(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
of the Great
RUSSIA and the countries which
are all set to mark the 65th anniversary of the Great
on May 9.The existential threat posed by Nazi Germany to the rest of
ceased to exist after their defeat on the Eastern Front by the Soviet
More and more historians have now come to the conclusion that it was
victory in the Eastern Front that was pivotal to the eventual outcome
War II. The �Great Patriotic War� as the Commander in Chief, Joseph
chose to describe the titanic war which lasted from June 22, 1941 to
1945, had claimed the lives of more than 27 million Soviet citizens,
per cent of the population at the time. Eight out of ten Russians
have had close relatives who either fought or perished in the war
Axis powers led by Germany.
Soviet soldiers and citizens who died in the war account for 40 per
cent of all
the casualties of world war two. In all, 8,66,800 Soviet combatants
in action. Thirty per cent of the USSR�s national wealth was
destroyed during the bitterly fought war.
In comparison, the United Kingdom
lost only 0.6 per
cent of its population in the Great War. The American casualties were
lower, amounting to only 0.3 per cent of its population. Other
suffered more at the hands of the occupying Axis powers. China
lost an estimated 20 million
people under Japanese occupation. The Nazi occupation is responsible
deaths of more than 60 million people, the overwhelming majority of
citizens of European countries. The Japanese paid a bigger price than
European Axis allies when the American dropped atomic bombs on the
cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The key role of Stalin in the
War was sought to be
obscured during the cold war years by Cold War historians and later on
Russian historians. But in recent years, the Kremlin has publicly
the leadership provided by Stalin in turning the tide against the Nazi
machine. School text books, recently approved by the government, show
a positive light and highlight the role he played in making the USSR
superpower. A statue of Stalin along with that of Franklin Roosevelt
Winston Churchill was put up in Volgograd
as Stalingrad is called today, before
anniversary of the Great Patriotic War. Almost all the statues and
Stalin were removed during the 1960�s after his denunciation by
Nikita Khrushchev. Prime Minster Vladimir Putin has said on several
that Stalin and his epoch are an inalienable part of Russian history.
also said that the demise of the Soviet Union
was one of the biggest tragedies of the 20th century.
When Nazi Germany launched
against the Soviet Union in 1941, the
situation for Allied Powers appeared grim. Britain was struggling to
a German invasion. The US
was reeling after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.
Japanese forces were sweeping through Asia and threatening to knock the
out of India.
German forces under the command of General Erwin Rommel were
take control of the whole of North Africa.
That was when Stalin decisively
stepped into the
picture. His style of leadership was personified by his Order No 227 of
1942 to the Red Army soldiers fighting in Stalingrad.
The order �Not One Step Backwards� galvanised the Soviet forces. When
Soviet forces launched a counter-offensive in the historical battle of Stalingrad on November 11, around 1.1 million
troops had to face an enemy of similar size. During the see-saw battle
city, 750,000 Soviet soldiers died or went missing. The losses on the
were around 850,000. Another important battle in the Great Patriotic
the one at the Kursk Bulge which followed the German defeat at Stalingrad. The Germans seeking to once again
military initiative had deployed more than 800, 000 soldiers in an
code named �Citadel�. The Soviets, who had gained the military
deployed more than a million men to confront the Germans. In the battle
Kursk Bulge�, more than 180, 000 Russian soldiers were killed in
German losses were estimated at around half a million.
In contrast, the battles fought
by the US
and British led
forces against the Axis powers paled by comparison. In the much hyped
Battle of El Alamein, (October 23-November 4, 1942) which many western
historians claim to be as important as the battle of Stalingrad,
the numbers of troops involved were fewer in number. A 220,000 strong
Force confronted an Axis army numbering 116,000. 13,000 Allied and
troops were killed in action in that battle. That the Soviet-German
the most important front during the War was exemplified by the fact
that 60 to
80 per cent of Germany�s ground forces, half of its air force and a
its Navy were deployed on the Eastern Front.
In all, during the course of the
Great Patriotic War,
the Red Army conducted eight big military campaigns, 51 strategic
and more than a thousand army level operations. The Soviet army scored
victories in 1944, the year in which their actions were concentrated
the territory of the USSR.
Soviet forces liberated the Balkans and removed pro-fascists regimes in
countries like Finland,
Bulgaria and Romania.
The Red Army was the first
to reach Berlin
and forcing the surrender of the Nazis. Many
of the military campaigns of the Red Army
are now considered text book examples of modern warfare.
The letter sent by President
Franklin Roosevelt to
Stalin in February, 1943 acknowledges the crucial role played by the
in stopping the German military juggernaut. �On behalf of the people of
the United States
I want to express to the Red Army on its 25th anniversary
profound admiration for its magnificent achievements unsurpassed in all
history. For many months, in spite of many tremendous losses of
and territory, the Red Army denied victory to a most powerful enemy. It
him at Stalingrad, at Moscow, at Voronezh, in the Caucasus and finally
immortal Battle of Stalingrad, the Red army not only defeated the enemy
launched the great offensive, which is still moving forward along the
front from the Baltic to the Black Sea---The Red Army and the Russian
have surely started the Hitler forces on the road to ultimate defeat�,
letter addressed by Roosevelt to Stalin stated.
The Soviet Union emerged from
the War as a superpower
alongside the United
When the Germans launched their blitzkrieg against the USSR, most western military experts had
predicted that Moscow
would capitulate within a matter of months. The German military high
had promised Hitler that it would subdue Russia with �lightning
speed�. The Soviet Union instead
showed its resilience and also
demonstrated to the world that it had the support of its people. Most
European countries either chose to meekly surrender or only put up a
fight when the German army invaded. The Soviet historian, K Voroshilov,
the views that many Russians held at the time, wrote that the US and the UK
did little to help Russia
as it faced the entire might of the German army. �By their unworthy
provocation the Anglo-American �allies� who desired the greatest
exhaustion and weakening of the Soviet Union, and consequently the
of the war, gave Hitler the opportunity of waging the war for three
solely on the Soviet front without a glace behind him and having no
his rear, having concentrated against the Soviet Union huge masses of
Stalin�s superior war tactics
coupled with the
economic advances the country had made under socialism, helped thwart
plans for world domination. More than 6,200 guerrilla and underground
numbering over 1.4million combatants, fought behind enemy lines. More
million German soldiers along with their collaborators were eliminated,
or taken prisoners by these partisans. According to Russian military
historians, underground Soviet fighters were responsible for either
or disabling more than 4,500 enemy tanks and armoured vehicles, 2,500
pieces and over 11,000 planes. At the beginning of the German military
campaign, their air force had overwhelming aerial superiority.
Ultimately, the USSR
ended up by producing 40 per cent more fighter planes than the Germans.
enemy sadly miscalculated�, wrote Stalin. �He failed to take into
strength of the Red Army, failed to take into account the stability of
Soviet rear, failed to take into account the determination of our
The Soviet Government, after
initial hiccups, saw to
it that its frontline fighters were well provided with combat hardware.
factories produced combat weaponry at a much faster pace than their
counterparts. These included fighter planes, tanks and war ships. The AK-47, which continues to be the weapon of
choice for the armies and the guerrillas of the world, started
during the Great Patriotic War.