CURRENT INTELLIGENCE STAFF STUDY
THE/SOVIET HISTORYRLDJVAR II (Reference Title:
Office of Current Intelligence CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
OFFICE OF CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
Reference Title: 9
CURRENT INTELLIGENCE STAFF STUDY
The Soviet History of World War II
Thisorking paper, tho second to be publishod by the Slno-Soviet Studieserger of the CAESAR, POLO and ESAU projects. Tho group would welcome either written or oral comment on this paper, addressed to I-
THE SOVIET HISTORY OF WORLD WAR II
This paper seeks to answer questions posed by the recent increased attention to the history of the war in the Soviet Union. Why is tho regime now encouraging historical writing on tho war? What interpretations are being promoted? What are the political and military implications?
This isact-finding study. Despite the importance of the war in Soviet history, and the politically sensitive nature of this topic in the Soviet Union, Soviet writing on tho war has not been systematically examined in the West, and in general it has not been of such immediate political significance as to attract the continuing attention of intelligence. This gap defines tbe scopo of tbe present study.
The paper identifies the issues which post/war propaganda croated in this field and traces the evolution of Soviet views on these issues from the immediate postwar period to the.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Until recent years, tbe Soviet leadership vas consistent in regarding tbe history of the var as an instrument forsocial attitudes rather thanubject deserving truthful evaluation in its own right. Before and after Stalin, the Soviet official Interpretation of the var reflected thepolicies of the regime.
The Stalinist Interpretation of the war vas devised tothe traces of the vartlme drift of the Soviet Union from its historical course of development, and to convince the Soviet people that nothing had Intervened vhlch vouldhange in past policies. Thus the history of tbo varaean to Stalin's political and militaryestanont to the wisdom of party policies, an Indictment of the perfidy of the capitalistroof of the soundness of the Soviet system. The Stalinist version of the war distorted the historical facts in at least four major respects:
It presented tho catastrophic defeats of the first year of the warreplanned and skillfully executed maneuver designed to set the conditionsuccessful counteroffenslve.
It magnified the roles of Stalin and the party in the achievement of victory, and diminished the roles of the military leaders and tho ordinary people.
It depreciated tho contributions of the Allies, and sought to transform their image in the public mind from partners in the anti-Hitler coalition into crypto-enemios of the Soviet Union and virtual allies of Hitler.
It claimed that the Soviet declaration of war and the defeat of tho Kvantung army, rather than Amorican military successes, had played the decisive role inabout the dofoat of Japan.
Varying dogrees of resistance to the imposition of this version of the war were manifested by those oloments of thepopulation most directly affected bymilitary, the historians, and tho vrltors. Military officers indicated disdain for the concopts developed to idealize the military events of the var. Historians demonstrated lnertlal resistance to the postwar propaganda assault on tho West and Its attondantof the Allied role in the war, and before succumbing
to official pressure indicated their distaste for theconsiderations vhich motivated lt. The writersoutspoken opposition to the official line.
The reactions of all three groups wore based not onopposition to the regime, but on the Inherent conflict between propaganda demands and their own professional arked tendency of tho professional militaryreference for facts over theory, an attitude which seemed tooncern that the excessive idealization of military evonts wouldroper evaluation and application of the lessons inherent in them. The historians appeared to feel that historical questions ought to bo settled byrather than political crltorla, and by the historians themsolves. Writers vho remained true to their art vereand in any case unable, to present what theyto be the epic of the war in the shallow termsolitical tract.
After Stalin's death, the official interpretation of the war underwent important changes. These changes reflected tho Soviet leaders' apprehension that the Soviet people and the Soviet military establishment were being poorly prepared, by the unrealistic portrayal of the last war, for the kind of war which they now foresaw as possible. The Stalinist line, they felt, encouraged the dangerous Illusion that war was easy, and lt conditioned military officers to feel that retreats and slow attrltional mothods were normal means of conducting war. The main content of the new version of the war which emerged from these considerations5 was that the early period of the war hadefoat for tho Soviet army, ratherrelude to victory.
As the Twentieth Party Congress approached,reak with the past appoared, giving freshto this reconsideration of tbe history of the war. The central feature of the new movement was the break with Stalin which was dramatizod at the Congress. Khrushchev's secret spoech, which portrayed Stalin as Ignorant of military matters and as criminally responsible for the initial unpreparedness of the Soviet Union, cleared the way for removing the many distortions of history which derived from exaggeration of Stalin's role In the war. The early defeats of the Soviet army were interpreted now as due not only to the surprise of tbe German attack, as had been emphasizedut to the negligence of Stalin in failing to take the precautionary measures which elementary prudence and ample intelligencehad indicated were necessary. ore generous appraisal
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ethe AUioswas also fostered at
After the Twentieth Party Congress, the neod to halt tho deterioration of political authority resulting from the antl-Stalln campaign threatened to halt also tbe progress toward honest military history. In the latter partndhe party faced tho choice of curtailing tho revislonary historiography of the war to protect Itspolitical Interests, or of sustaining thisto encourage the professionalism and realism ofthought which it expressed and nourished.
Over the past year or more, Soviet policy in this sphere has been carefully calculated. It has sought to retain the gains in historical objectivity achieved5ut not at the cost of reflecting unfavorably on the party Itself. The formula has been: to admit Soviet reverses ln the early days of the war, but to emphasize Sovietthe party's leadingrecovering from those reverses. The formula has also minimized the contribution of tho USSR's allies to the victory.
The ovolutlon of the historiography of the warore accurate appraisal of military realities is of some importanco, as in this area the regime has gradually accepted tho concept of the utility of truth. This victory for the truthimited one, as tho truthurrounded bypropaganda with which the party justifies Itself and its policies. Nevertheless, this developmentendency which has appeared in other areas of Soviet activity as well, and this tendency is likely to grow.
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I. THE HISTORICAL ISSUES AND THE POSTWAR INTERPRETATION
Tho Initial Poriod of the Soviet German War
The most critical issue in the Soviet historiography of the war was the interpretation of the great defeatsby the Soviet army during tho first period of the war. The immense material losses and Incalculable humanwhich tbe collapse of Soviet defenses entailed would have been embarrassing for any government to explain, butegime which staked its authority on its claim to foresee tbe future they were catastrophic In their Soviet postwar propaganda sought to smother these implications by denying that any real defeats had taken place
The first problem for Soviet propaganda was to explain tbe Soviet failure to anticipato and prepare for the Initial German assault. There Is ample evidence that the Sovietwas fully informed of tho German intention to attack well before the invasion took place. Churchill has described the careful personal efforts he made to bring the seriousness of the situation to Stalin's attention. He has also told of other warnings conveyed to the Soviet government byBritish officials and the American government. of Soviet spy networks in Austria and Japan after the war revealed that Soviet intelligence had also uncoveredinformation on the Gorman invasion plans. Finally, Khrushchev In his secret speech to tho Twentieth Partycited many additional indications that had been made available to the Soviet government through its own diplomatic and military sources.
Soviet postwar propaganda made no acknowledgment of these advance warnings of the German intention to attack. Instead, it sought to turn to advantage the blunder which the Soviet government had committed in discounting these warnings. It depicted the Soviet Union as the victim of Gormant stressed the "suddenness" of tho German attack. The initial defeats wero presented as flowing from the natural disadvantage sufferedeace-loving state in the faceuthless aggressor. At the same time, thepolicies of the Soviet Union, Its Industrializationand its diplomatic and military encroachments inEurope, wero presented as calculated against an eventual German attack, and thus as responsible for the country's ability to withstand the shock when the attack camo.
Secondly, Soviet propaganda had to explain thedefeats of the Soviet amynd theBent of huge territories and much of the population of the Baltic republics, Leningrad province, Byelorussia, and the Ukraine. In tho light of these results, lt vas obvious that tbe Soviet army had not shown to advantage during the first months of the war. Tho operational command, which at that time was In the hands of the political marshals, Voroshilov, Timoshenko, and Budennyy, on tbe Northwestern, Western, and Southwestern fronts respectively, showed little capacity to cope with the mobile conditions of varfareby deep German penetrations of prepared defense Deprived of large mobile reserves and air support, and bound by the Supreme Command strategy of defending "each inch of nativehe army repeatedly permitted large forces to bo encircledore flexible strategy might have saved them. To mention only the largestalf-million men, according to German figures,
were lost in each of the huge encirclements around Kiev and Vyazma.
In explaining these disasters, Soviet propaganda sought to have it bothenhance the dimensions of the final Soviet achievement ln stopping the German offensive, while minimizing the mistakes which made great achievements It was acknowledgeddifficult situation" had been created,mortal danger hung over the Sovietndicture was presented of the SovietCommand as being ln masterly control of the situation at all times, and as influencing the course of events toward its final successful consummation. The strategy of the Supreme Command, it was said, was to give space for time, and by "exhausting and bleeding white theo prepare tho groundsounteroffenslve.
There were two formulas in Soviet postwar propaganda which were very important in tho official account of this period, and which express the whole tonor of this account. The first was the so-called strategy of "activehich was representedupreme Command plan embracing not only tbe tactical methods of aggressive counteraction ln defense, but the whole strategic conception of the early
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period of Soviet operations.* The second and more Important formula was the so-callod strategichich also was said to embrace, as partsreconceived plan, the whole complex of defensive actions conducted by ths Soviet army preliminary to the launching of tbo actual counteroffenslve.* The effect of both formulas, of course, vas to embellish the reputation of the Soviet leadership by presenting the early defeats as necessary preliminary stages to the ultimate victory.
* The term "active defense" had two meanings. Its first meaning, which lt generally carried in the writings of the wartime period, expressed tbe idea that theactions of the Soviot troops were designed not only to stop the enemy, but to keep up the morale of the Soviet troops themselves, to "temper their regiments" for atransition to offensive action. This meaningfrom Stalin's Order of tho Day, ofhich created the first guards units. Its second moaning, which lt assumed in postwar propaganda, expressed the idea that the defensive actions of the Soviet troops were preplanned to hold back the progress of the enemythe permanently operating factors of war could be brought Into play. The diroct source of the postwar flourishing of this concept was Stalin's electoral speech of February 9,
he doctrine of the "counteroffenslve" was firstIn Stalin's letter to Colonel Razin of Stalin derived the ideas oxpressed In this letter from an article entitled "Tbe Strategicy Major General N. Talenskiy, which was published in Military Thought, No.
Finally, Soviet propaganda had to interpret the ultimate stopping of the German advance and the saving of Moscov. The facts concerning these events wero as follows. Tho German armies on the central front, after rapid initial progress, reached tbo vicinity of Smolensk by Here the advance on Moscow paused, not only because of Russianbut because of cross purposes in the German High Hitler wished to divert the tank armies from the Moscow
direction to assist in the flank attacks on Leningrad and Kiev, while the German generals wished to continue theon the central front. While the generals vainlyand in the end acquiesced to Hitler's decision, many weeks of the best campaigning weather were allowed to fritter away. Finally,ctober, the advance on Moscow was resumed, but by the time the first successes around Vyazma had been consolidated tho fall slush had set ln. Slowedrawl by the weather and tbe stiffening Russian resistance, the advance finally peteredew miles from Moscow, and was then mauled back by tbe Soviet counteroffen-sivo which beganecember.
The roasons for the failure of the German offensive are many, and ln large part of German origin. An importanthas been mentioned, the conflicts between Hitler and the generals, which in turn reflected the excesslveness of the demands which Hitler had Imposed upon his forces. By the time of the final German advance on Moscow, German forces were overextended, both in terms of logistic communications and ln the ratio of operational reserves to committed forces. Men and machines were exhausted from the long summerand the shifting of armies from one front to anotherreat territorial expanse German divisions bad been thinned out before the beginning of the Russian campaign to spread the available manpower and armor amongwhich participated in the invasion. While they may haverief relative superiority during the early period of the war after the initial surrenders of Soviet troops, this was certainly lost by the end of the year. Finally, the cold weather which came on early and rapidly1 caught the Germans unprepared, since in anticipationightning victory they had not provided winter clothing for the troops.
