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The Soviet Union in World War II, Part I. 1929 The start of the Great Depression Capitalism shattered, class conflicts on the rise everywhere Revival.

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Presentation on theme: "The Soviet Union in World War II, Part I. 1929 The start of the Great Depression Capitalism shattered, class conflicts on the rise everywhere Revival."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Soviet Union in World War II, Part I

2 1929 The start of the Great Depression Capitalism shattered, class conflicts on the rise everywhere Revival of hopes for world revolution The Comintern goes on the offensive against both the Right and the Center Radicalization of right-wing forces Political polarization Global retreat of liberal democracy In international relations – growing anarchy, return to traditional power politics

3 Deep conviction that the international environment is hostile, and that the Soviet Union will be attacked Solution: rapid modernization by totalitarian methods  Extreme centralization of political power  Replacement of market economy by command economy:  5-year plans from 1928 on  Collectivization of farming (93% of all farms by 1938)  Industrialization of the Soviet Union (growth of industrial production, : 10-16% a year, machine tool production: 26% a year)  The Cultural Revolution – mass literacy campaign loaded with ideological indoctrination  Mass repressions and slave labour  Stalin’s personality cult  Militarization of economy and society  Nationality policy: from federalism to empire

4 March of Enthusiasts: Z_up1M Z_up1M

5 The human toll of Stalinism Excessive deaths, :  10 mln. people  8.5 mln. in (most died of hunger)  1.5 mln. in (executed or died in camps) Incarcerated for “counterrevolutionary activities”, “treason”, “espionage”, :  mln. people Total number of camp deaths, :  1.6 mln.

6 A shift in foreign policy From wariness of the West – to active engagement in world-order politics Less ideology, more pragmatism Non-aggression pacts Development of trade and economic relations with all countries After Hitler’s coming to power – campaign for collective security

7 Maksim Litvinov, People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs,

8 The rise of Nazism lated lated Anti-Communism Ultranationalism State capitalism packaged as “national socialism” Militarism Aggressive racism Establishment of a totalitarian state

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10 ure=related

11 January 20, 1933: Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as US President:

12 From Roosevelt’s inaugural address, January 20, 1933: “Rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence....The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit”.

13 Roosevelt decides to recognize the USSR Motives: geopolitical  Containing Germany and Japan Sends a signal in October 1933, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov arrives in Washington for talks 3 issues:  Russian debt from WWI  Suppression of religious and legal rights in USSR  Soviet aid to American Communists A “gentleman’s agreement” is reached Nov. 1933: diplomatic relations are restored

14 The geopolitical triangle: Axis powers (Germany, Italy, Japan), USSR, Western democracies (WDs) USSR WDs Axis

15 Germany’s expansion,

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17 Fascism and Communism as sworn enemies Both sides tried to win allies  Hitler: I am crushing communism and protecting Western civilization (ideological). It was in his interest to downplay geopolitics  Stalin: I am trying to stop Hitler’s aggression (geopolitical). It was in his interest to downplay ideology Both succeeded to some extent:  Hitler managed to overthrow the Versailles constraints, rebuild Germany’s military power, and expand German borders  Stalin gained US recognition and a degree of respectability in the West with his advocacy of “collective security” agreements against fascist powers

18 Stalin’s first choice: Policies of collective security (alliance with democracies to stop Hitler) After the failure of this option - A non-aggression pact with Hitler to stay out of the coming war and extend Soviet borders westward

19 Vyacheslav Molotov, People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs ( )

20 The Spanish Civil War Can democracy be sacrificed to defeat the Left? Foreign intervention on both sides Splits between forces of the Left, blunders of the Left Victory of the Right, abetted by liberals

21 Brigadas Internacionales: IaK3cH0&feature=related

22 Hitler publicly and repeatedly pledged to destroy the Soviet Union, presenting himself as saviour of the West from communism As a state committed to world revolution, Russia was viewed as a threat by Western elites – including those of Western democracies The rise of fascism was partly a response to the threat – and anticommunism was one of the motives of Western appeasement of Hitler =related =related

23 Appeasement of Hitler and his allies by Britain and France: Allowing Germany’s rearmament Accepting Hitler’s territorial claims Betraying democracy in Spain The Munich Accord of 1938 Motives for appeasement ideological geopolitical

24 Munich, September 30, 1938: Britain and France open door to Hitler’s occupation of Czechoslovakia

25 British PM Neville Chamberlain in Munich: gpP1hg gpP1hg Hbzfls&NR=1 Hbzfls&NR=1

26 Britain and France hoped to channel Hitler’s aggression to the East, toward conflict with Russia – reluctant to fight Germany Hitler was determined to prevent Western democracies and USSR from joining forces: beat them one by one Stalin was determined to avoid war with Germany as long as possible – but convinced that such a war was inevitable 1939: A divergence of interests between USSR and Western democracies – and a convergence of interests between Germany and USSR The unexpected deal was logical – but only temporary

27 Moscow, August 23, 1939: German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop signs non-aggression pact with Russia

28 Text of the Stalin-Hitler (Molotov-Ribbentrop) Pact

29 Stalin and Ribbentrop sign the deal on the division of Eastern Europe, Aug.1939

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31 Stalin offers a toast to Hitler

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34 A Swiss magazine cartoon

35 September 1, 1939: Nazi Germany invades Poland

36 German and Soviet invasions of Poland

37 Soviet and Nazi officers in occupied Poland, 1939

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39 Polish servicemen who surrendered to Soviet authorities. In spring 1940, 22,000 Polish officers were executed by NKVD

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41 Hitler and his High Command after occupation of France, summer 1940

42 1940: Hitler in occupied Paris

43 Hitler and Mussolini in Munich, June 1940

44 : Stalin’s Western expansion Western Ukraine, Belorussia Invasion of Finland Annexation of Bessarabia and Bukovina from Romania Classic geopolitics: pushing the borders forward, reclaiming Russian imperial heritage

45 : growing tensions between USSR and Germany Germany’s unexpected triumph in the West emboldens Hitler Hitler’s strategic goal of conquering the USSR was never abandoned – for geopolitical and ideological reasons All resources of continental Europe are now available to Germany

46 By 1941, Stalin’s fear of German power became the overwhelming factor He was appeasing Hitler – and preparing for war against him - at the same time Each of the two intended to strike first Hitler outfoxed Stalin and delivered a crushing blow

47 : Lowest point in US-Soviet relations since 1933 Roosevelt denounced Stalin USSR viewed as an accomplice to the Nazis Soviet annexation of the Baltic states and invasion of Finland condemned The German invasion of Russia changed everything

48 Operation Barbarossa: JhXKlYnSWjA JhXKlYnSWjA

49 Hitler’s goals:  Total destruction of the Soviet state  Colonization of the Soviet territory, together with allies  Turning the territory into a resource base for the Third Reich  Annihilation or enslavement of the population An existential challenge to Russia

50 Hitler explaining the coming war against Russia, March 1941: “It is a struggle between two ideologies… Communism presents an enormous danger for the future. A communist has never been and never will be our comrade. It is a struggle for annihilation. If we think otherwise, then, even if we should crush the enemy, the communist threat will rise again in 30 years…” From the diary of General F. Halder, Chief of Staff, Land Forces, Germany: This war will be vastly different from the one in the West. In the East, brutality is a benefit for the future. Commanders must be ready for sacrifice and overcome their doubts.”

51 Hitler’s allies in the war against Russia: Italy Romania Hungary Finland Slovakia Croatia Serbia Montenegro Bulgaria Albania Spain

52 Nazi propaganda poster: SS forces kill the Red beast of communism

53 German poster depicting Soviets: “The lower race”

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58 A Soviet tank crew, killed June 25, 1941

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60 Wounded Soviet soldiers

61 General von Richthoffen in Russia with his officers

62 Celebrating success in Lightning War

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64 In the first 10 days, German armies moved 550 km into Soviet territory In the first 20 days of the war, the Red Army lost 1/5 of its manpower – 600,000 men By July, 20 mln. Soviets found themselves under occupation. Nazi terror began. Still, despite the chaos and panic:  Fierce resistance slowing the German offensive  Evacuation of population  Redeployment of industry to the East

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78 Moscow, October 1941

79 Women digging anti-tank moats near Moscow

80 Antitank barriers in downtown Moscow

81 The Battle of Moscow Sept – Jan days  2.25 mln. men  tanks  artillery pieces Casualties: 250,000 – 400,000 German 600,000 – 1,300,000 Soviet

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83 November 7 th, 1941: military parade in Red Square

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85 Georgi Zhukov, commander of Soviet forces in the Battle of Moscow

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87 The Siege of Leningrad Sept – Jan days Soviet casualties:  Military – 3.4 mln.  Civilian deaths – 1 mln. German casualties – no data

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89 Hitler discussing siege of Leningrad with Finnish officials

90 Leningrad’s defenders

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92 Schoolchildren in besieged Leningrad

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