What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa

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Yale University Press, 2005 M06 11 - 340 pages
This “riveting account of one of history’s greatest blunders” chronicles Russia’s tragic mishandling of Nazi Germany’s invasion during WWII (William L. O’Neill, The New Leader).
On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa was launched against Russia. Within days, the invading army had taken hundreds of thousands of Soviet captives while the Luftwaffe bombed a number of Russian cities, including Minsk. Though accurate intelligence about the plan had been available to Stalin before the attack, he chose not to heed the warning.
In What Stalin Knew, historian and former chief of the CIA’s Soviet division David E. Murphy illuminates many of the enigmas surrounding the catastrophic invasion, offering keen insights into Stalin’s thinking and the reasons for his fatal error of judgment. A story of successful misinformation campaigns, and a leader more paranoid about threats from within his regime than from an aggressive neighbor, this authoritative history sheds essential new light on the most consequential event in the Eastern Front of World War II.
“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, The New York Times Book Review
“A fascinating and meticulously researched account of mistaken assumptions and errors of judgment . . . Never before has this fateful period been so fully documented.” —Henry A. Kissinger

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

By using those documents that escaped the secret archives before access was again closed, Murphy focuses on how Stalinist Russia went about the business of collecting military intelligence, and leaves ... Read full review

What Stalin knew: the enigma of Barbarossa

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa and shattered the nonaggression pact that Hitler and Stalin signed in 1939. Soviet intelligence had warned Stalin about the ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

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 United States. He is coauthor of Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War, also published by Yale University Press.

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