Soviet postwar propaganda discounted all thesefactors as having played any effective role ln the final outcome. German logistic problems and leadershipwhile mentioned occasionally in generalof Gorman strategy and military science, were novor admitted as decisive factors. The weather was mentioned in Soviet accounts, but only as interfering with Soviet Tbe manpower relationship was always claimed to be In the German favor, and the numbererman andatellite divisions attributed to tbe German invasion force by the Russians during the war was retained in subsequent accounts. In short, any factor which tended to reduce the credit due the Soviet leadership and armed forces for stopping the German Invasion was ignored ln Soviet postwar propaganda.
Credits for the Victory
The broadest issue raised by the Soviet historiography of the var vas the explanation of the final victory. In its most important aspect, this Involved the question of vhich the four pillars of Soviet wartimearmy, tbe party, the people, or Stalintbe laurels of victory, and hence the rewards and prerogatives vhlch they symbolized. It will be seen that this question cut across all others, and became the principal political issue of the Soviet interpretation of the var.
In considering the merits of the claims that could be advanced for tho sevoral aspirants, and tho way In which the credits were In fact alloted, lt will be logical to start with Stalin, since his figure loomed largest In Soviotaccounts.
Just what Stalin's role was in the stratoglc direction of the Soviet army Is not entirely clear. Khrushchev'sin his secret speech of the telephone calls he had made to Vasllevakly and Halenkov at the time of tbe Kharkov battle suggests that Stalin exercised ateneral supervision over military operations. It Is probable that his dictatorial habits and affectations of militarynee led him to Interfere more directly In military matters than tbe other Alllod leaders commonly permitted themselves to do. But in the actual conception and direction ofoperations ho was probably cautious enough to limit his Interference to the confirmation or veto of plansby General Headquarters. Even within thoso limits, and judging by the bits of evidence available, his recordar leader was far from consistently good. His gross error In discounting the numerous intelligence indications of the German preparations for attack has been mentioned above. His strategy of "no retreat" during the first period of the war played into tbe bands of the German tactics, and his stubborn insistonce on continuing the Kharkov offensive2 after the Soviet position had De-come hopeless was, to say the least, militarily unjustified. His competence for command was apparently also negatively affected by bis moodiness of character. Khrushchev charged that Stalin became panic-strickennd Churchill's account of Stalin's desperate appealritishcorps at that time lends corroboration to this charge.
In postwar propaganda, however, Stalin was transformed Into tbe "greatest commander of all the ages." All military operations were said to have been carried out according to his plans and under his immediate direction. He was said to have "worked out anew" and, for the first time in history, applied with full effect the "strategichich constituted the greatest contribution ln the annals of military science.
The army suffered most directly from the postwarof the Stalin image. The record of tbe professional military leaders during the war was good. Whatever their merits when compared with their opposite numbers in the West, and there are differences of opinion on this score, they were the men who stood at the head of tho troops when victory was achieved. Moreover, their contribution was dramatic. It was after Zhukov took over from the old Bolshevik Timoshenko, bb Commander-in-Chief of tho Western Front, that Moscow was saved and the first Soviet counteroffenslvo successfully carried out. It was also after Zhukov took over as overall commander of the southern fronts, and after the commissar system had been abolished in the army, that Stalingrad was saved, and the series of operations launched that led to ultimate The figure of Zhukov ln these key events of the war was symbolic of the professional military's role in rescuing the regime from tbe consequences of its own Incompetence.
In postwar propaganda, tho marshals rapidly faded Into tho background. Zhukov's fall from honor has often been noted. It was so swift and complete that the Soviet press observed the first anniversary of the fall of Berlin without mentioning his name. No other military figure was namod ln Pravda on that day either, nor on the other majorof the next few yean.. Tho articles published on the occasion of Stalin's seventieth birthday, erformed the equally remarkable feat of reviewing the whole course of the war withoutingle Soviet general officer.
The party's role in tbe war is perhaps the mostto evaluate because it was so closely woven into the fabric of Soviet society that lt Is hard now to distinguish, through the smokescreen of propaganda raised on its behalf, where party inspiration left off, and public initiativeln the great social and military acbieveaents of the war. Unquestionably, the party's traditional role as the leader and coordinator of national energies was diminished during the war, as increasing reliance came to be placed onchannels of public control, and as extraordinary
governmental and military bodies arose to take overof the war effort. To name merely the activity which the party later most vigorously claimed for its own credit, tho partisan movement, the facts seem to be that the party had little to do with organizing tho movement, and established control later only partially and with difficulty. In general, the conclusion seems safe that among the instruments available to the Soviet leadership for conducting the war effort the party apparatus performed an auxiliary function.
Thus it is understandable why, when the leadershipafter the war to return to the course of development that tho war had interrupted, an important element in that reaction was the reassertion of the party's traditional place In Soviet life. This necessarilyecasting of the history of the war to show the party's roleorelight. ery important feature of the postwar history was the claim that the party had "always and everywhere"and lod the people's resistance to the Germans. This claim was advanced particularly, but by no means exclusively, with respect to the civilian aspects of the wartime evacuation of industry to the east, the feats of labor heroism performed at the rear, the partisan waron behind enemy lines. As Pravda put it, in criticizinghe Young Guard, "The party everywhere and always introduced an organizing basis. Communists did notinute loso the leading role."
Finally, it is necessary to mention the role of thein the war. Their contribution had been so massive, and so clearly affirmed by the regime during the war, that It stood in the way of any other claimant for exclusive honors. If this record were allowed to stand, the regime's own claims to indispensability, based on the supposed politicalof the masses, might well be open to question. act which would be taken for granted under any othorthe war had been won by the sacrifices andof theSoviet conditions became inadmissible. In Soviet postwar propaganda, the record of the people's role in tho war was not oponly contested, it was simply displaced.
The Role of the Allies
The role of the Allies in the wararticularly embarrassing problem for Soviot postwar propaganda, since any acknowledgment of the real contributions the Allies had made would tend to invalidate tho Imagoorrupt and hostile West which it was seeking to create. The task of Soviet
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propaganda, thus, was to blot out as far as possible the friendly memories of the wartime alliance, by besmirching the motives for which the allied states fought, and bytheir achievements.
The response of the Western Allies to Russia's plight1 was prompt and generous, and the material and military contribution which the West made to the final victory was very great. Allied material aid was extendedime, andconditions, whichery real sacrifice on the Allies' own war effort. In addition, as the war progressed, the Allies brought toilitary pressure on Germany which contributed materially to speeding the collapse of tho German war machine.
According to American sources, the value of American Lend-Lease shipments to Eussia during the war totaled. British shipments and American privateadded considerably to this total. Walter Kerr, in bis book The Russian Army, presents additional figures which bring outraphic way the significance of this aid to thearmy. During the first year of deliveries alone, he says, Washington and London shipped to1 vehicles,ons of miscellaneousof which the major part got through. As Korr points out, the relative value of these figures can be grasped if they are compared with the numberslanesanks which, according to Russian claims, the Germans lost duringays of the heaviest fighting in the first year of the war. There are many indications from Russian sources, too, of the value they placed on this aid during the war. Stalin's anger at delays in the arrival of American equipment wasin this connection. The impress which Allied aid made on the Soviet population, indications of which arethroughout Soviet literature, is another sign of its scope and significance. Even the language has recorded the dimensions of American wartime aid In Its transformation of the name "Willys"ussian household word.
As for the rest, the Allied military role in the war, the story is familiar enough to need no detail here. Beginning in Africa,he Allies began to buildteadilypressure on Germany which engaged and wasted theresources which were desperately needed on the eastern front. Soviet propaganda made much of the claim later that no German units were withdrawn from the eastern front as aof Allied operations (in fact, at least two SS divisions were withdrawn to meet the Normandyut this is
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beside the point. The real contribution of tbe Allies was measured not in the Juggling of German divisions which it produced, but in the German energies absorbederies of Allied second fronts, in Africa, Sicily, Italy, and France.
Soviet postwar propaganda was not content merely to minimize the Allied role in the war, but sought actively to transform the image of the Allies from partners in the anti-Hitler coalition into crypto-enemies of the Soviet Union, and virtual allies of Hitler. The principal device used to achieve this end was to hammer home the accusation that the real aim of Western policy before the war had been tothe USSR, and, in the final account, to embroil lt in war with Germany.
In its broadest application this charge affected the Soviet official interpretation of the whole prewar period. Beginning with tbe Paris Peace Conference, at which it was asserted the "Russian question" occupied the primary place, almost every major event of European diplomacy affecting the USSR was made to fit into this framework. The Dawes Plan whichgolden rain of American dollars" intowar industry, the Four Power Pact which signified Anglo-French willingness to como to terms with fascism, the Polish-German nonaggression pact4 whichrecedent for replacing the principle of collective securityystem of bilateral pacts, the Anglo-German naval agreement5 which proclaimed Britain's disavowal of the principle ofGermanall seen In theaccount as stages in the consistent Western policy of isolating the USSR and encouraging German aggression.
The major event affected by this line of interpretation was, of course, tho Munich agreement. The facts surrounding this episode were such as to lend themselves to almost any indictment of the strategy and morality of Western policy that the Soviet Union would wish to make. The agreement was in fact strategically defective in that It excluded the Soviet Union from the joint action of tbe directing nations, and morally defective in that it legalized violence. But these indictments, recognized as valid in Western literature, were not broad enough for the purposes of Soviet postwar Instead, Stalin's phrasehat tho Munich agreement was the "price of an undertaking (by Germany) to launch war on the Soviet Union" was resurrected as the basis of tho Soviet historical Interpretation. The Westernwere portrayed as active plotters with Hitler for war. In
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Soviet postwar historiography the word "deal" (sgovor)tho official cachet of Munich, and historians who had seen in the Western behavior at Munichoncession or capitulation to Nazi threats wore made to see their error.
A second issue for Soviet postwar propaganda on the Allied role in the war was the matter of Allied material aid. For Soviet postwar propaganda, any ackaowledmont of thoand usefulness of this aid could serve no political purpose, as lt would document the indebtedness of the Soviet Unionoreign state, which the Soviet Union would be loath to admit in any event, and least of all to theof world capitalism." Moreover, it would diminish to some degree the luster of the Soviet Union's own industrial achievements, which were claimed to rest on the far-sighted Industrialization programs carried out by tho regime during the first five year plans. Thus, the matter of Alliedwas mentioned very sparingly in Soviet postwar accounts of the war, and where mentioned was always presented as an exchange for Soviet raw materials, oraltry recompense for the Russian contributions of blood and time.
The most publicized of the issues affecting the Allied role In the war was the question of tbo second front. The Soviet attitude toward this question assumed approximately its permanent formhen lt must bave seemed to tho Soviot leaders that nothing but tho crumbling defenses of Stalingrad stood between thorn and final disaster. It is understandable that in these desperate hours they were little disposed to appreciate Allied logistic problems and wero bit-tor about the failure of the needed military relief to But oven after the passions of the moment cooled, the second front Issue apparently appeared to the Sovietas tooevice to abandon. During the war ita certain psychological leverage to the Soviet Union in dealings with the Allies, and probablyong way toward cancelling out whatever sense of indebtedness thosupplies may have carried with them. After the war, it servedrop for the claim that the Soviet Union had borne the brunt of the struggle against Hitler.
The basis of the Soviet postwar charge that the Allies had shown bad faith in this matter was the joint communique published In London and Washington after the Molotov visit in the spring The communique said in part that "in tho course of the conversations full understanding was reached with regard to the urgent task ofecond front in Europe" Churchill has explained that the purpose of
the communique- wasto make the Germans apprehensive and hold as many of their troops in the west as possible. So as not to mislead the Russians, he took care to give molotov an aide memolre, stating that he could "give no promise in the mat-ter." In postwar comment on the subject, Soviet propaganda Ignored the aide memolre. Instead, it bent every effort to show that the Allies had gone back on their word, and had done so, moreover, with the deliberate aim of dragging oat the war and exhausting the Russians.
A fourth issue was the Normandy invasion. Sovietpropaganda Interpreted this event inay as to place Allied political motives and military capabilities in the worst possible light. It was stated that the Alliesthe Normandy invasion only to forestall thesingle-handed triumph of the Soviet Union. Moreover, it was charged that the Allies deliberately delayed their breakout from the Normandy beachhead for twoalf months, while watching developments on the Soviet-German front, and playing with tbe possibilityompromise peace. In all of this, Soviet postwar propaganda placed great stress on the alleged inconsequential resistance put up by the Germans to the Allied invasion. It was claimed that the German divisions in Europe were not of first combat quality. During the whole poriod of the Normandy invasion, according to the Sovietpropaganda account,ingle German division was transferred from the Soviet front. Consequently, nocould be attached to the Normandy invasion as easing the situation in any substantial degree on the eastern front.
A highly derogatory appraisal of Allied militarywas also given in connection with the Ardennes battle and the final advance through Germany. The former was presentedajor collapse of the Allied militarywhich would have been fatal had not Stalin, in response to Churchill's urgent plea, advanced the date of the Soviet winter offensive, and thus forced the Germans to abandon their attack and withdraw their forces to the eastern front. The final Allied advance through Germany was also explained as the result of the German political decision toall forces against the Russians and to leave tho way open for the Allies to reach Berlin first.
The Pacific War
The principal issue raised by the Soviet account of the Pacific War was tbe interpretation of the Japanese surrender. The Soviet Union from the beginning maintained that It was the
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Soviet declaration of war and the defeat of tho Kwantung array, rather than the atomic bomb, which forced thoto capitulate. Tho Soviet argument was basedon three assertions: hat the Allies had achieved no significant military successos against the Japanese during the course of the Pacific War, hat the main military strength of Japan remained throughout the war untouched in Manchuria,hat5 Japan was still capable of continuing tbe war for another two years at least. This latter assortlon was based on American military estimates, madef the requirements for thoof tho Japanese home Islands.
The role of the atomic bomb was usually ignored, or summarily dismissed, in Soviet accounts of the Japanese The most circumstantial Soviet argument on this point was offered by V. Avarin ln his second book on the Pacific war, published It was based on the data presented in the United States Strategic Bombing Surveythe deliberations in the Japanese Government during the last days before the decision to surrender was taken. Part of Avarln's argument was based on tbe timing of these events. The atomic bomb, he observed, was droppedugust, and resulted in no particular reaction in Japanese official circles, The Soviet declaration of war reached Tokyo on tho morningugust, and was followedrantic sorlos of official mootlngs, concluding with the Imperial Conference In the night0 August. Part of his argumont was based also on the substance of tho The key element here was tho statement of theannouncing his decision to accept surrendor. In lt, he did not mention the atomic bomb, but said in partto Avarln'sTo continue the war ln the international situation which has arisen, and given the situation within Japan, would moan the destruction of the whole nation."* This, according to Avarin, proved that the point at issue was "not the atomic bomb or strategicbut 'the international situation which hadho entrance of tho Soviet Union into tho war against Japan."
The emperor's words as given in the Strategic Bombing Survey are as follows: "Thinking about the world situa-tlon and the internal Japanese situation, to continue the war means nothing but tho destruction of the wholevarin obviously shaded his translation to support his.
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Unlike many of the other issues discussed In thisthore was very little development or change in the Soviet Interpretation of the Japanese surrender during the postwar period. According to Maxff, In bis book Soviet Policy In the Far. the attribution of the Japanese col-lmpse exclusively to Soviet victories In Manchuriaonstant of Soviet comment on this subject from the end of the war on. All the major elements of this account were present in the earliest analyses of this event noted. Colonel M,rominent military writer, set out tho main lines of this argumentlthough in somewhat loss categorical terms than later became customary. He cited Allied military estimates as proof that Japan was stillof resistance at the end, and claimed that most foreign newspapers recognized that Soviet intervention vas "one of the decisive factors" compelling the enemy to lay down his arms. An accompanying article assessed tbe significance of the atomic bomb, expressing some cautious optimism as to its future peacetime Implications, but concluding that lt wasto the final outcome of the Pacific Var and invoking the authority of Genorals Arnold and Chennault in support of this conclusion.
II. INTERNAL RESISTANCE TO THE POSTWAR LINE ON THE WAR
During its development in the postwar period, the Soviet official interpretation of the war evoked varying degrees of resistance from elements of the population most directlyprofessional military, the historians, and the writers.
Tbe Professional Military
Although military writersey role inthe official version of tbe war, they did not abdicate their professional Integrity entirely to propaganda criteria, and, in their wartimo writings at least, provided snatches of direct testimony on the real nature of wartime events. Some faint signs of dissatisfaction with elements of theline also appeared among military writers during the postwar period. This expressed Itself not in any opento the official line, but In indications that the professional military officers were experiencing tension between their direct experience of the military events of the var and tbe theoretical formulas In which they wereto express them.
In the summermall unsigned article inThought, the theoretical organ of the General Staff, first drew attention to this latter phonomonon. It took toumber of specialized military Journals forthe roles of their own services in the war, and for neglecting the Soviet doctrine on tho coordinated action of all arms. These Journals, said the article, "raise the basic question of the military employment of their own forces in combined arms battle poorly or not at all, and sometimes, in Interpreting the experience of the military operations of their forces, attribute to them an Independent significance." The Air Forces journal came In for particular criticism in this regard.
A more Interesting caserusty article by Major General A. Penchevskly, "Concerning Operations forand Operationaln Military Thought,hich disputed the conceptnternal andfronts" in an encirclement operation. This concept
was already becoming part of the legend of the Stalingradwhere, it was claimed, an "external front" had been formed on the encircling ring toreakin by Man-stein's relief column, as well as an "internal front" tda breakout by von Paulus' army. The use of thisto buttress the claim that Stalin always beat the enemy "fororeseeingarge scale all thethat the enemy might possibly undertake, gave it asignificance. "In the planning of anaid Penchevskiy, "the forces and means of an army and front (fronts) are never under any circumstances divided between internal and external fronts (lines). They are dividedto operational objectives, and tasks are established by defined lines." He concludedlunt dismisal of the theory. "Our staffs never used such concepts asand external fronts'; they are useless since they do not explain the essence of the operational maneuver."
A still more interesting case was an article by General of the Army Eremenko, entitled "Counterblows in aDefensivehich appeared in Military Thought,hisotable article if for no other reason than that, at the height of the Stalin apotheosis, ltStalin only once, in the opening paragraph, and the adjective "Stalinist" once, In the last. Moreover, It dealt with the question of the counteroffenslve inay as to obscure the role of the Supreme Commander in theof this operation and to enhance the role of army and front commanders. This resulted from the fact that Eremenko attributed to the counterblown operation of an army or front, largerounterattack, but smallerounteroffenslve) the crucial role in triggering the counter-offensive, specifically with reference to Moscow and Kursk. He spoke of the counterblows in these two battles asinto" counteroffensives. This phraseology was, innot unorthodox, but Eremonko made it appear that the army or front commander who made the decision for awas, in effect, the agent responsible for the counter-offensive. This, in the atmosphereas perilously close to lese majesty.
There Is evidence that the unorthodoxy of this article was the result not of careless writing but of blunt military honesty. Time and again, Eremenko missed the obviousto throwop to Stalin's vanity. Repeatedly,
he spoke of the counteroffensive as "growing outr "developinghe counterblows launched by "ourithout mentioning that it was "organized" by Stalin, as good propaganda practice required. In one place he went even further, and implicitly credited Zhukov with preparing the counteroffensive under Moscow.
The ideological lapses of this article were thrown into stronger reliefigorously orthodox article on the counteroffensive which Eremenko published two years later. Ithole catalogue of the standard formulas praising Stalin as the genius exponent of this strategy. The spirit of this article contrasted so sharply with the earlier one that the conclusion seems inescapable thatof political discretion had propmted it.
The professional historians were blocked off from the military history of the war by political decisions taken at war's end, and thenceforth restricted themselves to the diplomatic history of the wartime period. In thisignificant number of themelativelyattitude toward the West upnd some beyond that date.
One work of considerable interest was the first volumeeries, Works on Modern and Contemporary Histroy, which was brought out by the History Institute TEls volume was severely criticized later for many departures from ideological orthodoxy. One article in it, "The German-Fascist Drang nach Osten aftery F. I. Notovich, is illustrative of the general scholarships and political detachment of the volume. The main criticism later directed against this article was that it described theather thandeal" or The very first words of the article were "The Munichnd this phrase was used regularly throughout. It was, moreover, devoid of the usual references to Marxist authorities. Although Iteavy scholarly apparatus,lose text of fifty pages, only two or three purelyreferences to Soviet sources appeared.
Another example of postwar unorthodoxy inook publishedy Professoreborln, entitled "International Relations and the Foreign Policy of theV: The Years of the Great Patriotic War. This book was apparently withdrawn fromsometimend is not now available. to the Soviet press, the book was published by the Diplomatic School as an informal student manual andcirculation In educational institutions in this capacity. Official attention was drawn to the book, apparently, when tbe contemporary history sector of the History Instituteto republish lt under the seal of the Academy of Sciences.
The substantive criticism of the book was focused on its alleged pro-American bias. It was said that the book presented US foreign policy during the Second World War "just as American imperialists themselves attempt to portray his interpretation, lt was said, conveyed the lmprosslon that the US government was opposed to the anti-Sovietof Churchill and tbe American Imperialists, that Ittaunch friend of tbe Soviet Union throughout the struggle. Thus the book concealed the "struggle within the antl-Hltler coalition" during the war, and ignored theopposition between the foreign policy of the USSR, on tho one hand, and of the USA and Great Britain, on tho ore specific issue, the second front, the book also was said to haveistorted interpretation. Tho Western delay inecond front was attributed to the inability of US and British leaders to evaluate thesituation2 correctly, to their overostimation of the Hitler forces. Thus, the prolonged delay in opening the second front was ascribed to "shortsighted" US andleaders. Finally, the official critics hinted darkly at improper motives in the publication of the book.
As the critics were clear to point out, historians were held responsible not only for what they published, but also for what they said. tatement madelassroom lecture will serveast illustration of tbe laggardness of the Soviet historical community in accepting the postwarlino on tbe war. The case in point was that of Professorpecialist on British history. The most startling of the words ho was alleged to have uttered were described as follows:
In the lecture course given at the Higher Diplomatic School, Zvavlchirect falsification of history, assertingurning point ln the courso of the war took placeesult of the landing of the Americans in Italy. (Voprosyo. 2,
The full fury of the Ideological reaction fell on the historical community during the8hen, under the goad of the partyeries of meetings was held to place one historian after another on the rack of public criticism for the edification of his fellows. The climax of this campaign came ln the springhen the second Issue of Questions of History for that year was held up for five months,eorganization of tho editorial board was effected. The resistance which the historians displayed was evoked not by clashes overIssues, but by professional disdain for thecriteria which defined tho party's demands. The most striking feature of their performance was the indisputable evidence it provided that the historians understood theof the capitulations they were forced to make.
Thero were signs, first of all, tbat the historiansto deflect, or blunt, or even to shield each other from the sharp edge of party criticism. The behavior of the editorial board of Questions of History Itself wasln this respects It displayed tact and forobear-ance ln the case of N. Rubinshteyn, for example, the authorook on Russian historiography, and the first victim of the ideological reaction, by allowing him to initiate the discussion of his criticized book, rather thanhim to immediate attack by others. Its action ln the case of I. I.pecialist ln the early Sovietwas even bolder. ime when Mints bad become the main target of the party attack, the editorial board allowed him toead article, ln the first issuehich in effect constituted an apologia for the historical community. This article listed all the names of theSoviet historians, proclaimed their contributions to Soviet historical science, and (perhapslip of the pen, becuasc his article was otherwise very dutiful in this respect) attributed to his own colleagues, rather than to Stalin, the credit for laying the "basis for the study of the Soviet period of the history of our country."
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addition to Questions of History itself, individual historians also made efforts to stem the course of party reaction. At the beginning of the critical campaign, for example, there was at least one historian (K. Vazllevlch) who stood openly against the basic chauvinist tendency of the official line. "We are not inclined to grovel before
thee said. "We carry our culture with dignity
But to tear off the history of Russia from tbe history of otherwould mean to returnast which has been condemned, and it would hardly be right to start off onath." In the first discussion of Hints' book on tho first years of the Soviet regime, it was reported that one speaker (A. I. Gukovskiy) attempted to Impugn Hints' loyalty. Tbe subsequent speakers, lt was noted, "unanimously rejected" this insinuation. Again, in the discussion of Works on Modern and Contemporary Hir.tory it was reported: "Attempts to soften the sharpness of the criticism appeared, for example, in tho speech of A. Z. Manfred, who accompanied his adknowlodgment of the mistaken character of Eggerts'with ambiguous compliments regarding the author's "great skill,' 'ability to master thetc."
