Historical Personalities Of World War II
Trotsky in a very in-depth and clear manner puts the blame for starting the World War II on Stalin. The Populist Fronts tended to be so dear to Stalin that while he intended to rouse the Russian masses by gathering them around the idea of opposition to Hitler, at the same time Stalin was trying to strike a deal with the Nazi dictator, because he considered Hitler to be an imminent threat to the Russian bureaucracy.
In his obsession regarding diluting the strength of the Russian army and the party during the infamous purges, Stalin desisted for a long time from facing the German dictator, which undoubtedly extended leverage to Hitler on the Western front. In that context, Stalin played into the hands of Hitler by allowing the Nazi’s to have a striking success on the Western front, before Hitler turned his attention to the East that is the USSR. As per Trotsky, had Stalin not been so particular about consolidating his hold on the USSSR, it would have definitely allowed him to pressurize Hitler on the Eastern front, thereby perhaps inhibiting him from advancing so confidently in the West. Somewhere, Stalin’s strategy of allowing Hitler to initiate the World War II proved to be short sighted in the sense that he believed that he will manage to escape getting involved in the war.
So, simply speaking, Trotsky holds Stalin responsible for encouraging Hitler to begin the World War II. Had Stalin somehow conveyed to Hitler that Russia was going to offer a stiff resistance in case of an expansionist endeavor by Germany, perhaps World War II could have been avoided.