QUOTE(Ulster_Niko @ Apr 19 2008, 06:36 AM) [snapback]1415558[/snapback]
I don't think Stalin ever held such an aggressive view with regards to Nazi Germany. Stalin's prime concern in Soviet Foreign Policy was gaining security for the USSR, this would not been achieved by attacking a militarily strong Nazi Germany with a large, but weak Red Army. More likely was that he wanted the Allies and the Axis to destroy each other whilst the USSR moved in to pick up the pieces and establish authority in Europe.
The USSR was only concerned with security after the second World War, because they'd been trashed by foreign invaders twice in almost 30 years at that point. The Red Army was only weak at the time of Operation Barbarossa - by around 1943 it was something to contend with, given the T-34s and all the new weaponry and equipment that was introduced, let alone tactics that allowed them to deal with the Wehrmacht. This combined with the weakening agent of the Allies would have made such an attack by Russia not so far from feasable.
You can't really place the cause of WWII on Stalin over Hitler no matter what you do. Fact is Hitler started it and the Allies bent over and let him. It also depends on how you like to place blame. I for one blame all those responsible for the Treaty of Versailles.
And I doubt any kind of "backlash" - Stalin was
the party and nobody dared dispute that. Even during the war when Stalin proved himself among the most incapable military commanders in history, noone dared advise him (and those who did saw quite a fate...).
And also you use "inevitably defeated" pretty loosely. I hate going into theoreticals, but the Normandy invasion was arguably what ultimately led to Germany's defeat; with that in mind, the Normandy invasion was a pretty fragile operation and could have been totally thrashed if Rommel had used his tanks. I'm just saying that you can't entirely dismiss the possibility that Hitler could have gone much farther than he did - it's these possibilities that help us learn the most.
And also, Hitler and Stalin were both very intelligent men. Hitler was the epitome of political brilliance and had the sense to place the technicals of the war in the hands of capable men whom he could trust. Stalin was a paranoid and unstable man who trusted nobody and preferred to direct things with his own hand at nearly the cost of the entire war. I don't think one can fairly say that either man was any smarter than the other...