Individual authors, not Infrequently, showedstubbornness in refusing to bow meekly to official criticism. I. M. Lemin, for example, the author of ThePolicy of Great Britain from Versailles to Locarno, was reported sticking to his guns at the end of the critical on his book.
It is necessary to note, at tho same time, the un-serlous and irresponsible attitude which the author of the book hifejelf displayed toward the discussion. Admitting, in general terms, that certainly "thoro arc many shortcomings in thehat "there are cortaln bad soundingnd that "tho tone Is inappropriateumber of. M. Lemin at the same time attempted, without any proof, to deny all the concrete and argued complaints andabout the book made by the speakers. esult of the false position taken by him, I. M, Lemin in fact rejected tbe critical review of his book, in the light of the criticism to which it was subjected at the discussion, and bis concluding words failed completely to satisfy those present. (Voprosy Istorii, No.
vfftcim. ufir, omx.
The occasional cynical remarks which some historians made during these critical sessions revealed, morethan any disquistlon, their full awareness of the purely political considerations which motivated the official Profossor Lutskly, for example, ln attempting to ward off attacks on his sector of the History Institute, referred to the opinion which, he said, was commonly held in historical circles, "that the history of Soviet society Is not history, but current politics." imilar theme ln the defensiveof the criticized historians was the complaint that they bad been victimized by the swift change ln the official line after the war.
P. I. Notovlcb, for example, the author of the article on German post-Munich policy, considered above, used this defense.
Still more unsatisfactory was the speech of F. who at first refused to recognize mistakes at all in hisevaluation of the Munich policy in hisin his second speech, which followed thecriticism of his first, did Comradethat he had permitted "false notes"and that his article did not correspond toof militant party historical science. even in his second speech, F. I. Notovlchfalse notes. He explained the errorsarticle not as arising from athe essence of the Munich agreement, but as aof the fact that he had "printed8 anwritten in(Voproay Istorli,
Perhaps more significant than these displays ofcourage or stubbornness were the signs (naturally heavily veiled ln Soviet sources) of something like an organizedby the historical community to the party'scampaign. This appeared most clearly in the virtual boycott of the discussion of Rublnshteyn's text book held by the Ministry of Higher Education, ln Of the speakers reported at the meeting, only three appeared to be historians of Importance (S. A. Pokrovskiy, A. L. Sldorov, and Ye. N. Gorodetskiy), the others being mainly docents, or professors from outside Moscow. The abstention of the first-rate historical figures from the meeting was
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all tbe more striking In view of the high sponsorship of the affair, and the importance which the authorities obviously attached to lt. Both Sldorov and Qorodetskiy, at thereferred to the absence of the major professors in terms which suggestedfeat of silence" was being performed, Complaining that the Initiative for the criticism had come from outside tbe historical community, Sidorov stated: "Even now, at this present conference, the majority of the members of the department (of Moscow State University) areertain Inwardness on the part of these institutions (the History Institute, and the Academy of Socialnd the absence of prominent historians at the present meeting, characterizes, ignificant degree, the general position on the historical Gorodetskiy referredto the "absence of the so-called pillars of historical science from the Later, on several occasions, it was implied that this abstention of the Moscow historical community from the meeting hadeliberate act.
Later criticism revealed other cases of group opposition to the party's ideological campaign. ead article in Questions of History, at the endor example,: here were cases when tho criticism of mistakes (recently made in the press,ere met with hostility In the Institute." Also: "The Institute did not organize work on the exposure of foreign bourgeois historiography, and did not conduct an attack on foreign falsifiers of This work, until recontly, has been considered In the Institute as 'outside and plan', and the workers of the Institute shunned It."
The writers' community,hole,hronic Indiscipline after tho war which was unmatched by any othor segment of Soviet society. The sources of this indiscipline were no doubt various, but there were two commonthe nature of literature itself, and the regime's imperfect control of lt.
Writers had to deal with human beings and theirin terms comprehensible to themselves and acceptable to their readers. This meant that the subject of tho writer's work wasnot Soviethuman values which the shallow political philosophy he was required to serve failed to explain or even to acknowledge.
Secondly, the qualified editorial Independence enjoyed by literary Journals encouraged writers to probe for the outer limits of official tolerance. This helped to keep alive tbe sensehared problem, and contributedeeling of group identity among the writers.
The most dramatic episode in the postwar collisionpropaganda policy on the Interpretation of the war and the testimony of the writers was the article "Crocks andhich appeared In the lltorary Journal Oktyabr,rom the pen of its editor, F. Panferov. This articlelaintive denunciation of tbe literary bureaucracy (and Inescapably, though Implicitly, of thepowers which supported it) foralse, prettified version of the sufferings, terrors, and majestic achievements of tho war.
The substance of Panferov's article was the complaint that the critics opposed any portrayal of tho war whichrue measure of the enormous sacrifices it had cost. In his article he described bow he had questioned the generals during the last days of the war, and asked them to explain to him the nature of the victory that had been won. They could not answer, he said. Even they, tbe generals who had won the victory, were forced to admit that they did not fully understand the moral forces that had moved their armies. They stooduzzle, the sphynx of victories. Only the critics, sneered Panferov, the "crocks ands he called them, wore able tothis great imponderable.
For the "crocks and potsherds" all this is clear. "Retreat? There was no retreat. Thislanned withdrawal which exhausted theesponds the writer, "what kindlanned withdrawal was this, when the fate of our country at one time hungair. Indeed, Comrade Stalin and bis fellow workers spoke to us aboutForget it: It is necessary to forgetnswer the "crocks and potsherds."
"How forget? Perhaps it is possible to forget that the Germans were at Stalingrad, at Mozdok, at Moscow? How is It possible to forget the burdens which our people shouldered during the war? Indeed, sometimes out shoulders cracked from these burdens.
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Panferov then recalled tbe terrible hardships suffered by the working people In setting up the evacuated Industries In the rear. He described the hard living conditions, the rigors of winter work in the Urals, the cold which froze the palms of the workers' hands to the steel. "But here come the 'crocks ande wrote, "and Insistently declare: 'Nonsense, nothing like this happened In our country.' The writer spreads his bands in perplexity."
Returning to the military aspect of the war, Panforov concluded his articleiscussion of the character of the enemy, and of the proper way of portraying the enemy in literature. He disputed the official tendency to deprecate the military qualities of the Germans. This, he argued, did no credit to the Soviet army, and in fact minimized the significance of the victory lt had achieved. The "crocks ande said, insist that the enemy should be portrayed as stupid, cowardly, ignorant of militarya "woden head with eyes."
But, if you will, why minimize the strength of the enemy, his resourcefulness, his rapaclousness, his cunning, bis military skill, his steadiness inhis ability to defend himself, to attack, and finally, to fight? Indeed, in depicting the enemyooden head with eyes, we minimize the heroism of the Red Army. What kind of heroism is lt to haveooden head with eyes? No, the enemy was strong, in his own way, able, cunning, and steady in battle. Indeed, no wooden head with eyos could have seized, if only temporarily, the whole ofand moved into our country hundreds ofarmed from head to toe. No. And how explain the power of the enemy, hismillions went over to the fascists. If onlyime? To solve this is an extraordinarily complicatod and necessary
There can be no doubt that Panferov passionatelyIn the position he defended. Moreover, he seemd to feel that his viewpoint might prevail over the opposing view of the literary critics. He reminded his readers of the wartime words of Stalin and the party leaders; he invoked the authority of the party which "nevert tho time he published the article, Panferov seemed to
regard the interpretation of the war as notompletely closed Issue, The objective of his article, apparently, was to bully the critics, and Influence tbe political authorities behind them, Into accepting his interpretation of the role and responsibility of llteraturo in portraying the history of the war. Ho doubt, active debates on this subject bad been stimulated throughout the literary community by Stalin's electoral speech earlier in the year.
The lasting slgnlfiance of Panferov's article rests ln the testament lt gave of Russia's wartime experience. On the eve of the postwar campaign of falsifications and half-truths, which the regime hoped would blot out the unhappy memories of the war, one clear voice bore witness to the sufferings and sacrifices it had cost. It spoke not only for Panferov but for many of his colleagues as well, and Indeed for the Russian people.
Echoes of this testimony to the truth about the war were to be heard again in the postwar period. In the last twoof the literary Journal Znamya,hereork entitled "Motherland and Forelgnland: Pagesy A. Tvardovskly, in which the poet attempted to recreate Impressionsost wartime diary. Itollection of vignettes of his wartime experiences. As the personal recordensitive observer, which wasoriginally for his own use rather than for publication, itemarkably clear view of the human features of the Soviet people in the war.
Tvardovskly was particularly attracted by the hardiness, the sheer survival ability, of individuals ln war, and heto this theme repeatedly. This naturally caused him to deal with characters and motivations which officialpretended not to see, and laid him open to the charge that he had generalized the untypical rather than the typical features of Soviet reality. triking passage, hea scene of refugee disaster during the early days:
On the first page of the notebook,emember,roteicture which struck me at the beginning of tho war, in my first encounter with those oneavy burden fell in the first days. Tho Moscow-Kiev train stoppedtation, apparently Khutor Mikhailovskly. Looking out tho window,aw something so strange and
VtilUAL IWr> oniy.
frightening that, to this day, annot got rid of tho Impression. uge field, but vbetber ltallow field,ield sown to winter or spring crops, it was Impossible to tell: the field was covered with people, lying sitting, swarming, peoplo with bundles, knapsacks, suitcases, hand carts, little children. ever saw so many suitcases, bundles, all kinds of village household goods, hurriedly taken by peopleourney. On this field there wero porhaps five, perhaps ten thousandhe field buzzed. And In this drono one oould hear the agitation, the excitement .caused by tho recent shock, and, at the samo time, the deep, sad weariness, the numbness, the half-sleep, that one observesrowdedroom at nightarge railway Junction. The field roso, began to stir, pushed toward the right of tbe way, to the train, began to rap on tboand doors of the cars, and, it seemed, had the power to knock the cars from the rails. The train movod. We, people in war, breaking tho strict and necessary order, pulled into the car one woman, loaded down with bundles, holding in her hands hor two children, aged threo and fivo years. She was from Minsk, the wifeommander, and coming into the car hastened to confirm this with documents. She was small, haggard, not at all beautiful, except perhaps her eyes, shining with tbe Joy of unexpected success. She had to go somewhere in Belaya Tserkov, to the family of her husband. She could hardly have gottena few daysaw that Belaya Tserkov was
abandoned by us.
Tvardovskiy's honesty oxtended also to self-analysis and produced an unusually picturesque and unflattering ac count of the function of tho writers In tho war. Feeling tho fatigue of his loog tour of sorvice, he asked himself why bis mind faltered at the task of writing once again tbe story of seemingly endless battles. He comparedand his fellow writersan who helped another to chop wood by grunting for oach blow of tho axo. "We grunt, and the people work. We have taken on ourselves thof giving out thoso exclamations, 'ohs' and 'ahs',hich arc thoso of the man who fights."
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For tho soldier, each nev battle summons up his mental and physical forcea with original freshness. "But for us, grunting, all this is Just more of the same thing; we have gruntedhousand such occasions." Tvardovskly conceded, however, that lt was necessary to go on writing, becauso of the magniflcant victories that theere winning.
