I recently read an article in Russian written by a doctor of art science for the journal Живая история, and that article is about the Soviet-German war and starts with the following two sentences:
Войну ждали. Но она пришла неожиданно.
The literal meaning seems to be as absurd as, "The war was expected, but came unexpectedly."
I believe that a doctor of art science could not mean to say such an absurdity, especially in a journal article, so it must be some tricky idiom, wordplay, slang, homonym, or subtlety that I fail to recognize.
What do those two sentences mean together? I humbly hope that native Russian speakers can kindly explain a confused Orient student how such apparently mutually exclusive statements make sense together.
UPDATE: I just found the same expression in another article:
1941 год. Война. Все её ждали, но она пришла неожиданно. Сотни тысяч добровольцев пошли сражаться с врагом. Огромные очереди стояли в военкоматы.
And a similar expression:
Войну ждали, но она началась внезапно. (Source)
So it appears to be a kind of common expression in the Russian language, and I am so much confused about this.