The Germans invaded the U.S.S.R. this morning.
Everyone greatly excited. It is universally assumed that this development is to our advantage. It is only so, however, if the Russians actually intend to fight back and can put up a serious resistance, if not enough to halt the Germans, at any rate enough to wear down their air force and navy. Evidently the immediate German objective is not either territory or oil, but simply to wipe out the Russian air force and thus remove a danger from their rear while they deal finally with England. Impossible to guess what kind of show the Russians can put up. The worst omen is that the Germans would probably not have attempted this unless certain that they can bring it off, and quite rapidly at that.
Strange. It seems that everybody, George included, had a very low opinion of the soviet military capabilities.
Everybody including the Soviets, so not so strange.
Well, they fared very poorly in Finland a few years earlier, and I read somewhere that the Nazis based their opinions partly on that.
The Greek campaign, several weeks earlier, meant that the German attack, which was possibly planned for May 1st, was delayed due to tank movements to the Balkans.
Given those extra weeks, the Germans would have certainly taken Moscow before Christmas, and the outcome of the Russian campaign would have been different, with Stalin possibly negotiating an armistice, with the division of Russia with the Nazis.
Impossible to guess what kind of show the Russians can put up. The worst omen is that the Germans would probably not have attempted this unless certain that they can bring it off, and quite rapidly at that.
The show will be a blockbuster. Omen?
There was also the part where the Germans were dealing with Yugoslavia which (after allying themselves with Germany) had undergone a coup d’etat and proclaimed itself neutral, with IIRC a pro-British government.
Good equipment, bad leadership and poor preparation. I like how George is still being a bit absurdly pessimistic about the whole thing. I also wonder why he thinks the Soviets might be useful if they wear down the German navy–surely he should be thinking about the Germany army (which they did, very well)? The Soviets and Russians were never particularly notable for their naval capabilities.
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“Impossible to guess what kind of show the Russians can put up. The worst omen is that the Germans would probably not have attempted this unless certain that they can bring it off, and quite rapidly at that.”
Most were unaware of a very recent (and what turned out to be, one of the greatest intelligence coups of all time), in which the Germans had misled the Russians, and in particular Stalin, into believing that some 10,000 of the best in the Russian officer corps, were in fact traitors. Stalin, true to hideous form, had these elite officers executed without further ado. Thus it was that even with the Greek diversion and delay, the moment seemed incredibly opportune for an invasion. I’d say the invasion would have been successful, if only Hitler had let his own elite generals make the decisions. By making so many crucial decisions himself, Hitler managed to undo the tremendous advantage handed to him by the intelligence coup.
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Interesting that he never guessed the truth, that the Germans were arrogant morons led by a certifiable loonie, who bit off more than they could chew.