Talk:Operation Barbarossa/Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

New article structure proposal

I'd like to propose that this article be restructured based on the template below

Subject definition
Defining the subject of an article as a parent of an offspring item of knowledge

   Most knowledge is derived, so the hierarchy needs to be included in the article to inform the reader where they are within the knowledge map

Subject scope of relationships within the field of knowledge hierarchy
Introduction to the subject that includes basic information only
Sophisticated examination of major statements in the basic section
Expert statements on the subject stating:

   * least strict sourced [[interpretation] of the statement/s
* most strict sourced interpretation of the statement/s
* agreed middle ground sourced interpretation of the statement

Conclusion or summary that assists in the synthesis of the data presented
The usual administrative section of references, sources and links
--Mrg3105 (talk) 07:17, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Two points: First of all it is not necessary to remove all redundancy from Wikipedia. Also, while it is of course true that the more comprehensive article (here Eastern Front) should provide the context, the more detailed articles must also provide the relevant contextual detail, otherwise the larger article would explode. Thus it is not true that the introduction should include basic information only; to the contrary: it should provide more detailed contextual information pertinent to Operation Barbarossa. (Though the piece you just removed was in fact not very pertinent :o). Unless with "introduction" you mean a basic treatment of the entire campaign. Then of course subarticles should provide most of the operational detail. But it will still be difficult to be very concise given the complexity of the subject and the controversy surrounding it, as the next point shows.
The second point is that the expert sources themselves are not in agreement about what is "least strict sourced" or "most strict sourced", let alone they would agree about what their "agreed middle ground" would be. Of course we could simply list all their opinions (very encyclopedic), but this would fill a space equivalent to many articles and seriously degrade understandability for the average reader. And should we then provide a "conclusion or summary that assists in the synthesis of the data presented", this alone would be about 80kb long and bear a remarkable resemblance to the present article — as the latter is nothing but such a summary! So the "sophisticated examination of major statements" will have to take place on this talk page, we have to reach (a temporary) consensus and then render it in the article. Nevertheless, if you would create a separate Historiography of Operation Barbarossa article, this would be most valuable in itself and a great aid in such a process.--MWAK (talk) 08:46, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I take your points. In actual fact the 'basic' introduction' is meant to provide an overview, thus avoiding complex arguments and subsequent editing at least in that part of the article. I can see that this article will need the services of an administrator because when I (clumsily) tried to change Germany (defined by Wikipedia as an area of Europe populated by German speaker) to the Third Reich, someone changed it back and told me to "get over it"! I am none the worse for wear, but history is trashed! :\

It seems to me that creating an article on Historiography of Operation Barbarossa is beyond Wikipedia. The editors should attempt to reach consensus in the discussion after the least and most stringent propositions have been voiced. The example would be arguments that Operation Barbarossa was a spectacular victory for the Third Reich (by Dec 1941) based on the speed and depth of advance, as opposed to a spectacular defeat (given they failed to achieve four out of five strategic objectives). The truth would be somewhere in the middle.

In order to help me restructure this article, I had to look at the military operation article, and substantially enhance it (hope it won't get boted for vandalism before you see it in all its glory!).
I would propose that the three sections of the Barbarossa article be outlined in the format proposed there, i.e. Most military operations have distinct process features that must reach achieved milestones for the operation to progress. As a shortlist these features in a strategic operation are:

   * Conception through identification of specific goals or objectives
* Intelligence gathering and analysis to identify enemy capability to resist
* Planning of military force and its use
* Administration of mobilisation, equipping, training and staging of forces
* Commencement of the operation, and achieving of initial tactical mission objectives
* Defeating the larger enemy forces in their operational depth
* Ending the operation whether the strategic goals have been achieved or not

This has a major advantage of providing the guide for focusing the subsequent inevitable editing to specific section without destroying or spilling over into others. It would also HOPEFULLY restrict the editing to cogent subjects and therefore reduce the length of the article.--Mrg3105 (talk) 10:54, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Then show us this hope is justified by creating a concept article, e.g. on your user page. If it were of sufficient quality, it should have the power to convince all. But it seems to me the outline you sketch is that of a very technical analysis. Unless consisting of a mere point by point summarizing, how could it possibly be limited to about ten pages? Keep in mind the Soviet side has to be treated as well...
But it might make a good separate article. Little is beyond Wikipedia :o).--MWAK (talk) 20:33, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I note that the article on Concept Articles is not to be found in Wikipedia. The article on Concept is completely unreferenced, and yet survives as a concept ;) It seems the chain of writing process has expanded once more to:
  • Define Concept Article
  • Define Article structure for encyclopaedic presentation of information
  • Write an article on Military Operation that satisfies the structure
  • Restructure the Operation Barbarossa article on the above structure to arrive at cogent conclusions on the subject of Armoured Warfare
  • Using same above article structure, and the newly found conclusions on the nature of Armoured Warfare (possibly requiring similar treatment of other 20th century operations), restructure and complete article on Armoured Warfare

Now, if I am to do this, I would need a significant control over content to ensure the inter-related articles remain stable in their structure and content while all this editing is being done. Where is the assurance that my work will not be undermined by the well or otherwise meaning other editors during what promises to be a lengthy process? Consequently if I can not ensure this because I have no way of controlling the process, why should I invest the time in the project? Do I enjoy having the sand of my sandcastle kicked in my face by people who conclude their editing with "get over it"?--Mrg3105 (talk) 23:41, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Thick skin is a bonus attribute for survivability within Wikipedia. As for controlling the editing process, go create a Sandbox page of your own and copy all the Barbarossa info to that page. You can restructure the text, images and refs to your heart's content and nobody will bother you. Create the Sandbox page by clicking this red link and then clicking on the first link that says "Start the ...": User:Mrg3105/Sandbox When done editing you can ask for comments back here. Binksternet (talk) 00:19, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you Brinksternet, I appreciate the assist. Actually I took the article 'home' to my own PC. When I have done enough edits, I will place it in the sandbox, and then maybe eventually go 'live'. Appreciate you looking in though since there has not been that much comment aside from MWAK's insights. --Mrg3105 (talk) 05:28, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what form a concept article should take. Can you direct me to an example of one?

The intent is to compartmentalise the article body using transport seating arrangements as a model. 1st class sir? But that is impossible since all the seats are take! Introductory, sophisticated and expert sections correspond to 1st class, business and economy. In the 1st class the passenger need worry about nothing, and is probably the least capable traveller. They get the general idea that travel involves getting to the airport, on the plane and in their seat. A business class traveler is a bit more intelligent. Not only doe the scheduling has to be matched to business commitments, but there are other considerations like cost and using only the company authorised by the accounting section. An economy traveler is the most sophisticated, having an expert knowledge of airline policies, various discounts and opportunities derived from various needs to change planes more then once. They will pack what they need and when they need it, and bring as carry on luggage practical things rather then expect all needs to be taken care of in the 1st class. Not only that, but they will share knowledge during the trip, sometimes with the service crew. Same in the construction of the article. Introductory section should have only general information, with no detail. The next section explodes this general information to contextualize it, and insert most weighty details (for example number of divisions). Finally the last section discusses all the relevant details, and presents arguments for and against their acceptance. All sections are structured on the seven parts of a military operation. The first section should have no more then seven sentences/lines to give the briefest of treatment of each stage in the operation.The next section may devote a short paragraph to treat each part of the operation. The final section deals with each part of the operation's progress in detail, having subsections, each of four sections presenting minimalist and maximalist arguments, a middle ground and a summary. --Mrg3105 (talk) 23:10, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, what I really meant with a "concept article" is: write the article, in its entirety, as you think it should be. When it's finished, propose it for acceptation by the larger Wikicommunity. So you have to invest your time without any prior assurance that your precious time will be well invested. It's a jungle, Wikipedia is.
However, I can already predict what the main problem will be: you strongly tend to limit the article content to the technical military aspects. But it's in the nature of an encyclopedia to give a sufficient treatment of wider connotations of a term. So the article has to be embedded within the general political context and foremost the popular image of Barbarossa. That's why I suggested to you that you should perhaps aim at creating a specialised article. This way it would not be a waste of time for you — apart from the sheer fun of writing it, of course!--MWAK (talk) 08:31, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your prediction. However, one of the objects of technical writing, which encyclopaedic writing is a form of, is being succinct. If the article is a military operation then it should deal with that subject matter. Any environmental, social, political, economic, technological, or other related issues need to be linked in the introduction to other articles that can provide content. Of course as I suggested the introduction would include the general overview of the article's context within the whole scope of human knowledge and its fields of knowledge. This is called focusing, something many editors have a significant problem with, thus creating an effect of friction in the Wikipedia growth. Do you see how that works? If the inherent structure of the elements which constitute the building blocks of Wikipedia are unstable, then the whole structure becomes unstable, which it is now because the FA rating is given to an infinitesimally small proportion of the total contribs. The FAs represent real growth in stable content!

While it is certainly true that

it's in the nature of an encyclopedia to give a sufficient treatment of wider connotations of a term

, this is not true for every article which is dealing with discrete and focused treatment of the subject within the wider encyclopaedic purpose of providing a widely scoped knowledge base. In other words trying to cover the environmental, social, political, economic, technological, or other related issues even in general terms and even in the introductory overview would fill a screen given the enormity of the impact of the Hitler's decision for the invasion of USSR, and that is not even incorporating the analysis of Hitler's personality, the effect it had on his relationship with officers of the OKH, and the personalities of those officers, as well as all the arguments that took place during the planning stages of the operation. At some stage the editors have to draw a digital line in the content and say what is relevant and what is not relevant. This is the true skill of editing!--Mrg3105 (talk) 21:57, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Then I predict that you will draw the line in a place that is not acceptable to most :o). But I hope to be proven wrong: write the concept! If refused it will make a nice German operational praxis in Operation Barbarossa, which certainly would represent a real growth in content, stable or otherwise.--MWAK (talk) 09:01, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm already praxising :) --Mrg3105 (talk) 10:07, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I think ever person choses where they draw that line for themselves. And on that line it says "You have stepped over the intellectual lier line. You are now lying to yourself". That is the reason that sources and references are demanded. I'm sure I can find a reference where the official name of Germany between 1933 and 1945 is not "Germany". :) Just to rest your prediction I have just gone to the Modern warfare article and changed Russia to Soviet Union and Russians to USSR. My argument is rather simple. The first ended in 1917, and the second was governed by an ethnic Georgian. I note that United States in not called America, and United Kingdom is called Britain and not England, which is probably even weirder. It seems to me that this is the American character of the Wikipedia's contributors that either through bad education or indifference towards others tend to see things in the 'user friendly' terms that also applies to television as entertainment, and fast food/take away (out) for dining.--Mrg3105 (talk) 10:47, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Names of states

I apologise for damaging the flags, but the state that participated in the operation is not Germany, but the Third Reich. Germany is simply a general name for an area in Europe that contains German speakers. The states within this area carried different names at different times, and this is no different during WW2, and indeed before it had begun. Telling me to "get over it" is not really a good approach to quality encyclopaedic article writing, because "getting over it" will not change history. Similarly all the other states that participated in the operation need their names fixed also. Therea re also numerous references to "Germans" although the operation was not conducted by the "Germans" but rather the Third Reich General Staff. Its the kind of detail that separates quality of information from mediocrity.--Mrg3105 (talk) 10:29, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, "Germany" is, apart from the Germania concept, also the usual name for a number of countries, including the Deutsches Reich and the present Bundesrepublik Deutschland. "Germany" and "Germans" are very common concepts in this context and as there is little danger of confusion, there seems no need to be overly purist in this matter. And would it really be true that "Third Reich" was the preferred term, even in WWII itself? And how would one know?--MWAK (talk) 20:18, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The Third Reich is what the Nazi Party was building and was always referred to as such in public. Hitler in a way saw himself as something of a Napoleon reborn, what with starting Barbarossa on the day of France's surrender (the shades of Sun of Austerlitz), and saw Third Reich as the replacement of the Second Republic.It seems to me that history demands such purism. Encyclopedias are expected to present irrefutable facts, or at least facts that can be refuted through presentation of other facts. That the territory governed by Hitler's Chancellorship was not known as Germany or Germania is a historical fact. --Mrg3105 (talk) 22:52, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
No, it is probably a fact that in the vast majority of instances in which a reference was made to the German state, this state was simply called "Germany" by both the Germans themselves and by foreigners. So it was the "common term", even under Hitler's rule. Drittes Reich would only be used in a specialised ideological context, mainly to serve propaganda purposes. And as it was not the official name, the purist name would be "German Realm"--MWAK (talk) 08:41, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
It just seems to me that an ecyclopaedia should take the pain of providing the correct names of the participants during the period, whether states, persons, units, vessels, cities, minorities, etc.--Mrg3105 (talk) 09:02, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Of course. But it's not not always functional to use uncommon names everywhere in the text. And again: "Third Reich" is neither formally correct nor the common name used in the period. In some contexts the term is useful, when we have to discern the successive forms of government the unitary German state had. But even then "Nazi Germany" is easier to understand for most readers.--MWAK (talk) 10:53, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Is the purpose of Wikipedia to present the reader with what is easier to understand or facts? Agreed that Neither Third Reich nor Drittes Reich are appropriate, but neither is Germany even if 99.9% of contemporary Germans referred to it in this way. In terms of participation in the conflict the state should be referred to by its correct name for the period. Germany is just too general an application of the term in this context. So is Italy, Hungary, and Russia as I have seen in many post 1917 articles. It seems that as editors we should aspire to higher tolerances in quality then commonness :) (them's fighting words)--Mrg3105 (talk) 11:11, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
But then the correct designation would be Deutsches Reich, the official name. Excellent for a single mention in the "battle box" and the lead section, much too awkward for general use in the text.--MWAK (talk) 09:17, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
In English this would be German Reich. Given the expected size of this article, using two words instead of one doesn't seem that extravagant for the price of getting it right :)--Mrg3105 (talk) 09:51, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Wouldn't the proper English term be the German Empire? With respect, Ko Soi IX (talk) 11:02, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Technically yes, but there was no Emperor as in Japan. Reich does not mean an Empire in the same sense it does in English. In German it has a meaning closer to 'expanse' or vastness, as in Austria - Österreich, or das Britische Weltreich emphasising the global span of the British Empire around the World (Welt). In fact the constant expansionism of German Reich under Hitler can only be adequately name by addition of Reich because its over-riding national policy was for growth beyond the historical and ethnic borders of Germany, or even the German dominated Holy Roman Empire. --Mrg3105 (talk) 12:04, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Empires were different. The French, the British, the Russians, the Germans - all different. So lets not drift away on technicalities and lingustic analisys. With respect, Ko Soi IX (talk) 12:29, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Not at all. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I think though that the German Reich was a different construct. It had no continuity of claim as did the British and the French, and was not based in any socio-religious dogma like the Japanese or Imperial Russia. One can argue that Germany had never been an Empire because its Imperial Age was restricted to the 1871 to 1918. By adopting the name Reich, Hitler wanted to legitimise his own expansionist policy. As I have said elsewhere, he probably saw himself somewhat of an inheritor of the 2nd French Empire (the Franks are after all just Germans speaking bad Latin). Hitler was well known to be 'into' symbolism.--Mrg3105 (talk) 12:42, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, I should have looked in Wikipedia, but what with working on the actual article I was negligent. In it says "For the entire 1871-1945 period, the English name given for Germany was the partially translated "German Reich" (pronounced[help] /ˈdʒɝmən ˈraɪx/).[1] Following the German Kaiser's abdication of the German Empire after World War I, the word "Empire" was dropped and the official name used in English was the "German Reich". Informally, this nation was also known simply as Germany from 1871 to 1945".
Now, the informal language may have been fine for the populace, but in a publication of a more formal nature such as Wikipedia (which in many places refers to formal documents between states) the convention is to use the formal name of a state even if it is harder to pronounce.--Mrg3105 (talk) 12:47, 21 December 2007 (UTC) It seems I was not alone, and having read the debate over the name use on that discussion page there is one cogent argument for not using 'Nazi Germany' as the name. "Nazi Germany" is not neutral. Not all Germans were members of the Nazi party even if it was the ruling party. In the same way it is incorrect to say Communist Russia as was popular during the Cold War in the USA because not all its population were members of the Communist Party, and certainly not all were ethnic Russians.
Base on the above article and logic I will with (hopefully) agreement from the rest of the participating editors propose that all references to Germany be replaced with German Reich.

