Posted in the Camcorders Forum
Since: Apr 11
#1 Apr 21, 2011
Disk 1: Episode 2
3 million+ German soldiers invaded the Soviet Union.
It was the quickest advance in military history. The Nazis advanced more than 200 miles within a week. At that rate, the Germans would be in Moscow within a few weeks.
There was virtually no resistance at the border and when they did encounter Russians, they were fleeing.
In 7 days, the Soviets had lost over 100,000 soldiers (ill-trained and ill-equipped)
>>>> if 100,000 soldiers were killed in the first 7 days, obviously there was some resistance!
The Soviets had occupied Lwow for 2 years by the time the Nazis invaded the SU.
At Brygidki prison, inmates were murdered en masse & the secret police set fire to the prison.
It was a propaganda coup for the Nazis.
Soviet secret police shot around 4,000 people before retreating.
June 30, 1941 Stalin hadn't turned up at work (was at his dacha outside Moscow) so the Politburo came to see him. The Politburo knew Stalin had ignored military intelligence which had given clear warning of the Germans' intention to invade. Stalin believed he was about to be forcibly removed from power and arrested.
Instead they told him all the power in the country had to be concentrated "in one body" - establish a State Defense Committee which Stalin would head.
>>>> why did they think he was too powerful to remove? He was losing the support of the public.
Outside Moscow, his stranglehold on the people was weakening, esp in Ukraine (a deep hatred of Stalin and his policies) 1930's persecution of the church and forced collectivisation (7 million dead)
As a result, some Ukrainians welcomed the Nazis. "The political situation was that our enemy's enemy is our friend"
>>> is this a Ukrainian saying?! It originated with them?
The Ukrainians hoped the Nazis would immediately set up a Ukrainian state. The Ukrainians thought the Soviet Union was about to collapse.
The Brits did too - the British War Office told the BBC to avoid giving the impression that Soviet resistance would last much longer than six weeks.
It looked as if the SU would lose the war by Christmas.
Germans took 2 1/2 million Soviet prisoners in less than 4 months. They were systematically starved and beaten. The majority died in German captivity.(scene of Nazis throwing scraps of food at the prisoners like they were dogs)
Oct 1941 German newspapers announced the war was effectively won.
An armored train was ready to carry Stalin east to safety.
Kremlin Oct 19, 1941 - crisis meeting. Will we defend Moscow? Before the meeting, Beria thought they should leave and set up a defense on the Volga. There were no weapons to defend Moscow.
At the meeting, no one would answer so Stalin asked each individually - all agreed to defend Moscow.
In the fields on the outskirts of Moscow, the Red Army dug in.
Special units of the Soviet secret police were in the new defense works directly behind the soldiers, their guns aimed at the soldiers to keep them from retreating. Forced to either fight to the death or else they were shot.
Stalin refused requests by his generals to withdraw.
At this time, Stalin thought the British weren't doing much to help.
Churchill was of two minds - he despised communism, but he also valued anyone who fought against the Nazis.
He said if Hitler invaded hell, he'd consider a favorable reference to the devil.
Since: Apr 11
#2 Apr 21, 2011
Soviet/British relations problem - Spitsbergen (600 miles from North Pole) Late summer/autumn 1941 - officially it was Norwegian territory but it was the location of Soviet coal mines.
The Royal Navy brought a force of Canadian soldiers to evacuate the miners and the other people, plus destroy access to the mines (feared Germans might land there later in the war)
The Canadians did destroy the equipment, etc but much of the town also accidentally burned down.
"Cultural differences" - the Soviet consul in Spitsbergen wouldn't help with the evacuation, got very drunk at a meeting, then he passed out. They put him on a stretcher and "evacuated" him.
Also the Soviet ambassador to the Uk complained about the behavior of the troops.
Dec 7, 1941 - Pearl Harbor.
4 days later, Germany declared war on the US
At that time, the US was the world's biggest economy
Most Americans had no idea what was going on in the Soviet Union and didn't even know who Stalin was.
British/US convoys went to Murmansk. Murmansk was ice-free
>>>compare to Basis Nord for the Nazis lol
The British and others provided aid but the vast majority was from the Americans. There was a lot of fraternization between the Americans and the Soviets.
[[very negative story about "Olga" and American sailors]]
[[American navy had been in Murmansk - the Soviets treated their people like animals, prisoners in their own country. There were a few "pinkos" (American sailors) before, but afterward they saw for themselves, they weren't pinkos anymore.]]
Dec 1941 Stalin trying to build a relationship with the British and Americans, but also with Poland.
More about Katyn; awkward questions asked by their new allies, the Poles.
Dec 1941 A delegation of Poles in Moscow led by General Sikorski (head of Polish government in exile). He wanted to know what had happened to the missing officers. He thought they were still being held in labor camps and prisons.
Stalin denied it (impossible - the amnesty encompassed everyone and all the Poles have been freed)
4,000+ were officers (the rest were regular citizens?)
Many of their families remained in exile in places like Kazakhstan and most (? none?) didn't know about the amnesty.
- an amnesty for Polish citizens August 12, 1941
The British and the Americans knew the Soviets were capable of committing atrocities [[or knew that they were in fact committing atrocities, not just "capable" of it?]] but also needed them to keep fighting the Nazis.
Dec 1941 Banquet for British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden at the Kremlin. Most got drunk (including arm wrestling at the table, etc) Eden warmed to Stalin personally.
Dec 5, 1941 during meeting with Eden. Stalin suggested a secret protocol concerning the map of Europe after the war. The British were shocked Stalin was thinking so far ahead while German soldiers were outside Moscow. Stalin wanted to make a secret deal with the British that allowed him to keep the massive amounts of territory taken before 1941, including almost half of Poland.
Churchill was incensed and rejected Stalin's demands outright.
Churchill told Eden the British had never recognized Stalin's claim to eastern Poland and reminded him that the Soviets only aquired it "by acts of aggression in shameful collusion with Hitler".
Meanwhile, the Germans had been ill-prepared for the harsh winter and their advance stalled. The Red Army counter attacked. Hand to hand fighting in the trenches incl bayonets!
The Germans weren't physically as strong as the Siberians and had never even practiced with bayonets.
The Red Army forced them to retreat, in some places more than 100 miles from Moscow.
Since: Apr 11
#3 Apr 21, 2011
Against the advice of his generals, Stalin proposed a massively ambitious plan. He wanted Soviet forces to mount a major offensive in the south in the spring of 1942.
6 Soviet armies assembled outside Kharkov May 12, 1942
They advanced toward the German lines but there were no Germans, no resistance. It was a trap. Germans had allowed them to march forward unopposed so they could catch them in a massive encirclement. Several hundred thousand Soviet soldiers were trapped. The Soviets had outnumbered the Germans but it ended in catastrophe.
Stalin refused to allow his generals to pull back once they realized the German plan.
Stalin refused to take responsibility for his mistakes ("as usual")
Khrushchev was the main political commissar responsible for the attack. Stalin tried to put the blame on him and tapped ashes from his pipe onto Khrushchev's head to humiliate him.
