12 days of summer
From the second half of the 50s of the last century, analysts, historians, and publicists regularly introduce assertions that the Soviet leadership at the beginning of the war was nothing more than confused and lost the thread of government. That nothing was done to forestall the Nazi invasion. And only on July 3, Stalin was allegedly forced to call on brothers and sisters for popular resistance to Nazi aggression.
From numerous sources it is known that such cliches went to growth from the very report of Khrushchev "On the cult of personality" of February 25, 1956. After which they began to be replicated more and more often, and not only in the USSR. And to this day, they are very eagerly replicating, all the more so since there is still no question of a return to real respect for the then-popular government, with all its excesses and tragic mistakes.
But all these falsifications in the first two military weeks were denied not only by the fierce, truly heroic resistance of the Red Army to the Nazi invasion. The refutation, which the West is now carefully hushing up, was the operational acquisition of the USSR by the allies - the USA and Great Britain, together with the colonies and dominions.
Today we have to remind, although this is done too rarely, that the initiative of the military alliance against Hitler in the summer of 1941 did not come from Moscow. Winston Churchill, the British military prime minister, defended Russia before Stalin, although this is constantly blamed on the Soviet leader.
In addition, we must not forget that Nazi Germany posed a mortal threat not only to the USSR, but also to Britain. And the United States, with all the desire and a huge number of supporters of isolationism, in any case, could not sit out overseas. What they could count on in Washington, having remained without allies, and even against Germany, Italy and Japan, which soon joined them, is not easy to say.
But it is much more important that the USSR actually remained on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition even at the time when the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was in effect. There is no doubt that for a very long time not only among historians, but also among politicians, disputes will continue whether there was more harm or benefit from the pact in terms of preparing for war. Almost inevitable, given the notorious Hitlerite Drang nach Osten.
Recall that before that there were battles in Spain, and then the Soviet peace proposals of 1938 in an attempt to forestall the Anschluss and the occupation of part of Czechoslovakia. And right after that - an offer to the Allies to come together against Hitler, as well as the idea of an anti-German alliance so thoroughly soaked right now with Poland.
However, the heirs of Pilsudski were much more eager to deal with red Russia in alliance with Germany. And after they managed to lure them or, more precisely, outbid old friends from Paris and London, the reckoning in September 1939 was too cruel.
The Soviet Union simply prudently took advantage of the dramatically changed situation to push its western borders 200 and more kilometers. Perhaps it was precisely these kilometers that saved Leningrad and Moscow. By the way, from this point of view it would be nice to consider the tragic “winter war” with Finland, which almost turned for Soviet Russia a new intervention of its future allies.
It must also be remembered that Moscow began to fight German Nazism and Italian fascism already in Spain, although very peculiarly and with numerous mistakes. However, one way or another, the Francoists managed not only to withdraw from the anti-Comintern pact, but also force them to refuse to participate in the world war.
From evacuation to Lend-Lease
For Britain, the advance of the Nazi troops in the East did not mean just a respite, but in fact salvation. The most important thing, especially from a psychological point of view, for the British was that the battles with the Russians almost completely distracted the Luftwaffe from the bombing of English cities. After all, help from the United States on the scale that could fundamentally change the situation was not worth waiting for at least another one and a half to two years.
Characteristically, the timing of the start of any volumetric deliveries under Lend-Lease and to the Soviet Union turned out to be about the same. Only after the Allied fleets turned the tide in the protracted Battle of the Atlantic, and the southern Iranian and northern (through Alaska and Siberia) routes, weapons, equipment, military materials and food began to arrive in the USSR in volumes comparable to the production inside country.
Naturally, the newfound allies of Moscow were interested in the presence of the Russian front, so huge geographically and attracting not only the main ground and air forces of Germany. Whatever the case with social systems, the United States and Britain, in fact, turned out to be on the side of the predominant part of the Soviet military economy. Another thing is that, unlike the German Ruhr, after the war it was not possible to drive it under the “Marshall Plan”.
In his famous speech on June 22, 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill indirectly, if not directly revealed the essence of the British position in connection with the Nazi invasion:
“An attack on Russia is nothing more (just“ no more. ”- Approx. Aut.) Than a prelude to an attempt to conquer the British Isles. Without a doubt, Hitler hopes to complete all this before winter, to overwhelm Britain before the fleet and the United States Air Force will be able to intervene. "
Characteristically, following Churchill, similar statements in short form were made on June 23-24 by the premieres of the British dominions: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South African Union. Then the US leadership agreed with Churchill, having made an official statement: already on June 23 he was read in the White House by Acting Secretary of State S. Welles.
