Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 07-29-2011, 09:00 AM
 
13,134 posts, read 40,612,339 times
Reputation: 12304

Advertisements

From my understanding during the german invasion of 1941 was that the soviets had five armies opposing the germans from north to south and these armies were (Commanders in parentheses) the Northern (Popov), Northwestern (Kuznetsov), Western (Pavlov), Southwestern (Timoshenko) and Southern (Tiulenev, Ryabyshev, Cherevichenko).

So my question is that with all the soviet front armies being pulverized by the invading wehrmacht why was only the western front army commander executed by Stalin and not the other frontline army commanders? Even the southern front army had three different commanders during 1941 and yet only Pavlov was shot.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 07-29-2011, 10:00 AM
 
78,339 posts, read 60,539,645 times
Reputation: 49628
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6 Foot 3 View Post
From my understanding during the german invasion of 1941 was that the soviets had five armies opposing the germans from north to south and these armies were (Commanders in parentheses) the Northern (Popov), Northwestern (Kuznetsov), Western (Pavlov), Southwestern (Timoshenko) and Southern (Tiulenev, Ryabyshev, Cherevichenko).

So my question is that with all the soviet front armies being pulverized by the invading wehrmacht why was only the western front army commander executed by Stalin and not the other frontline army commanders? Even the southern front army had three different commanders during 1941 and yet only Pavlov was shot.
Good question. One I cannot answer but I will throw in that sometimes Stalin would just have someone shot to keep the others on their toes.

Curious to hear from someone more in the know.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-29-2011, 10:46 AM
 
14,780 posts, read 43,672,468 times
Reputation: 14622
I think it was really just done as an example to other commanders. Pavlov narrowly escaped the purges that preceeded WW2. He was originally an officer in the Czarist armies and though he joined the Red Army in 1919 was not exaclty a party favorite. His armor doctrine that he pushed in the Red Army of using tanks as infantry support instead of forming them as independent units had been completely abandoned by the Red Army following the Winter War with Finland and the German successes in France. He was basically of no consequence. His military theories had been dismissed and he was not well politically connected.

Following his execution the Soviets also executed his Chief of Staff and 7 other Western Front generals. It seems like Stalin was simply trying to make a point and what better way than the commanders of the front that met the worst defeat.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-29-2011, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,016 posts, read 20,899,704 times
Reputation: 32530
To seek any sort of rationality, balance, or consistency in the actions of Stalin is to seek in vain.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-30-2011, 07:20 AM
 
13,134 posts, read 40,612,339 times
Reputation: 12304
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I think it was really just done as an example to other commanders. Pavlov narrowly escaped the purges that preceeded WW2. He was originally an officer in the Czarist armies and though he joined the Red Army in 1919 was not exaclty a party favorite. His armor doctrine that he pushed in the Red Army of using tanks as infantry support instead of forming them as independent units had been completely abandoned by the Red Army following the Winter War with Finland and the German successes in France. He was basically of no consequence. His military theories had been dismissed and he was not well politically connected.

Following his execution the Soviets also executed his Chief of Staff and 7 other Western Front generals. It seems like Stalin was simply trying to make a point and what better way than the commanders of the front that met the worst defeat.
NJ

O.k. that does make really good sense as to why Stalin would single him out amongst the five frontline army commanders during the 1941 invasion !!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-01-2011, 04:36 AM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
4,668 posts, read 4,034,394 times
Reputation: 4860
The story of General Dmitry Pavlov is like a case study of how quickly someone can fall out of favor based solely on the whims of a ruthless and paranoid dictator. Here was a man that fought in the Russian Civil War and advanced rapidly in the ranks of the Red Army. He commanded the Russian armored forces that fought in the Spanish Civil War and was one of the first individuals to be made a “Hero of the Soviet Union” in recognition for his role in stopping the Nationalist advance on Madrid in December of 1936. He survived the purge of the Red Army officer corps and went on to distinguish himself during the Winter War against the Finns in action along the Mannerheim Line. Marshal Zhukov thought very highly of Pavlov, describing him as a intuitive commander with an excellent grasp of armored warfare. In the pre-German invasion period, the two were often matched against each other in war games, first as opponents in a Soviet/Japanese conflict and later in the roles of defender and invader when the Soviet General Staff tested their plans to thwart a German invasion. And it was largely due to his reputation as a solid field commander that Pavlov found himself placed in charge of the “Special Western Military District” in Byelorussia in June 1940. It was at this point that one can say fortune truly stopped smiling on General Pavlov.

In February 1941, with concern increasingly being expressed that war with Germany was becoming more likely, Pavlov began to worry about the state of the defensive positions in his district. When he requested permission from Moscow to expand and upgrade them, it was denied. The inexplicable unwillingness to take action on an issue of such critical importance can be traced back to one person; Joseph Stalin. To start, Stalin believed war with Germany, if it came at all, was at least two years away from happening. This explains why on June 22nd, Russian planes were lined up, uncamouflaged at sixty-six airfields along the frontier, making them easy targets for the Luftwaffe, and military units in forward positions had no live ammo to issue. Secondly, Stalin was convinced that if the Germans did invade, they would target areas of economic importance, which to him meant the Ukraine and the Donets Basin. Thus, the whole focus of defending against an invasion was centered in one place, but the wrong one at that.

Stalin also believed that Hitler didn’t want war with Russia but that some in the Wehrmacht did. So he ordered that all frontier commanders be cautioned not to act against any German incursions into Soviet territory so it could not be construed by Germany as an act of war. When Marshal Zhukov requested that Soviet armed forces be mobilized on June 14, 1941, Stalin refused, stating “That’s war”. On June 21st, General Pavlov was advised by his intelligence officer that a massive build up of German forces was taking place all along the border opposite the military district. Alarmed, Pavlov asked permission to move his troops to fortified defensive positions. Stalin’s lackey, General Timoshenko, denied him permission to do so. As German tanks and infantry rolled across the border into Byelorussia on the morning of June 22nd, elements of Pavlov’s Western Front Army opened fired with artillery. This triggered a phone call from General Timoshenko to General Pavlov’s headquarters in Minsk. The call was fielded by Pavlov’s deputy commander, Major Ivan Boldin. Timoshenko demanded to know why Pavlov was acting counter to Comrade Stalin’s express order to not engage German troops. When Boldin explained the magnitude of the situation, Timoshenko brushed it aside demanding the artillery fire cease immediately and adding “Do not yield to enemy provocation”. Things only got worse for Pavlov from there.

Once it could no longer be denied that this was far more than a German “provocation”, Stalin issued orders calling for immediate counterattacks against German forces all along the frontier. Pavlov’s attempts to comply were thwarted by his inability to coordinate the movements of all elements of his Western Front armies. This was due in large part to the fact that the Soviets relied almost exclusively on Russia’s telephone system to communicate between the various army group headquarters and even Moscow itself. As this was well known to the Germans, the first thing they did as they crossed the border was to cut any telephone lines they encountered. And even when Pavlov was able to mount some sort of response to the German advance, it was quickly snuffed out. On June 23rd, Stalin ordered Pavlov to hold Minsk at all costs, saying that he would rather see the Western Front Army surrounded in Minsk then let the city fall into German hands. Sometime after this call, the last telephone line connecting Minsk with Moscow was cut and all contact between Pavlov and the Soviet High Command ceased. For days afterward, Stalin raged, demanding to know where Pavlov was and what he was doing. Unbeknownest to Moscow, Stalin’s wish was coming true; almost the entirety of the Western Front Army was in the process of being encircled and trapped in pockets at Bialystok and Minsk. When news reached Moscow on June 29th that Minsk had fallen to the Germans, Stalin dispatched General Andrei Yeremenko to find General Pavlov, relieve him of command, and send him back to Moscow. Yeremenko finally located Pavlov, informed him of Stalin’s decision, and asked why things had gone so terribly wrong. Pavlov stated ”What can I tell you about the situation. The stunning blows of the enemy caught our troops by surprise. We were not ready for battle. We were in peacetime conditions, carrying out exercises in our camps and firing ranges. And, for this reason, we suffered heavy losses, in air power, artillery, and in tanks and in manpower, too".