There are times when the nuance of a particular state moniker is more appropriate; I might say "Nazi Germany" in a sentence precisely because I want to emphasize the leadership taking action while leaving out a percentage of the citizenry. I might say "Germany" when addressing a cultural generalization. Using "Third Reich" talks to expansionism. A sweeping replacement of all such references with "German Reich" will run roughshod over nuance. Binksternet (talk) 14:56, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
No, I was not suggesting a "sweeping" replacement since we are supposed to edit and not cut and paste :) My suggestion is that in GENERAL the state as a military and economic entity would be called German Reich in the content. However where for example the point being made is reflecting on the political, and in this case social and moral, issues stemming from the party ideology, then I would agree that the name Nazi Germany is more appropriate since it would better display the separation of the ruling party ideology from the German Reich constitutional entity before Hitler coming to power. Where on the other hand the reference is to geographical or environmental issues such as lack of preparedness for the severe winter conditions of the "Russian winter" by troops from "Germany", neither the use of state or political names are appropriate since neither applies to weather conditions over a wide geographic area. Editing is the ability to see the common sense context after all :) --Mrg3105 (talk) 19:53, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Inital force numbers

This was removed "A generally held belief is that the Wehrmacht had outnumbered the Red Army. Actually, the opposite seems to be true in many respects. According to Hoffmann, on 22 June 1941, Red Army had about 5 to 6 times as many tanks, 5 to 6 as many planes and 5 to 10 times as many artillery pieces as the German side. (Hoffmann 1999: 31)"
The reason it was removed is because the comparison was made on 'raw' totals of personnel, fleets and parks held by both sides. It does not take into account that the Soviet resources were dispersed throughout a very large territory, while those of Germany were largely concentrated for the attack, and indeed in some tactical sectors the Wehrmacht troops achieved significant numeric superiority over their Soviet counterparts in the order of 6:1.--Mrg3105 (talk) 11:02, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Word count

current 10,867 --Mrg3105 (talk) 12:02, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Soviet preparedness and planning in June 1941

In my humble opinion this article is not the place to discuss Soviet military planning, as reflected by the statements like "Also, an indication of a planned Soviet attack were the phrase books and maps delivered to the troops: the maps depicted territories under German occupation and the German HQ's, as well as British maps and phrase books (whereas maps of Soviet terrain were scarce).[citation needed] However, none of this is conclusive evidence of Soviet plans for a strategic attack on Germany, especially since Soviet doctrine emphasised the offensive at the operational level, even if the country was strategically on the defensive.[citation needed]"
The simple truth is that this strategic operation was a German Reich operation, and an essential part of the OKH operational planning was the element of Surprise, which was predominantly achieved, so Soviet preparedness could not have been much greater then that of general state of force preparedness.
This state of preparedness of the Red Army, Air Force and Navy can only be covered in the article as part of OKH intelligence assessment of the ability of the Soviet Union as a whole, and specifically its military forces to resist.
Any doctrinal strategic intentions or posture (such as "fighting on the enemy's soil") would need to be covered in the larger Eastern Front article, and other links that exist there.--Mrg3105 (talk) 20:15, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

One of the major reasons that content appears in this article is due to the introduction of the so-called 'Soviet offensive plans theory' and the Suvorov 'thesis' (I use the word loosely) that the nazi attack was actually a preemptive attack. If that thesis is presented as background, then the evidence for and against must also be presented. I wouldn't object at all if this stuff was all spun off into a separate article since it may have undue weight right now.
However, even if this 'offensive plans' theory didn't exist, I don't see how the story of the 1941 campaign can be told without explaining the appalling state of readiness of the Soviet forces, and the relative lack of training in defensive operations. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 20:40, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
DMorpheus, I agree with you. May I suggest that there are several issues that people are trying to capture in this article:

The ACTUAL operation Barbarossa
The Reason for its INITIAL success
All other EXTRANEOUS issues

  • The operation itself, because of its vastness and scope, should be dealt with in terms of OKH only, or the article content becomes unmanageable.
  • The issue of Soviet preparedness needs to be a part of the German Intelligence assessment section, but for the most part needs to be dealt with in a separate article linked from the Eastern Front article Introduction section.
  • The theory proposed in Suvorov's books is his original research, which has been significantly critiqued and mostly discredited in English and in Russian. This theory needs its own article because at least half a dozen sources can be provided for it. This suggests a significant volume of content that can be expected to be added by future edits which will affect the above mentioned manageability of the core OPERATION BARBAROSSA article.
  • All extraneous issues need to be linked from the WW2 or Eastern Front articles where they relate to any other matters NOT related to the military management of the operations as such, i.e. political motivations, Hitler's personality, economic planning and potential, social considerations and political rivalries, etc.

--Mrg3105 (talk) 22:58, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

With respect, I disagree with the idea that this article should be OKH-centric. The article is as managable as we all make it. I don't think tightening the focus will help nearly as much as everyone simply working cooperatively. And it is *generally* that case that folks work cooperatively here.
The suvorov thesis has its own page already. You and I may agree it is discredited, but there are several editors here who would disagree with that. Since it is published, it does not fit the wikipedia definition of OR.
I don't understand your notion that Soviet planning, doctrine or readiness should not form a part of this article, unless there are substantial separate articles on those topics (as well as the German counterparts) to which we link.
regards, DMorpheus (talk) 23:34, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok, point by point :)
  • Firstly I am all for cooperative writing, and have taken the liberty of inviting a few more people from the task force, yourself excluded since you are here already ;)
  • How focused the article is, is not up to me, but if I may be so bold as to point out, the article title. The title is pointing to a subject which was a military operation planned and undertaken by the OKH, and which gave it the name (with Hitler's approval) I believe. Undoubtedly given unlimited resources an article of several thousand pages and millions of words can also be managed, but as I think you will agree this article is not stable, succinct, or meets FA guidelines.
  • Ok, so 'Suvorov' has a page. I hadn't looked. Why not just link to it? Did his theory figure prominently in the OKH planning, and can this be substantiated? If not, then it is a post-factum forensic history.
  • What I said is that the Soviet planning, doctrine or readiness should be included as part of OKH pre-operational intelligence assessment, but because they were not a part of the operation Barbarossa, but rather a victim of it, they have no place in the article. The response of the Red Army to the invasion really needs more separate treatment because in essence they constitute entirely separate series of strategic and operational defensive, encirclement and withdrawal operations that sought to evade OKH offensive planning.

--Mrg3105 (talk) 00:34, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

As the German and Soviet operations were carried out in response to each other — and thus no real divide existed — it would be very artificial to treat the campaign as if it consisted of two separate series of events. That the article having this campaign as its subject, is named "Operation Barbarossa", is simply because this is the most usual name for the campaign in question. It does not mean the article should be prejudiced in favour of taking the German point of view.--MWAK (talk) 14:55, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Incomprehensible paragraphs

I called these two paragraphs incomprehensible and I deleted them:

Also, an indication of a planned Soviet attack were the phrasebooks and maps delivered to the troops: the maps depicted territories under German occupation and the German HQ's, as well as British maps and phrasebooks (whereas maps of Soviet terrain were scarce).[citation needed]

The syntax isn't clear about which territories are being discussed. Whose phrasebooks? Whose maps? Which troops? "British maps" are doing what "as well"? The word "scarce" is countering a plenitude of what? Since the paragraph has so many structural problems and isn't referenced; especially since it is fact challenged, I deleted it.

However, none of this is conclusive evidence of Soviet plans for a strategic attack on Germany, especially since Soviet doctrine emphasised the offensive at the operational level, even if the country was strategically on the defensive.[citation needed]

Huh? The clauses of this sentence don't seem to hang together. Evidence for a strategic attack is one thing, operational practices another. Plans are central, tactics are local. There's no conclusion reached here. Deleted. Binksternet (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

These paragraphs are the byproduct of discontinuous editing which do not take place within the section structure and therefore create this impression of content distortion. I don't have the source handy right now, but the first paragraph is related to reported materials found by German troops during the first days of the operation, and subsequently used as a post-factum justification for the invasion by Goebbels. The second paragraph refers tot he well known PU-36 of the Soviet General Staff which advocated offensive operations on the enemy soil, that is Poland occupied by German Reich in this case. This would have been a serious intelligence consideration for the OKH planning.

I really think there should be a rule that anyone who deletes at least a sentence MUST TALK ABOUT IT FIRST. I shudder to think the amount of time I will need to devote to defending the eventual rewrite I'm working on :\--Mrg3105 (talk) 23:18, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

I suspect the first paragraph is nonsense anyway (it has been fact-tagged but no citation has been provided). I restored it only to ensure there was consensus first. MWAK may have something to add, since he restored it also.
However, the second paragraph is vital *if* and only if the references to the 'soviet offfensive plans theory' is retained in the article. See the discussion above this section. I will say again I would not object to all of that stuff regarding the Suvorov thesis to be spun off into a separate article and removed from this one. But until it is, let's not delete a statement that casts doubt on it and leave the rest in. I don't see how any of the second paragraph fails to make sense; I'm happy to work with you to improve it, but it should not be deleted. It is documented in Glantz. DMorpheus (talk) 23:25, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I will leave it to MWAK for now since I have already spent way too much time on this, and he usually ;) makes sense. The second paragraph is also mentioned in Simpkin (Red Thrust or Race to the swift?) (from memory), but you are right, a citation is needed.--Mrg3105 (talk) 00:40, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Vuo wrote the first paragraph as seen here in this diff. Vuo's version had its own problems of clarity but it was better than what we see now. Vuo is currently active; I'll see if he wants to weigh in to clarify and/or provide reference. Binksternet (talk) 01:06, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, the hypothesis that Stalin had ordered a pre-emptive strike is no longer a fringe conspiration theory from the likes of Suvorov or Fugate. Besides the fact that the historians mentioned in the section defend it, Kiselyov, Gorkov and Shomin have shown that in all likelihood the Zhukov proposal of 15 May had in principle been accepted. This means that the only believable deviation from the hypothesis is the secenario in which Stalin was in a state of indecision, wavering between striking first and waiting a bit longer to improve the state of his preparations, all the while hoping war could be postponed. That he didn't fully believe that Hitler would attack and that deployment for a Soviet attack would be almost identical to that of an active defence, then would have reinforced his attitude. In both cases the indisputable fact that the Soviet command very seriously entertained the notion of a pre-emptive strike is of great importance in understanding the situation in June 1941; and this fact can best be treated in connection with the "strong" hypothesis, especially as it has in respect to Operation Barbarossa been in the centre of historical attention for the last fifteen years. (Or did we all that fighting for nothing ;o)

The phrasebook issue is of course secondary, but indeed mentioned by Suvorov. It seems to have been authentic: the official party line was that in case of war Germany would have been decisively defeated and occupied Europe liberated — in which case the English language phrasebooks were needed for a frictionless contact with the British allies :o).--MWAK (talk) 16:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Naming Fronts

Was probably already covered somewhere, Russian they are written separately separated by a dash, so it seems to me that South-Western is a better translation then Southwestern, however I'm not that bothered by the later.--Mrg3105 (talk) 07:59, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


Hitler's bad decisions

Hitler made decisions against the judgement of his generals which delayed the offensive, changed objectives in the middle and ultimately failing in all of them, and divided the troops for dissynchronous small achievements. In other words he messed up the whole thing with his amateurism. Germans could have taken Moscow in August, and he could have taken Leningrad in September. Instead he did neither and rendered his armies to winter and to the enemy with stupid moves. Serves him right. Teemu Ruskeepää (talk) 14:17, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

This is a myth of the war. The truth is somewhat different. Hitler's generals had expected the Red Army to collapse in a few weeks anyway. Hitler was no amateur since he had seen two campaigns (Poland and West) so he knew something about logistics and timing. The problem was that as Albert Seaton said in his book on the Fall of Eastern Europe as in First World War the Feldheer operated on the unquestionable premise "that no nation was capable of conducting a protracted war, and that German troops were superior to all others". (p.14) I'd say its time to get off the "Hitler hobby-horse" and look at the generals --mrg3105mrg3105 If you're not taking any flack, you're not over the target. 21:30, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

More prisoners than 2.3 million

Est. 2.8 million died until January 1942 (while still some survived), so more had to having been taken. USHMM says 3.3 million prisoners taken by Feb. 42.[1] This is difference of one million! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:45, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Also, I think the Soviet dead were also greater. I mean, come on - 700k Germans and merely 800k Soviets killed? At this stage of the war, with the Soviet no-retreat tactics and disorganised counter-attacks? This is just ridiculous. ( million, again?) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:51, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I must agree. The Red Army doctrine emphasized the offensive. Any force which takes the offensive is bound to suffer greater casualties, and the Red Army was on the offensive even during the withdrawals. Sustained operational and strategic offensives begun in the winter of 1941 (if not earlier). My own research suggests total Soviet military casualties (unreturnable) of 10.5 to 11 million, but also there is the question on where the Barbarossa stopped. It seems to me that Barbarossa ended with the: initial achievement of siege at Leningrad, post-Kiev turn South on Hilter's orders, and initial attempts to seize Kharkov in October 1941 --mrg3105 (comms) If you're not taking any flak, you're not over the target. 06:07, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

This article here says it ended "on January 7, 1942". The Soviet casualty figures are based on some "Krivosheev, G.F", "a well-known and generally accepted treatise on the topic".

