We have detected that you are using an older version of Internet Explorer and to have access to all the features on this site, you will need to update your browser to Internet Explorer 8. Alternatively, download Mozilla Firefox or Chrome.

Stalin ignores warnings of invasion

MARTINA CARR: Prior to the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Stalin received many warnings about Hitler’s possible attack on his country. To what extent do you think he ignored these warnings?

KIRILL ANDERSON: I think the issue is much more complicated. The fact that Germany was preparing for the war with the Soviet Union was known and the Soviets were getting ready for it. The question was – when would it happen? I think here Stalin had certain doubts. The thing is that just before June 1941 Stalin had received many warnings but they all had different days for the actual attack. And sometimes his intelligence and counterintelligence agencies were giving him contradictory information. There were documents from the Soviet military intelligence saying that some of those warnings were actually nothing more than provocation coming from the British secret service in order to pull the Soviet Union into war with the Germans. Stalin had warnings that were telling him that the attack would take place in June, and next to it he had reports claiming that these were just a provocation of the British secret service. That’s why it was so difficult for him to come to a final conclusion. And as I said – it was made even more difficult by the fact that some of his own intelligence agencies were coming to different conclusions about these reports also. And Stalin himself was hoping that they would have more time before the attack, so he himself gave preference to those that were predicting a later start of the war. I remember that a week before the war he got a report from one of his intelligence people that the war would start 21-22 of June. And Stalin wrote a comment on it saying this agent is a disinformer and used rude words to send this disinformer for execution…. And this happened exactly a week before the war.  You see whether he believed the war would start later, or whether he just hoped that it will start later – it’s difficult to say. What we know is that he did receive very contradictory information.