From: El Paso, TX
I think most have indicated they agree that offensive plans were being made by both sides here. As far as actually being serious about conducting an offensive campaign in 1941 the evidence seems to point more to Hitler than it does Stalin. And I do find it hard to believe that the possibility of Stalin launching an attack first played much, if any, role in Hitler's decision to invade Russia when he did.
I completely agree that the "Stalin provoked Hitler" argument is baseless. There's more than enough evidence that Hitler was planning this from the beginning - after all, it's a core element in Mein Kampf. However, I haven't heard ANYBODY in this thread try to make that case. The question is, was Stalin planning an offensive against Germany, and was that plan independent of a preliminary German attack (i.e. the "counterattack plan theory"), and was there likewise no plan whatsoever for a "defensive alignment"? And according to the evidence from Soviet archives, as gathered and published by reputable historians (such as Pleshakov and Mikhail Ivanovich Meltyukhov, author of "Stalin's Missed Chance"), the answer is a categorical "yes".
I think many here are relying on old scholarship, and simply aren't aware of how much new information came out once the Soviet Union collapsed and researchers gained access to a treasure trove of Stalin-era documents (Suvorov's book came out in 1989 and uses none of this). The May 15th Zhukov plan is not imaginary. It's a real document that lays out the specifics of the assault plan, and it makes no reference whatsoever to a preliminary attack by the Germans.
Edit: As to the timing of the Stalin plan, Meltyukhov makes the case that it definitely was set to go in 1941. I haven't read his book, and so feel less confident in promulgating his ideas than those of Pleshakov. But he does have some interesting points (at least as summarized on various web sites).
< Message edited by Kull -- 4/13/2018 6:10:08 AM >