- a piece of Nazi war propaganda
Antony Beevor’s book “Stalingrad” has been highly praised in Swedish media.
Antony Beevor, a former officer in the British army, has now been presented as a
writer of war history. This astonished me and awakened my curiosity. According
to right wing critics, the book is “a brilliant and very well written book”
(the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet) and “Stalingrad
beats most of what has been written on the Second World War” (the Swedish
newspaper Vestmanlands Läns Tidning). Remarkable,
I thought! They cried when the Nazis had been defeated and destroyed at Stalingrad! And now they admire Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad!? Perhaps they had sobered up after all these years?
After all it was a fight against Nazism. Perhaps they wanted to do a little
justice to the Soviet victory after all these years? With these thoughts in my
mind I began to read Beevor’s “Stalingrad”.
I had initially thought
of making a short review. But it was not that easy. It soon became obvious that
Beevor’s Stalingrad is a book of propaganda against the Soviet
Union, with page after page full of lies, a total falsification of
history. To refute all these lies one would have to write several books. A
review dealing with only some of the coarsest lies, would fill many columns of
a newspaper. And although the present review has been reduced to a minimum, it
is still twice as long as I had envisaged..
On the very first page
of the introduction, I begin to ask myself if there isn’t something wrong.
Beevor ruthlessly assails the Soviet army, not the Nazis who invaded the Soviet Union and carried out a war of extermination and
genocide, killing more than 25 million people in four years! On the very first
page of the book, Beevor points out that the Soviet army executed deserters.
But nothing about the Germans executing deserters! Why does Beevor criticize
only the Soviet army? It is well known that the German military police executed
several thousand German deserters, without a trial. It’s equally well known
that when the 6th German army was encircled at Stalingrad,
the German military police executed several thousand German soldiers who tried
to steal something to eat from packages of food thrown down from German
These packages of food were primarily intended for the officers and the
Millions of Soviet people executed by the
Why doesn't Beevor speak
about that? But first of all, why doesn’t Beevor speak about the millions of
Soviet people who were executed by the Nazi army? And about all the Communists
and Jews, about whole families, in the conquered villages and cities who were
separated from other people and then executed by the German army? Why doesn’t
Beevor speak about the millions of people who were driven out of their houses
with only the clothes they were wearing, freezing to death at minus 20 degrees?
Why doesn’t he write about the millions of Soviet citizens who were made
prisoners by the German army and sent to Germany to be sold as slaves? Why
doesn’t Beevor write about the hundreds of thousands of Soviet girls sold as
sex slaves in Germany?
Why doesn’t Beevor write about the slave markets all over Nazi Germany where
these persons were sold? This is the real face of the German army and the
German invasion. But Beevor does not have anything to say about all this. He
wants to hide the Nazi crimes.
Moreover, Beevor writes
that there were "50 000 Soviet citizens in German uniform".
All through the book, he mentions these
"hiwis", as he calls them. He tries to make us believe that the
Soviet population welcomed the Nazis. Beevor writes that in Stalingrad
there were 50 000 Russians in the front divisions and 70 000 in the other
The Russians would thus have constituted almost half of the German army at Stalingrad! A completely idiotic and untruthful
statement, which does not find any support in any book of war history,
including German books. Beevor wants to make people believe that a massive
Soviet desertion had taken place to the Nazi lines. That is not true. It is
true that, during the war, there had been Soviet citizens on the Nazi side,
even at Stalingrad. But Beevor does not say
from where these "Russians in German uniform" came. There were people
who, for various reasons, volunteered on the Nazi side during the war. But
those were few.
Obliged to work for the Nazis as slaves
citizens in German uniform" were people who were forced to work for the Germans
as slaves. They had been made prisoners in the conquered villages and cities
and forced to carry equipment for the Germans and to carry out all the heavy
and dirty work. They were badly maltreated and suffered from starvation. Many
of them died, and were replaced by new slaves. Together with Jews and other
people from extermination camps in Poland, some of these prisoners
were used to clear the minefields, facing a certain death. These mine clearing
teams were completed every day with more Jews and "Soviet citizens in
German uniform". Some of the
Soviet women prisoners had to work in the kitchen and clean the lodgings of the
German soldiers in the daytime. In the night, they were used as sex slaves.
