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  • Article about Stalingrad in The Independent

    In fact, it's incredible for the reason it says the simple truths which have been know in Russia and even Germany for decades, but still remain buried under heavy layers of filth and propaganda in the West. I can only compare the apperance of this article in a major British/American paper to the publication of Solzhenitsyn's "One Day of Ivan Denisovich" in Novy Mir magazine in 1962.

    A truly groundbreaking event at the time when people like Beevor are seriously considered historians and the "common wisdom" is that the Soviet troops only fought with guns to their backs. Despite a few inaccuracies, this is still a rare spark of truth about the experience and motivations of the Red Army soldiers in the Western media.

    Revealed: The forgotten secrets of Stalingrad

    The Stalingrad Protocols has been compiled by the German historian Jochen Hellbeck, who gained access to several thousand interviews with Second World War Red Army soldiers, held in archives at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow...

    The accounts suggest the invading German army's murderous and brutal occupation of the Soviet Union was one of the prime motives behind the Red Army's ferocious counter-offensive...

    Historically, the protocols have been hailed as significant because they cast doubt on claims made by the Nazis and later by the Soviet Union's Cold War opponents that the Red Army's soldiers only fought so resolutely because they would otherwise have been executed by the Soviet secret police.
    www.histours.ru

    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

  • #2
    Originally posted by ShAA View Post
    In fact, it's incredible for the reason it says the simple truths which have been know in Russia and even Germany for decades, but still remain buried under heavy layers of filth and propaganda in the West. I can only compare the apperance of this article in a major British/American paper to the publication of Solzhenitsyn's "One Day of Ivan Denisovich" in Novy Mir magazine in 1962.

    A truly groundbreaking event at the time when people like Beevor are seriously considered historians and the "common wisdom" is that the Soviet troops only fought with guns to their backs. Despite a few inaccuracies, this is still a rare spark of truth about the experience and motivations of the Red Army soldiers in the Western media.

    Revealed: The forgotten secrets of Stalingrad
    Hi Shaa.
    I for one have always believed the Russians fought so well simply because they wanted to.
    Who wouldn't? The individuals family may be hundreds of miles behind German lines and subject to every form of bestiality.
    But,I would say that at the point in Stalingrad when every instinct of the military man screams out to retreat across the Volga and re-form,there must have been some hitherto denied factor preventing the Red army from doing so.
    It couldn't have simply been Stalins "No land beyond the Volga " speech,I suspect that would have no more effect on soldiers than any Churchill oration did on Brit soldiers.
    What was the secret factor that turned the Red Army from a huge lumbering giant on the brink of defeat into a highly charged colossus that trampled the Germans in short order?
    The change seems to have occurred over a remarkably short period of time,what could have such a dramatic effect on an army of millions?

    Comment


    • #3
      So the creation of barrier troops, SMERSH, Stavka directive No. 1919 and Stavka Directive No. 227 are all just western propaganda? BTW, the article does not say "simple truths" but only "suggests" that so and so happened. The article also uses interviews and take note of the possibility that propaganda and selective memory might not be discounted:

      Whether some of the interviews were given purely for Soviet propaganda purposes remains open to question. Those given by political officers suggest they played an important role in providing the inspiration to fight.
      Last edited by Jack Torrance; 12 Nov 12, 09:46.
      "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jack Torrance View Post
        So the creation of barrier troops, SMERSH, Stavka directive No. 1919 and Stavka Directive No. 227 are all just western propaganda?
        Huh, I'm not under the impression that that is what the article says or even implies.

        Note:

        claims made by the Nazis and later by the Soviet Union's Cold War opponents that the Red Army's soldiers only fought so resolutely because they would otherwise have been executed by the Soviet secret police.
        Emphasis mine.

        The German Heer had Military Police hunting deserters and it also had court martials passing death sentences for treason. These are facts, and not propaganda.

        Now if on the basis of those facts one claimed that the German soldiers only fought resolutely because otherwise they would have been executed by their own army...
        Michele

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Michele View Post
          Huh, I'm not under the impression that that is what the article says or even implies.

          Note:



          Emphasis mine.

          The German Heer had Military Police hunting deserters and it also had court martials passing death sentences for treason. These are facts, and not propaganda.

          Now if on the basis of those facts one claimed that the German soldiers only fought resolutely because otherwise they would have been executed by their own army...

