Stalin’s library

Authored by: Svetlana Lokhova

The Routledge International Handbook of Universities, Security and Intelligence Studies

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138572416
eBook ISBN: 9780203702086
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203702086-33

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Abstract

As was his habit, Joseph Stalin carried the book he was editing with him to his daily Red Army High Command briefing. The meeting began around midnight, as was the custom. At this meeting, around mid-April 1942, Stavka (High Command) reported more bad news to their Supreme Commander. The Soviet offensive to liberate the besieged city of Leningrad had collapsed into chaos. In heavy fighting in the district of Molvotitsy, the Red Army had suffered huge losses. This latest debacle unfolded despite earlier signs of success. An offensive by the Soviet army had surrounded a large pocket of German forces, but a seeming victory had turned into defeat. In the smoke-filled room, Stalin sat quietly as was his habit, sucking on his pipe. He passed the time jotting notes and doodles on any paper that came to hand. During the slew of depressing news, Stalin wrote in a sign of his grim determination to resist on the title page of the play ‘We will endure’. As the meeting dragged on towards dawn, he filled up the entire back page with comments such as the name of the battle, Molvotitsy. He ringed the name and made a reminder to himself to follow up with questions with his close confident the ex-Tsarist officer Marshall Boris Shaposhnikov.

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