The Nazis sealed the city of Kharkov - only those who worked for the Nazi regime received food, so most people starved. They ate dogs and then eventually some were excavating graves.
They were engaged in what Hitler called "a war of annihilation"
A total of 27 million Soviets died during the war, 16 million of them citizens (civilians)
Spring 1942 - Nazis occupied all of Belorussia, all the Baltic states, and most of Ukraine.
Since: Apr 11
#4 Apr 21, 2011
May 1942 - Molotov went to Washington to meet with President Roosevelt
The way these discussions went would make Stalin distrust the west for years.
Molotov was a former revolutionary - he brought sausages and a pistol in his luggage.
He asked for an immediate invasion of France to take pressure off the Red Army (a second front)
Before his meeting with Roosevelt, he had a surprise visit late at night by Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt's special advisor.
He told Molotov that although Roosevelt was a very, very strong supporter of opening a second front, the American generals don't see the real necessity.
He recommended that Molotov paint a harrowing picture of the situation in the SU so the American generals would realize the seriousness of the situation.
Use of Hopkins as an intermediary was one of the classic tactics Roosevelt used to manipulate people, or as he put it, "handle them".
At the meeting the next morning with Roosevelt, Molotov was careful to take the advice of Hopkins and stressed how badly the war was going in front of the American military.
He even suggested that Hitler might defeat the SU in 1942, with dire consequences for the western allies.
>>>Roosevelt wanted a western front in 1942 but the American generals stopped him.
Roosevelt responded that in 1943 we will be much stronger, but it may also be that Hitler will be even stronger than us, therefore delaying the second front may not be as advantageous as we expect.
Question was, can it be done? How to transfer troops to the continent?
General Marshall said if all work was completed, it may be possible to open a second front in 1942.
The draft communique after the talks said that an understanding had been reached about a second front happening in 1942.
But to the American High Command, this looked suspiciously like a firm committment, one they felt they may not be able to fulfill.
General Marshall wanted the reference to the second front happening in 1942 taken out of the communique.
Roosevelt ordered it left in as is. He "wanted to give Molotov good news to take home and encourage the Soviets to keep fighting".
American newsreel footage at the time showed Molotov departing Washington and the announcer is heard saying "he reached understandings on opening a second front in Europe".
>>> so the American public was also given that impression
Meanwhile, the Nazis were planning a massive summer offensive in southern Russia. Nazis were headed east, and the soldiers assumed they were heading toward Stalingrad.
Because of this, the wording of Roosevelt's communique was crucial.
As the American generals had feared, it was seen as a firm promise to launch D-Day in 1942.
In the end, the Soviets were about to receive even less aid.
There was trouble supplying the SU with aid via the arctic convoys which were increasingly at risk because of the long summer nights and attacks from U-boats and planes.
July 1942 - disaster of convoy PQ17. It was attacked by German warplanes based in northern Norway. 24 of 39 ships were destroyed. It was one of the greatest disasters in British naval history.
Merchant ships were ordered to scatter and head for Russian ports while their escort was told to change course, leaving the merchant ships unprotected. It was one of the most controversial orders given in WW2.
As a result, all arctic convoys were immediately postponed.
>>>>coincidence? Hmmm.... the report of an attack by German destroyers (??) was false, yet warplanes did show up.
Stalin was told there would be no second front in 1942 because of setbacks in N. Africa and elsewhere. Stalin felt betrayed and that he couldn't trust Britain and America.
Churchill flew to Moscow to try and make friends with Stalin.
Since: Apr 11
#5 Apr 21, 2011
Disk 1: Episode 3
June 28, 1942 Germans launched a massive offensive "Operation Blue" (also "Operation Blau")
Within 4 weeks they had pushed another 500 miles east into Soviet territory
German forces were split in two. Army Group B headed towards Stalingrad (on the Volga river) while Army Group A advanced southeast toward the oil fields of the Caucasus. For Hitler this oil was one of the greatest prizes of the war in the east.
Nikolai Baibakov (Deputy Minister for Oil, was one of the SU's top oil engineers) called to an urgent meeting with Stalin, who told him that everything must be done to prevent the oil falling into German hands. "If you leave the Germans even one ton of oil we will shoot you. But if you destroy the installations prematurely and the Germans don't grab them we will also shoot you".
As the Germans advanced, they captured more than half a million Soviet prisoners.
Hitler was so confident of victory he moved his headquarters to Vinnytsia (Nazi occupied Ukraine)
For Hitler, the war in the east was one of annihilation, fought against subhumans. He openly talked of his epic plans fo rthe new Nazi empire in the east. "We should educate the natives just to be able to read road signs so they can get out of the way of our tanks".
August 12, 1942 - Churchill arrives in Moscow. The Soviets thought help was on the way.
In 1939 Stalin said privately "I dislike and distrust the English. They are skillful and stubborn opponents, but the British army is weak. If England is still ruling the world, it is due to the stupidity of other countries which allow themselves to be bluffed".
The English knew the meeting would be difficult. "We were going into the lion's den and we weren't going to feed him".
Churchill told him the British and American governments do not feel themselves able to undertake a major operation in September.
British minutes of the meeting described Stalin as looking very glum.
Churchill told him plans of how the British could still help - they hoped to shatter 20 German cities as they had shattered Cologne, Lubeck, Dusseldorf, etc. More planes and bigger bombs, etc.
- Later in the war, Churchill sought to distance himself from the deliberate bombing of civilian targets but he had been enthusiastic about it with Stalin. "We seek no mercy and will show no mercy".
Churchill's plans made the meeting progressively more cordial. Plus, Churchill said there would be a sort of second front after all - seize the north coast of French Africa. 250,000 troops were set aside.
But the atmosphere worsened the next day - Stalin sent Churchill a note accusing the British of breaking an alleged promise to mount a second front in 1942 and of taking action that prejudices the plan of the Soviet command.
Also the arctic convoys had been postponed and Stalin was unhappy...
Churchill asked if the stresses of the war had been as difficult for him personally as carrying through the policy of collective farms. Stalin responded "No, that was especially difficult". Churchill asked "What did you do with all the rich peasants, the Kulaks?" Stalin answered "We killed them".
Churchill passed no judgement. Later he explained that with the world war going on all around us, it seemed vain to moralize aloud.
Kozelsk prison camp 1939
Since: Apr 11
#6 Apr 21, 2011
General Andres, Commander of Polish Second Corps, met with Churchill in Cairo just after Churchill met with Stalin.
Anders reminded him a great number of Polish officers who were imprisoned in the SU have disappeared.
Churchill suggested that the Russians may have been averse to letting them go for fear of the stories they might spread about their treatment.
Anders said "There is no sense of justice or honor in the SU and not a single man there whose word can be trusted".
Churchill responded that it would be very dangerous to use such language in public. No good can come of antagonizing the Russians.
Churchill tried to keep a careful balance between Poland and the SU
>>>tried to keep the Poles quiet!
