Slides in this set
Preparing for War
· The soviet union believed Germany was preparing
for war since the late 1920's, and this concern
elevated once Hitler was appointed as German
Chancellor in 1933, and German allied themselves
with Italy and Japan, all in which recognised
communism as a common enemy.
· Due to this the USSR reformed the military, recruits
spies, and started diverting economic resources towards
rearmament. But they were all not as effective as they could
have been. Stalin's paranoia undermines efforts to prepare
Reforming the military
· During 1935 discipline within the red army was
tightened to prepare for war, Under Stalin the old
Tsarist system of strict discipline and clear division
between officers and men were reintroduced, which
had been abolished under Trotsky.
· Also during 1937-38 the red army was extensively
purged to ensure all members were loyal to the regime,
meaning a great deal of experience and skill was lost.
Russia had a huge advantage over its foreign
powers as it had extensive network of spies.
Communist sympathisers in government in the UK,
USA, France and Germany provided secret
information willingly to the Soviet government.
However a lot of the information gained was never
analyzed as Stalin refused to trust his intelligent
service and for much of the 1930's there focus was
on hunting Trotsky, not monitoring foreign
· Rearmament was an essential part to the 3rd 5 year plans, but the
purges led to chaos in major government departments and the plan
was never completed and was never published. Administrators
were forced to work from drafts of the plan, which included little
detail on how rearmament was to be achieved. There was also no
agreed budget for military spending. 17 different government
arguments argued with Gosplan over the amount of money to be
allocated to war production.
· Although the 3rd 5 year plan was chaotic the soviet industry
achieved some remarkable feats. E.g. in 1939 six new aircraft
factories were built, as well as 24 more factories for production of
· Russian war production compared favourably with that of the
Germans, Germany spent more money on preparation from 1935-
40, but by the ever of war Russia overtook German military
spending, as the Russian economy was more powerful.…read more
The Nazi-Soviet Pact
Stalin prepared to negotiate with Germany in a bid to protect Russia.
An alliance between Stalin and Hitler seemed unthinkable, in Mein Kampf Hitler
bitterly attacked Soviet communism and proposed the invasion of Russia to
Equally the communist party described Nazism as one of the worst regimes of the age,
and Russian and German soldier had fought each other during the Spanish civil war
In spite of this the Nazi-Soviet pact was negotiated in a little over 3 hours in 1939.
Having two sections, one of which was published, the other remaining a secret.
Publicly Russia and Germany agreed to respect each others territories, to settle
any disagreements through negotiation and increase trade as a sign of friendship.
Privately the pact divided eastern Europe into two. Germany was to control western
Poland and Czechoslovakia, while Russia was free to pursue Latvia, Lithuania and
A week later German troops entered Poland and within a month had captured the
Polish capital.…read more
· Stalin had many reasons for dealing with Hitler.
· He saw no other alternative, neither France or the United Kingdom seemed
interested in an alliance with Russia.
· It's Argued by Robert Service that Stalin was attempting to buy time before
starting a war with Hitler, Stalin was aware the red army would not be ready for
war until 1943 and the pact was a bid to delay to inevitable conflict.
· Stalin was following Lenin's example. In 1920 Lenin had advised German
communists to form an alliance with German fascists to overthrow the democratic
· Stalin admired Hitler, regarding him as a strong and decisive leader.
· Stalin was keen to recapture European territory that had once belonged to the
Indeed within a month of signing the treaty, Stalin had overthrown the governments
in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and during winter of 1940 the red army attacked
Stalin believed Hitler would break the pact and invade Russia however Hitler's military
success gave Stalin good reasoning to honour the terms. German army had
successfully conquered Poland within a month, while in contrast the red army did
abysmally. Invasion of Finland was a failure and showed the world how Stalin's
purges has destroyed the Russian army. Keeping this in mind Stalin was keen to
delay a confrontation with Hitler for as long as possible.…read more