          Strawman, the subject is the Russian Army history.
          "Ask not what your country can do for you"

          Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

          you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
            Strawman, the subject is the Russian Army history.
            Yes, rhethorically asking whether "the creation of barrier troops, SMERSH, Stavka directive No. 1919 and Stavka Directive No. 227 are all just western propaganda?" is a short step away from being a strawman, since neither the article nor the poster stated anything like that.

            But I prefer to just test the issue by simply applying the condition to another subject. If condition A brings about outcome B when applied to subject X, but, even though everything else seems equal, A brings about C when applied to Y, then... everything is not equal.
            Michele

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by flash View Post
              Hi Shaa.
              I for one have always believed the Russians fought so well simply because they wanted to.
              Who wouldn't? The individuals family may be hundreds of miles behind German lines and subject to every form of bestiality.
              But,I would say that at the point in Stalingrad when every instinct of the military man screams out to retreat across the Volga and re-form,there must have been some hitherto denied factor preventing the Red army from doing so.
              It couldn't have simply been Stalins "No land beyond the Volga " speech,I suspect that would have no more effect on soldiers than any Churchill oration did on Brit soldiers.
              What was the secret factor that turned the Red Army from a huge lumbering giant on the brink of defeat into a highly charged colossus that trampled the Germans in short order?
              The change seems to have occurred over a remarkably short period of time,what could have such a dramatic effect on an army of millions?
              I'd agree with that. Stalin or other leader's rhetorical speeches probably meant little to the soldier in the line. However, when German brutalities became known it no doubt was a major motivator to fight.
              Likewise, many soldiers joined the Communist party not because they believed in Communism but because if they were a party member their death would be recorded and relatives would know their fate.
              I would also think that like soldiers in other armies they also fought more for those around them and in their unit not wanting to let their fellow soldiers down than for some far off political power that wasn't present.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                Likewise, many soldiers joined the Communist party not because they believed in Communism but because if they were a party member their death would be recorded and relatives would know their fate.
                It wasn't related to the party membership in most cases. And yes, German accounts noted a positive effect of "bolshevist" ideology and propaganda on troop morale.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michele View Post
                  Huh, I'm not under the impression that that is what the article says or even implies.

                  Note:



                  Emphasis mine.

                  The German Heer had Military Police hunting deserters and it also had court martials passing death sentences for treason. These are facts, and not propaganda.

                  Now if on the basis of those facts one claimed that the German soldiers only fought resolutely because otherwise they would have been executed by their own army...
                  The article is very clear that it erects a strawman that makes false claims that western propaganda ( Soviet Union Cold War opponents) "that the Red Army's soldiers only fought so resolutely because they would otherwise have been executed by the Soviet secret police."

                  That is a patently absurd claim which then goes on to ignore the fact that there were organizations specifically created to force recalcitrant soldiers to fight.

                  I have never read anything that make such claims that Soviet soldiers only fought at the point of the bayonet and I've read many a book about the war in the east starting with Allan Clark's Barbarossa to Earl F. Ziemke, Allan Bullock and other newer volumes.

                  It's no mystery that most Soviet Soldiers fought without having to be prodded just as it's no mystery that all nations had their shierkers and internal opponents . IMO, from what I've read about ShAA's posts he has an ax to grind and is attempting to erase imaginary slights.
                  "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jack,

                    If you search our threads you will find that the "machine gun in the back" is a very exaggerated view of what these units were tasked to do. Soviet archives show that far from forcing units to fight by firing on the troops infront the units so descibed were very much akin to military police units.

                    The arrested soldiers, shot some, usually the deserters, trouble makers, defeatists and the like. Gunning down entire units a la "Enemy at the Gates" was not their thing.

                    There is still a lot of "cold war" nonsense floating about out there and the "cold war" mentality of many is still alive and strong where the former USSR is concerned. A lot of work remains to be done where the USSR's history is concerned, especially during the GPW.
                    The Purist

                    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Gerry,

                      I'm not a Soviet expert by any means but I'm also not completely ignorant and I know that the units I mentioned did indeed engage in more than just maintaining internal security. In his well researched book Absolute War Chris Bellamy gives various examples of just that "machine gun in the back" type of persuasion during critical periods (not always, mostly, regularly, frequently, on many occasions, etc), such as during the defense of Moscow, at Stalingrad, at Leningrad and elsewhere.


                      In addition to the units mentioned Blocking battalions were formed in various fronts for the express purpose of preventing wholesale retreats and NKVD Divisions were created whose tasks also included the use of blocking battalions. Bellamy sites one in particular which should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this was true. I'm going to quote verbatim from his book so that there is no misunderstanding.

                      "The 10th NKVD Division was therefore in charge of the defense of the city (Stalingrad) and the logistics which made it possible, and also played a direct part in the battle. In mid October Aleksey Kostesnitsyn, commanding 271st Regiment, reported how one of his men had rallied Red Army soldiers who were pulling back in the grain elevator area and launched a counter-attack. On 12 November the 10th NKVD Division was awarded the Order of Lenin for heroism shown in the battles for Stalingrad. Their achievements were listed as arresting and processing (an ephenism for what, I wonder) 63,547 people, of whom 1,146 were spies, people who had given themselves up to the Germans or escaped from encirclement, and deserters. On 23 and 24 August, with a total of just over 7,500 men, the division had pushed German forces back from the city, covering the redeployment of Sixty-Second Army. During the whole period it had killed about 15,000 German soldiers and - this is a Stalingrad statistic - captured twenty four. It had also destroyed about 100 German tanks and two aircraft, at a cost of 1,227 killed and 2,756 wounded. For all that, Yeremenko and Khrushchev signed the citation for the award of the Order of Lenin. There should be no doubting the courage and military professionalism of this elite Siberian Interior Ministry division. But its record also underscores the inescapable truth that for Russian soldiers the choice was very much one between German bullets and Russian ones."
                      emphasis mine.

                      Absoulte War, Ray Bellamy page 520.

                      For references Bellamy sites official Soviet archives (Organs of State Security of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War. A collection of documents)

                      That resulting to blocking battalions was the norm in order to get Ivan to fight is of course nonsense and I have stated as such. But to state that it is western propaganda that makes the case that blocking battalions were the norm is also nonsense and that is precisely what the article in question pretends to accuse the enemies of the Soviet state as doing.
                      "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jack Torrance View Post
                        The article is very clear that it erects a strawman that makes false claims that western propaganda ( Soviet Union Cold War opponents) "that the Red Army's soldiers only fought so resolutely because they would otherwise have been executed by the Soviet secret police."
                        So let me turn the tables on you, if you don't mind: is your position that no propaganda ever existed claiming that?

                        I have never read anything that make such claims that Soviet soldiers only fought at the point of the bayonet and I've read many a book about the war in the east starting with Allan Clark's Barbarossa to Earl F. Ziemke, Allan Bullock and other newer volumes.
                        Exactly. You are quoting reputable authors and, pointedly, "newer" volumes. Have you read, for instance, Hitler Moves East, by Carell?

                        It's no mystery that most Soviet Soldiers fought without having to be prodded just as it's no mystery that all nations had their shierkers and internal opponents .
                        Good, we agree then.
                        Michele

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jack Torrance View Post
                          In addition to the units mentioned Blocking battalions were formed in various fronts for the express purpose of preventing wholesale retreats and NKVD Divisions were created whose tasks also included the use of blocking battalions.
                          Blocking battalions had nothing to do with NKVD divisions, they were formed as organic elements of respective RKKA combat divisions (and not all of them). The abovementioned 10 NKVD division was created in January 1942 for garrison service in Stalingrad which was then more than 400 km from the frontline. From July 1942 the front moved to the vicinity of the city, hence a lot of stragglers in the area.
                          Their achievements were listed as arresting and processing (an ephenism for what, I wonder) 63,547 people
                          In the document "detained and sent to transfer points of the front and other organs". Simply speaking most stragglers were returned to the frontline.
                          But its record also underscores the inescapable truth that for Russian soldiers the choice was very much one between German bullets and Russian ones
                          It doesn't really follow from the document.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Michele View Post
                            So let me turn the tables on you, if you don't mind: is your position that no propaganda ever existed claiming that?
                            No. I don't think I even hinted that. Don't recall reading about it even though I have read Paul Carell (aka Paul Schmidt) many moons ago. Don't take his work seriously anyway.



                            Good
                            , we agree then.
                            "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jack Torrance View Post
                              Don't recall reading about it even though I have read Paul Carell (aka Paul Schmidt) many moons ago. Don't take his work seriously anyway.
                              I don't, but I bought that title when I was a boy and I didn't even know that he had held a SS rank during the war. And I seem to remember that it is an example of that kind of propaganda claim. If I can find it out and dust it off, I'll check.
                              Michele

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