It is well known that the First World War was predominantly positional, during which entire fronts stood for years, or unsuccessfully, at great sacrifices, tried to attack. In contrast, the Second World War was highly maneuverable, extremely dynamic, with lightning-fast changing fronts.
Traditionally, this diametric difference in the picture of two world wars is explained by the state of armaments and military equipment. Say, during the First World War, defensive types dominated the battlefield weapons - machine guns and artillery, which deprived the infantry of even minimal chances for a successful advance.
And twenty years later, on the contrary, offensive weapons, in the first place, took the lead Tanks and combat aviation, which provided a breakthrough of any defense and advance to a greater depth of enemy territory.
At first glance, it is. But let's try to get out of the well-groomed rut and ask ourselves a question - does this explanation exhaust this topic? Are the two world wars really so radically different in nature only because certain scientific and technical innovations were introduced into military affairs, which radically changed the situation on the battlefield?
But if this is true, then there is a need to understand - as with all of this, for example, the same Russian Civil War of 1918-1920 fits in. Although it is called civil, it was actually conducted on both sides, mainly by units of the former Russian imperial army, which was divided into "red" and "white" during the revolutionary events.
So, this war was waged at almost the same military-technical level as the First World War as a whole. And even more than that - the latest offensive means - practically no red or white tanks had the same tanks and airplanes. And if they were, then in amounts of meager, incapable of influencing anything.
And, nevertheless, this war of a completely regular type, which was waged, mostly by fighters who were sitting in the trenches of the German front, turned out to be radically unlike the sedentary military weekdays of the first world war. Solid operational dynamics, rapid breakthroughs, decisive offensive with outstanding strategic victories - this is the face of this war that looks like nothing. Or rather, very similar. But by no means the first world, but rather the dashing German attack on the Western front in May 1940 of the year!
Such a paradox! But according to the logic of our traditional theory, the picture of the Russian civil war, which was conducted at exactly the same level of development of armaments as the First World War, should have been very similar. With the same frozen in the stillness of the fronts, the dominance of guns and machine guns and choking in their own blood, hopelessly attacking infantry. That is how it should have been, if we explain the nature of the war of that time, only by the level of development of military technologies.
It turns out that such an explanation is at least completely insufficient for a complete understanding of the reasons for such a striking difference in the picture of two world wars.
Where, then, is the dog buried?
Some thoughts on this matter came to me completely by accident, after watching the Australian film “The Waterseeker” with Russell Crowe in the lead role. By the way, the film itself, like the main character, looks good. Although it is clearly romanticized in the traditional Hollywood style - slightly cloying western narcissism. This, by the way, has cut me. There was one dialogue between the former adversaries - the Turk and the Anglo-Saxon. When the Turks asked their counterpart - why did they climb the Turkish land, the Briton replied that they did not need this land, but they fought for the idea. For which particular idea, the film does not specify.
But it was strange that the Australians, who had sailed from the other end of the world, who had no idea about the same Turkey, suddenly began to “knead” the same Turks on the beaches of Gallipoli.
In general, this is clearly an unnatural reason for the carnage and became me a reminder of things that are historically significant. Namely - about the very strange nature of the First World War for the peoples of Europe. Which, according to the official propaganda of the time, generally began because Sarajevo was shot by only one person - the crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The figure is, of course, uncommon, but not so world-significant to justify in the eyes of the whole world the subsequent death on the battlefield of tens of millions of people from different countries.
It is in this glaring contradiction, between the backstage and obscure squabbles of the powerful world, all these royal houses, industrial and financial magnates, on the one hand, and a complete misunderstanding of the causes of world slaughter by millions of ordinary citizens who, at best, have a sweet candy in their mouths. the struggle for some obscure "idea", on the other, is, in my opinion, the main contradiction of the First World War.
Which, attention (!) And determined its very peculiar operational and strategic picture. The main point of which was that ordinary citizens, for the most part, were by no means eager to fight. And even more so to die for the interests of all kinds of nobles, or, in the present, oligarchs, incomprehensible to them. It was this, and not the notorious absence of tanks, that led infantry chains to attack, at best, meekly died with the despair of the doomed, and at worst tried to find a common language with the enemy without the knowledge of the commanders.
The First World War was absolutely not by chance the time of the most mass soldiers fraying in the world stories. The fatigue of an incomprehensible war and the sheer unwillingness to kill exactly the same people in another military uniform became almost universal at that time. So much so that in the French army were forced to recall the ancient Roman decimation - that is, every tenth shot in the units that fled from the battlefield.
Well, in Russia, you know how it all ended - the army just ran away. And the Bolshevik agitation, on which it is now so fashionable to blame, was therefore so effective that it fell on very fertile soil. Remember how the messenger Krapilin in Bulgakov's Bega responded to General Khludov when he tried to appeal to his patriotic feelings and gave an example of how he went on the attack on Chongar gatiy to the music and was wounded there twice “Yes, all the provinces spit on your music ! ”Krepilin, a hanging soldier, replied to him in the near future. Here you have the whole story about the "motivation" of our rank and file in that incomprehensible war.
With such a completely “human material” located to heroic deeds, no tanks with planes would help the then generals to turn this war into a swift march into the depth of enemy defense. The soldiers did not have sufficient psychological grounds. So it's not only, and not so much in technology and weapons.
However, the Russian civil war very quickly changed the moral and psychological situation in the army and in the whole country. First of all - precisely with the combat motivation of its participants. The enthusiasm of the Reds and without me is well known - inspired by the bright horizons of the communist tomorrow, the soldiers of the Red Army, who saw the light at the end of the tunnel with their endless trench and forced labor of workers and peasants in general, fought for the best share in the way they should be in such cases. That is, with all my heart and with all the proletarian hatred.
