FW: Stalingrad

Mark Jones jones.mark at SPAMbtconnect.com
Thu Mar 29 02:37:17 MST 2001

Sorry about this, but I should have corrected obvious typosbefore sending this
message,  including my own misspelling of a name (I put Gorodestky, but it's
Gorodetsky of course), and I've also clarified a few loose formulations, I
hope. Incidentally it will be easier to take Stewart seriously if takes the
trouble to spell  names correctly or at least consistently. Is it because they
are "only Russians" that it doesn't matter?


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Jones [mailto:jones.mark at btconnect.com]
Sent: 29 March 2001 10:34
To: marxism at lists.panix.com
Subject: re: Stalingrad

Stewart Sinclair wrote:

>>although probably inadequately explained, strikes me as one of the
strangest contributions I've seen on this list in my - albeit rather short
- time on it.  To start with lets see what Uncle Joe actually did to win
the war.  First, he slaughtered the Stavka in the fall of 1937.<<

I'm not going to bore the list by posting views I have expressed  in extenso
before. Much more important than  what Stalin did or didn't do right now, is
what Bush has just done: The Bush administration yesterday declared it had "no
interest" in the Kyoto treaty. But if Stewart is really interested in my views
they are archived on the net at:

However, the facts are generally otherwise than Stewart thinks, beginning with
the small but significant detail that there was no such thing as a "Stavka" in
1937, let alone in 1930. Most of what Stewart goes on to say about the history
of Soviet military production and the role of Tukhachevsky is wildly wrong.

Recent research by people like Jacob Kipp and Brian Fugate and David M. Glantz
(all US army military historians, not noted for pro-Stalin bias), Gabriel
Gorodetsky and others, not to speak of Soviet historians and the memoirs of
writers who had first hand experience such as Valentin Berezhkov or Georgiy
Zhukov, whom Stewart mentions (? Zukov) has done much to reassess the period
and to debunk commonly-held and widely-promoted but erroneous ideas about the
Soviet Purges of the 1930s. Most of what Stewart has to say about the
leadership of 'Vorishelov/Vorisholov' (I presume he means Voroshilov) is
pretty wide of the mark.

  Stewart adds:
>>In spite of all this technical superiority the irony is that the Soviet
Union was probably saved from Stalin's insanity by the Finns as well as the
resistance of the Serbs.  The resistance put up by capitalist Finland in
the Winter War of 39/40 so badly exposed the mess in army caused by the
purges and the terror that a considerable amount of reorganization had been
undertaken by the time the German invasion started.  In fact just before he
was murdered Trotsky pointed out that up to the Finland War the Soviet Army
had been over estimated in the west and that now it would be seriously
under estimated.<<

Actually, the important point here is that Trotsky, sitting in Mexico, was
*right*. The Finnish-Soviet War was no indicator of the true state of the Red
Army, regardless of Stalin's alleged insanity.

>>Furthermore it was revealed by Kruschev [sic] in 1956 that for the first
of the invasion Stalin ordered the Soviet Forces not to resist. <<

This simply wrong. Stalin did no such thing and Khrushchev never said that he
did, even though in 1956 Khrushchev was himself busily rewriting history for
his own purposes.

Stewart's remark that
>>For a time
after that he locked himself in a room fearing that all was lost.  During
this period the generals took control and started to organize the
resistance.  In short, by a combination of cupidity, stupidity and
cowardice, Stalin did his best to lose the war.  It was the combination of
technical superiority, revolutionary dedication, patriotism, a lack of any
alternative provided by Nazism combined above all with the common ownership
of the means of production that brought the Soviet peoples and soldiers to
their feet in a measure not equaled by any other large social formation in
modern history.  The cost was far greater than it reasonably need have
been.  That we can certainly lay on Mustache Joe's criminal legacy<<

 does not provide a basis for a serious discussion, unfortunately. Stewart has
evidently read some of the technical literature but even here does not show a
clear grasp of the issues involved in tank design and its relation to
offensive/defensive strategy--and the debates about these issues by Soviet
military and political strategists in the 1920s and 1930s.


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