World War II


K - Z

Kapera, Zdzislaw J. "Summary Report of the State of the Soviet Military Sigint in November 1942 Noticing 'ENIGMA.'" Cryptologia 35, no 3 (Jul. 2011):247-256.

The author offers an assessment of a Soviet document from the GRU chief to Stalin, dated 29 November 1942. He sees it as affirming David Kahn's belief that the Soviets had broken into ENIGMA by November 1942.

Khristoforov, Vasilii S., et al. Lubyanka in the Days of the Battle for Moscow: Materials from the Organs of State Security SSSR from the Central Archive FSB Russia. Moscow: Izdatel'skii dom "Zvonnitsa-MG," 2002.

According to Fischer, Studies 48.2 (2004), this work documents the role of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) "in staving off Hitler's attempt to capture Moscow during October-November 1941.... NKVD paramilitary detachments played a vital, perhaps critical, role in the defense of Moscow by slowing down the Nazi war machine,... and giving ... Gen. Georgy Zhukov[] time to prepare a defense of the Soviet capital while reinforcements arrived from Siberia.... The editors, it seems, have made an honest and well-meaning effort to set the record straight and fill in some blank spots in their country's convoluted history."

Lukacs, John. June 1941: Hitler and Stalin. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Murphy, Periscope (Summer 2006), has some problems with this book. For example, the reviewer comments that some aspects of the author's "treatment of Stalin's actions and beliefs relative to the 1939 nonaggression pact [with Germnay] seem farfetched." In addition, Lukacs shows an "unfamiliarity with major intelligence issues"; and his "version of historical events ... is sometimes difficult to accept."

Mulligan, Timothy P. "Spies, Ciphers and 'Zitadelle': Intelligence and the Battle of Kursk, 1943." Journal of Contemporary History 22 (Apr. 1987): 235-259.

According to Sexton, the author notes "the differences between ULTRA-derived information provided the Soviets by the British and that supplied by the LUCY network."

Murphy, David E. What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

DKR, AFIO WIN 26-05 (11 Jul. 2005), finds that the author "argues that Stalin knew virtually everything about what Hitler was doing in the months leading up to the Nazi invasion." Stalin's reaction was to denounce the available "intelligence as Western disinformation.... Murphy has written a carefully researched and insightful account of one of the great intel fiascoes."

For Bath, NIPQ 21.3 (Sep. 2005), "[t]his carefully researched and well documented work is probably the best explanation that we are likely to get of one of the major questions surrounding the Second World War." Blank, Parameters, Spring 2006, calls Murphy's work "essential reading." Soybel, I&NS 21.3 (Jun. 2006), sees What Stalin Knew as "a wonderful synthesis of the situation in 1941 and of the information to which Stalin had access."

Peake, CIRA Newsletter 30.4 (Winter 2005) and IJI&C 19.2 (Summer 2006), comments that "[w]hat makes Murphey's approach original is the emphasis he places on the role of intelligence." He "shows in well documented detail that the warning intelligence [the Soviet intelligence] services provided prior to Barbarossa was timely and accurate."

To Steury, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), the author's "contribution is virtually unique.... Whereas other historians have looked at Stalin's actions and sought the reasoning behind them, Murphy examines the intelligence received by Stalin.... [He] massively documents the in-pouring of intelligence from all over Europe and even Japan, warning of the German military buildup for invasion.... If one were looking for fault in Murphy's analysis, one might accuse him of too uncritically accepting all the intelligence provided to Stalin as warning of the German attack.... Yet, there can be no doubt that Murphy is correct both in detail and in the sum and substance of his argument: Stalin was well-served by his intelligence departments. The responsibility for ignoring that intelligence was his and his alone."

From the viewpoint of Pringle, IJI&C 19.4 (Winter 2006-2007), Murphy "presents a mosaic of Soviet intelligence reporting found in no other work of Western scholarship." Some of the information provided "is truly enlightening, and changes scholarly understanding of German disinformation and how it influenced Soviet policy."

O'Sullivan, Donal.

1. Dealing With the Devil: Anglo-Soviet Intelligence CooperationDuring the Second World War. New York: Lang, 2010.

According to Peake, Studies 56.3 (Sep. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), the author "explains how an arrangement was reached with the SOE for Soviet agents to be dropped into German-occupied territories.... More than two dozen agents were involved.... Chronic mutual distrust hampered all operations.... Overall, the book is well documented, though O'Sullivan's judgment that the Red Orchestra was a German myth is debatable." Hashimoto, I&NS 26.6 (Dec. 2011), finds that "[t]aken as a whole this book is useful but it has severe limitations," notably its "loose academic style."

2. "Dealing With the Devil: The Anglo-Soviet Parachute Agents (Operation 'Pickaxe')." Journal of Intelligence History 4, no. 2 (Winter 2004). []

From abstract: "From 1941 to 1944, the Royal Air Force dropped more than twenty NKVD agents into Western Europe by parachute. The goal of ... operation ... 'Pickaxe' was to organize resistance and sabotage in Nazi-occupied territories." The majority of the agents "were arrested and executed by the Gestapo.... Anglo-Soviet subversion efforts lacked the necessary level of trust and consequently could not influence the war effort substantially."

