Victory Day 8-9 May – 68th Anniversary of Victory in World War II


С Днем Победы-Victory Day 9 May

Victory Day on May 8 and May 9 Two separate capitulation events took place at the time

Tuesday 8 May 1945 was ‘Victory in Europe’ (VE) Day, and it marked the formal end of Hitler’s war.

With it came the end of six years of misery, suffering, courage and endurance across the world.

Two separate capitulation events took place at the time. First, the capitulation to the Allied nations in Reims was signed on 7 May 1945, effective 23:01 CET 8 May. This date is commonly referred to as the V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) in most western European countries. The other World War II victory day, the V-J day (Victory in Japan Day) is commemorated in August, and is of considerably lesser significance in Europe.

However, the Soviet Union’s only representative in Reims was General Ivan Susloparov, the Military Liaison Mission Commander. General Susloparov’s scope of authority was not entirely clear, and he had no means of immediate contact with the Kremlin, but nevertheless decided to sign for the Soviet side.
Susloparov was caught off guard; he had no instructions from Moscow. But if he did not sign, he risked a German surrender without Soviet participation. However, he noted that it could be replaced with a new version in the future. Joseph Stalin was later displeased by these events, believing that the German surrender should have been accepted only by the envoy of the USSR Supreme command and signed only in Berlin and insisted the Reims protocol be considered preliminary, with the main ceremony to be held in Berlin, where Marshal Zhukov was at the time, as the latter recounts in his memoirs:

“ [Quoting Stalin:] Today, in Reims, Germans signed the preliminary act on an unconditional surrender.The main contribution, however, was done by Soviet people and not by the Allies, therefore the capitulation must be signed in front of the Supreme Command of all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, and not only in front of the Supreme Command of Allied Forces. Moreover, I disagree that the surrender was not signed in Berlin, which was the center of Nazi aggression. We agreed with the Allies to consider the Reims protocol as preliminary. ” (

Therefore, another ceremony was organized in a surviving manor in the outskirts of Berlin late on 8 May, when it was already 9 May in Moscow due to the difference in time zones. Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel submitted the capitulation of the Wehrmacht to Marshal Georgy Zhukov in the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst. To commemorate the victory in the war, the ceremonial Moscow Victory Parade was held in the Soviet capital on 24 June 1945 (four years and two days after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union).

Victory Day Parade in Moscow every year May 9

Victory Day Parade in Moscow every year May 9

Victory Day 9 May marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War (also known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union). It was first inaugurated in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (after midnight, thus on 9 May, by Moscow Time). The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin.

Though the official inauguration happened in 1945 (which means it has been celebrated since 1946), the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965 and only in some of the countries.

In the former Soviet Union this festival was celebrated to commemorate the Red Army’s victory over the Nazi forces.

National WWII Memorial “Save Our History” Teachers Guide and Interactive TimelineHistory GuideThe History Channel� developed a teacher’s manual that accompanied its special on the National World War II Memorial. You can download the guide by clicking on the links below. The document is in two parts and can be viewed with Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. (Download Adobe Acrobat Reader here.)

Download:
Part 1 (334k)
Part 2 (205k)

The History Channel

Note: The American Battle Monuments Commission is no longer raising funds for the WWII Memorial. Please do not implement the fund raising suggestions provided in chapter IV of the Teacher’s Guide unless for a cause other than the National WWII Memorial.

Victory in World War II References:

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HOW A MUZHIK FED TWO OFFICIALS by M.Y. Saltykov


 

saltykov-schedrin

How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials (Повесть о том, как один мужик двух генералов прокормил, 1869)

How a Muzhik (Man) Fed Two Officials (Повесть о том, как один мужик двух генералов прокормил, 1869)

BY Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov-Shchedrin
(1826–1889) [N.Shchedrin]

Once upon a time there were two Officials. They were both empty-headed, and so they found themselves one day suddenly transported to an uninhabited isle, as if on a magic carpet.

They had passed their whole life in a Government Department, where records were kept; had been born there, bred there, grown old there, and consequently hadn’t the least understanding for anything outside of the Department; and the only words they knew were: “With assurances of the highest esteem, I am your humble servant.”

But the Department was abolished, and as the services of the two
Officials were no longer needed, they were given their freedom. So the
retired Officials migrated to Podyacheskaya Street in St. Petersburg.
Each had his own home, his own cook and his pension.

Waking up on the uninhabited isle, they found themselves lying under the same cover. At first, of course, they couldn’t understand what had happened to them, and they spoke as if nothing extraordinary had taken place.

“What a peculiar dream I had last night, your Excellency,” said the one Official. “It seemed to me as if I were on an uninhabited isle.”

Scarcely had he uttered the words, when he jumped to his feet. The other Official also jumped up.

“Good Lord, what does this mean! Where are we?” they cried out in astonishment.

They felt each other to make sure that they were no longer dreaming, and finally convinced themselves of the sad reality.

Before them stretched the ocean, and behind them was a little spot of earth, beyond which the ocean stretched again. They began to cry—the first time since their Department had been shut down.

They looked at each other, and each noticed that the other was clad in nothing but his night shirt with his order hanging about his neck.

“We really should be having our coffee now,” observed the one Official. Then he bethought himself again of the strange situation he was in and a second time fell to weeping.

“What are we going to do now?” he sobbed. “Even supposing we were to draw up a report, what good would that do?”

“You know what, your Excellency,” replied the other Official, “you go to the east and I will go to the west. Toward evening we will come back here again and, perhaps, we shall have found something.”

BEST RUSSIAN SHORT STORIES

“Everything is subordinated to two main requirements—humanitarian ideals and fidelity to life. This is the secret of the marvellous simplicity of Russian literary art.”—THOMAS SELTZER.

They started to ascertain which was the east and which was the west. They recalled that the head of their Department had once said to them, “If you want to know where the east is, then turn your face to the north, and the east will be on your right.” But when they tried to find out which was the north, they turned to the right and to the left and looked around on all sides. Having spent their whole life in the Department of Records, their efforts were all in vain.

“To my mind, your Excellency, the best thing to do would be for you to go to the right and me to go to the left,” said one Official, who had served not only in the Department of Records, but had also been teacher of handwriting in the School for Reserves, and so was a little bit cleverer.

So said, so done. The one Official went to the right. He came upon trees, bearing all sorts of fruits. Gladly would he have plucked an apple, but they all hung so high that he would have been obliged to climb up. He tried to climb up in vain. All he succeeded in doing was tearing his night shirt. Then he struck upon a brook. It was swarming with fish.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had all this fish in Podyacheskaya Street!” he thought, and his mouth watered. Then he entered woods and found partridges, grouse and hares.

“Good Lord, what an abundance of food!” he cried. His hunger was going up tremendously.

But he had to return to the appointed spot with empty hands. He found the other Official waiting for him.

“Well, Your Excellency, how went it? Did you find anything?”

“Nothing but an old number of the Moscow Gazette, not another thing.”

The Officials lay down to sleep again, but their empty stomachs gave them no rest They were partly robbed of their sleep by the thought of who was now enjoying their pension, and partly by the recollection of the fruit, fishes, partridges, grouse and hares that they had seen during the day.

“The human pabulum in its original form flies, swims and grows on trees. Who would have thought it your Excellency?” said the one Official.

“To be sure,” rejoined the other Official. “I, too, must admit that I had imagined that our breakfast rolls, came into the world just as they appear on the table.”

“From which it is to be deduced that if we want to eat a pheasant, we must catch it first, kill it, pull its feathers and roast it. But how’s that to be done?”

“Yes, how’s that to be done?” repeated the other Official.

They turned silent and tried again to fall asleep, but their hunger scared sleep away. Before their eyes swarmed flocks of pheasants and ducks, herds of porklings, and they were all so juicy, done so tenderly and garnished so deliciously with olives, capers and pickles.

“I believe I could devour my own boots now,” said the one Official.

“Gloves, are not bad either, especially if they have been born quite mellow,” said the other Official.

