The publication of the book became possible thanks to the ascetic work of the author of the project - the daughter of the renowned Marshal R.Ya. Malinovsky N.R. Malinovskaya and the compiler are granddaughters of the famous general L.M. Sandalova E.V. Yurina, other compilers - relatives of heroes, journalists.
The genre of the book is unusual - historical a portrait based on the memoirs of the heroes themselves, as well as on memoirs of other military and government figures of the time, official documents and newspaper reports, interesting photographs and materials from family archives. We see war and man in war through the eyes of the participants in this unprecedented historical battle between good and evil, we begin to become more aware of the goals and plans of our heroes, their activities, those personality traits that allowed them to survive in the hardest of fights that ever happened in the history of mankind, survive and win.
This approach of the compilers to the topic, in our opinion, is the only correct one: one can only teach patriotism by example.
Before us are true, not false heroes. The scales of history are incorruptible, they determine the scale of the personality and its correspondence to the era; on these scales honors, ranks, titles and awards, as well as official flattery, mean nothing. Not without reason, since ancient times, the words “Rhodes is here, jump here!” I.e. Do not tell about your glorious deeds, committed somewhere or once, but show your capabilities here and now. It is precisely in this - the show of heroism, which has become an integral part of the life of domestic commanders and military leaders, is the main content of this book. All of them were born at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, most of them came from the people and did not hesitate in choosing the military profession, linking their fate with the defense of the Fatherland, the fate of the young Soviet state. All of them - the Communists, who divided the Soviet ideals and did not change them. This also sees a great historical lesson; It's time to re-evaluate this fact, try to explain it.
The book opens with a selection of documents and photographic materials devoted to the exciting first days of the world, which followed the defeat of Nazi Germany, and the Victory Parade. In the messages of the leaders of the Allied powers, whose relations with us have not yet been greatly overshadowed by post-war discord, expressed sincere respect and admiration for the peoples of the Soviet Union who "defeated Nazi tyranny." The message of US President Harry Truman speaks of the victorious "Soviet-Anglo-American troops," that is, in the first place is the Red Army, which made a decisive contribution to the overall victory. And this expression is not only a tribute to the established diplomatic tradition.
The mansion in the gallery is the figure of Supreme Commander I.V. Stalin. Authors-compilers gave the opportunity to "speak out" about the role of Stalin in the war to Stalin's comrades-in-arms and the leaders of both warring parties - both our allies and our opponents.
The result was an image that amazes with its multidimensionality, completeness and, at the same time, inconsistency. “Cruel, clever, cunning”, possessing “ingenious mind and strategic feeling”, “ability to delve into subtleties” and “subtle understanding of human character”, “confidence and consciousness of one’s own power”, rough humor, “not devoid of grace and depth”, “Simplicity of communication”, “great erudition and rare memory”, the ability to “enchant the interlocutor”, with the nature of “difficult, quick-tempered, inconstant”, attitude to people, “like chess pieces, and mostly pawns”, firmness in the intention to achieve “great ideals, driving p enost and people ”- this is a very incomplete list of the properties of the Stalinist personality, given in the memoirs of prominent military and state leaders of different countries. And more than sixty years after his death, Stalin is the absolute “champion” in the number of publications devoted to him. The scientific approach to the study of this phenomenon should not be in any connection with the modern attempts of a specific and, we emphasize this, biased part of society, to call for “a public trial of Stalinism”.
You can take Stalin's body from Lenin's Mausoleum, but you cannot “strike out” this person from national and world history. One can also refer to the historical precedent that had no success: among the more 120 historical persons whose images are placed on the Millennium of Russia monument, installed in Novgorod in 1862, there is no image of Ivan the Terrible. It is clear that this was a concession to liberal public sentiment, consistent with the spirit of the reforms of Alexander II. And then, as today, “progressive circles” saw in Ivan IV a cruel tyrant and tyrant, whose reign was a direct parallel for them with the recently ended reign of Nicholas I. Here only the personality of the formidable king still enjoys the attention of both historians and Russian society . An instructive history lesson for us ...
G.K. Zhukov was the first among Soviet military commanders who were made marshals of the Soviet Union (January 18 1943), and on April 10 1944, he received the Order of Victory for number one. Commander of the Reserve, Leningrad and Western fronts, the hero of the Moscow and Berlin battles, he also coordinated the actions of the fronts during the Battle of Stalingrad, breaking the blockade of Leningrad, in the Battle of Kursk and when crossing the Dnieper. Difficult relations with the Supreme Commander did not prevent Zhukov from using his constant support and trust.
Hard and uncompromising, Zhukov could not be better suited to the role of the most loyal and consistent spokesman of the Stalinist will in the army.
5 July 1943, when the Battle of Kursk began, Time magazine appeared with a portrait of A.M. Vasilevsky on the cover. By this time, he had more than a year headed the General Staff. The editorial said: "Stalin chose Vasilevsky, the aggressive marshal Zhukov executed Vasilevsky's plans." And although in reality everything was different, the main idea was emphasized - the chief of the Soviet General Staff, in the words of Zhukov, took “smart decisions” at his post. He was the second to receive the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union (16 February 1943) and the Order of Victory No. 2 (10 April 1944). The third was Stalin - the rank of marshal was awarded to him 11 March 1943, the Order of Victory for number three he was awarded 29 July 1944 g. So they went down in history - the Supreme Commander and his two closest associates of the war years. “If it were possible to dispose of the personal qualities of people,” Stalin said, “I would add the qualities of Vasilevsky and Zhukov together and divide them in half between them.” According to colleagues, the main traits of Vasilevsky were trust in his subordinates, deep respect for people, and a careful attitude to human dignity. Vasilevsky became famous not only for his staff activity, but also as a representative of the Stavka in the army, where he spent most of his time as commander-in-chief of Soviet troops in the Far East who defeated the Kwantung Army.
From our side, we note that Stalin strongly encouraged keen rivalry between marshals, commanders of fronts. This was particularly vivid during the Berlin operation. Stalin saw this as an effective means of control, since he felt in the cohesion of the military elite a real threat to his one-man rule. To the credit of the compilers, they did not delve into this topic, showing delicacy and maintaining the festive mood of the whole book.
Each of the marshals had their own finest hour. Commander's gift to K.K. Rokossovsky showed up during the defeat of Paulus’s three hundred thousandth army near Stalingrad, at the Kursk Bulge, during the brilliantly conducted Belarusian operation.
Rokossovsky had a rare gift of foresight, almost always unmistakably guessed the intentions of the enemy.
Bright mind, breadth of thinking and culture, modesty, personal courage and courage distinguished this commander.
In the first row of military leaders and Marshal I.S. Konev, who at the initial stage of the war had to deal with selective personnel divisions of the Wehrmacht. Studying on the battlefield was not easy, but Konev survived. Korsun-Shevchenkovskaya, Umanskaya and Berlin offensive operations are examples of the talent of the marshal.
A special place in the fate of many Soviet military leaders held the Battle of Stalingrad. “The turning point of the war of the Allied nations against the forces of aggression” was called by American President F. Roosevelt. It was at Stalingrad that the German armies finally lost their offensive outburst. The Eastern Front slowly but steadily began to move to the West. Among those who gained fame here was the commander of the 2-th Guards Army R.Ya. Malinovsky. In the midst of the battle, the Hitlerite command assembled in the Kotelnikovo area the strike force of General Goth to rescue Paulus from the encirclement. 21 December 1942. The advanced units of Goth fought close to 50 km to the outer front of the encirclement, and Paulus’s army was ready to meet them. At this critical moment, the command of the Stalingrad Front, not hoping to contain a breakthrough on its own, requested help. From the reserves of the headquarters, the 2-I Guards Army was advanced towards the enemy, which stopped the enemy.
It is difficult to resist the fact that in a brilliant galaxy of military leaders not to mention the hero of Stalingrad V.I. Chuikov. The words of the marshal from his will breathe with epic grandeur: "After my death, bury the ashes on Mamayev Hill in Stalingrad, where I was organized on September 12 by 1942, my command post."
Commander of the famous 64 Army, Colonel-General MS Shumilov, famous in the Battle of Stalingrad, is also buried on Mamayev Kurgan.
In mid-September, 1942, when the fighting broke out in the city itself, Shumilov ordered: “Clear the entire right bank of the Volga River in the area of the army and troops headquarters from transport facilities. Let no one doubt: we will fight to the end. ”
K.K. Rokossovsky noted that among the troops of General Shumilov "there was a concern for the soldier everywhere" and there was "high fighting spirit". 31 January 1943 in the army headquarters Shumilov interrogated Field Marshal Paulus. At the request of the field marshal not to photograph him, the general replied: “You filmed our prisoners and showed the whole of Germany, we will take a photo of you alone and show the whole world.”
A few words about personal impressions: when you stand on Mamayev Kurgan in silence, it seems that from everywhere the ground and from the sky rushes the unceasing rumble of a terrible battle, the continuous moan of thousands and thousands of fighting and dying fighters. Unforgettable feeling, holy place!
The man of the changing military fate was General of the Army M.M. Popov, who led the Northern, Leningrad, Reserve, Bryansk, and Baltic fronts during the war. The marshals and generals, with whom Popov drove off the front roads, noted the General’s exceptional military abilities, personal courage (they began to be called “general attack” by Stalin’s light hand), versatile education, kindness, cheerfulness and wit. Perhaps the most important thing that the colleagues remembered was a huge excerpt from the general, who, even if things were going on at the front despite plans and the Headquarters demanded to do the impossible, "did not tolerate nervousness on his subordinates, politely spoke to the commanders of the armies, supported their cheerfulness."
The commander of the 2 Belorussian Front, General of the Army I.D., had a bright military talent. Chernyakhovsky, mortally wounded during the East Prussian operation in February 1945. According to the recollections of K.K. Rokossovskogo, "It was a wonderful commander. Young, cultural, cheerful. Amazing man! It was evident that the army is very fond of him. This is immediately evident. If the commander is approached to report not with a shiver, but with a smile, then you understand that he has achieved a lot. ”
General of the Army A.V. Khrulev, chief of the rear of the Red Army. To understand the amount of work of a person in this position, the abilities, knowledge and experience that he should have, it is enough to give one example. From our side, 19 combined-arms armies took part in the Berlin operation, 4 - tank, 3 - air, one flotilla, 2,5 million people (including the rear units of the fronts), 3,8 thousand tanks, 2,3 thousand self-propelled guns, more than 15 thousand field guns, 6,6 thousand aircraft and other equipment. All this mass of troops and military equipment had to be provided with food and uniforms, ammunition, fuel, communications, bridge crossings (taking into account the complex nature of the theater of military operations), engineering preparation of bridgeheads and many others. But during the war years, the Red Army conducted more than 50 major strategic defensive and offensive operations. When discussing them at Headquarters, each front commander and members of the State Defense Committee expressed their demands and claims to the rear; however, some were not averse to blaming the general for problems at the front or in the defense industry.
I would like to say about those whose fate was tragic. Among them, the general 33-th Army M.G. Efremov, who died under Vyazma in April 1942. He preferred death to enemy captivity, by the end of his military duty.
There was a place in the book for General LM Sandalov, who entered the war as chief of staff of the 4 Army of the Western Front. It was precisely against the troops of this front that the main blow of the German forces was directed, which ended for us with a catastrophe. The blame for the defeat was entirely entrusted to the command of the front, as well as the commander of the 4 Army, General Korobkov. All of them were sentenced to death. Sandalov considered this decision a “flagrant injustice” and after Stalin’s death put a lot of effort into rehabilitating his commander.
29 November 1941 Mr. Sandalov was appointed chief of staff of the newly formed 20 Army and up to December 19 during the most fierce battles near Moscow led the army due to the absence of the commander, the notorious General A.A. Vlasov.
After the victory in the Moscow battle, Soviet propaganda in every possible way extolled the role of Vlasov, and after its transition to the side of the enemy, made him a silent figure. Sandalow, who left one of the most truthful narrations about the events of 1941, was forced to reckon with this circumstance and not to touch on this topic.
The best ace of the Second World War A.I. rightfully took his place among the war heroes. Pokryshkin. He, like many heroes, went through the war from the first to the last day on the front line. The Russian pilot never set itself the goal of increasing the personal account of shot down enemy aircraft. Throughout the war, not one slave Pokryshkin died due to his fault. “For me, the life of my comrade is more expensive than any Junkers or Messerschmitt, together with him we are more bruising them,” he repeated several times. Most of the opponents he shot down were Aces, since the tactics developed and used by Pokryshkin consisted in dispersing the close formation of aircraft, for which it was necessary to hit the leading group first. In the spring of 1943 in the Kuban, where the most fierce battle of the Second World War for air supremacy unfolded, a new fighter tactic began to bear fruit aviation, the founder of which by right all front-line soldiers call Pokryshkina. In 1944-1945 he commanded the famous 9th Guards Fighter Air Division, which was sent to the decisive directions of our offensive. Taking part in military sorties until the very end of the war, Pokryshkin proved himself to be an outstanding military thinker, commander.
Contrary to popular belief, as a university teacher I can confidently say that young people today are interested in the heroes of the war, and all of us readers have received a wonderful gift. Unfortunately, the scope of the review does not even allow brief mention of all the heroes of the book.