Thursday, February 05, 2015

Do You Know What the War Is?

I put it straighter: do you know what the WW2 was for the Soviet Union? You could hear that the war the USSR took part in was called "The Great Patriotic War", but do you know this is not a propaganda trick for a purpose, but the absolute truth?

Do you know the real meaning of the following phrase from a Soviet period history textbook:
On 6 June, 1944, the Allied forces, commanded by General Eisenhower, landed in Normandy (Northern France). The Anglo-American forces met with practically no opposition from the Hitlerites, and advanced into the heart of France.
Jan Trowbridge Dykman of the Eisenhover Institute wrote about the Soviet experience in WW2 a concise, albeit very cognitive article. Please spend some minutes to read it.

There are some points to add and correct, though.

As for the German POWs captured at Stalingrad, they were at the final stage of starvation: Hitler prohibited Paulus (the German 6th Army commander in chief) to surrender and insisted on fighting till the end; so almost all captured men were suffering from final stages of hunger and frostbites (that winter was very frosty there). So many of them died not because of intentional misfeeding (Geman POWs never received food rations worse in comparison to rear based Red Army soldiers) or a lack of medical service.

August 1941, the "Pit of Uman" - Stalag 349; an open-air camp containing in a brickyard quarry about 50,000 Soviet POWs from the "Uman cauldron". Most of them won't survive coming autumn and winter.
August 1941, the "Pit of Uman" — Stalag 349;
an open-air camp containing 
in a brickyard quarry
about 50,000 Soviet POWs 
from the "Uman cauldron".
Most of them won't survive coming autumn and winter.
Generally speaking, the USSR kept to the Geneva Convention Relative the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 1929, though had not signed it; on the other hand, Germany, which had, did not kept its obligations towards Soviet POWs, while the Convention's article 82 stated directly that
In case, in time of war, one of the belligerents is not a party to the Convention, its provisions shall nevertheless remain in force as between the belligerents who are parties thereto.
That is, Germany was obliged to follow the Convention's requirements by the very fact it had signed it. The figures show how it was in real life.

For the Red Army, out of appr. 4.5 million captured by the Hitlerites and MIA, 1.8 million returned from captivity. As for Germans and their allies, the USSR captured close to 3.5 million, out of which less than 520,000 died for any reason; so the death rate of Germans and satellites was less than 15%.

August 1941, "Pit of Uman" — Stalag 349; an open-air camp containing about 50,000 Soviet POWs from the "Uman cauldron" in a brickyard quarry.

And the last moment that we do not forget. Among those men from Wehrmaht, Waffen-SS and German satellites, captured by the Red Army, there were:
70,000 Czechoslovaks, 23,000 French (how many of them were fighting in the Resistance, I wonder), 60,000 Poles, 21,800 Yugoslavs, 4,700 Dutches, 2,000 Belgians, 450 Spaniards, 460 Danes, 4,000 others; besides, from national armies of satellites — 514,000 Hungarians, 187,000 Romanians, 49,000 Italians, 2,400 Finns. So in fact the USSR was fighting kind of the EU 1.0, wasn't it?

I hope now you understand a bit better what that war was — and still is — for us Russians and other ex-Soviet nations. And why we celebrate May 9 as the greatest feast.

And that... you know, we are not afraid of fighting a war; we win sooner or later, but always, even in total wars. But a war is the last thing we want, for no other nation knows the price of war better.

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