Frustrated friendship that could change the world

Frustrated friendship that could change the world

For many years after the end of the Second World War, the USSR government was silent about the Victory Parade of the Allied Forces, which passed 7 September 1945, in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate immediately after the surrender of Germany’s ally Japan. Few people know, but the leadership of the Soviet Union had quite weighty arguments. The main reason is Stalin’s view that the Allies have downplayed the importance and importance of this Victory Parade. The fate of the participants in the parade was completely opposite - General Eisenhower soon became the president of the United States, and Marshal of the USSR Zhukov fell out of favor with Stalin and one of the blackest stripes came to his fate, when all his merits in the victory over Nazi Germany were only sound for the leadership of the Soviet Union and only the people continued to love and respect the national general.

After the world-famous Victory Parade, held in Moscow on 24 on June 1945, Marshal of the USSR Georgy Zhukov, as commander-in-chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, invited the commanders of all occupation garrisons of Allied forces to hold a joint parade in Berlin to mark the end of World War II. The idea was approved and supported, but its implementation was postponed until the end of the hostilities that were still taking place in the Pacific.

According to the preliminary agreement, the commanders-in-chief of the allied forces of the Soviet Union, the USA, France and Great Britain should have taken the parade. But at the very last moment, the diplomatic representatives of the Allies informed the Kremlin that the commanders-in-chief of the United States, Great Britain and France would not be able to take part in this parade for some reasons, it was also indicated that combat generals would arrive in occupied Berlin. In his memoirs about that time, Zhukov wrote: “I literally immediately called Stalin. After carefully listening to my report on this message from the Allied camp, he said: "They obviously want to belittle the importance and significance of the Victory Parade in defeated Berlin ... You accept the parade, especially since we have more rights to this than they."

As a result, the parade was received by Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov, and commanded by General Nares from the army of Great Britain. Circling the troops built on the Alexanderplatz guard of honor fully prepared for a solemn march, Marshal Zhukov, English Field Marshal Montgomery, Army General Eisenhower and French Army General Latre de Tassigny alternately congratulated the soldiers on the Victory.

The solemn march of troops was attended by 5 thousands of representatives of the four countries of the coalition. The parade march led the consolidated regiment of the 248 th motorized rifle division of the USSR Army storming Berlin. Then the combined regiment of the 2 Infantry Division of the French Army was held. Then followed the 131-th regiment of the infantry brigade of the British Army. Completed the solemn procession of the combined regiment of the American army. The passage of armored vehicles began 30 armored vehicles and 24 tank 7-Tank Division of the British Army. Next is the French column of the 1 armored division consisting of 6 medium tanks, 24 armored personnel carriers. Following American column: 16 armored vehicles and 32 tank from 16-th cavalry mechanized group. The 52 parade was completed by the EC-3 tank from the 2-th Guards Tank Army of the USSR.

The time of preparation and holding of the Victory Parade of the Allied Forces was also the beginning of a friendship between Zhukov and Eisenhower. Back in the last days of May 1945, Eisenhower presented Zhukov with the Legion of Honor order with a commander’s degree. In recognition of the merits of American General Zhukov, 10 Jun arrived at the headquarters of the American army and presented Eisenhower with the Soviet Order of Victory, and also officially invited him to the Victory Parade in Moscow, the capital of the USSR. The American, unfortunately, could not come, he was immediately summoned to the White House, where the plans for forthcoming hostilities against Japan were specified. But Eisenhower nevertheless visited Moscow - in August 1945, when he received a personal invitation from Stalin himself. Throughout his stay in the USSR, the American general was a guest of the Commander-in-Chief of the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces, Georgi Zhukov.

Eisenhower's visit was surrounded by unprecedented attention. Watching the 12 sports festival on August 1945, Joseph Stalin invited Eisenhower to stand next to himself and other members of the USSR government on the Mausoleum podium. Prior to this, no foreigner received such an honor. Eisenhower was even allowed to hold two more representatives of the United States at the government rostrum. They were the head of the US military mission in Moscow and the American ambassador.

In a conversation in which Zhukov also took part, Stalin repeatedly said that it was important for the Soviet Union and the United States to maintain friendly relations. He was interested in scientific achievements, industrial and agricultural successes of America: “We know that today we are lagging behind in these issues, and we understand that you can help us to some extent.” To these topics, as Eisenhower recalled, Stalin returned throughout their conversation, standing on the podium of the Mausoleum.