Well, I don't believe 7 hardened German Blitzkrieg veterans (Poland, France, Balkans) with won air superioirity and superior tactics would die for every 8 shocked Soviet recruits (there weren't that many survivors of Finland, and the Siberians were kept in Siberia until December) whose commanders were purged, and resisted mostly only because of the NKVD terror with "no retreat" orders. And this including many Soviets who tried to surrender but were simply killed anyway.

Also I don't really think 2.8 million prisoners would die out of 2.3 million "missing/captured". It's a mathematical improbability. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:03, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

It says "~2.9 million troops initially". This means forward deployed formations present in the OOB until general call-up went into action. Some 300,000 failed to join the ranks because they were either taken prisoner during the call-up or their territory was over-run too quickly. However, many (100-150,000?) eventually ended up as partisans.--mrg3105 (comms) If you're not taking any flak, you're not over the target. 09:28, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
And I don't believe in the Santa Claus ;o) When you decide to register, you will find that there are some principles that apply in editing Wikipedia. One is that anything you or I contribute has to be backed up by verifiable and authoritative sources.
Just so we have some perspective, the "hardened German Blitzkrieg veterans" were not. Poland lasted a month for most German troops. France campaign was not much longer. After France, the German forces expanded substantially, almost doubling during 1940-41. It is safe to say that due to retirements, promotions and shunting wounded to rear jobs, about 50% of the German forces were no better then their Soviet counterparts. Soviet "recruits" were far from "shocked". While the Soviet forces were surprised, their performance has been greatly under-rated in the first six months of the war. German and Axis losses were severe (words used by German officers) and Soviet resistance was "fanatical", again German words, not mine. Do not equate large retreats and encirclements with overall deficiencies of the Soviet forces. Lack of fuel, ammunition, and communications due to ongoing operations played as much a role in early Soviet setbacks as supposed inferiority in the quality of training. The truth is that Soviet training was largely patterned on the German methods!--mrg3105 (comms) If you're not taking any flak, you're not over the target. 09:23, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
-----Actually there were some more campaigns before Barbarossa than just Poland and France. Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Greece were also already overrun. And a single week of intense combat is enough for a baptism of fire, so it's safe to assume a significant "hardening" and experience advantage for both many Germans and some Red Army troops with Manchuria or Finland experience. The 50% figure is nonsense, I comment that in later lines. Lastdingo (talk) 01:25, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I meant 2.8 million prisoners as the numbers of who died in captivity in 1941 (or so they say). US Holocaust Museum says 3.3 million were taken. Is it less "well-known and generally accepted treatise on the topic" then the Soviet guy?

Germans were hardened veterans compared to the Soviets. It's not just soldiers, it's also commanders (at the same time, most of Soviet top commanders were dead due to purges, substitued by blindly loyal idiots like KV). "Poland lasted a month for most German troops." - it lasted 2 weeks for Soviets with little resistance. Btw, check out losses - 17,000 German and 66,000 Polish dead (this four time more), and compare with what is pushed here. Or France - more than twice as many Allied casualties (dead and wounded), even as they were roughly just as well armed and prepared for the attack (fully mobilized, even specially fortified... but superior German tactics). And here, 700,000 to 800,000. Am I supposed to believe this sudden change just because some retired Soviet general says so? Why not use the book used for the German losses for the Soviet ones, too? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:11, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Also, Soviet Guy says thing like "802,191 killed". No 800,000, not even 802,000, but "802,191". In the WWII in Soviet Union during the great chaos of 1941! This is simply ridiculous. How can ANYONE take this guy seriously, and believe it was REALLY 802,191 - and not, say, 802,192... or any other random number? Oh, and he says "2,335,482" were missing, so not even captured, just (supposedly) all these who were lost, including whole armies encircled and destroyed...

Come on, people. This is last time I'm writing on this, so just use some logic and at least a minimally plausible source and not this weirdness. kthx. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:46, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

It is not weirdness. The reason Krivosheev is used is because he is the single best source on Soviet casualties. The 802,191 likely refers to documented deaths only. Certainly, the number of the missing also includes combat deaths. With respect, Ko Soi IX (talk) 11:23, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Then it's not "802,191", it's at least "at least 802,191".

Soviets lost 10 times more aircraft (cited here) and similarily many times more tanks (indicating how the war went on in 1941, not only "they advance a lot" but alsdo "smash the Soviet armies"), and also the German medical care for wounded was better (in addition to the better training, tactics, experience). So, you know, the almost-same figures of men killed are simply absurd, especially as defined to the every single(!) man lost on one side (with no indication of "documented only" whatsoever). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

One thing I just now noticed: It's even more absurd for the Germans to lost more killed than wounded AND missing (on the offensive!). The ratio is usually 3-5 wounded per 1 killed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that it would be better if you registered and participated. However,
  • Krivosheev (not "Soviet Guy!) and the Holocaust museums used different sources and different data qualifications. We assume that the Soviet sources are more correct.
  • If you had read Krivosheev, you would know that here are extensive notes to the figures he cites. The figure reflects a composite that includes actual returns where known. Many unit and formation documents were lost, so the figure includes estimates and actuals. I can't get the figures immediately, but the way it works is (example only) 743,569 actuals, and 107,000 estimates = 850,569.
  • Saying "at least" is to imply there were greater "estimates" then already estimated! Do you have a source better then Krivosheev?
  • Missing, means missing! It means their fate was unknown, and for many thousands are still unknown. Remains are being found on former battlefields to this day, and being identified. These were troops that were neither know to be killed, or accounted for from German POW records after 1945.
  • "German medical care for wounded was better (in addition to the better training, tactics, experience)" - this is untrue. German medical care was identical to Soviet, but better in 1941 due to the fact that: they were advancing, that they were still relatively close to their treatment centres, and that they had a better supply situation in 1941 then the retreating Red Army. For the record, medical care in the armed forces in all armies of the period was fairly similar. Its not a subject as well covered as tanks and planes, but there was a limit of how many doctors and medics would be trained and allocated to the armed forces. Military surgeons in particular were in short supply everywhere because it takes at least 5 years training to produce one by the education institution, and they learn on the job. Trauma that combat surgeons deal with was at the time completely different to the civilian surgery demands owing to far fewer incidence of gunshot wounds in society, never mind shrapnel, and other combat related trauma. Besides that, only physically fit individuals could apply. The funny thing about the Soviet Army is that due to the events of the Revolution and the Civil War there was a concerted effort to train replacement doctors, and this included many women, something still less often encountered in the European and American societies. Almost all medical practitioners in Soviet Union were evacuated and enlisted into the military treatment system, so the treatment capability of the Red Army throughout the war (post-evac) was in fact marginally better then that of Germany overall. The greatest problem was in medical supplies and particularly prevention of infection during transportation from frontline evac station to treatment hospital, and here Soviets excelled because of the much larger number of medical orderlies (there was a huge number of female volunteers).
  • "absurd for the Germans to lost more killed than wounded AND missing (on the offensive!). The ratio is usually 3-5 wounded per 1 killed." Where is your ratio sourced from?
-----Even if it was not such a ratio - the figure is still obvious nonsense for anyone who knows enough about military history. The only explanation that I see is that these were either only severely wounded soldiers (light wounds often did not cause a hospital time) or it counts all who were wounded several times just once. Lastdingo (talk) 01:25, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I seem to recall dealing with this issue elsewhere, but to clarify yet again, at least 50% of the German combat troops had joined the ranks after the end of the campaign in France. This was due to the vast expansion of the Heer in preparation for Barbarossa and in the effort to replace the loses of the 1939-40.
-----I know about the German strength of May 1940 and don't believe this so easily. Source, please. Demobilized and mobilized again probably (happened with highly qualified workers), but the personnel reserves were already strained by 1940. The later division waves were mostly low-quality divisions (old soldiers) or reformed with experienced troops of shattered units (1943-1945). It's a safe bet even without explicit source that the oldest troops (and you cannot double an army with just those born in 1923!) were not in the East, but as occupation troops elsewhere. Lastdingo (talk) 01:25, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
  • You seem to be under the impression that the loss of 36,000 senior officers crippled the Red Army. It did have a dreadful effect, but not a crippling one. Majors became colonels, and colonels became generals, etc. There was a large number of lower ranking officers promoted after 1937 that had participated in combat against the Japanese and in the war with Finland, not to mention even earlier experiences in the First World War and the Civil War. A large number of civilian reservists joined the forces also. Managers became captains and directors became colonels. Mathematics teachers became battery commanders, and tractor "brigade" manager became a tank battalion commander.
  • The retired Soviet General had access to Soviet archives. The German losses were documented by a retired German general (well, actually not).
  • Its not possible to extrapolate casualty figures using comparative statistics of the campaign in the West.--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 00:34, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

German plans

Plans of the Nazi Germany are well documented and sources are available, while intentions could be arguable, and that was the fact of the German planning process, and should probably be discussed in this section, not in the article, as a debate on Hitler's arguments and disagreements with his generals.

I am changing the chapter title to 'German plans', and adding the fact that Hitler insisted during his debates with generals in 1939, 1940, and 1941, that the assault in Barbarossa shall be in this order, in Hitler's own words: "Leningrad first, the Donetsk Basin second, Moscow third."[1] This Hitler's statement is well documented by scholars, in fact, Hitler was repeating this statement as a "broken record" according to numerous witness accounts of his staff and his generals.Steveshelokhonov 18:26, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

OMG, so many errors in such an important article!

This article is full of factual errors, a terrible fact as it's an important article.

Not only the KIA/WIA/POW numbers are wrong and should be deleted till better ones are available - also stuff like "1 million other Axis soldiers" (as if the German soldiers weren't "Axis") and many small other problems exist.

The personnel strength figures offered in the article contradict themselves a lot (table vs. text).

Tank quantities given under "Soviet preparations" are contradicting (table vs. text) and also contradict respectable sources on Russian tank history.

The Russian re-organization of the tank force into Mechanized Corps is mentioned as if it was only due to lessons of 39/40, but in fact they were rather reversing a re-organization which had decentralized the tanks in iirc 1938. They had a complete mechanized warfare doctrine finished before the purges.

T-34 was superficially the best tank in the world, but not as entirely as presented the most modern one. It had extremely outdated components (like gearbox), ineffective components (useless air filter), outdated turret layout (2-man), outdated (if any) radios, mediocre quality sights and materials, lacked a gun stabilization (already in use in some American tanks in 1940) and had an ill-designed (oversized) commander's hatch instead of the far more modern commander's cupola. Armor layout/choice of 76mm universal gun/use of Diesel engine/use of decently modern Christie suspension were his only qualities. You can call it "modern" and "best balanced" tank of 1941.

The KV was not the best armored tank in the world. Mathilda II and French Char B-1bis of 1940 were slightly better armored. The same problems of 3.7cm Pak ineffectiveness that made the T-34 and KV so dreadful were already observed in France 1940, and armor thicknesses were in fact similar/greater plus armor quality superior.

The exact quantities given for KV and T-34 ("But while these 1,861 modern tanks...") are obviously wrong. Those tanks were not produced in those numbers before the war, so this figure have no place in the "preparations" chapter.

"Soviet aircraft were largely obsolete, and Soviet artillerylacked modern fire control techniques" This means obviously "...anti-air artillery lacked..." !!!!

"Spanish Nazis" ... seriously, they are called "Spanish Fascists".

Any explanation why the Baltic (Lithuanian, Estonian) uprisings against the Soviets are mentioned in the "Army Group Centre" chapter? A one second look on map confirms: "Army Group North"!

Lastdingo (talk) 01:07, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, the KV-1 was better armoured than the Char B1 bis at least and the appliqué version, already in service in June 1941, (much) better than the Matilda II. The number of 1861 had perhaps better been replaced by "about 2070", which is a better approximation.--MWAK (talk) 06:58, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
1. The Baltic (Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian) uprisings against the Soviets joined with the Army Group North and eventually engaged against the 8th Soviet Army.
2. Here is the list of additional sources on Operation Barbarossa and other related planning:
  • Kay, Alex J. Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder. Political and Economic Planning for German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union, 1940 - 1941. By Berghahn Books. New York, Oxford. 2006.
  • Higgins, Trumbull . Hitler and Russia. The Macmillan Company, (1966).
  • Fugate, Bryan I. Operation Barbarossa. Strategy and Tactics on the Eastern Front, 1941. 415 pages. Presidio Press (July 1984) ISBN-10: 0891411976, ISBN-13: 978-0891411970.
Bryan Fugate gives a detailed description of planning process during the years 1939, 1940 and 1941. Alex J. Kay shows what was prepared next. These books may help updating the article. Steveshelokhonov 06:34, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
If you have the books, start a sandboox and work on the article--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 11:34, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
This article is pretty much bogus..... 5.6 Million troops against 2.8 Million troops initially? Every single documentary, book, article on the subject gives a little over 3 million Germans at the start of the campaign. Possibly 5.6 Million by year's end, but then again you wouldnt go skewing information by comparing initial numbers on the soviet side against total numbers on the German side, would you? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:06, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

I just want to say that the T-34 medium tank, even in its early prototype stages, was a brilliant design, compiling the best in tank developments. But in my opinion, it's "ace in the hole" was its simplicity. The German Panther tank was supposed to be the equal of the t-34, but due to technical issues, didn't make as large an impact in the ground war. -Hunchbacked (----)

Commanders in infobox

I think current list of commanders is far too long. Infobox is not meant for detailed information, so it should give only most importnant commanders. That would be Hitler, Stalin, German Army Group commanders, Soviet Front commanders, and Mannerheim. Maybe also Antonescu of Romania, although I guess Romanians were under Army Group South.--Staberinde (talk) 16:47, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Agreed although Timoshenko and Budyonny were the superiors of Front commanders, a layer of command not present in the Wehrmacht. Chuikov was in China until March 1943!--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 21:59, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


Some voluntaires from the Spanish Army participated in Operation Barbarossa under ranco's authorization to help in the invasion of the Soviet ion so as to fight against the communists. So, even if not an official participation, Spain under Franco did participate in Operation Barbarossa. Therefore, I suggest that 'Spanish Voluntaries', with the flag of Spain (under Franco), should be inculded in the Belligerents section at the begining of this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:58, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Flags are actually discouraged under the MOS, but in any case, they are only used to represent national participations, and not volunteers which were a part of the 250th Wehrmacht infantry division. For this reason the French, Dutch, Danish and Austrian flags are also not used, to name a few--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 23:01, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Allied "Lend-Lease"

I don't see any mention in the article of the huge material support United States gave to Soviet Union in terms of aircraft, tanks and other materials and the effects of this on the outcome of Barbarossa.

So far as I've studied this, at least the Germans saw as crucial to the war effort of blocking the Arctic convoys.

Here are some example items from the Lend-Lease article's list:

Aircraft 14,795 Tanks 7,056 Jeeps 51,503 Trucks 375,883 Motorcycles 35,170 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Finlander (talkcontribs) 20:59, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Lend-lease did not commence until after Operations Barbarossa, and did not really reach significant levels of delivery until Barbarossa was over.--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 22:58, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Disambiguation help

Hi. I've gone through the article's wikilinks finding those that point to disambiguation pages, and fixed the ones that I could. However, two links point to disambiguation pages with two possible correct targets each: Dvina River and River Bug. Could someone with knowledge of the subject please fix the wikilinks in the article to point to the correct articles rather than the disambiguation pages? -Lilac Soul (talk contribs count) 17:35, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Operation Otto

This article is ripe with errors and ommissions. The only part I am touching on is the blatantly obvious error. "The planning for operation Barbarossa took several years prior to June 1941" is a complete falsehood. The planning which took place was for Operation Otto, which called for a completely different strategy the Operation Barbarosa. Operation Barbarosa was thrown together in several weeks and replaced the Original Plan. This article needs to be re-written from top to bottom. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Teddyhaarz (talkcontribs) 16:50, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Not German logistics failure

According to historian Russel Stolfi, logistics was not the main problem of the Germans: his sources indicate that they had converted the Russian railway from Brest to Smolensk to their own railway gauge by the end of July, and were very capable of sustaining their effort at least there. He contends that the key German mistake was that the Heeresgruppe Mitte was sent into the Ukraine, instead of pushing for Moscow immediately. This meant that the Germans lost momentum and gave the Russians time to mobilize.

...the Germans regauged the Russian rail system from Brest to Minsk by early July and extended construction to Smolensk before the end of the same month.Russel H. S. Stolfi: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted

I'm aware that his is a minority opinion, but is there any way to work this into the article in a satisfactory way? I'm not familiar enough with this subject to do this without doing major damage to the article... – gpvos (talk) 17:28, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

The US Army study cited in the "weather" section agrees with this argument. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:46, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Three phases

What is the source for these phases?--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 02:21, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

The Result Must be Written "Soviet Victory"

Why is the result of Barbarossa "Axis Failure"? This is a clear historiographic bias on the part of whoever wrote that part of the article. What is the result of the American civil war? "Confederate Failure"? I doubt it is written as such in the article.

I understand we are dealing with one operation here, but in this chapter of the Eastern Front, not only did the Axis powers FAIL to achieve their objectives, but the Soviets made many strategic and tactical victories gains which enabled them to win the war. Shouldn't that the winning side be given due histotical recognition?

JohnChrichton (talk) 02:50, 11 December 2008 (UTC)JohnChrichton

There are several reasons. One, this was a German operation. Often the result is given in terms of who initiated the action. Since the Germans started it, the result is that they failed. Likewise, the result of Bagration should be given as 'Soviet victory' rather than German defeat. I am not sure your ACW analogy is valid since it concerns an entire war, not one operation.
Second, although it is true the Germans failed operationally and failed massively on the strategic level, the USSR also suffered an immense disaster. If I can paraphrase earlier discussions of this very topic, it is tough to claim victory when you lose essentially most of your prewar Army, tens of millions of citizens, and half your prewar industrial base. That the USSR ever recovered from the situation they were in in Dec 1941 is remarkable.
Finally of course there are those who will argue the Germans won, so this is a contentious subject. Sometimes infoboxes contain compromises.
DMorpheus (talk) 03:03, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Although infoboxes do contain compromises, the immensity of the loss suffered by Germany and its Allies during this operation cannot possible ignored, even in light of the reasons you states above. I believe that if people are not willing to put up "Soviet Victory", then it should at least state "Qualified Soviet Victory".

I would very much like speak to those who believe Germany achieved its operational objectives in this operation-either these individuals are not familiar with the operative objectives of Barbarossa or are of the same breed who question the validity of the Holocaust.

JohnChrichton (talk) 05:07, 11 December 2008 (UTC)JohnChrichton

I belong to that bunch of people who believe that the result should be given as German victory. The reasons for that are first the immense loss of soldiers and material Soviet Union suffered compared that what Germany suffered. Second, Soviet Union lost hundreds of kilometers of land during an operation, hardly a winning position. The operation only failed in strategical level, when Soviet Union didn't collapse or surrender, but compared to the tactical victories Germans achieved it is not enough to turn this Soviet victory.
In fact, labeling this as a Soviet victory, will open a can of worms: By defining the results of operations at strategic level and by original plans, number of outcomes would be flipped: For example Operation Overlord should then be defined as German victory, as allied forces didn't capture channel harbors as quickly and in working order as planned.
Results of an operations should be defined in a very strict view, considering only the given timeframe and achievements during that time. Not by what happened in the future or what the original plans, wishes, hopes were. --Whiskey (talk) 06:38, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

This article deals with an 'Operation', not a War, or a Battle, or even a Campaign. Even if we agree that the definitions of these terms may blur, it must be conceded that deciding on the success or failure of an Operation decides on the "operational" goals of the forces involved. The Axis operational goals were, as the article describes, to defeat the Soviet Union in a lightning campaign (and it outlines the specific way how this was to be done). This, it has to be said, failed; not just by Axis sins of ommission (ie, failure to capture Moscow, Leningrad and failure to destroy Soviet armed forces in great enough numbers) but Soviet counter-strokes and victories around Moscow, particularly. Therefore, there is no real need to go into 'tactical victory' here or 'strategic failure' there. Did the Operation meet its goals? No; therefore it was a failure, and the Great Patriotic War goes on.

Why was it an Axis failure and not a Soviet victory? Because the Axis launched the operation, and therefore in this case defined the terms of victory or defeat. Because German formations were deep inside Russia and could still theoretically have won from that position, it strains credibility to say that the Soviets "won" Operation Barbarossa. If there was a page on the German Operation to destroy the RAF in 1940, I would say that was a German failure; but on the Battle of Britain page, it should be a British victory. Note the difference therein. This is a page about a military operation, a military operation I'm glad to say failed.

"Axis failure" should stay. (talk) 06:50, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Absolutely not! The argument is very simple here. The Axis power failed to achieve the operational objectives they set out to achieve. While yes, they certainly did inflict much damage on the USSR, they in fact strengthened it in the long term, in addition to the FAILURE OF THEIR OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES already mentioned.

While I am sure many of you would like to believe that trying your best in something but not attaining the original goal counts as a personal "victory", to the outside world, it is a loss like any other. The same principle applied to Operation Barbarossa.

The plans of the Axis were foiled. The USSR remained and was strenghthened by the experience. Qualified Soviet Victory.

JohnChrichton (talk) 07:57, 11 December 2008 (UTC)JohnChrichton

It seems that we are repeating this discussion periodically. Please check the talk page archives to check reasoning given there. Also, you usage of "plans foiled" argument is not a good one, as if we take that route, then a large number of wars, operations and battles change their results - and not for more "common sense" way. The consistence is ruthless lady. --Whiskey (talk) 11:11, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

We may be repeating this discussion periodically, that is because someone will come along and change it to: "Axis tactical victories, Soviet long-term strategic victory, Politically: a PR disaster.." etc etc which just appears confused. The article itself says that this Operation was a failure. Let's stick with that, or rewrite the article. (talk) 16:43, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree completely with Indeed *only* the strategic consequences count here, because this was obviously a strategic-level campaign. I would just remind everyone that our personal opinions of who 'won' or 'lost' here count for nothing. Only the published sources count. It is rather easy to find tens or dozens of sources that will analyze the German *failure* in this campaign. It is equally easy to find numerous sources describing the extent of the Soviet disaster. Finally it is easy to find sources that describe the very difficult strategic position Germany was in as a result of their loss in Barbarossa. Their armed forces and economy were organized for short decisive campaigns. The fact that they failed to knock out the USSR in a short campaign was of immense strategic consequence in that they gave other powers the opportunity to fight a long war Germany was highly unlikely to win. The number of casualties on either side is not directly important in addressing this issue. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:57, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Previously result was "Initial Axis operational victories, overall Axis strategic failure" which in my opinion summed up Barbarossa quite well.--Staberinde (talk) 20:48, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I support this one as well. With respect, Ko Soi IX (talk) 21:17, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I support "Initial Axis operational victories, overall Axis strategic failure", as well. It was mostly operational victories, but they clearly failed their strategic objective of a complete Soviet takeover (never took Moscow, though close, but never even really approached the moved eastern factories).Mosedschurte (talk) 00:03, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

German intentions (excellent article)

This is an excellent and highly informative article. The intro section, titled "German intentions", was mixed up a bit chronologically, it lacks sources and the intentions aren't really placed in context. I added a few cites and descriptions regarding Barbarossa planning, the twisted Nazi ideology behind it and put the Green Folder (March 1941, after Hitler's freakout to Goering about the naysayers) and Rosenberg Plan (really July 1941) in their context.

Though very interesting, I'm not sure the long bullet points individually listing the various planned economic and territorial divisions of each of the Green Folder and the Rosenberg Plan are required in this invasion article, though their existence would definitely seem to belong. Mosedschurte (talk) 10:07, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

old comments

Ok, there are serious contraditions, first of all, it is worth noting that 27 million soviet casualties is western estimate, second, it is worth noting thaqt 4.3 german casualties is german estimate, even some western historians put estimate at much higher. Third: article says that soviets lost 20 million civilians and 8.5 million soldier, which makes it 28.5 million total, while real western estimate is less than 27. So, either less civilian losses or less military. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Someone added american war help as a part of german failure of Barbarossa, it could not be a decisive factor during Barbarossa, since the operation failed before any decisive help could arrive, since there was simply no time for it. Germany failed Barbarossa before any american help arrived (if any decisive help arrived at all during lend-lease, big part of it did not even not reach USSR's soil being sunk by germans or british themselves). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:35, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Wrong image removed

The map of "Soviet and German invasions and annexations" contains numerous errors, e.g.: Slovakia had been neither invaded nor annexed by Germany, Ukraine looks like a territory invaded or annexed by the USSR, etc.
I see no problem to re-insert this map after all errors are corrected, although the name should be "German and Soviet invasions and annexations" (more chronologically correct).--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:04, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

First, it is correct, and Slovakia became a Nazi-occupied puppet state by 1939, and especially by the 1940 Salzberg Compromise.
In any event, it is made using the Wikipedia Commons World War II Europe maps, made from the University of Texas maps, such as these wide-scale maps which cover all of continental Europe, Englan, Iceland, etc:
All of which also show Slovakia as effectively part of the Reich by 1940, which they should.
And the Ukraine and Belorussia were separate SSRs, such that no arrow stops in those countries.Mosedschurte (talk) 02:42, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
It isn't. On these maps Italy and Slovakia have the same colour. Obviously Italy wasn't besetzen. She was a Verbündete (neither invaded nor annexed).
Slovakia was a puppet state, but she wasn't occupied by that moment. In majority sources Slovakia is listed among Germany'a allies (along with Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary)
The arrows must start from pre-1939 borders of the USSR (like on the original maps).
Other errors should also be fixed.
I see no problem to re-insert the corrected map.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:22, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Unreal to delete it without some discussion again. Now I actually changed it, and the description is now Axis invasions and annexations anyway, not German.Mosedschurte (talk) 07:15, 18 February 2009 (UTC)


Shouldn't there be a section in this article about the mobile killing squads that moved through conquered territories annihilating Jewish populations. After all it was a very significant stage in the development of the holocaust.

This is about the Operation Barbarossa and not the Holocaust. Colchicum (talk) 01:55, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Operation barbarossa and the holocaust go together hand in hand. It's what initiated the mass killings performed by the einsatzgruppen, it deserves a mention --Thanks, Hadseys 00:34, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

600 year later/before

Currently the article reads "Mein Kampf stated that Germany's destiny was to turn 'to the East' as it did 'six hundred years later'". This doesn't make any sense. Isn't Hitler alluding here to the eastward German expansion during the Middle Ages? Shouldn't that quotation read 'six hundred years before'? Anyone who knows, please feel free to update the article. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 07:51, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

casualties are moronic

Why are the casualties given for soviets are 6 million, while for germans much less? IT just looks absolutely moronic. Take care of this please. Here is how you do this: Decide when Operation Barbarossa ended. When you do, calculate casualties for both sides up until that date. Otherwise the facts stated there now do not fit with what Wikipedia states about the total military losses of USSR during WW2. Also, why are we using some unreliable websites, when we have Krivosheev's data avaliable on the internet.-- (talk) 08:01, 11 June 2009 (UTC)Pavel Golikov.

