This slim but turgid book regarding the role of Stalin in the origins of the Second World War devotes about three quarters of its text to justifying already widely accepted historical interpretations while relatively scant attention is paid to its most revolutionary thesis, namely that Stalin had operational plans for 1941 or 42 to attack Nazi Germany and conquer Europe, thus making Operation Barbarossa the pre-emptive strike that Hitler claimed it was.
With regard to that revolutionary assertion, Professor Topitsch's book is vastly inferior to Viktor Suvorov's "Icebreaker" which was published soon after "Stalin's War" and which, through its voluminous evidence, at least presents a more compelling argument than "Stalin's War". Professor Topitsch doesn't need to spill so much ink telling us that 1. Marxist-Leninist doctrine necessitated a death struggle between socialism and capitalism 2. Soviet strategy, beginning with Lenin and brought to full fruition with Stalin, called for inciting warfare between opposing blocs of the capitalist states in order to weaken them and further the goal of communist world-domination. To be sure, Stalin's actions- particularly his non-agression pacts with Germany and Japan- certainly facilitated war between the capitalist/imperialist powers and benefitted the Soviet Union, (although Professor Topitsch goes way too far when he refers to Hitler as Stalin's tool, as if the entire Nazi movement were a Soviet creation dancing to the tune of its Kremlin masters.) In any case, the educated reader doesn't need to be hit over the head with these two points for 100 pages of a book which purports to reveal a "radical new theory of the origins of the Second World War". Finally, by page 104 the Professor begins to treat the subject of Stalin's specific offensive intentions in 1941. Some evidence of Soviet offensive deployment is presented, but the paucity of specifics is regrettable and I'm still not sure (and unwilling to re-read the dense prose) if the Professor believes (as does Suvorov) that Stalin was preparing an imminent attack on Germany (and thus Europe) in 1941, or whether the Soviet forces were only deployed offensively so that_in the eventuality_of a German invasion (which was expected to be quickly beaten back) the Soviet forces could answer the Nazi forces with an overwhelming attack. It's an important point, and one which Suvorov's "Icebreaker" answers with more clarity and supporting evidence.
Professor Topisch did a service in raising the issue at a time when the legend of the "unprovoked" German invasion was even more prevalent than it is today, and he makes several other intelligent (and politically incorrect) points, such as the Western leaders' Ahabesque monomania towards Hitler and complete naivete towards the far greater Soviet threat, but this small book is ultimately unsatisfying in its prose, its structure and the scantness of its evidence. As I've said, "Icebreaker" is a far more convincing argument than "Stalin's War", although it too has serious flaws and the definitive work on this question has yet to be written.