Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Exhausted by Stalin's regime Russians were ready simply to surrender to the Nazis

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by PzJgr, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,239
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Well said Slon. Stalin was indeed a total C, but that's a far more complex issue than the USSR & it's soldier's massive contributions to defeating Adolf (Eg.:RKKA in World War II).
    They may well have been a dodgy regime, awful things may have been done in that regime's name, but in that conflict, on the whole, they were well on the side of the righteous. No matter what the crimes of a given state, for that period there is a pretty clear choice of which side was the attacked, rather than the attacker. The justified cause, rather than the unjustified. Even the Avenger rather than the initial perpetrator, with all the associated aggression that implies. The enemy of my enemy is my friend... even if he's sometimes a bit nasty.

    Read more then.
    I don't think that's a particular criticism of you, maybe more of the availability of books on certain themes. There's been a whole publishing industry that personalises the German Soldier (romanticises even, if you think of crap like 'Panzer Aces'), and really very little on the Soviet.
    Bessonov's 'Tank Rider' is one odd little personal memoir that's widely available & worth a read. It's a long way from great literature but gives one a wider appreciation of 'the WW2 soldier' no matter what his nation's ideology.

    The excellent 'Russian Battlefield' site has a slightly neglected page of memoirs of Soviet soldiers too. Really worth a shufti for anyone that 's simplistic enough to think these chaps were universally nothing more than drone-like slaves of Stalin:
    Memoirs - THE RUSSIAN BATTLEFIELD

    ~A
     
    Triple C, Sloniksp and Artema like this.
  2. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    954
    Yep, guilty of addressing long time membership I'm afraid. Forgetting we have a revolving membership on here.

    I have over the years been amazed by the sometimes rank outright damnation of Russias part in world war 2 on the forum. There seems to be a thought process that whenever Russian fight is raised, some immediately gun for Stalin and rush to compare his actions, gulags, attrocities et al, to the Nazis, and we get into well he was worse than them scenario and never ending battle.

    Russia played a major part in the defeat of a jackbooted facist murderous regime, and although the majority of us on here do not excuse any crimes committed in Russia by Russian people, it should never be forgotten that they were just that....An ally in the defeat of a system that attempted to enslave the majority of us within their tentacles.

    Pacts and intrigues are often brought to the fore pre ww2 vexing that Russia is guilty of some of the causes of ww2...But we all are...Britain included. Poland incl uded, France included, America included. Russians saw the wests intrigues in their efforts to protect themselves and their empires and did nothing differently. We have no right to critisise any govt for doing no less than we ourselves were attempting to do at times.

    No one here is unaware of the gulags, the civilian communist govts rural policies in THEIR OWN nation and the effects of this on own people. But neither am I for one easily fooled by Polands anti semit laws pre ww2. Always glossed over and ignored.

    It seems unlike the cold war days of better red than dead, some on here would like to turn the clock back and be better jackbooted than red. Thats ok....If you live across the Atlantic, but for some of our peoples and parents the fight for survival was just that...survival and not just a war...Sounds terrible...just a war...millions died...but Some nations were never under the threat or indeed the actual occupation of the nazi thugs. Some nations within the communist sphere pre war would have us believe the Germans were the better option...that is the crux of many an argument on here...They are entitled to believe that. And some live in ivory towers.
     
    Sloniksp, Artema and von Poop like this.
  3. Anderan

    Anderan Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    4
    I personally think the reason there were more surrenders early on in the war was because
    A) The battles were largely in areas that the Soviets had taken over at one point or areas that wanted to separate from the Soviet Union
    B) The Nazi's cruelty was not yet known, at least not widely. As time went on more and more people found out you were screwed for sure if you surrendered so I guess its better to keep fighting with a slight chance for survival and a even greater chance of taking some of them out with you in the event you do die.
     
  4. JeffinMNUSA

    JeffinMNUSA Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    99
    And;
    A refrain I hear from the Jewish Partisan accounts about the early days of Barbarossa goes like "the Germans were here in WWI and they were not so bad..." When the EInsatzgruppens and Gestapo showed up in the occuppied territories it became obvious to all that the WWI model no longer applied. And it also became obvious that "Der Fuhrer" was serious in his "Mein Kampf" ramblings about mass destruction of the Slavic Peoples as well as the peoples of the Judaic faith. So...what else were the savaged peoples of the USSR to do but to pick up arms and fight to the death? "Our criminals are preferable to theirs" a Frontovik saying from the Sohlzhenitsyn writings goes.
    JEffinMNUSA
     
  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    236
    To return to the question:was it true :were the Russians ready to surrender?
    I am very doubtfull:exception for the annexed territories ,I do not think there was a mass surrender .
    Of course,the Germans took a lot of prisonners (81383O in june and july;678480 in august )if the German sources are reliable ;),but there is a big difference between taking POW and mass surrender .The Germans lost 210000 men in june and july and nearly 200000 in august,this suggest there was bitter fighting and no mass surrender .The Germans did not walk over the Red Army in the summer of 1941.
    About the "activities " of the Einsatzgruppen ,they would have prevented a collapse of the Russian morale :how could the Russian soldiers know of the massmurders in the occupied territories ?
     
