Most Dopers would probably agree that, compared to the Eastern Front, the rest of World War 2 - all its other theatres combined, were sideshows. The Germans lost over 2.7 million men against the Soviets, compared to 330, 000 against the western allies.
Stalin is responsible for more deaths than Hitler, but without the Soviets willing to shed blood the western allies would have taken a total pasting. So, what I want to know is - are apologists for Stalin correct in their assumptions that his leadership was crucial for victory?
To be specific, I’m talking about things like his recognition of Stalingrad as what it was - rushing all available troops towards it, moving the factories beyond the Urals, encouraging rivalries among his generals (like Zhukov and Rokossovsky) to achieve faster results and being utterly ruthless when it came to discipline, with the NKVD looking over everyone’s shoulder.
However, he was also completely sucker punched in Operation Barbarossa and was one of history’s most bloody tyrants.
Do the pros outweigh the cons? Could another of the Old Bolsheviks have done a better job, or was Stalin the only man for the job - a textbook case of evil defeating evil?