Tho critical reaction to Tvardovskiy's notebook was swift and caustic. An article in Literary Gazette, in December,iting roviow of tho work. "The attempt to poeticize that which is foreign to the life of the people, and foreign to poetry, has ledalse and crude ideological mistake." eek later, an editorial ln the same newspaper reiterated the official anger: "The whole work is impregnatedoeling of tlrednoss,ontemplative attitudo toward life." Literary Gazetterief reportiscussion which had been held on Tvardovskiy's notebook, containing hints that opposition to the official criticism had manifested Itself among the writers. The report stated that tho scheduled discussion had been put off three times, and that on the fourth occasion, when the discussion was finally held, the editorial board of Znamya haditself from the meeting. In addition, the claim that tho official evaluation of tho work had boen supported by the meeting was qualified: "Tho opinion of the majority of the speakers in large part coincided with . . . . (Italics added.) Finally, the open opposition of onetudent from Moscow University, was acknowledged. Regarding the latter, the report stated:
General agitation was called forth by the speochraduate student of Moscow University, V. Arkhlpov. In an oily tone, he undertook to prove that there were no mistakes ln "Motherland and Forolgnland." Attempting by all means to protect A. Tvardovskly from justified criticism, he ended up with openly reactionary declarations in dofense of kulaks and speculators. The harmful expressions of the uninvited advocate weroell deserved
While Tvardovskiy's work was being discussed, another wartime memoir was being published which was to set off an even moro dramatic demonstration of opposition to the ol flclal line on the war. This was the diary of Olgailitary doctor, which appeared ln the first two
DhHLlAL UGE only-
Issues of Znarayander the title "The Motor-ship 'Kakhetia'". In tbe ensuing discussion of this hook, in which narked discontent with the officialevaluation was recorded, the famous partisanand author of tho Stalin prize winning book, Men With a. Clear Conscience, Potro Vershigora,trong attack on the critics forypocritical portrayal of the war. In tho vigor and directness of its attack, Vorshigora's article came close to matching tho ardor of Panferov's polemic of two years before.
The diary of Dzhigurda, which precipitated thewasatently honest protrayal of the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of people exposed to war. It recorded the author's experiencesilitary doctorupply-hospital ship,, serving the besieged city of Sevastopol and other military bases. In simple, straightforward language, the author described the people around her, neither embellishing their virtues nor concealing their faults. At tho very beginning, she described tho reluctance with which she and her companions approached their assignment to the ship. "In vain, Belokon and Votrova entreated the duty officer to send us to some land unit, in vain Votrova tried to frighten the duty officer with big names from tho Air Forces, inomplained of my
Dzhigurda's roportorial accuracy led bor to record events which wero highly "untypical" by Soviet official standards. The captain of the ship, forervous breakdown and committed suicide. Two soldiers evacuated from Sevastopol turned out to be malingerers. "What will become ofsked Dzhigurda as they were being led away. "Thoy will besentenalhe was told. Onco hor roommate's sobbing woko her in the night.
"What'smatter? What's the matter withsked anxiously.
annot be alone! It's boring to be alone.'" Votrova wailed through heras upset
"Listen, Marya Afanas'yevna, aren't you ashamed? ew days before the trip, and. all you think about is foolishness. We have to fight with pure thoughtsure spirit, and all you think about isI'muddenly groaned Votrova, and fell on the pillow and cried.
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These "untypical" features of tho book, needless to say, scandalized official opinion. Dzhlgurda was accused of bavins; failed to bring: out the real spirit of thepoople, and of haviDg lost her way ln details* "It is not necessary to minimize the personal shortcomings of ouraid E. Knlpovlch, writing In Literary Gazette. "But if one is to see the main, socialist; hing above all, then the petty, personal shortcomings are not Mown up
A discussion of the book was held early inhe animation of the proceedings, the enthusiasticfor Dzhlgurda which they demonstrated, came through even ln the cryptic report of the affair which wasin Litorary Gazette. emarkable feature of the meeting was tbat it appeared to be organized by, and certainlyorum for, "people ofhat is, those who like Dzhlgurda herself had actually participated ln the war. The number of military figures present, and speaking on Dzhugurda's behalf, was perhaps the most notablo feature of the meeting.
In the following month, Vershigora published bisattack on tbe critics. Bo described their reception of Dzhlgurda's work as flowing from the consistently negative attitude tbey had always shown towardaccounts of the war. The object of his attack was to refute not simply tho official evaluation of one work, but the whole system of official attitudes which had determined this evaluation. Bis indictment exposed the nature of tho campaign tho critics had waged toplatitudinous formulas for honest accounts of tbe war.
Pseudo-classical conceptions regarding Soviet people at war, the motives for their actions andhave apparently nurtured sanctimonious ideals in tbe critics themselves. And the critics (according to the lawsertain reverseperhaps) react sharply to any departure from these lacquered norms. Pharisaical critics give battle surreptiously, without undue noise, to tho genre of "experience": they avoid raising theto the level of principle, so to speak, lgnoro tbe early diaries of front-line people, or note superficially their weaknesses, and, above all,their significance.
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Vershlgora cited the poverty of literature on the siege of Leningrad as an example of the deadly Influence vhlch had been exercised by the critics. He said that4 an honest portrayal of this great event had been impossible. He spoke of one "highly placeddevoted to literature on the war, at which one writer Justifiably complained that be had not been able to write the truth about the feat of Leningrad "since the literary and critical channels had filled up with people who neveraste of blockade."
Every attempt to describe the blockade is taken by them as slander aginst the Leningrad people. The almost complete absence of great literature on the worthy and necessary theme of the heroicof Leningrad convinces me that thecomrade is right. Crude facts (and they are always crude, particularly for those who have nothiff of them) cannot be written, and people are apparently still ashamed to write the prettified "little truths" which are always worse than open lies. And the result? The needed book about the great feat of Leningrad has not, and does not, come!
Finally, Vershigora asserted the bold claim that "defenders of the Fatherland" had the moral right to share their experiences of the war with their contemporaries. He predicted, moreover, that such first-hand accounts would not be forgotten when the history of the war was finally written.
Our contemporaries, who shoulder to shoulder have forged tho victory, as well as future generations studying the past, will look into them. They will have to look into them.' Surely, the many novels, stories and pooms, and books, which are less finished in literary style, but more convincing, not only by virtue of the facts they contain, but also by their faithfulness to the human feelings they portray, will not be thrown into the backyard of history.
III. THE POST-STALIN REAPPRAISAL OF THE HISTORY OF THE WAR
The flurry of opposition to the official history of the war vas snuffed outnd for several yearseep freeze of Stalinist orthodoxy settled over this issue. Occasional criticisms of individual authors during this period wore indicative more of the insatiability of critical appetites than of any real indiscipline on the part of the individuals concerned. The increasing attention devoted to the history of the war by the press and publishing houses registered theconviction that the subject had become stable and safe. But history in the Soviet Union was no more stable than the political forces which projected it, and with Stalin's death the linage of his power reflected in history began to fade.
The Impact of Stalin's Death
The natural tendency of the Stalinist historical myths to disintegrade was accelerated by the problems which the nowfaced. First, there was the succession Itself; the new system of collective leadership had to be legitimized; the state administration, pulverized by Stalin, had to belong suppressed consumer demands had to beay out of the foreign policy impasse had to be found. Secondly, there were problems arising from the military-strategic situation created by the maturing of nuclearwithin the Soviet Union, and the continuingof delivery capabilities ln both world power blocs. Both sets of problemsreak with Stalinist tradition.
The effects of the new policy toward the first set of problems were apparent almost immediately. In propaganda, the "cult of personality" was disparaged, and the "creativity of the masses" was extolled. To be sure, the effect was less marked, and less consistent, in historical writing on the war, but there were unmistakable shifts in emphasis. Stalin's name appeared less frequently in the places where one hadaccustomed to expect it, and the party was put forward as the supreme architect of victory. The role of the people in the war was alsoecognition which befitted their newly acknowledged status as the "creators of history."
Ml,re important, and longer lasting, implications for the history of the war emerged from the second set ofmentioned above, the reassessment of Soviet military-strategic policies. As men who had been close to theof Soviet power for many years, the new leaders were certainly not unacquainted with the strategic problems posed by the increasing destructivenoss of world armaments. But the responsibilities of supreme authority, the removal of Stalin's inhibiting influence, and the new evidence which piled upesult of the Soviet Union's first hydrogen bomb explosion, and also, probably, the beginning of the study of tacticsuclear war in the military maneuvers of that year, cast these problemsew light. In any event, clear signsore realistic attitude toward the military implications of the nuclear age were manifested. The seven year ban on the discussion of nuclear weapons was broken,hen Red Stareries of articles on the tactical uses oTTbe new weapons, and defense against them. During the sameroad discussion of military science, reflecting strong tendenciesejuvenation of military thought, was carried on in the General Staff Journal, Military Thought.
On the political level, the impact of the new strategic situation was reflected in Malenkov's efforts to damp down tho sparks which might set off an international in hit,'wordsould mean theof world civilization." The circumstances surrounding this declaration strongly suggest that Malenkov meant itowerful argument in defense of his policies. It was made just four days aftor the first open opposition to his regime had been signalized in the Soviet press.* Itarefully calculated statement, since itong held, and often repeated Soviet doctrine, which Malenkov himself had helped to formulate,ew war would mean the destruction of world capitalism alone. The indications arc strong that it expressed not only his own belief in the unacceptibility of nuclear war. but his hope that others within the Soviet
* 'frud, March 8,ommerative article on Stalin contained "the first of the revised "warf which there would be various others in the next two years, listing onlyand Bulganin, of the then collective leaders, as among the party leaders sent to the front during the war.
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Union, the lesser party leaders and intellectuals, would be persuaded to accept his view.
Malenkov's specific prescription for Soviet policy in tho nuclear age was repudiated when he resigned inut the military-strategic considerations which had given rise to it continued to preoccupy his successors.the power struggle by which tho Bulganin-Khrushchev succession was engineered, by placing the military ln amore independent position, had the effect ofthe tendenciesresh look at military realities which the Malenkov regime had initiated. The return ofmilitary officers to high administrative posts in the defense establishment, which had been going on since the last year of Stalin's life, and particularly the appointment of Marshal Zhukov as Minister of Defense lhaccelerated these tendencies. During the next few months, the enhanced professionalism and realism which thesebrought to the sphere of military thought, resulted in important revisions in military doctrine and military history.
The harbinger of the new era in military thought was an article by Marshal of Tank Troops Rotmistrov, which appeared in the February issue of Military Thought, revising the reigning Soviet doctrine onthe suprise factor in war. Ever since the early days of the war, when Stalinhis doctrine of the permanently operating factors which determine the outcome of war, the significance of the surprise factor had been deprecated in Soviet military theory. In wartime propaganda and subsequently, the early successes of of Germans wore ascribed to the "temporary" factor of surprise, which had no significance for the final outcome of the war, once the permanently operating factors (the stability of the rear, the morale of the army, the quantity and quality of divisions, the armament of the army, the organizational abilities of the commanding staff) came into play. In Rotmlstrov's article, for the first time, the relationship between the permanently operating fuctors and the temporary factors (of which surprise was the principal one) was clearly shifted to heighten the significance of tho latter. For the first time, the factor of suprise wasignificance which an age of nuclear weapons and transcontinentalmade prudent and necessary. The reasons for this shift of doctrine were explained some years laterilitary author writing in Red Star. "The appearance of nuclear weapons,"
he said, "and the possibility for their mass employment against troops and targets ln the rear, produced differont opinions on the signlflcanco of the surprise attackuture war, and on measures for opposing such an attack. This prompted soma military writers to engage ln anof the significance of tho factor of surprlso ln modern war." Marshal Rotmistrov, it seems, was the first to have the courage to voice the opinions which these considerations produced ln him. Subsequent developments showed that he was not alone in his views.
The Revisionary Movement of5
The revision of the history of the war which unfolded5irect result of the military-strategic revalu-tlons which we have been examining. It reflected the Soviet leaders' apprehension that the Soviet people, and the Soviet military establishment, wre being poorly prepared for tho kind of war which they now foresawossibility by the unrealistic portrayal of the last year. This propaganda, they felt, encouraged tho dangerous illusion that war was easy, and conditioned military officers to feel that rotreats, and slow attritional methods, woro normal means of conducting war. ord, the official history of the war compounded tho errors which Soviet military doctrine had committed. As Military Thought put it at this time, and as lt would bo ro-lterated in other writings during the year, tbo official history had led "not only to distorting the actual military evontsut to the idealization of this form ofand incorrectly orients our military cadres to theof repeating ituture war."
The first full statemont of tho new version of the war which these considerations produced appearedead editorial of Military Thought, In March, The main thesis presented was tbat fresh and original thought was needed to keep the Soviet military establishment responsive to the demands of contemporary military realities. It condemned the slavish attltudo toward Stalin, which, It said, obtained amongwriters. It asked scornfully why Stalin's thesis on the permanently operating factors should have beenew contribution to military science. "Why was this permitted?"
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it asked. "For no other reason than that our military--scientific workers, academicians, military editors, our military press, are afraid to call things by their right names, and say anything new." The editors of Military Thought themselves, the editorial admitted, shared this guilt. They had held back the publication of Rotmlstrov's article on surprise because of their fear of posing new questions.
The main content of the new version of the war which this article defined, and later articles elaborated, was that the early period of the warefeat for the Soviet army, rathorrelude to victory. Criticism focussed on the doctrine of "active defense," on the old official claim that the operations of the first period of tbe war had been conceived ahead of time, and skillfully applied to bring about the defeat of the enemy. In fact, there never waslan, lt was now admitted. "What the case was in fact we all well remember. Our experiences*in that period, so desperate for our country, are sufficiently frosh In our memories," Tho doctrine of activo defense, it was stated, concealed the mistakes which had been committed during that period, and the defeats that had boon suffered. It also denied due credit to the soldiers and people for their patriotism, courage, and staunchness, and to the command-personnel for their.skill. "It Is necessary to put an end to this mistaken concept of the initial period of the war as quickly as possible, since In fact the operations of that period, in the main, bad the character of withdrawal
Tho impetus to revision which this article set in motion carried somewhat boyond the program it defined. Two months later, the second period of the war was bolng subjected toreview as well. Colonel General F. Kurochkin, writing In the May issue of Military Thought, found glossing andin tho way tbe "ten Stalinist crushing blows" had been presented in official historical literature. ew of these operations, he said, were carried out according to plan. Some took longer than expected, othors developed into operations larger than had been foreseen. Kurochkin presented the Stalingrad battle in an unusual way, also, in that he gave no indication that German strategy had aimod at the envelopment of Moscow,
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The role of Stalin In the var vas naturally affected by this revislonary movement, although the depreciation of his services did not proceed as Tar as certain statements in the original Military Thought odltorial had soomed to implyi He continued to be accorded honor as tbe head of the country and the leader of the Armed Forces, although the adulatory phrases which had surrounded his name In past propaganda were toned down or removed. Kurochkinrecise formula showing how the new history allocated the credits for victory among the major political elements of Soviot society:
Tho Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the leading and directing force in the heroicof the Soviet people against the German fascist aggressors, and raised outstanding commanders, who, headed by J. V. Stalin, demonstrated strategic and operationalhe fundamental creator of the victory over fascistas the Soviot
Finally,the rolo of the Allies in the war was broachod indirectly in the now history. This reflected, however, no concern for fairness or honesty, but tbe practicalof knowing tho strengths and wcaknossosossible future enemy. The original Military Thought editorialthe Ideological inhibitions which had conditioned So-vied military writers to look upon non-Marxist literature as benoath thoir attention. "It is necessary decisivelyiew. This is nothing but pride andehind tho editorial's concern in this matter, it was clear, wero the samo pratlcal considerations which had prompted its attack on the official interpretation of tho war. "It should be sufficiently clear to everyone that it is Impossible to develop national military science without knowing well tho military-theoretical views of the adversary."
While thoso developments wore taking place in tbe closed circle of militaryomewhat blurrod image of the new history was being presented to the Soviet people. Th public presentation of the revised history was complicated by the recont political upheaval. The stimulus towithin the upper roaches of the Soviet hierarchy which had accompanied the change of government, and the temporary slackoning of political control which had followed lt, posed an Invitation to politically-inclined military leaders to
maneuver for position in the ne* regime. The historicalof the war provided one platform on which this maneuvering could take placo, since allegiance to one orpolitical loader could be indicated by the way In which tho war was treated. The fact that the Khrushchev faction, for tactical reasons in its struggle with Malenkov, had as-sociated its program with Stalinist symbols left an oponlng for those who wished to declare tholr loyalty to Khrushchev to do so by resisting any revision of tho war which had anti-Stalinist Implications. This was presumably the reason why someleaders, particularly Marshal Konev, in his speech at tbe Bolshoi theater on tbe Tenth Anniversary of victory, made little or no concession the the new interpretation of tho war. On the whole, however, tho majority of articles which appeared at this time showod some impress of the revisionary movement.
A clearer indication of the import of the new movementgiven to the two groups which, apart from the military, were most affected by the history of the war, the writers and the historians. At the end ofooting of writers was held to explain the contemporary rolo of tho military, and the responsibilities of literature Inthat role and in cultivating the soldierly and civic virtues which supported it. An essential element of this explanation was the presentation of the revised view of the war which these practical considerations had produced among tho military theorists themselves. The meeting was sponsored by the Union of Writers, but it was obviously initiated by tho Main Political Administration of the Ministry of Defense. The keynote was sounded by the doputy chief of the MainAdministration, Lieutenant General Shatilov, in anwhich appeared in Litorary Gazette on the eve of the meeting.
Shatilov placed great emphasis throughout on tho danger of attack by the West, and tho greatly increased peril which this posed for the Soviet Union In view of the new conditions of warfare created by nuclear weapons and improved del ivory systems. This, he said, gave new significance to tho question of surprise in war, andore careful consideration
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ot the role which surprise had played in tho past. Inhe said, it was necessary to show how tho factor ofhad dominated the first period of the last war,alse portrayal of this period might encourage false notions about tho natureuture war.
Id connection with this, it is necessary to point out that In our literature devoted to the Groat Patriotic War, the first period of military operations is ofton idealized, portrayederiod ofconceived in classic formsnd authors, contradicting real facts, attempt to depict tbe matter as though this "active defense" had been planned ahead of time and hadinto tho calculations of ourrimitive interpretation of tho Initial period of the war, which distorts living reality, wherever it takes placein scientific works or In artistic workscannot be tolerated, since it distorts historical truth, and incorrectly orients ourcreating the impression that such precedents might, and even should, be repeated in the future.
The published reports of the main speakers, and the roports of tho sessions, presented reiterations of this thoino, andint or two of reactions stimulated in tho writer's community by the new atmosphere. In the main the sessions bore anstamp (an impression enhanced by the absence of thewartime writers, such as Slmonov, Grossman,nd the meeting was chiefly significantounding-board for the new official line.
The historians received their briefing on the nowof the war in the lead editorial of Questions of History in June. This was the first formal public directivehorough review of tho history of the war, and in somo respects it went beyond tho program of revision outlined in the military press. Besides repeating the by now standard callevision of the first period of the war, lt alsoore balanced appraisal of tho Moscow and Stalingrad battles (since describing them as turning-points of the war tended to diminish the significance of the Kursknduller account of the role of the Allies. The latter point was qualified, howevor, by the linked
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argument that this would help dispel the "reactionaryof history" promoted by the imperialist press.it spelled out the reasons for this call for revision.
Study and popularization of the history of the Great Patriotic War will help strengthen the Soviet people's military preparedness to crush any imperialist aggressor, and will help further to train the Sovlot people ln unshakable faith in tho victory of their Just cause, and in ardent Soviet patriotism and proletarian internationalism.
This article was tho principal manifesto of the revlslon-ary movement During the remainder of the year there were few signs that the revision was being pursued vigorously, although another article by Rotmistrov, ln November, showed that the theoretical considerations affecting the factor of surprise, which had provoked the historical revision ln tbe first place, continued to prevail in military circles. Tho Essays on the History of tho Great Patriotic War, the first lull-length history of the war by professional historians to be published In the Soviet Union, which came out later in the year, showed very little effects of5 revisionary movement. This, together with the general disappearance of the issuo from the Soviet press, suggests that cautionary political influences, as well as irresolution within tholeadership as to Stalin's role ln history, had resulted in slowing down the tinkering with the history of the war. This was, however,emporary pause, as events of the following year were to show. As tho Twentieth Party Congress approached, new tendenciesreak with the past appeared whichin giving fresh Impetuseconsideration of the history of the war.
The Revisionary Movement of6
The revisionary movement6 followed the channels that had been cut by the military historians'".. but it was sponsored and sustained by new forces, and it served goals that were broader than the military-strategic considerations that had dofined the oarlier Initiative. Moreover, itomentum that carried it beyond the limits envisioned by tbe official revisionnd indeed boyond the designs of the official sponsors
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The central thrust of the new movement was the general break with Stalin which was dramatized by the Twentieth Party Congress. As wo haveradual withdrawal from Stalinist traditions and Stalinist methods of leadership had beon taking placend although cautious downgradings of Stalin's historical role had accompanied this process, no clear and definitive disavowal of Stalin had been attempted.
Strong tendencies toward the revaluation of the Stalinist historical legacy appeared even before the Twentieth Partyopened, androgrammatic character at theof the readers of Questions of History, which was held at the end of January,! Accurately anticipating the mood of the Congress which was to convene two weeks later,evislonary programroad range of established Soviet historical attitudes. Stalin's name appears not to have been mentioned in the leading speeches; Lenin was ropoatedly extolled as tho source of Soviettraditions; Implicit criticism of Stalin's textbook on the history of the party (the "Shortas advanced; the cult of personality in history was condemned. Even sacre-sanct Soviet historical attitudestoward tbe bourgeoisie, and toward the intra-party struggles of the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary periodswere affected by the revislonary impulse. The reports of the conference made clearore of liberalizing historians, led by E. N. Burdzhalov, the deputy editor of Questions of History, was preparing toargo part oi the historical scaffolding which had been erected around Stalin's Image.
Tho history of the war was one part of the historical legacy that was brought up for review, although it wasajor preoccupation of the conference. Burdzhalov touched the subject briefly in his broad ranging critique of past historical attitudes, and complalnod that "the difficulties of the first period" had not been revealed in standing works on the war. More relevant to tho main thrust of his argument, and also carrying implications for tho history of the war, was his callresh approach to tho study of the West. "The USA has progressive traditions, as well ase noted. Others indicated tholr favorable attitudeew history of the war by praising the revislonary editorial which had appeared in Questions of History Still others complained of the situation that had prevailed in the
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past: the closing down of tho military historical section of the History Institute, the inaccessabllity of archive documents, the "schematlzation, vulgarization, departure from historical truth, the Idealization of past military figures,hich had characterized military history.
The Twentieth Party Congress encouraged this movement not only by giving it official auspices, but by supplying thecriticism of Stalin which served as tho solvent of traditional historical attitudes. Khrushchev's secret speech, which portrayed Stalin as ignorant of military matters, and as criminally responsible for the initial unproparedness of the Soviet Union and for subsequent defeats, was quickly made known to party members, and, indirectly, to the politically literate elements of the Soviet population. ew weeks after the adjournment of the Congress and continuing for several months thereafter, the Soviet press gave numerous signs of tbe shock impact which these revelations had had throughout the Soviet Union. Reports of lower party meetings, which began to appear onarch,ash of editorials, which blossomed on the themes of "party unity" and "Leninistere liberally sprinkled with angry charges against "rottenho were allegedly using tho rovolatlons as pretexts for attacks against the party.
Ono charge deserves special mention here because of its relevance to the historiography of the war. This was the charge that party members had used the denigration of Stalinehicle for the disparagement of authority in general, and in particular in its Soviot form of ono-man command.from early April until as late as August, the party press fulminated against those who denied "allho sought to undermine "partyhopetty-bourgeois denial of the role of loaders in state, party, and economic work," who denlod the "principle of one-manwho attempted "to minimize tho rolo of authority."
