Germany’s Incredible Courage To Defend Europe: How Hitler’s Invasion of The Soviet Union Surprised Stalin

Editor’s Comment: The standard version of history fails to address the staggering scale of preparations by the Soviet Union from 1927 to create the greatest offensive army ever known. As extensively detailed in Germany’s War,

The Soviet Union had amassed the largest, most powerful, and best equipped army in history. p. 15

The Soviet Union invested heavily in developing this powerful army only to then remove basic defense measures during 1939 and 1940 including:

Stalin not only removed defensive barriers along the Soviet-German border, he ceased production of anti-tank and anti-aircraft cannon. p. 40

The Red Army was building rail-roads and roads from east to west, which is usually done when preparing for advance, for a quick transfer of reserves, and for further supplying the troops after they crossed the borders. All of this work was designed for offense and hurt the Soviet Union in a defensive war. p. 41

Why Hitler’s Invasion of the Soviet Union Surprised Stalin

Introduction to Viktor Suvorov

Viktor Suvorov is a former Soviet military intelligence operative who defected to the United Kingdom in 1978. Suvorov joined the Soviet Army as an 11-year-old, and for the next seven years attended the extremely tough Military Boarding School. After graduation Suvorov was chosen for the Frunze High Command Army School in Kiev, where he graduated in three years with honors. Suvorov’s work as an intelligence operative was noticed. He was sent to the Soviet Army Academy, which was the Soviet Union’s most secret military academy. The curriculum at the Soviet Army Academy was extremely intense and was designed as a test; those who excelled would get the most interesting intelligence assignments.

Suvorov had been taught to notice strange occurrences, anomalies, and exceptions to the rules. Suvorov noticed that no matter what happened in the Soviet Union, the government and media always tried to conceal the negative aspects and show the positive. You could not find any negative news about the Soviet Union. Everything was always fine, culture was flourishing, the quality of life was getting better and better, the Soviet Union would soon surpass the United States.  A magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale earthquake that leveled the city of Ashkhabad was not reported; those who spoke about the earthquake were arrested and put into prison for spreading false rumors. Even catastrophes such as the Chernobyl disaster were not reported. After an international investigation exposed the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviets claimed that the Chernobyl accident was completely insignificant and no one should pay any attention to it.[1]

Suvorov noticed one exception to these rules: June 22, 1941, the day Germany attacked the Soviet Union. All Soviet sources talk about the blatant unpreparedness of the Red Army for military action. Soviet sources said that the Soviet Army had no good commanders, that Soviet tanks and airplanes were outdated, that the Soviet Union was totally unprepared for war, and that Stalin was stupid to have trusted Hitler. Suvorov was taught by his intelligence training to look for incoherence. He asked: Why was it that the Soviets, who would hide all other mistakes, accidents, and catastrophes, make such a tremendous effort to emphasize the mistakes of the Soviet Union in June 1941?

Suvorov soon realized that Communist historians and propaganda masters had gone out of their way to hide any details that would enable an outsider to construct the reality of what was happening in the Soviet Union at the beginning of the German invasion. Suvorov found a way to construct this reality. While a student at the Academy, Suvorov wrote an independent research paper titled “The Attack of Germany on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.” Suvorov explained his interest in the subject by saying to his professors that he wanted to study how Germany prepared for the attack so that a horrible tragedy of this kind would never happen again. The topic of Suvorov’s research was approved and he was given access to closed archives. Suvorov was extra careful not to reveal the real interest of his research.[2]

Suvorov discovered that the Soviet version of World War II history is a lie and that it conceals the Soviet Union’s responsibility for planning the start of the war. The Red Army in June 1941 was the largest, best equipped army in the history of the world. The concentration of Soviet troops on the German border was frightful. If Hitler had not invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Soviet Union would have easily taken over all of Europe. German intelligence correctly saw the massive concentration of Soviet forces on the German border, but it did not see all of the Soviet military preparedness. The real picture was much graver than Germany realized.

Suvorov first published his findings in English in 1990 in the book Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War? The book quickly sold out, but the publisher refused to print further editions. It quickly became apparent that the Western academic community was as reluctant as the Communists to accept Suvorov’s new interpretation of World War II. However, with the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union, Icebreaker and Suvorov’s later books sold in large quantities. Beginning in 1990, Suvorov began to receive a flood of letters from all over the world. People provided Suvorov with their unique insights and sent him copies of documents in support of his theory. Many of these insights, as well as evidence from newly published materials, are incorporated in Suvorov’s latest book The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II.

Why Hitler’s Invasion of the Soviet Union Surprised Stalin

Suvorov has often been asked:

Why did Adolf Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union surprise Josef Stalin?

Stalin had three separate independent espionage agencies working for him. The total power of these agencies was colossal, and testimonies abound about the might of Stalin’s espionage. These Soviet espionage services had penetrated into leading German military and political circles. Soviet military intelligence managed to gain access in Germany to the most secret information from the highest levels of power. Given these facts, the question is:

“How could Hitler have surprised Stalin with his invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941?”

Suvorov says that Hitler knew that it had become impossible to conceal his preparations to invade the Soviet Union. Therefore, Hitler said in secret, in a way that Stalin could hear,

“Yes, I want to attack Stalin after I have finished the war in the west.” The Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces (GRU) also made extensive studies of all the economic, political, and military aspects of the situation and concluded that Germany could not win a war on two fronts. The GRU concluded that Hitler would not begin a war in the east without first finishing the war in the west. The head of the GRU submitted a detailed report to Stalin on March 20, 1941, which concluded that “the earliest possible date on which operations against the USSR may begin is the moment following victory over England or after an honorable peace for Germany has been achieved.”[3]

Operation Barbarossa

Soviet intelligence knew about the massive concentration of German troops on Soviet borders, the locations of all German divisions, the huge ammunition supplies, the movements of the German air force, and many other things. Soviet GRU agents knew many important secrets, including the name of Operation Barbarossa and the time of its inception. Yet on the eve of the German invasion, Soviet intelligence reported that preparations for invasion had not yet begun, and without these preparations it was impossible for Germany to begin the war.[4]

Soviet intelligence believed, with good reason, that a country needed serious preparations to fight the Soviet Union. One of the vital things Germany would need to fight the Soviet Union was sheepskin coats so that its troops could survive the Russian winter. All GRU agents in Europe gathered and analyzed information on sheep in Europe, and on the main sheep-breeding centers and slaughterhouses. As soon as Hitler decided to attack the Soviet Union, Soviet intelligence thought that Germany would order industry to begin producing millions of sheepskin coats. This would be reflected in rising sheepskin prices, and sheepskin coats would be delivered to German divisions. However, sheepskin coats were never delivered to any divisions of the German army.

Soviet intelligence also reasoned that the German army would have to use a new type of lubricating oil for its weaponry and motor fuel for its vehicles for the extremely cold Russian winters. The lubricating oil Germany usually used would congeal in the frost, component parts would freeze together, and the weapons would not work. The normal German motor fuel broke down into incombustible components in heavy frost. The quantities and type of liquid fuels possessed by Germany were not sufficient to conduct deep offensive operations in the Soviet Union. Germany was not even conducting research in the field of creating frost-resistant fuels and oils.

The GRU closely followed many other indicators for warning signals of a German invasion. German soldiers needed boots, warm underwear, sweaters, special tents, hats, heaters, skis, ski wax, masking robes, devices for heating water, and frost-resistant batteries. The German army also needed tanks with broad caterpillar tracks, thousands of cars that could drive in poor road conditions, and so on. The German army had none of these. Outside of a great buildup of German troops on the Soviet border, Germany had made no preparations for war against the Soviet Union. Since the German army had not taken reasonable actions to prepare for war, Stalin and his agents did not believe that Germany would invade the Soviet Union.[5]

However, Hitler launched his invasion of the Soviet Union without making reasonable preparations. Hitler realized that he had no choice but to invade the Soviet Union. If Hitler had waited for Stalin to attack, all of Europe would have been lost.

