top of page

Mindset Mastery

Public·11 members
David Torres
David Torres

Stalin's War: How the Soviet Leader Orchestrated and Won the Second World War | Book Report | The New York Times


Ernst Topitsch's Stalin's War: A Radical New Theory of the Origins of the Second World War




World War II was one of the most devastating and influential events in human history. It involved millions of people, spanned continents and oceans, and shaped the political and economic landscape of the world for decades. But what were the causes of this global conflict? Who was responsible for starting it and how did it unfold? These are some of the questions that historians have been trying to answer for years, but there is no consensus or agreement among them. Some blame Hitler and his Nazi ideology, some blame the failure of democracy and appeasement, some blame imperialism and nationalism, some blame economic crises and social unrest, and some blame a combination of these factors.




Ernst Topitsch Stalins War Pdf 69



However, there is one historian who offers a radical new theory that challenges all these conventional views. His name is Ernst Topitsch, and he is an Austrian philosopher and sociologist who wrote a book titled Stalin's War: A Radical New Theory of the Origins of the Second World War. In this book, he argues that Stalin was the main instigator and planner of WWII, and that he used it as a means to achieve his ultimate goal: world revolution. According to Topitsch, Stalin was not a defensive or reactive leader who was forced into war by Hitler's aggression, but a proactive and aggressive leader who manipulated Hitler and other actors to start a war that would weaken them and allow him to expand his power and influence over Europe and Asia. Topitsch supports his thesis with a wealth of evidence from various sources, including Soviet archives, diplomatic documents, memoirs, testimonies, and intelligence reports.


In this article, we will examine Topitsch's thesis in more detail and explore its implications for our understanding of WWII and its consequences. We will first look at Stalin's plan for world revolution and how he applied it to Soviet foreign policy. Then we will look at Stalin's role in the outbreak of WWII and how he provoked Hitler into attacking Poland and France. Next we will look at Stalin's role in the course of WWII and how he mobilized his resources and allies for a counteroffensive. Finally, we will look at the implications of Topitsch's thesis and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.


Stalin's Plan for World Revolution




Stalin was a devout follower of Marxism-Leninism, the ideology that guided the Soviet Union and its communist movement. He believed that history was driven by the class struggle between the proletariat (the workers) and the bourgeoisie (the capitalists), and that the ultimate goal of history was the establishment of a communist society where there would be no classes, no exploitation, no oppression, and no state. He also believed that this goal could only be achieved through a violent and global revolution that would overthrow the existing order and create a dictatorship of the proletariat that would lead to socialism and communism.


However, Stalin also realized that the conditions for world revolution were not favorable in the 1920s and 1930s. The Soviet Union was isolated, surrounded by hostile and powerful enemies, and facing internal problems such as famine, industrialization, collectivization, and purges. The communist movement was weak, divided, and persecuted in most countries. The working class was not ready or willing to rise up against the capitalist system. The bourgeoisie was still dominant and influential in politics, economy, culture, and ideology. Therefore, Stalin devised a plan to change these conditions and create a situation that would favor world revolution.


Stalin's plan had two main components: a strategic goal and a strategic method. The strategic goal was to weaken and destroy the capitalist system and its main representatives: the Western democracies (especially Britain and France) and Nazi Germany. The strategic method was to use a combination of diplomacy, espionage, propaganda, and subversion to create conflicts, crises, and wars among these powers that would exhaust them and make them vulnerable to Soviet intervention and domination. Stalin also used the Comintern (the Communist International), an organization that controlled and directed the communist parties around the world, as a tool to implement his plan.


Stalin's Role in the Outbreak of WWII




One of the key events that enabled Stalin to execute his plan was the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s. Fascism was a political ideology that opposed democracy, communism, liberalism, pacifism, individualism, and humanism. It advocated nationalism, militarism, authoritarianism, corporatism, and totalitarianism. It also promoted racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, and imperialism. The most prominent fascist leaders were Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, and Tojo in Japan.


Stalin saw fascism as both a threat and an opportunity for his plan. On one hand, fascism posed a threat to the Soviet Union and its communist allies because it was hostile to communism and aimed to expand its territory and influence at their expense. On the other hand, fascism posed an opportunity for his plan because it created tensions and conflicts with the Western democracies that could be exploited to weaken them both.


Stalin's strategy was to play both sides against each other while maintaining a neutral or friendly posture towards them. He used diplomacy to establish relations with both fascist and democratic powers, but he also used espionage to infiltrate their governments, military, industry, media, and society. He used propaganda to spread false or misleading information about his intentions, policies, actions, and enemies. He used subversion to support or undermine political movements, parties, leaders, or groups that were favorable or unfavorable to his interests.


The most significant example of Stalin's strategy was the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. This was a non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union that also included secret protocols that divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. The pact shocked and betrayed many people who expected the Soviet Union to oppose Nazi Germany as a defender of communism and democracy. However, Stalin had several reasons for signing this pact.


First, he wanted to avoid a direct war with Germany until he was ready for it. He knew that Hitler had plans to invade the Soviet Union eventually, but he also knew that his own army was not prepared for such a war after the purges of his officers in the late 1930s. He needed more time to build up his military strength and resources.