Pavlov and other members of the Western Front Army command returned to Moscow and were arrested and charged with “disgracing their rank, cowardice, lack of effectiveness, failure to manage troop control, abandoning weapons to the enemy without giving battle, and voluntarily quitting their military positions”. When Pavlov was interrogated by the NKVD, he was asked “Who was guilty of allowing the breakthrough on the Western Front?”. He replied “the basic reason for rapid movement of German troops into our territory was their obvious superiority in tanks and aviation”. At the end of the trial of the Western Front commanders, Pavlov was given the opportunity to speak before sentence was handed down. Pavlov stated “We are here in the dock not because we have committed crimes in time of war, but because we prepared for this war inadequately in peacetime”.

While Pavlov was correct in what he said, it didn’t save him from execution. If anything, the truth, or more correctly the need to hide the truth about who was really responsible for the devastating losses suffered by Soviet forces during the opening of Operation Barbarossa, is what led to his condemnation and death.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-01-2011, 05:19 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,554 posts, read 86,936,034 times
Reputation: 36644
The beauty part of the execution is that it can be so selectively and arbitrarily applied with no rhyme nor reason.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-01-2011, 08:00 AM
 
78,339 posts, read 60,539,645 times
Reputation: 49628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
To seek any sort of rationality, balance, or consistency in the actions of Stalin is to seek in vain.
He was fairly cunning in climbing to the top and I think we need to remember that Stalin purged a large number of officers pre-war for political reasons.

Great Purge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It seemed that during the war he put capable generals in charge in that when his neck was on the line he would make the correct decisions but at other times, especially post-war you would make somewhat intentionally random acts. (not always irrational though in that he was seeking a desired effect.)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-01-2011, 03:27 PM
 
13,134 posts, read 40,612,339 times
Reputation: 12304
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyT View Post
The story of General Dmitry Pavlov is like a case study of how quickly someone can fall out of favor based solely on the whims of a ruthless and paranoid dictator. Here was a man that fought in the Russian Civil War and advanced rapidly in the ranks of the Red Army. He commanded the Russian armored forces that fought in the Spanish Civil War and was one of the first individuals to be made a “Hero of the Soviet Union” in recognition for his role in stopping the Nationalist advance on Madrid in December of 1936. He survived the purge of the Red Army officer corps and went on to distinguish himself during the Winter War against the Finns in action along the Mannerheim Line. Marshal Zhukov thought very highly of Pavlov, describing him as a intuitive commander with an excellent grasp of armored warfare. In the pre-German invasion period, the two were often matched against each other in war games, first as opponents in a Soviet/Japanese conflict and later in the roles of defender and invader when the Soviet General Staff tested their plans to thwart a German invasion. And it was largely due to his reputation as a solid field commander that Pavlov found himself placed in charge of the “Special Western Military District” in Byelorussia in June 1940. It was at this point that one can say fortune truly stopped smiling on General Pavlov.

In February 1941, with concern increasingly being expressed that war with Germany was becoming more likely, Pavlov began to worry about the state of the defensive positions in his district. When he requested permission from Moscow to expand and upgrade them, it was denied. The inexplicable unwillingness to take action on an issue of such critical importance can be traced back to one person; Joseph Stalin. To start, Stalin believed war with Germany, if it came at all, was at least two years away from happening. This explains why on June 22nd, Russian planes were lined up, uncamouflaged at sixty-six airfields along the frontier, making them easy targets for the Luftwaffe, and military units in forward positions had no live ammo to issue. Secondly, Stalin was convinced that if the Germans did invade, they would target areas of economic importance, which to him meant the Ukraine and the Donets Basin. Thus, the whole focus of defending against an invasion was centered in one place, but the wrong one at that.

Stalin also believed that Hitler didn’t want war with Russia but that some in the Wehrmacht did. So he ordered that all frontier commanders be cautioned not to act against any German incursions into Soviet territory so it could not be construed by Germany as an act of war. When Marshal Zhukov requested that Soviet armed forces be mobilized on June 14, 1941, Stalin refused, stating “That’s war”. On June 21st, General Pavlov was advised by his intelligence officer that a massive build up of German forces was taking place all along the border opposite the military district. Alarmed, Pavlov asked permission to move his troops to fortified defensive positions. Stalin’s lackey, General Timoshenko, denied him permission to do so. As German tanks and infantry rolled across the border into Byelorussia on the morning of June 22nd, elements of Pavlov’s Western Front Army opened fired with artillery. This triggered a phone call from General Timoshenko to General Pavlov’s headquarters in Minsk. The call was fielded by Pavlov’s deputy commander, Major Ivan Boldin. Timoshenko demanded to know why Pavlov was acting counter to Comrade Stalin’s express order to not engage German troops. When Boldin explained the magnitude of the situation, Timoshenko brushed it aside demanding the artillery fire cease immediately and adding “Do not yield to enemy provocation”. Things only got worse for Pavlov from there.

