June 22, 1941 – mournful date in Russian history. The begin of the WWII on the soil of USSR, the begin of the end of Hitlers Nazi regime.

June 22, 2013   ·   0 Comments

Photo: RIA Novosti

Victory Song, 2010, Moscow

June 22, 1941 is a mournful date in the history of Russia, as well as the post-Soviet states of Ukraine and Belarus. On this day Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. And the Great Patriotic War began.


The Wehrmacht generals hoped for a blitzkrieg and reach the borders of Moscow in a few months after their victorious offensive was launched. Historians often ask whether the Soviet Union was ready for a war against Germany. Undoubtedly, the Soviet Union seriously prepared for it. However, Stalin feared that if the Soviet Union concentrated its forces along its border, this would provoke Germany, says fellow at the Institute of World History Natalya Lebedeva.

“There was no necessity for provoking Germany, as it launched the offensive itself. The fear was a completely unjustified one. Stalin tried to blandish Hitler and hoped that his action would avert Germany’s offensive. The Soviet Union could not deploy its forces along the border in time, and as a result the enemy could reach the outskirts of Moscow, Lebedeva said.

There are a lot of contradictions in reports linked to covering the developments linked to the beginning of the war and pre-war period. One of the key questions was the speculation that the Soviet Union allegedly was Nazi Germany’s ally. Reportedly, in August 1939, a Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the USSR was signed. Here is an opinion from historian, head of the Historical Memory Fund’s research program Vladimir Simindei.

“There are no documents to prove that the USSR and Germany were allies. The existing documents regulate other spheres and are linked to issues of non-aggression, borders and trade. From the standpoint of documents that were signed, the USSR and Germany were not in a state of alliance. The rest is speculation by political writers who wished to distort history post factum to show Moscow as a capital that, besides Berlin, made the decision to unleash the Second World War,” Vladimir Simindei said.

The attack on the Soviet Union was a treacherous one, but could it be regarded as an unexpected one? In fact, military surveillance provided evidence that Germany was preparing for launching an attack on the Soviet Union. Since the entire system of agreements was violated, it will be correct to use the word “treacherous”, although there was no unquestioning trust between Moscow and Berlin, Vladimir Simindei said.

“Despite the fact that there were reports about the concentration of forces along the border, the Kremlin believed that the attack scheduled to be on June 22, would not occur. Perhaps, this was linked to strategic disinformation,” Simindei said.

At present, a wave of falsification is spreading in the West, and it is aimed at putting the whole blame on Stalin for the Second World War because he allegedly planned an attack on Germany but Hitler surpassed him. Here is an opinion from Vladimir Simindei.

“Stalin should bear responsibility for the country’s unpreparedness to repulse the aggression fast. I believe that he was aware of this. Speculations that he unleashed war are an outright lie. Stalin had always tried to back down and postpone any action that could provoke the war,” Simindei added.

The beginning of the war, its first days and weeks, were the most difficult and tragic times. However, the German High Command had overestimated its plans. As German forces entered Soviet territory, the Soviet Army put up a tough resistance. The Soviet-German front was the decisive front in the Second World War. The major battles that decided the fate of not only the country but also the entire world were fought in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Army displayed courage and heroism and could foil Hitler’s plan to advance on the East. In fact, in the autumn 1941, Berlin hoped to start occupying Iran, Iraq, Egypt, the Suez Canal region and then India. But Germany could not realize these plans.

Oleg Nekhai
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