Nations bound by chivalry declared war before launching it. Nations aiming at strategic surprise launched a war without declaring it. On Sept. 3, 1939, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany without launching it.
This may be regarded as super-chivalry or mental regression outside science and engineering, which John Stuart Mill had predicted and partially observed as early as 1859 in "the countries protected against the tyranny of the political rulers" and called the "democracies" today.
At any rate, the result was that in contrast to World War I, when the outcome of the war was decided in France and Russia, and no German invasion of England was even conjectured, now France had been "blitzed," Russia was virtually an ally of Germany, and the German invasion of England ...
Here we encounter a heroic hymn out of quotations from Churchill to be found in every English dictionary of quotations. According to these quoted and re-quoted quotations, the situation promised nothing but blood, toil, tears and sweat, yet the British had their triumphs, auguring their ultimate victory; thus the British Expeditionary Force in France had escaped, instead of having been encircled or bombed, and the British were still waiting (and so were the fishes, ha-ha-ha!) for the long-promised invasion.
This was the finest hour of British history in the past and for a thousand years to come, the greatest days that Britain had ever lived, and the British would go on fighting the German tiger until their victory "at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival." (1)
Actually, England was in a more critical situation than that which Churchill described in his heroic hymn I cited above as a string of still-quoted quotations, in "The Second World War," or perhaps in any other records published in England so far.
Stalin and Hitler, who had divided Poland, could well be expected to go on dividing the rest of the world, or at least of the hemisphere. As everyone knew, Stalin was supplying Hitler with whatever raw materials Hitler needed for the war.
But what if Stalin allowed free passage for the German troops to India to strike the British Empire in the back? Finally, why wouldn't Soviet Russia join Hitler's Germany in the war against Britain? To split the Soviet-German alliance at its still embryonic stage was a matter of life and death.
Today we know that in December 1940, the alliance did split. On Dec. 18, 1940, Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa to attack Russia in May 1941. But in "The Second World War" Churchill reminisced, with the benefit of hindsight, that until June 12, 1941, that is, 10 days before the actual invasion (which came later than planned) ?he had no conclusive data on Hitler's intention to attack Russia.
Having gathered what official London thought about the possibility of Hitler's attack on Russia, Soviet Ambassador Maisky said in his telegram of June 21, 1941, the day before Hitler's invasion: "I continue to believe that the German attack on the USSR is highly improbable." (2)
To split what Churchill no doubt perceived (at least up to June 12, 1941) as the potentially mortally dangerous German-Soviet alliance, on April 19, 1941, Sir Stafford Cripps, British ambassador to Moscow, handed a memorandum to the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR, Andrey Vyshinsky, to "warn" Stalin that "if the war between England and Germany lasted too long, Great Britain would be tempted to conclude an agreement to end the war.
The conditions of such an agreement, the ambassador wrote, had recently been discussed in influential German circles. Western Europe would return to its prewar situation, while Germany could thrust all its military forces unimpeded to the East to secure living space there." (3)
The goal of the memo was clear: to convince Stalin that if he was not a fool, he should attack Hitler now, when the German troops were preoccupied with England, and not wait till Germany signed a peace agreement with England, "recently" under discussion, and be able to thrust all its military forces against Russia.
Incidentally, in historical retrospective, this was not bad advice at all, though it was based on disinformation, a word that appeared in the English language in 1939 and has been linked in everyone's mind with yet another quotation from Churchill: that one about the need "in war" for "a bodyguard of lies." The Anglo-German peace agreement under discussion was Churchill's disinformation, as should be clear to a child of elementary school age, not only to Stalin.
If Churchill was engaged in such desperate frontal direct disinformation ?that is, telling a lie officially and in writing to Stalin's face and thus advising him by implication what to do (had Stalin asked for this information and for his advice?) ?we can gauge the persistence and scope of Churchill's indirect disinformation through those sources whose connection with the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) or the British government seemed the least likely, in order to persuade Stalin to attack Germany because Hitler intended to attack Russia, and to persuade Hitler to attack Russia because Stalin intended to attack Germany.
What was the effect of these two "bodyguards of lies" on Stalin and Hitler?
Stalin Would Attack Hitler Only If ...
When the book entitled "The Iceberg: The M-Day," which contended that Stalin intended to attack Hitler in July 1941 (but Hitler had forestalled Stalin in June) was published, in Russian, by Victor Suvorov, he sent me a copy from London with this inscription: "To my teacher." If that is the case, let me conclude his book with this short lecture on the personal difference between Hitler and Stalin that no one, East or West, seems to notice.
Before 1918, Hitler was a highly decorated soldier who bemoaned the defeat of Germany in the war. Before 1917, Stalin was Lenin's "professional revolutionary" and a government police secret agent.