Suvorov states in The Chief Culprit that both German and Soviet forces were positioned for attack on June 22, 1941. The position of the divisions of the Red Army and the German army on the border mirrored each other. The airfields of both armies were moved all the way up to the border. From the defensive point of view, this kind of deployment of troops and airfields by both armies was stupid and suicidal. Whichever army attacked first would be able to easily encircle the troops of the other army. Hitler attacked first to enable German troops to trap and encircle the best units of the Red Army.[6]

Image: Eastern Front Medal

Image: German Troops Crossing Soviet Border

Related Article: How Stalin Conspired To Foment WWII & Infiltrate The U.S. Government


[1] Suvorov, Viktor, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008, Introduction, pp. xv-xvii.

[2] Ibid., pp. xviii-xix.

[3] Ibid., pp. 244-247.

[4] Ibid., p. 248.

[5] Ibid., pp. 248-250.

[6] Ibid., p. xx.

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18 Responses

  1. John, in order for an attack like that to work you need your elite troops in the vanguard. The elite Red Army Units were in Siberia awaiting a Japanese attack because that is where Stalin thought the danger was. Stalin didn’t move them West until Sorgi provided confirmation that the Japanese moved South, not West. This wasn’t until after the German invasion.

    Most of the Soviet tanks were obsolete, the Joseph Stalin and T-34 were in short supply. There were (by memory) less than 500 JS and less than 1000 T-34 tanks available to the Red Army in 1941. Most of the Soviet generals and officers were hacks. Stalin and the Red Army learned some appalling lessons during the Winter War with Finland, the Red Army was in no shape for an offensive against well-trained and experienced German forces. Stalin shut down Zhukov when Zhukov urged a preemptive strike in May of 1941.

    Ice Breaker’s been debunked for years.

    • John says:

      Brycedaddy1105 ,

      Have you read The Chief Culprit by Viktor Suvorov? It provides updated information to IceBreaker and is in my opinion a very well documented and convincing book.

      • The issue really is did the Red Army have the offensive capability to attack Germany. I say no, for the reasons I gave above.

        Also, the Germans didn’t collect winter items or winterize their equipment because the idea was to complete the destruction of the Red Army long before they would need it. Hitler’s interference doomed that plan.

      • Don says:

        Vladimir Rezun, alias Victor Suvorov, gives presentations to the U.S. Army War College in Carlyle, among other neocon bastions, and is often published by the obviously biased Naval Institute Press. His hypothesis in “Icebrekaer” is just that, and BD1105 makes simple, yet very valid points, against it.

        The only thing agreed to by all reasonable folks is that in Operation Barbarossa, Germany attacked Russia. No matter how he spins it, the likely Brit agent ‘Suvorov’ cannot escape that fact.

  2. John says:


    I highly recommend The Chief Culprit if you are interested in the subject. It is a major improvement over Icebreaker, and is available in many larger public libraries so you can probably read it for free. If you are still not convinced of Stalin’s aggressive intents after reading The Chief Culprit, please let me know and we can discuss further.

  3. larryzb says:

    These battles in 1941 where the Wehrmacht encircled and captured literally millions of Soviet soldiers and made them POWs are referred to as the Great Encirclement Battles. Yes, these were achieved in the early weeks of the war due to the forward deployment of the Red armies. But, the Germans achieved some large hauls of prisoners while pushing towards Moscow in October and November, and again in May, 1942 near Kharkov in the eastern Ukraine.

    Some writers have written that whereas most countries build an army for the country’s defense, the Bolsheviks built a country for the army, as so much economic and industrial effort and resources were put into building up the armed forces. Command economies, centrally planned economies never achieve the economic growth or strength possible with free market economies. Thus, the Soviet citizens suffered much privation due to the large portion of the economy being dedicated to defense (or offensive capability).

    It is noteworthy, as the above post points out, that historians in the West were not very interested in what Suvorov was bringing to light. These court historians did not want to objectively re-evaluate the causes of World War II. The “history” that they had promoted and helped to disseminate could not be corrected or rewritten (careers and prestige would be ruined). If so, the Western Allies would be shown to be the short sighted fools they were. General von Manstein mentioned in his book, Lost Victories, that the British were going to war in 1939 in part from their balance of power paradigm (probably from the time of the Council of Vienna in 1815). That was a balance of power for the European continent. Manstein wrote that what was needed at the time was a global balance of power doctrine. Clearly, the USSR was the largest country in land area in the world, a Eurasian giant and possessed the largest army in history. Given the Bolsheviks’ commitment to worldwide revolution, why would Western nations be so quick to oppose Germany? A strong Germany was the only force on the Continent that might be able to thwart Bolshevik expansion. (But, as has been pointed out in other articles, the Jewish factor played a critical role in the tragedy and conflagration that was the Second World War.)

