What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa

Paperback | December 1, 2006

byDavid E. Murphy

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This extensively researched book illuminates many of the enigmas that have surrounded the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, offering keen insights into Stalin’s thinking and the reasons for his catastrophic blunder.

“If, after the war, the Soviet Union had somehow been capable of producing an official inquiry into the catastrophe of 6/22—comparable in its mandate to the 9/11 commission here—its report might have read a little like [this book]. . . .  Murphy brings to his subject both knowledge of Russian history and an insider’s grasp of how intelligence is gathered, analyzed and used—or not.”—Niall Ferguson, New York Times Book Review

"A fascinating and meticulously researched account of mistaken assumptions and errors of judgment that culminated in Hitler’s invasion of Russia in June 1941. Never before has this fateful period been so fully documented."—Henry A. Kissinger

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This extensively researched book illuminates many of the enigmas that have surrounded the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, offering keen insights into Stalin’s thinking and the reasons for his catastrophic blunder.“If, after the war, the Soviet Union had somehow been capable of producing an official inquiry into the catastrophe of 6/...

David E. Murphy, now retired, was chief of CIA’s Berlin base from the early 1950s to 1961 and then became chief of Soviet operations at CIA headquarters in the U.S. He is coauthor of Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War, also published by Yale University Press.

other books by David E. Murphy

What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa
What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 5.88 × 0.94 inPublished:December 1, 2006Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:030011981X

ISBN - 13:9780300119817

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A Conversation withDavid MurphyQ: How culpable was Stalin for the German invasion of June 22, 1941?A: Stalin bears full responsibility for having allowed German preparations to go forward without taking measures to improve the USSR’s defensive posture and for his naïve acceptance of German deception, fed to him personally by Hitler.Q: What steps could he have taken to prevent it?A: Many actions were possible, but Stalin’s greatest failure was his refusal to halt extensive, long-term German aerial reconnaissance operations even though he was aware of them from border troops’ reporting and from Soviet agents in the German Air Ministry. This resulted in the pinpointing and massive destruction of Soviet defensive works, troop concentrations, logistical installations, armor, and parked aircraft within hours of the June 22 attack.Q: How do we know for certain that Stalin knew the meaning and urgency of the intelligence reports?A: We know Stalin received reports on the German threat but discounted or rejected them because they disagreed with what Hitler told him were his plans to invade the British Isles in the summer of 1941 and not attack the USSR.Q: In what way did the system Stalin created abet his natural paranoia and conspiratorial thinking? How was he able to manipulate the system so that he could remain convinced that he was right? Or was he the victim of that system?A: Stalin did not create the system. He amplified, expanded, and exploited Lenin’s dictatorship, using terror and the purges to instill abject fear in all those who opposed him. There were very few military officers, party, or government officials who dared dispute Stalin’s views, and those who did were tortured and executed. On the contrary, some encouraged his acceptance of German deception by slanting intelligence estimates to fit Stalin’s misconceptions. Thus not Stalin but the entire Soviet people became victims of Stalin’s mistakes.