They needed Stalin's help to beat the Nazis but he was also aware they had gone to war over Poland. "It is my hope and belief that Poland will emerge from this war a strong and happy country".
German Army Group B neared Stalingrad. The Nazis were euphoric. They had reached the Volga, "possibly the ultimate goal of the war". Beyond the Volga to the east were vast, deep forests (the borders of Asia)
They were totally confident of victory.
Stalingrad, on the western bank of the Volga, stood in the way.
The Germans started bombing it to rubble at the end of August 1942 (August 23 - bombing started at 10 am)
Stalin ordered them not to surrender Stalingrad.
As they struggled to hold Stalingrad, the Soviet leadership increasingly felt the western allies were not doing enough to help. They were now so bitter that they allowed open ridicule of their allies to appear in the press.
(A cartoon suggested that the British were lazy and almost guilty of cowardice.)
They were suspicious that the western allies were just standing by and letting the SU and the Nazis bleed each other to death.
The common view of Churchill was that he was a man who was very difficult to trust.
In the west [[here, "the west" means the US!]] Stalin was increasingly portrayed as a hero. Time magazine put him on the cover as man of the year in 1942, and the article concluded "Stalin's methods were tough, but they paid off".
A few months later, Life magazine described Stalin's secret police, the NKVD, as "a national police similar to the FBI".
Americans were given a rosy-spectacles view of Stalin.
"The American people, the public at large, were quite unaware of the Soviet purges and of the relocation of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. It was necessary for the American leadership, the government, the President, to have a sense of realism about the Soviet Union.[For] the public at large, it was not really essential for the public to know that".
Why not? "We've got to win the war. That's what counted".
Molotovsk- Americans living there (allied sailors waiting for resumption of the convoys) saw how much work was done by political prisoners. In Arkhangelsk Oblast (on the delta of the Northern Dvina River) the American sailors saw for themselves how brutal Stalin was (saw a prisoner shot for bending over to pick up a discarded cigarette and his body was left there)
Stalin began showing he might be capable of leading the SU to victory. Previously, he had scarcely listened to the advice of his generals, often with disasterous results. But now all that was changing.
Nov 19, 1942 Operation Uranus
Over one million Red Army soldiers. An ambitious attempt to cut off the German Army at Stalingrad. It was a triumph.
Germans had been on the verge of defeating Stalingrad, but now they had to pull back from their advance from the oil fields of the Caucasus as well.
The Red Army soldiers started crying when they fond some Russian children who had been hiding in the ruins.
To this day, the spring thaw brings new bones from the earth in the fields around the city. Around 500,000 Red Army soldiers died there, more people than the British lost during the entire war.
Since: Apr 11
#7 Apr 21, 2011
Meanwhile, although western aid via the convoys was increasing, Stalin still believed his allies didn't really care about the extent of the Soviet sacrifice. It was so bad the British Ambassador to Moscow suggested Stalin might make a separate peace with the Nazis if the Soviets weren't given more help.
April 13, 1943 Germans announced a discovery in the forest of Katyn near Smolensk. They found the remains of several thousand (4,000) Polish officers "and others".
Including Gryniv, a Polish lawyer of Ukrainian descent.
The Poles called it "the crime to top all crimes".
1943 - London Foreign Office. A British diplomat wrote a report suggesting the SU had indeed been responsible. It resulted in a series of anxious memos in response from some of the most senior officials at the Foreign Office.
Neither the British or American governments wanted to know too much about the war crime committed here. If Stalin had ordered the murders, they preferred the world not know.
April 1943 - Churchill wrote in a confidential note "there is no use prowling morbidly round the three year old graves of Smolensk".
Because the Poles refused to go along with Stalin's version, Stalin broke off diplomatic relations with the Polish government in exile.
April 19, 1943 Pravda headline "Hitler's Polish Collaborators". The article accused the Polish government in exile of striking a treacherous blow at the Soviet Union.
In the meantime, Churchill kept his promise to Stalin - the British and Americans had opened a kind of second front in N. Africa. But they faced tougher opposition than expected. This put into jeopardy any plans to invade France in 1943.
May 1943 - Churchill met with Roosevelt in Washington
Churchill: "The Russian effort is prodigious. That places us in their debt. A position from which we would like to emerge. But as I have already mentioned, the best way of taking the weight off the Russian front in 1943 is to get or knock off Italy out of the war. This would force the Germans to send a large number of troops to hold down the Balkans."
>>> it was Churchill's fault, not the US!
Roosevelt's response was "the UN should contine with the strategy which compels the Germans to fight..."
There was clear conflict between Britain and America over what to do next.
Churchill now wanted to invade Italy but the Americans wanted to carry out a cross-channel operation.
Roosevelt's relationship with Churchill was much less cozy than the propaganda of the time portrayed.
Churchill thought he was handling Roosevelt; Roosevelt was confident he was handling Churchill. "You couldn't read Roosevelt the way you could read Churchill".
At the same time, Roosevelt was trying to handle Stalin as well.
Days before meeting with Churchill, Roosevelt wrote a "personal note" to be hand-delivered to Stalin, careful to keep the contents secret from the British.
Joseph Davies (former Ambassador to Moscow in the 1930's) delivered the note at the same time Churchill was meeting with Roosevelt in Washington.
Davies was hugely sympathetic to Stalin and the Soviet Union. He'd written a positive book about his time in Moscow which had recently been turned into a feature film, "Mission to Moscow" [[starring Walter Houston and Annie Davies]]
"It is vital, post war, that our governments work together. After the war, Britain will be financially through for a long time. So post-war peace depends upon the unity of our two countries in this situation".
He presented the note which invited Stalin to a private meeting with Roosevelt.
It was clear from the list of possible locations Roosevelt suggested that he specifically wanted to exclude Churchill. Iceland was excluded because of the long flights for both of them, plus it would make it difficult not to invite Churchill. Roosevelt's preferred meeting place would be Siberia or Alaska.
Since: Apr 11
#8 Apr 21, 2011
Roosevelt was desperately anxious to meet Stalin face to face without Churchill present. He thought it would be easier for him to "handle" Stalin.
Stalin agreed to meet.
Re: Mission to Moscow - a mockery of the truth, showing nothing of the fear and suspicion that really existed. A wrong word, a meeting with the wrong person, could end in disaster.
Hugh Lunghi, British Military Mission-Moscow: "When one tried to meet Russians, you could see they were very afraid of meeting foreigners. There was this sort of shadow over them. One felt it the whole time. And one felt desperately sorry for them".
The British always had suspicions the Soviets were spying on them and, just after the war was over, he discovered the truth. Every room was bugged, including their cipher room. Microphones either under the ventilators or in the skirting boards. The newspapers packing the microphones dated back to 1937/1938 so they'd been there the whole time.
Arkangel - fraternization between locals and the allied sailors. A special club for foreigners called the International Club was built here.[[wow, in comparison to how the Nazis were treated, the allies were welcomed with open arms]]
Locals could only come inside by invitation and naturally most were attractive young women. There was a dance once a week and they also showed American films.''
One woman had fallen in love with an American sailor. As a result, she was accused of being a spy and sent to a gulag for six years.
The Soviets, including the media, were very hostile because the Soviets very much felt like they were not being helped, and there was a freeze on any sort of relationship between locals and Americans.
Meanwhile, Churchill and Roosevelt decided there would be no cross-channel invasion of France, no second front, until 1944.[[ Churchill's decision! see above]] They knew this would anger Stalin further.
Stalin had demanded to know "What are you going to do next?"
On June 2, 1943, a cable was sent to Stalin, including that "a full-scale invasion of the continent to be launched in the Spring of 1944" which (purposely) appeared at the end of the long cable.
Stalin was dismayed. He saw it as further evidence the western allies were leaving the Soviets to face the might of the German Army almost on their own. Stalin's belief was reinforced by the knowledge that in the fields around Kursk the Germans were preparing to launch another huge armored offensive.
The Germans planned to commit nearly 3,000 tanks and assault guns, including a number of the powerful new Panther tanks and 400,000 men. Up to now, the Soviets had never defeated a German summer offensive.
Both in 1941 and 1942, German mastery of motorized warfare had been decisive once the snow melted. If the Soviets could hold the Germans at Kursk became one of the most decisive questions of the whole war.
The alliance was under even more strain when Churchill learned the truth about Davies' trip to Moscow. Churchill was immensely hurt that Roosevelt had planned to exclude him from the meeting with Stalin.
Churchill wrote to Roosevelt, warning him the propaganda that would result over such a meeting would be serious and vexatious, and many would be bewildered and alarmed by it [[LOL]]
Since: Apr 11
#9 Apr 21, 2011
June 28, 1943 Roosevelt replied to Churchill and told a bare-faced lie. "I did not suggest to Uncle Joe that we meet alone. But he told Davies that he assented to, A, that we WOULD meet alone, and B, he agreed not to bring staffs". But the suggestion that the British be excluded did not come from Stalin but from Roosevelt.
All the deception came to nothing because Stalin now refused to meet with Roosevelt because he felt that the west still wasn't helping the Soviet Union enough.
July 5, 1943 Battle at Kursk began. It was an epic encounter. More than two and a half million troops fought across and area nearly the size of Belgium. The Germans were strong but the Red Army was stronger. Thanks to better equipment, advanced knowledge of the German plans, and improved battlefield tactics, the Red Army forced the Germans back.
Alfred Rubbel, 503rd Heavy Panzer Division- German Army "It wasn't until then that we truly understood how strong the Russians were. One didn't want to believe it before but now the pessimistic view was that the war was lost. It was over".
But the victory was bought at massive cost. Nearly 200,000 Soviets were killed.
Mikhail Borisov, 2nd Tank Corps - Red Army "If they had opened the second front in 1943, the Kursk battle might have been avoided. Our losses might well have been less. For the sake of justice, they should have opened the second front at least a little earlier".
Western allies hadn't felt in a position to mount a second front before, but now committed to a cross-channel attack in 1944.
[[but still no real explanation why there wasn't one in 1943]]
American soldiers flooded into Britain in preparation for the biggest amphibious offensive ever attempted (D-Day)
Stalin remained suspicious of the allies' intentions. In fact, they were growing.
Since: Apr 11
#10 Apr 22, 2011
Disk 2: Episode 4
Nov 1943 Tehran, Iran - the meeting was one of the most important meetings of the 20th Century. It was the first time the leaders of the alliance met face to face. They were there to attempt to shape the future of the post-war world.
Late one night, Churchill and the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden talked to Stalin about one of the most controversial issues between them, the future shape of Poland.
Churchill suggested Poland move westward.“If Poland treads on some German toes, that cannot be helped. There must be a strong Poland. Her instrument is needed in the orchestra of Europe”. Churchill agreed to let the Soviets have eastern Poland but he wanted to compensate the Poles by giving them a chunk of Germany instead. Poland would shift more than 100 miles westward, into Prussia.
Stalin was noncommittal.
By the end of the war, the line Churchill had drawn on the map with matchsticks had roughly become the new border between Germany and Poland.
The British hoped they were playing what they hoped were clever politics. By letting Stalin have the territory in eastern Poland he wanted, Churchill thought he would then be more cooperative over allowing an independent government for the new Poland.
Stalin had an advantage in the negotiations in Tehran. Because the Americans had accepted Stalin's invitation to come and stay in the Soviet compound itself, the Soviets could bug all the rooms where the Americans stayed. They listened to every word that was said. Stalin received daily updates - Admiral Leahy insisted several times that the President take a stronger line toward the Soviet Union. Roosevelt seemed irritated that the Admiral was questioning his judgment. He said he was pursuing a policy that was advantageous to the US.
Stalin wondered if they knew they were bugged “they say everything in the fullest detail”.
Katyn - by the time the Allies met at Tehran, the Soviet secret police had cordoned off the forest in order to create one of the most elaborate cover-ups of the war. They exhumed the bodies from the mass graves.
The Soviet secret police organized the forging of false documents, faking material which suggested that the Germans had committed the crime and planted it on the newly exhumed bodies.
The locals knew the truth, but the Soviet authorities also dealt with them.
Kiselev, a forester, had told the Germans the truth about the crime. He told the Germans that for 4 or 5 weeks in the spring of 1940 he could hear the screaming and the shooting and that he assumed the men were executed.
NKVD interrogations of the witnesses who had collaborated with the Germans - their only way out was to try to be useful to the KKVD. For Kiselev, it was the only way to save his life.
In Tehran, Stalin was presented with the Sword of Stalingrad, a gift from King George VI to the people of Stalingrad. The gift commemorated what happened in Stalingrad.
Nearly 100,000 German soldiers had been captured at Stalingrad.
The western leaders knew just how much they owed the Soviets for this victory.
Even today, the ground around Stalingrad is littered with the remains of the battle. Around 500,000 Red Army soldiers died here.
Zoya Zarubina, Soviet Intelligence Officer:“When we started preparing for the Tehran Conference, a group of military attaches of the United Kingdom and the United States, and the interpreters, landed in Stalingrad. They said that 'We had the feeling of guilt. When we came to the city, it was practically nonexistent'”.
In spite of the victory there, the Soviets still faced fierce German resistance on the eastern front.
Since: Apr 11
#11 Apr 22, 2011
Back at the Tehran Conference, the Soviets were trying to persuade the western allies to launch a swift invasion of France to take the pressure off the Red Army.
Marshall Voroshilov, under strict orders from Stalin, asserted that such an operation would be a relatively easy task.
Hugh Lunghi - British Military Intelligence, interpreter at the Tehran Conference:“I supposed he did his best but his best wasn't very good at all because he really was very thick-headed and couldn't understand much about strategy”.
Voroshilov told them “the launching of an operation such as crossing the English Channel s more difficult than the crossing of a big river, but is somewhat similar”.
