In the first lines of my “letter” I want to immediately warn you that it is not written in the style of the Pravda newspaper and is not intended for readers of this newspaper. Well, having dispersed the non-target audience from the monitors, we can continue: I wanted to consider the Eastern Front of Germany in World War II, but not from a military point of view, but ... from a political one. Surprisingly. Why is it amazing? The thing is that they usually do not fight that way - at any cost and to the last enemy city. For example, World War I ended quite differently. But in the course of the Second World War on the Eastern Front literally terrible events were happening - millions died, blood flowed like a river, entire cities were erased from the ground, but no one even made an attempt to stop all this. The war was the same as the gasoline burns in the canister - brightly and without residue.
2 February 1943 of the year ended, perhaps the most famous battle of Stalingrad, which put a big and bold end to Hitler’s plans to defeat the USSR. Everyone knows that, but 18 February 1943, at the Sports Palace Goebbels made his, perhaps, the most famous speech: Sportpalastrede. And somehow these two facts are not very often mentioned together. But everything was simple: the Stalingrad defeat meant that there was no and could not have a military solution to the “Russian problem”. A purely Leninist question arose: “What is to be done?” But even in the winter of 1943 in the winter there was the same sad question. The Red Army was exhausted in the battles, suffered terrible losses and was driven far into the country. Stalingrad is good, it's great, it's beautiful. But the prospects for a quick victory over Hitler were not visible, as in general the prospects for the USSR at that moment were very vague. It is today we know how it will end, and when, and where. But in the harsh winter of 1943 this was by no means clear.
In general, it is necessary to understand why and why the USSR participated in this war: we were attacked. All the talk about "plans to seize Europe" should be left on the conscience of those who lead them. The USSR did everything to "get out" of a collision with Germany. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact had precisely this basic meaning. Everything else in it for Stalin was secondary. Hitler captured the whole of Europe, but Stalin was not going to fight him. And with all his strength he sought to achieve precisely this result, and not some other. He did not need Berlin. If it were not for 22 June, no defeat for Germany would most likely have happened. How do you imagine that? The landing of the US Marine Corps and fights with the Wehrmacht head-on? But Hitler attacked, and the war began: the biggest, longest and bloody. And it ended on May 9 in Berlin ... But were there any other options? Already during the outbreak of the war?
By and large, how did the European wars usually end? For example, the First World War did not end with the defeat of the German army. Yes exactly. It took serious diplomatic efforts and outright deception in order to remove “unbeaten on the battlefields” Germany from the war (a separate large topic). The Franco-Prussian war is more characteristic - the rapid defeat of one of the opponents. No endless horror. But many European wars ended in a draw or almost a draw: without a decisive victory of one of the parties. Then the peace treaty was signed. And hundreds of such wars and war games. Shot - parted. By the way, during the First World War, Kaiser Germany repeatedly attempted to negotiate a separate peace with Russia. Amazing right? The First World War also dragged on, the Germans did not care, and the Kaiser began to look for ways out of the trap. Simple, understandable and logical. It is with Russia, and not France or, all the more, England.
And such attempts were made repeatedly in the course of the war, although without success — the tsarist government suffered from excessive “nobility” towards the allies and was too confident in its forces. But there were attempts. But February 1915 of the year (when the German “sounding” began) was far less dramatic for Germany than February 1943 of the year ... But in February 1943 no one addressed Stalin with proposals for peace and did not intend to appeal. Soviet propagandists claimed that, supposedly, until the last moment, the Germans were confident of the Fuhrer's genius and victory. I dare to disagree with them, after Stalingrad for all the Germans it became very clear - the war in the East will not work. For the German people, Stalingrad is even more significant than for the Russian. Paradox? No, for them it is a watershed. Before Stalingrad, many believed in "world domination" and millennial Reich ", after ... everything went downhill. It's like breaking a drug addict. Pink elephants are over, serious uncles in uniform came. For the Germans, Stalingrad sounds like a funeral march on their “imperial dream.” There, on the banks of the Volga, this dream was shattered. Alas, but in June-July 1941, the upcoming victory of the USSR was somehow not visible, even through a microscope. The Wehrmacht won brilliant victories one after another and confidently went to the East. In June-July 1941 the Germans believed the Fuhrer. How can you not believe it? Then the problems began to grow, then Moscow, Kharkov (hurray ?!), and here it is, Stalingrad. And it was all over.
