How did Joseph Stalin react to the German invasion during WWII?


Stalin greeting German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop in 1939

Joseph Stalin reacted extremely slowly to the invasion of his country by German forces in 1940. Indeed, not only did he react slowly, but he also ignored warnings that the Germans planned to attack his country. Stalin’s response to the German invasion has perplexed historians for many years. It seems that the Soviet Leader had placed his trust in Hitler and this almost led to the defeat of the Soviet Union.

Stalin’s response to Hitler’s invasion was slow and disorganized especially in the first days of the war. Stalin’s response was ineffective because he trusted Hitler. However, Stalin took charge of the situation and made changes to his military and diplomatic policy that at first slowed the German advance and then stopped it before it reached Moscow in December 1941.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin ruled over the Soviet Union between 1920 and 1953 acting as the supreme leader of the USSR. Holding the post of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he was effectively the dictator of the state. Stalin introduced his own highly centralized command economy, launching a period of industrialization and collectivization that resulted in the rapid transformation of the USSR from an agrarian society into an industrial global power. Between 1934 and 1939 Stalin mercilessly carried out a series of massive political extra-judicial executions, known as the Great Purge, of major Communist Party and government rival figures as well as many Red Army high commanders without any proper trials – all convicted of alleged treason or considered a threat. These “enemies of the working class” were imprisoned, exiled, sent to forced labor camps or executed, without due process.

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Categories: World War II

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