Sunday, April 24, 2016

Revisiting Suvorov

I have written extensively regarding Viktor Suvorov’s book, The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II.  My several posts can be found here.

To make a long story short, Stalin supported and strengthened Hitler, baiting him to start World War II against Britain and France with the anticipation that the western capitalist countries would so weaken themselves that the expansion of Soviet communism would be free to clean up and take over the remains.  Just before Stalin was to invade Germany, Hitler struck first.  The rest is the history with which we are familiar.

Through either an email or comment (I don’t recall which) I was introduced to the work of Mark Solonin.  With his permission, I offer a brief review of one of his posts, entitled Comrade Stalin's Three Plans.

He begins with a statement that is agreeable to all – whether one believes Suvorov’s account or the more traditional version:

The fact is that Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union at dawn on June 22, 1941 became a horrible surprise for Comrade Stalin.

Germany’s attack astonished the inhabitants of the Kremlin’s offices, stunning them and putting them into a state of shock. That is the fact.

Solonin then introduces the revisionist story – fully consistent with the work of Suvorov:

There is another fact. In May-June of 1941 the Soviet Union’s military forces were in a state of covert strategic deployment. All aspects of strategic deployment (mobilization of reservists, strategic regrouping and concentration of troops, operative deployment of alignments) were carried out in a strict secrecy unheard of even by Stalin’s harsh standards.

As secretly and quietly as can be imagined for such a large movement, Stalin brought to the western borders a significant massing of the Red Army.

Solonin cites Suvorov’s first book on this topic, Icebreaker – written twenty years earlier.

Viktor Suvorov’s hypothesis also bore that main characteristic of the genuine scientific theory, which is this: new facts and documents fit within its boundaries the same way cartridges fit in a pistol clip. New facts fit his theory with precision and clarity, without violating its structure, but rather enhancing its lethal power.

On the other hand, no alternative concepts were formulated in the 20 years after The Icebreaker was published. There was not a single book or a single article.

While many important records and documents remain inaccessible to independent researchers, Solonin goes on to document in a detailed fashion what is known and can be authenticated, what is reasonable with some difficulty to authenticate.  He does not apologize for the fact that the Soviets under Stalin were tremendously skilled at hiding the true nature of their plans.

He identifies these plans, plans that changed three times over the course of the several years leading up to war.  The first plan is quite clear:

Based on quite authentic documents, we can see that exactly this kind of decision was made. Stalin quite clearly expressed the main goals of his foreign policy all the way back to September 2, 1935, in a letter to Molotov and Kaganovich:

"The old Entente no longer exists. Instead, there are two Ententes emerging: the entente between Italy and France, on the one hand, and the entente between Britain and Germany, on the other. The more violent the fight between the two, the better it is for the USSR. We can sell grain to both of them so they can fight. It is not at all in our benefit if one instantly destroys the other. It’s beneficial for us if their fight is as long-lasting as possible, but without the fast victory of one over the other.”

These countries would so weaken each other that they would be ripe for revolution.

Citing other documents from the time of 1939 and thereafter, it seems clear that Stalin understood that coming to an alliance with Britain would likely stop Hitler from war.  This, of course, would not be conducive toward achieving Stalin’s desired outcome.

Plan two was a plan for war against Germany.  Plan two can be reconstructed in detail, given documents released in the 1990s. 

What conclusions can we draw based on the available documents?

Firstly, an operational plan against Germany did exist, and work on that plan went on for many months – from at least August, 1940, with no consideration of the Non-Aggression Pact.

Secondly, starting in August, 1940 the strategic deployment plans mentioned earlier no longer name Great Britain as a potential enemy of the USSR; Germany is constantly named the main enemy, with potential support to be provided to it by Italy, Hungary, Romania, and Finland.

Thirdly, all of the currently declassified plans for the Red Army’s strategic deployment present practically the same document, which changes slightly from one version to another. At issue is not only the semantic, but also the textual, similarity of all the plans.

The targeted cities and regions were all East Prussian, Polish and Slovak.  A concrete month and year was established – August, 1941 – although a concrete date has not been established from available documents.

No one has yet found any other plans for the Red Army’s strategic deployment, except these. With all the Russian archives at their disposal, Suvorov’s opponents have not, in the past 18 years, managed to present to the world a single document in which the beginning (only the beginning!) of the Soviet-German war was being planned in the form of a strategic defensive operation on Soviet territory. (Emphasis in original.)

Plan three differed little from plan two:

Strictly speaking, the new “Stalin's third plan” did not, from the point of view of operational intent, differ at all from Plan # 2. Large-scale offensive operation was still planned beyond the USSR’s state borders.

In assessing this plan, Solonin focusses on a meeting of May 24 – a meeting with Stalin and to include the senior-most command of the Soviet military.  Based on a handwritten note from Marshal Vasilevskiy, Solonin concludes:

…the range of “possible dates” of the beginning of the operation narrows down to two months: from the middle of July through the end of August 1941. (Emphasis in original.)

He goes on to explain how he comes to this conclusion.

After reviewing these three plans, Solonin examines the Soviet troop and equipment movements to the west – done in secret and done in almost the opposite manner than if intended to be defensive.

June 19 is a critical date:

From June 14 through June 19, the border district command received an order to move the Front administration ("Front" was the largest troop formation, the Soviet equivalent of German Armies Group) to the field command post by June 22-23. A June 19 telegram from the Head of the General Staff to the Commander of the forces of the Kiev SMD stated the following: “by 22.06.1941 the administration is ordered to head to Ternopol, leaving in Kiev the district administration subordinate to you ….the apportionment and redeployment of the Front must be kept strictly secret.”

