The Two Uncle Joes

In 1937, Adolf Hitler and his intelligence staff devised one of the most brilliant disinformation operations in history. Diplomatic cables were sent from Berlin to Moscow, using a code the Nazis knew Stalin had broken. The Red Army, which had already lost many trained officers and men to Stalin's sweeping nationwide Terror, would soon be targeted for mass liquidation. The cables Hitler ordered sent to the German embassy in Moscow detailed a widespread conspiracy in the Red Army to overthrow Stalin. Top Red Army commanders were mentioned by name. All Hitler had to do was trigger Uncle Joe’s insane paranoia so that Stalin himself would smash his own armies and save Hitler’s Wehrmacht the task.

The rest is history. The first disastrous result of the Great Purge of Russian armed forces in 1937-38 was the Red Army’s humiliation at the hands of the scrappy Finns during Stalin's invasion of Finland in 1940. When Hitler received word of what was happening in Finland, he famously told his top military planners that Russia was a rotten house that would fall with one kick.

Hitler then directed his military commanders to begin planning Operation Barbarossa, which began on June 22, 1941. It was the largest military invasion in history, involving over three million Axis troops across a front over fifteen hundred miles wide. The Axis invasion force included divisions composed entirely of Finnish troops, who were eager to return the favor of ruthless invasion to Stalin. 

Yet there were other factors at play in the jaw-dropping deterioration of Soviet battle readiness. Stalin had completely politicized the Red Army, installing political commissars at the company level to ensure ideological purity under pain of death. Many of Stalin's most capable and battle-tested officers and soldiers were purged for purely ideological reasons.

An armchair history quarterback can clearly see the many material, tactical, and strategic reasons Hitler lost Russia and, eventually, the war. First, there was Il Duce's abortive invasion of Albania, Yugoslavia, and Greece, which set back the Barbarossa timetable six critical weeks as Hitler had to divert top infantry and armored divisions to bail out Mussolini and solidify Nazi control of the troublesome Balkan nations. 

Second, I believe it would have been a far more successful invasion had Hitler concentrated that three-million-man army into one giant spearhead aimed straight at Moscow. The resultant loss of the Russian capital, as well as the Nazis gaining control of essential communication centers, rail lines, and critical material resources, would have completely demoralized the Russian people and possibly compelled Stalin to surrender. That hypothetical Nazi victory would have allowed Hitler to strike out at the Caucasus oil fields at his leisure and with little fear of Soviet obstruction. 

The overarching point of my history recap is this: By ruthlessly purging his best soldiers and officer corps and politicizing the Red Army to the point of debilitation, Stalin left the Red Army shattered and the Soviet Union wide open for Hitler’s invasion. It was only through sheer force of numbers (which included the use of hundreds of political prisoners as unarmed shock troops) and the ruthless cunning of such brilliant Russian commanders as Marshall Georgy Zhukov, that the Russians still speak Russian today and not German (whatever Russians would have been left alive by the genocidal SS Einsatzgruppen, that is). 

American military battle readiness, ingenuity, and cunning have been the core of our national defense spanning our entire history, from Steven Decatur and William Tecumseh Sherman to Chester Nimitz and George S. Patton, Jr. Yet today our own politically driven Uncle Joe, with support from his newly appointed military commissars such as DoD Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, appears far less concerned with training and operational readiness than with mindlessly obsessing over the chimeras of right-wing extremism in the ranks and climate change.

I can assure Secretary Austin that yes, climate change will be a factor if an American city goes up in a mushroom cloud because our commanders were too busy trying to figure out a policy for how trans officers should be addressed or directing servicemen and women to the cause of saving the earth for Gaia. A million degrees Fahrenheit is most definitely a significant change in climate, Mister Secretary. You got that right!

As a six-year Navy Veteran who deeply loves this country and would gladly give my life for it were I called back into service (at 61 years old, that would be a most desperate situation indeed), I have nothing but love for my brothers- and sisters-in-arms who have sacrificed far more in service to this country than I. Biden’s rank politicization of our peerless Armed Forces sickens and troubles me no end as an American, and offends every sensibility I have as a military Veteran.

Even worse, it troubles me greatly that we could be going down the same dark historical path as the first Uncle Joe. Does anyone doubt our enemies are laughing at these insane developments or that our allies deeply troubled by them? When the French tell us we need to put it in a sock, we’re in real trouble.

The Fall of Rome did not happen overnight or in a vacuum. It was a slow national suicide brought about by political corruption, moral decadence, and allowing the Barbarians in the gates instead of defending against them. Need anything more really be said?

To quote Michael Dukakis (a rarity on par with quoting V. I. Lenin's famous eggs and omelets axiom), our current political and military “leaders” are fishes rotting from the head down. That rot is now spreading through every corner of American society. Sooner or later, it will debilitate our military to the point of near-inefficiency. History is not just speaking its warnings to us as a nation. It is screaming. Can anyone say Taiwan? Iran? North Korea? China? Pearl Harbor? 9/11? Hiroshima?

Image from Right of Center by Broc Smith

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