In the great war, the Germans won by creating a crisis back at home forcing the Russians to sue for peace. So why didn’t the Germans do this again in WW2? They could have maybe created a democratic revolution (war makes for strange bed fellows), by highlighting Stalin’s murderous regime.
So why wouldn’t they do the same successful tactic again?
They did. The Hiwis or Hilfswiliger were Soviet volunteers in German ranks. Some were directly mobilized by the Germans (termed ‘Cossacks’ as a euphamism), the majority were Red Army POW’s who defected. Most served as auxiliaries to free up German manpower for frontline roles.
The Great Patriotic War is sometimes seen as the last gasp of the Russian Civil War However these recruitment efforts were stymied by several factors:
- The Nazis clearly had a ideology of genocide and race war. There wasnt going to be a ‘New Russia’ which included any existing Russians/Soviets.
- Actual genocide in the heavily populated areas of western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine against these soldier’s families.
- After the Russian Civil War and the Great Purge, there just weren’t all that many credible opponents of the regime left to recruit. Certainly nobody you could call a leader of stature (we’ll get to the climax of the Hiwis in a few years on the main channel). The vast majority of Soviet soldiers remained loyal. The Hiwis, in manpower terms on the Eastern Front were a footnote.
oh… so the great purge damaged the soviet union militarily but helped prevent a civil war?
Plus why couldn’t they nab Trotsky from Mexico and put him in a country aligned with Germany (say Hungary). So when pressed by Stalin, they could simply say "not, my problem ask Hungary).
Easier said than done; ask the Israelis when they arrested Eichmann.
The Nazis hated both communists and jews, Trotsky was both. Trotsky wasn’t so given to realpolitik as so go along with such collaboration either.
A civil war requires a core or class of leaders. That potential class was decimated in the Soviet Union. I mean that the Great Purge stamped out whatever embers the Nazis might have hoped to fan into a civil war. That doesn’t mean the embers would have become a civil war though.
Well… I didn’t know Trotsky was a Jew. No wonder they didn’t nab Trotsky.
Mark Felton made an interesting video on the Russian Liberation Army.