Once it could no longer be denied that this was far more than a German “provocation”, Stalin issued orders calling for immediate counterattacks against German forces all along the frontier. Pavlov’s attempts to comply were thwarted by his inability to coordinate the movements of all elements of his Western Front armies. This was due in large part to the fact that the Soviets relied almost exclusively on Russia’s telephone system to communicate between the various army group headquarters and even Moscow itself. As this was well known to the Germans, the first thing they did as they crossed the border was to cut any telephone lines they encountered. And even when Pavlov was able to mount some sort of response to the German advance, it was quickly snuffed out. On June 23rd, Stalin ordered Pavlov to hold Minsk at all costs, saying that he would rather see the Western Front Army surrounded in Minsk then let the city fall into German hands. Sometime after this call, the last telephone line connecting Minsk with Moscow was cut and all contact between Pavlov and the Soviet High Command ceased. For days afterward, Stalin raged, demanding to know where Pavlov was and what he was doing. Unbeknownest to Moscow, Stalin’s wish was coming true; almost the entirety of the Western Front Army was in the process of being encircled and trapped in pockets at Bialystok and Minsk. When news reached Moscow on June 29th that Minsk had fallen to the Germans, Stalin dispatched General Andrei Yeremenko to find General Pavlov, relieve him of command, and send him back to Moscow. Yeremenko finally located Pavlov, informed him of Stalin’s decision, and asked why things had gone so terribly wrong. Pavlov stated ”What can I tell you about the situation. The stunning blows of the enemy caught our troops by surprise. We were not ready for battle. We were in peacetime conditions, carrying out exercises in our camps and firing ranges. And, for this reason, we suffered heavy losses, in air power, artillery, and in tanks and in manpower, too".

Pavlov and other members of the Western Front Army command returned to Moscow and were arrested and charged with “disgracing their rank, cowardice, lack of effectiveness, failure to manage troop control, abandoning weapons to the enemy without giving battle, and voluntarily quitting their military positions”. When Pavlov was interrogated by the NKVD, he was asked “Who was guilty of allowing the breakthrough on the Western Front?”. He replied “the basic reason for rapid movement of German troops into our territory was their obvious superiority in tanks and aviation”. At the end of the trial of the Western Front commanders, Pavlov was given the opportunity to speak before sentence was handed down. Pavlov stated “We are here in the dock not because we have committed crimes in time of war, but because we prepared for this war inadequately in peacetime”.

While Pavlov was correct in what he said, it didn’t save him from execution. If anything, the truth, or more correctly the need to hide the truth about who was really responsible for the devastating losses suffered by Soviet forces during the opening of Operation Barbarossa, is what led to his condemnation and death.
Tony

a very informative and fantastic posting as it's much appreciated as always
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-01-2011, 07:43 PM
 
Location: New York City
2,745 posts, read 6,462,023 times
Reputation: 1890
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6 Foot 3 View Post
From my understanding during the german invasion of 1941 was that the soviets had five armies opposing the germans from north to south and these armies were (Commanders in parentheses) the Northern (Popov), Northwestern (Kuznetsov), Western (Pavlov), Southwestern (Timoshenko) and Southern (Tiulenev, Ryabyshev, Cherevichenko).

So my question is that with all the soviet front armies being pulverized by the invading wehrmacht why was only the western front army commander executed by Stalin and not the other frontline army commanders? Even the southern front army had three different commanders during 1941 and yet only Pavlov was shot.
The Western Front suffered the worst defeat. That had little to do with anything that Pavlov did or didn't do - the bulk of the German forces were deployed on his sector, including 2 Panzer Groups (AG North and AG South had only 1 each). For political reasons, Stalin needed to make an example and Pavlov was the misfortune of being that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top