Cuba, USSR and Africa

Mark Jones jones.mark at
Wed Mar 28 17:24:33 MST 2001

Jared wrote:
>> In another post, Mark Jones says the decisive factor in Hitler's defeat by
the Soviet Union was that Stalin was a superb wartime leader while Hitler was
inferior.  <<

I didn't say that Stalin's role was decisive. I said just the opposite: there
are no genius leaders and great helmsmen. The decisive factor, actually, was
the organisation of Russian defence in depth; the Germans per contra bet the
farm on one throw of the dice. They did not have defensive depth. They had
blitzkrieg. The Soviets had mobilised for total war, industrially, socially
and militarily. The Germans did not. Thus German consumer goods production
continued to rise until 1943, and women were not mobilised. If there was any
single decisive factor, it was the labour heroism of millions of Soviet women
and of very young people in the factories and fields behind the lines. The
so-called 'Uncle Vanyas'- children working long shifts in arms factories to
send their daddies the means to fight- famously illustrated a degree of
mobilisation the Germans could not achieve.

But it is true that Stalin was a successful war leader and Hitler was not. If
Stalin had been less successful, the USSR would have been beaten. For
instance: take Yugoslavia. You are barely half-right about what happened in
Belgrade in May 1941. It is a well-attested fact that the Yugoslav uprising
was directly instigated by *Stalin* as a spoiling action. He wanted to delay
the German attack on the USSR. He succeeded, but not as he hoped: they did not
wait until 1942. But undoubtedly the fact that Barbarossa did not open until
late June, 1941, because of Hitler's diversion to Yugoslavia, in the end did
cost Nazi Germany the war: Hitler was unable to take Leningrad or Moscow
before winter set in. *This* was decisive. As for the idea that Hitler perhaps
lost the war because the Wehrmacht was full of closet leftists... hmmm. The
reverse is surely true. The German workers in uniform mostly obeyed to the
letter Hitler's injunction to 'kill every Soviet person who stands before you,
be he old man, woman or child.'


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