britain and the US, without which the USSR would have collapsed.
The Red Army men also committed mass rapes in their path [more than 1.4 million cases in East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia alone, children included], while the Soviet intelligentsia imprisoned and killed political dissidents, even those who had struggled against Nazi occupation.
It’s important not to romanticize the rule of Joseph Stalin and the ideology of Bolshevism – whether in Stalinist form, Leninist form, or Trotskyism [in the memory of Fanny Kaplan, Yes to Socialism, NO to Bolshevism], but to remember the many sacrifices and tragedies of all those countries involved in the 2nd Great War – and to always remember it was ‘great’ for all the wrong reasons, reasons inimical to a Humanity that’s morally fit to survive.