A dramatic incident affecting the history of the war took place at this time. This was the open dispute between two major military organs regarding the way ln which tbe new data affecting Stalin's role in history, and tho general revisionary spirit bolng sponsored by the party, should be applied to the interpretation of tho war. In April, Military Horald published an editorial whichar-reaching' revision of the history of the war, bolder than anything that had been seen ln
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public before, its main point was that the early defeats of the Soviet army were due not to the surprise of the German attack, but to the negligence of the Soviet government In failing to take the precautionary measures which elementary prudence, and ample intelligence warnings, Indicated were necessary. Included in this indictment was the charge, first made by Khrushchev in his secret speech, that the prewarplanning of the Soviet Union had not been properly geared to dofense needs. Secondary points of the articleroad gamut of criticism tending to deprecate, .or even to debunk, tho past official historiography of the war. Among these points was an unprecedented criticism of tho concept of the counteroffenslve, as it bad been applied to theof the Stalingrad battle. From the accounts of this battle sponsorod by official propaganda, Military Heraldobserved, the conclusion seemed justified that "It was fitting and oven proper that Soviet troops should haveto Stalingrad, since this caused the enemy tohis flanks." Finally, in an egregious understatement, which nust have touched exposed political nerves, tho editorial noted that thero had beenack of proper attention to souestion as the casualties and lossos of material In various battles and
Shortly thereafter, on the anniversary of Victory Day, Red Star, the official organ of the Ministry of Defense, camo outharp rebuttal of these charges,irectof Military Herald. It was "surprised andt said, by tho incorrect and harmful opinions contained in the Military Herald editorial. It described as "straugo and un-convmcing" the assertions of Military Herald that the do-feats of the early period of the war were caused by tho un-preparedness of the Soviet armed forces. Moreover, it said, the question of the Industrial preparedness of the country, as presented In Military Herald, was "grossly" distorted. The reasons for Red Star's reaction were not hard to find. In the first placo, It reflected the wounded vanity of the military chiefs, who had shared somo responsibility for tho state of the nation's defenses on the eve ofwar and who were now for the first time beginning to fool the bite of tho critical spirit thoy had helped to loose. Secondly, itoncern, quite natural to the conservative militaryin the stormy atmosphere of the post-Twontioth Party Congress period, that the denigration of Stalin was bolng carried to the point where tbe moral basis of authority in tho armed forcos was being shaken. Red Star made thisexplicitly clear.
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While this drama was being played. Questions of History was Imparting its own vigorous thrust to the revisionary -In its April Issue, itirective article callingroad review of virtually the whole historical legacy of the Stalin era, including the history of the war. in May, itore detailed attack on the pasthistory of the war, in the formritique, byE. A. Boltln, of the Essays on the History of the Great Patriotic War. This article supported and elaborated the main tenets of the Military Herald editorial, and alsoan entirely new element into the revisionarycallore appreciative evaluation of theof the Allies in the war. The scopo of revision proposed in this matter was conveyed by specific criticisms which the author made of the Essays. The Essays had failed to show: the relationship between the Great Patriotic War and tbe Second World War; the "liberatlonal, antifascistof the Second World War even before the USSR entered it; the contribution mado by the anti-Hitler coalition to the USSB; the "positive results" of the North African operations; all the "military and political importance" of the Alliedof Europe; the actions of "our partners ln the anti-Hitler coalition" ln tbe Pacific War. The author could well say, ln line with tbe spirit expressed in these criticisms, that there was "the greatest historic Importance in the fact that the Soviet socialist state. . .gained allies among tbe majority of these /capitalist7 states ln the war against world fascism."
In the meantime, the issue raised by Red Star, which had remained unresolved for two months, was finally settled. In July, after tho publication of the central committeeon overcoming the cult of personality, which indicated that the party intondod to push on with the anti-Stalintho party's theoretical organ, Kommunlst. Intervened to rebuke Red Star for Its sally agalnsOlilltary Herald. Kommunlst wont down the line in supporting tho main theses of the Military Herald editorial. Including tho delicateof tho prewar industrial preparedness of the country. Tbe shortages of equipment which developed ln tho earlyof the war were the result, it admitted, oferious omission in the planned development of military industry in the prewar years." It also endorsed, incidentally, lnless enthusiastic language, the moro generous appraisal of the role of the Allies in the war given by Questions of History.
This was the highpolnt of6 revisionary movo-atent. In the following months it rapidly lost momentum. The nucleus of conservative opposition ln the historical community, which had puttubborn resistance to the revisionary movement from the beginning, began to gain the upper hand in the fall. While the Issues in this running battle concerned mainly Internal party history, tbe gradual ascendancy of the conservative point of view on these Issues bad tho effect of placing the whole revisionist movement on tho defonsive. More Important for the fortunes of themovement were the changes ln the politicalwhich took place in the latter half Thepolitical repercussions of the anti-Stalin campaign throughout the world undoubtedlyepressingon the anti-Stalinist ardor of the Soviet After the Hungarian revolt, the anti-Stalin campaign, with its attendant revisionary Impulses, was sharply curbed. Thereafter, little more was heard about the revision of the history of the war in tho Soviet Union, until the subject was reopened, under more controlled conditions, toward tho end
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IV. THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE POST-STALIN REVISIONS
The needeadjustment of the energizing Impulses of the Twentieth Party Congress to the more permanent goals and requirements of the Soviet system of power was evident to the Soviet leadership In the field of military thought, the regime did not wish to renounce the progress made in the revislonary movements5ut It could not tolerate tbe political brushflres which had accompanied, and had in part been fed by, this process.
The Shifting Propaganda Line
oviet writing on World War II showed clear signs of the uncertainty and tendency toward retrenchment which affected Soviet policy generally after the events of the fall The Armed Forces Day articles In February, for example, appeared to be cut from different patterns, andumber of partial retreats from the advanced re-visionary positions
marshal Mallnovskiy, in the major article of. the day, while acknowledging the massive defeats of the Soviet Army during the early days, took pains to exonerate the Soviet military command from responsibility for these failures. Turning the Military Herald statement6 (that the war "could have come as no surprise" to the Soviet leadership)efense of the military leadership rather than anhe wrote: "It must be said directly that this (the German attack) wasurprise to the Supreme SovietCommand; many measures aimed at heightening the military preparedness and fighting capacity of the Soviet Armed Forces, at reorganizing them, were in the stage of being carried out and conducted at the time when fascist Germanyarshal Meretskov departed even further from the spiritloughing over the early defeats, and focussingon traditional insplritlonal themes. He evenartial rehabilitation of Stalin. "This historic victory was achieved under the leadership of the Communist Party and its Central Committee, led by J. V. Stalin." Marshal Moskalenko, writing in Red Star, barely mentioned the Second World War, and said noTHTng of tho early defeats.
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In general, there waslittle press attention to the history of the warerhaps less than during any comparable period since tho end of the war. Ceremonialvhlch in the past bad usually drawn attention to this subject were passed by7 with few reminiscences of this kind. Even the Victory Day observances were muted, andOrder of the Day on that occasion, and the accompanying editorials, drew attention to tho future rather than to tho past. The little that was written, moreover, was stronglyin tono. The Victory Day issue of Red Star was fairly typical of the Soviet pross during the year In this respect. The only article on tho war which It presentedritlquo of Western "falsiflcations" of history, and the only allusion to the failures of the first period it contained was thestatoment that "the socialist regime permitted ourovercome successfully the shortcomings infor repelling the attack of the
While the passage of time had undoubtedly reduced theImportance of the war for Soviet propaganda, theof press commentary on this subject is difficult toexcept as the result of leadership uncertainty as to the proper line to pursue. The whole matter of the Interpretation of the war was, as we havo seen, closely connected with the question of Stalin's role in history, and the sober second thoughts which bad arisen on this subject could not but affect the willingness of the leadership to continue with thoinitiatives In addition to the disturbing Impact which the denigration of Stalin had had within theUnion, It had given ammunition to those in the satellites who questioned tho necessity and competence of tho Soviet Union's leadership of the world Communist movemont. To tho Soviet leaders, in this circumstance, it mush have seemedenough to preserve tholr own reputations unsullieddrawing attentionramatic example of Soviet loador-shlp incompetenco in the past. By the endowover, the outlinesirmer position on the history of the warto appear. Beginning at this time, the volume of press material on the history of the war began to increase, and it showed consistent and well-defined tendencies.
The most prominent feature of the new material was the blend of candor and caution it displayed in dealing with tho initial period of the war. Acknowledgements of the failures of the first period wero again made, but they were closely linked with arguments calculated to draw attention to the achievements
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of the party and people in overcoming them. The quickof focus from defeats to victories in thesealmost formularized. Marshal Grechko, writing inon Victoryxpressed it in the followingparticularly bitter experience fell to the lot of thepeople ln the initial period of the war, when theForces were forced to conduct difficult defensive However these failures did not break theof the Soviet Army and Navy, did not shake theof our people and their unlimited faith in theour just cause." Marshal Malinovsky spoke more fullyfirst period In his Armed Forces Day speech, of thebut he also emphasized the positive aspect of thequick recovery from these failures. "The attack offascists on the Soviet Dnion was effected at aour Armed Forces were still ln the process ofand technical Courageously battling with
the overwhelming forces of the adversary ln the extremelycircumstances which arose in the initial period of war duehole number of causes and mistakes, they suffered heavy losses in personnel and fighting equipment, and were forced reluctantly to retreat into the interior of the country. In the face of the mortal danger hanging over our country, the Communist party aroused the whole Soviet peopleust war against the fascist aggressors."
While technically faithful to the contents ofistoriography, these references, it will be seen, were defensive in tone, and more concerned with making clear the Soviet Union's wartime achievements than with criticizing past historical exaggerations of lt. This same purpose was manifest in the many articles which appearedlleged bourgeois falsifications of history. The main complaint In all of these articles was that the exaggeration of secondary battles and theaters in which Allied forces had participated resulted in the minimization of the Soviet Union's role in the war. This complaint was often linkedore aggressive disparagement of the Allied contribution to the An article of this kind, in Vestnik Vozdushnogo Flota, No.or example, disputed the value of the Allied sup-ply of aircraft to the USSR during the war. It emphasized the poor quality of "Hurricanes" andlaimed that "Alr-ocobras" were the roost accident-prone of all wartime fighters, and implied that planes coming to Russia were intentionally damaged in transit.
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This flood of criticisms of "bourgeois falsifications of history.'also illustrated another aspect of the Soviet attitude toward the history of the war. Host, If not all, of these criticisms were directed at works which had been translated and published ln the Soviet Union, and the criticisms thus were tacitly directed at the liberal publication policy which had permitted those books to appear. aval captain, writing in Izvestla onor example, deplored the Indulgent aud careless attitude of ourhouses to such specimens of falsification of history." Of the two publishing houses principally engaged in this activity, the Uilitary Publishing House and the Publishing House ofLiterature, the latter came in for the sharpest barbs in this respect. It must be stressed, however, that no direct criticism of the policy of publishing translations of foreign literature was expressed, but only of the failure of editors and publishing houses to supply adequate critical forewords and footnotes.
The above examples bring out clearly enough the mainof the new Soviet line. It was characterized chieflyonservative concern to bolster the party's historicaland to preserve intact the traditional image of Soviet wartime achievements. At the same time, it sought to retain the gains in historical objectivity achieved5n other words, Itechnically accurate account of the military history of the war,ramework of political Interpretations which removed the unfavorable reflections on the party itself.
Publishing Activity on the War
There is similar evidence of the development of Sovietin book publishing activity, which7 began toa bulk and character which gave it independent significance as an expression of official policy.
Important changes in publishing activity relating to the war were set in motion by56 revisionary One factor ln these changes may haveore liberal military classification policy which permitted material towhich formerly would have been limited to restricted In any event, detailed studies of wartime militaryof the kind which once might have borne the legend
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"For Generals, Admirals, and officers of the Soviot Armed Forcesegan to come out in significant numbersost of these books were published by the Ministry of Defense, and some of then wore sponsored by the Frunze and They Included analyses of small unit actions in different types of operations, studies of specific tactical problems,and unit and campaign histories.
The professional purposes underlying the publication of this literature were expressed In the forewardypicalbrought out Major General V. D. Vasllevskly, the editorook entitled Battle Operations of an Infantry Regiment, explained the aims or tbe publication in the following way:
It Is impermissible to underrate the rich experience gained In the waging of battles, much loss to forget it. Despite the factew weapon has appeared at the present time which, along with other factors, hasreat Influence on our views regarding tho conduct of battle operations In contemporarythe experience of tho Great Patriotic War has not lost Its significance. The Great Patriotic War provided much that is Instructive which sould be learned and reflected In organization and training, and in the conduct of,contemporary battles.
The content of the book was also typical of the bulk of this literature. Itollection of studies ofInfantry actions, providing exact data on the numbers of men and weapons involved. Each study was concludodrief critique identifying tho shortcomings and fa'llures displayed in the conduct of the action. Tho critiques wero usually specific and technical, but included occasional observations whichbad more general significance. These studios provided no information on the numbers of Soviet casualties suffered, which suggested that this sensitive subject was still under strict political censorship.
