«Ленинград. Блокада. 1941—1944»

 

 

J. V. Stalin

 

"A great victory has been won by the Soviet troops at Leningrad. Our troops broke up the enemy's powerful system of permanent, deeply echeloned fortifications, routed a strong grouping of German troops, and completely freed Leningrad from the enemy’s blockade and barbarous shellings."

J. V. Stalin

Order of the Day, No. 16 - February 23, 1944

 

 

 

 

1,496,000 Soviet fighters were awarded the medal for the defence of Leningrad from 22nd December 1942.

 

“Nobody is Forgotten and Nothing is Forgotten”

The capture of Leningrad was one of three strategic goals in the German Operation Barbarossa and the main target of Army Group North. The strategy was motivated by Leningrad's political status as the former capital of Russia and the symbolic capital of the Russian Revolution, its military importance as a main base of the Soviet Baltic Fleet and its industrial strength, housing numerous arms factories. By 1939 the city was responsible for 11% of all Soviet industrial output. It has been reported that Adolf Hitler was so confident of capturing Leningrad that he had the invitations to the victory celebrations to be held in the city's Hotel Astoria already printed. The ultimate fate of the city was uncertain in German plans, which ranged from renaming the city to Adolfsburg and making it the capital of the new Ingermanland province of the Reich in Generalplan Ost, to razing it to the ground and giving areas north of the River Neva to the Finns.

Army Group North under Feldmarschall Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb advanced to Leningrad, its primary objective. Von Leeb's plan called for capturing the city on the move, but due to strong resistance from Soviet forces, and also Hitler's recall of 4th Panzer Group, he was forced to besiege the city after reaching the shores of Lake Ladoga, while trying to complete the encirclement and reaching the Finnish Army under Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim waiting at the Svir River, east of Leningrad.

Finnish military forces were located north of Leningrad, while German forces occupied territories to the south. Both German and Finnish forces had the goal of encircling Leningrad and maintaining the blockade perimeter, thus cutting off all communication with the city and preventing the defenders from receiving any food or supplies.

On 27 June 1941, the Council of Deputies of the Leningrad administration organised "First response groups" of civilians. In the next days the entire civilian population of Leningrad was informed of the danger and over a million citizens were mobilised for the construction of fortifications. Several lines of defences were built along the perimeter of the city in order to repulse hostile forces approaching from north and south by means of civilian resistance.

In the south one of the fortified lines ran from the mouth of the Luga River to Chudovo, Gatchina, Uritsk, Pulkovo and then through the Neva River. Another line of defence passed through Peterhof to Gatchina, Pulkovo, Kolpino and Koltushy. In the north the defensive line against the Finns, the Karelian Fortified Region, had been maintained in the northern suburbs of Leningrad since the 1930s, and was now returned to service. A total of 190 km (120 mi) of timber barricades, 635 km (395 mi) of wire entanglements, 700 km (430 mi) of anti-tank ditches, 5,000 earth-and-timber emplacements and reinforced concrete weapon emplacements and 25,000 km (16,000 mi)[citation needed] of open trenches were constructed or excavated by civilians. Even the guns from the cruiser Aurora were moved inland to the Pulkovo Heights to the south of Leningrad.

The 4th Panzer Group from East Prussia took Pskov following a swift advance and reached the neighborhood of Luga and Novgorod, within operational reach of Leningrad, but it was stopped by fierce resistance south of the city. However, the 18th Army — despite some 350,000 men lagging behind — forced its way to Ostrov and Pskov after the Soviet troops of the Northwestern Front retreated towards Leningrad. On 10 July, both Ostrov and Pskov were captured and the 18th Army reached Narva and Kingisepp, from where advance toward Leningrad continued from the Luga River line. This had the effect of creating siege positions from the Gulf of Finland to Lake Ladoga, with the eventual aim of isolating Leningrad from all directions. The Finnish Army was then expected to advance along the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga.

