According to the results of the National Competition "Book of the Year", the 12-volume work "The Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945" was recognized as the winner and awarded the Grand Prix, which was created by the Research Center (SIC) of the Military University of the RF Ministry of Defense. About why the victory came at such a high price and how our commanders fought - in numbers or in exercises, the Acting Head of the SIC Doctor told NVO correspondent Oleg ANDREEV historical Sci., Professor Yuri RUBTSOV.
- Agree, Yuri Viktorovich, our losses in the Second World War were enormous. In general, the commanders did not stand up for the price ...
“Of course, the enemy was flooded with the corpses of his soldiers and filled with our blood ... The authors of our work faced such“ arguments ”all the time. But if we can still speak about a significant difference in the ratio of losses between us and the enemy in the context of the first half of the war, then the closer to its end, the more resolutely the ratio changed in favor of the Soviet Armed Forces. Opponents love to remember about the Kiev defensive operation 1941 of the year or the Kharkov battle of 1942 of the year with hundreds of thousands of dead and captured Soviet soldiers. But reluctantly they say in this connection, for example, about the Berlin operation, during which the irretrievable losses of the Red Army made 78,3 thousands of people, and the Wehrmacht - about 400 thousands killed and about 380 thousands prisoners. Where is the "littered with corpses"? Already at the end of the war from 9 to 17 in May, the Soviet troops captured and took over the surrender of more than 1 million 390 of thousands of enemy soldiers and officers. Their opponents generally take out the brackets. But did the soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht raise their hands for nothing to do and surrendered to the Martians, or what?
Everything is very simple, they explain to us: the Red Army in the Berlin direction outnumbered the enemy in personnel by 2,5 times, in artillery and tanks - 4 times, in airplanes - more than twice. That's right, but there were also completely different times when the balance of forces was diametrically opposite, and the result was similar. For example, by the beginning of the Soviet counteroffensive near Moscow in December 1941, the advantage in all respects, with the exception of aviation, had just the German Army Group Center, but failed to extract a positive result for itself. And this is the most visible example of the fact that the quantitative factor is not self-sufficient. Combat experience, weapons and equipment, morale and psychological stability, training of troops and staffs come to the fore. And, of course, the generalship of military leaders. As events unfolded on the Soviet-German front, these factors affected the actions of the Soviet and German troops in an inversely proportional relationship. I refer here to Marshal G.K. Zhukova: "The strategic art of the German command, starting from the battle on the Volga, went to a sharp decline, reaching a decline by 1945."
By frank admission of the same Marshal Zhukov, the domestic military art in the first stage of the war was noticeably inferior to a strong German school. The Wehrmacht, being one of the strongest armies in the world, turned out to be a very heavy opponent and cruel mentor. And as events showed, our marshals and generals turned out to be good students. Only one example: if in the first and partially in the second periods of the war the Red Army carried out only successive strategic offensive operations, then in the third period the Supreme Command headquarters undertook simultaneous strategic operations by front groups. Such art was in principle unfamiliar to German field marshals and generals.
The process of growth and improvement of command and control skills has been extensively described in a number of volumes, but especially in the fifth volume of work, “The Victory Final. The final operations of World War II. War with Japan ”and in 11“ Victory Policy and Strategy: Strategic Leadership of the Country and the Armed Forces during the War ”.
- Well, this is not a new word. And the Soviet historiography agreed that the German commanders had taught us how to win our command.
- I do not exclude that a part of the readership professing liberal approaches to the coverage of the past will be disappointed with our 12-volume edition. Indeed, it has not been marked by any furious exposures of the “anti-popular Stalinist regime,” or a radical change in assessments from plus to minus and vice versa. There are strong objections to the use of the term "Soviet historiography" as an abusive one. Throwing stones at the past is generally unproductive, and in this case, all the more there is no reason. I will take the liberty of affirming: the new work has not canceled any of the fundamental concepts of the history of the Great Patriotic War, developed by our predecessors. Yes, the use of a new methodology by the current generation of historians, as well as a significant, by several orders of magnitude, expansion of the source base over the past decades has made it possible to give a deeper understanding of the various aspects of the war, expand the argumentation, clarify estimates, and correct previously made mistakes. But the conceptual notions of war that have become established in our science have stood the test of time.
