Operation Barbarossa (OB) was the Nazi invasion of the USSR. OB revisionism takes many forms, the most outrageous of which is the Nazi line that OB was a pre-emptive strike because the USSR was getting ready to attack all of Europe! The Nazis were trying to save the world from Communism!
This is clearly completely insane, but German nationalists, pro-Nazis, Nazis, Holocaust Deniers, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites (in practical terms, the same thing!) love to rant on about it. I don’t know one political scientist who takes it seriously.
Much other OB revisionism has come out of the West, generally from the CIA and MI5 and allied intelligence services during the anti-Communist Cold War. That the USSR caused 89% of the German casualties in WW2 and in so doing obviously won the war for the West has been thoroughly elided from history. That the USSR suffered unGodly casualties of 27 million in doing so is actually used to slam Stalin as a lousy general.
Some pigs actually tally up the 27 million as more of countless murders committed by Stalin. The gall! This sort of BS is common on the Far Right in the West. A few of these folks even have university degrees, but that doesn’t mean anyone takes them seriously.
Milder forms are taken by the Time Magazine crowd, still Cold Warriors and cheerleaders for US imperialism. This holds that Stalin was a crappy general and military who nearly lost the war due to his ineptness, and that he obtusely and idiotically refused to listen to his own intelligence reports warning of an upcoming OB. This nearly cost him Moscow – yes, the Nazis almost overran the capital of the USSR early on.
The truth as usual is much more complicated.
There were 80 reports of imminent invasion of the USSR by Germany over 8 months – one every three days.
Many of these reports were being fed to the USSR from US and British intelligence (!), who, believe it or not, were eager to see the USSR and the Nazis go at it for a variety of reasons. In part they hoped that the Nazis would kick the USSR’s butt and destroy it, but they also hoped that the Nazis would be weakened in the process. Both the USSR and Germany were seen as enemies of the US and the UK, and the West wanted to see the two destroy each other.
Stalin did consider that the invasion was happening when it did, and Molotov, the foreign minister, took appropriate action right away. It is very important to note the reasons for Stalin’s caution – Stalin did not want to start the war for no reason, and it had almost started many times in the immediate past.
Tragic and horrible as it is, the Holodomor due to Ukrainian and Soviet mass collectivization and the purges of 1937-38 helped the USSR win the war. Never had any society in the history of mankind accomplished so much in so little time as the USSR did in the 1930′s. So much for “Communism doesn’t work.”
From a backwards peasant nation, the USSR was built up into a major world-class industrial power. A piss-poor military was built into one of the most powerful armies on Earth. This could not have happened without the mass collectivization of the early 1930′s, which enabled the countryside to produce enough food to feed the rapidly growing urban working class needed for mass industrialization.
The purges, horrible as they were (1 million were killed, not 10 million or 30 million or however many) were also effective. By the time of the invasion, there were almost no high-level traitors left in the USSR, and there had been quite a few in 1936.
In the 1930′s, there was a huge conspiracy in the upper echelons of the USSR involving Trotskyites. The Trots knew even back then that Hitler was dead set on conquering the USSR and the Trots had made a deal with the Germans to conduct a coup during the invasion to unseat the Stalinists and hand the country over to the Germans. In return, the Trotskyites would get to rule the rump Soviet puppet state and would hand over the Ukraine, White Russia and Western Russia to the Germans.
What a bunch of traitors! People wonder why some of us hate Trotskyites so much. The Trots were so nuts that they were ready to hand over the USSR to the Nazis due to their psychotic hatred of Stalin. During WW2, Trotsky argued that Communists should be “neutral” during the war. He said that the Western capitalists were just as bad as the Nazis. That was before his most excellent murder. Speaking of which, never was an icepick put to better use!
As part of the milder OB revisionism, we have the line that “Stalin was unprepared for OB.” Hell. Stalin used the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to relocate its entire industrial base east of the Urals, and once they did that, they had a 4X advantage over Germany in tank production.
Another line is that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was an alliance between allies. My Mom was a girl at the time and she remembers her reactionary father laughing about that. He said Stalin and Hitler hated each other’s guts, and the “alliance” meant nothing. Stalin was terrified of Hitler and was trying to cut a peace deal with him any way he could. Many Western states also desperately tried to cut deals with the Nazis, but most of them got overrun anyway. You don’t hear anyone calling them Nazis.
Stalin also used to the time he bought with the pact to prepare for the invasion that he knew was coming sooner or later. No mainstream political scientist agrees that the pact was anything more than a temporary buying of time between deadly enemies.
Another part of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Revisionism is the new rightwing line that “Communism and Nazism were/are the same thing.” This line just recently came out since the Reagan Era. Before that, it was sidelined and only used by the craziest of fanatics. The fact that this is par for the course with the modern US Right shows just how fanatical they have become.
Once again, modern political science does not agree that Communism and Nazism are the same. They are actually different in many ways. One of them was anti-Semitism. If Stalin was really a Nazi, why not just kill all the Russian Jews, starting with his Jewish wife? Yitzhak Shamir put it best when he said that the USSR was “the most anti-anti-Semitic country that ever existed.” Stalin made anti-Semitism a capital offense in 1927. He did this why? Because he was a Nazi!? The differences go on and on, but we can just start from there.
On the front, the war was brutal. Many Nazi POW’s taken prisoner by the Red Army were simply killed.
13,500 Soviet citizens were executed for treason during siege of Stalingrad, mostly for fighting with the Nazis. 50,000 Soviets fought alongside the Nazis in the Battle of Stalingrad.
1 million Italians, Finns and Romanians joined the 3 million Nazis on OB. Even more Soviets fought alongside the Nazis.
Despite the high levels of treason, at the top levels, things were pretty secure. The horrors of the purges insured that all or nearly all of the top-level traitors and Nazi supporters in the USSR were either dead or in prison when OB finally came. Those that remained were loyal even to a fault. Even US diplomats acknowledged this.
Good overview here.