General Marshall (US head of military) replied 'there is a huge difference between a river crossing and landing from the sea. Failure of a river crossing would be a reverse. Failure of an amphibious landing would be a catastrophe”.
Voroshilov didn't agree.
Stalin and Voroshilov were all too aware of the costs of the war. Throughout Soviet territory, civilians had suffered as much as the soldiers. In all, some 16 million civilians died in the war. All this suffering created an immense desire for revenge. The Germans had sown the wind, and as far as Stalin and the rest of the Soviet leadership were concerned, now they would reap the whirlwind.
This desire for revenge took practical form on the steppes near Stalingrad. Around the time of the Tehran Conference, a unit of the Soviet counterintelligence organization, SMERSH, was hard at work.
Zinaida Pitkna was a junior officer in SMERSH. She witnessed the interrogation and torture of captured German soldiers and on one occasion was told to take action against a young German major herself.
“He was a man who may have killed many of my relatives. I would have cut him up if I'd been asked”. The German officer was dragged outside.“The junior lieutenant told me to take him out, so I had one on my account. It was a joy for me. The Germans didn't ask us to spare them. They knew they were guilty. And I was angry. My enemy was in front of me. He had to be destroyed. We had to treat them the same way they had treated us. What should we do, pray to God? If they had given them to me in numbers of ten, I would have killed them all. My hand didn't tremble when I killed him. It didn't even tremble”.
In Tehran, behind the closed doors of the Soviet compound, Stalin demonstrated to the western leaders his own desire for revenge.
Over dinner one night, he talked of how he wanted to treat the German leadership after the war.“At least 50,000 and perhaps 100,000 of the German Commanding Staff must be physically liquidated. They must be shot”.
Churchill protested “the British Parliament and public will never tolerate mass executions. Even if in the passion of war they allowed them to begin, they would turn violently against those responsible after the first butchery had taken place. You must be under no delusion on this point”.
Stalin replied “Perhaps Mr Churchill has a secret liking for the Germans? 50,.000 must be shot”.
Roosevelt sought to diffuse the atmosphere by 'joking'“I have a compromise to propose. I put the figure of Germans to be executed at 49,000. No more”.
Eventually, it was all too much for Churchill (he got up from the table and left?) Roosevelt chose not to support Churchill at the dinner. The American president thought it more important to build a relationship with Stalin. He wanted Stalin's cooperation on a whole range of different issues, like gaining Soviet involvement in the war against Japan [[WTF?!]]
As for Stalin, he appeared to be completely in control of the situation.
(Scene of Stalin approaching Churchill in a hallway after the dinner “I am sorry, it was a joke”)
Since: Apr 11
#12 Apr 22, 2011
Jan 1944 Soviet authorities went public with their attempt to con the world about the murders at Katyn. The falsified documents showing the Poles had still been alive in 1941 now took pride of place in the film propaganda.
Propaganda films show money, documents, letters and personal belongings as proof. A postcard written in Polish by a Polish POW dated June 20, 1941.
Witnesses like Kiselev had been persuaded, on the threat of their own death, to withdraw testimony they'd given to the Germans. Kiselev even lied for the benefit of the Soviet Commission of Inquiry and the newsreel about what the Germans had done to him.“They forced me to tell how the Bolsheviks killed the Polish officers”.
But the Soviet deception didn't fool the British government. A British Foreign Office official who examined what the Soviets claimed had happened at Katyn wrote a secret report in which he said that an essential part of the Soviet case was simply incredible.
Report (partial):..”and because it leaves altogether unexplained at least one indisputable set of facts which urgently requires explanation before we can accept the Soviet government's account of events.
The Russian story assumes that 10,000 Polish officers and men, employed in forced labor, lived in the district of Smolensk from April 1940 until July 1941 and passed into German captivity when the Germans captured it in July 1941 without a single one of them having escaped and fallen again into Russian hands or reported to a Polish consul in Russia or to the Polish Underground Movement in Poland. This is quite incredible and not only is it incredible for anyone who knows anything about prisoner-of-war labor camps in Russia, or who pictures to himself the disorganization and confusion which must have attended the Russian exit and German entry into Smolensk, but the assumption which I have described as [[the rest is blurred out]]
But all this (report) was to remain confidential.
Even before he read the report, Churchill wrote to the Foreign Secretary saying “We should none of us even speak a word about it”.
Roosevelt did his best to ignore the problem of Katyn. He was focused on the bigger picture. The western allies were preparing for D-day and were also fighting a tough war in the Pacific.
Roosevelt never even replied to a previous report Churchill sent him suggesting that the Soviets were guilty of the Katyn killings.
May 1944 - Roosevelt was forced to talk about the murders. George Earle, a friend of his and a special American emissary to the Balkans, had uncovered evidence from his intelligence contacts that convinced him the Soviets committed the crime. Pictures and affidavits were presented as proof. Roosevelt responded that they could have rigged things up,“The Germans could have rigged things up The Nazis are very smart. This is entirely German propaganda and a German plot. I am absolutely convinced the Russians did not do this”. He went on that the Russians were “180 million people speaking 120 different dialects. After this war, they're going to to fly to pieces like a centrifugal machine cracked through and through”.
[[lie! then why was he trying to befriend Stalin and get Stalin's support for the United Nations?]]
Earle was convinced the Russians had done it.
Since: Apr 11
#13 Apr 22, 2011
March 1945 - 10 months after his meeting with Roosevelt, Earle told Roosevelt he was going to make public all his concerns about the Soviets. Roosevelt immediately wrote to him saying it would be a betrayal for Earle to publish this material and ordered him not to.
A few days later, while Earle was fishing on a lake in Maryland, FBI agents unexpectedly turned up. They had come to tell Earle that, with immediate effect, he was to leave for a new post 7,000 miles away in Samoa. It was clear Roosevelt wanted his old friend out of the way.
Early May 1944 - Moscow. Soviet leadership was contemplating the persecution of another group. Beria discussed with Stalin the fate of the Crimean Tatars. During the war, some of the Tatars had collaborated with the German invaders, but most had not. Beria told Stalin that, at his request (Stalin's request), they had considered the treachery of the Crimean Tatars and it justified removing all of them from Crimean territory. They were to be moved to Uzbekistan, 1,000 miles away.
Approximately 200,000 Tatars lived in the Crimea. The overwhelming majority had been pleased to see the Red Army when they liberated the Crimea from the Germans in April 1944.
In less than a month, 20,000 NKVD troops were deployed to the Crimea to fulfill Stalin's order that the whole Tatar nation be punished because a minority of them collaborated with the Germans.
[[Uh, but they just said it was Beria who both suggested and justified it through his “investigation”, plus this sounds like an excuse so there must have been some other reason for it]]
On May 18, the NKVD all struck at once. One deportee said they were given just 15 minutes to pack. Some had sons still serving in the Red Army but every single Tatar was to be deported, even those who had received state prizes and awards, and those who had been fighting at the front who had returned from the front wounded, everyone was evicted. One-third of the Tatars died as a result. Many of them were certain Stalin didn't know what was happening.“If Stalin knew, this would never happen”. During the journey, rumors began that Stalin had discovered what was happening to them and they would soon be going home again. People constantly vindicated him “it isn't Stalin, it's somebody else”.
Stalin ordered the deportation of many other ethnic groups, including Chechens and the Kalmyks. Altogether, more than a million people.
June 6, 1944, less than a month after the Tatar deportation, western allies launched D-day, a massive amphibious landing on the French coast.
In a less-known piece of history, in an operation that dwarfed D-day in scale, the Red Army launched its own offensive on June 23. Nearly two and a half million Red Army soldiers would confront the mass of German Army Group Center (in Poland). Within a month, the Red Army had pushed forward around 200 miles.
Late July, 1944 - Lwow. Special troops of the NKVD entered the city in advance of the major assault. They had last occupied this area 3 years earlier. They were particularly interested in the Gestapo headquarters in Lwow where the Germans were preparing for a hurried exit, taking their intelligence files with them. They were so busy loading their cars they were surprised when they saw the NKVD.
“They were so frightened, they didn't even resist us”. The NKVD were hoping to find out in the archive who was working with the Germans. The Soviet secret police planned to turn the Gestapo headquarters into their own new home. They wanted to target more than those who had collaborated with the Germans. They intended to seize anyone who so much as uttered one bad word about the Soviet regime. They were arrested if they were against the Soviet power. Because of all the arrests in '39 and '40, the Poles knew what the consequences might be.
Footage of a propaganda speech “we Ukrainians wish for the Polish people a strong and independent country, let they themselves decided their own future”.
Since: Apr 11
#14 Apr 22, 2011
The Poles felt betrayed because they had hoped that the west would react differently
[[ rescue them?]]
At the same time (Soviets in Lwow), Polish soldiers were fighting for the British Army in Italy. They believed they were laying down their lives so that their homeland could be free. As far as Stalin was concerned, the soldiers from eastern Poland now came from the Soviet Union.
The Poles fought their most famous battle in May, 1944 at the monastery of Montecassino, which protected the road north to Rome. The terrain ideally suited the German defenders who occupied the area around the monastery. The allied advance had been held here for months. The Poles took part in what would prove to be the final attempt to take the mountain in May.
General Anders, Commander of the 2nd Corps, agreed to them taking part in the battle. It was a “baptism of fire”. The mountains were defended by some of the German's elite troops.
Re: the quality of their Polish opponents-
Joseph Klein - 1st Paratrooper Division, German Air Force:“well, the Poles, they were very admirable. You really have to say that. They were brave soldiers. They were the bravest of them all, in fact. But it was more like an inner drive that went almost to the level of fanaticism”.
Around 4,000 Poles were killed or wounded.
On May 18, 1944 the monastery was occupied by the Poles.
On Monte Calvary overlooking Montecassino is a monument to the Polish sacrifice. One side reads “For our freedom and yours/We soldiers of Poland/Gave our souls to God/Our life to the soil of Italy/Our hearts to Poland”. It was a great victory for the Poles and they thought they had proved their worth to the British Army.
July 1944 - General Anders welcomed King George VI, who had come to Italy to congratulate the allied soldiers of their achievements.
Back in Lwow, the Red Army was beginning its occupation.
Most of the Poles in the British Army would never see Lwow again.
Warsaw (Nazi occupied) Members of the Polish resistance learned how the Soviets were behaving as they came west. Lwow's underground army had been cooperating with the Red Army when they took over the city but were then disarmed and arrested. They received information the Soviets would do the same thing in Warsaw. So they decided to instigate the rising.
The Polish underground army rose up against the German occupiers of Warsaw on August 1, 1944.
By taking on the Germans before the Soviets arrived, they hoped to show the world their independence.
Soviet propaganda had encouraged the citizens of Warsaw to believe they were about to be liberated by the Red Army. But the Poles had not consulted Stalin before launching their attack. The Red Army lay to the east of Warsaw, across the river Vistula.
But Stalin had no intention of committing them to the struggle in the Polish capital.
[[why would the Poles want Stalin's help if the whole point was to show their independence and keep themselves out of Soviet hands?]]
Stalin even refused to assist allied planes which were trying to supply the rising from the air.
They realized the Soviets “were not going to allow us or Americans to land on Soviet territory. This seemed to us the most terrible betrayal, not only of the Poles but of the allies”(Hugh Lunghi) The British made more than 300 supply flights to Warsaw, most flying a torturous journey from bases in southern Italy. Churchill wanted to help the resistance fighters in Warsaw, regardless of what Stalin might think.
Many of the missions were flown by Poles who were serving in the RAF. Churchill said “It's a Polish squadron. If you want to fly, it's your country, your capital city”. Not one refused to go.
Over 100 Poles were shot down.
Since: Apr 11
#15 Apr 22, 2011
Churchill arrived in Italy to meet with General Anders. Churchill was in a difficult position. One of his allies, the Soviets, seemed almost to be at war with another, the Poles.
Anders was concerned with the future of Poland and the situation in Warsaw. Churchill reassured him “we will never desert you'.
They told Churchill they would prefer that they and their families die rather than live under Bolshevik rule. Churchill assured them again that he and Roosevelt will never abandon Poland.
Churchill's support made little difference to the situation in Warsaw. German forces openly targeted Polish civilians as well as members of the Home Army. Within weeks of the rising's start, in one district of the city alone, the Germans killed at least 40,000 civilians.
Sept 2, 1944. One of the worst atrocities occurred in the basement of a makeshift hospital in the center of Warsaw. A group of German auxiliary troops found the underground rooms filled with Polish wounded, both men and women. Shouting, drunken soldiers raped the girls at every moment. The girls were screaming but could do nothing because they were badly wounded. Mass rapes and murders took place. This was just a tiny proportion of the atrocities perpetuated by the German forces in Warsaw. In total, over 200,000 Polish civilians died.
Early Oct 1944 - Poles in Warsaw finally surrender. A few weeks before, Stalin had relented and offered them some help, including allowing Soviet planes to drop supplies. But many believed he deliberately did too little, too late. Fighting had lasted more than 60 days. The Germans began to destroy Warsaw brick by brick. It seemed that Stalin had got his way [[??]]
He'd watched as the Germans destroyed the Home Army in Warsaw and the western allies had ultimately felt powerless to prevent the Soviets acting as they saw fit [[Huh? Why did they feel powerless?]]
It didn't auger well for the future.
Quebec, Canada - Churchill and Roosevelt meet. Discussion of the Soviet action, or lack of it, during the rising in Warsaw wasn't a priority at the Quebec talks. Overall, the war in Europe seemed to be going well for the allies. Some thought the Nazis could be beaten by Christmas. So the focus was on how Germany should be treated after the war.
