"Is Stalin to blame for the defeat of the beginning of World War II?"
22 June 1941, Germany and its allies attacked the Soviet Union. As is known, the initial period of the war was very difficult for our country, and there is still a sharp debate in society about the reasons for the first defeats of the Red Army.
Often the main object of criticism is I.V. Stalin, who is often blamed for the fact that he, in fact, disrupted the preparation of our country for war. More N.S. Khrushchev brought this charge in a famous report on the exposure of the "personality cult" at the XX Congress. “Sufficient measures were not taken,” he argued from the congress rostrum, “in order to prepare the country well for defense and to eliminate the moment of surprise attack.” Did we have time and opportunities for such training? Yes, both time and opportunities were. ”
The cult of Stalin was, above all, a cult of the winner — not so much the general secretary as the Generalissimo, so it was crucial for Khrushchev to separate the image of Stalin and the image of Victory. And in the future, the myth of Stalin's "opposition" to preparation for war was already used to disavow the entire Soviet project. This mythology was embedded in the following logical chain. The Soviet model was focused on ensuring the functioning of the armed forces, but the USSR was not ready for war. It means that the system itself was unsuitable, which failed according to the main criterion of success for itself.
The substitution in organized anti-Stalinist criticism was to confuse the strategic and operational-tactical levels of war. Yes, unpreparedness to repel the first strike from the enemy 22 on June 1941 of the year can be assessed as an operational-tactical miscalculation, but this does not mean that the war preparation strategy itself was missing.
The fact that the enemy would attack 22 on June was not obvious, contrary to the statement made by Khrushchev at the 20th Congress. Information received by Stalin through intelligence channels contradicted each other. In particular, it was known that the Wehrmacht categorically objected to the prospect of waging war on two fronts - simultaneously against the British and Russians. This was indicated in his memoirs by General PA. Sudoplatov. The reports that the Germans would still start a war against the USSR called several dates - 14 and 15 in May, 20 and 21 in May, 15 in June, and finally, 22 in June. The operational-tactical miscalculation, of course, was. But a similar miscalculation was made by Franklin Roosevelt, who failed several months later to prevent the defeat of the US Navy at Pearl Harbor.
When assessing the war at the strategic level, it is obvious that the USSR was not just preparing to respond to military challenges, but forced training. Historically, the typology of wars has changed. The wars of the twentieth century were fundamentally different from the wars of antiquity and the Middle Ages. They faced not only the army, but also systems that included political, economic, social, ideological, cultural components. For all these components, the Soviet Union carried out modernization on the eve of the war. The military perspective and determined the content of the Stalinist policy 1930-s.
The fact that the preparation for the coming war began long before 1941 of the year testifies to the high strategic nature of state power in the USSR. The Soviet political leadership proceeded from the understanding of the inevitability of a global military conflict and prepared for it. The fact of the correct definition of the world development scenario itself indicates the high cognitive potential of the theoretical model used by it.
Forced Soviet industrialization (“at any cost”) could not be adequately explained without the context of an external military threat. By the year 1941, the mechanized military fist of the USSR was created, and the West was not able to go into the technological gap. A series of mobilization unpopular measures taken in the economic sphere in the very run-up to the war — the introduction of criminal liability for being late for work, the prohibition of unauthorized exit from enterprises, the publication of a decree on responsibility for producing poor quality or incomplete products and for non-compliance with mandatory standards, the transition from the seven-hour to the eight-hour working day and from the six-day to seven-day working week. All these steps are explained by one thing - to be in time ...
The prospect of war forced the former ideological schemes to change substantially. Instead of the left-international ideology, a new value system is adopted, built on appeals to traditional value accumulations of Russia, the Russian factor and the heroics of the national historical past. The power Stalinist rotation of elites is also not least due to considerations about the need for new cadres - political and military - in the perspective of the coming global clash.
The preparations for the upcoming war largely determined the cultural content of the 1930s. A series of films and literary works dedicated to the great historical the victories of Russia. A mass cult of military service is being formed by artistic means. The words of one of the most popular Soviet pre-war songs - “If the war is tomorrow ...” (1938) accurately reflect the mobilization spirit of the time.
Why, then, did Soviet troops retreat at the initial stage of the war? The point here, of course, is not the surprise of the attack: after all, after the victory near Moscow there was a new retreat of 1942 of the year. The USSR was opposed by the war not only Germany, but, in fact, the whole continental Europe. One colossal civilization force collided with another. But if we still weigh the potentials of both forces according to the above-listed list of components of the ability to war, the advantage was on the Soviet side. The enemy surpassed at the initial stage of the hostilities (and even with certain reservations) only in one of them - military-technical. But in all the other components of the overall ability of the system to war, the Soviet Union had an advantage. According to this logic, the war for Germany could only be successful if it was short-lived. Hence the blitzkrieg strategy.
With a long temporal sweep of the war, the Soviet Union would objectively defeat. The entire set of advantages in non-combat components of the conduct of war would, in the end, also be transformed into an advantage in terms of the actual combat dimension. So in the end what happened. The value of 1941 of the year was precisely in disrupting the plans of the enemy according to the lightning war scenario.
Today, the challenges of a new big war are becoming more and more obvious. Has past experience been taken into account? Is modern Russia ready for it? Comparison of the country's readiness for the military scenario in 1941 and 2014 is obviously not in favor of the Russian Federation. Time is largely already lost, and only a new forced mobilization covering all areas of living arrangement leaves a chance.
- Vardan Baghdasaryan
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