The two Officials stared at each other fixedly. In their glances gleamed an evil-boding fire, their teeth chattered and a dull groaning issued from their breasts. Slowly they crept upon each other and suddenly they burst into a fearful frenzy. There was a yelling and groaning, the rags flew about, and the Official who had been teacher of handwriting bit off his colleague’s order and swallowed it. However, the sight of blood brought them both back to their senses.

“God help us!” they cried at the same time. “We certainly don’t mean to eat each other up. How could we have come to such a pass as this? What evil genius is making sport of us?”

“We must, by all means, entertain each other to pass the time away, otherwise there will be murder and death,” said the, one Official.

“You begin,” said the other.

“Can you explain why it is that the sun first rises and then sets? Why isn’t it the reverse?”

“Aren’t you a funny, man, your Excellency? You get up first, then you go to your office and work there, and at night you lie down to sleep.”

“But why can’t one assume the opposite, that is, that one goes to, bed, sees all sorts of dream figures, and then gets up?”

“Well, yes, certainly. But when I was still an Official, I always thought this way: ‘Now it is; dawn, then it will be day, then will come supper, and finally will come the time to go to bed.'”

The word “supper” recalled that incident in the day’s doings, and the thought of it made both Officials melancholy, so that the conversation came to a halt.

“A doctor once told me that human beings can sustain themselves for a long time on their own juices,” the one Official began again.

“What does that mean?”

“It is quite simple. You see, one’s own juices generate other juices, and these in their turn still other juices, and so it goes on until finally all the juices are consumed.”

“And then what happens?”

“Then food has to be taken into the system again.”

“The devil!”

No matter what topic the Officials chose, the conversation invariably reverted to the subject of eating; which only increased their appetite more and more. So they decided to give up talking altogether, and, recollecting the Moscow Gazette that the one of them had found, they picked it up and began to read eagerly.
BANQUET GIVEN BY THE MAYOR

“The table was set for one hundred persons. The magnificence of it exceeded all expectations. The remotest provinces were represented at this feast of the gods by the costliest gifts. The golden sturgeon from Sheksna and the silver pheasant from the Caucasian woods held a rendezvous with strawberries so seldom to be had in our latitude in winter…”

“The devil! For God’s sake, stop reading, your Excellency. Couldn’t you find something else to read about?” cried the other Official in sheer desperation. He snatched the paper from his colleague’s hands, and started to read something else.

“Our correspondent in Tula informs us that yesterday a sturgeon was found in the Upa (an event which even the oldest inhabitants cannot recall, and all the more remarkable since they recognised the former police captain in this sturgeon). This was made the occasion for giving a banquet in the club. The prime cause of the banquet was served in a large wooden platter garnished with vinegar pickles. A bunch of parsley stuck out of its mouth. Doctor P—— who acted as toast-master saw to it that everybody present got a piece of the sturgeon. The sauces to go with it were unusually varied and delicate—”

“Permit me, your Excellency, it seems to me you are not so careful either in the selection of reading matter,” interrupted the first Official, who secured the Gazette again and started to read:

“One of the oldest inhabitants of Viatka has discovered a new and highly original recipe for fish soup; A live codfish (lota vulgaris) is taken and beaten with a rod until its liver swells up with anger…”

The Officials’ heads drooped. Whatever their eyes fell upon had something to do with eating. Even their own thoughts were fatal. No matter how much they tried to keep their minds off beefsteak and the like, it was all in vain; their fancy returned invariably, with irresistible force, back to that for which they were so painfully yearning.

Suddenly an inspiration came to the Official who had once taught handwriting.

“I have it!” he cried delightedly. “What do you say to this, your
Excellency? What do you say to our finding a muzhik?”

“A muzhik, your Excellency? What sort of a muzhik?”

“Why a plain ordinary muzhik. A muzhik like all other muzhiks. He would get the breakfast rolls for us right away, and he could also catch partridges and fish for us.”

“Hm, a muzhik. But where are we to fetch one from, if there is no muzhik here?”

“Why shouldn’t there be a muzhik here? There are muzhiks everywhere. All one has to do is hunt for them. There certainly must be a muzhik hiding here somewhere so as to get out of working.”