Roosevelt said we have to be tough on the Germans. He was keen on a radical plan proposed by his Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau. It was a plan which would destroy post-war German industry. Morgenthau said it's in the interests of peace and security that Germany's economic domination of Europe is eliminated. The Ruhr, the heart of Germany's industrial power, this area should be stripped of all industry within six months of the end of the war. And all German industrial equipment should be transported to allied nations as reparation. The mines must be closed.
Churchill responded that he regarded this proposal “as unnatural, unchristian and unnecessary. Unchristian! What is more, it would be like chaining oneself to a dead German”.
Stalin massively approved of the harsh treatment of Germany [[Duh. And Churchill was once again trying to protect them?]]
One of the people who helped draw up the American plan, Harry Dexter White, was a Soviet spy who was relaying all the secrets he could back via his Soviet handler to Moscow. He was just one of a whole network of Soviet spies in Britain and America that kept Stalin informed during the war. The western allies had no such intelligence network in the Soviet Union.
Since: Apr 11
#16 Apr 22, 2011
Quebec - Churchill and Eden were anxious for the Americans to agree to a new package of financial assistance for the British of over one billion dollars.
Two days after Churchill's protest about the Morgenthau plan, Roosevelt signed the deal.
After it was signed, Churchill told him “I think we should look at your proposals on Germany a little more” He appeared to have changed his mind. Though he reworked the plan slightly, he still agreed to destroy German industry after the war.
[[[ wanna bet Hopkins had a little meeting with Churchill beforehand?]]
In the Ruhr and the Saar, the elimination of the war making industries would be dismantled (destroyed?), converting Germany into primarily an agricultural and pastoral country.
Eden complained to Churchill “it would be like turning the Black country into Devon. It is not in our national interest”.
Churchill told him “The future of my people is at stake and if I have to choose between my people and the German people, I am going to choose my people”.
In Warsaw, the Soviet secret police even saw as a threat those who had fought against the Nazis.“For them, the Home Army members were spies”.
The Red Army entered Warsaw in Jan 1945 and liberated a ghost city.
Most of Poland was now under the control of a puppet government installed by Stalin.
Since: Apr 11
#17 Apr 26, 2011
Disk 2: Episode 5
Summer 1944 - Allies advance through France, the Germans suffer heavy losses.
Supreme Allied Commander Eisenhower bet the war would be over by Christmas.
August 25, 1944 Western allies allowed a French division to enter Paris first.
Allies' victory parade down the Champs Elysees. It was clear that they were there as liberators [in comparison to Poland below]
Roosevelt wanted American forces to beat the Germans and then get out of Europe as quickly as possible. He'd already said American troops shouldn't stay in Europe for much more than a year after the war ended.
Eastern Front - Red Army was making good progress against the Nazis moving into Poland. But were these troops liberators or conquerors? It was a question that urgently needed to be resolved.
By August, 1944, Soviet forces were advancing not only into Poland, but into Hungary and Romania as well.
October 1944 - Churchill went to Moscow to meet with Stalin and discuss what was going to happen to these countries once the Soviets had occupied them. Knowing that the Americans planned to leave Europe soon after the war's end, Churchill thought it was now down to him to try to salvage something from the Red Army's rush into eastern Europe.
Churchill wanted to do a secret deal.
"This here is rather a naughty document. The Americans would be shocked if they saw how crudely I have put this. I have not consulted my cabinet or Parliament about this." Churchill handed Stalin the document which outlined the percentage of influence that Russia and Britain should exercise over countries like Romania and Greece.
Romania: Russia 90%, Great Britain 10%
Greece: Great Britain 90%, Russia 10%
Bulgaria: Russia 75%, GB 25%
[at least as far as I could make out on the screen]
Stalin only made one change to the document. He crossed out the percentages for Bulgaria and changed them to Russia 90% and the others 10%.
Churchill asked if it "would not seem rather cynical if it seemed we had disposed of these issues so faithful to millions of people in such an off-hand manner. Let us burn the paper". Stalin told him "No, you keep it."
Churchill didn't formally agree to this division with Stalin, but what seems clear is that, from Churchill's point of view, this was a genuine but crude first attempt to deal with the Soviet advance into eastern Europe.
But one country was so important that it was left off Churchill's list - Poland. The very country whose independence Britain had gone to war to protect. The problem was a pressing one for, as each day passed, the soldiers of the Red Army were occupying more Polish territory.
Stalin wanted to con the Poles into believing that this occupation was not what it seemed, so he decided to transform some of the Red Army into another army altogether.
As a result, the whole of the Soviet 6th Air Force Army received surprising news in a direct order from Stalin.
Georgy Dragunov - Soviet 6th Air Force Army: "In October 1944, our Air Force Army was told that from the next day we would be called the Air Force of the Polish Army. It wasn't only me, it was a lot of other people too. Soviet people, who had overnight become Polish. Our planes were Polish, the stamps on our documents were Polish and the documents themselves were in Polish."
Stalin was creating new Poles in an extension of a deception policy he had begun a year before.
A number of Soviet officers in both the Air Force and the Army had to learn to speak and write Polish and develop cover stories about which part of Poland they were to pretend to have come from.
Since: Apr 11
#18 Apr 26, 2011
One of the Russian officers ordered to pass himself off as a Pole was Nikolay Brandt, Soviet Officer, 1st Polish Army
"The story was that I came from the town of Rzeszow. I said 'How can I be from Rzeszow if I've never been to that town? At least I should go and have a look at it' and they said 'Don't worry, it doesn't exist anymore. It was completely destroyed by the Germans'. I felt deep satisfaction when the Poles themselves took me for a real Pole".
They were kitted out in the dress of Polish officers. Genuine Poles were outraged.
Zbigniew Wolak - Polish Home Army: "They were unruly, they weren't elegant, they had no discipline. They looked more like riff-raff. They were to pretend to be a major, captain or colonel and address themselves as 'comrade'".
Stalin ordered this deception because he wanted to create Polish armed forces totally loyal to the Soviet Union. He'd always been suspicious of real Polish officers.
reminder of what happened to the Poles at the NKVD prison in 1940]
In spite of the fact that the Poles suspected the Soviets had committed the crime at Katyn, and that Stalin had broken off relations with the Polish government in exile, Churchill managed to get Stalin to meet with them in Moscow.
They wanted to know what guarantee will there be that there will be an independent Poland?
Stalin responded "Who threatens Poland's independence? Is it the Soviet Union?"
Amid this atmosphere of mutual distrust, Churchill tried to pressure the Poles to make a deal. "In the course of this war, we have been a hair's breadth from defeat. A sword hung over our heads. Therefore, we have the right to ask the Poles for a great gesture in the interest of European peace."
The "gesture" Churchill had in mind was the sacrifice of eastern Poland, territory which included Lwow.
Stalin wanted the allies to let the Soviets keep this land. Churchill agreed Stalin could have eastern Poland but he wanted to compensate the Poles with German territory to make up for their loss.
Among the worst affected were the thousands of Poles in the British forces.
Wieslaw Wolwowicz - Polish 2nd Corps: "Stalin was playing the tune and the rest were dancing to that tune. We lost forever a piece of Poland that was occupied and annexed by Stalin. The majority of the soldiers were from those lands, so it was a parody. They had no homeland to go back to."
In Moscow, Churchill waited to hear the decision of the Polish government in exile.
"The Polish government cannot agree to the loss of nearly half of the Polish territory in the east without having the opinion of the Polish people. It is decisive for the government."
Churchill - "You are no government if you are incapable of taking any decision. You are callous people who want to wreck Europe. I shall leave you to your own troubles."
Churchill was exasperated, partly because he thought Stalin would never cooperate with these Poles if they didn't give him eastern Poland. "If you want to conquer Russia, we shall leave you to do it. I feel as if I were in a lunatic asylum. I don't know whether the British government will continue to recognize you".
But the Poles still refused to do what Churchill wanted, leading to this last outburst.
Churchill, "In this war, what is your contribution to the allied effort? What did you throw into the common pool? You may withdraw your divisions if you like. You are absolutely incapable of facing facts[raising voice] Never in my life have I seen such people".
The Polish issue remained unresolved.
Since: Apr 11
#19 Apr 26, 2011
On the western front, the war wasn't going well for the allies.
Autumn 1944 - American, British and other allied soldiers had not managed to advance as quickly as planned.
Dec 1944 - Germans counter-attacked in the forest of the Ardennes in Belgium [Battle of the Bulge]. Americans lost 80,000 killed or wounded. It was clear the western allies were not going to penetrate as far into Europe as they had hoped, and the war would not be over by Christmas.
While the allies were fighting the Battle of the Bulge, on the eastern front, the Red Army was making good progress.
January 17, 1945 the Red Army entered Warsaw.
The locals cheered as the Polish units in the Red Army passed by, not knowing that some of the officers were only pretending to be Poles.
Stalin also created an entire new Polish government that would do just what Stalin told them.
Stalin gave an insight into the way he liked to manage those who worked for him at a Kremlin banquet for visiting French politicians. Stalin proposed a toast in honor of Marshal Novikov, "but if he doesn't do his job properly, if he doesn't work well, then we'll shoot him".
Novikov was arrested just over a year later and forced by the secret police to make a false confession. He served over 5 years in prison.
At the banquet, Stalin then introduced the Supply Director "It is his job to bring men and materials to the front. If he doesn't do his job well, he'll be hanged. That's the custom in our country".
The Red Army continued to push further into eastern Europe, capturing Budapest in February 1945.
The Hungarians had been allies of the Nazis. Together with the Germans, they had fought fiercely against the Red Army. Now they would pay for it.
Soviet forces paid a special visit to the Hungarian General Credit Bank. The report by the directors of the Hungarian General Credit Bank read: "they opened every safe and strongbox. They took away 113 million pengo in cash, as well as about 800 suitcases and other containers deposited by clients and emptied 1400 safe deposit boxes."
Other Soviets took paintings and other works of art worth billions of pounds, including works by Renoir, El Greco, and Goya. An estimated 99% of these artworks have never been recovered.
As well as the wealth of the city, the population was also at the mercy of the Soviet occupiers. What happened to them in Budapest was to become infamous. Though the soldiers who committed the rapes were guilty of a crime under Soviet law, only a small minority were ever charged.
Fiodor Khropatiy, 2nd Ukrainian Front, Red Army:"Soldiers gossiped because they were proud. They felt like heroes because they'd slept with a woman. I felt hurt because our army earned itself such a reputation. Also I was angry about the people that acted this way".
The situation in Hungary was so bad that a group of Hungarian communists in Kobanya sent a letter of complaint to Soviet authorities.
"In January, when the Red Army arrived, they committed a series of sexual crimes in an outbreak of savage hatred. Drunken soldiers raped mothers in front of their children and husbands. Girls as young as 12 were dragged from their fathers and mothers and raped in succession by 10 to 15 soldiers, from whom many of them caught venereal diseases".
Since: Apr 11
#20 Apr 26, 2011
At a Kremlin banquet in the winter of 1944, guests included Yugoslavian communist Meilovan Djilas and his wife.
Djilas has previously criticized the behavior of the Red Army as they advanced into Yugoslavia. Djilas had been concerned by reports of rape and complained to Red Army authorities.
At the banquet, Stalin stood and said "the soldiers of the Red Army.. to the soldiers of the Red Army who have been gallant, forced to fight their way across thousands of kilometers of devastated country. And such an army has been insulted by Djilas. Can't you understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers, through blood, fire, and death, then spends some time with a woman or takes some trifle? But now I must kiss your wife - although at the risk of being accused of rape" (walked over and kissed her cheek) Then he toasted "To our heroic Red Army".
February 1945 - Yalta Conference at Livadiya Palace.
By this time, the Red Army was under 50 miles from Berlin, the western allies had recovered from the German counter-attack and were crossing into the Rhineland.
Roosevelt was ill - gaunt, very thin and waxen.
The one subject discussed more than any other was the future of Poland. Currently, Poland had two completely different governments, one in exile recognized by Britain and America, one in Warsaw recognized by the Soviet Union.
Stalin agreed to a democratically elected government and said the election would be held one month later.
It looked like Stalin would cooperate with the west. The future boundaries of the new Poland were agreed and, as result, those of the new, smaller Germany. They also decided on the formation of the United Nations.
March 28, 1945 - Poland
16 independent political and military figures arrived for what they had been told was to be a lunch with senior Soviet officials. When they arrived, they were told the lunch had been moved 9 km away (a short journey)
They were all transported 700 miles to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow. Each of them was imprisoned and interrogated.
Churchill was outraged by Stalin's actions in Poland after Yalta. He wrote to Roosevelt on March 13, 1945 and said that "Poland has lost her frontier, and is she now to lose her freedom?"
Roosevelt was more relaxed about the whole dispute with Stalin. Just before Yalta, he'd even remarked that, apart from matters concerning Germany, he wanted to stay out of disputes in Europe as far as possible. He wrote to Churchill in early April "I would minimize the general Soviet problem as much as possible because these problems, in one form or another, seem to arise every day and most of them straighten out".
Roosevelt was still keen to get on with Stalin, partly because Stalin had offered to help in the war against Japan.
Americans made up the bulk of the allied forces in the Pacific, and were engaged in what was known as "island hopping", the struggle to wrest each island from the Japanese.
Just 8 days after the Yalta agreement, the Americans launched one of their fiercest assaults on Iwo Jima, 750 miles south of Tokyo. Iwo Jima is a volcanic island and less than 8 miles square.
Feb 19, 1945 just after 9am, the first wave of US Marines landed. The battle was horrific for both sides. 26 days of fighting. Of the 21,000 Japanese defenders, 20,000 died. Over 25,000 American casualties including wounded - more than the allies suffered on D-day.
So Roosevelt was intensely grateful that Stalin had promised the Soviet Union would help the western allies and enter the war against Japan once Germany was defeated.
What happened on Iwo Jima was a stark reminder of the determination of the Japanese to resist at all costs.
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