Not casualties were 6 million but total losses. Although the ref 6 seems to be not too reliable (I would propose to remove it to avoid discrediting of Wikipedia), the very fact that majority of Soviet POWs (3 to 5 million) were captured by Axis during Barbarossa is well known and indisputable. With regards to casualties, the Krivosheev's numbers are quite trustworthy. To my opinion, it makes sense to check the number of WIA (this number seems unreferenced now) and to remove "at least" per WP:WEASEL. I also see nothing unusual in so dramatic difference between Axis and Soviet losses during Barbarossa: by the end of the war the situation was reverse, although the German were in defensive, whereas the Soviet were in offensive.
With regards to your ideas on "how you do this", it fits WP:OR criteria. The only things you can do are to introduce the numbers from the reliable sources that are explicitly attributed to Barbarossa, and to remove poorly sourced materials, weasel words or unsupported claims.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:11, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

"Official" end-date

Did it end 5 December 1941 or 7 January 1942? There seems to be a conflict in the text about which to consider the official "end-date." I'm going to provisionally change the date in the infobox to agree with the "Final Phase" section...

Wikiscient 20:02, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

AFAIK, the end of Barbarossa coincides with the end of operation Typhoon, i.e. the cessation of the German offensive. So 5 December 1941 is correct.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:11, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

False claim removed

This edit:"These assertions remain a matter of debate among historians[2][3]" directly contradicts to what the sources tell. Neither Uldrick nor Raack wrote that the Suvorov's assertions "remain a matter of debate among historians". Uldrick debunked everything Suvorov wrote whereas Raack summarized that Suvorov's theory was studiously condemned by a scientific community.
I conclude that the last modification is a direct falsification, and, therefore, a gross violation of WP policy.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:43, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Some historians, like Radzinsky obviously support his ideas. Hence a matter of debate.Biophys (talk) 03:42, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
My point was that you attributed your own conclusion to Uldricks and Raack, whereas neither of them wrote it was a matter of debates; just the opposite: American scientific community condemned Suvorov's theory, according to Raack.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:28, 20 July 2009 (UTC)


Would it not be more concise to say "German tactical victory, Soviet strategic victory"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:17, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

This has been debated at length and I invite you to read the archived discussion on the topic. In short, tactical results are meaningless in an operation of this size and only the strategic result is of any importance. That said, there is plenty of contention about the strategic result ;) Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 02:05, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Causes of initial Soviet defeats

"Much of Soviet planning assumed that no war would take place before 1942" - I don't believe in this, but let it be... - "thus the Axis attack came when new organizations and promising, but untested, weapons were just beginning to trickle into operational units."

Do about 1350 T-34 tanks in Red Army count as "beginning to trickle"? How can a tank which is in production and in service since 1940 "just begin to trickle" in June of 1941?

Do nearly 700 KV-1 tanks in Red Army count as "beginning to trickle"?

I bring these two tanks into discussion because *none* of German tanks could match them in firepower in June of 1941. They had long 75mm guns capable of taking out any German tank, whereas the most potent German tank, Pz-IV had only short 75mm gun, which could not take out any of them. And there were only about 800 of Pz-IV. The rest were even worse: Pz-III had 37mm guns, Pz-II had 20mm, er, "guns", and Pz-I are not tanks at all.

Do about 330 КV-2 tanks with enormous 152mm gun count as "beginning to trickle"? (talk) 01:21, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

You are providing your personal opinion here, which may be perfectly valid but cannot be a source for wikipedia.
A few minor points: the T-34 and KV had 76mm guns, not 75mm, and most of the Pzkw-IIIs in June 1941 had short 50mm guns, not 37mm. There were a very few in service still with 37mm, but they were a small minority of all pzkw-IIIs. Most of the KV-2s had no AP ammunition.
More importantly, these tanks were being sent in small numbers (each) to many units so that crews and units could train on them. Most Red Army tank units had few of the modern tanks. None of them was ready for combat. It isn't so much the number of tanks "available" that mattered as the state of the units receiving them.
regards, DMorpheus (talk) 14:31, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
"Much of Soviet planning assumed that no war would take place before 1942" this is indeed unsourced and actually not true. It should be removed as hearsay. Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 19:36, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Barbarossa or Typhoon?

As it stands now the article states that the final phase of Barbarossa was Operation Typhoon, however the latter is not mentioned anywhere else in the article (i.e. the German planning section). In the Battle For Moscow/Operation Typhoon article it claims that the offensive was a seperate entity from Barbarossa and get the offensive back on track to capture Moscow. If the sources are available i would suggest clearing up when exactly Barbarossa ended and Tyhpoon began or if they are one and the same (as suggested by this article but not the Moscow one).--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:34, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Suvorov's "theory"

I reverted the recent change in the "Soviet offensive plan theory" for following reasons:

  1. I looked though and I found no positive review on Suvorov's "Ledokol". All reviewers agreed that evidentiary base is lacking and the author's speculations are not supported by the facts.
  2. I introduced the western historians' opinion on the Suvorov's "Ledokol" into the article, however, all this criticism (with references) appeared to be removed. That is incorrect, especially, taking into account that the reviews were written by professional and reputable historians and published in peer-reviewed journals with international circulation, whereas Suvorov is not a professional historian, and his books never passed a peer-reviewing procedure.
  3. As the reviews testify, the Suvorov's theory (although popular in some Eastern European countries) is not supported by historical community and, does not deserve detailed description on WP pages.
    --Paul Siebert (talk) 03:45, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

PS Please, do not revert my edits without providing a solid ground for your actions.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:53, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Sorry, but it is supported by many experts. Several supporting historians and sources has been already provided in the article. Please do not delete them. Fist of all, that is notable historian and author Edvard Radzinsky in his famous book about Stalin. There are many others a well. This is not a "Suvorov's theory" any more.Biophys (talk) 03:55, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Give me names of Western experts who support Suvorov. Provide at least one positive review on "Ledokol" in first class international historical journal. I provided many negative reviews, all of them are reputable. Radzinsky himself is not reputable, according to western historians: his own book was criticised by western scholars. Here is quotes from a review on his book about Stalin:
"In fact, Radzinsky's book is essentially a compilation of fact, opinion and gossip already in circulation for decades. Worse, when Radzinsky does deal with newer information, he tends to take credit for other scholars' discoveries. While the author occasionally acknowl- edges his sources, many passages are phrased to implicitly or explicitly credit Radzinsky with 'revelations' already published elsewhere in Russian-language sources including Izvestiya TsK, Istochnik, Istoricheskii arkhiv, Minuvshee, and a variety of newspapers. While Radzinsky probably made some use of publicly accessible state and party archives, his claims about enjoying extensive access to the Presidential Archive (APRF) are less credible, as the latter has remained tightly sealed since 1991.
Poetic licence might excuse Radzinsky's numerous misstatements, were he not claiming to be an accomplished researcher and historian. The author uncritically accepts myths promoted by the early Bolshevik regime, not only appearing unfamiliar with Yurii Druzhnikov's 1988 exposure of the Pavlik Morozov fable (p. 257) but repeating the Stalinist historical line about an uninvited 1918 Allied landing at Murmansk (p. 135).6 Radzinsky also seems unaware of the problematic nature of sources like A. Orlov (pp. 31-32, 341) and B. Nikolaevsky's 'Letter of an Old Bolshevik' (p. 359). The author's romanticised portrayal of social conditions in 1937 (pp. 386-388) seems reminiscent of Leon Feuchtwanger's notorious apologia."
"While Radzinsky's Stalin is not entirely without merit, it is eclipsed by a number of contentious new works which offer more studied challenges to prevailing views of Stalinism. These include 0. V. Khlevnyuk's Stalin i Ordzhonikidze: konflikty v Politbyuro v 30-e gody (Moscow, 1993); Lars Lih's detailed introduction to Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936 (New Haven and London, 1995), pp. 1-66; Stephen Kotkin's Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London, 1995); and Robert W. Thurston's Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941 (New Haven and London, 1996)."
(Taken from David Brandenberger. Reviewed work(s): Stalin: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives by Edvard Radzinsky ; H. T. Willetts Source: Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Jan., 1997), pp. 176-179)
Sokolov is philologist. Who else?--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:59, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Here is a small sample of supporting sources :

  • Dębski, Sławomir. Między Berlinem a Moskwą: Stosunki niemiecko-sowieckie 1939–1941. Warsaw: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2003 (ISBN 83-918046-2-3).
  • Edwards, James B. Hitler: Stalin's Stooge. San Diego, CA: Aventine Press, 2004 (ISBN 978-1593301446, paperback).
  • Hoffmann, Joachim. Stalin's War of Extermination. Capshaw, AL: Theses & Dissertations Press, 2001 (ISBN 0-9679856-8-4).
  • Maser, Werner Der Wortbruch. Hitler, Stalin und der Zweite Weltkrieg. Olzog, München 1994. ISBN 3-7892-8260-X
  • Maser, Werner Fälschung, Dichtung und Wahrheit über Hitler und Stalin, Olzog, München 2004. ISBN 3-7892-8134-4
  • Pleshakov, Constantine. Stalin's Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of World War Two on the Eastern Front. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005 (ISBN 0-618-36701-2).
  • Raack, R.C. "Did Stalin Plan a Drang Nach Westen?", World Affairs. Vol. 155, Issue 4. (Summer 1992), pp. 13–21.
  • Raack, R.C. "Preventive Wars?" [Review Essay of Pietrow-Ennker, Bianka, ed. Präventivkrieg? Der deutsche Angriff auf die Sowjetunion. 3d ed. Frankfurt-am-Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2000. ISBN 3-596-14497-3; Mel'tiukhov, Mikhail. Upushchennyi shans Stalina: Sovetskii Soiuz i bor'ba za Evropu 1939–1941. Moscow: Veche, 2000. ISBN 5-7838-1196-3; Magenheimer, Heinz. Entscheidungskampf 1941: Sowjetische Kriegsvorbereitungen. Aufmarsch. Zusammenstoss. Bielefeld: Osning Verlag, 2000. ISBN 3-9806268-1-4] The Russian Review, 2004, Vol. 63, Issue 1, pp. 134–137.
  • Raack, R.C. "Stalin's Role in the Coming of World War II: Opening the Closet Door on a Key Chapter of Recent History", World Affairs. Vol. 158, Issue 4, 1996, pp. 198–211.
  • Raack, R.C. "Stalin's Role in the Coming of World War II: The International Debate Goes On", World Affairs. Vol. 159, Issue 2, 1996, pp. 47–54.
  • Raack, R.C. Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938–1945: The Origins of the Cold War. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995. (ISBN 0-8047-2415-6).
  • Raack, R.C. "Stalin's Plans for World War Two Told by a High Comintern Source", The Historical Journal, Vol. 38, No. 4. (Dec., 1995), pp. 1031–1036.
  • Raack, R.C. "[Review:] Unternehmen Barbarossa: Deutsche und Sowjetische Angriffspläne 1940/41 by Walter Post; Die sowjetische Besatzungsmacht und das politishe System der SBZ by Stefan Creuzberger", Slavic Review, Vol. 57, No. 1. (Sring, 1998), pp. 212–214.
  • Raack, R.C. "Breakers on the Stalin Wave: Review Essay [of Murphy, David E. What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005 (ISBN 0-300-10780-3); Pleshakov, Constantine. Stalin’s Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of World War II on the Eastern Front. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 2005 (ISBN 0-618-36701-2)]", The Russian Review, Vol. 65, No. 3. (2006), pp. 512–515.
  • Topitsch, Ernst. Stalin's War: A Radical New Theory of the Origins of the Second World War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1987 (ISBN 0-312-00989-5).
  • Weeks, Albert L. Stalin's Other War: Soviet Grand Strategy, 1939–1941. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 (hardcover; ISBN 0-7425-2191-5); 2003 (paperback, ISBN 0-7425-2192-3).Biophys (talk) 04:04, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
The list seems to be copy-pasted from the Viktor Suvorov article. Raak is questionable: he doesn't support Suvorov's fully. Hoffman, Maser etc were criticized by Teddy J. Uldricks, and they are not too reputable historians. The only serious scholar who support Suvorov is Weeks. Not too much.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:09, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Please stay on the topic. This article is about "Operation Barbarossa", not about Razinsky and Suvorov. Of course, one could create a separate article about the "Soviet offensive plans" and debate it there. I provided a number of supporting WP:RS about "Soviet offensive plans" by your request.Biophys (talk) 04:13, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I provided a larger number of sources telling the reverse. You deleted them, whereas I deleted almost no your sources.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:15, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Suvorov and Raack

I didn't look through all Raack's articles, however, it is unclear from what I read that he supports Suvorov. Here is a quote from the Raak's article (Author(s): R. C. Raack Reviewed work(s):Was the USSR Planning to Attack Germany in 1941? by Joseph Bradley Source: Central European History, Vol. 32, No. 4 (1999), pp. 491-493):

"John Zametica, reviewing Suvorov's book in the London Spectator, the only major English-language journal of opinion to have reviewed it, noted that if Suvorov were right, many academic historians were going to be obliged to reconsider much of what they had written on the history of the war. Few in the West have done that so far. In fact, Suvorov's book, although published by Viking in North America, went almost unnoticed over here. When reviewed, it was studiously condemned."