This thought so cheered the Officials that they instantly jumped up to go in search of a muzhik.

For a long while they wandered about on the island without the desired result, until finally a concentrated smell of black bread and old sheep skin assailed their nostrils and guided them in the right direction. There under a tree was a colossal muzhik lying fast asleep with his hands under his head. It was clear that to escape his duty to work he had impudently withdrawn to this island. The indignation of the Officials knew no bounds.

“What, lying asleep here you lazy-bones you!” they raged at him, “It is nothing to you that there are two Officials here who are fairly perishing of hunger. Up, forward, march, work.”

The Muzhik rose and looked at the two severe gentlemen standing in front of him. His first thought was to make his escape, but the Officials held him fast.

He had to submit to his fate. He had to work.

First he climbed up on a tree and plucked several dozen of the finest apples for the Officials. He kept a rotten one for himself. Then he turned up the earth and dug out some potatoes. Next he started a fire with two bits of wood that he rubbed against each other. Out of his own hair he made a snare and caught partridges. Over the fire, by this time burning brightly, he cooked so many kinds of food that the question arose in the Officials’ minds whether they shouldn’t give some to this idler.

Beholding the efforts of the Muzhik, they rejoiced in their hearts. They had already forgotten how the day before they had nearly been perishing of hunger, and all they thought of now was: “What a good thing it is to be an Official. Nothing bad can ever happen to an Official.”

“Are you satisfied, gentlemen?” the lazy Muzhik asked.

“Yes, we appreciate your industry,” replied the Officials.

“Then you will permit me to rest a little?”

“Go take a little rest, but first make a good strong cord.”

The Muzhik gathered wild hemp stalks, laid them in water, beat them and broke them, and toward evening a good stout cord was ready. The Officials took the cord and bound the Muzhik to a tree, so that he should not run away. Then they laid themselves to sleep.

Thus day after day passed, and the Muzhik became so skilful that he could actually cook soup for the Officials in his bare hands. The Officials had become round and well-fed and happy. It rejoiced them that here they needn’t spend any money and that in the meanwhile their pensions were accumulating in St. Petersburg.

“What is your opinion, your Excellency,” one said to the other after breakfast one day, “is the Story of the Tower of Babel true? Don’t you think it is simply an allegory?”

“By no means, your Excellency, I think it was something that really happened. What other explanation is there for the existence of so many different languages on earth?”

“Then the Flood must really have taken place, too?”

“Certainly, else; how would you explain the existence of Antediluvian animals? Besides, the Moscow Gazette says——”

They made search for the old number of the Moscow Gazette, seated themselves in the shade, and read the whole sheet from beginning to end. They read of festivities in Moscow, Tula, Penza and Riazan, and strangely enough felt no discomfort at the description of the delicacies served.

There is no saying how long this life might have lasted. Finally, however, it began to bore the Officials. They often thought of their cooks in St. Petersburg, and even shed a few tears in secret.

“I wonder how it looks in Podyacheskaya Street now, your Excellency,” one of them said to the other.

“Oh, don’t remind me of it, your Excellency. I am pining away with homesickness.”

“It is very nice here. There is really no fault to be found with this place, but the lamb longs for its mother sheep. And it is a pity, too, for the beautiful uniforms.”

“Yes, indeed, a uniform of the fourth class is no joke. The gold embroidery alone is enough to make one dizzy.”

Now they began to importune the Muzhik to find some way of getting them back to Podyacheskaya Street, and strange to say, the Muzhik even knew where Podyacheskaya Street was. He had once drunk beer and mead there, and as the saying goes, everything had run down his beard, alas, but nothing into his mouth. The Officials rejoiced and said: “We are Officials from Podyacheskaya Street.”

“And I am one of those men—do you remember?—who sit on a scaffolding hung by ropes from the roofs and paint the outside walls. I am one of those who crawl about on the roofs like flies. That is what I am,” replied the Muzhik.