A statement welcoming Churchill’s speech on June 22 noted that
"... in connection with the Nazi attack on Russia, as stated by the head of Soviet diplomacy, Mr. V. Molotov, on June 22, any rallying of forces against Hitlerism, regardless of their origin, will accelerate the fall of German leaders. And the Hitler army is a major danger to the American continent. "
The next day, President Roosevelt said at a press conference that
"The United States is pleased to welcome another adversary of Nazism and intends to provide the Soviet Union with all possible assistance."
Already on June 27, 1941, the British military-economic mission arrived in Moscow, led by the British ambassador S. Cripps, Lieutenant General M. McFarlan and Rear Admiral G. Miles. About a week later, with this mission, the first plans for economic and military-technical assistance to the USSR from Great Britain and its dominions were agreed. The routes of these deliveries were determined by the North Atlantic (to the ports of Murmansk, Molotovsk, Arkhangelsk and Kandalaksha), used since August 1941, and in the near future South, along the corridor Iraq - Iran - Transcaucasia / Central Asia.
They managed to open the southern route, despite the fact that Germany and Turkey, just four days before the Nazi attack on the USSR, signed the Treaty of Friendship in Ankara, which entered into force on the day it was signed. Turkey managed to neutralize throughout the war mainly through diplomatic efforts and unprecedented promises for the future.
Iran actually had to wrest from the clutches of a potential German ally by conducting the notorious operation "Consent". It was the entry of Soviet and British troops into the country in parallel with the coup when Khan Reze on the ancient Persian throne was replaced by his son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.
It is significant that Operation Consent was agreed upon by Moscow and London already during the visit to Moscow of the aforementioned British mission in late June 1941. In this way, Iran de facto became a member of the anti-fascist coalition, which, of course, influenced Ankara.
As a result, through the territory of Iran, but partially along the Iraq-Iran corridor, from the end of September 1941 various allied cargoes, including weapons, began to arrive in the USSR. Russia will never forget that Lend-Lease became a reality even before the Red Army launched its first major counter-offensive near Moscow.
The falsifications were not the subject of “Stalin did not know,” or rather, “did not want to acknowledge,” became very common in the USSR and then in the Russian Federation from the second half of the 80s, when a particularly active treatment of “union consciousness” began. However, they are often substantively refuted by Western media.
Let's say the BBC on June 22, 2016 recalled:
“In May-June, Stalin secretly transferred 939 trains with troops and equipment to the western border; under the guise of training camps, he called up 801 thousand reservists from the reserve. And on June 19, he reorganized the border military districts into fronts by secret order, which was always and exclusively done a few days before the outbreak of hostilities. "
It was clarified that "the troop deployment was planned with the expectation of the completion of the concentration from June 1 to July 10, 1941."
In the collective monograph “1992: Lessons and Conclusions” published by the RF Ministry of Defense in 1941, it was very clearly stated that “the counter-offensive nature of the planned actions was influenced by the location of the troops (Soviet. - Auth.). Moscow intended to forestall the aggression of the Reich with its preemptive strike, but Hitler was tactically ahead of Moscow. ”
The term “tactical” here is probably not entirely appropriate, but we will not quibble. We simply admit that in the summer of 1941 the German Wehrmacht, formed mainly from experienced professionals, surpassed the Red Army in operational and strategic terms. And tactically the Germans could skillfully resist, alas, only a few units and subunits.
And the compounds that immediately fought with the enemy on an equal footing can generally be counted on the fingers. Moreover, with regard to the technical support of our troops, Hitler chose perhaps the most opportune moment for the strike. Thousands of airplanes and tanksas, by the way, tractors, tractors and other equipment, were already on the verge of decommissioning, and new equipment, which had only just begun to arrive in border districts, soldiers and officers often had not even begun to master.
As an example, we give only one 9th mechanized corps, commanded by the future Marshal Rokossovsky on the South-Western Front. It was almost completely equipped with BT-5 tanks, which were no longer the most modern, but for several weeks staunchly opposed the best divisions of the 1st tank group of General Goth. Near Dubno and Rivne, then - in the Kiev direction, until resources were completely exhausted.