The Leningrad Front (initially the Leningrad Military District) was commanded by Marshal Kliment Voroshilov. It included the 23rd Army in the northern sector between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga, and the 48th Army in the western sector between the Gulf of Finland and the Slutsk–Mga position. The Leningrad Fortified Region, the Leningrad garrison, the Baltic Fleet forces, and Koporye, Southern and Slutsk–Kolpino operational groups were also present.

By September 1941, the link with the Volkhov Front (commanded by Kirill Meretskov) was severed and the defensive sectors were held by four armies: 23rd Army in the northern sector, 42nd Army on the western sector, 55th Army on the southern sector, and the 67th Army on the eastern sector. The 8th Army of the Volkhov Front had the responsibility of maintaining the logistic route to the city in coordination with the Ladoga Flotilla. Air cover for the city was provided by the Leningrad military district PVO Corps and Baltic Fleet naval aviation units.

The defensive operation to protect the 1,400,000 civilian evacuees was part of the Leningrad counter-siege operations under the command of Andrei Zhdanov, Kliment Voroshilov, and Aleksei Kuznetsov. Additional military operations were carried out in coordination with Baltic Fleet naval forces under the general command of Admiral Vladimir Tributs. The Ladoga Flotilla under the command of V. Baranovsky, S.V. Zemlyanichenko, P.A. Traynin, and B.V. Khoroshikhin also played a major military role in helping with evacuation of the civilians.

By 8 September, German forces had largely surrounded the city, cutting off all supply routes to Leningrad and its suburbs. Unable to press home their offensive, and facing defences of the city organised by Marshal Zhukov, the Axis armies laid siege to the city for 872 days.

Artillery bombardment of Leningrad began in August 1941, increasing in intensity during 1942 with the arrival of new equipment. It was stepped up further during 1943, when several times as many shells and bombs were used as in the year before. Torpedoes were often used for night bombings by the Luftwaffe. Against this, the Soviet Baltic Fleet Navy aviation made over 100,000 air missions to support their military operations during the siege. German shelling and bombing killed 5,723 and wounded 20,507 civilians in Leningrad during the siege.

To sustain the defence of the city, it was vitally important for the Red Army to establish a route for bringing a constant flow of supplies into Leningrad. This route was effected over the southern part of Lake Ladoga, by means of watercraft during the warmer months and land vehicles driven over thick ice in winter. The security of the supply route was ensured by the Ladoga Flotilla, the Leningrad PVO Corps, and route security troops. The route would also be used to evacuate civilians from the besieged city. This was because no evacuation plan had been made available in the chaos of the first winter of the war, and the city literally starved in complete isolation until 20 November 1941, when the ice road over Lake Ladoga became operational.

This road was named the Road of Life (Russian: Дорога жизни). As a road it was very dangerous. There was the risk of vehicles becoming stuck in the snow or sinking through broken ice caused by the constant German bombardment. Because of the high winter death toll the route also became known as the "Road of Death". However, the lifeline did bring military and food supplies in and took civilians and wounded soldiers out, allowing the city to continue resisting the enemy.

The two-and-a-half year siege caused the greatest destruction and the largest loss of life ever known in a modern city. On Hitler's express orders, most of the palaces of the Tsars, such as the Catherine Palace, Peterhof Palace, Ropsha, Strelna, Gatchina, and other historic landmarks located outside the city's defensive perimeter were looted and then destroyed, with many art collections transported to Nazi Germany. A number of factories, schools, hospitals and other civil infrastructure were destroyed by air raids and long range artillery bombardment.

The 872 days of the siege caused unparalleled famine in the Leningrad region through disruption of utilities, water, energy and food supplies. This resulted in the deaths of up to 1,500,000diers and civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, mainly women and children, many of whom died during evacuation due to starvation and bombardment. Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery alone in Leningrad holds half a million civilian victims of the siege. Economic destruction and human losses in Leningrad on both sides exceeded those of the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Moscow, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The siege of Leningrad is the most lethal siege in world history, and some historians speak of the siege operations in terms of genocide, as a "racially motivated starvation policy" that became an integral part of the unprecedented German war of extermination against populations of the Soviet Union generally.

Civilians in the city suffered from extreme starvation, especially in the winter of 1941–1942. For example, from November 1941 – February 1942 the only food available to the citizen was 125 grams of bread, of which 50–60% consisted of sawdust and other inedible admixtures, and distributed through ration cards. For about two weeks at the beginning of January 1942, even this food was available only for workers and military personnel. In conditions of extreme temperatures (down to −30 °C) and city transport being out of service, even a distance of a few kilometers to a food distributing kiosk created an insurmountable obstacle for many citizens. In January–February 1942, about 700–1,000 citizens died every day, most of them from hunger. People often died on the streets, and citizens soon became accustomed to the sight of death.

On 9 August 1942, the Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad" by Dmitri Shostakovich was performed by the Radio orchestra of Leningrad.[ The score had passed the German lines by air one night in March 1942. The concert was broadcast on loudspeakers placed in all the city and also aimed towards the enemy lines. This date, initially chosen by Hitler to celebrate the taking of Leningrad, and a few days before the Sinyavino Offensive, can symbolise the reversal of the dynamics in favour of the Soviet army.

The Sinyavino Offensive was a Soviet attempt to break the blockade of the city in early autumn 1942. The 2nd Shock and the 8th armies were to link up with the forces of the Leningrad Front. At the same time the German side was preparing an offensive, Operation Nordlicht (Northern Light), to capture the city, using the troops freed up after the capture of Sevastopol. Neither side was aware of the other's intentions until the battle started.

The Sinyavino offensive started on 27 August 1942, with some small-scale attacks by the Leningrad front on the 19th, pre-empting "Nordlicht" by a few weeks. The successful start of the operation forced the Germans to redirect troops from the planned "Nordlicht" to counterattack the Soviet armies. The counteroffensive saw the first deployment of the Tiger tank, though with limited success. After parts of the 2nd Shock Army were encircled and destroyed, the Soviet offensive was halted. However the German forces had to abandon their offensive on Leningrad as well.

The encirclement was broken in the wake of Operation Iskra — (English: Operation Spark) — a full-scale offensive conducted by the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts. This offensive started in the morning of 12 January 1943. After fierce battles the Red Army units overcame the powerful German fortifications to the south of Lake Ladoga, and on 18 January 1943 the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts met, opening a 10–12 km (6.2–7.5 mi) wide land corridor, which could provide some relief to the besieged population of Leningrad.

The siege continued until 27 January 1944, when the Soviet Leningrad-Novgorod Strategic Offensive expelled German forces from the southern outskirts of the city. This was a combined effort by the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts, along with the 1st and 2nd Baltic Fronts. The Baltic Fleet provided 30% of aviation power for the final strike against the Wehrmacht. In the summer of 1944, the Finnish Defence Forces were pushed back to the other side of the Bay of Vyborg and the Vuoksi River.

 

 

Break of Leningrad blockade

In the morning of January 12, 1943 "Volkhov" and "Leningrad" fronts simultaneously have begun offensive. The special complexity was represented break of defense in line of 67-th army. Here Germans positions passed on high-ice bank of Neva river. In night before offensive the aircraft forces has put impacts on German fire positions. At 9:30 on both fronts the powerful artillery and air bombardment began. From 2-nd Shock army it proceeded 1 hour 45 minutes, and from 67-th - 2 hours 20 minutes. During 40 minutes prior to the beginning attack the Soviet assault aircrafts by groups to 6-8 planes has put impacts on communication centers, main fortifications, artillery and mortar batteries. As soon as the artillery bombardment has terminated, infaltry and easy tanks of 67-th Soviet army have directed on ice to the left coast of Neva river. Under artillery covering fire the first assault groups have reached the opposite bank. The rifle and tank divisions have overcome on ice the river and successfully attacked an enemy. The German resistance between Shlisselburg, was broken.

To outcome of day, coming in the centre 136-th and 268-th rifle divisions wedged in German defense on depth up to 3 kms. In line of 2-nd Shock army the most fierce fights were developed for basic fortification in Linka village and Working settlement N 8. To outcome of day the forces of Soviet army break through the first position of enemy defense and advanced on 2-3 kms. Since morning of January 13 the offensive proceeded. The greatest progress achieved in a direction of Working settlement N 5. To outcome of day distance between coming towards each other Soviet shock groupings of fronts did not exceed 5-6 kms. Germans counter-attack on the next day have strengthed. To the north of Sinyavino German reinforcement has thrown (61-th and 69-th field divisions) from Kirishi. From January 15 till January 18, groupings of the "Volkhov" and "Leningrad" fronts continued persistently to advance towards each other, expanding break on the flanks. Germans, carrying the large losses, lost one position for another. The ring around of its parts acting in the north "sinyavsk" ledge, was gradually compressed.

In first half of day on January 18, forces of 2-nd Shock and 67-th army have incorporated in area of Working settlements N 1 and N 5. By the end of day the sout coast of the Ladoga lake was cleared from enemy, and its isolated groups are liquidated. Between the Ladoga lake and line of front the corridor of width 8-11 kms was formed, across which during 17 day were laid highway.

By simultaneous impacts on flank of 18-th German army under Leningrad and Novgorod the Soviet armies route its main forces, then offensive on the Narva and Pskov directions, route 16-th army. The group of armies "North" was rejected on 220-280 kms.

After 28 months of siege—nearly 900 days—Leningrad surged back to life, 150 miles behind the frontline and safe from German guns and bombs.

 

 

Timeline of the Siege of Leningrad

 

1941

*June 22: Operation Barbarossa begins.


*June 29: Evacuation of children and women from Leningrad starts.


*June–July: Over 300 thousand civilian refugees from Pskov and Novgorod manage to escape from the advancing Germans, and come to Leningrad for shelter. The armies of the North-Western Front join the front lines at Leningrad. Total military strength with reserves and volunteers reaches 2 million men involved on all sides of the emerging battle.


*July 17: Food rationing begins in Leningrad and suburbs.


*July 19–23: First attack on Leningrad by the Army Group North is stopped 100 km south of the city.
*August 20 – September 8: Artillery bombardments of Leningrad are massive, targeting industries, schools, hospitals, and civilian houses.


*August 20 – 27: Evacuation of civilians is stopped by the German attacks on railroads and other exits from Leningrad.


*August 21: Hitler's Directive No.34 ordered "Encirclement of Leningrad and junction with the Finns."
*September 2 - 9: Finns finish the capture of the salients of Beloostrov and Kirjasalo and starts to prepare defences.
*September 8: Encirclement of Leningrad is completed when the German forces reach the shores of Lake Ladoga.


*September 16: Dmitri Shostakovich gives radio address to citizens of Leningrad. "We shall stand up all together and defend our city".


*September 19: German troops are stopped 10 km from Leningrad. Masses of citizens, women and schoolchildren come to fight in defense lines.


*September 22: Hitler issues "Directive No. 1601" ordering "St. Petersburg must be erased from the face of the Earth" and "we have no interest in saving lives of civilian population."


*October: Food shortages cause serious starvation of civilians. Civilian deaths exceed hundreds of thousands by the end of the Autumn. Shostakovich and his family are evacuated to Kuybishev.
*Tikhvin strategic offensive operation (10.11–30.12.41), Malovishersk offensive operation (10.11–30.12.41), Tikhvin-Kirish offensive operation (12.11–30.12.41).


*November 8: Hitler's speech in Munich: "Leningrad must die of starvation."


*November: In massive German air-bombings destroy all major food stores in Leningrad.


*December: Daily death toll is 5000–7000 civilians. Total civilian deaths in the first year of the siege are 780,000 citizens. Studying starvation, epidemics, stress, and other diseases during the siege of Leningrad.


*December 25: On the Christmas day 5000 civilian deaths registered in Leningrad, and more unregistered are left buried under the snow until the next year.


*December: Winston Churchill wrote in his diary "Leningrad is encircled" then sent a letter to Mannerheim requesting that Finnish army should stop harassing the railroads north of Leningrad used for American and British food and ammunition supplies to Leningrad by British and American Arctic convoys .

 

1942

January–December: Direct Nazi artillery bombardments of the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments from a distance of 16 km from the Hermitage.
*January–December: Total civilian death toll in the second year of the siege is about 500,000 citizens.


*January–February: The deadliest months of the siege: every month 130,000 civilians are found dead in Leningrad and suburbs.


*January: Energy supplies are destroyed by the Nazi bombardments in the entire city. Heating supplies are also destroyed, causing more deaths.


*February–April: Bread rations increased to 300 grams per one child per day. Adult workers are allowed a ration of 500 grams per day. Frozen food is delivered in limited amounts only to support active soldiers and key industrial workers. Some food supplies are delivered across the ice on Lake Ladoga. However, many delivery cars are destroyed by the Nazi aircraft.


*January–May: Tens of thousands of children join the "Night watch" to stop many fires from air-bombings. Many children are killed while performing this duty.


*May 16: First official decoration of schoolchildren for their courage. 15 thousand children are decorated for their courage during the siege of Leningrad.


*March–May: Cholera cases are registered in Leningrad, but the infection is isolated, then stopped. An epidemic situation is contained within several weeks, and remains under control for the rest of the year. However, hospitals are suffering from severe air-bombings, shortages of energy and food. Thousands of doctors and nurses are killed at work. Of about 30,000 medical doctors and 100,000 medical nurses in pre-war St. Petersburg, less that a half survived the siege.


*April 4: Operation Eis Stoß (Ice impact) begins under the personal control of Goering. Hundreds of Luftwaffe bombers make a series of air raids on Leningrad with incendiary and heavy bombs.
*May: Streetcars return to some streets in Leningrad, allowing some children to go to the remaining schools that are not destroyed. Boats on Lake Ladoga start food deliveries to starving survivors in Leningrad.


*June–September: Newer heavy artillery is stationed 10–28 km from the city and bombards Leningrad with 800 kg shells. The Nazis make special maps of Leningrad for artillery bombardments targeting the city infrastructure, businesses, transportation, schools, and hospitals.


*August 9: Premiere of the Leningrad Symphony by the Leningrad Radio Orchestra (the only symphony orchestra remaining in besieged Leningrad) under Karl Eliasberg.
*Sinyavin offensive operation (Aug.–Sep. 1942)

 

1943

*January–December: Only about seven hundred children were born alive in Leningrad over the year 1943, in the aftermath of previous years of the siege. Before the war, in 1939, over 175 thousand children were born in Leningrad and suburbs, and another 171 thousand babies were 1-year-olds born in 1938. Most died in the siege, or on road seeking refuge in evacuation.


*January: Temporary penetration through the Nazi siege near Lake Ladoga. The population of Leningrad including suburbs has decreased from about 4 million to less than 800 thousand, civilians and military combined. Most remaining civilians are evacuated to Siberia; many die there.


* January 12–30: Breaking of the Leningrad blockade. Operation “Iskra”


*February: The railroad is temporarily restored, but soon destroyed again by enemy aircraft.


*March–April: Epidemic typhus and Paratyphoid fever start spreading among survivors, but the epidemic is localized and contained by mutual efforts of doctors and citizens.

 

1944

*January: Before retreating the Germans loot and then destroy the most valuable Palaces of the Tsars, such as the Catherine Palace, the Peterhof, the Gatchina, and the Strelna. Many other historic landmarks and homes in the suburbs of St. Petersburg are looted and then destroyed, and incalculable amounts of valuable art collections taken to the Nazi Germany.


*January 14 - March 1: Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation, 1st of the Ten Stalin’s punches:


*January 27: Siege of Leningrad ends, after a joint effort by the Army and the Baltic Fleet, which provided 30% of aviation power for the final blow to the Germans. The Germans are forced to retreat 60–100 km away from the city.


*February: Survivors begin returning to Leningrad and suburbs, where industries, factories, schools, hospitals, transportation, airports and other infrastructure are found destroyed by the German air raids and artillery after 2½ years of the siege.


*February–December: Survivors of the siege begin repairs and re-building of the ruined industries, hospitals, housing, and schools.


* June 9 - July 15: Fourth Strategic Offensive pushes Finns northwestwards about 30–100 km to the other side of Bay of Vyborg and River Vuoksi.

 

1945

*Explosions of land-mines left by the Nazis cause thousands of deaths among returning citizens.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Here lie the people of Leningrad,
Here are the citizens – men, women, children –
And beside them the soldiers of the Red Army
Who gave their lives
Defending you, Leningrad,
Cradle of the Revolution.

Their noble names we cannot number
So many lie beneath the eternal granite
But of those honoured by this stone
Let no one forget
Let nothing be forgotten."

 

"So much that sometimes moods of doubting
Have shaken even the strongest will:
‘Can I endure it? Can I bear it?’
You’ll bear it. You’ll last out. You will."

Olga Berggolts

 

 

1941 - 1945

The GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR

J. V. STALIN

 

 

 

 

Why We Win

M.I. Kalinin 

 (April and November 1944)

 

 

 

 

Vasily Ivanovich Ardamatskiy

 

LENINGRADSKAYA WINTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

PATRIOTISM AND INTERNATIONALISM

Titarenko

1950

 

 

 

 

Klavdia Nikolaeva

1893 - 1944

(Activist in the Leningrad Women' s Section)

A Just War

Source: The Labour Monthly, Vol. 24, May 1942, No. 3.

COMRADES, every honest human being, man and woman alike, should understand that the war of freedom-loving peoples of the U.S.S.R., Great Britain and the Allies is a just war for the complete rout of the German bandits, for the liberation of the enslaved peoples from the yoke of Hitlerite Germany.

When the German bandits attacked the Soviet Union, they had not properly considered what exactly the land of Soviets was, or the character of our people. But our people are possessed of a firm and determined character. If an enemy attacks our country, then the whole people and our valiant Red Army fight and continue to fight the enemy mercilessly, wipe out and continue to wipe out the enemy, so that all desire to invade our Soviet land will be knocked out of them for all time.

The German invaders wanted to have a war of annihilation, and they have indeed got it. And may the German people reproach themselves for allowing Hitler and his band to invade foreign lands.

The German invaders have forgotten that our Soviet people are possessed of an indomitable will for victory. Under the wise guidance of the great army leader, Comrade Stalin, our troops are pressing forward wiping out the enemy hordes. Liberating our Soviet soil before the eyes of our people, they are raising up again the burned towns and villages. Thousands of bodies of peaceful inhabitants, brutally tortured children, raped and tortured women! Plunder, rapine, treasures of culture and monuments of the past desecrated by the bestial paws of the Hitlerites!

They came like the Black Plague. They came and drank our blood, seized our cattle and burned our homes. They outraged young and old alike.

“They dragged your wife from her homestead with their filthy brigand hands,

Tortured her to unconsciousness and, in the morning . . . good-bye . . . they finished her off!”

In these words of our poet, Isakovsky, is expressed all the barbarity, the mockery of the German brigands against the population of our motherland, against our women, against the wealth which was the fruits of our labors.

We have proof of these words in numerous documents written by the German bandits themselves. This is what Senior-Corporal Tanrittel writes:—

The more you kill, the easier it becomes. To-day I helped to clear up a camp. We shot 82 people in all. Among them was a beautiful woman. We took her off to a barn; she bit and scratched. Forty minutes later we shot her.

And here is what another brigand, Lieutenant Tafna, writes:—

The Russians have turned out to be devils; we have to bind them up. I liked all this fuss at first, but now that I’m bitten and scratched all over I adopt simpler methods—use my revolver. This cools them off. Just between ourselves an incident happened here unprecedented elsewhere. A Russian girl blew up herself and Senior-Lieutenant Gross. Now we strip them naked and make a proper search; then, afterwards, they just vanish, leaving no trace.

What a store of insolence, shamelessness, foulness and bestiality these brutes have! One German soldier, Heinz Muller, in whom a spark of human consciousness broke through all these brutalities, wrote to his sweetheart:—

I curse the day I was born a German. I am horrified at the life in the German Army in Russia. Immorality, plunder, violence, murder. Old people, women and children are being annihilated. Simply murdered. That is why the Russians defend themselves with such extraordinary courage.

The German rulers do everything to prevent such letters from reaching the German people, sweethearts, wives and mothers.

I want to appeal not only to you, but to all women in Great Britain. Nature endowed us women with fine feelings of motherhood, and it is natural that every woman, irrespective of her nationality, political convictions, religious faith and social status, should guard these noble feelings.

Is it possible that the women of Germany do not know that Hitler has taken their children from them and trained them to be brigands, branded with the swastika and ordered them to kill, rape and plunder!

Can it he that these mothers and wives do not know that by order of Hitler and his generals, their husbands, sons, brothers are perpetrating such unprecedented outrages?

All this is bringing nearer the doom of the German brigands. The German people have covered themselves with shame, with a shame that will go down in the history of the German people as the shameful page in the black period of Hitler’s power.

The land is groaning under the horrors which the German invaders bring in their train. History will never forget this. History has pronounced its verdict and the Soviet people, together with all freedom-loving peoples of the world, will carry this sentence into execution.

In the grave days of war, the women of the Soviet Union have understood perfectly well the role they have to play, and they greet all women who are aware of their position and of the part they have to play in the struggle against Hitlerism. To-day, when our motherland is in danger, trillions of Soviet women on all sectors of the rear and the front are selflessly working shoulder to shoulder with their menfolk in defence of their magnificent motherland for the rout of the German barbarians.

Soviet women have displayed tremendous heroism at the front as nurses. Soviet women understand full well that for victory over the enemy, tanks, planes, guns, machine guns, shells and all essential armaments are necessary. And so, equally with the men, they are working on production, taking the places of those who go into the Red Army.

There can be no war without armaments; everybody without exception should understand this. Some people understand war as being a man’s business; this is wrong. The women should labour especially in wartime when it is a question of defending the motherland, of helping the army fighting for the liberation of peoples from under Hitlerite tyranny. Soviet people are confident of victory and we Soviet women, together with the whole of the Soviet people, are confident of victory and do our utmost to help forge victory over the enemy.

And we want you and all the people of Great Britain to be filled with the same hatred for the accursed enemy of all mankind, Hitlerism, as we are, and with the same confidence in victory as we are. For this we must work hard; we must strengthen to the utmost the ties of friendship between peoples.

Long live the friendship of the peoples of Great Britain and the U.S.S.R.!

 

 

 

 

“The Führer has decided to raze the city of Petersburg from the face of the earth. After the defeat of Soviet Russia there will be not the slightest reason for the future existence of this large city […] It is proposed to blockade the city and by means of artillery fire of all caliber and ceaseless bombardment from the air to raze it to the ground. If this creates a situation in the city which produces calls for surrender, they will be refused […] We are not interested in preserving even a part of the population of this large city.”

 - Hitler’s directive, “The Future of the City of Petersburg,” 22 September 1941

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Army of Heroes

1944 - Moscow - Publishing House

 

The Defence of Leningrad

1943