After 1918, Hitler was the worshipped leader of his party (the relevant entry of Goebbels in his diary reads like the confession of an amorous young girl who had met her idol).
Stalin, a comical Georgian speaking comical Russian, was allowed to join the leadership of Lenin's party, since it could not very well consist of only Russians and Jews in a country of 130 nations; it had to include at least one Georgian. A master of secret-police intrigue, he exterminated Lenin's party and replaced it with his sycophants.
Hitler was a ruthless killer of 12 million civilians out of his sense of superiority and Hitler was a fearless warrior (as per Nietzsche), he loved conventional land war (as per Wagner), and was a genius of it (cf. his Blitzkrieg from the autumn of 1939 to the summer of 1941).
When his army began to roll back at Moscow on Dec. 5, 1941, he rushed into the hell of frost and enemy fire and stopped the stampede by his fearless frerschaft. He despised espionage, and when he was told that a British Embassy official had volunteered to be a German spy, he exclaimed in disgust: "But he is a traitor!"
Stalin feared and hence hated war, in which he was inept. He finished off Germany in three years after the "spine of the fascist beast had been broken," to use his lingo, and grabbed Eastern Europe by his secret-police techniques, that was his road to world domination.
He was after world domination, because the very existence of "bourgeois democracy" subverted his power. But he would not risk the danger of launching a war against Germany (as Suvorov has it) as a step toward world domination, unless he could be sure that Hitler was going to attack him.
Note that in the late 1980s the Soviet losses in the "Patriotic War" were revealed for the first time: 27 million. They say something about Stalin's military ineptness ?especially in comparison with, for example, the losses of the military personnel of the defeated Germany: 2.85 million killed and missing.
Ever since the mid-1930s Stalin had been crawling into ever-deeper nooks and crannies in his growing (paranoiac?) fear of danger, pain and death from all quarters and all causes, including poison and bullet. He died secretly inside a secret abode. He had destroyed several times as many civilians as Hitler had. But he had destroyed them out of fear 杊e had destroyed those individuals, classes and nations that seemed to be dangers to him and his power.
Hence my conclusion for Victor Suvorov. Had Stalin known beyond doubt that Hitler would attack him, he would have forestalled him out of fear ?in order to take advantage of a surprise attack over defense. It would have been an inept invasion, but he might have destroyed Germany by laying it out with 20, 30, 40 million, or as many Russian corpses as necessary. But as long as Stalin believed that Hitler would not attack him, he would not launch an invasion of Germany, similar to Hitler's invasion of Russia.
So Churchill was right: The disinformation had to convince Stalin that Hitler would attack him ?then Stalin would attack Hitler, to take advantage of a surprise attack over defense.
Soviet Spies in the British SIS
Churchill regarded himself as a great past master of espionage. Before he became prime minister, he had had his own intelligence agency to supply him with tidbits of "Teutonic re-armament," which tidbits he divulged as proofs that the "Teutons" were going to attack Britain. Now he had the Secret Intelligence Service at his disposal. But Sir Winston did not take into account one circumstance ?viz., how easy it was to be a Soviet spy in the SIS.
The NKVD (as the Soviet secret police and foreign intelligence agency was called at that time) asked Kim Philby, a Soviet spy in the SIS, to give them a list of British agents working and to be sent to work in Soviet Russia. Of course, the NKVD did not mean English diplomats, for every diplomat who had diplomatic immunity was assumed by the NKVD to be an SIS agent, watched all round the clock and sent home if he took liberties.
No! What about real SIS agents! Not necessary in the NKVD, but anywhere! "When Philby replied, 'There aren't any,' Moscow underlined the sentence twice in red ink and put two questions marks against it." (4)
The NKVD thought it too good to be true. Not a single agent anywhere! In England, Soviet spies flourished in clusters ?in the SIS! Note that name "Kim," which Philby had proudly assumed. Kipling, Philby and many other Westerners have never realized that while it takes a genius to be a Western spy sent to countries like Soviet Russia or post-1949 China, any idiot could be a British "spy," like Kipling's Kim, in a British colony.
In the 1940s Kim Philby was moving to the top of the SIS, despite his past work for the communists in Vienna, his Austrian communist wife, and his "drinking problem," much of which applied to other members of the Cambridge Ring. The relevant historic fact is that they naturally reported to Stalin (through their controllers) that Churchill was engaged in the disinformation aimed at convincing Stalin that Hitler intended to attack Stalin and convincing Hitler that Stalin intended to attack Hitler.
Effect of Churchill's Disinformation
What was the effect of the disinformation on Hitler? The primary reason why Hitler invaded Russia was Karl Haushofer's Geopolitik, which Hitler followed: The conquest of Russia was the key to world domination. Also, the invasion of Russia was the land war that he loved and in which he excelled. Don't we do what we love to do and in what we excel?
The danger of Stalin's attack was also a reason. In his letter to Mussolini on the eve of his invasion, Hitler cited as its cause the danger of Stalin's attack. He had no reason not to believe Churchill's disinformation. No spy had reported to him that it was disinformation, and his false image of Stalin was that of a fearless daredevil, ein Wagehals, as much in love with war as Hitler was.
If Victor Suvorov published a book in the 1990s about how Stalin had intended to attack Germany in July 1941, certainly Churchill's disinformation was not implausible to Hitler in the early 1940s, shortly after Churchill defined Stalin's Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
What was the effect on Stalin of the Cambridge Ring's reports to him about Churchill's disinformation?
Stalin could not help seeing that Churchill was engaged in that kind of disinformation when Stalin received that memo of April 19, 1941. Certainly the memo, which the Russian author and his English editor, citing it in 1994, qualified as "insolent" and I as "stupid," looked to Stalin as insolent and stupid disinformation.
If such Anglo-German peace negotiations had actually been taking place (Stalin was sure to reason), why on earth would Churchill have notified him, Stalin, the key opponent of such negotiations, who was no doubt ready to do his damnedest to frustrate them through official and clandestine German and English channels?
Stalin had been engaged in disinformation all his life! It was not for Churchill to outfox him! Thus Churchill, not Hitler, became Stalin's adversary in Stalin's (paranoiac?) struggle for survival and power.
In all histories of the Second World War (except for the Soviet pre-1956 publications), it has been described how Churchill (a sage who knew what Hitler was up to) warned Stalin that Hitler was to attack Russia on June 22, 1941, but Stalin (a stubborn and stupid egomaniac) ignored the wise warning and hence nearly lost the war.
It is possible that at a certain point (June 12?) Churchill came to believe that Hitler did intend to attack Russia, and so disinformation was no longer needed. Now Stalin was a potential ally to be helped to repulse Hitler's attack and hence warned about it in all earnest. Yet naturally, Stalin took Churchill's warning in all earnest for another method of his disinformation.
All Information About Hitler's Attack Is Churchill's Disinformation!
Had Stalin been sure that the Cambridge Ring knew of all cases of disinformation, Stalin would have been confident that the other reports were genuine. But how could Stalin be sure that, for example, his agent Richard Sorge's report of May 12, 1941, specifying the day of Hitler's attack, the number of divisions (170), and the main direction (Moscow), was not a piece of Churchill's disinformation planted on Sorge? All information was thus suspect as Churchill's disinformation. So Stalin's reaction reduced to two rules:
Tell all subordinates (not privy to Churchill's memo of April 19, 1941, or the Cambridge Ring's reports) that all information concerning Hitler's intention to attack Soviet Russia was suspect as disinformation.
Prove to Hitler that Stalin did not intend to attack him. That is, do your best to discredit Churchill's disinformation in Hitler's perception.
How to prove #2? The best proof would have been to disarm. Then no disinformation would have convinced Hitler that Stalin intended to attack him. Short of that, be at least militarily unprepared! Suffice it to recall the following final scene of Stalin's struggle against Churchill's disinformation.
Combat Readiness Is Premature!
The eve of Hitler's invasion at 4 a.m., June 22, 1941. Stalin and his top subordinates. I skip all names and details. A directive to order the combat readiness of the border troops (only the border troops!) was being read aloud. Said Stalin: "This directive is premature."
Of course! The combat readiness of the border troops would be reported to Hitler. "Aha!" he would cry. "So Churchill is right after all! We must attack to forestall that attacker Stalin!"
Hence Stalin proposed, instead, his own directive. Even if the German troops launched attacks, "the troops of the [Soviet] border areas should not respond to these provocations in order to avoid complications." (5)
Thus, Churchill's disinformation would be completely nullified. You see, perhaps some of Hitler's generals had succumbed to Churchill's disinformation. They could order their troops to attack the Soviet border troops to provoke them and report to Hitler that Stalin had attacked the German armed forces, and Churchill was right after all!
But no, the Soviet troops would not respond to these provocations, whereupon Hitler would no doubt say that he no longer believed Churchill's disinformation at all, not one bit of it, and Churchill would eat crow again.
At 3:00 a.m., June 22, 1941, Stalin went to bed in the happy belief that he had outfoxed that fox Churchill, and he and Hitler would divide at least the hemisphere, if not the world, as they had divided Poland.
