A new look at Operation Barbarrosa.  The Nazi attack on the USSR was long in the planning.

Enemy in the East, Hitler’s Secret Plans to Invade the Soviet Union (I.B. Tauris) is a valuable reappraisal of Germany’s march to war with the Soviet Union.  German military historian Rolf-Dieter Muller provides a detailed analysis of German military planning leading up to Operation Barbarossa, the June 22, 1941 surprise attack on the Soviet Union.

This detailed book leaves the following impressions:

Marshal Tukhachevsky

1.  Red  Army Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, and much of the Red Army leadership, were purged in what appeared to be Stalinist paranoia about alleged German subversive plots.  
Enemy in the East suggests that Stalin’s fear of Germany was real, but the proof of German infiltration was the result of German disinformation.  Simply put, Germany eliminated the Soviet Union’s best military leaders by planting false information with Soviet intelligence.

2.  I am amazed how Hitler, with the experience of only a messenger in World War I, could boss around the highly trained, and tradition minded, professional German military.  How could they let Hitler call the shots?  In a totalitarian state, there is no debate, no collective process in making policy.

3.  Except for a few of the highest ranking Generals, most of the German military were not punished as war criminals.  Nevertheless, they drew up war plans and conducted war games in preparation of the attack on the Soviet Union.  Many of these German military leaders assumed positions of leadership in or influence with to the reconstituted West German military.   The author says that they rewrote history.  They minimized their roles and shifted blame to Hitler alone.
Marshal Pilsudski

4.  Throughout the 1930’s, Germany looked to Poland as an ally against Soviet Union. The Polish hero Marshal Jozef Pilsudski was admired in high German circles.  Only after Poland backed away from an alliance in 1939, and reached out to Britain and France for support against German expansion in Danzig and the Polish corridor, did Germany turn against Poland, and invoke its racial hate and plan to annihilate non-Jewish Poles.

Rolf-Dieter Muller

Enemy in the East is closely argued and gives a new view of the political and military considerations of German policy towards the East.  A fine study for War War II fans.