During this visit, Zhukov personally made sure that Eisenhower could see everything he wanted, no matter what corner of Moscow and Russia, it is: “Choose, we are ready to show you everything, if you wish, even visit Vladivostok”. Eisenhower made an excursion to the museums of the Kremlin, went down to the Moscow metro, visited an aircraft factory that produced attack aircraft. He spent several hours on the collective farm. Along with 80, thousands of fans attended the football championship match. The apotheosis of the visit was the dinner given in the Kremlin. As Eisenhower himself later recalled: “The marshals of the Red Army and the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, who served as interpreters, were present in the huge, glittering room with lights. During lunch, a lot of toasts were uttered for the spirit of teamwork and cooperation that developed during the war that was won. ” Eisenhower appealed to Stalin with a request to give him a personal photo and a copy of a documentary film about the capture of Berlin, which was shown during a ceremonial dinner in the Kremlin.

November 7 at the official reception on the occasion of the anniversary of the October Revolution, in which General Eisenhower also took part, Zhukov once again confirmed the importance of preserving the alliance between the two peoples and the armed forces. From Dwight Eisenhower's memoirs about a conversation with Georgy Zhukov at this reception: “The Marshal stressed that in the liberated Berlin we both made some progress in resolving difficult problems, despite the obvious difference in political views. And he noted that if the United States and the USSR stand together, casting aside difficulties in understanding, the success of the UN will be ensured. ”

At the same time, the Soviet marshal, as historians write, was firm in defining and defending the zone of control of Soviet interests. When military pilots of the US Air Force attempted to secure the right to fly over the territory of the occupation zone under the control of the Soviet troops, Zhukov said that there was an agreement that he would not allow anyone to violate. And in the submitted applications for flights over the specified territory a stamp was put, which concisely, but clearly defined everything: “Flight safety is not guaranteed!”.

The archive of the President of Russia in the section relating to the years of the leadership of the country by Stalin keeps a letter dated November 1945. and written by Eisenhower Zhukov:

“Dear Marshal Zhukov!

Obviously, you know that a sudden illness prevented me from coming to Europe at the end of October. My main desire was to meet personally with you, and there are several good reasons for this. First, I set the goal to assure you that I highly appreciate the frank friendly attitude towards me personally and our cooperation at the business level, which has been going on for the past months. Secondly, I want to personally say goodbye to the staff with whom I had previously met.

Once again, I hope that you can make a visit to our country in the spring of next year. I sincerely believe that the establishment of this kind of contacts between the American and Soviet people, both civilian and military, will help to do much to develop mutual understanding, as well as trust between our so different peoples.

Throughout all this time that has passed since our acquaintance, I became more and more deeply penetrated by respect for the Red Army with its great leaders, for the entire people of the USSR.

I ask you, in the event that you feel and decide that I could do something for you personally, and perhaps to strengthen the friendly relations that are so important and necessary for the whole world, I will respond to your suggestions and do everything what will be in my power and capabilities.

Dwight Eisenhower.

There are no resolutions on this letter. But the fact is known that the one to whom this letter was addressed did not read it. The letter was handed over personally to Stalin.

There is an assumption that the letter was intercepted by a special department in the Group of Forces of the USSR in Germany and immediately, upon command, was transferred to Abakumov, who headed the counterintelligence at that time. He was faced with the task of strictly controlling all the activities of Georgy Zhukov. Abakumov, afraid and hated by Zhukov, of course, handed the letter to Stalin. At that time, relations between the United States and the USSR from allied ones gradually turned into confrontational ones. This letter became the reason for accusing Zhukov of unauthorized, on a personal level, relations with the army general of the opposing country and caused Stalin’s great displeasure.

It is not known whether the letter was the decisive factor, but soon Zhukov was removed from his post. It must be admitted that the prelude to this “execution” was a showdown on the fact of the captured property allegedly exported from Germany by the Soviet marshal. The intercepted personal letter of the American general could be the last straw that overwhelmed the cup of incriminating evidence, which over the years had gathered at a military officer and a famous marshal by his enemies. However, today we can be proud of the assessment that, in his message, Eisenhower gave to our army and our people.

Ten years later, the two heroes of World War II met again in person. This event took place during the Geneva Conference with the participation of the heads of government of the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France in 1955. Georgy Zhukov at that time was the Minister of Defense of the USSR, and Dwight Eisenhower - the president of the United States. When they met, they remembered the past, talked about working together in the Control Council in occupied Germany. Nikita Khrushchev was extremely displeased with the resumption of personal close contacts between the US President and the Soviet Minister. It is noteworthy, but after negotiations in Switzerland, Zhukov was removed from his high position and seconded to command a secondary military district.

Gone to history never found a continuation of the friendship of Zhukov and Eisenhower. The friendship between the USSR and the USA did not take place after the general victory won in the terrible and bloody war with the “brown plague” of the twentieth century. In fact, it was the first and only chance when two nations with different political views and different attitudes towards public life could become friends. One can only imagine how much this would change the world!
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