Again the 23th August the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact has arrived. From all the latest researches in the last two decades we can say that Soviet- Nazi agreement started the World War II and it was the Soviet Union who took the most responsibility for starting it. It has been discussed in this site before. This article will speak about so-called Soviet mythology the distorted view of history of World War II from the Soviet history books, propaganda movies and literature. Stalin and his henchmen made an enormous effort to re-write the Russian history and after the end of World war II the myth of the Great Patriotic war was created. Every Soviet history textbook declared that Soviet Union only joined WWII in 22. June 1941, was not ready for such war, nor it even wanted the war with Germany. Also the secret protocols of the Molotov – Ribbentrop pact, the occupation of the Baltic states and the Katyn massacre was declared a false accusations or just not mentioned. The Soviet historiography generated a number of myths about the German-Soviet relations, the great defeat of 1941, the bravery and loyalty of Soviet soldiers, the great victories in 1943-1945 and the outstanding talent of the Soviet Generals. Also the defamation campaign against the Baltic States and Ukraine has already begun in the Soviet Era.
Today not much have changed. Russian official historiography still accumulate the many biases of the Soviet propaganda. The official Putin ideology still endorses the myth of the Great Patriotic war and the attempts of questioning it may end with repressions. Book shelves are full of biased “academic” works and Russian movie industry refrains from showing the ugly side of Soviet -German war. In fact these myths are massively used in the war of information against the Baltic states and Ukraine. Now we will list some of the most popular Soviet Myths about the World War II that still correspond today.
The “Great victory” occurred on 9th May not later and not earlier.
It is a widespread view in Russia that German capitulation signed by German chief of staff Alfred Jodl together with Allied commander-in-chief Dwight Eisenhower in Reims on 7th May was a separate and unfinished act of surrender and the real complete capitulation took place on 9th May in Berlin.
The first act of capitulation was signed in Reims in the presence of Dwight Eisenhower, general Walter Bedell Smith and Soviet representative of the main Soviet Staff general Ivan Susloparov, also France signed the act. The ceremony of surrender took place in 7th May 2:40 at the Middle European time. General Susloparov sent a request to Moscow for authorization to sign the protocol, however no answer came in time and he signed it with his own risk. The act of capitulation came into action in 8th May 23:01 Middle European time while it was already 9th May at Moscow. Stalin sent an instruction to Susloparov not to sign the agreement, but when found that it was singed anyway, ordered to organize a separate capitulation signing with Germans. Stalin said that the capitulation in Reims must not be recognized, for the importance of this act dictates that it must not happen in the territory of the victors, but in place the fascist aggression came from – Berlin. And the real action was supposed to be signed by the all the main commanders of the allied forces and some top executive of Nazi Germany. The repeated act took place in Berlin suburbs of Karlshorst with the presence of German Feldmarchal Wilhelm Keitel, Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet commander marshal Georgy Zhukov. Since the capitulation text was the same as 7th May signed since it was already approved by the US and UK, the World war really ended on 7th May and it was signed by the Soviet representative albeit not authorized by Stalin. The 9th May capitulation was Stalin’s caprice and later in the era of Brezhnev, the 9th May victory day was introduced as a mass celebration to make big parades and get more medals. 9th May has become a mythical victory festival to Russians the only date they really celebrate.
The World War II really started on 22th June 1941, after the German invasion in the Soviet Union and it was called the Great Patriotic War. All the combat actions that took place before was a separate happening that has nothing to do with the Soviet entry in World War II
The Red Army first opened fire on 17th September 1939, when entered the Eastern Poland. Soviet forces captured all Polish territory that was marked as the Soviet sphere of interest in Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. It was a use of force and therefore the Soviet Union entered World War II as a German ally since they held a friendly joint parade at Brestlitovsk. Soviet invasion was the finishing blow to Poland and helped Germans to win the invasion more quickly. Even if the Winter war in Finland could be taken as the separate war, it also was a part of a Soviet campaign to acquire all territories in the Soviet sphere of interest and at this time the Soviet Union was the German ally and British were considering to send an armed support for Finland. Also the occupation of the Baltic states and Bessarabia of Rumania was a military action. So again the Great Patriotic war myth was created to hide the unholy alliance with Germany and the actions done before 22. June 1941. The Napoleon invasion of Russia in 1812 is also called Patriotic War, but it was also a part of Napoleonic war same as the Eastern campaign in 1941 was the part of World War II that the Soviet Union already begun in 1939.
The Finland was to blame for the Winter war
The Soviet Union for a long time blamed the Finns for shelling the Mainila village at Karelia that resulted the Soviet counter attack. In reality Finland was in the Soviet Sphere of interest and after the talks of signing mutual cooperation pact with Finland went nowhere, Stalin gave directives to the Leningrad military district and the Baltic fleet to prepare for the invasion. In 23. November Soviet army received a note that “we are not coming as conquerors, but as the liberators of the Finns!”. Stalin gave an oral order to attack. The shelling at Manila was done by Soviet NKVD (secret police) at 26. November. Soviets took the blame on the Finns and declared that four people was killed and eight was wounded. In reality no military causalities or even gun shots were not recorded in Soviet documents. Finns recorded that the shelling came from the Soviet side at their own territory.
The Baltic States were incorporated and annexed by their own will and consent so as the Bessarabia and Eastern Poland.
This myth is still official in Russia. The mutual agreements with the Baltic states in 1939, was given by the Soviets in ultimatum form and Baltic diplomats were warned of grave consequences if they refuse to sign it. Soviets gathered large forces at the Baltic borders that Baltic armies could not counter with. The Finland did not sign and it resulted invasion. The Baltic States had no other chance but allow the buildup of Soviet garrisons or to face war of destruction. The Soviets were considering large amount of deportations in case of invasion. When at the Summer 1940, when Hitler defeated France, Stalin decided to completely solve “the Baltic problem”. As there were already garrisons at the Baltic States and the ultimatum to allow full entry of the Soviet forces in their lands gave no other option it was not really on the consent of the Baltic leaders. And the annexation process was not really supported by a majority of Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians, as no official plebiscite on joining Soviet Union was not held, and the new communist governments were elected in unfair elections with the result drawn out in Moscow before they even started. Same goes for occupied Eastern Poland were annexation took place without the consent of the local populace and the Bessarabia was given away by Rumania after threats of complete Soviet invasion. Also Germany advised Romanians to give up Besserabia because Germans needed their oil reserves that they did not want to give to the Soviets.
Stalin was afraid of Hitler
The popular myth of Stalin’s fear of Nazi Germany and that he has done everything to preserve peace until the last-minute does not correspond to reality. Stalin did everything to make Germans sign agreement in 1939. When the British were considering sending a military support to Finland, the Soviet navy received directly that their main enemies are not British but Germany and Italy. The war with Finland was stopped because Stalin wanted to move all important forces to the Western borders before Hitler strikes in France. At the 7th May 1940, when German campaign in western front was underway Stalin apparently said: “We will not fight with America, we will fight with Germany and the Americans and British will be on our side!”. He already stated in 1939. 19 August that the Soviets would enter the war when the Germans will get stuck in the western front. Apparently he was waiting for his strike against Germany since the German eastern borders were poorly defended. Even when Germans held outstanding victory over France, Stalin did not lose courage and ordered to prepare more forces to attack. His demands to Germany were aggressive that would violate the security of Germany and its allies. He left no doubts that he wanted Eastern Europe for himself even the Rumania with its oil reserves the only source for Germany. So it was Hitler who was more afraid of Stalin than Stalin from Hitler. There is much evidence that Soviets were ready to attack on Germany some days after the German attack date.
The Soviet Union won the war thanks to the courage of the Soviet people and the wisdom of the Soviet command. The allied help was not that important
In the first weeks of the German invasion, the Germans captured large areas and went to far distances. It was partly blamed on Red Army attack stance not defensive, but also the lack of morale, loyalty and courage was to blame. In fact in the first phases of the war Red Army took a chaotic panicked retreat all the way to Smolensk and Leningrad. The airplanes, tanks and guns were just abandoned to Germans. Divisions located many hundred miles from the front retreated. It was only the Stalins order of “no step back” and shooting the men from behind that stopped the complete collapse of the Red Army. Reason? There was a lack of discipline in the Soviet ranks, lack of professionalism and no big support to Stalin. Especially in Western Ukraine, where after the Stalinist repressions and the Great Famine was a heavy sense of Ukrainian nationalism. Same goes for Baltic states were Red Army had no support from the local populace.
Only when Eastern Front stopped near Moscow, and Soviets gathered enough forces with draconian efforts, Red Army was ready to fight again. Plus the Germans failed to fill out the hopes of the Ukrainians and Baltic people and did many atrocities that moved Russians against the Germans. So it was a fear that helped the Soviets to fight not bravery. And the incompetence of the Soviet command that emphasized on brutal majority not tactics cost thousands of life’s. The only German advantage over Soviets were their discipline and professionalism of their commanders. However both of the leaders of the Germany and Soviet Union were more or less bloody military amateurs.
UK and US send 50, 1 billion dollar military support to the Allied countries $31.4 billion went to Britain, $11.3 billion to the Soviet Union, $3.2 billion to France, $1.6 billion to China, and smaller sums to other Allies. The Soviet Union sent 2,2 billion dollars in return. Allied fleets lost a large amount of ships and sailors on their way to Soviet ports as they were hunted by German submarines. Even if the Soviets counted that only 4% of the allied Land lease was part of their economical surplus, 57% of the plane fuel came from allies, Soviets received more automobiles than they could build. A large part of railway track came from allies. Also the large amount of materials for military industry. True that Soviets almost did not use any of the allied supplied tank or airplane. But their weapons were built with allied resources. In military field the allied war in West did help Soviets to defeat the Germans. On 1943, when the Germans attacked Kursk, the allied landing in Sicily caused Hitler to cancel the attack on the eastern front. If the D-Day would fail or never occurred Germans would have enough resources to fight against Soviets all the way to 1946.
The Red Army veterans are heroes and all the accusations of atrocities are false or the victims deserved it. The local population in the liberated countries who did not greet the liberators are Nazi supporters and scoundrels
At 12th Januar 1945 General Ivan Chernjachovsky commander of the third Belorussian front gave the following order: “Two thousand miles we have walked past to see the destruction of all that was dear to us. Now we are standing at the lands from where the aggressors attacked on us. We will not stop until we will clear it. There will be no mercy for no one as there was no mercy for us. You cannot demand to the Soviet Soldier that he will be merciful to the enemy. He is burning in flames of revenge and hate. The land of Fascists must become a wasteland as ours is now. Fascists must die just as our soldiers died!”. And the Soviet soldiers did their best to fulfill this order. Only the Fascists they killed and raped were not soldiers and members of the Nazi party but women and children. Eastern Prussia, Silesia, Poland and even Serbia became a subject of rape, killings and looting. Even if there was a German crimes against Soviet population, it was on a smaller scale, plus the German soldiers and SS members were prohibited to rape because of the racial laws. The Holocaust in Soviet Union is a different story and it’s doubtful that Soviet Soldiers rape and killed to avenge the Jews. Antisemitism was no lesser in Soviet ranks than in German.
Many of today’s last generation of the surviving veterans had little or no combat experience. The real heroes died on first lines of the battlefield in Soviet mass attacks. Their medal count does not manifest their bravery since the awarding of low rank medals, orders and badges are the part of the Soviet War cult. And the Soviet officers and generals who did nothing to stop the soviet soldiers from doing bad deeds are not worthy to be called heroes.
We cannot call Poles, who knew what happened in 1939, Latvians who knew what happened in 1940 and others who resisted Soviet “liberation” fascists since the freedom that the Soviets brought was no better. Soviet Union had no plans for freedom of the Eastern Europe so it’s no wonder that today the Soviet liberation is not much appreciated.
This is only a short list of the Soviet myths. Its requires books to break them apart. Many of them have been broken by Russians themselves. But Putin’s Russia continues its revisionist policy from Yeltsin democracy to Stalinism. So the Great Patriotic war is not only the myth its a religion a belief system on its own and its god is Stalin that still rules Russia.