Second, he wanted to gain territory and influence in Eastern Europe without fighting for it. He saw this as a way to expand his buffer zone against Germany and other potential enemies. He also saw this as a way to spread communism and revolution in these countries.


Stalin's Role in the Course of WWII




Stalin's role in the course of WWII was decisive and controversial. He faced many challenges and difficulties, but he also achieved many victories and gains. He was both a ruthless dictator and a skillful strategist, both a loyal ally and a cunning rival, both a brutal oppressor and a popular leader.


One of the biggest challenges that Stalin faced was Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. This was a surprise attack that violated the Nazi-Soviet Pact and caught Stalin off guard. The German army advanced rapidly into Soviet territory, capturing millions of prisoners and destroying thousands of tanks, planes, and factories. The Soviet army was unprepared, poorly equipped, and poorly led. Stalin initially panicked and made some serious mistakes, such as ordering his troops to stand their ground or counterattack without adequate support. He also refused to evacuate Moscow, which was threatened by the German siege.


However, Stalin soon recovered from his shock and began to organize a massive resistance against the invaders. He appealed to the patriotism and heroism of the Soviet people, who rallied behind him despite his previous crimes and repression. He mobilized all the resources and manpower of the Soviet state for a total war effort. He reformed his military command and appointed competent generals such as Georgy Zhukov, Konstantin Rokossovsky, and Ivan Konev. He also received vital aid from his Western allies, especially Britain and the United States, who supplied him with weapons, equipment, food, and fuel through the Lend-Lease program.


Stalin's resistance paid off in the winter of 1941-42, when he launched a counteroffensive that drove the Germans away from Moscow and inflicted heavy losses on them. This was the first major defeat for Hitler in WWII and a turning point in the war. Stalin continued to push back the Germans in subsequent battles, such as Stalingrad (1942-43), Kursk (1943), D-Day (1944), and Berlin (1945). He also opened new fronts in Eastern Europe and Asia by invading Finland (1944), Romania (1944), Bulgaria (1944), Hungary (1944-45), Poland (1944-45), Germany (1945), Czechoslovakia (1945), Austria (1945), Japan (1945), and Korea (1945). By the end of the war, Stalin had liberated most of the Soviet territory and occupied much of Eastern Europe and parts of Asia.


Stalin's role in WWII was not only military but also political and diplomatic. He participated in several high-level meetings with his Western allies, such as Churchill and Roosevelt (later Truman), to discuss the war strategy and the postwar settlement. These meetings were held in Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945), and Potsdam (1945). Stalin used these meetings to secure his interests and influence in Europe and Asia. He demanded recognition of his territorial gains and spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. He also sought reparations from Germany and Japan. He agreed to join the United Nations as a permanent member of the Security Council. He also promised to enter the war against Japan after Germany's defeat.


However, Stalin's role in WWII also created tensions and conflicts with his Western allies. He often violated or ignored his agreements with them on various issues, such as free elections, human rights, democracy, cooperation, and disarmament. He imposed communist regimes on Eastern European countries that were loyal or friendly to him. He also supported communist movements in other countries that were hostile or unfriendly to him. He developed nuclear weapons as a deterrent against possible Western aggression. He also engaged in propaganda and espionage against his former allies. These actions led to the emergence of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West after WWII.


The Implications of Topitsch's Thesis




Topitsch's thesis is a radical new theory that challenges the conventional views on the causes of WWII. It offers a different perspective on Stalin's role in WWII that portrays him as the main instigator and planner of the war rather than as a victim or a hero. It also implies that WWII was not a war against fascism or for democracy but a war for communism or for world revolution.


Topitsch's thesis has several implications for our understanding of WWII and its consequences. Some of these implications are:



  • It questions the moral legitimacy and justification of the Soviet Union and its allies in WWII. It suggests that they were not fighting for a noble or righteous cause but for a sinister or selfish one. It also suggests that they were not liberating or saving the people of Europe and Asia but enslaving or exploiting them.



  • It challenges the historical accuracy and reliability of the Soviet and Western sources and accounts of WWII. It suggests that they were biased, distorted, or falsified to conceal or justify Stalin's role in WWII. It also suggests that they were influenced by propaganda, ideology, or politics rather than by facts, evidence, or logic.



  • It affects the historical evaluation and reputation of Stalin and his contemporaries in WWII. It suggests that Stalin was not a great leader or a genius but a cunning tyrant or a madman. It also suggests that his contemporaries were not his friends or partners but his pawns or enemies.



  • It influences the historical interpretation and explanation of the events and outcomes of WWII. It suggests that they were not determined by natural or random factors but by human or intentional ones. It also suggests that they were not inevitable or predictable but contingent or surprising.



  • It impacts the historical significance and relevance of WWII for the present and the future. It suggests that WWII was not a watershed or a turning point but a continuation or a repetition of history. It also suggests that WWII was not a lesson or a warning but a precedent or a threat for the current and future generations.



Topitsch's thesis is not without its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the strengths are:



  • It is based on a wealth of evidence from various sources, including Soviet archives, diplomatic documents, memoirs, testimonies, and intelligence reports. It also uses logical and analytical methods to support its argument and evidence.