- What, for example?
- I will name the main ones. The Soviet Union was no “icebreaker of the revolution” and was not going to attack Germany. On the contrary, he did everything in his power to create a collective security system in Europe in order to stop Hitler’s aggression. And the heavy defeats of the Red Army in the first period of the war were the result of the country's insufficient readiness for defense, the incompleteness of the process of restructuring the army and fleet on a new organizational and personnel and technical base. The mistakes and miscalculations of the Stalinist leadership exacerbated the situation, but were not at all the only cause of our military failures. Despite the pre-war repression, during the war years there was a consensus of power and people, which became one of the most important sources of future victory. Moreover, despite the irony of our opponents regarding the “advantages of the socialist mode of production”, the Soviet economy turned out to be more productive than the German economy and the economy of our allies, thereby ensuring the material basis of victory.
The authors of 12-hard work found it possible to agree with the conceptual vision of the war of their predecessors, not because we were hardened retrogrades, just most of the historians of the Soviet era, even under the conditions of one-party system and ideological unity of opinion, did their job professionally, and discard their achievements unscientific. And the last quarter of a century has not been in vain, an important foundation was created for expanding the front of research and the placement of modern accents in covering the military past of our fatherland. For example, I will name the four-volume work “The Great Patriotic War. 1941 – 1945. Military history essays, which saw the light in the crucial 1990-s. It investigated and for the first time thoroughly disclosed the extremely ambiguous and painful sides of the war - the relationship between government and society, the dramatic fate of our compatriots in the occupied territory, collaboration, the price of war.
And to those who view our 12-volume as a remake of works on the history of the Great Patriotic and World War II that appeared in the 1960 and 1970 years, I would advise not to rush to conclusions and at least look through the publication. It contains a lot of unique material, interesting not only for professionals.
- And if to speak specifically?
- Take at least the sixth volume - “Secret War. Intelligence and counterintelligence in the Great Patriotic War. This theme, I am sure, will not leave indifferent not only fans of historical detectives. The uniqueness of the volume consists already in the fact that for the first time, under one cover, the work of scientists from three departments was generated - foreign intelligence, military and counterintelligence. And the result, it seems to me, was impressive. Here are just some of the problems revealed in the volume: the efforts of the intelligence agencies to identify plans for a military attack on the USSR, military intelligence during the war, German intelligence services on the Soviet-German front, the activities of state security agencies in the occupied Soviet territory, the fight against the armed underground in the territory THE USSR.
Winners in the capital of the vanquished.
Photo 1945 years
Photo 1945 years
According to a significant number of publications on its pages, especially in connection with the 70-anniversary of the Great Victory, the NVO readers are thoroughly informed about foreign and military intelligence. The role of counterintelligence agencies is less well known, which, based on the materials of our multi-volume organization, I would like to illustrate with several figures and facts. As is known, the territorial and transport divisions of the NKVD, as well as the military counterintelligence agencies of the military districts, organized the protection of factories, power stations, bridges, communication lines, fought with rear organizers, deserters, rumors distributors, destroyed enemy spies and saboteurs. And only in the territory of Moscow and the Moscow region in the fall and winter of 1941, more than 200 of the enemy intelligence agents and the 23 parachutist were captured.
Agents of German intelligence sought, at all costs, to penetrate the military rear and the deep rear of the country. The scale and, at the same time, the complexity of this work can be judged from the report by L.P. Beria in GKO and the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) from 2 August 1942, according to which 11 765 enemy agents were detained by the KGB by this time, 222 paratrooper was seized from them, 74 radio stations were seized. In total, 1854 parachutist agents, including the 631 radio operator, were identified during the war years in the Soviet rear. According to the report of the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, one can also judge the wide geography of the German agents ’outburst: these are the front-line areas - Moscow, Leningrad, Tikhvin, Kalinin, Ordzhonikidze, Grozny, Rostov-on-Don, Kalach, Stalingrad, and deep rear - Gorky, Molotov, Penza, Kazan, Saratov, Tbilisi, Chelyabinsk. Enemy agents tried to disable the North Pechersk Railway, the Chirchik Combine, the Krasnovodsk – Tashkent Railway and some other objects, but all these attempts ended in failure.
Not done, of course, and without a miss. So, from among the agents of the enemy, abandoned on the territory of the USSR during the war, remained undetected groups of radio and intelligence officers equipped with 389 radio stations. But many are not known for their work, but from intelligence reports, that is, radio operators for the most part, having got on the Soviet land, simply did not dare to legalize. The territorial organs of the NKVD – NKGB did not succeed in preventing literally isolated facts of sabotage in the deep rear, which, by the way, did not cause significant damage.
The authors of the volume frankly said about serious miscalculations that were allowed in the activities of the Soviet special services. At the same time, the vain accusations that intelligence did not work properly enough professional and could not convince Stalin of the inevitability of the war with Germany were dropped. Here is not so simple. Rough miscalculations in determining the timing of Hitler’s aggression were not so much a lack of intelligence information, but rather a lack of analytical structures in intelligence agencies capable of accumulating diverse and highly contradictory information from various sources, generalizing it and developing sound proposals for the country's leadership. Stalin, fearing to be held hostage by other people's conclusions, left the right to make such things behind him, and demanded only bare information from intelligence. The chief of foreign intelligence (1-management of the NKGB) P.M. He accepted Fitin for a personal report, and then in the presence of Commissar V.N. Merkulov, only once - 17 June 1941 of the year. This procedure dramatically reduced the effectiveness of foreign intelligence, because its head was unable to provide the necessary explanations during direct communication with the head of state, did not see his reaction to intelligence work, did not receive instructions firsthand.
- By the way, about Stalin. The official Soviet historiography did not cast doubt on the "leading role of the party" in the victory over Germany. Later, historians pretty trampled on the "guiding and guiding", and even the thesis appeared that the victory was won against Stalin. What is the position of the authors of the 12 volume?
- It is foolish to dispute the leading role of the Bolshevik Party, given that it was not so much a political organization as the most important element of state power, its pivot. Suffice it to say that all members of the USSR State Defense Committee — the highest and most emergency authority in the country during the wartime: I.V. Stalin, V.M. Molotov, K.E. Voroshilov, G.M. Malenkov, L.P. Beria, N.A. Voznesensky, A.I. Mikoyan, L.M. Kaganovich, N.A. Bulganin - were members or candidate members of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b). If you think about it, the question itself is “absurd” and the question “thanks” or “despite” the chairperson of the State Defense Committee and the Supreme Commander (and during the war years Stalin held seven top positions in the party and the state) was won. Straightness, the desire to reduce the most complex processes to elementary formulas only complicate the search for truth.
Our work does not hide the fact that the government was striving to achieve its goals with drastic measures - this kind of facts is especially cited in the 10 volume “State, society and war”. Often, she blamed her mistakes and blunders on the people, compensating them for the overworking forces of the working class, the peasantry, and all the working people. A powerful propaganda system worked on power, demanding sacrifice from the army and the population, complete self-denial. On the other hand, it is obvious that the command-administrative system of management and control, centralized directive planning made it possible, even with a lack of funds, to concentrate everything possible and necessary in the interests of repelling the enemy. The Soviet people, for their part, showed a deep understanding of the extreme nature of the war situation, consciously adopted the emergency methods of managing economic and social processes corresponding to it. The consensus of the command-administrative system of management and the masses that developed during the war years allowed for the mobilization of all the material resources of the country, the spiritual and physical forces of society. The unprecedented asceticism of the Soviet people in the rear matched the massive heroism of the fighters and commanders on the battlefield.
A very small number of people ruled a multimillion country — the nine GKO members I mentioned above and seven more members of the Supreme Command headquarters — the highest strategic management body of the Soviet Armed Forces. But the executive "skirt", which included state, party, public structures from the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, the people's commissariats to city defense committees, representatives of the Central Committee at major defense enterprises, primary party cells, village councils, etc., was quite numerous. The pyramid of power was crowned by the figure of Stalin.
It seemed oddly opposed to the opposite features: the all-round joy about the greatness of the Soviet Union and the arrogance that put the country on the verge of a national catastrophe; attention to cadres and rare cruelty to people, "cogs"; strategic mind and small vanity, the desire for another lush title like "the greatest commander of all times and peoples." This dual nature of Stalin’s nature cannot in any way be discounted when it comes to the difficult relationship between the authorities and society. He owes his personal triumph in the war to the people, at least as much as the people give him.
By the way, the 12 volume - and this is one of the highlights of our work - contains brief political portraits of the most prominent leaders of the state and the Armed Forces - the same Stalin, Molotov, Beria, Zhukov, Vasilevsky, Antonov, through whom the authors tried "without anger and partiality ”to convey a complex dichotomy - power and people.
- In Gdansk, on Victory Avenue, where the Soviet tank T-34 was installed, a student of the local Academy of Fine Arts in 2013 built a sculpture of a Soviet soldier who rapes a pregnant polka. Such he wanted to present the role of the Red Army, which liberated Poland from the German invaders. How do you like this "anger of the day"?
- There is no mention of the author of a mocking “monument” in the 12 volume, but trying to make it look like the Red Army, crossing the state border, only thought about robbery and violence, as well as other shameless fabrications of the revisionist trend in the historiography of war, I want to hope convincing answer. The work contains specific facts and documents indicating that the Soviet command resolutely stopped attempts to inflict reprisals against the civilian population of the countries liberated from the Nazis.
Let me remind you of the order “On the behavior in Germany” signed by the Supreme Commander in January 1945: “We are going to the enemy's country ... The remaining population in the conquered areas, regardless of whether German, Czech, or Pole, should not be subjected to violence. The perpetrators will be punished according to the laws of wartime. ” And believe me, this order was carried out rigorously.
In our work, the documents of the Military Councils of the fronts and armies were introduced into the scientific circulation, from which it follows that the Soviet command not only explained to the personnel the norms of behavior determined by the Supreme Command headquarters in the liberated territories, but also widely used legally justified measures to influence those who retreated from of these norms. Thus, in the directive of the commander of the troops of the 1 of the Belarusian Front, Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov and a member of the Military Council of the Front, Lieutenant General KF Telegin was instructed to “eliminate arbitrariness and self-righteousness in relation to the Germans”, in connection with which “Military councils and army commanders, corps commanders, heads of political agencies, military prosecutors should take personal control over the implementation of this directive, as soon as possible, in appropriate cases, applying severe penalties. "
This, of course, does not mean that in the relations between the fighters of the advancing Red Army and the local, especially German, population, idyll reigned. Military Prosecutor of the 1 Belorussian Front, Major General L.I. Yachenin reported to the Front Military Council that “the facts of aimless and (unreasonable) shooting of Germans, looting and rape of German women were significantly reduced, however, even after the issuance of the directives of the Supreme Headquarters and the Military Council of the front, a number of such cases were still recorded.” It was not easy for Soviet soldiers and officers who experienced the tragedy of losing loved ones, to suddenly rise above their grief and hatred, to overcome the desire to take revenge on the enemy in his own land. However, the perpetrators of such crimes amounted to no more than 2% of the total number of servicemen.
A typical example: when the residents of the Berlin district of Treptow, after the war ended, learned about plans to transfer their area to the American zone of occupation, they turned to the burgomaster demanding "to initiate a petition before the Russian command to leave the area for the Russians." The question is: who were more afraid of the peaceful Berliners — the Red Army soldiers or the Anglo-American allies?
Over the past one and a half or two decades, accusations of mass rape of German women by Soviet servicemen have migrated from the yellow press to pages of respectable newspapers and even books claiming to be scientific. The speech of the author of one of these “studies” by the British E. Beevor, who told the Daily Telegraph in 2002, that “the Red Army forces raped even Russian women whom they released from the camps,” the then Russian ambassador to the UK, now - State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation G. B. Karasin. “It’s shameful,” he said in an address to the newspaper’s editorial office, “to be in any way related to obvious slander against the people who saved the world from Nazism.”
The documentary evidence to which I referred above is not perceived by our opponents, and their “deafness” is not accidental. After all, the appearance of a revisionist trend in the historiography of World War II is not directly related to the discovery of any previously unknown documents, but is determined by factors lying in the sphere of politics and ideological confrontation and have nothing to do with science. The accusations of the Red Army in crimes against the civilian population of countries liberated from the Nazi occupation, intensified with the beginning of the XXI century, mark a new stage in the struggle for a “modern” interpretation of the history of the Second World War, revision of the role of the Soviet Union and attempts to demonize modern Russia.
Such “historians”, like the aforementioned E. Beevor or the German I. Hoffmann, whose book “The Stalinist Fighter War (1941 – 1945)” only withstood several editions in Germany and saw the light in Russian, the inhabitant readily believes. However, not everyone can be brainwashed, and honest historians in the West are not extinct. In the recently published book “When the Soldiers Came. The rape of German women at the end of World War II. ”The German historian Miriam Gebhardt attracted the attention of readers to the army that liberated Europe from the west - the Anglo-American expeditionary forces. After analyzing the data from the archives and relying on information provided by Bavarian priests in 1945, she found that at the end of World War II, US soldiers had raped 190 thousand Germans.
Characteristically, the testimony of the clergy were declassified only in 2014 year. What would seem to be afraid of the German authorities, because the shadow does not fall on their people? However, they were afraid - they did not want to compromise the NATO allies. Here you have one of the common methods of revisionists - to hide the mass criminal crimes of their “bitch sons” and inflate, as I said, with a view to demonizing modern Russia, examples of similar actions by the Red Army. But if the goal of Goebbels’s heirs in the West is clear, then before the devastation in the minds of other domestic authors sometimes you just get lost ...
- What a "ruin"! This is a fully conscious struggle on the historical front.
- It makes no sense to hide that the work on the project 12-Tomnik did not resemble an idyll. I am not pleading, in the words of the hero of the movie “Come Tomorrow”, for “rotten impartiality” in assessing historical facts and phenomena. But, you see, it is difficult not to respond to the desire of other colleagues, it would seem, professionals, in the complete absence of objective promises to play up to dubious social trends. An attempt to present the liberation mission of the Red Army to the "occupation of Europe" has already been mentioned. But that's not all. During the discussion of the concept of labor, there were proposals to abandon the current name and change it to “The USSR in the Second World War”. At one time, historians of the FRG precisely in this spirit called their multi-volume on the participation of the Third Reich in the global cataclysm of 1939 – 1945. Why should we follow their example? The Germans needed such aloof language to conceal the aggressive nature of the war on their part and to avoid mentioning the defeat of the Reich. And what is the reason for us to emasculate the fair, liberating character of the deadly battle with fascism? The search - under the specious pretext of a certain more universal concept that conveys the nature of the most severe military confrontation of the Soviet Union with the forces of Nazism, inevitably leads to the appearance of such definitions as the “Soviet-German war”, the “Nazi-Soviet war”, which replaces the notion “Great Patriotic War ".
It may seem to someone that it’s not worth breaking spears about it. Even as it stands, for the formal rejection of the concept established in science is followed by the rejection of essential things - the recognition of the just, liberating character of the Great Patriotic War, it begins to be portrayed only as a “clash of two totalitarianisms”. And the logic of such reasoning leads to the denial of the national character of the war, the liberation mission of the Red Army. It was these attempts that were made in preparing the first versions of the second volume, The Origin and the Beginning of the War, and the eighth volume, Foreign Policy and Diplomacy of the Soviet Union during the War.
I remember how the work on the manuscript of the 10 volume "State, society and war" began. If the first variant were not rejected, the reader, not without surprise, and I am sure, would have found outrage that the USSR was like a huge concentration camp at a time of war, where the relationship between the authorities and society determined the arbitrariness of the security organs, and the sociopolitical processes were reduced to the expulsion of peoples repression and collaborationism. I repeat: this is all without some kind of evidence base! It is not by chance that the director of an academic institute (now a former one) hurried himself up before reviewing by the Main Editorial Board to withdraw the manuscript, probably ashamed of that lightness and politicization, which does not paint scientists at all.
I want to be understood correctly: the author team of 12-hard fundamental labor is far from complacency. My colleagues are aware that the point in the study of the Great Patriotic War will never be set, and our collective work is only one of the stages of understanding this most important event in the history of the fatherland, passing through which we could be wrong in something not convincing enough. But on what we stood and will stand - it is on the firm conviction that politics, or rather, politicking should not be confused with science. And we do not intend to give up won positions to opponents.