Soviet Intelligence Information about German Plans of Aggression. December 1940 – ​April 1941

Thanks to its agents in Germany and other countries, the Soviet Union disposed of a lot of convincing intelligence information about the preparations of the Third Reich and its allies for war.

The most valuable information came from Richard Sorge, members of the Cambridge Five, German anti-­Fascists from the Red Orchestra, and other individuals whose names are still unfamiliar to the general public yet whose convictions made them voluntarily help the Soviet intelligence services in the struggle against Nazi Germany.

Despite the lack of experienced personnel on account of the recent purges in the USSR, the agents managed to overcome intense German counter-­espionage and extensive disinformation activities by the Wehrmacht command.

Intelligence information about the preparations of the Third Reich and its allies to attack the USSR was regularly communicated to the Soviet leadership. However, J. Stalin treated some of these materials with mistrust and even irritation, considering them to be blatant disinformation. Some reports from Soviet agents were indeed contradictory and insufficiently reliable. This was particularly true of forecasts of the date of the German invasion, which depended on many factors, including Hitler’s own indecisiveness about the best moment for attacking the USSR.

29 December 1940
Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
Coll. 23, ser. 22424, fold. 4, f. 537.

Certified copy

January 4, 1941
Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
Coll. 23, ser. 24199, fold. 3, ff. 6–7.
Certified copy
11 March 1941
Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
Coll. 23, ser. 7237, fold. 2, ff. 21–50.
Certified copy