The Muzhik now pondered long and heavily on how to give great pleasure to his Officials, who had been so gracious to him, the lazy-bones, and had not scorned his work. And he actually succeeded in constructing a ship. It was not really a ship, but still it was a vessel, that would carry them across the ocean close to Podyacheskaya Street.

“Now, take care, you dog, that you don’t drown us,” said the
Officials, when they saw the raft rising and falling on the waves.

“Don’t be afraid. We muzhiks are used to this,” said the Muzhik, making all the preparations for the journey. He gathered swan’s-down and made a couch for his two Officials, then he crossed himself and rowed off from shore.

How frightened the Officials were on the way, how seasick they were during the storms, how they scolded the coarse Muzhik for his idleness, can neither be told nor described. The Muzhik, however, just kept rowing on and fed his Officials on herring. At last, they caught sight of dear old Mother Neva. Soon they were in the glorious Catherine Canal, and then, oh joy! they struck the grand Podyacheskaya Street. When the cooks saw their Officials so well-fed, round and so happy, they rejoiced immensely. The Officials drank coffee and rolls, then put on their uniforms and drove to the Pension Bureau. How much money they collected there is another thing that can neither be told nor described. Nor was the Muzhik forgotten. The Officials sent a glass of whiskey out to him and five kopeks. Now, Muzhik, rejoice.

 

Works by this author published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
Note:
Mujik
or Muzhik refers to a Russian peasant, usually from pre-1917 Imperial Russia. The term connotes a certain degree of poverty, as most mujiks were serfs before the 1861 agricultural reforms. After that date, serfs were given parcels of land to work, and became free peasants. [thx Wikipedia]

 

Russia Celebrates 200th Anniversary of 1812 Patriotic-War


Borodino battle was the key battle of French-Russian war 1812

200th anniversary of Borodino battle. Borodino battle was the key battle of French-Russian war 1812

Russia celebrates 200th anniversary of 1812 Patriotic War
Сегодня ровно 200 лет Великому Сражению!

The Patriotic War of 1812 began on June 24 when the Napoleonic army entered the Russian Empire.
The Borodino Battle took place between the Russian army led by Mikhail Kutuzov and the French troops commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte in the village of Borodino 125 km to the west from Moscow on September 7, 1812.
“September 7, 1812, was a day that perpetuated the heroism of Russian soldiers, becoming an eternal memorial to their indomitable courage.”
That’s how Russia’s Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov described it after engaging Napoleon’s army in a bloody battle near the village of Borodino 150 km west of Moscow.

The Borodino Battle lasted for six hours and resulted in the retreat of the Russian army.

The Borodino Battle death toll was extremely high with up to 8,500 people dying on both sides every hour.

The Battle of Borodino (Russian: Бородинское сражение, Borodinskoe srazhenie

; French: Bataille de la Moskova), fought on September 7, 1812, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia and all Napoleonic Wars, involving more than 250,000 troops and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties.

Mikhail Kutuzov at the Battle of Borodino by A...

Mikhail Kutuzov at the
Battle of Borodino by Anatoly Pavlovich Shepelyuk (1906-1972), 1952
(State Borodino War and History Museum and Reserve, Borodino, Moscow
Oblast) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The French Grande Armée under Emperor Napoleon I attacked the Imperial Russian Army of General Mikhail Kutuzov near the village of Borodino, west of the town of Mozhaysk, and eventually captured the main positions on the battlefield, but failed to destroy the Russian army despite heavy losses.

Mikhail Kutuzov  was a Field Marshal of the Russian Empire

Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov was a Field Marshal of the Russian Empire

About a third of Napoleon’s soldiers were killed or wounded; Russian losses were also heavy, but her casualties could be replaced since large forces of militia were already with the Russian Army and replacement depots which were close by had already been gathering and training troops.

The battle itself ended with the Russian Army out of position.

The state of exhaustion of the French forces and lack of information on the Russian Army’s condition led Napoleon to remain on the battlefield with his army instead of the forced pursuit that had marked other campaigns that he had conducted in the past.

The entirety of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, however, was still available to his disposition and in refusing to implement it he lost his singular chance to destroy the Russian army.

The Russians consider it their victory although the Russian army had to retreat after a battle that was inconclusive in the military sense.