Another category of literature which began to appear in increasing quantitiesesult of tho revislonary movements56 was the translations of foreign works on the war. The authors chosen for translation included Gormanwho had fought against the Soviet Union, Western military experts who doalt In an interpretive way with the Second World
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Warhole, and Western specialists who dealt withaspects of the war remote fron Soviet experience. Important documentary collections, such as the wartime correspondence of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, and the records-of the Nurem-burg trials, also came out at this time.
As we have noted above, some criticism of this liberal publication policy began to be expressed8 In connection with the general conservative tendency of Soviet politicalat that time. However, these criticisms, which were directed at the manner in which this material was presented, were accompanied by explicit approvals of the general policy of translating and publishing foreign works on the war.
General histories of the war did not immediately emerge in any quantities from the revisionary movements5lthough some initial steps in this direction were taken. Both the Frunze and Voroshilov military academies' brought out individual collections of materials at this time which were designedasis foristory. These publications, which were restricted in circulation (and bore approximately the sameCollection of Materials on the History of Soviet Military Art in the Great Patriotic War; proscnted selections of previously published articles from such sources as Military Thought, add the Large Soviet Encyclopedia, con-venientiy arranged to provide the best available information on various phases and topics of the war. ore ambitious work,ollective of authors headed by P. A. Zhllin, was brought out by the Ministry of Defense under the title The Most Important Operations of the Great Patriotic War. This book, which was given to the printer innd signed for the press ineflected and documented the candid appraisal of the first period of the war which became orthodox Thereafter, the cautionary influences, which we have noted above in other connections, apparentlyto hold up any similar historical documentation of the broader revisionary movement
The key event inurther development of the historiography of the warecision of the Central Committee in the fall7 authorizing the Marxism-Leninism Institute toive-volume history of the war. p. N. Pospelov, amember of the party presidium, with general responsibilities in ideological and propaganda matters, was named as the supervisor of the project. ew sector of the history of the Great Patriotic War was set up ln the Marxism-Leninism Instituteroup of authors headed by Major General E. A. Boltin. Periodic reports on
UAL USC ONIX.
the progress of the work indicates that the scope of the history has been expanded toixth volume,mainly devotedritique of Western historiography of the war. The work Is scheduled to be completed during the.
The Central Committee decree ofn addition toextbook had the effect of focussing theand efforts of the whole military-historical community on the subject of the history of the war, and oface to exploit the newly opened market. The first results of the competition have been registered. Two of the new books, G. A. Deborin's, The_Second World War, and. B, S. Tel'puk-hovskiy's Tho Groat Patriotic War of the Soviet Union,, deal largely with the political aspects of the war, and register the generally conservative trends which have become evident ln this area hird book, S. P. Platonov's The Second World War, deals more directly with the military aspects of the war, and reflects the relative objectivity which continues to prevail in this aspect of the historiography of the war.
The Most Recent Historiography
Platonov's The Second World War, publishedarge book, coveringou pages of text, andeparate volume of unusually well-printed maps,to the rolevant sections of the narrative. It covers not only the events on the eastern front, but includes sections on the battle of the Atlantic, the North African operations, the Normandy invasion, etc. Parts of tbe narrative dealing with the Sovlet-Oerman war are based on documents and materials of the History Administration of the General Staff, which, for the first time ln Soviet published literature, are specifically identified in the bibliography of this volume. The author's foreword tolls us that the book is intondod for gonerals,and officers of the Soviet armed forces.
Platonov's account of tho Initial period of the war adheres closely to the general line which emerged from the revlsonary movements5 It includes the admission thatIndustry on the eve of the war was Improperly geared to defense needs, that tbe Soviet army was unprepared for theattack, hnd that the retreats of the first period were forced upon the Soviet army by Its unpreparedness and inadequacy.
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Tho doltcate question of tho industrial preparedness of the country on the eve of the war Is treated approximately as it was It Is claimed that the status of industry,hole, was good, but that the production of militarywas obstructed by planning mistakes. According to Platnov: "The transition of Industryroad production of nowequipment and armaments was carried ont with great delay, and the tempo of Its reconstruction was slow and inconsistent with the growing danger of an armed attack by Hitlerite Germany on the USSR."
The military unpreparodnoss of the country is described with equal candor. It is stated that the Soviet border units were undermanned, that they wore largely composed of new and that they wero not deployed in assigned defensive lines. They were also psychologically unprepared for war, lt is said, due to the failure of the government to warn the staffs of the border districtsanger of war existed. Finally, it is admitted that the armament of the Soviet troops, though superior to the Germans in quantity, was far inferior in quality. The wealth of detail which Platonov provides on this questionicture of stupidity and complacency on the Soviet side which is more damning than anything previously published In the Soviet Union and perhaps even outside tho USSR.
Platonov spares little in his account of the early defeats. He gives exact figures on tbe extent and tempo of the Germanwhich bring outraphic way the scale of the initial catastrophe. He also portrays the ineffectiveness of the Soviet military resistance. e says, "neither in the border area, nor on the line of tho western Dvina, nor at the Pskov and Ostrovskiy fortified regions, could the troops of theFront hold back the adversary."
The freshness of Platonov's account is revealed particularly by his treatment of issues on which no public leadershipexists. The battle of Smolenskase in point. Soviet historians had always sought to portray tho long German delay at Smolensk as the result of stubborn Soviet resistance when, in fact, it steamed alsoerman decision to shift the directions of its advance to other sectors of the front. Platonov mentions Soviet resistance as actor In stopping the Germans, but he makes it clear that the pause on the central front in July and August was the resultoluntary German decision, and ho cites tho Gorman military orders bearing upon this decision.
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Tho relative objectivity of Platonov's account,by these examples, affected not only his description of the external course of events, but also his analysis of the factors which Influenced these developments. Past Soviet accounts, for example, had always laid great stress on the alleged numerical superiority of the Germans during the early part of the wareason for Soviet failures. Platonovong way toward correcting this distortion. While he disputes German claimsramatic shift in the manpower ratio during the first (Tlppelskirch claimed that the Russianswenty-fold superiority at Moscow) he does admitlight shift to the advantage of the Soviet side had taken place, at the jumplng-off points of the Moscow counteroffensive, by the end of November. He also assigns due weight to the variety offactors which told in the final German failure to take Moscow. Unlike previous accounts which had reserved all credit in this event for Soviet staunchness and military skill, he speaks freely of German mistakes and difficulties. He points out, for example, that the quality of the German army hadbadly by the time of the Moscow battle, with its infantry divisions reduced to half strength and its tank forces badly depleted. Moreover, tartling admission for aauthor, he states correctly that the Germans "did not have winter uniforms, and that the equipmentart of theand artillery weapons were not adapted for use in winter conditions." )
This history is, of course, farruly objectiveby Western standards. In general, it is leastwhere the narrative of military events becomes entangled with the political line on the West. This is illustrated by Platonov's treatment of the forewarning of the Soviet government of the German invasion plans. He speaks of the "miscalculations of J. V. Stalin in the evaluation of thend that the "catastrophe" of the first days "could have been avoided if the troops of the border districts bad been forewarned in goodut this is the closest he comes to acknowledging that the Soviet government bad been given advance information by Churchill of the German intention to attack. Distortionsfrom political attitudes become nore glaring as Platonov moves away from the strictly military aspects of the narrative.
The basic tendency of Stalinist historiography, as we have seen, was to deprecate the wartime roles of the professional military and the people, and to magnify the roles of Stalin and the party at their expense. After Stalin's death, the other
elements ol Soviet wartime society moved forward into the historical limelight, with tho party taking the center of the stage. This arrangement of roles is basically retained in the present account, but Platonov's concentration on'the specifically military aspects of the war has the effect of focussing attention on the role of the military in Soviet wartime achievements.
In this sphere he introduces details and refinements which constitute an innovation in the Soviot history of tho war. The question of the basic command responsibility for the major military decisions of tho war, for example, has alwaysubject of imprecision in Soviet writing on the war. During Stalin's life, the "Supreme Commander" was Identified as the author of all military decisions. After his death, the more impersonal "Supremer "General Headquarters" were often designated as the agencies ofinitiative. With rare exceptions (including notably, General Eremonko's article in Military Thought, No. 3,ilitary decisions were always presented as Ilowing from tho top down, with front and army commanders playing no role in the formulation of these decisions. This obviouslypicture of tho complex processes of militarybegan to be corrected in various accounts which came out from5 on, and is completely discarded in Plat-onov's history. In place of it, heairly detailed discussion of how military plans wore in fact formulated.
Regarding the plans for the Moscow counteroffenslve, for example, he ascribes the initiative to Zhukov (without namingnd the final product to the cooperative efforts oftop echelon commanders and staffs. "In accordanco with the situation which hado writes, "tbo militaryofWestern Frontlanounteroffenslve of the front to General Hcadquartors on" Platonov then notes the additions toplan introduced ovor tho next few days, and concluded: "Ihus, the plan for theunder Moscow wasresult of the great creative activity of tho front commands, the General Staff, and the Headquarters of the Supreme Command." His account of the Stalingrad planning Is approximately tbe same.
eneral appraisal of the lessons of the war at the end, Platonov discusses the wartime command processesoreway:
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General Headquarters effected Its leadership through Its representatives, staffs of directions, the General Staff, the commanders and staffs of specialized forces and troops, the centralof the Commissariat of Defense, the
commanders of fronts and The strategic
leadership was not the samo during the whole course of the war. In the beginning of the war, the commands of directionsrominent place ln the leadership of the armed struggle.epresentatives of Headquarters of the Supreme Command played an Important role ln the leadership of the armed struggle ln areas ofoperations and strategic directions. In the concluding campaigns of the Soviet troops in Europe the Headquarters of the Supreme Command Itself all the fronts, without sending Itsto the place.
Platonov's history has Its political padding whichamong other things, dutiful praise of the party'sleadership and of its mobilization of popular energies. Like all post-Stalin accounts, too, it reflects the mosaic of political forces in the current leadership. Khrushchev, for example, is mentioned much more frequently than any otherand Zhukov is named only where historical doconcy requires But this padding is Clearly distinguishable from tho core of the narrative, while depicts Soviet wartime society as amachine in action, under the leadership appropriate to such an organization.
The differentiation of approach to the military andaspects of the war, which we have noted above, ismost clearly by Platonov's treatment of the role of the Allies. In general the account is colored by deepbut where military details are concerned, or, morewhere military lessons are to be drawn from the history of Allied operations, Platonov does not hesitate to face the facts.
The story of alleged Allied duplicity before and during the war is recounted by Platonov much as lt has always been told ln tho Soviet Onion. The Allies are depicted as having sought to buy their own security before tho war by encouraging Germany to attack the Soviet Onion. "The finale of this treachery,"
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writes Platonov, "was tho shameful Munich deal (sgovor) of the English and French governments with Hitler, which gaveto fascist Germany. It is completely obvious that thisecompense to Hitler for his undertaking to begin war against the Soviet Onion." In similar vein, Allied policy during the war is interpreted as having been directed at tbe exhaustion of the USSR and Germany and the extraction ofprofits from the war.
The question of allied supplies to Russia during tho war is mentioned very sparingly by Platonov. The figures cited by him are somewhat lower than those announced by the American government, and Platonov does not explain the basis of his
The expenditures of the USA onillion dollars,f the total military expenditures of the USA. Of this sua, the countries of the British Empire received goods from tbe USA3 billion dollars (of which England5 billionnd the USSR received tho value8 billion dollars.
Thus, tho Soviet Union which carried the major burden of the war on its shoulders, and played tho decisive role in the victory of tbe anti-Hitlerite coalition, received half as much undor Lend-Lease as England.
This unfairness affects also many aspects of Platonov'sof Allied military operations. He Interprets Alliedin Italy, for example, as aimed at the seizure of eastern Europe, and heery grudging appraisal of the Normandy invasion. Where Allied and Soviet operations overlapped, as in the protection of the Murmansk sea routo, he grossly exaggerates the Soviet role.
On tho other hand, where he finds it useful to do so,presents data and observations which tend to contradict these political interpretations. For example,ectionthe military potentials of tbe fascist and democratic states before the war, Platonov cites many facts testifying to the strenuous preparations of the democratic states for war In thes, facts which tend to belie the Soviet claim that these states were bankingctonte with Hitleroviet-Gorman war. In another place, whero he disparages theof Allied operations in Europe, he adds:Original document.