  6. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Were the Russians really more ready to surrender than French, British or American soldiers who fell victim to blitzkrieg tactics? I would probably look for non-political causes for the collapse of the Red Army in the first weeks of the war. For example, look at the communications.

    The Red Army, like the rest of Russia, was an organization ran from the top and no one ever dared do anything without explicit permission or safer yet, orders. But The Red Army didn't have enough radios. Long-range radio sets were rare even in Front HQs and they routinely lost contact with the commanders of their subordinate Rifle Armies. Where radios were available, Russian officers were often scared of using them because the encryption was poor. But the Germans always remembered to cut the telephone wires. Curriers were used instead, and it can be imagined how hard it was to give and relay orders or report on one's situation. Many Russian units simply had no idea what hit them and why.

    For morale, Knowing what's going on is almost as important as knowing what to do. With a collapsed command system presided at the top by a sumpreme warlord who's having a neverous breakdown certainly made it hard for the Russians to act in a resolute manner in June-July 1941.
     
  7. Artema

    Artema Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    13
    It's not a simple question whether those who surrendered were "exhausted by Stalin's regime". In 1941 the Red Army lost about 1 million soldiers killed. 3 million soldiers surrendered. Ratio is 1:3.
    Poland in 1939 lost 66 000 killed and nearly 700 000 surrendered. 1:9. Were they "exhausted" by their regime?
    France in 1940: 84 000 killed, more than 500 000 surrendered. 1:6. They were obviously "exhausted" too.
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,985
    Likes Received:
    2,385
    You are comparing things that are difficult to compare Artema. The Poles had obosolete material and had little choice, they were not exhausted by their own regime, but by a three weeks battle which ended with two fronts. Same for the French who had no air superiority, a terrible lack of amnunition.
    The Russians however still had a large potential of men, women and industry, and above all immense territories that were almost impossible for an army to occupy. Also in 1941 some of them considered (wrongly) the Germans as "liberators" and thought they'd be treated correctly.
     
  9. Artema

    Artema Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    13
    It may be true, but not relevant.
    I say, that the army which wants to surrender, not to fight, does not lose 1 million soldiers. It loses 66 000, as Poland, or 84 000, as France.

    Those 3 millions who surrendered, I guess, were not interested neither in potential, nor in territory. They were worrying about lack of ammunition and fuel supply and about having no possibility to communicate to their commandment. And if you think that the Red Army in Summer 1941 had any air superiority, you are absolutely wrong, honestly.
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,674
    Likes Received:
    2,212
    Location:
    Alabama
    I view both forms of government in the same light. Fascism and Communism are differing forms of the same evil.

    I was posing the idea that if we vilify the common soldier of one nation because he was drafted by a government that caused the deaths of millions, then why would it not be appropriate to do the same for another government that did the same? And in doing so, it was not an effort to denegrate the common soldier of one country

    Disliking the governmental perpetrators of a crime does not translate into dislike for the people who had very little to do with helping those ran the government to gain power, or were duped into believing lies about how good it would be once the nafarious proponents of a certain governmental form gained power.
     
  11. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    20

    The Vyazma/Bryansk battles yielded 673,000 Soviet prisoners, bringing the tally since the start of the invasion to three million Soviet soldiers captured, so I guess you could say the Soviets surrendered en masse. but it was the same for all armies, East or West, once things were hopeless.

    Over 350,000 Germans surrended in the Ruhr pocket, 130,000 British & commonwealth troops surrendered in Malaya & Singapore & 80,000 American & Filipino's surrendered in the Philippines, the only exception was the Japanese, as General Slim said...''Everyone says that they fight to the last man, last bullet, but the Japanese were the only ones to actually do it.''

    And I think it's safe to say that many in the East knew of the mass murders of the Einsatzgruppen, because the Germans often didn't take any precautions on who saw their crimes.

    There's footage that's played in just about every documentary of the killings in the East, where Jews are shown being hustled from trucks to a deep ditch to be murdered, & in the background people from the town are watching on, including dozens of school children [still in their school uniforms] all craning their necks to get a good view.

    In the Baltics & in the Ukraine at places like Babyn Yar where 33,771 Ukrainian Jews were murdered in a two-day massacre, local collaborators helped the Einsatzgruppen to round up & transport the victims to the killing grounds, & hundreds of thousands of partisans working behind German lines knew what was going on.
     
  12. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Yes, but.... the best-equipped and -armed Russian troops were the first to fall along with their aircrafts. The Russians fought with for the most part obsolescent tanks, their armies were poorly equipped, suffering severe shortages in everything except rifles. The level of resistance and will displayed by some Russian troops impressed many German soldiers, so other than moral exhaustion is at play here.
     
  13. JeffinMNUSA

    JeffinMNUSA Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    99
    LJ;
    In a word "yes." Iosif Visarionovich Dvashghuli aka "Stalin" and his fellow travellers had made a real mess of the former Czarist Empire. Unfortunately for the oppressed peoples of the East Herr Hitler had a even more savage plan. How did the Russian soldiers know of the atrocities being perpetrated behind the lines? The rumor mill, my friend-I am sure you have one of them at your place of employment. And the situation behind the lines was if anything much worse than the word of mouth would have it.
    JeffinMNUSA
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    236
    Yes,but were the rumor,the stories on the mass murders of Jews enough to stiffen the Russian resistance ? I don't know if the Jews were that loved in the USSR .
    An other point :if we can believe:cool: the German sources,the Germans continued to take a lot of POW,even after the rumor on the mass murders.
    june :112784 POW
    july: 700000
    august:700000
    september :1000000
    october:1000000
    november:500000
    december: 70000
     
  15. FhnuZoag

    FhnuZoag Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    13
    The Germans didn't just kill Jews, you do realise? By numbers, the Germans killed a lot more ordinary Russians than Jews.

    Numbers of POWs taken correspond more to operational concerns like being trapped without supply or hope or escape, than anything else.
     
    Artema likes this.
  16. JeffinMNUSA

    JeffinMNUSA Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    99
    LJ;
    I believe Hitler stated in his Mein Kampf ramblings that 1/2 of the peoples of the East were to be done away with, and the rest enslaved. The treatment of the POWs of 1941 sent a clear message that the NAZIs were indeed bent on mass destruction. The Jewish populations were targets of special interest of the NAZIs; but the war was conducted with a total contempt for human life in general, and by the Battle of Moscow it was generally accepted that the peoples of the former Czarist Empire were in a grim struggle for national existence.
    JEffinMNUSA
     
  17. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    20
    John Keegan stated that about 30 million Slavs in the occupied territories plus Jews were to be liquidated & millions more used as slave labour, but it took some time for the penny to drop for the Nazi's that instead of the continued mass killings & starvation of POW's & civilians, they could be more useful as workers in Germany [which had became a massive production problem] eventually foreign workers in Germany topped just under 8 million, which was vital in Speer bringing off his so called ''production miracle.''

    On some key production lines up to 50% were foreign workers, & even higher at times, Milch joked that the Stuka was being 80% built by Russians.

    And the infamous "Reichenau Order" didn't beat around the bush did it?

    Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, commander of the German Sixth Army, issued a directive on October 10,1941 emphasizing the need for harsh treatment of "Jewish sub humanity." And Manstein issued an order on November 20, 1941, his version of the "Reichenau Order" which equated "partisans" and "Jews" and called for draconic measures against them. Hitler and Field Marshal von Rundstedt recommended the "Reichenau Order" as being exemplary and encouraged other generals to issue similar orders. Not all did, but a number did back the order.

    It was a good excuse for the Commanders to look the other way and let the death squads murder hundreds of thousands of civilians in areas under their control.
     
  18. Artema

    Artema Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    13
    The Soviet Union lost about 17 000 000 non-combatants during the war.
     
  19. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    20
    Guess definitive numbers of Soviet deaths will never be known.

    The 20th Century Atlas of WW2 Soviet civilian deaths range from a low end of 6,000,000 from Compton's, 7,000,000 from Encarta, to a high of 19,000,000 from Davies, & 24,000,000 from Korol.

    The same from all deaths [including military] range from Compton's 12.75m, Eckhardt 15m, to the 1994 Guardian 40M & Sokolov's new calculations 43.3m.

    Krivosheev gives 13,684,692 civilians & 8,668,400 military.

    The low end above seems obviously wrong & the high end seems a bit overboard, but whatever it was it was an extremely tragic number to say the least.


    The 'hundreds of thousands' I mentioned was the deaths under particular Commanders like Manstein who was charged with war crimes by the British, although acquitted of many of the seventeen charges, he was still found guilty of two charges and accountable for seven others, mainly for employing scorched Scorched earth tactics and for failing to protect the civilian population, and was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. This caused a massive uproar among von Manstein's supporters and the sentence was subsequently reduced to 12 years. However, he was released in 1953 for medical reasons.

    Thousands of civilian's were killed on his watch, he denied he knew anything about it.

    Excerpt from Manstein's trial........Trials of German Major War Criminals: Volume 21
     
  20. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    There was an Abwehr report which stated that in Belarus the popular sentiment had decidedly against the Germans after the Einsatzgruppen operated there. The annecdote is collected either in Bartov or MeGaree's book on the Eastern Front. A pro-communist historian, writing form the sixties, had the privilege of interviewing Soviet citizens (no doubt because of his political inclinations) also collected a few anecdotes of some German soldiers casually shooting civilians. A few divisions, after being fired upon by partisans or stepped on mines, flattened villages.
     

Share This Page