Parrish, Michael. The Lesser Terror: Soviet State Security, 1939-1953. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996.

According to Kelley, Parameters, Winter 1997-98, the author "demonstrates that terror ... did not cease with Ezhov's removal in late 1938 but continued unabated, in phases and under various directors, until Stalin's death in 1953.... The hard-hitting detail which Parrish marshals is most impressive, if at times tedious."

Pleshakov, Constantine. Stalin's Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of World War II on the Eastern Front. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

For Legvold, FA 84.3 (May-Jun. 2005), the author provides "a spellbinding account of Stalin's deliberations with his terrorized entourage." Pringle, IJI&C 19.4 (Winter 2006-2007), notes that "Pleshakov's book devotes only a few pages to Soviet intelligence reporting." Nonetheless, "[l]ike Murphy. he sees Stalin's dead hand limiting any analysis or dissemination of warning intelligence to key commander[s]."

Pozniakov, Vladimir. "A NKVD/NKGB Report to Stalin: A Glimpse into Soviet Intelligence in the United States in the 1940s." Cold War International History Project Bulletin 10 (Mar. 1998): 220-222.

This article elaborates on a November 1944 joint report sent to Stalin by Beria and Merkulov about NKVD/NKGB activities abroad. The author also quotes from an appendix attached to the report but not included here.

Pringle, Robert W. "SMERSH: Military Counterintelligence and Stalin's Control of the USSR." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 21, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 122-134.

"[I]n its three-year existence, from 1943 to 1946, [SMERSH] played a critical role in monitoring the armed forces and the partisan movement" for Stalin.

Slayton, Barney F. "'War in the Ether': Soviet Radio-Electronic Warfare." Military Review 60 (Jan. 1980): 56-67.

Sexton identifies this article as a "general review of the evolution of Soviet Signals Intelligence during and following World War II."

Slepyan, Kenneth. Stalin's Guerrillas: Soviet Partisans in World War II. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2006.

House, Military Review 66 (Sep.-Oct. 2007), notes that while the author "describes the partisan organization and its effectiveness, he does not provide extensive information about the actual military conduct of the partisan war. What the reader will find, however, is an excellent analysis of the psychology and sociology of insurgents within the context of their larger society." For Campbell, Army History (Winter 2008), this is "a thoughtful, well-documented account of the social aspects of the partisan movement during World War II."

Stephan, Robert W. Stalin's Secret War: Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis, 1941-1945. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2003.

Goulden, Washington Times, 29 Feb. 2004, and Intelligencer 14.1, finds that he is convinced by the author's argument that "Soviet deception operations 'contributed enormously' to defeat of the Germans on the Eastern Front." Peake, Studies 48.4 (2004), refers to Stalin's Secret War as exhibiting "exemplary German, American, and selected Soviet primary- and secondary-source research.... The extensive appendices provide useful mission and organizational details on the primary Soviet and German intelligence elements. A major contribution to the literature."

For Blank, Parameters 35.1, this work has been "deeply researched from sources on both sides." The author "recounts the Soviets’ attention to the importance of intelligence and counterintelligence, their growing ability to use these tools effectively in the conduct of combat and deception operations, and the penalties that the Germans incurred because of their blithe disregard for both forms of secret operations." To Brown, I&NS 21.4 (Aug. 2006), this is "a first-rate history"; it is "a well-researched and convincing work." The book "not only favorably compares to the best scholarship concerning the war on the Eastern Front, but it also helps to present a more complete picture of World War II in general."

Laurie, JIH 5.2 (Winter 2005), sees this as an "excellent study." The author shows Germany's "woeful lack of accurate strategic and tactical information about the enemy they faced.... Stephan emphasizes [that] in intelligence matters the Germans were their own worst enemy.... The diabolical, pervasive, and chillingly efficient Soviet security services compounded and exploited German errors and weaknesses.... Stephan has created a very comprehensive work that is likely to remain the standard book on the subject for years to come."

Stone, David R. "Soviet Intelligence on Barbarossa: The Limits of Intelligence History." In Intelligence and Statecraft: The Use and Limits of Intelligence in International Society, eds. Peter Jackson and Jennifer Siegel. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005.

Whaley, Barton. Codeword Barbarossa. London & Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1973.

According to Constantinides, Whaley's central thesis is that "Hitler did succeed in deceiving Stalin about his intentions in 1941." In keeping with his model, Whaley finds the key to the surprise in deception activities. The author is "first-rate in research, and his industry and ability to relate diverse data are laudable." Some critics point out, however, that there is no specific evidence that Stalin was influenced by German deception operations. Pforzheimer comments that this work "has much to offer the serious student of intelligence," whether or not one agrees with all of the author's interpretations.

Return to Russia WWII Table of Contents