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]

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]

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]

Read Germany’s War

Image: Eastern Front Medal

Image: German Troops Crossing Soviet Border


[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.