On June 22, Hitler invaded – a most devastating and crushing invasion.  Stalin was left with his now worthless plans for a never-to-be offensive operation.

How many days were left between June 19 and the scheduled beginning of the grandiose offensive operation? We will be able to answer this question only after the database available to historians is radically expanded. The most important thing, however, is already known for certain today: neither of Stalin’s three plans was implemented.


If you are familiar with Suvorov’s work, there is little of surprise here; however the detail provided is invaluable for someone like me who is not doing primary research.  Solonin’s work is also valuable in that he demonstrates and corroborates in detail the validity of Suvorov’s work. 

Solonin offers dozens of dates and events; all will be incorporated in my Timeline to War (here and here).


  1. Yip. I've read Icebreaker and The Chief Culprit, and the enlightenment they brought is unequalled.
    Those still wanting - and getting - the statism dial cranked up to 10 must be thrilled that war is again ushering the socialist paradise in.

  2. I discovered Suvorov's work quite recently. So far I've only read THE CHIEF CULPRIT. Very impressive - his theory is plausible, it fits the known facts and it explains things that are otherwise inexplicable. It deserves to get a lot more attention.

  3. You state "Stalin supported and strengthened Hitler, baiting him to start World War II against Britain and France"

    The diplomatic history would seem to call this assertion into question. From a short article on Soviet diplomacy on the website (

    "The dynamics of Soviet foreign relations changed drastically after Stalin recognized the danger posed by Nazi Germany. From 1934 through 1937, the Soviet Union tried to restrain German militarism by building coalitions hostile to fascism. In the international communist movement, the Comintern adopted the popular front policy of cooperation with socialists and liberals against fascism, thus reversing its line of the early 1930s. In 1934 the Soviet Union joined the League of Nations, where Maksim M. Litvinov, the commissar of foreign affairs, advocated disarmament and collective security against fascist aggression. In 1935 the Soviet Union concluded defensive military alliances with France and Czechoslovakia, and from 1936 to 1939 it gave assistance to antifascists in the Spanish Civil War. The menace of fascist militarism to the Soviet Union increased when Germany and Japan (itself a threat to Soviet Far Eastern territory in the 1930s) signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936. But the West proved unwilling to counter German provocative behavior, and after France and Britain acquiesced to Hitler's demands for Czechoslovak territory at Munich in 1938, Stalin abandoned his efforts to forge a collective security agreement with the West.

    "Convinced now that the West would not fight Hitler, Stalin decided to come to an understanding with Germany. Signaling a shift in foreign policy, Viacheslav Molotov, Stalin's loyal assistant, replaced Litvinov (who was Jewish) as commissar of foreign affairs in May 1939. Hitler, who had decided to attack Poland despite the guarantees of Britain and France to defend that country, soon responded to the changed Soviet stance. While Britain and France dilatorily attempted to induce the Soviet Union to join them in pledging to protect Poland, the Soviet Union and Germany engaged in intensive negotiations. The product of the talks between the former ideological foes--the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of August 23, 1939--shocked the world. The open provisions of the agreement pledged absolute neutrality in the event one of the parties should become involved in war, while a secret protocol partitioned Poland between the parties and assigned Romanian territory as well as Estonia and Latvia (and later Lithuania) to the Soviet sphere of influence. With his eastern flank thus secured, Hitler began the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. World War II had begun."

    1. I wrote that I made a long story short. Before you start telling me what I don't know, perhaps you should read the several posts that I have written regarding Suvorov's book.

      To make another long story short, Germans trained in the Soviet Union for flight and tank training during the time this was prohibited under Versailles; Hitler won his elections because the German communists formed a coalition with the National Socialists.

      Did this happen without Stalin knowing, you think? Is it possible it happened before 1934, the year you seem to believe history began?

    2. Very interesting. Did British Intelligence provide any warning to Stalin of German plans to invade Russia in the summer of 1941?
      I have read that Stalin was notoriously suspicious of intelligence information provided to him by the British, preferring to rely upon his own Lucy spy ring. For example, I have read that during the German preparations for the attack in the Kursk salient in the summer of 1943, British Intelligence information warning of German plans was sent to Stalin but he regarded this information with suspicion until receiving similar information from Lucy.

      The sources to which I refer were written before Ultra and the Bletchely Park intercepts were revealed, so I wonder where Lucy was getting information, and when the Ultra operation started, and when British Intelligence started sharing information with Stalin.

    3. The point, which you are studiously ignoring, is that Soviet diplomacy from 1934 until 1939 tried to form anti-German coalitions with the western powers. The 1939 agreement with Germany can be understood as a device to buy time for a war with Germany that was understood to be inevitable.

      Additionally, if you have any sense of the state the Soviet military was in in 1941, the notion that they were poised for offensive operations is not credible.

      But why let facts get in the way of an appealing fantasy. Enjoy your delusions.

    4. The Russian - German tank school at Kama was opened in 1929 and closed in late 1933 (see Hitler came to power in 1933.

    5. Al Tinfoil,
      It is my understanding that British double agent John Cairncross gave the Russians intercepted information about the German plans for Kursk. However, the 5000 or so documents he supplied to spymasters during his career were filed away under the suspicion that they were deliberate plants, mainly because of their unbelievably high volume and quality.