So Stalin had got it wrong. The man revered as a prophet and a genius had failed to read Hitler correctly. The German attack of 22 June 1941 seemed to prove this beyond any doubt. Hitler had in strategic terms got the better of his Communist ‘ally’. Stalin had, in the short term at least, apparently miscalculated. This, in spite of all the evidence warning of a German attack, both from his own intelligence services and from diplomats in the West trying to help him (and of course themselves). Even those individuals around Stalin brave enough to tell the Soviet dictator what the Nazi tyrant planned were seemingly not believed. This blindness, combined with the effects of the purges carried out on the Red armed forces, meant that Russia was ill-prepared for the German onslaught. Historian and analyst Dmitri Volkogonov has written that Stalin’s miscalculation was of such vast, catastrophic proportions that it is hard to find anything comparable in history (Volkogonov, 1998: 119).
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