As for the notorious “confusion” of the Soviet leadership in the early days of the war, this lie is all the more refuted by numerous facts. Materials from the SNK Union of the USSR and many other Soviet departments of the war period, as well as from the collection of documents of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation “The Course of the War” (2011) are especially indicative.
They testify that already at 10:30 a.m. on June 22, according to the order of Stalin, the first deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR and the head (1943-1948) of the USSR State Planning Commission N. Voznesensky, having collected the people's commissars responsible for the main industries, energy and the transport complex, gave instructions provided for the operational implementation of the mobilization plans of 1940-41.
Already on June 23, 1941 the Headquarters of the High Command of the Armed Forces of the USSR was created as part of the people's commissar of defense, Marshal S. Timoshenko (its first chairman), chief of the General Staff G. Zhukov, as well as I. Stalin, head of the People's Commissariat of Defense V. Molotov, and marshals K. Voroshilov , S. Budyonny, B. Shaposhnikov and People's Commissar of the Navy Admiral N. Kuznetsov.
The trains went east
And the next day, June 24, 1941, in connection with the decision of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR for "directing the evacuation of the population, institutions, military and other cargo, equipment of enterprises and other valuables" under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR (from July 2 - and under the USSR State Defense Committee) an evacuation council was created and began its work.
It included the heads of most economic departments of the country and its military-industrial enterprises. The leaders and co-chairs of the Council were alternately L. Kaganovich (the first leader was the People’s Commissar of Railways of the USSR), N. Shvernik (first deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR), A. Kosygin (first deputy chairman of the Committee on Food and Clothing Supply of the Red Army), M. Pervukhin ( Chairman of the Council on Fuel and Electricity under the Council of People's Commissars, from July 2 - and at the USSR State Committee for Defense).
It is worth recalling that the issue of evacuation began to be discussed in the Soviet leadership as early as March 1941: the corresponding directives on behalf of the General Staff were given on May 12-15, 1941 to the Baltic, Western, Kiev and Odessa military districts. Paragraph 7 of those directives specified:
“In the event of an involuntary withdrawal of troops, quickly develop, according to special instructions, a plan for the evacuation of factories, plants, banks and other business enterprises, government agencies, military and state property depots.”
Obviously, the country's leadership foresaw the inevitability of a war with Germany, not excluding its unsuccessful move at the first stage. And, accordingly, they talked about the relocation of industrial capacities and population to the internal regions of the USSR. Already in July-November 1941, according to the Evacuation Council, 2593 enterprises of various industries and non-production facilities, including 1523 large ones, were exported to the internal regions of the RSFSR, Central Asia and Transcaucasia from front and front zones. By rail and water, up to 17 million people were evacuated.
On June 29, on the 8th day of the war, the directive of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR and the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks was adopted by the party and Soviet organizations of the front-line regions. Which contained instructions on the deployment of the underground and partisan movement, determined the organizational forms, goals and objectives of subversive work against the aggressor. Along with other measures outlined in the same document, to turn the country into a single military camp to render a popular rebuff to the enemy.
Finally, on June 30, an extraordinary body was created - the State Defense Committee (GKO), headed by Stalin. As is known, the fullness of power in the state was concentrated in the functions of T-bills. Its decisions and orders, which had the force of wartime laws, were subject to the unquestioning implementation of the party, economic, military and all other bodies. And all the citizens of the country.
From July 9 to July 13, the British mission was again in Moscow, the result of negotiations with which was the signing on July 12, 1941 of the "Agreement between the governments of the USSR and Great Britain on joint actions in the war against Germany." The document was signed by V. Molotov and British Ambassador to the USSR S. Cripps.
"There was no particular specificity in this document, but it officially fixed the allied relations of both parties. And guaranteed the further development of interaction between the USSR and the British Commonwealth during the war period,"
- noted V. Molotov.
A similar assessment of the document was expressed not so long ago by MGIMO professor, doctor historical Yuri Bulatov:
"In this document, the platform for Soviet-British cooperation was very briefly described. The contracting parties stated the following: both governments mutually pledge to provide each other assistance and support of all kinds in the present war against Nazi Germany; they further undertake that during this war they will not will neither negotiate nor conclude a ceasefire or peace treaty except with a mutual agreement. "
The main thing is that the agreement of July 12, 1941 de facto and de jure laid the foundation for the creation of a broad anti-Hitler coalition.