In the rest of his article, Raack remains neutral, just describing what Suvorov and other authors say.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:31, 17 July 2009 (UTC) Another source, Raack, R.C. "[Review:] Unternehmen Barbarossa: Deutsche und Sowjetische Angriffspläne 1940/41 by Walter Post; Die sowjetische Besatzungsmacht und das politishe System der SBZ by Stefan Creuzberger", Slavic Review, Vol. 57, No. 1. (Sring, 1998), pp. 212–214. tells literally the following:

"Indeed, one searches in vain in North America for a broad discussion of the issues of Soviet war planning associated above all with the best selling - in Europe - but controversial writings by Viktor Suvorov"

I don't think this demonstrate Raack's support of Suvorov. I will delete this article from the list of publications supporting Suvorov's theses.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:18, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

@Paul: we should make a distinction between 'Soviet offensive plans theory' and Suvorov's theory of a German pre-emptive strike. Whereas the latter has indeed very little academic support, the former is a hotly debated matter and has quite a number of supporters, as evident from the list of authors Biophys provided. In fact, Mikhail Melt(y)ukhov is a semi-official historian by now, sometimes appearing on Russia Today, so whether you agree with his points or not, he has relevance. Similarly, Sokolov - a dissident rather than pro-Kremlin - is quite an acceptable author (his sketches on Soviet leaders are well written and balanced (I've read the translations into Estonian)). --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 12:09, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the list provided by Biophys to be persuasive, because (i) not many names are there; (ii) except Weeks (and Raack, who doesn't seem to support Suvorov fully) all of them are not too reputable historians (their books have been criticized along with Suvorov). The idea of cherry-peeking Russian historians' works (to take seriously some of them and to ignore others claiming that it is a Communist propaganda) seems not to be good. Sokolov is more a dissident (and philologist) rather than a historian.
Moreover, according to WP policy "Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available, such as history, medicine and science." All sources used by me are "academic and peer-reviewed publications", so they are highly valuable (by contrast to the Suvorov's book that didn't pass a peer-reviewing procedure and got mostly negative reviews in the academic journals). According to WP policy "English-language sources are preferable to sources in other languages so that readers can easily verify the content of the article." Therefore, your arguments are completely wrong. I reverted your edit (not supported by a consensus).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:29, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Leaving Suvorov beyond the scope, let me point out that the Soviet offensive plans theory is a well known concept since late 1939s. The phrase "maloy kroviiu, na chuzhoy territorii" was frequently used by Soviet officials even before June 22, 1941. The idea that any the enemy's attack would be followed by a powerful RKKA's counter-attack was official even before the war. This has been described in the previous section, so I agree with DMorpheus to remove the section completely.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:39, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with outright removal. If it is a POV, albeit a minority POV, it deserves a mention. Some titles actually have been published in English during recent years, that include the arguments of the offensive plans 'faction' - e.g. Ziemke, Earl F. The Red Army, 1918–1941 and the title by Pleshakov, which I think has been mentioned above. Also, Joachim Hoffmann belongs here well, since he was for some decades even a director of the Bundeswehr Military History Research Office, proof enough of relevance. Secondly, as for maloy kroviiu, na chuzhoy territorii, this was indeed the official doctrine, which in effect, surely didn't mean the Red Army was always going to wait for the enemy attack and then repel it. Btw, Paul definitely is aware of the fact that war plans against Finland assumed an imperialist aggression by that Nordic country, to be followed by Soviet counter-attack ;-) --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 14:00, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
What outright removal do you mean? I removed almost nothing, I just added a number of reputable historians' opinions to create a more correct picture, because the section in its previous form presented a speculation based theory developed by amateur historian as a serious concept accepted by the historians' community. In addition, the section simply repeats some facts form the previous section, e.g. the Stalin speech (presented as something new here) has been cited in the second para of the "Soviet preparation" section. I got an impression that the person who wrote the previous version of this section didn't read the article itself.
With regards to Hoffmann, I don't think his position to warrant a neutrality: his Russian equivalent is Makhmud Gareev, not too neutral guy.
I prefer to rely upon opinions of English speaking western historians (British and American).
Re: maloy kroviiu, this official doctrine implied only counter-attack. Read the sources, please.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:12, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely! Soviet documents reveal, that the Soviet aggression against Finland was planned as a 'counterattack' (!) (контрудар) in the course of defending the state border. Some witty people, btw, explain that generally, there have never been and shall never be any offensive wars in the history of mankind. Wars are divided in two - defensive wars and pre-emptive wars :D. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 14:50, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Don't mix pretexts with real plans. The war against Finland was a pure aggression, although under pretext of a counterattack. By contrast, Germany (in actuality, united Europe) was much more formidable opponent to play in such games, especially taking into account that Winter war demonstrated what RKKA was in actuality.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:08, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
This whole Winter War stuff as evidence about Red Army being rubbish is questionable. For instance, a reputed military historian like Lidell Hart pointed out that soviet poor performance in that conflict need not be exaggerated, because the circumstances in which Red Army fought were extremely difficult. In Lidell Hart's own words, fighting in Finland was tough even during the summer, let alone in the winter. Red Army might have had more men, guns, tanks and planes, but the main fighting took place in the tight confines of the Karelian Isthmus, a rather small strip of land which made soviet numerical superiority kinda pointless. Also a blitzkrieg was impossible, because there was no way to conduct maneuver warfare in Finland, during the winter : as such the only solution for the soviets was to drag down finnish manpower in a war of attrition.
Historian seem to like to talk a lot about how poorly did the Red Army during the Winter War. Yet no one seems to notice that Red Army fought there also during a period when it was, according to the same historians' opinions, in a much better condition. After the soviet broke Leninhrad's blocade for the first time in 1943, it was essential for them to remove the danger upon the city. Yet for one year and half, while they were mauling the germans on the other front, the Red Army was unable to launch any major offensive against Finland. The first one was unleashed on 9 June 1944 and it needed 3 months to knock out Finland out of the war. only a little bit less than in 1939-1940. Sentinel2074 (talk) 18:09, 7 January 2010 (UTC)SentinelSentinel2074 (talk) 18:09, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
May I suggest *all* of this deserves a separate article, something like "The Soviet offensive plans controversy", and that it be mentioned only briefly in the Operation Barbarossa article?
David Glantz's "Stumbling Colossus" was inspired as a refutation of Suvorov.
regards, DMorpheus (talk) 12:33, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Fully agreed. In addition, by writing When reviewed, it was studiously condemned. Raack expressed the whole historian community's opinion. The renaming to "The Soviet offensive plans controversy" is a good idea.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:29, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the proposal to start a new article. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 13:42, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. That is half the proposal though. The other half is to pull most of this content out of the Barbarossa article, because its a source of needless contention about a side issue. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 15:28, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Correct. It is not a big problem, taking into account that the sub-section partially repeats what the mother section says (e.g. Stalin's speech). Meltiukhov's table also fits well into the mother section (just after the words:"Enormous Soviet forces were massed behind the western border in case the Germans did attack). I think, few words about Suvorov can be placed there. Feel free to remove the section and to re-arrange the "Soviet preparations" section accordingly.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:12, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
PS I also don't mind you to delete the subsection completely without any changes in the mother section.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:15, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Evaluating credentials of different historians is not our business. We should focus on factual information instead. The most important factual information is the existed plan of the Soviet command. Let's cite this plan first. Everything else is secondary.Biophys (talk) 16:48, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Quite opposite. We cannot present our own conclusions but, since per policy "Articles should be based upon reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" we can and have to distinguish between highly reliable sources (academic books and articles), not very reliable sources (books written by not famous or not professional scholars) and non-reliable sources. The best way to istinguish between these three is to evaluate credentials...--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:26, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and all the sources above (see the list), all history books by Victor Suvorov and books by Radzinsky certainly qualify as reliable sources per WP:RS.Biophys (talk) 02:48, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but the best way to cite this is to do it briefly here, and continue the discussion of the Soviet offensive plans controversy in a separate article. That article can host the continuation of this line of discussion. No need for it here since it is not in fact central to Barbarossa. I invite you all to edit that article now; I've got a very rough version laid out and ready for editing by others. If it is OK, then we will trim back the same content that is in this article. Apologies for the rollback I did, but I was trying to get the basics done first before we went at it. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:52, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree in general. Perhaps the last paragraph (about Meltukhov) can now be removed and described in sub-article you created.Biophys (talk) 17:08, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and all the sources above (see the list), all history books by Victor Suvorov.....certainly qualify as reliable sources per WP:RS.:: You can't be serious. I am not a professional historian and I can spot massive errors in Suvorov's books. DMorpheus (talk) 14:01, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Dear DMorpheus, although I support your point of view on Suvorov's writing, our own opinion have no weight on WP pages. However, serious scholars have already done this job for us. As I already wrote, a number of negative reviews on the Suvorov's books (summarized by Raack:"In fact, Suvorov's book, although published by Viking in North America, went almost unnoticed over here. When reviewed, it was studiously condemned") demonstrate that Suvorov's "Ledokol" and other WWII related books should be treated with great caution. It is necessary to concede, however, that some other Suvorov's books (e.g. the book about GRU, a Soviet military intelligence) got rather favourable reviews (although the reviewer noticed that the author doesn't disclose his sources), but it has no direct relation to the subject of our discussion.
The Biophys' statement ("all history books by Victor Suvorov and books by Radzinsky certainly qualify as reliable sources per WP:RS"), is fully unsubstantiated, whereas a number of sources support the opposite point of view. (BTW, it seems odd that Biophys completely ignored the David Brandenberger's review on the Radzinsky's book. The quotes from this review (see above) demonstrates clearly that the review was generally negative).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:29, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • If you have any concerns about reliability of these sources, please ask at WP:RS. These are books written by notable historians Edvard Radzinsky and Victor Suvorov. But we do not have even an article about David Brandenberger. Who is he? OK. I see. He is an Assistant professor in a provincial University and he wrote a book. He is nobody compare to Suvorov and Radzinsky who published at least 20-50 books each, and these books on History subjects were sold in many millions of copies.Biophys (talk) 00:52, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Re: "But we do not have even an article about David Brandenberger." There is an article about Sergey Dorenko, so what?
Re: "Who is he?". Just look at His books are cited much more frequently than Radzinsky's books.
I know you are a scientist, and I believe you are aware of a peer-reviewing procedure. The work that passed this procedure weighs much more.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:58, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Good point. I checked ISI citation index of David Brandenberger. He has 10 publications in scientific journals on the Soviet and German subjects. His ISI citation index in those articles is ZERO - no one cited him. That is his scientific reputation. Of course one can find many Google hits since he published a book and has a web site. Yes, he is thousand times less notable than Dorenko, not mentioning Radzinsky who is now the most popular History writer in Russia.Biophys (talk) 03:39, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
You probably used ISI incorrectly. The search (Author=(Brandenberger D OR Brandenberger D*) Refined by: Subject Areas=(HISTORY OR POLITICAL SCIENCE)) gives 12 citations without self-citations. The search (Radzinsky E OR Radzinsky E*) gives nothing. gives 37 citations to Brandenberger's "National Bolshevism: Stalinist mass culture and the formation of modern Russian national identity, 1931-1956", 34 citations to his "The unknown Lenin: from the secret archive", 9 citations to his "'The people need a tsar': The emergence of national Bolshevism as Stalinist".
Radzinsky's most cited book (Stalin) has been cited only 24 times. Definitely, Brandenberger is more notable than Radzinsky, according to these databases.
With regard to Dorenko, you seem not to get my point. Dorenko's notability means nothing in that case, because he is not a historian at all. Therefore, the very fact of existing (or not existing) of WP article means almost nothing.
One way or the another, I am glad that you passed from unsubstantiated claims to concrete arguments.
Regards, --Paul Siebert (talk) 04:47, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I checked this again. No, twelve is the number of his publications (most of them are 1-2 page reviews of books written by others). But his own publications were cited by others only 2 times. That's a proof he is nobody as a researcher. For comparison, one of undegraduate students I worked with is cited ~40 times.Biophys (talk) 13:11, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
  1. I don't know how did you do your search, but I checked again. (Author=(Brandenberger D OR Brandenberger D*) Timespan=1960-2009. Databases=SSCI, A&HCI.) gave 18 articles that cite Brandenberger's works (without self-citations).
  2. It is strange that you completely ignored the fact that Radzinsky's index is ZERO. (I believe 18 vs 0 is an impressive score)
  3. You ignored the results. Scholar, by contrast to, gives only scientific citations and, according to [2] is comparable to ISI.
  4. You seem to miss the fact that, whereas ISI is highly regarded in general, SSCI has been criticized for its bias (see. Daniel Klein and Eric Chiang. The Social Science Citation Index: A Black Box—with an Ideological Bias? Econ Journal Watch, Volume 1, Number 1, April 2004, pp 134-165.)
  5. You completely missed a fact that the biological sciences (a sphere of your interests) are among the most cited areas of knowledge, so biochemists, biophysicists or molecular biologists are being cited much more frequently than even physicists of matematicians. History is much less frequently cited sphere of knowledge, so 12 citations to historical books worth much more than 120 citations to biophysical article. (I am a little bit disappointed that I have to explain you so obvious things).