But the whites also did not yield to them at all - after all, on their side was the holiness of traditional Russia, loyalty to their great Motherland and military oath. And, of course, a considerable desire to retain not the worst class place under the Russian sun. On the whole, there was plenty of enthusiasm on both sides. And because the war was extremely dynamic. Although they fought, in general, with the same weapon as the dull trench handlers of the First World War.
And now we turn to the topic of the second world. This war, unlike the first worldwide massacre, was, first of all, I dare to assert - an ideological war. In the sense that its main participants - from the first persons of the states, to the very last soldier, absolutely knew for what they were fighting. And they were really ready for this goal "not to spare their own blood and life itself." This, of course, about the USSR and Germany.
The Germans, humiliated and offended by the full program of annexations, indemnities and other imperialistic outrages after defeat in the first war, had a giant tooth for the rest of the world. And I must admit - not without good reason. For they were to blame for the first imperialist slaughter no more than the same, for example, the Anglo-Saxons. Therefore, Adolf Hitler was brought to power, who by their extreme demoniacism was most adequate to their then national, quickly converted to the Nazi worldview.
Enthusiasm and fighting spirit in the Third Reich, as they say, was boiling and bubbling. With such staunch avengers for the outraged Vaterland, Hitler had every reason to expect to triumphantly pass at least half the world.
And at this time, in a very distant galaxy, that is, in the surrounding Third Reich of other Europe, uniform confusion and vacillation reigned. Caused by an endless succession of economic crises and other troubles, generated, in turn, by the horny egoism of small and large proprietors. The inhabitants of Europe spread down by this yoke were not morally ready to fight. From the word at all. And some of them, to confess, even with sympathy glanced at the German neighbors. With which Hitler quickly brought a full ordnung with chicken in each pot.
It is this monstrously unequal ratio of moral potentials that ensured the victorious march throughout Hitler's Wehrmacht throughout Europe in 1939 - 1940 - the beginning of 1941. But it is not at all the mythical tank supermanship of Guderian and Rundstedt. Which, against the background of four thousand tanks of the French army alone, didn’t shrink to anecdotal proportions. At that time, the Germans and the tanks almost didn’t have any real ones, except for the “prisoners” of Czechoslovakia. Some miserable motochanki with machine guns.
All this German military happiness ended exactly on 22 on June 1941 of the year on the Soviet border, where it was invincible, because of the complete moral and political insanity of its European opponents, the Wehrmacht rashly attacked the Red Army. Which, as if to say it is more artistic, was obsessed with a great idea, no less, and maybe more German.
And although the Germans at first tried to gnaw Russian granite with the same agility as a melting European cream pie in their mouths, they very quickly realized that they had obviously not been caught in the wrong way and this country was too tough for them. The Soviet fighters, motivated to defend their only socialist motherland in the world, are significantly more than one hundred percent, not squeezed by the very first defeats, using any, even the smallest, opportunity to make the Germans big and very big dirty tricks. And, as a result, the war on the Soviet-German front came out very dynamic, mobile and you can even say, extremely passionate.
It is this very high drive of both sides that explains the fact that this war was strategically very manoeuvrable on the one hand, and extremely protracted on the other. Because the Soviet Union and Germany fought smoothly until one of the opponents had the spirit completely gone. Or rather, not even the spirit, but simply ended the territory where you could still war.
In this whole ideological war, there simply could not have been that many years of positional sitting of the unfortunate workers and peasants dressed in a soldier's robe who simply did not understand why they were driven here. And such warriors, like those poor Australians from Hollywood cinema, who pinned up as much as Turkey itself, allegedly to fight for some incomprehensible “idea”, were few of the real soldiers of the First World War, to say the least. So sparingly that the two huge empires, French and British, could not do anything on their front without the Russian soldiers who were much less decomposed by the “accursed tsarism”.
The Soviet and German fighters of the second world understood absolutely everything. And they fought with open eyes for life and death. Because it was precisely such a stake in this total war, not only for their states, but also for their cities and villages, relatives and friends. That's why the heat of this fight was immensely great. Other Anglo-Saxons, who at the very end fought in Europe again for some kind of "idea", that is, again for the interests of their money bags, did it with about the same small "enthusiasm" as in the first world. And it cost them only the same Germans to slightly touch the glands in the Ardennes, as this timid army almost reached the back again to Dunkirk.
So - with tanks and airplanes, or without them at all, only with demining shovels, or even barehanded, the most highly motivated troops of the Second World War in Europe - the Red Army and the Wehrmacht would still not have sat in the trenches forever, stupidly thinking - why are they here generally turned out. And, of course, no mass fraternisation between them - this symbol of aimless and incomprehensible war, was not here and could not be.
I think that it is precisely in this gigantic difference of moral and political potentials that the main secret of high energy and dynamism of the Second World War, as opposed to the extremely slow-moving and first-mover, lies. A technique - it is, of course, a good assistant. But only if the soldier has a real desire to fight. The tank itself is just a pile of iron.
And the last. Everything written above is not only a consequence of the author’s abstract interest in world history. Which for an inquiring mind is always a treasure trove of rich experience and a reason for the most far-reaching comparisons. It is from this point of view that I propose to the respected public to take a closer look at this difficult topic. And appreciate what our present time and our own readiness to fight are more in line with: the selfless, offensive impulse of the Red Army soldiers, whom no one could stop until Berlin itself, or the French soldiers of the 1940 model of the year, who practically didn’t care what flag their once proud Paris.