The Great Patriotic War



The harsh Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, dictated by the victorious Germans to the struggling Bolsheviks in 1918, snatched huge swatches of territory from Russia on its Western frontier: Finland, Estonia, Lativia, Lithuania, much of Poland and Ukraine. It goes without saying that Russians despised this treaty as much as the Weimar Germans detested the Treaty of Versailles. (Note the light orange on the map as the areas lost.)

image source < http://teacherweb.ftl.pinecrest.edu/snyderd/mwh/projects/ppc/maps.htm >


By comparing the two maps, it is clear that both Weimar Germany and Soviet Russia would be revisionist powers after 1920, eager to alter the status quo and balance of power in Central and Eastern Europe. Hitler was determined to absorb the Rhineland, annex Austria, liberate the Sudeten Germans, regain Alsace-Lorraine and lands lost to Denmark, and especially to re-annex Danzig and the Polish Corridor. Hitler successfully annexed and re-armed the Rhineland; completed the Anschluss with Austria; gained the Sudetenland at the Munich Conference (1938.) Poland was next! Germany and the Soviets couldn't both have Poland.

image source < http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/media_nm.php?MediaId=1620 >
Germany takes over Sudetenland < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=175 >

After the Rhineland, Austria was next on Hitler's agenda: In March, 1938, the Anschluss united Austria with Germany (a conquest or a liberation?) What might Hitler want next? See map below.


image source < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_nm.php?ModuleId=10005447&MediaId=1935 >

You guessed it, the Sudetenland! And then what? The Polish Corridor.

image source < http://www.gcsehistory.org.uk/modernworld/appeasement/sudetenland.htm >

 

 

Stalin called off the Terror in 1939, having purged the three legs of his tripod (Party, Army, Secret Police, and the intelligetsia, btw) to address the foreign threat. Hitler, having annexed Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938, and the rest of Czechoslovakia (March, 1939,) at some point, would drive to regain Danzig and the Polish Corridor. Stalin's delegate to the League of Nations, Maxim Litvinov called in vain for collective action against Nazi aggression. Britain and France were unresponsive. At last, it was the Danzig crisis that would trigger war.

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Corridor >

 

Britain, France, and the League of Nations practiced Appeasement with regard to Japanese, Italian, and German aggression in the 1930s. Maxim Litvinov (right,) called for stronger reactons than "stern warnings" and "verbal condemnation." Stalin's dismissal of Litvinov in 1939 indicated a new policy with a new man (Molotov/"hammer" to Stalin's "man of steel")--one of rapprochement rather than hostility towards Nazi Germany. For negotiations to proceed, Litvinov, a Jew, had to go. Litvinov might have been murdered on Stalin's orders in 1951 in the post-war resurgence of anti-Semitism ("Maxim Litvinov").

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxim_Litvinov >


Having killed off most Soviet high-ranking military and naval officers, Stalin was in no position to fight Hitler over Poland. The two leaders signed the Molotov-Ribbontrop Non-Aggression Pact on August 23, 1939. In the graphic (right,) Molotov signs the document; Ribbontrop is 3rd from the left standing; Stalin looks on grinning. Historians refer to the provisions of the Pact as comprising the "4th Partition of Poland."


image source < http://www.pbs.org/behindcloseddoors/>
German and Soviet troops meet at the Bug River < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=236 >

Pulitzer Prize winning American cartoonist, Clifford Berryman, reflected the skepticism that greeted the signing of the Molotov-Ribbontrop Non-Aggression Pact in August, 1939. Hitler's anti-Semitic and anti-communist rhetoric made observers doubt the sincerity of their alliance, justifiably so as it would turn out in 1941.

image source < http://www.granger.com/results.asp?image=0036907&stockindexonline.com=1&screenwidth=1122 >

 

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Western Poland; within weeks, Warsaw fell and lay in ruins. Stalin lived up to the terms of the Non-Aggression Pact and declared Soviet neutrality while Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany and moved troops to the Maginot Line between France and Germany. There, for the next eight months, they sat, during the so-called Phony War or Sitzkrieg.


image source < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005070 >

For a gallery of photographs of the German invasion of Poland, follow link above and proceed to "next photograph"
Germany invades Poland < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=203 >
Blitzkrieg in Poland/scroll to 10:58 < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFLaJRD9Kbk >
Danzig fell to triumphant Wehrmacht troops < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=155 >
The fall of Warsaw, September 27, 1939 < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=241 >
German victory parade down the streets of Warsaw < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?ModuleId=10005070&MediaId=237 >

Look at where French fortifications were concentrated. During the "phony war" and sitzkrieg, French troops did exactly that, sat there. How do French troops on the Maginot Line help Poland? If you were Germany what invasion route might you choose to invade France?

image source < http://lostimagesofww2.com/photos/places/maginot-line.php >
On September 17, 1939, the Soviets noticed the lack of substantive help--despite a declaration of war on Germany--France and Britain gave to Poland. The Red Arrmy invaded Eastern Poland and began its absorption; Britain and France expelled Stalin from the League. Polish officers (left,) and thousands of Polish aristocrats, clergy, and bourgeoisie would meet their rendez-vous with destiny in the Katyn Forest and elsewhere in 1940. Follow links below for the ghastly story of the Katyn Massacre. Apparently it was Beria who determined that Polish officers needed to be shot! Nazi and Einsatzgruppen atrocities in the conquered lands are a familiar story; Soviet troops behaved badly as well. See Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands for horrific detail. I have if you want to borrow.


image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Poland >

Alas, poor Poland. Invaded by Nazi Germany September 1, 1939, by Soviet Russia September 17. That said, despite their own suffering, the Poles themselves did not behave very well during the war.

image source < http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/reflections_on_sept._1_1939_the_invasion_of_poland >



In one mass grave in the Katyn Forest outside of Smolensk were:
" a Polish admiral, two generals, twenty-four colonels, seventy-nine
lieutenant colonels, two hundred and fifty-eight majors, six hundred and fifty-four captains,
seventeen naval captains, three thousand five hundred sergeants, and seven army chaplains--
in all some four thousand one hundred and eighty-three men" (
Kerr 201). There were
other graves with, perhaps, a total of more than twenty thousand Polish officers and men.

The Katyn Massacre continues to roil relations between Poland and Russia; as recently as 2013,
a New York Times article chronicled bitter exchanges between leaders of the two nations.
Russia's dismissive response to Polish requests for information and compensation basically says,
"Stalin did it," and "It's not in our jurisdiction," and "It was so long ago"
(Cowell and Roth A8).


On the Katyn Forest Massacres, several youtube sites (text first, then photographs)
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6pfczwJAbE >
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y8VNDOBGJM > (newsreel)
grainy newsreel includes deportations < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4Nl_Q-EjbA >
recreation of Katyn in Polish-made movie < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxPPA3LeFmU >
A rich site on Katyn < http://www.katyn.org.au/ >
If you are interested in this topic, Philip Kerr has written a myster/spy novel (Bernie Gunther series)
called A Man without Breath. It's fiction, but thoughtfully and thoroughly researched

Look again: while the German juggernaut rolled across Western Poland and seized Warsaw, British and French troops at the Maginot Line followed instructions to and wait for the inevitable eruption of hostilities between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Even though the Soviets invaded Eastern Poland on September 17, the two armies carefully observed and upheld the terms of the Non-Aggression Pact. Britain and France did not initiate hostilities.

image source < http://lostimagesofww2.com/photos/places/maginot-line.php >

 


Meanwhile, during the hiatus of the Non-Aggression Pact (1939-1941,)--and "phony war"/sitzkrieg in the West--Stalin consolidated Soviet control over Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. The Red Army met fierce resistance in the Winter War with Finland (1939-1940)* but gained valuable combat experience. Hitler was not pleased with the sovietization of Eastern Europe. In the spring of 1940, Germany launched its blitzkrieg against Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxumbourg, and France, all of which fell that spring and early summer. The efficacy of the Molotov-Ribbontrop Pact was evident: Germany dominated or controlled Western Europe while the Soviets controlled Eastern Europe. On the other hand, both Hitler and Stalin needed the Ukrainian breadbasket; neither could allow the other to do so. Thus, when Hitler's advisors suggested that the Battle of Britain was virtually won, Germany opened the "second front."

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War >
The Winter War < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OH--fNmP4M >
From 2006, The Winter War: Fire and Ice, tells the story from the Finnish perspective
< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMa3w8L92Xs >
*How could this not be true? Stalin had killed off most of his experienced military
personnel in 1938 (as Maddie observed.)

In the spring of 1940, the Phony War came to a screeching halt as Germany crushed Norway, Denmark, Luxumbourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. British troops that crossed the channel to help their French Allies were driven to the sea and evacuated at Dunkirk. The movie Atonement portrays those harrowing days. German General Heinz Guderian (right) developed the tactics of blitzkrieg, combining the latest technologies in communication, plus massive forces of armour, air support, and infantry ("Blitzkrieg"). Pefected in Poland in 1939, his plans resulted in the collpase of the West and the fall of France in six weeks! Chamberlain's government collapsed in London; Churchill replaced Chamberlain as Prime Minister. The Battle of Britain nearly brought Britain to its knees, though, according to Churchill, it was Britain's "finest hour."

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blitzkrieg >

Coventry < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=171 >
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was set during the Blitz when many
of London's children were evacuated to the countryside

Alas, France < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEbNoH5fkts >
Blitzkrieg and the Fall of France begin here < https://youtu.be/XEbNoH5fkts?t=88 >

When Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa June 22, 1941, Stalin was taken by surprise, even though his spies, Richard Sorge and the Red Orchestra, warned him. Stalin viewed their dispatches as "disinformation." Although the Red Army was larger than the Wehrmacht, it was still suffering from the aftermath of the military purge, as well as from the costly Winter War against Finland. Suffice it to say, Operation Barbarossa hurled a massive German invading force of 3,000,000 men on a 2,000 mile front aiming at Leningrad in the North, Moscow in the center, and Stalingrad in the South. "...the Nazi onslaught sent them staggering backward with terrible losses" (Wesson 169).


image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa >

WWII/Russian Perspective < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRlOt-wqFHY>
for summary of the "cronies," Molotov-Ribbontrop Pact, Operation Barbarossa, nervous breakdown--advance to 12:50-22:00
The series, Soviet Storm: War in the East walks you through (in detail) WWII
from Barbarossa to the end
< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhXKlYnSWjA >
advance to 5:15 for invasion maps/diagrams
newsreel footage of German invasion of the Soviet Union, June, 1941
< http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=229 >

While Stalin was caught off guard at this betrayal by his pal (?) Hitler, and
the Soviet Union was not prepared for a war against Germany, he had
taken the precaution of signing a non-aggression pact with Japan in April, 1941.

Operation Barbarossa got off to a stunningly swift and successful start as German
troops advanced to the outskirts of Moscow and Leningrad and took Kiev.
However, June 22 was a month to six weeks later than the original plan, as German
troops were sidetracked and slowed down helping their Italian allies in Yugoslavia.
"General Frost" was waiting in the wings.

Stalin spoke to the nation in the fall of 1941 < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IGbjPqFFvA >

The Wehrmacht, followed by the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) sliced into the Soviet Union. Advancing German troops captured 300,000 Soviet troops, 2500 tanks, 1400 pieces of artillery in the seventeen days following June 22, 1941 (Trueman).

image source < http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/operation_barbarossa.htm >
Einsatzgruppen < http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?MediaId=183 >

 

According to contemporary accounts, Stalin was taken completely by surprise, indeed, was in a state of shock, not heard from for eleven days after June 22. (Wesson 169). By October, 1941, Germans were at the gates of Moscow. Hitler and Goebbels, prematurely as it turned out, announced victory, but the Soviets prepared to defend their capital! Stalin recalled Marshal Zhukov from Leningrad and set the citizens of Moscow to dig trenches and erect a defense perimeter (Gottfried, The Great Fatherland War 40-41). Although the image (right) comes from Leningrad, enduring its own nightmare, it illustrates Soviet response to Stalin's patriotic call. Note who's doing the hard work!


image source < http://mapandcounters.blogspot.com/2010/12/war-in-east-messing-with-monster-part.html >

From the Battle of Moscow to the end of the war, Stalin substituted patriotic for political rhetoric, reminding Russians of their heroes ( Nevsky, Donskoy, Kutuzov) and their deep love of the land. Russians (narod) did what they had done before--fought and died for their country (rodina.) The figure behind the heroic Red Army soldier is (St.) Alexander Nevsky. As well, Stalin opened the churches. Like Lenin in the Civil War, Stalin used every "arrow" in his "quiver."
   

image source < http://www.allworldwars.com/Russian%20WWII%20Propaganda%20Posters.html >


As German troops advanced through Eastern Poland and into the Soviet Union, they caught Stalin's son by his first wife, Ekaternina Svanidze, Jacov Djugashvili, in their net. The capture of Jacov was portrayed in the movie, Europa, Europa. The image to your right was taken by German soldiers at the time of his capture.

image source < http://www.war44.com/history-russia-during-world-war-ii/369-jakov-djugashvili-stalin.html >

Jacov Djugashvili died in Sachenhausen Concentration Camp in 1943, either in an attempted escape or by suicide or at the hands of the SS. Stalin refused to negotiate for his release or exchange, although recent sources suggest that Stalin demonstrated some curiosity about the death of his eldest son after the war.

image source < http://www.war44.com/history-russia-during-world-war-ii/369-jakov-djugashvili-stalin.html >

By Christmas, 1941, Hitler's Operation Typhoon had not (and never would) taken Moscow. With winter closing in, the Germans were no more able than Napoleon's Grand Army to withstand "General Frost" in 1812. At the same time, Stalin's propaganda machine moved into high gear. The caption reads, "The Red army will sweep the enemy out!"

image source < http://www.allworldwars.com/Russian%20WWII%20Propaganda%20Posters.html >

The northern pincer of the German army (see map of Operation Barbarossa) beseiged Leningrad for almost two years, often called "the 900 days." As in Moscow, citizens scrounged as best they could and starved, literally to death. In image (left,) Leningraders venture into the rubble of the winter streets to get water from a broken pipe.

image source < http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/09/world-war-ii-the-eastern-front/100150/ >

Burt Lancaster narrates "The Siege of Leningrad" from the documentary The Unknown War
You'll notice the age of the clip as Lancaster refers to Leningrad rather than St. Petersburg

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXQlJrttpOU >
And another "Seige of Leningrad" from the Battlefield series, with historical context
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OCoxf64Xyg >

For "900" days, Leningrad endured a siege and isolation that lasted from September, 1941-January, 1944.
Food and fuel were scarce (available only during winter when Lake Ladoga froze over and provided a "road to life.")
In the worst days, Leningraders received 1/4 pound of bread per day; in a two month period in 1941,
200,000 died ("900 Day Siege").
Images below show food delilveries to the beleaguered city over the "road of life."

 

image source/left < http://eng.lenobl.ru/history/1941-1945 >
image source/right < http://www.classicalmusicclubtoronto.org/2006-07_schedule.html >

At Stalin's request, Shostakovich composed the heartbreakingly beautiful 7th ("Leningrad")
Symphony in honor of the valiant Leningraders starving, freezing, and dying in their hundreds of thousands,
perhaps millions
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtjAmaG7jjA > and again.
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKOZEW9SfdU > It comes as no surprise that
in the post-war crackdown, Shoshtakovich ran afoul of Soviet authority
and found his works, even the 7th Symphony, banned
.

The Great Patriotic War/Leningrad < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz-eBKbEUX0 >
begin at 3:06

The seige of Leningrad produced a suffering that beggars description.
Two recent novels that capture its essence are
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean and City of Thieves by David Benioff

Notwithstanding the Battle of Moscow and the Seige of Leningrad, Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet historians unanimously claim that the turning point from nadir to "road back" in World War II (for the Soviets and their British and American Allies) came with the bitter fighting at Stalingrad, August, 1942-February, 1943, when German Field Marshal von Paulus surrendered the entire 6th Army. It was the decisive battle of the war with massive casualties and deaths on both sides. The German advance on Stalingrad began in June, 1942; Stalin issued his famous Order #277, "Not one step back!" Troops from all over the Soviet Union headed for the Don and Stalin's namesake city. Rick Atkinson's trilogy on the war in the West calls Normandy the greatest battle in the history of warfare; Russians would beg to differ. In his prize-winning account of 1944-1945, The Guns at Last Light, Atkinson barely mentions the Eastern Front.

image source < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad >
For the statistics: < http://historyofrussia.org/battle-of-stalingrad-facts/ >
This battle, in all of its gruesome reality, is portrayed in the movie, Enemy at the Gates. The propaganda poster (right) shows a valiant Red Army soldier hurling back a German tank. Stalin viewed the Allied landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) in November, 1942, and of Sicily, July, 1943, (Operation Husky,) and of Italy, September, 1943 (Operation Avalanche,) as insignificant side shows. Ditto Normandy (Operation Overlord) in June 1944.

image source < http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-greatest-military-blunders-of-world-war-ii.php >

The Battle for Russia documentary < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd_Wt4N1Sss > and
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6b1PNWqpbM&feature=related >
slide montage of the Battle of Stalingrad < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Sc4NBAGog&feature=related >
Soviet snipers (basis of Enemy at the Gates?) < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUHuCS1rS8A&feature=related >
Lyudmilla Pavlichenko, female sniper < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJHpWPBtEwQ&feature=related >
"The Battle of Stalingrad" from Soviet Storm series < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf8Rmf4m8rs >

At the beginning of the war, Soviet women were banned from combat duty. However, female pilots like Nadezhda Popova--called Night Witches of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment--flew bombing raids over German cities (Martin A13). Recent publications have described these brave women who risked their lives in flimsy aircraft.

image source < http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3042992/posts >
See also: David Stahel, Operation Typhoon;
Amy Goodpaster Strebe, Flying for her Country;
Albert Axell, Russia's Heroes, 1941-1945.
Held at Stalingrad, Germany tried to regain the initiative and resume its offensive at Kursk. By July, 1943, however, the Russian T-34 tank was equal to the German Panzer and Tiger. As well, the Soviets massed infantry and air power for the defense of Kursk, 500 miles South of Moscow. "...Soviet victory...at Stalingrad and Kurtz...determined the outcome of the war" (Overy 98). Kursk enabled Stalin to go to Tehran in November to hammer out Allied diplomacy in his first meeting with Churchill and FDR.

image source < http://www.pbs.org/behindcloseddoors/episode-2/ep2_battle_kursk.html >
Look where Kursk is: notice how deeply into the Soviet Union Germany penetrated; notice as well where Kursk is located. How important was a dramatic Soviet victory here?

image source < http://www.battleofkursk.org/Battle-of-Kursk-Map.html >

Kursk military stats:
Germany--900,000 men, 2700 tanks, 10,000 guns, 2000 aircraft
USSR-- 1,336,000 men, 3444 tanks, 19,000 guns, 2900 aircraft (
Overy 90).
Kursk casualty stats:
Germany--170,000
USSR--685,466 (
"Battle of Kursk").
Winston Churchill commented in 1943, "Stalingrad was the end of the beginning,
but Kursk was the beginning of the end" ("
Battle of Kursk").

If Stalingrad marked the turningpoint, the epic, gigantic tank battle at Kursk confirmed the beginning of the end for Nazi domination of Eastern (and/or the rest of) Europe. The Red Army went on the offensive and never slowed its pace, slicing West as the Wehrmacht had sliced East in 1941. The T-34 tank was the Soviet response to Germany's Panzer and Tiger armour. Bloody slaughter raged through July and August, 1943, as the Soviets retook Orel, Belgorod, and Kharkhov. In this poster, a Soviet soldier smashes the German sign, "to the East," replacing it with "to the West."


image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kursk >
"The Battle of Kursk" from the Soviet Storm series < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgo3p1IqVy0 >
Battle of Kursk < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTbCLYFF2eg >
There's a Battle of Kursk video game that you can download and play < http://www.battleofkursk.org/ >

 

Meanwhile, though never acknowledged by Stalin, Britain and the United States ferried supplies to Murmansk and Archangel and carried on day and night raids over German cities and industrial areas, severely crippling German industrial and military output. In addition, a British spy ring, code-named "Lucy," fed information to Moscow.

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing_during_World_War_II>

Red Army general and marshal, Georgy Zhukov was the military strategist who oversaw the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Soviet march West, and the fall of Berlin. He had survived the purge of the military, according to some, by a lucky assignment to observe the Spanish Civil War in 1937. He hurled 1,300,000 troops at Berlin and brought the city and its population to their knees. Soviet troops behaved very badly in Berlin.

image source < http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/military/georgy-zhukov/ >
In December, 1943, at Tehran, FDR, Stalin, and Churchill met face-to-face. Stalin complained that a "bona fide" second front had not been opened; FDR demanded that the Soviets declare war on Japan. Post-war reconstruction was also on the table. "Beneath the outward show of bonhomie there were strong currents of distrust..." (Overy 246).

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehran_Conference>

German General Heinz Guderian, mastermind of the Panzer wing of Operation Barbarossa, wrote in his diary after Kursk, "...we have suffered a terrible defeat. ....From now on, the enemy was in undisputed possession of the initiative" ("Battle of Kursk"). The cost in casualties to both sides was staggering, but the Russians could afford to sacrifice more lives than the Germans. According to agreements reached at Yalta, Soviet troops liberated Berlin, which fell in the spring of 1945, culminating in VE Day, May 8, 1945. Soviet troops more than avenged Nazi atrocities. Image (left) is a famous photograph of Red Army troops raising the the Soviet flag in a shattered Berlin. The Red Army dropped 40,000 tons of shells on Berlin in the final two weeks of the war!


image source < http://greatpowerpolitics.com/?p=1881 >

In April, 1945, American and Soviet troops met at Torgau on the Elbe;
although political leaders were already at odds, the soldiers seemed
delighted to meet one another in the final days of the war

Elbe meeting < http://www.history.com/videos/friend-or-enemy#friend-or-enemy >
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R05dCRkLA94 >
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRSoX0DDZCc >

Stalin reached a peak of international prestige at war's end, meeting with FDR and Churchill at Yalta in February, 1945, to divvy up the spoils of victory. In this image (right,) the Big Three met at the former tsarist resort, Livadia Palace, in the Crimea. War in Europe was winding down; most of Eastern Europe had been "liberated" by the Red Army. The precarious fragility of FDR's physical health is evident; he died two months later.


image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yalta_Conference >
The Yalta Conference < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybnzMnFEWJY >

Soviet soldiers who had been taken prisoner and survived the horror meted out to them in Nazi prison camps returned home, many of them, to find their way into the Gulag. Stalin feared they were contaminated by their encounters with the British, French, and Americans in the shared occupation areas, such as Berlin. This famous image (right) shows Soviet and American soldiers meeting at Torgau on the Elbe. Stalin feared and hated this kind of fraternizing.


image source < http://photographyblog.dallasnews.com/2013/04/today-in-photo-history-25-4.html/ >
newsreel footage of the Elbe meeting < http://www.history.com/videos/friend-or-enemy#friend-or-enemy >

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union had achieved its territorial goals. Look at the map and notice how a Soviet "sphere of influence" strentches from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Poland (striped) was under Soviet domination. Remember that Churchill had hoped the outcome of World War II would not be handing Eastern and Central Europe over to the Soviets!

image source < http://omniatlas.com/maps/europe/19450801/ >

 


The victory parade in Moscow June, 1945 < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2DqWGY1QHM >

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee replaced Churchill while President Harry S. Truman replaced FDR at Potsdam, the final meeting of the Allies in July, 1945. VE Day had occurred in May. Stalin had still not declared war on Japan, much to President Truman's disappointment. At Potsdam, Truman received the intelligence that the Manhattan Project had produced two atomic bombs, "Fat Man" and "Little Boy." Molotov stands right behind Stalin.

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Conference >

Potsdam--From World War to Cold War < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpYCplyBknI&feature=related >

In August, 1945, President Truman made the momentous and controversial decision to use America's atomic weaponry to bring the PTO to a speedy conclusion: Hiroshima on August 6; Nagasaki on August 9. These actions prompted Stalin to declare war on Japan on August 8. VJ Day came on August 15, with the formal surrender of the Japanese on September 2, 1945.


image source < http://www.psywarrior.com/DeceptionH.html >

According to Martin Sixsmith, The Soviet Union lost between 20 and 25 million people in the Great Patriotic War;
Germany lost 7 million; Great Britain 500,000; the United States 300,000. "The Soviet Union suffered as
many casualties in the fighting at Stalingrad as did the US and the UK in the whole course of the war" (
359).
Of course Stalin demanded financial and territorial compensation!
According to the late British historian, Tony Judt, 25,000,000 people in the Soviet Union
were rendered homeless by the Great Patriotic War.
The Red Army took a ferociousrevenge in cutting its swath through Eastern Europe,
especially Germany: Judt quoted George F. Kennan that,
"'...scarcely a man, woman or child of the indiginous population was left alive after the initial passage
of Soviet forces'" (19).



BIBLIOGRAPHY (for this page)

Aprelenko, Masha. "Prominent Russians: Georgy Zhukov." Russiapedia. Online available.
< http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/military/georgy-zhukov/ >

Ascher, Abraham. Russia: A Short History. Oxford: Oneworld, 2011.

Beevor, Antony. "The Fall of Berlin." Great Power Politics. Online available.
< http://greatpowerpolitics.com/?p=1881>

Classical Music Club of Toronto. "War and Music" part 3. Online available.
< http://www.classicalmusicclubtoronto.org/2006-07_schedule.html >

Cowell, Alan and Andrew Roth. "Ruling on Katyn Killings Highlights Russia-Poland Rift."
The New York Times, 22 October 2013.

Danelek, Jeff "The Battle of Stalingrad." Top Ten Greatest Military Blunders of World War II. Online available.
< http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-greatest-military-blunders-of-world-war-ii.php >

Gottfried, Ted. The Great Fatherland War. Brookfield: Twenty-First Century Books, 2002.

Gottfried, Ted. The Stalinist Empire. Brookfield: Twenty-First Century Books, 2002.

"Jacov Djugashvili Stalin." World War II Forum. Online Available.
< http://www.war44.com/history-russia-during-world-war-ii/369-jakov-djugashvili-stalin.html >

Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. New York: The Penguin Group, 2005.

Kerr, Philip. A Man without Breath. New York: A Marian Wood Book, 2013.

Martin, Douglas. "Nadezhda Popova, 91, WWII 'Night Witch,' Dies." The New York Times.
Monday, July 15, 2013.

Mirams, David Paterson. "Katyn Forest Massacre: Polish Deaths at Soviet Hands."
Online available. < http://www.katyn.org.au/ >

"The 900 Day Siege of Leningrad." St.-Petersburg.com. Online available.
< http://www.saint-petersburg.com/history/siege.asp >

Overy, Richard. Why the Allies Won the War. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 1995.

Riasanovsky, Nicholas and Mark Steinberg. A History of Russia, 7th edition. New York and Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2005.

Sixsmith, Martin. Russia. New York: The Overlook Press, 2011.

Trueman, Chris. "Battle of Kursk." "Operation Barbarossa." The History Learning Site. Online available.
< http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/operation_barbarossa.htm >

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Invasion of Poland, Fall, 1939." Holocaust Encyclopedia. Online available.
< http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005070 >
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site is an enormously rich and helpful
resource, especially for its contemporary newsreel clips and footage

"Unlikely Friends." Behind Closed Doors. Public Broadcasting Service. Online available.
< http://www.pbs.org/behindcloseddoors/ >

Wesson, Robert. Lenin's Legacy: The Story of the CPSU. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1978.

Wikipedia contributors. "Battle of Kursk." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kursk >

Wikipedia contributors. "Blitzkireg." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blitzkrieg >

Wikipedia contributors. "Katyn massacre." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre >

Wikipedia contributors. "Maxim Litvinov." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxim_Litvinov >

Wikipedia contributors. "Operation Barbarossa." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa >

Wikipedia contributors. "Polish Corridor." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Corridor >

Wikipedia contributors. "Soviet Invasion of Poland." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Poland >

Wikipedia contributors. "Strategic bombing during World War II." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing_during_World_War_II >

Wikipedia contributors. "Winter War." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Online available. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War >

[ Home ] [ Biography ] [ Biography Continued ] [ Ideology ]

[ Propaganda ] [ Stalinist Propaganda ]

[ Secret Police ] [ Terror ] [ Camps ]

[ Bibliography ]

 

Return to Top