Nevertheless, Napoleon failed to conquer Russia and was ousted from the country by late December.

The Russians let the Napoleonic army occupy Moscow, which had been
almost completely burnt down, but cut his overstretched supply lines and
forced him to retreat a month later. The regrouped and reinforced
Russian Army then drove Napoleon’s freezing and starved forces out of
Russia and all the way to Paris

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821)

“Of the fifty battles I have fought, the most terrible was that before Moscow,” Napoleon Bonaparte later recalled. “The French showed themselves to be worthy victors, and the Russians can rightly call themselves invincible.”

«Из всех моих сражений самое ужасное то, которое я дал под Москвой. Французы в нём показали себя достойными одержать победу, а русские стяжали право быть непобедимыми…” (Наполеон I Бонапарт)

The battle at Borodino was a pivotal point in the campaign, as it was the last offensive action fought by Napoleon in Russia. By withdrawing, the Russian army preserved its combat strength, eventually allowing it to force Napoleon out of the country.

Historical reports of the battle differed markedly depending on
whether they originated from supporters of the French or Russian sides. Factional
fighting between senior officers within each army also led to
conflicting accounts and disagreements over the roles of particular
individuals.There’s still some historical dispute about who won the battle of Borodino. On the one hand Mikhail Kutuzov ordered his army to retreat and abandon Moscow.
On the other hand, this battle became the turning point in the war, and the French army was badly weakened for the first time.

1812 Battle of Borodino map

Map of the troops positions in Borodino Battle

Map of the troops positions in the morning of September, 7, 1812. Battle of Borodino or Bataille de la Moskowa in french. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Where are the POWs?” Napoleon would wonder as his army fought its way deeper into Russia.

He, who had easily subdued half of Europe and had crowned himself Emperor of France, was amazed at the unprecedented degree of resistance he had little expected to encounter.

More than 250,000 soldiers clashed on the Borodino field about 50 square km in area in the early morning of September 7 two centuries ago. About a thousand cannons traded crossfire almost incessantly from dawn to sunset.

The losses on both sides were enormous – 2,500 men per every hour of fighting, says historian Andrei Sakharov, a correspondence member of the Academy of Sciences:

“There were several aspects to the Borodino battle. First and foremost, there was a huge moral aspect for the Russian army, for the people of Russia and for the Russian history.

The battle ended in a draw, so to say. Neither the French won, nor the Russians backed down.

Both sides maintained their positions. But the fact that the Russian army withstood the onslaught of the monstrous colossus – Napoleon the Invincible – was absolutely incredible.”

Battle of Borodino mapCarl von Clausewitz, a Prussian officer and military theorist who took part in the 1812 campaign, thought that the only way to conquer Russia was to try to play on the internal contradictions between its power and its people, otherwise it was unconquerable, he said. The Battle of Borodino showed that, unfortunately for Napoleon, there were no contradictions. Andrei Sakharov:

“Why is the 1812 war called Patriotic? Because it united the nation and that unity vividly manifested itself at Borodino.”

War 1812 Battle of Borodino mapNapoleon described Borodino as the greatest battle he had ever fought. And indeed, it was the bloodiest battle of the 19th century. The death toll on both sides totaled about 100,000. But though he had suffered no defeat at Borodino, Napoleon still lost the war. Why?

“Because, says historian Vadim Roginsky, Napoleon failed to reach the main goal – to crush the Russian army. And that predetermined to a large extent the unfavorable outcome for him.”

A few months after Borodino, Napoleon’s Grande Armee was completely routed. Later, he called his invasion of Russia a “fatal mistake”.

Russia celebrates 200th anniversary of 1812 Patriotic War

Russia celebrates 200th anniversary of 1812 Patriotic War 

Souses:

http://patrioticwarof1812.com/

http://patrioticwarof1812.com/2012/04/01/invasion-of-russia/

http://english.people.com.cn/102774/7936097.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleonic_War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon

http://rbth.ru/borodino

http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/09/03/200-year_history_napoleons_army_is_back_to_borodino_17891.html