One way or the another, according to both these databases Radzinsky is much less notable than Brandenberger.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:16, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Icebreaker got taken down thoroughly by David Glantz in Stumbling Colossus. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 13:17, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Dear, DMorpheus, you are absolutely right. Glantz's criticism is especially important taking into account that he is an American Army's Colonel. Another detailed criticism of Suvorov's book is Gorodetsky's "Anti-Suvorov". Interestingly, although Gabriel Gorodetsky is internationally recognized historian, he published his "Anti-Suvorov" in Russia, that suggests that popularity of Suvorov's writings is local.
However, as you can see, our discussion with Biophys has switched to Radzinsky, a Russian historians who frequently appears on Russian TV and, by contrast to some reputable Russian historians, is very popular among Russian public. He is not a specialist in XX century's military history, and, based on his citation list, is not recognized in West. However, Biophys claims that his opinion is sufficient to take Suvorov's ideas seriously. I believe I was able to demonstrate Biophys was wrong.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:27, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I do not see any reason why Glantz is better than Suvorov. To the contrary, Suvorov is a more notable author. His numerous books were sold in millions of copies and translated to many languages. One could tell that Glantz and others like him were "taken down thoroughly" by Suvorov. As about notability of Brandenberger, this is getting ridiculous. If you think he is notable, try to create at least a wikipedia article about him. It will probably be deleted based on WP:Notability.Biophys (talk) 03:38, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Suvorov is a popular writer. The only problem is that he is not a historian (at least he is not recognized by peers). With regards to popularity among general public, Dumas is even more popular, however, his books that were sold in millions of copies and translated to many languages cannot be considered a reliable source. Only notability among peers matters, and, according to this criterion, Suvorov is not notable, and his theory is a minority views or even a fringe theory.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:00, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Constantly invoking that Suvorov's opponents are "well-reputed" historian is not very convincing. As a reviewer pointed out, there are good reasons why many of those historians do not actually want to honestly consider Suvorov's suggestions. First, it would be academic suicide for many of them, because it would expose them as having taken the bait laid for them by the soviet propaganda without any restraints. Second, it is also "politically incorrect", because it is quite embarassing for the western policy makers during WW2, which look like a bunch of gullible morons. I have the chance of reading some of these books which claim they dismantle Suvorov and I have not been impressed. Let's take for instance the most ardent opponents of Suvorov, which are Gorodetsky and Glantz. DMorpheus claims that "Icebreaker got taken down thoroughly in Stumbling Colossus". I don't see what this statement is based upon and it looks quite a bizarre conclusion, unless DMorpheus took Glantz's boasts for granted. Stumbling Colossus did not take down Icebreaker and could not have done so for a very simple reason : the first deals with Red Army's organizational structure and composition, while the latter is concerned with Soviet troop deployment, the actions took by the Red Army and soviet foreign policy. Glantz claims in the introduction that his book is intended as a rebuff to Icebreaker, yet he never mentions Suvorov again in his book. The crux of his argument is that Red Army was in bad shape and not ready for war, as such Stalin could not have ordered an invasion of Europe, because "he was a tyrant, but not a lunatic" (Glantz's own words). When you rely your rebuttal on Uncle Joe's presumed good judgement, some questions about your own judgement and competence as a historian do arise. Basically, Glantz's book is valid only if Stalin agreed with Mr.Glantz. If Stalin had a different opinion than our esteemed historian, then his "rebuttal" is worthless. It's also worth noticing that, in his introduction, Mr.Glantz states that Suvorov's thesis "open old wounds and inflict unwanted or unwarranted new ones" and even "can undermine peace by igniting older suspicions and hatreds". Isn't that too pollitical a statement for a historian ? Several prominent authors like Malcolm Macintosh, Mark von Hagen and John Erickson have expressed their full support to Mr. Glantz's views and not a single one of them did not point out this fundamental flaw. And, by the way, in his book about Battle of Rjev, Glantz states that Stalin might have attacked in 1942. It is only a passing remark, so I don't know what to make of it, but it's worth noticing.

Let's see Gorodetsky, the other international recognized historian. In his book "The Grand Delusion" he acknowledges Zhukov's preemptive strike plan from 15 May 1941, but he claims that Stalin rejected it because it could have endangered his attempts to find a peaceful solution. The question is : why did Stalin have to reject that plan in the first place ? More precisely, if it endangered Stalin's policy, why Zhukov embarked on such an endeavour ? Did Stalin not know what Zhukov was doing ? Gorodetsky's interpretation is so utterly amateurish that it is almost comical. It is totally illogical that Zhukov had such an initiative without Stalin's backing for a very simple reason : because the plan meant for USSR to enter the war against Germany and that was not Zhukov's call to make. The plan had the most serious foreign policy implications and that was not Zhukov's decisions. For a high military official to draw a plan for a preemptive strike against another major power - particularly when the respective plan went contrary to the official policy, as Gorodetsky implies -, without getting the approval of the political leadership, could be interpreted as defiance against the government. Can you imagine the Joint Chief of Staff proposing on his own a preemptive nuclear strike against USSR during the crisis from 1962 or 1983 ? How could a "internationally recognized historian" make such a childish analysis ? Gorodetsky did not deny the existence of Zhukov's plan, he tried only to dismiss it as described above. What is more logical ? That Zhukov tried to change USSR's policy on his own, proposing an attack on Germany, or that Stalin himself was getting ready for an invasion and ordered his General Staff to work out possible plans for it?

Glantz and Gorodetsky are the pillars of the Suvorov. If their books contain such fundamental flaws, which can call into question the validity of their entire works, flaws totally glossed over by those "reputed historians", then how are the rest ? Sentinel2074 (talk) 17:46, 7 January 2010 (UTC)SentinelSentinel2074 (talk) 17:46, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

I believe in Viktor Suvorov books. In fact his site: [Amz] has coments from persons that read the Suvorov's book and supported that historian.Agre22 (talk) 13:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)agre22

Re: "I believe in Viktor Suvorov books." Pseudoscientists are known to gain much greater support from general public than from real scientists, so this your statement is not something unusual. Similarly, proponents of pseudoscientific theories in physics, chemistry or biology used to claim that "it would be academic suicide for many of scientists" to accept so "revolutionary" theories.
Suvorov is a good writer, his ideas are ton-trivial and, as a result, he attracts an enormous general public's attention, however, he doesn't reveal his sources, and his evidences are purely circumstantial. That is quite sufficient to be rejected by serious scientists.
Re: "Did Stalin not know what Zhukov was doing?" Of course. How the opposite could be possible? That Zhukov would come to Stalin and asked him: "dear Iosif Vissarionovich, yesterday I was pondering about a possibility of a preemptive strike on Germany, I haven't made any calculations or preliminary planning, but do you think we should start thinking more seriously about that". Do you really think it could be possible? You interpretation is so utterly amateurish, however, it is quite acceptable for an amateur historian.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:50, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Re: "For a high military official to draw a plan for a preemptive strike against another major power - particularly when the respective plan went contrary to the official policy, as Gorodetsky implies -, without getting the approval of the political leadership, could be interpreted as defiance against the government." No. Just doing their job well. Good military planners must anticipate all major variants of the event's development. The Soviet military planners' job was to develop the most technically optimal plans for inevitable future war (because no one doubted in inevitability of the war). That is their primary duty, and no explicit instruction was needed from Stalin for doing that. It was simply stupid not to analyze a possibility of a preemptive strike to check if (i) Soviet capabilities were sufficient for that, and (ii) it gave any advantages over other plans. However, the military planners worked on technical side of the problem, leaving political issued completely beyond the scope. Only politicians could make a decision, however to do that politicians needed fully developed and carefully analyzed plans, not just "let's strike Hitler before he attacked us". --Paul Siebert (talk) 20:06, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Mr.Siebert, first I would suggest you restrain from ad hominems and attempts to discredit opinions which you don't like. If you look at the readers reviews for Suvorov's books, you will see that many are competently written, by people who know what are they talking about and know how to argue their case, so to imply that people are supporting them only because the public likes pseudo-scientific theories is totally unfair. Unfortunately, that is something I cannot say about the reader reviews AGAINST Suvorov, which are characterized, at least those I have seen them, by an extremely poor taste, authored by people who look as if they would really like to spit in the face of those who do not share their views. I would recommend as an example the debate between T.Kunikov and Stephen St.Onge at the reviews for Suvorov's new book The Chief Culprit. Contrast the two and draw your conclusion. As far as I'm concerned, the people who support Suvorov are actually the most civilized and coherent group.

I'll give you another example. There is a review at attacking Suvorov in a very nasty manner - and, what is more serious, the people who might share his opinions, which are name-called "stuck" and declared not worthy to discuss with. Regardless of this, I decided to overlook that and adress several flaws I have noticed in that review. Despite that the purpose of the review is to "enlighten" the readers about Suvorov, not only that my concerns have not been adressed, the forum owners employed the services of a forum troll to chase me away through an extremely disingenous tactic of discussing. After several exchanges, I remarked that the respective troll was using a "a very cheap tactic of argumentation which consists in making wild claims and refusing to back them up, put words in others' mouth, change the subject often when you don't like the outcome and casually dismissing anything which does not concur with your views. Such a tactic is utterly maddening for those subjected to it and leads to conflictual situations, because it is extremely hard for someone to keep his temper in such circumstances." The charge was not actually denied by the respective individual, who only commented in reply to this that "I have a very short temper", at which point I gave up. For instance, he stated that "the germans had no problems with the T-34", claim which contradicted everything I knew about the Eastern Front. When I asked him for a reference, he answered "there are plenty of books on tanks ; look them up". Go figure.

You'll have to excuse my little digression, but my point is that maybe you should take it more easy in slighting those who think Stalin prepared an invasion by suggesting that they are just fascinated by conspiracy theories, because questionable individuals are on the other side of the fence.

"Of course. How the opposite could be possible? That Zhukov would come to Stalin and asked him: "dear Iosif Vissarionovich, yesterday I was pondering about a possibility of a preemptive strike on Germany, I haven't made any calculations or preliminary planning, but do you think we should start thinking more seriously about that". Do you really think it could be possible? You interpretation is so utterly amateurish, however, it is quite acceptable for an amateur historian."

Wow. All right. First, let's make some things clear. I am a professional historian, albeit one at the beginning of its career. I graduated my college years as second in my year with a total percent of 97.1%. I graduated my master years with a percent of 99.4%, both at one of the most prestigious universities in my country, Romania. I published book reviews and papers in my specialty (Middle Ages). I am currently writing my PhD thesis. I don't mean to boast, but in my university I was one of the best. Although I am no specialist in the history of the Eastern Front, I consider myself competent enough to analyse historical arguments, methodologically at least. So, please, don't fuck me with comments like "it is quite acceptable for an amateur historian", will you ? Now, let's return to our topic. Yes, you are right. It is silly, as you said. Idiotical, more exactly. But it's not my interpretation. It's the implications of Mr.Gorodetsky's statement. Maybe you did not understand what I said, quoting Gorodetsky. He states that Zhukov draw a plan for a preemptive strike. When he presented the plan to Stalin, the latter rejected it because "it endangered his efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis". These are Gorodetsky's own words ! I would not pass judgement on your logic, but let's discuss this rationally. There are 2 possibilities here : 1.Stalin did not know what Zhukov was doing. 2.Stalin knew what Zhukov was doing. Number 1 falls immediately. As you said, it is ridiculous. Remains version 2. If Stalin knew that Zhukov was designing the plan for a preemptive strike, why did he permit him to go along with it ? To reject the plan when presented for approval ? Gorodetsky stated, plainly, that the plan, in Stalin's opinion, endangered his policies. In that case why was Zhukov permitted to proceed ? Please explain. And, in general, the official line is that USSR tried to avoid war with Germany. Gorodetsky stated that Zhukov's plan endangered this policy. How exactly was that plan supposed to do that ? Assuming the plan was approved, what could/would have happened ? The only interpretation I can draw from the evidence which Gorodetsky himself presents is totally different : that Zhukov designed that plan at Stalin's own request and it was not signed either because Stalin avoided to personally sign compromising documents or he asked for an improved version. Each is equally plausible and far more logical, in my opinion, than Gorodetsky's conclusion.

"No. Just doing their job well. Good military planners must anticipate all major variants of the event's development. The Soviet military planners' job was to develop the most technically optimal plans for inevitable future war (because no one doubted in inevitability of the war). That is their primary duty, and no explicit instruction was needed from Stalin for doing that. It was simply stupid not to analyze a possibility of a preemptive strike to check if (i) Soviet capabilities were sufficient for that, and (ii) it gave any advantages over other plans. However, the military planners worked on technical side of the problem, leaving political issued completely beyond the scope. Only politicians could make a decision, however to do that politicians needed fully developed and carefully analyzed plans, not just let's strike Hitler before he attacked us".

Incorrect. The thing you ignore is the respective plan did not remain in Zhukov's safe at the General Staff. It was presented to Stalin for approval and implementation. If the purpose of the plan was just to "analyze the possibility of a preemptive strike", how could that plan endanger Stalin's efforts to find a peaceful solution, as Gorodetsky states ? Yes, the official line was that Stalin did not want to provoke Hitler, etc. How could a bunch of paper, whose existence was known only by a handful of soviet officers, have endangered Stalin's policy ? How could it be rejected under that pretext, according to Gabriel Gorodetsky, at least ?

Yes, the soviets had plans of agression against NATO during the cold war. I've seen myself some sketches from 1965 and 1979. These were plans only about the "technical" side of the problem, leaving political issues beyond the scope. But those stayed in the safes of the Soviet General Staffs. Zakharov or Kulikov did not run with them to Brejnev for approval. And they did not endangered the policy of detente. They could have not done that, simply because no one knew about them, bar a select few. And they were just some pieces of paper. What was different in Zhukov's plan for Gorodetsky to make such an extraordinary claim ? One of the major beef I have with many of my older colleagues is that a lot of them don't seem to understand the implications of their own words. Gorodetsky is not the only one. I'll provide some other examples :

John Erikson stated once that Hitler was not afraid by a soviet attack, but of the possibility that further concessions by Stalin would deprive him of the pretext for an invasion. John Erikson is one of those reputed historian which you hold in such a high esteem. Yet my reaction when reading this was : seriously, what the fuck, Mr.Erikson ? Hitler was afraid of possible soviet concessions, which, by the way, could have allowed him to end the war against England victorious and would have meant Germany could have started the next war from much more favorable positions ? And since when did Hitler needed a pretext, anyway ?

Or let's look at this. This is taken from wiki himself : "He proclaimed: "A good defense signifies the need to attack. Attack is the best form of defense... We must now conduct a peaceful, defensive policy with attack. Yes, defense with attack. We must now re-teach our army and commanders. Educate them in the spirit of attack"[26]. However, according to Michael Jabara Carley, this speech could be equally interpreted as a deliberate attempt to discourage the Germans from launching the war". So, let me get this straight : in the opinion of Michael Jabara Carley, if you are afraid of an invasion, the best way to discourage your enemy from invading is to tell him that you are going to shift from defense to offense. Just like that. Ok. I'm not a general, but if I'm preparing a war against another country, and its leader declares he is going to conduct "defense with attack", the first thing I would do is to launch the war as fast as possible. It's common sense. Being reputed historians does not stop some people from stating sheer rubbish, from what I see.

PS : You might need to know that a lot of things in history are based purely on circumstantial evidence, including among the traditional version of the history of 1939 - 1941.