But not everything was so bad, the Wehrmacht at that time remained the strongest army of the planet. Whether you like it or not, even in February, the Wehrmacht 1943 was perhaps stronger than the Red Army. Such are the pies with kittens. But he could not win. And here it is - the moment of choice. Here it is - the point of bifurcation. Farther история could go both way. Hitler could save Germany! I am writing this not because I like this historical character, but because of the love of truth. Chances were. I can object to anyone who says that this decision was ethically unacceptable for Stalin. Tov. Stalin was not a naive schoolgirl and did not act on the basis of the beautiful ideals found in the gutter novels. He was a politician, tough enough and pragmatic enough to act in accordance with the requirements of the moment and after the German invasion and the obvious failures of the Red Army propose through the Bulgarian ambassador a truce (there is such information). His goal was the welfare of the USSR, and not the "freedom of Europe." Once again, he was primarily a pragmatist, not an idealist.
In any case, in February 1943, Hitler offered nothing. Absolutely, except for total war. Which, by the way, was also not capable of winning, by definition. They say that, having attacked the USSR, Hitler signed his death sentence, but why? Wars happened before him and after. To lose a battle is not to lose a war, but to lose a war is not to lose a state. I don’t understand all this ideological hysteria at all: well, you decided to conquer lands in the East - act! Did not work out? - sign a peace treaty! What is this crazy war before the last German city and the last soldier? Where does this inevitability come from? Yes, the situation in the East was difficult, but Hitler, with his stupid ass, turned him into a catastrophe for the German people. In principle, a year before that - in January, 1942 - one could safely go on negotiations with Stalin (the campaign to the East had stalled near the walls of Moscow). But the Fuhrer continued to persist: well, next winter we have a catastrophe on the Volga. Has it become easier? Much?
But in January 1942, and in February 1943, Berlin was very, very far away. Insanely far, and the Wehrmacht was stronger. What an opportunity to negotiate! But Hitler decided otherwise. And he continued to kill his and others citizens by the millions. For what? War was no longer win. For Aryan vanity? How did this “pride” end for the Germans? In 1944, the Germans were horrified to learn that hordes of “Bolsheviks” were coming from the East, and it was impossible to stop them. Germany really seized the horror. But everything was late and useless. The Red Army rolled in with the implacability of the ocean surf, attempts to stop it led only to additional losses. I'm sorry, I do not believe in the "linearity", "predestination" of history. I do not believe, that's all. I do not believe that from the beginning of time it was predetermined to be born to Hitler, to come to power and unleash the Great War. History is not a movie, we can change the sequence of events. It is now precisely known that it was very easy to stop Hitler in the 30s. The same French and Czechs, for example. There was an opportunity. It was possible not to finance the revival of the German army and the military industrial complex. But I'm not talking about that now.
Even in February, 1943 for Germany was still nothing was lost: the “carpet” bombing was not really started yet, the Wehrmacht was very strong, Italy had not yet surrendered ... By the way, during the war J. Stalin every New Year declared that: “This the year will be the year of our Victory. " Now it’s customary to laugh at these “his predictions”, but was it exactly 1 of January 1942 of the year that Stalin planned to reach Berlin without fail? 1 January 1943? To Berlin? Propaganda for the Red Army masses is one thing, but real politics is another. Yes, Stalin did not want to fight endlessly and put millions of Soviet citizens in the land, what's wrong with that? And it was Hitler who should have addressed the peace offer (he started this war, as it were). But Hitler kept a proud silence. Once again, all the PRCs went backstage games for various "separate" combinations. "Nikki" fundamentally rejected all the proposals of the Kaiser, but, oddly enough, for Russia it did not end well, and the allies did not thank us ...
But Stalin was not "weak-willed and spineless" and did not suffer from excessive idealism. And was in foreign policy 100% but independent. No one could influence him. But during the war, not a single offer was received from Berlin. As the guns of June 22 started talking, they talked until May 9. Guns, but not diplomats. And for some reason everyone thinks that it could not be otherwise. The whole history of wars shows that it could. But Hitler, in my opinion, hated the Russians much more than he loved the Germans. Because he killed and tortured Russians, of course, very much, but somehow he did not bother with the subsequent fate of the Germans. And it is strange for a “German patriot,” as they like to portray him.
Life is not a movie, where the storyline and final credits are strictly defined. From June 22 did not follow at all 9 May: The Red Army could have been defeated, but it held out. You see, the military victory of the Wehrmacht had a very non-zero probability, it was possible, moreover, it was more likely than the victory of the Red Army (IMHO), we live in the “non-main” branch of events. The Red Army performed a miracle and smashed the Wehrmacht, which relied on European resources.
But Hitler chose to go with the flow ... And the snow 1943 of February, he did not become absolutely nothing to change. Through the words of the Minister of Propaganda, he announced the start of a new, now total war ...
Why did I remember it all now? The fact is that by December 2014, it became clear that the economic blitzkrieg against Russia had failed. Russia again resisted, as in 41-42. 1 December 2014 (remember this date) German Foreign Minister Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the confrontation with Russia may take years on 10. History repeats itself. But somehow Mr. Steinmeier acted without fabrication, without a spark, without enthusiasm ... But not to assemble a stadium in Munich and push the speech there: "I ask you: do you want total war?"