  4. Les says:

    I have read The Chief Culprit and I agree with it 100%. It is natural to be sceptical if you have heard only one side of the story over and over again for decades. Everyone who is sceptical should read this book. Stalin sent Molotov to Berlin in November 1940 with a list of territorial demands which made the 1939 pact out of date. Hitler and the German leadership were astounded by what Stalin demanded. For instance the whole of Bulgaria as a protectorate, parts of Turkey, more territory from Finland, more territory from Romania, naval bases in Greece and Yugoslavia etc. What Stalin couldn’t get by diplomacy he wanted to get by war. Hitler asked Molotov for a personal meeting with Stalin so they could meet face to face and sort out the problem but nothing came of the request. Stalin didn’t want to meet Hitler because he had decided on war.
    As John has written the defensive fortifications known as the Stalin Line were disbanded for the very reason that the Red Army was going into attack mode. Another author from the former USSR Igor Bunich did similar research and even found out the code name for Stalin’s attack on Germany : Operation Thunderstorm (Operatsia Groza). Unfortunately the books on this subject by Igor Bunich have not been translated into English –

    • John says:


      Except for Igor Bunich’s research, everything in your latest post is discussed in Chapter One of my book Germany’s War. I highly recommend The Chief Culprit to anyone interested in World War II history.

  5. Les says:

    It would be interesting for Suvorov to comment on the findings of Bunich. Remember the Soviet communists lied for 50 years about the Katyn massacre and they continue to lie about the fictitious gas chambers so why wouldn’t they lie to conceal the truth about Stalin’s Operation Thunderstorm ?
    The Chief Culprit is available at Amazon –
    and also at Barnes and Noble –

  6. Mostacho says:

    Leyendo el comentario de Les y todo lo que el explica en el me hace recordar el discurso de Hitler , dando sus razones para la movilización de las tropas germanas. Les dejo este pedazo de Historia.

    También les comparto una grabación supuesta mente secreta en donde Hitler habla de lo mismo

  7. Les says:

    According to the website of David Irving the book Deutschland im Visier Stalins by Berndt Schwipper has original Soviet documents proving that they were going to invade Germany. It hasn’t been translated into English as of yet. Here is the publisher so if you can read German maybe another reader can look at the book and confirm this.

  8. Arch Stanton says:

    It’s hard to believe there is any discussion over this idea. Basic rules of strategic warfare state only a fool or a madman opens up a second front when they are having success on the current one. Hitler wasn’t stupid and he wasn’t mad, as Jews would have one believe. Not only that, it is utterly absurd to think that Hitler wouldn’t have known of Napoleon’s defeat, planning his attack in the same month as Napoleon’s, again facing the Russian winter. This was something I could never comprehend about Hitler and until reading Suvorov’s book, it made no sense. After that, “Barbarossa” made perfect sense.

    Lets try that again – Hitler is having huge success with his forces sweeping victoriously through Europe, so suddenly, for no apparent reason, other than an alleged huge ego that Hitler did not have, he decides to divide and commit a large portion of his victorious forces to open a second front for no warranted reason, doing so at the end of summer and facing the Russian winter, that he must have overlooked. Yeah sure, you betcha! – Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? Now about that six million thing . . .

    Other Obvious facts, like Hitler’s dependence on the Rumanian oilfields, meant he could not afford to have the Soviets stage a lightning assault on those oilfields. Later, the American allies* committed a large bomber force to a low level suicide raid against Ploesti trying to accomplish that very thing. They failed.

    *Could it be the allied powers were fully complicit in supporting Stalin’s invasion plans, forcing Hitler to divide and weaken his European forces? Now THAT makes sense.

  9. PrimeSuspect says:

    Thank you❤️

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