When the 6th German army was encircled at Stalingrad
and the Germans fled inside the encircled area, these Soviet women were forced
to go with them on the overcrowded trucks. Thousands of wounded German soldiers
were left to die of hunger or cold.
citizens in German uniform" were mainly prisoners and enslaved Soviet
citizens. Beevor’s insinuations about massive soviet desertions is only a way
of luring the reader into his tale. It might be added that a part of the
"Soviet citizens in German uniform" had actually been taken to Russia from France by the Germans! During the
1930’s, the The French general Weygand – the general who surrendered to the
Germans – had set up a legion of right wing Russians as a part of the French
Army. They were supposed to take part in
"the war of the West" that France
and Britain were preparing
against the Soviet Union. These troops were
taken over by the Nazis after the French capitulation. In the German army there
were also troops of Ukranian Nazis. Beevor calls them "Ukrainian
wants to give a positive image of these Nazi supporting troops. These Ukrainian
Nazis were among the worst murderers in the war. They persecuted all opponents
in the occupied Ukraine
and they were the worst murderers in the German death camps where Jewish and
antifascist Ukranians disappeared, just
like millions of Soviet prisoners of war.
Nazi falsification of history
This book reproduces the
version given by the Nazi officers at Stalingrad.
Only rarely does he let “Russians” have their say. Soviet officers are mentioned
only when he can’t avoid it. Beevor isn’t interested in what the strategists
behind the Soviet victory at Stalingrad might
have to say. For example General Zjukov or the generals Rokossovskij or Tjujkov
or any of the other Soviet generals who destroyed the Nazi armies at Stalingrad. To Beevor, an officer and a gentleman in the
British army, the nobility of the German officers is more important. The fact
that this vermin started a war in which
50 million people perished does not upset Beevor. However, it is the Soviet
soldiers that we in the Western world should thank for our freedom. Soldiers
from the Soviet Union, a country which in ten
years won the struggle against illiteracy and underdevelopment, built factories
and steel-works, produced the most sophisticated machines, the most advanced
weapons, crushed Nazi Germany and saved the world from Nazism.
Even with regard to war
crimes and genocide, Beevor’s history is the history of the Nazi generals.
According to Beevor, Hitler was the only culprit and the German army command
was against him. But this is not true. The origins of the German army command
are the "free brigades" which quelled the workers’ revolt in Germany
after the First World War and contributed to putting Hitler into power in January 1933. It was with the support of the
Army Command that Hitler was elected Reich President and Reich Chancellor by
the German Parliament in 1934 and became Supreme Commander of the German Army
with the title of Führer. The officers and the soldiers had to swear a personal
oath of allegiance to Hitler. The Nazi dictatorship was accomplished with the
support of the Army Command. Beevor affirms that “A number of commanders
refused to acknowledge or pass on”
the instructions on the Nazi murders, the “special orders” in the Soviet Union
concerning “the collective measures of force against villages in areas of
partisan activity and the ‘Commissar Order’”
and were against “race war”
and “starvation” as a
means of crushing the people of the Soviet Union. Beevor does not have any
evidence to support these assertions. If any such officers existed in the
German army, they were few. More than 25 million people killed in four years in
the Soviet Union, shows that it was a matter
of massive extermination of people in which the entire German army and its
allies must have taken part.
Lies about the Soviet
The first third of
Beevor’s book deals with the war before Stalingrad and, like the rest of the
book, it is a dirty and slandering attack on the Soviet
Union and its leaders. It is the story of the first months of the war which was sent out to the world in
1941 by the Nazi propaganda, and which was later adopted by post-war capitalist
propagandists. It is the story of a Soviet army on the verge of total collapse,
and of Stalin who made the army incapable of waging the war and who prohibited
his generals from retaliating against the enemy. Beevor does not mince his
words. Even the Soviet embassy in Berlin
gets its share. According to the Nazis, and now also according to Beevor, the
Soviet ambassador was known as a “hangman” who measured “barely five feet tall,
with a small beak nose and a few stands of black hair plastered across a bald
pate”. Is that history? In the embassy, the ambassador “had a torture and execution
chamber constructed in the basement to deal with suspected traitors”.
This history was a part
of the Nazi war propaganda. It is now bourgeois history. The attacks against
Stalin are in a class of their own, through the whole book. “Stalin’s convolute
“Stalin, the totalitarian dictator”,
Stalin’s “succession of obsessive miscalculations”,
“Stalin, whose bullying nature contained a strong streak of cowardice”,
Stalin’s “inimitable mixture of paranoia, sadistic megalomania and a
vindictiveness for old slights”,
“Stalin even disowned his own son”,
Stalin’s “lack of concern for the starving population was as callous as that of
It is not difficult to understand why Beevor is loved by capitalist newspapers
and reactionary people.
Beevor writes that
Stalin, Beria and Molotov thought of giving up “the Ukraine,
Byelorussia and the Baltic States” to the Nazis in the hope of peace. But the
Bulgarian ambassador declared that “Even if you retreat to the Urals’, you’ll
still win in the end”.
According to Beevor, the question was then settled and the Soviet
Union decided to go to fight against Nazi Germany! You must be
very stupid to believe that a normal individual would swallow this kind of
story. That the leaders of a big and powerful country would let such an
important decision concerning the future of their country depend on a few words
uttered by the ambassador of a militarily insignificant country and moreover, a
vassal state of Hitler!
Firmly decided to defend Soviet territory
Contrary to Beevor’s
assertions, the Soviet leadership was firmly decided to defend each inch of
Soviet territory. The large steel-works which had been built in the 1930s
beyond the mountains of the Ural, at a safe distance from any invasion from the
west, are evidence enough. There it would be possible to keep up the production
of weapons and other military equipment even during a long war. All Soviet
large-scale industries were moved there when the invasion was a fact. The first
chapter of the book ends with Molotov’s radio message to the Soviet people.
This too leaves Beevor dissatisfied. According to him, “Molotov’s choice of
words was uninspired and his delivery awkward”. However, Beevor is obliged to
admit that this “announcement created a powerful reaction throughout the Soviet Union”. “Reservists did not wait for mobilization
orders. They reported at once”.
How strange! Were there no massive desertions to the Germans? Or a “warm
welcome from civilians”?
Beevor also borrows material from
the CIA. The old story according to which “Altogether, 36,671 officers were
executed, imprisoned or dismissed”
from the Soviet army in 1937, pops up again. This story was spread by the
British police agent, later CIA agent, Robert Conquest (see Lies on the History
of the Soviet Union - From Hitler and Hearst
to Conquest and Solzhenitsyn. Mário
Sousa/KPML(r), Sweden/1998). According to Beevor,
Soviet casualties at the beginning of the war were due to scarcity of officers.
Beevor speaks against his better judgement. The officers dismissed in 1937-39
were about 22 000 (out of 75 000). Their dismissal was decided at general
meetings in the army units. They did not have the soldiers’ confidence.
However, the number of Soviet officers in 1941 was already more than 300.000!
The Soviet Union had made tremendous
preparations for the defence against Nazi Germany. The number of expelled
officers could only have had a slight effect on the course of the war during
the first months. The reason for the withdrawal of Soviet forces during the first months of the
war is to be found in the dimension of the armies. Beevor writes that the Nazi
invasion forces were “Some 3,050,000 German troops, with other pro-Axis armies
bringing the total to four million men”.
But the invasion army against the Soviet Union
was indeed of more than 5 million men, the greatest invasion army in the
history of mankind. The Soviet Union had 2.9
million men at its western borders. The Soviet Union
had not been able to build a larger army than that during the 10 years of
preparation. Moreover, the Nazis had been able to concentrate their attacks on
certain places where their numerical superiority was more than five to one. In
these places, the Nazis had engaged large armoured units which were very
difficult to stop. That is what mainly explains the German victories during the
first months of the war. But these victories were hard-earned. It was no bed on
roses, like the Beevor describes it, with sunburnt German boys going on a holiday
trip through the Soviet Union enjoying the
“warm welcome from civilians”.
Beevors stories vs Franz Halder
It is interesting to
compare Beevor’s lies with information from the Chief of the German General
Staff, General Frank Halder. Halder was Hitler’s Chief of Staff from August
1938 to September 24, 1942. Halder led all Nazi wars, on all fronts, during all
these years. He wrote a personal and secret diary during this period. This
diary contains his own notes on the war, written in Gabelsberg shorthand, an
old shorthand language that few people could read. The Halder War Diary was not
intended to be made public, but it was published after the war under the title
"The Halder War Diary, 1939-1942". A very interesting book,
containing many truths that Halder and the Nazi potentates did not want to
reveal. Beevor speaks of hysterics, general panic and “The chaos on the Soviet
But already on the first day of the invasion, June 22, 1941, Halder writes in
the evening that “there are no indications of an attempted operational
disengagement. Such a possibility can moreover be discounted”.
The Soviet soldiers did not intend to flee, they fought back.
A few two days later,
June 24, Halder writes: “The stubborn resistance of individual Russian units is
remarkable”, “it is now clear that the Russians are not thinking of withdrawal,
but are throwing in everything they have to stem the German invasion”.
One week after the beginning of the invasion, June 29, Halder writes: “reports
from all fronts confirm previous indications that the Russians are fighting to
the last man”.
General Halder, like all the command and Hitler, thought that the German
invasion was going to force the Soviet soldiers to run away and that they would
destroy the Soviet army. That is what had happened with France which
was a great military power. But the war against the Soviet
Union became more and more bitter. The Nazis inflicted heavy
losses on the Soviet army and forced it to retreat. But the Nazi forces also
suffered heavy losses. According to Halder, after 10 days, on June 3, the
Germans had “Total losses about 54,000”
and a “large number of medical casualties (almost 54,000)”.
July 4, Halder foot-notes high losses on the attacking tanks, losses going up
to 50% in certain armoured units.
The real war was completely different from the one in Beevor’s book.
Beevor’s "legendary" generals
coming from the best "military families"
One of Beevor’s theses
in his book, is that there was a contradiction concerning the strategy between
Hitler and the German generals. To Beevor, the command of the German army, with
all its "legendary"
generals coming from the best "military families"
of Germany, was very capable, and would have won the war if the
"irresponsible" and "ignoramus" Hitler had not imposed his
ideas on the conduct of the war. But there is nothing to support this thesis in
the Halder War Diary. The Command of the German army, precisely like Hitler,
had a completely false idea of the Soviet Union.
Just like Hitler, the German Command had estimated that the Soviet
Union was easy to defeat and that the war would be finished in a
few weeks. Analyzing the situation on the 11th day of the invasion, July 3,
Halder writes in his War Diary that "It is thus probably no overstatement
to say that the Russian Campaign has been won in the space of two weeks".
The German Command expected the defeat of the Soviet Union
to would be completed on July 3, 1941!
On July 4, Halder
writes: "As our armies advance, any attempt at further resistance probably
will soon collapse and we shall be confronted with the question of reducing Leningrad and Moscow".
Hitler and the Generals shared the same foolish idea of the course of the war,
and the same illusions about victory.
More than that. They also agreed on the war crimes, not only on the
extermination of the Soviet population, but also on the total destruction of
the Soviet cities. July 8, 1941, Halder describes a meeting with Hitler during
which the war situation was analyzed and important decisions were taken. Hitler
was firmly resolved “to level Moscow and Leningrad, and make them
uninhabitable, so as to relieve us of the necessity of having to feed the
population through the winter. The cities will be razed by air forces. Tanks
must not be used for the purpose. A national catastrophe which will deprive not
only Bolshevism, but also Muscovite nationalism, of their centers”.
Nobody within the army command opposed Hitler’s plan. It would have been
realized if the Soviet Union had not defeated
the Nazis. In the same entry Halder writes about the winter quarters: "Our
troops must not be quartered in villages and towns, because we want to be able
to bomb them at any time in the event of uprisings".
Here we can see the true face of the Nazi generals. Beevor’s
"legendary" generals from the best "military families" were
as much war criminals as Hitler.
At the same meeting with
Hitler, July 8, the attack against Smolensk
was decided. This city located on the main road to Moscow
would have to be taken together with Yelnya and Roslavl before the attack
The Chief of the German General Staff Franz Halder writes in his diary:
"After destroying the Russian armies in a battle at Smolensk,
we shall block the railroads across the Volga,
occupy the country as far as that river, and, after that, proceed to destroy
the remaining Russian industry centers by armoured expeditions and air
must remember that the Nazi troops were then 100 km from Smolensk and
from this city it is another 500
km to Moscow and as many km to the Volga. Everything was
going to be so easy! But it didn’t turn out that way. The battle of Smolensk was, according to Beevor, a game for the Nazis
and a “disaster” for the Soviet Union “in
which several Soviet armies were trapped” and where “many more Soviet divisions
were then sacrificed”.
So then the road to Moscow
should be open! But why did not the offensive against Moscow continue? Beevor “explains” why.
Hitler ordered to halt at the end of July. His “instinct to avoid the road to Moscow was partly a
superstitious avoidance of Napoleon’s footsteps”.
So Hitler became "superstitious" and ordered the army to halt! Should
this be called history?
Smolensk is defended
Contrary to what Beevor
affirms, the battle of Smolensk
was very costly for the Nazis. The defenders of Smolensk fought stubbornly, with no thought
of surrendering, and the Soviet army made strong counter-attacks. It was a
fight for each suburb, each house and each street. The Nazis were compelled to
halt for new supplies of men and equipment. General Halder writes in his War
Diary, 11 July, that the Soviet armoured troops at the battle of Smolensk: “In every
instance, large bodies, if not all, manage to escape encirclement”.
As early as July 13, Halder and the Command of the Army suggested to Hitler
that “We shall temporally halt the dash toward Moscow”.
It was simply impossible to advance. On July 15 Halder reports that “The
Russian troops now, as ever, are fighting with a savage determination”.
During the following week, the Soviet army succeeds in penetrating the German
lines in several places. On July 26 Halder writes: “Overall Picture: Enemy
defence is becoming more aggressive; more tanks, more planes. In addition to
ten new divisions previously listed, fifteen more new divisions have been
the same day, a great part of encircled Soviet troops managed to break out, and
with the main Soviet forces, they set up a new line of defence in front of Moscow. The Nazi troops
going for Moscow
were considerably exhausted and weakened. The Nazi losses become too heavy and
the Nazi army did not succeed in supplying new men and equipment.
On July 30 Hitler
decided to grant the request made by the General Command on July 13, and
ordered to stand on the defensive. Halder commented this decision in his War
Diary in these terms: “Higher command of the army has signed new
"directive ", which adopts our proposals! This decision frees every
thinking soldier of the horrible vision obsessing us these last few days, since
the Fuehrer’s obstinacy made the final bogging down of the eastern campaign
appear imminent. At long last we get a break!”.
The General Command had finally got its pause. Hitler had not decided to stop
the offensive because he was "superstitious" and in contradiction
with the General Command. He had decided to stop the offensive because the
General Command had required it and the situation within the army demanded it.
Beevor’s lie concerning the superstitious Hitler is obvious.
At Smolensk the Nazis had to halt for the first
time during the Second World War, so that was the end of the Nazi
“blitzkrieg". On August 11, Halder writes: “The whole situation makes it
increasingly plain that we have underestimated the Russian colossus”.
After six weeks of war he writes: “Total casualties for period 22 June – 13
August 1941: 389.924”.
On August 28 he writes: “Tank situation: Armd. Gp. 1: Average 50 percent, Armd.
Gp. 2: Average 45 percent, Armd. Gp. 3: Average 45 percent, Armd. Gp. 4: Best
(Czech material!), on an average between 50 and 75 percent”.
The Nazis needed time to get new troops and materiel to the front. Only in
October could the Nazis resume their offensive towards Moscow with new weapons and new divisions.
Beevor explains Hitler’s new offensive saying that Hitler “changed his mind
According to Beevor Hitler was no longer "superstitious"... For the
Soviet Union, the battle of Smolensk
was a strategic success. The defence of Moscow
could be secured.
Tula stopped the Nazis
Beevor twists the truth
and denies historical facts on every page of the book. Let’s take one small
detail concerning the town of Tula.
The road from the south to Moscow passes through
writes: “on the southern flank, Guderian’s panzers swung up past Tula to threaten the
Soviet capital from below”.
This gives us the impression that Tula
had already been conquered. But the truth is that Guderian’s tanks never took Tula. The defenders of
this city fought without a thought of giving up. After very hard
fighting, the Nazi general Guderian, Chief of the 2nd motorized German army,
was forced to give up the conquest of Tula.
In his memoirs, Guderian writes that “The rapid advance on Tula which we had planned had therefore to be
abandoned for the moment”. “Numerous Russian T34’s went into action and
inflicted heavy losses on the German tanks”.
Guderian’s armoured army remained blocked close to Tula
about 200 km
One month later, the Soviet counter-offensive pushed back Guderian’s tanks
another 130 km.
Because of this failure, Guderian lost his command of the 2nd motorized German
Beevor’s description of
the battles coincide with that of the Nazi generals. According to Beevor “It
was, however, the weather which rapidly became the Wehrmacht’s worst
hindrance”. But, Beevor’s good Germans “struggled on as best they could”
although “the tank engines were frozen solid”
(what about Soviet tanks then?) and “bad visibility hampered the ‘flying
artillery’ of the Luftwaffe”.
On the Soviet side, according to Beevor, it was not at all a question of heroic
actions for the defence of the country, but of a “suicidal resistance”
and of “food riots, looting and drunkenness”.
The parade on November 7 in
according to Beevor, only a trick to mislead journalists. One cannot be
mistaken about Beevor’s sympathies. Malicious pleasure when the Soviet army is
forced to retreat, and admiration for the Nazi offensive. But unfortunately for
Beevor, the offensive meets with more and more problems. Towards the end of
November, the Nazis are completely exhausted. The General Command seems to have
no idea about the situation of the war.
November 23, Halder writes in his War Diary: “The military Situation: East: Russia’s
military authority no longer a threat”.
However, 13 days later, on December 6, the Soviet army undertakes the
counter-offensive which will push the Nazis back to 250 km from Moscow. After the Nazis had been defeated
Beevor must find an excuse. It was among other things “Hitler’s almost
superstitious refusal to order winter clothes”.
Again this superstitious Hitler! But despite the fact that the Nazis were
forced to retreat 250 km, Beevor writes that
“Stalin’s general offensive deteriorated into a series of flailing brawls”.
The reader probably wonders if the battle of Moscow really ended with Soviet victory. As a
matter of fact it did! The Soviets won the battle, and the Nazis never got
close to Moscow
The Nazis could never
reconquer the territories around Moscow.
Let us take another example of Beevor’s many lies, the one concerning the
motorized division Grossdeutschland. Beevor wants to make us believe that
before the final offensive against Stalingrad, Hitler hade sent
Grossdeutschland (and the SS Division Leibstandarte Adolph Hitler) to France. Beevor
writes that “the Grossdeutschland and the SS Leibstandarte panzer grenadier
divisions were to be sent back to France”.
Beevor adds that the Chief of the German General Staff, General Frank Halder,
had commented on this question in his War Diary on 23 July 1942: "This chronic tendency to underrate
enemy capabilities is gradually assuming grotesque proportions and develops
into a positive danger".
Is this true? When one reads the Halder War Diary, one notices that the entry
in question is not about Grossdeutschland or the SS Division Adolph Hitler, but
about Hitler’s disposition of troops around Rostov! On the same page in the War Diary,
Halder writes on July 24: “East of Rostov,
new success of Grossdeutschland”.
There was no question of sending Grossdeutschland to France. In the Halder War Diary,
one can follow the traces of Grossdeutschland from July 5, 1942. In July, the
Grossdeutschland was south of Stalingrad. On
August 14, it was sent to help the division of the Army
Group Center, close to Rzjev, about 200 km west of Moscow where, according
to Halder “our own losses, notably in tanks, are highly unpleasant”.
Grossdeutschland was lucky. If it had not been sent to Rzjev, it would have been
destroyed at Stalingrad, which was the fate of
the Nazi 4th armoured army to which Grossdeutschland belonged.
Lies concerning Katyn
Another of Beevor’s
casual lies relates to the Katyn forest massacre, near Smolensk. In his smear campaign against the Soviet Union, Beevor must of course devote a chapter to
the NKVD, charging this organization with the most horrendous crimes. Beevor
writes that “Another department of the NKVD, set up by Beria in the autumn of
1939, dealt with enemy prisoners of war. Its first major task had been the
liquidation of over 4 000 Polish officers in the forest at Katyn”.
Such a serious assertion calls for an explanation, but Beevor is not capable of
that. He takes his information directly from Hitler! The existence of mass graves
of a large number of Polish officers was made public by Hitler’s and Goebbel’s
propaganda department on April 13, 1943. The Nazis accused the Soviet
government of having organized the massacre of 15 000 Polish officers. The
Katyn area was then under German occupation since 1941. During these two years
of occupation, the Nazis never mentioned any massacres near Katyn. And during
those two years, the Nazis had killed millions of people in concentration camps
and in the occupied countries, among them in the Soviet
Union. Why make public “the Soviet massacres” of 15 000 people in
It should be noticed
that the announcement of the massacre was made on April 13, only one month
after the great Nazi defeat at Stalingrad on
February 2. The Nazis needed a piece of propaganda. The British Minister for
Foreign Affairs Eden expressed in Parliament on May 4, 1943 that the Nazi
murderers of hundreds of thousands of Poles and Russians, use the history of
the massacres to destroy the unity of the allies. That pronouncement put an end
to the Nazi story of the Katyn forest massacre. But during the cold war against
the Soviet Union, new accusations appeared
about a Soviet massacre in the Katyn forest. This time it was not the Gestapo,
but the United States and Great Britain.
The accusations were renewed later by the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union through Gorbachev and Yeltsin. A commission
of enquiry was created to examine the question once more and to find who had
carried out the massacre of the Katyn forest. The Soviet-Polish commission of
inquiry and later the Russian-Polish commission, could not find any evidence
of Soviet involvement, although they
wanted badly to do so. The results of the commission show that the Polish
officers who died at Katyn had been assassinated with German weapons and that
the victims were about 4,000, not 15.000 as Hitler said.
The Swedish translation
does not agree with the original in English! In the Swedish edition (Historiska
Media 2000, page 99) it says that 15,000 Polish officers were executed at
Katyn. But in the original edition (Penguin Books 1999, p 86) it says that 4000
Polish officers were killed at Katyn. Is it Antony Beevor who wants it that
way, or is it the Swedish editor? Anyhow, this shows how serious their history
The Nazis are Beevor’s heroes.
Beevor’s lies are so
frequent that it is tiring to read the book. All that Beevor writes is taken
from the Nazi propaganda of war to smear the Soviet Union: “Most of the
(Soviet) conscripts hurled into battle had often received little more than a
dozen days’ training, some even less”,
“Three battalions of trainee officers, without weapons or rations, were sent
against 16th Panzer Division” by “the army commander, who was clearly drunk”.
Beevors’ book is sometimes like a joke about smart Germans who eliminate
Russian idiots and “clear the woods” as at “a rather large deer shoot”.
The “Luftwaffe pilots dispatched their enemy ‘mit Eleganz’”
and “the suntanned young fighter pilots” , “seems to have offered the magical
vision of an aerial Teutonic knight in shining armour”!
And naturally the “Soviet fighter pilots still suffered from an instinctive
fear of the enemy”.
In the chapters on Stalingrad, Beevor goes on
with his propaganda story. The “Russian attacks” were, according to him,
“appallingly wasteful and incompetent”
and “the real obstacles to the attackers, as they soon found, lay in the ruined
in the Soviet defenders. For the remainder, there are the typical expressions
like “the star (German) commander”,
and “the (Soviet) sinister-looking army commissar”,
as well as Soviet officers who flee and soldiers “faced the military tribunal”
and “were probably shot”.
How can one be “probably shot”?! There are many stories about good Germans
shooting at Russians coming in waves upon waves, so that “In front of our position the Soviet dead piled up and
served as a sort of sandbag wall for us”.
According to Beevor,
desertions and executions are commonplace in the Soviet army. The Soviet leadership
is always presented as brutal, pitiless, sanguinary, and Soviet officers
completely pitiless towards the soldiers. Then how could they wage this war
against the Nazis year after and even win it? Even the monument devoted to the
heroic Soviet soldiers who defended Stalingrad
on Mamaia Kurgan, the hill on which
many fights took place and where much blood was shed, is minimized by Beevor.
The mobilization of women to the factories is turned into a crime. Beevor wants
to wipe out any trace of the Soviet victory. Whenever there is a problem on the
Soviet side, Beevor does everything he can to make us believe that the Soviet
government and officers were incompetent leaders. When the German offensive is
stopped, Beevor writes only a few lines. There are always excuses to justify
the failures of the Germans. The Germans were defeated by “General Mud”
and “General Winter”.
With regard to the German war of extermination against the Soviet civilian
population, Beevor writes that “There were numerous Soviet claims of German
atrocities that are hard to assess”.
The many sentimental stories about the German defeat – e.g. Christmas
celebrations the German way - can
probably move the reviewer of the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet to tears.
Beevor’s attacks on the Red Army officers and Stalin is nothing but primitive
anti-communism. Without the least evidence, Beevor delivers one untruthful
story after the other.
The defeat of the Nazis at Stalingrad
There are some questions
of historical interest worth comment. As could be expected, Beevor blames
Hitler for the German defeat at Stalingrad.
The “legendary” German generals from “the best German military families” escape
from responsibility for the defeat. This is not fair. The plans for the
conquest of Stalingrad had been made in total
agreement between Hitler and all the generals of the Headquarters and the
General Command. The conquest of Stalingrad was in fact a necessity. The Nazis had sent
the army group A with a force of 500
000 men into the Caucasus to conquer the
Soviet oil sources. Left in the South, north of Rostow, was the army group B which included the 6th army and the
4th armoured army. It was necessary to defend the army group B as well as the
left wing of the army group A against attacks from the Soviet forces west of Stalingrad. The Nazis must have control over the Soviet
territory as far as to the river Volga in order to be able to transport oil
from the Caucasus. This is the reason why it
was necessary to conquer Stalingrad. But the
German attack against Stalingrad was based on
In the summer of 1942,
Hitler and the German Headquarters and General Staff, estimated that the Soviet Union was unable to continue the war on a large
scale. They thought the Soviet Union was
completely finished as a military power. They did not understand that the
Soviet socialist system could muster forces in a way which is impossible for a
capitalist country. They reckoned in a capitalist manner that a certain number
of inhabitants only can support a certain number of soldiers, considering the
cost of training and weapons. They did not understand that socialism liberates
man and makes it possible to create much greater forces than capitalism. Hitler
and the generals thought that Stalingrad was
going to be an easy battle. Later, in October 1942, the German high command
wrote that “The
Russians have been badly exhausted in recent combat actions. In the winter of
1942/43 they will not be able to raise forces as strong as they had last winter”.
But in reality, the Soviet war industry was at that time stronger than ever,
and to Hitler and his generals, the
Soviet counter-attack came like a bolt from the blue.
Socialism is the basis of the success of
the Soviet Union
From where did all the
new Soviet troops and all the new weapons come? Guns, tanks and planes? That is
what General Jodl, chief of the operations of the German headquarters, asked
himself after the war. “We
did not have the slightest idea of the Russian strength in that area.
Previously, there had been nothing there and suddenly a powerful blow was
struck, proving decisive”.
When the Nazi 6th and the 4th armies were encircled at Stalingrad,
the difficulties multiplied for the Nazis. Hitler and the headquarters ordered
General Paulus, Chief of Command at Stalingrad,
to resist at any cost, and wait for relief. There was not much else Paulus
could do. To try to fight his way through the encirclement would be a risky
enterprise. That would require a redeployment of the Nazi forces inside the
encirclement, which would take several weeks including a high cost in terms of
killed and wounded German soldiers and destroyed materiel. If the break-out did
not succeed, it would be a catastrophe. And even if it did succeed, there would
be many tens of thousands of casualties. And they would have to leave huge
quantities of materiel behind.
Nobody at the
Headquarters, neither Hitler nor the generals, was willing to take the
responsibility for that. So the order was: stay where you are, we will help you
out. But this order was not given only out of concern for the surrounded army.
There was something of great importance which required it. The German Army
group A was in the Caucasus!
If the the encircled 6th
German Army tried to break out, it would suffer huge losses in soldiers and
weapons, and thus weaken Army group B, perhaps making it incapable of stopping
the Soviet forces from confining Army group A in the Caucasus.
That would be a
catastrophe at least twice as big as if the 6th army were destroyed at Stalingrad.
The German Headquarters
and the General Staff realised what a huge miscalculation they had made. Their
top priority was to quickly withdraw Army group A from the Caucasus.
The German 6th army would have to do the best they could. For Army group A, it
became a withdrawal in panic, pursued by the Soviet forces in the Caucasus, with many German casualties and enormous losses
Enormous losses for the Nazis
An attempt to rescue the
6th army was later made with a new army, the German Army Don, which consisted
of forces quickly taken from France,
and the east front. This army was under the command of General Manstein, whose
“military qualities and intelligence” were, “undeniable”,
according to Beevor. With pomp and circumstance General Manstein took over the
command. An armoured army was sent from Kotelnikovo (about 100 km south-east of Stalingrad) to rescue the 6th army. Beevor wants to make
this German attack to “almost a victory”. But wars are always won by the part
which wins the last battle. Manstein’s armoured army managed to fight its way 50 km inside the Soviet
lines, but that was all. With enormous losses, the Germans fled back to the
point of departure, and even further. The German armoured army and the
remainder of the German front close to Stalingrad,
moved another 50 to 100 km
towards the west. The Caucasus was liberated and the German front was pushed
back 200 to 300 km
from Stalingrad. In terms of killed, wounded
and disappeared soldiers, Nazi Germany had until September 1942 lost more than
1.6 million soldiers.
“In the period from July to
November, in the battles along the Don and the Volga, and in Stalingrad
itself, the enemy had lost 700,000 men, more than a thousand tanks, over two
thousand guns and mortars, and nearly 1,400 aircraft”.
To all these losses were
added the 6th army and a great part of the 4th armoured army at Stalingrad: one marshal, 24 generals, 10 000 officers and
over 300 000 soldiers. The weaponry lost by the Nazis at Stalingrad
represented six months of German weaponry production. The defeat was
disastrous. Never before had a German army been so totally defeated and
destroyed. In Germany,
Hitler proclaimed three days of national mourning.
When we turn the last
page of Beevor’s "Stalingrad", two
questions arise. Why are deceitful books written? In whose interest? We live in
an era when neo-liberalism has spread over the world. The new liberal
capitalism wants to deprive the workers of everything: their living conditions,
their safety, and even their history. The capitalists want us to lose
confidence in ourselves so as to be able to rule without restrictions. There is
not much difference between liberalism and nazism in this respect. The author of
this text once wrote that neo-liberalism and nazism are cousins. But they might
even be identical twins. Antony Beevor is one of the new liberal writers who
have taken upon themselves to degrade the victory of the Soviet
Union in the Second World War. Penguin Books publishes Beevor’s
book as if it were a history book. Why? The book is almost to be considered as
a book of Nazi war propaganda.
Racism in Beevor’s stories
The editor does not even
react against racist elements in the book. As a colonialist and officer in the British Empire, Beevor tells us a tale about “the Zulu
king marching an impi (detachment) of
his warriors over a cliff to prove their discipline”,
in order to impress British officers of course... Beevor is not alone in trying
to degrade the victory of the Soviet Union.
There are many of his kind in the United States. They are paid by a
forest of private "foundations" to deny the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazism.
It is important to
expose their lies. Beevor’s book on Berlin
is even worse. What interest does Penguin Books have in publishing such
September 21, 2004
Antony Beevor – Stalingrad, Penguin Books 1999, page
Antnoy Beevor – Stalingrad, Historiska
Media, Sweden 2000, page 99