At 3:30 or 3:40 a.m. (the data vary), June 22, 1941, Stalin was awakened and told over the telephone that the German bombers were attacking "our cities." He could not grasp it, he was silent, and the message had to be repeated until he responded that yes, he had heard and understood. So the information that Hitler had intended to attack Russia had not been all Churchill's disinformation. It was 11 days before he could regain enough control of himself to make a radio address, on July 3.
As for the Soviet armed forces, they had disproved Churchill's disinformation, per Stalin's orders, so thoroughly and were so combat unprepared that the rout of France in 1940 was an orderly retreat compared with their debacle up to Moscow.
Hitler completely destroyed those Soviet armed forces that were located in the European part of Russia when he invaded the country, encircling first 300,000 soldiers, and then 200,000 more, and then taking prisoner all of 600,000 encircled soldiers, and then again all of another 600,000 (as stated before, the total Soviet losses from 1941 to 1945 totaled 27 million).
In mid-July, three weeks after the beginning of the invasion, Hitler was within 200 miles of Moscow ?no, not just the "capital," but also the brain activating the otherwise passive country, the center of the completely centralized state and the hub of all major railroads, highways and telephone lines. Here Hitler's generals made a gift to Stalin: They halted their advance on Moscow for two and a half months for rest, repairs, strategic discussions and the operations in the south and north.
Stalin would have shot all of them. Hitler did not demote anyone. Despite this gift of two and a half months, after the German troops resumed the advance on Moscow on Oct. 2 and captured Vyazma, a town on a railroad heading straight to Moscow, with 600,000 Soviet soldiers taken prisoner, Stalin did not have any troops to defend Moscow.
No history that I know of written by a Westerner reflects the situation in Moscow. Again, the former Soviet archives, opened to the public in the 1990s, throw some light. They contain a record of Stalin's speech on Oct. 17 or 18, 1941, to the Chief Committee for Defense and the Politburo. His message: Leave Moscow today, and the only hope: "Troops will soon begin to arrive from Siberia and the Far East. Their entrainment has already started." (6)
Not a Single German Spy in Moscow
If Hitler's Germany had had one (yes, just one) spy in Moscow ?no, not "in the Kremlin," but as an ordinary inhabitant, holding the lowest-paid, humblest job or no job at all (a disabled person or a retiree) and knowing only how to use a radio transmitter, just that one spy in Moscow would have told the German high command the following on Oct. 17 or 18, and before the arrival of the Siberian and Far Eastern troops:
Moscow has been abandoned by the authorities. There are no police, all offices are empty, with doors flung open; anyone can enter any shop and take whatever has been left behind. Living in the city are only the common people, burning their Soviet documents and the government files to conceal under the German rule all undesirable data in their Soviet past. A German regiment, nay, platoon, may enter the city without a single shot fired and declare it under German rule, and some believe it to be already under German rule.
But Hitler's Germany did not have that one spy in Moscow at any social level. Due to the virtual nonexistence of Western (and even Nazi) espionage in Soviet Russia (which is the subject of Chapter 4 of this book-in-progress), Hitler did not know that Moscow had been abandoned pending the arrival of the Siberian and Far Eastern troops, and that since Japan was not intending to attack the Soviet Far East, the Siberian and Far Eastern troops were boarding the Moscow-bound trains as of Oct. 17 or 18.
Instead of entering the undefended Moscow, Hitler ordered its giant "tight" encirclement. Meanwhile came the Siberian and Far Eastern troops, dressed for winter in short sheepskins, armed with machine carbines, or Tommy guns, and following tanks, said to be the world's best. On Dec. 5, 1941, they swooped on the German troops, which were barely surviving the Russian winter.
To sum up, Hitler would have won the war in Russia (owing to Churchill), had Hitler had just that one spy in Moscow and entered the city on Oct. 17 or 18. He could have conquered Russia from Moscow, for no strong resistance would have been possible without the Moscow brain activating the country. In accordance with Haushofer's Geopolitik, Hitler was to use the resources of the entire hemisphere, in alliance with Japan, to defeat the United States. The "atom bomb" would have been a big unknown in this race.
As it actually was, Hitler personally stopped the retreat of his troops at Moscow in the winter of 1941/42, but he said in his inner circle that the war had been lost.
NOTE: While easily losing top secrets through its members like "Kim" Philby, SIS kept well other kinds of secrets. Thus, for at least 30, if not 60, years the English people did not know that their King Edward VIII was pro-Nazi.
When I sent the above article to an English magazine, the editors were excited: Why, the English people were ignorant of this piece of their history! One of them told me that SIS would have to approve the article, which reminded me of censorship in Soviet Russia.
The result was the editors' deafening silence. Well, if the English people could not be told the truth about Edward VIII, why should they be allowed to know the truth about Winston Churchill?