  • It is original and innovative in its approach and perspective. It offers a new and alternative way of looking at WWII that differs from the mainstream and dominant views. It also challenges and provokes the readers to rethink their assumptions and beliefs about WWII.



  • It is relevant and timely in its topic and message. It addresses an important and controversial issue that still affects the world today. It also raises awareness and interest among the public and the scholars about WWII.



Some of the weaknesses are:



  • It is biased and one-sided in its tone and purpose. It tends to portray Stalin as the sole or primary cause of WWII while ignoring or downplaying other factors or actors. It also tends to criticize or condemn Stalin while praising or exonerating his opponents.



  • It is speculative and questionable in its claims and conclusions. It relies on circumstantial or indirect evidence rather than on direct or conclusive evidence. It also makes assumptions or inferences that are not supported by facts or logic.



  • It is controversial and divisive in its implications and effects. It provokes strong reactions and debates among the readers and the scholars who may agree or disagree with it. It also creates conflicts and tensions among different groups or countries who may have different views or interests on WWII.



Conclusion




In conclusion, Topitsch's thesis is a radical new theory that challenges the conventional views on the causes of WWII. He argues that Stalin was the main instigator and planner of WWII, and that he used it as a means to achieve his ultimate goal: world revolution. He supports his thesis with a wealth of evidence from various sources, including Soviet archives, diplomatic documents, memoirs, testimonies, and intelligence reports.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Topitsch's thesis is a radical new theory that challenges the conventional views on the causes of WWII. He argues that Stalin was the main instigator and planner of WWII, and that he used it as a means to achieve his ultimate goal: world revolution. He supports his thesis with a wealth of evidence from various sources, including Soviet archives, diplomatic documents, memoirs, testimonies, and intelligence reports.


Topitsch's thesis has several implications for our understanding of WWII and its consequences. It questions the moral legitimacy and justification of the Soviet Union and its allies in WWII. It challenges the historical accuracy and reliability of the Soviet and Western sources and accounts of WWII. It affects the historical evaluation and reputation of Stalin and his contemporaries in WWII. It influences the historical interpretation and explanation of the events and outcomes of WWII. It impacts the historical significance and relevance of WWII for the present and the future.


Topitsch's thesis is not without its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the strengths are: it is based on a wealth of evidence from various sources; it is original and innovative in its approach and perspective; it is relevant and timely in its topic and message. Some of the weaknesses are: it is biased and one-sided in its tone and purpose; it is speculative and questionable in its claims and conclusions; it is controversial and divisive in its implications and effects.


Topitsch's thesis is a valuable contribution to historical scholarship that deserves attention and discussion. It offers a new and alternative way of looking at WWII that differs from the mainstream and dominant views. It also challenges and provokes the readers to rethink their assumptions and beliefs about WWII. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Topitsch's thesis, one cannot ignore or dismiss it.


FAQs




Here are some questions and answers related to the topic:



Who was Ernst Topitsch?


  • Ernst Topitsch was an Austrian philosopher and sociologist who wrote a book titled Stalin's War: A Radical New Theory of the Origins of the Second World War. He was born in 1919 in Vienna and died in 2003 in Graz. He studied at the University of Vienna under Victor Kraft, a member of the Vienna Circle. He taught at the University of Vienna, Harvard University, University of Heidelberg, and University of Graz.



What is Topitsch's main argument?


  • Topitsch's main argument is that Stalin was the main instigator and planner of WWII, and that he used it as a means to achieve his ultimate goal: world revolution. He claims that Stalin devised a plan to weaken and destroy the capitalist system and its main representatives: the Western democracies (especially Britain and France) and Nazi Germany. He also claims that Stalin manipulated Hitler and other actors to start a war that would exhaust them and make them vulnerable to Soviet intervention and domination.



What are some of Topitsch's sources?


  • Topitsch uses various sources to support his argument, including Soviet archives, diplomatic documents, memoirs, testimonies, and intelligence reports. Some examples are: The Hitler-Stalin Pact by Werner Maser; The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes by Alexander Orlov; The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II by Viktor Suvorov; The Origins of World War II by A.J.P. Taylor.



What are some of Topitsch's implications?


FAQs




Here are some questions and answers related to the topic:



Who was Ernst Topitsch?


  • Ernst Topitsch was an Austrian philosopher and sociologist who wrote a book titled Stalin's War: A Radical New Theory of the Origins of the Second World War. He was born in 1919 in Vienna and died in 2003 in Graz. He studied at the University of Vienna under Victor Kraft, a member of the Vienna Circle. He taught at the University of Vienna, Harvard University, University of Heidelberg, and University of Graz.



What is Topitsch's main argument?


Topitsch's main argument is that Stalin was the main instigator and planner of WWII, and that he used it as a means to achieve his ultimate goal: world revolution. He claims that Stalin devised a plan to weaken and destroy the capitalist system and its main representatives: the Western democracies (especially Britain and France) and Nazi Germany. He also claims that Stalin manipulated Hitler and other actors to start a war that would exhaust them and make them vulnerable to Soviet intervention and


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...

Members

bottom of page