Some rivetting pictures from WW2

It is early days into Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia. The Germans ruthlessly executed partisans.

If Hitler had not been so ruthless against ordinary Russian people, the communist state would have collapsed. Most Russians hated Stalin and the communists. Stalin had purged the Russian army of its best officers and replaced them communists in 1937. The Russian army had not recovered from that in 1941.

It was when ordinary Russians understood that Hitler was attacking Russia as a whole and not merely the communist state, that they turned against Germany with a fury. Russians are a proud and very patriotic people. Attack on Mother Russia could not be tolerated.

Hitler's "commissar order" called for the instant shooting down of Communist party agents in the army. He sent Einsatzgruppen or extermination detachments to come behind the army and rout out and murder Jews. He resolved to deport or allow millions of Slavs to starve in order to empty the land for future German settlers.

If the Germans had done things differently, the Soviet Union would have collapsed. Most Russians hated Stalin and would have co-operated with the advancing Germans. Hitler's ruthless policy turned all Russians against the Germans.

German soldiers tend to their wounded comrade in Russia, November, 1941.

German soldiers watch as a Russian village burns. 1941.

Both Hitler and Stalin ordered the 'scorched earth policy'. Burning of all villages and towns by the retreating armies so that the advancing enemy forces' advance got slowed down.
German planes pound Stalingrad 1942. But it lost the battle.

"The disaster of Stalingrad profoundly shocked the German people and armed forces alike...Never before in Germany's history had so large a body of troops come to so dreadful an end."
General Siegfried von Westphal - 1943

The Soviet flag flies in Stalingrad as Paulus surrendered. February 1943


"The troops of the Don Front at 4pm on the 2nd February 1943 completed the rout and destruction of the encircled group of enemy forces in Stalingrad. Twenty two division have been destroyed or taken prisoner."
Lieutenant General Rokossovski - February 1943
A German troop carrier moves into the fight. Operation Citadel. 1943


Hitler understood that the trap was closing on Nazi Germany; loss in Africa and the Sicily landings by the Allies meant that something decisive was needed to be done against the main enemy - The Soviet Union.

Battle for Kursk was the result which the Germans lost. It marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany.

German soldiers examine their defences at the Atlantic Wall on the French coast.


In 1943 Rommel was the given the responsibility of bringing
the Atlantic Wall out of “Hitler’s cloud cuckoo land” and into reality. Hitler had “ordered that the western coast of Europe be turned into an impenetrable fortress [with] 15,000 permanent defensive positions [arranged with at least] 30 per mile”

Rommel did much but the reason the Wall was not ready and did not stop D-Day was not Rommel's fault alone; the real cause was lack of resources and the inefficiencies of the Nazi administrative system.
A defeated demoralised German army withdraws from Russia. 1944.


History would have been written very differently. Britain alone would not have been able to withstand the German onslaught. A victorious Germany in Russia would then have hit at Britain with many more Luftwaffe fighters and bombers. Churchill would have been kicked out of office and Britain would have surrendered. The fact that Germany got bogged down in Russia gave the Americans and British time to get together and crank up their war production.

A dead German soldier in France. 1944.

Russian guns booms on the outskirts of Berlin. The end for Hitler was near.

On 14 April, Hitler issued his order of the day. He believed that the recent death of the American President, Franklin Roosevelt on April 12th was a sign that all was not lost and that the war would turn in favor of Germany.

"Soldiers on the German Eastern Front:

The Jewish Bolshevik arch-enemy has gone over to the attack with his masses for the last time. He attempts to smash Germany and to eradicate our nation. You soldiers from the east today already know yourselves to a large extent what fate is threatening, above all, German women, girls, and children. While old men and children are being murdered, women and girls are humiliated to the status of barracks prostitutes. Others are marched off to Siberia.

We have anticipated this thrust, and since January of this year everything has been done to build up a strong front. Mighty artillery is meeting the enemy. Our infantry's casualties were replenished by countless new units. Reserve units, new formations and the Volksturm reinforce our front. This time the Bolsheviks will experience Asia's old fate. That is, he must and will bleed to death in front of the capital of the German Reich.

Whosoever does not do his duty at this moment is a traitor to our nation. The regiment or division that leaves its position acts so disgracefully that it will have to be ashamed before the women and children who are withstanding the bombing terror in our towns.

Above all, look out for the treacherous few officers and soldiers who, to secure their own miserable lives, will fight against us in Russian pay, perhaps even in German uniforms. Whosoever gives you a command to retreat is, unless you know him well, to be arrested immediately, and if necessary to be executed immediately, irrespective of his rank.

If in these coming days and weeks every soldier on the Eastern Front fulfills his duty, Asia's last onslaught will collapse just as in the end our enemies' penetration in the west will despite everything, come to naught. Berlin remains German, Vienna will again be German and Europe will never be Russian.

From one community, sworn to defend not a vain conception of a fatherland, but to defend your homeland, your women, your children and thus your future.

In this hour the entire German nation looks to you, my soldiers in the east, and only hopes that by your fanaticism, by your arms and by your leadership, the Bolshevik onslaught is drowned in a blood bath.

At the moment when fate has taken the greatest war criminal of all times from this earth, the war will take a decisive turn.

Adolph Hitler

American soldiers are startled as a fuel cart explodes in an occupied German town. 1945.

American and Soviet soldiers bond in Germany
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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito