Review: Soviet Opposition to Stalin – A case study in World War II, by George Fischer

This short book was an early history of Vlasov movement, which during the second world war aimed to create a Russian army of “liberation” that would fight side by side with the Germans against the Red Army.

There are better books on the subject now available (in particular Alexander Dallin’s German Rule in Russia) but what makes Fischer’s book extraordinary is its unflinching willingness to think the unthinkable.

Looking back at all the mistakes the Germans made (in particular by not embracing Vlasov much earlier than they did), he concludes that the only way really to bring an end to the totalitarian regime in the USSR is by launching a land invasion accompanied by the “mass atomic bombing of major population centers”.

He concluded that “the Stalin regime is apt to disintegrate only if so hard a blow is struck that its hold over the country is relaxed for a significant period”, acknowledging that this “would perforce be a World War III”.

But he saw no alternative, writing that “only when the opponent’s military forces pierce the Soviet heartland as deeply, or as surprisingly, as did the Nazi blitz in 1941 can the shock be expected to be genuinely effective. … organized opposition in the future will also developed only … after Soviet reverses in general war.”

In other words, he advocated an American-led Barbarossa II.

Fortunately, his advice was not heeded.

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