Here is an interesting review of a new book on Stalin and the Second World War. The review makes the case that Stalin was about to attack Germany when Hitler beat him to the punch. I have discussed this hypothesis before, (I can’t find the link), and the arguments made in the review serve to only further convince me of the truth of this argument. I began studying Operation Barbarossa when I was around ten years’ old, and one thing that always struck me was how many Russian armies had been caught in the initial couple of months of the campaign. When two huge armies are poised to strike at one another, it’s the one that gets the jump that will win.
But the point of this piece is not to argue the merits or otherwise of this idea. Rather, it is an introduction to a challenge that faces us today. In the 1930s and 40s, the advantage was that the leaders of the various sides were easily identifiable, even if in hindsight it appears that perhaps the Allies underestimated Stalin’s capacity for deception. But today, as the world seems ready to fall into another great cataclysm, just who are we fighting against? Who is on the other side? And who is leading them?