Caricature: Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin – The Friendship is Over (1941)
The alliance between these two dictators had been characterized by mutual opportunism and a will to manipulate. It had allowed them to pursue their respective politics of aggression without significant hindrances and to prepare themselves for the conflict to come. According to Hitler's territorial and racial ideas, the defeat of the Soviet Union was an absolute necessity. Stalin was aware of these ideological views. Today, the question of how seriously he took these views and whether – and when – he expected a German attack still remains open to debate. It has been established that the invasion of June 22, 1941, came as surprise and that the Soviet government and the Red Army were largely unprepared for it. This caricature of the end of an improbable friendship appeared in the British satirical magazine Punch.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz