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Attack on Russia: Early days: WW2

In the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the attack on Russia on June 21, 1941, the German progress was easy. It seemed by winter arrived, Moscow would fall. But Russia had a strong ally; the dreaded Russian winter. But that is another story.

Given below are snippets of the early days of the invasion. All the pictures have been taken by German soldiers.

New testimony and documentary evidence can now reveal that Stalin was seriously considering suing for peace and had even organised a 'getaway' train to take him to safety as German guns started pounding Moscow. His decision to stay and fight was a crucial turning point in the war.

A horse cart gets bogged down in the slush. The Russian terrain was a German enemy. So was the climate.

A Russian plane lies broken. That was Russia in late 1941.


HITLER INVADES RUSSIA (Source: BBC)

The Germans invaded the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, and looked poised to take Moscow by October that year. With the benefit of hindsight, popular opinion has labelled Hitler as virtually insane for invading the Soviet Union, but at the time many people - including those influential in both Britain and America - thought his decision was a sound one. Indeed, Hitler came much closer to pulling off his grand plan than the Soviet Union was ever prepared to admit.

A Russian machine-gun unit lies destroyed.

The German Blitzkrieg technique was as devastating in Russia as it had been in the rest of Europe. The scene was set for a war of annihilation waged by the Nazis against the Soviets with no mercy shown by either side. One week into the German invasion, 150,000 Soviet soldiers were either dead or wounded - more than during the five months of the Battle of the Somme.
As the German armies swept further into the Russian heartland, one million Soviet troops were drafted to protect Kiev. But despite Stalin's ruthless order forbidding any city to surrender, Kiev fell and 600,000 Soviet soldiers were captured. By October 1941, three million Soviet soldiers were prisoners of war. New testimony and documentary evidence can now reveal that Stalin was seriously considering suing for peace and had even organised a 'getaway' train to take him to safety as German guns started pounding Moscow. His decision to stay and fight was a crucial turning point in the war.

German soldiers get a shoe-shine.


BRUTAL HITLER, BRUTAL STALIN.

Stalin and Hitler were together responsible for the leitmotiv of ruthless brutality that prevailed throughout the hostilities between Russia and Germany. During the Battle of Moscow, in which 8,000 Soviet citizens were executed for perceived cowardice, the Russian armies were forced to stand their ground, despite perishingly cold conditions of 43 degrees below freezing.
To prevent his soldiers deserting the front line around the capital, Stalin ordered special 'blocking detachments' to shoot all deserters. The Soviet leadership also instructed Soviet partisans operating in the countryside to kill anyone whom they believed was disloyal. This resulted in an effective carte blanche for partisans to abuse their power and extract whatever they wanted from helpless villagers.
A report from one partisan division shows that rape, killings and beatings were commonplace. To make villagers' lives still more hellish, in some areas, particularly the occupied Ukraine, nationalist partisans (as opposed to Soviet partisans), who were bent on freedom from the Soviet regime, also started up their own brutal operations in the countryside. Villagers were now faced with violence from three different fighting forces.
Russians did not suffer only from their own side. Nazi rule over the territories they captured from Russia was draconian. Erich Koch, Reich Commissar of occupied Ukraine stated that the 'lowliest German worker is a thousand times more valuable' than the entire population of the Ukraine. Starvation was widespread, with Soviet civilians forced to eat dogs - until the dog supply ran out and people were forced to turn to rats, crows and birch bark. In the Ukrainian town of Kharkov, which was administered by the German army, 100,000 people died of starvation and disease.

A Russian village burns


THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE SUFFERED

The German army, faced with an ever growing partisan threat, became increasingly comprehensive in their view about what constituted a partisan. One army document lists 1,900 partisans and their 'helpers', killed by the Germans in one action. But only 30 rifles and a handful of other weapons were found with them - more than 90% of those killed by the Germans had no guns.
And yet people still managed to survive. Inna Gavrilchenko tells how lucky she was to get a job in a slaughter house during the occupation of Kharkov. It gave her access to blood, which she smuggled out and cooked into a 'blood omelette'.

German planes have blown away this train.

German soldiers killed in action.

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Quotes about war....

"War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man."
--Napoleon Hill

"We have failed to grasp the fact that mankind is becoming a single unit, and that for a unit to fight against itself is suicide."
--Havelock Ellis

'Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."
--Mao Tse-Tung (1893 - 1976)

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
--George McGovern

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
--Joseph Stalin

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
--Voltaire, War

In war, truth is the first casualty.
-- Aeschylus

"The ability and inclination to use physical strength is no indication of bravery or tenacity to life. The greatest cowards are often the greatest bullies. Nothing is cheaper and more common than physical bravery."
--Clarence Darrow, Resist Not Evil

"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
--Adolf Hitler

"To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization."
--George Orwell

"Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country."
--Bertrand Russell

Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
--Francis Meehan

Snippets From History

German Soldiers in Russia: Part 1

Hubert Menzel was a major in the General Operations Department of the OKH (the Oberkommando des Heers, the German Army headquarters), and for him the idea of invading the Soviet Union in 1941 had the smack of cold, clear logic to it: 'We knew that in two years' time, that is by the end of 1942, beginning of 1943, the English would be ready, the Americans would be ready, the Russians would be ready too, and then we would have to deal with all three of them at the same time.... We had to try to remove the greatest threat from the East.... At the time it seemed possible.'
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Battle for Berlin, 1945

'We started to fire at the masses,' says one former German machine gunner. 'They weren't human beings for us. It was a wall of attacking beasts who were trying to kill us. You yourself were no longer human.'

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Berlin after it fell to the Russians, 1945

"Vladlen Anchishkin, a Soviet battery commander on the 1st Ukrainian Front, sums up the horror of the whole event, when he tells how he took personal revenge on German soldiers: 'I can admit it now, I was in such a state, I was in such a frenzy. I said, 'Bring them here for an interrogation' and I had a knife, and I cut him. I cut a lot of them. I thought, 'You wanted to kill me, now it's your turn.'
Read More

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Dramatic Pictures: Battle For Stalingrad
"...Effective command no longer possible... further defense senseless. Collapse inevitable. Army requests immediate permission to surrender in order to save lives of remaining troops."
General Paulus' radio message to Hitler on January 24, 1943

"...Capitulation is impossible. The 6th Army will do its historic duty at Stalingrad until the last man, the last bullet..."

Hitler's response to General Friedrich Paulus' request to withdraw from the city

READ MORE>>>

Points To Ponder....

The fall of France was shocking. It reduced France to virtually a non-player in the Second World War. The efforts of Charles de Gualle were more symbolic than material. But the martial instincts of the French must never be doubted. Under Napoleon they were a formidable military power. The French definitely have more iron in their blood then say, the Italians [I do not mean it in a derogatory sense. War never makes sense]

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Bias Of Western Historians

Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany.

It can hardly be called mere 'resistance'! If it hadn't been for the Russians, Hitler would have made mincemeat of British forces in Africa and landed on British shores in no time. Hitler attacked Russia first because it had more land and resources than Britain. It is as simple as that.

READ MORE>>>>
Eastern Front: Bias Of Western Historians