And there is a lot more evidence on Suvorov's theory than his opponents want to admit. For instance, there is the infamous speech of Stalin from 19 August 1939. It was published, for instance, in the book of David E.Murphy, "What Stalin knew". Mr.Murphy is a former american intelligence analyst and, corroborating the speech with Dimitrov's journals, he concludes that the speech reflects Stalin's views. There Stalin clearly states that it is in the interest of USSR for a war to break out and the purpose of the war is the sovietization of Germany and France. That's rock solid evidence, straight from Stalin's mouth, and I don't see what someone could want more. Of course, the problem is whether some of these historians do not believe Suvorov, Melthiukov, Hoffmann, Bobylev, Danilov, Pleshakov etc are right or they don't want to ?

By the way, can someone explain to me why some of my statements are surrounded by borders ? I'm confused. Sentinel2074 (talk) 07:38, 10 January 2010 (UTC)SentinelSentinel2074 (talk) 07:38, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Dear Sentinel2074,
Firstly, please, sing your posts.
Secondly, please, do not wedge your text into my posts (otherwise it is not clear who wrote what).
Thirdly, please, take into account that, although you may be a good historian in your real life, after your logged in WP under your nickname you, as well all other WP users, have to be considered an amateur historian, who cannot edit WP based on your own ideas and conclusions. Therefore, by calling you an amateur historian I din't try to insult you, I just reminded you WP rules.
Fourthly, we, amateur historians, can edit WP only based on reliable sources. According to WP policy, "academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available". Therefore, based not this formal criterion, Suvorov's opponents are highly reliable sources. In addition, most reviews on Suvorov's books (published by reliable sources) are negative, therefore Suvorov's books cannot be considered as reliable sources. I will gladly continue this discussion on your talk page, however, taking into account that Suvorov's book do not fit the formal criteria applied to reliable sources, I see no reason to continue this discussion on this talk page.
Best regards,
--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:38, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Dear Mr.Siebert,
Your point is moot because I did not edited WP based on my ideas and conclusions. I only inserted a long comment in reply to an assertion of yours in the "discussion section", comment concerned with the works of two authors you have refered to, Glantz and Gorodetsky. I would think that a discussion on the merits/flaws of the books of these authors should be considered. You have passed a lot of judgements regarding the worth of different historians, yet they exclusively refered to their positions in the establishment's hierarchy, so maybe a look at the books themselves should be considered. If an opinion is espoused by an established historian, that does not mean it has to be accepted uncritically. For hundreds of years the scientific establishment believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth. That did not make it true.
As a side note, dismissing Suvorov's works because they are based on "circumstantial evidence" displays scientific disingenuity and nothing less. There are a lot of historical works relying only on circumstantial evidence. David Glantz's "Stumbling colossus is based only on circumstantial evidence and, funny enough, even more "stretched" than that offered by Suvorov. The whole argument of David Glantz revolves around the fact that the Red Army was not prepared for war, thus it could not attack. How does Wikipedia define circumstantial evidence : "Circumstantial evidence indirectly proves a fact. It is evidence that requires or allows a trier of fact to make a deduction to conclude that a fact exists. This inference made from a trier of facts supports the truth of assertion." In his book, David Glantz argues that Red Army was in a bad shape and, from this, he infers that no soviet attack was about to take place. That is circumstantial evidence and I have not heard anyone making a fuss about it. Looks like double standard to me. In fact, the whole case against Suvorov and the theory of a Soviet invasion is based on circumstantial evidence, because you cannot prove a negative with direct evidence.
Also, most reviews you cite are from the 90s, soon after Icebreaker was published. Since then, more evidence was uncovered. One was the full text of the 19 August 1939 speech, which I mentioned above. Another is the 15 May 1941 preemptive strike plan. Also the full text of Stalin's speech from 5 May 1941. That besides the strange deployment of the Soviet Army pointed for the first time by general Piotr Grigorenko in the early 70s. These texts I refered to allude clearly to Soviet agressive intentions towards Germany and Europe. The opponents of this possibility tried to discredit them. But evidence more direct than this we are not going to find, ever, unless Molotov would have come out in the 80s and said "Yes, we did plan to attack".
Yes, there is a large numbers of historians who oppose this possibility but, to be blunt, it looks as if their position is not determined by scientific reasons, but rather by "politically correct" reasons. To put it simply, acceptance of Suvorov's theories would seriously discredit the Nurnberg trials, for instance. The nazies were tried under four charges : conspiracy, crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity. While 3 and 4 would not be affected, but the first and the second would, becaude it would mean that their accomplices in conspiracy and crimes against peace (Rudenko and those above him) sat in the court as judges. In a review of a book by Wolfgang Strauss I have read some time ago, some german political personalities remarked to Mr.Strauss that, even if Suvorov was right, his theory would still not be accepted because it would partially exonerate Hitler. Why it would exonerate him I don't understand, because Hitler has such a weighted record that nothing is going to whitewash him, but apparently some people think so. Besides, the official soviet theory was also accepted by the american and british government after the war, in order to justify their mollycoddling of Soviet Union. Churchill himself reiterated the soviet theory in 1948 and the reason is not hard to guess : because, in the short term, WW2 was an utter failure for the western powers. Hitler was destroyed, but instead US and UK had to face an extremely menacing Soviet Union, which was considered by some even more dangerous than the Third Reich in his day (not my words : this was the opinion stated by the american magazine Time in 1948, after the czechoslovak coup). England and France entered the war to prevent Hitler's expansion in Eastern Europe, yet the same Eastern Europe ended under the soviet thumb. As such, the soviet version was accepted because it provided an easy way to save face. Third, Suvorov's thesis was embraced by groups of nazi apologists and, obviously, no well-reputed historian would like to be seen in such company. When someone like Ingrid Rimland supports you, you are bound to feel quite uncomfortable. In such circumstances, there is no wonder why many historians are extremely reluctant to honestly consider this issue.
I wonder though why did you focused on Suvorov in your reply, claiming he received mostly negative reviews etc, were my first points were not about Suvorov at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sentinel2074 (talkcontribs) 15:10, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Re: "Your point is moot because I did not edited WP based on my ideas and conclusions" My point was, probably, not clearly stated, but it is not moot. The only aim of the talk page discussion is an article's improvement (because this page is not a general forum), therefore, all arguments presented here should be seen in a context of potential article's change. All article's changes must be based on reliable sources. Therefore, any discussion based mostly on an editor's considerations (not on reliable sources) is irrelevant to this talk page.
Re: "I wonder though why did you focused on Suvorov in your reply" Because your post was so terribly formatted (and wordy) that it was hard to understand what did you write.
With regards to the major point of your post (as I see it), I am not sure we have a sufficient ground to discriminate between planned Soviet aggression, Soviet pre-emptive strike or Soviet strategic counter-offensive. The fact that pre-war Soviet doctrine utilised (at least, according to Soviet propaganda) the idea of a powerful counter-attack is well known. The "maloy krov'iu, na chuzhoy territorii" motto was reproduced in Konstantin Simonov's books (and, therefore, may be considered an official position), and it is not a Suvorov's findnding. He, as well as other revisionist historians provided no facts (I mean facts, not considerations) that do not fit the traditional point of view. Therefore, pursuant to the Occam's razor rule, we do not have to pay much attention to them.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:51, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, I am sorry about the format, in the beginning I was not very familiar with wikipedia's style. Second, what those "facts" are supposed to be? This is a common theme in these debate, that the revisionists did not provide "facts". I already offered you several examples, which are widely confirmed. If those are not enough, then I'm curious what would be ?
Second, as to your comment, I don't see things that way. Generally you are correct, but when the topic is controversial and the validity of the traditional version is challenged, then the perceived flaws and merits of the different arguments have to be adressed, else wikipedia will turn into a simple propagator of just one version. While they cannot be adressed in the article, they can be in the discussion board, as to provide the readers with a critical view on the issue. The reverence with which you treat establish authors should not be absolute, because being a well-reputed historian does not prevent you from producing a brainfart from time to time. See Hugh Trevor-Roper and Hitler's so called hournal as an example. Moreso, my reply came in reaction to the comment that "Stumbling Colossus" demolished Icebreaker (the same about Gorodetsky), which is not actually the case. Surely, you do not expect for someone to make a claim which can be regarded as erroneous and other people not to question it. Finally, the idea that the talk page should be only about improving the article is not that strictly enforced, as articles often require discussions on the subject.
In our case, for instance, it would be unwise to mention Stumbling Colossus as a strong rebuttal to Icebreaker and not pointing out the the former's value as a rebuttal is debatable. In the end, how many people have read the Stumbling Colossus themselves ? Few.
In regards to discriminating between soviet strategic counter-offensive and planned agression/preemptive strike, WW2 provides a perfect example of how an army should act if it intends to wait for the enemy attack and then launch a counter-offensive : Kursk. That is a textbook case. Nothing of the sort happened in the first half of 1941. And, between you and me, I think this exchange is related to the improvement of article, albeit not directly, because it adresses the reliability of different sources and not just in terms of reputation.
Anyway, it's time to stop, but I would still like to know what kind of facts do you expect ?Sentinel2074 (talk) 16:47, 10 January 2010 (UTC)SentinelSentinel2074 (talk) 16:47, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Kursk is definitely a textbook case. However, it became possible because the Red Army learned a lot from devastating defeats in 1941-42. In June 1941 the Red Army was simply unable to mount anything of that kind.
Re: "being a well-reputed historian does not prevent you from producing a brainfart from time to time" Agree. However, to accuse a well-reputed historian in producing a brainfart we must rely on some other reputable historian's opinion. Did you read serious critique of Glantz, Uldrich, Bellamy or Gorodetsky's book by reputable historians?--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:08, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes. In Albert Weeks' book "Stalin's other war" published in 2003. I mention this one because I own it personally and I can easily give references. Allow me to quote what he says about Gorodetsky's interpretation. The whole text is too big to be quoted in full, but here are some relevant extracts : "Gorodetsky hobbles his defensist argument in two ways. By ignoring Stalin's 5 May speech and remarks, he not only overlooks the dictator's well known involvement in military affairs - which, in any case, other authors, including military officers in their memoirs, have noted in contrast to Gorodetsky's assertion to the opposite. He thereby neglects to refer to Stalin's insistence on Red Army offensive war or to such references by high Stalin aides, either military men or civilians. Too, his reference to a combination of defense and offense in traditional soviet military doctrine is puzzling. As noted in the introduction, even a high ranking contemporary official such as former president Yeltsin's military adviser and former russian first deputy minister of defense Andrei Kokoshin describes soviet military thought from 1917 to 1991 as follows : <<The offensive character of military strategy was quite obvious. As the 1939 the Red Army Field Manual states that the Red Army will be the most offensist of all armies that have been offensively orientated. We will wage an offensive war, carrying the conflict into the territory of the enemy.>> Kokoshin further complains in his 1995 book that the traditional emphasis put on Red Army offensism led to neglect in defensive military strategy, which showed up so critically, he says, in the debacle of June 22 and thereafter". Another example, a bit further : "There is no solid support for Gorodetsky's assumption. Indeed, some of the documents of late May 1941 that are reproduced in the Yakovlev compilation, The Year 1941, do implicitly reflect a defensist disposition, including those of 17 May and May 2, the latter of which even mentions withdrawal. But these documents consist of directives issued by Timoshenko and Zhukov to various commands along the Western Front to adopt the usual defensive measures during the process of deploying and concentrating troops prior to any attack they might make". Or : "At same time, Gorodetsky ignores documents, which perhaps were not in his posession - for example Shcerbakov's directive regarding Red Army indoctrination. [...] Shcerbakov concludes : <<Thus, Leninism teaches that the country of socialism, exploiting a favorable international situation, must and cannot avoid seizing the initiative in launching offensive actions against the capitalism encirclement with the aim of extending the front of socialism.>>" These quotes are from pages 104 - 107 in that book. It's also worth noticing that Richard Raack said about this book that "This is a must for scholars and history buffs, and, especially for skeptics who still doubt Stalin's aggressive designs". The quote from Raack which claimed that Suvorov's theory was largely condemned was more than 10 years old and Raack was refering mainly to the first reactions in the mid 90s, in the first years after the icebreaker. Over the last years, the traditional thesis seems to be losing ground, due to a series of books and articles like the one above or Meltyukov's "Stalin's Missed Chance".
In regard to Glantz, I have not read it personally, because I don't speak russian, but Meltiukov's book which I mentioned was highly rated and all references indicate that it serious rebutted "Stumbling Colossus".
In regard to the Kursk point, The issue is not whether the Red Army was able or not to pull out a "Kursk" in 1941. The issue is that it did not even try. Pay attention to Kokoshin's remark, quoted above, which clearly indicate that the reason for the disaster was not some huge weakness of the Red Army, but its obsession (and Stalin's) with offensive, which led "to a neglect of defensive strategy". Your comment that "the Red Army was not able to mount anything of that kind" is fallacious. Regardless of whether it would have been succesful or not, this is how the Red Army should have acted if the purpose was to repel a german strike. But no attempt was made.
By the way, The reason why I asked what kind of factual evidence to you expect, is because to me this attitude looks a bit like denial. In my opinion, the evidence found until now is as solid as anyone could hope to be for demonstrating an intention which, due to extrinsec reasons, did not have the chance to materialize.
Also, I have to specify some things. My intention when I started this discussion was not to suggest a modification to the article, but to make some clarifications regarding the statements about Glantz and Gorodetsky. Wikipedia is basically an encyclopedia and, in my opinion as a historian, in the absence of an absolute consensus, encyclopedias should stay away from issues regarding causality of events, because these represent the historical field which is the most subjected to changes and alteration. I think it's just not the purpose of encyclopedias to determine such things or to take clear positions on such issues.Sentinel2074 (talk) 16:14, 11 January 2010 (UTC)SentinelSentinel2074 (talk) 16:14, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
    • ^ Higgins, Trumbull (1966). Hitler and Russia. The Macmillan Company. pp. p. 151. 
    • ^ Teddy J. Uldricks. The Icebreaker Controversy: Did Stalin Plan to Attack Hitler? Slavic Review, Vol. 58, No. 3 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 626-643
    • ^ R. C. Raack Reviewed work(s):Was the USSR Planning to Attack Germany in 1941? by Joseph Bradley Source: Central European History, Vol. 32, No. 4 (1999), pp. 491-493)