Poster, “We Defend the City of
One of the things that stands out in my memory is the midnight train from
Moscow to . During my two years in the Leningrad USSR, I visited Leningrad
53 times. St. Petersburg
Before daylight the old Russian woman on the train would knock on our cabin door, and hand each of us a glass of steaming tea.
As we rolled through the train yards enroute to the station, we got dressed, and when we arrived, we were ready for a couple of days of traveling around the industrial areas of this huge city.
Our job was to check on the various shipyards around the city to monitor the progress of building new ships for the Red Fleet.
During part of the year, darkness started to gather after 2 p.m., and since we couldn’t see shipyards, we’d visit the magnificent museums and other cultural sights.
Once when we visited the Peter and Paul cathedral that is a part of the 18th Century Fortress, to see the sarcophagi of Russian czars, I talked with the older woman guide, and she told me, in Russian, that during “The Great Patriotic War”, which is the Russian name for World War II, she was part of an antiaircraft gun crew right there in the fortress.
“Miy stradali,” (Мы страдали) (We suffered), she said.
Russians old enough to have lived through World War II often told us how they suffered.
Peter and Paul Fortress with
in foreground Neva River
Indeed, Americans cannot imagine the suffering that Leningraders endured during the 900 days that the Nazis held the city under siege during World War II.
Two books give English-language readers a better feeling of this horrible tragedy, as Leningraders were squeezed to death in a standoff between Hitler and Stalin. Harrison Salisbury produced his landmark book about the Siege in 1969; a Russian-language version did not appear until 1994, two years after his death.
Here is my review of Harrison Salisbury’s fascinating story of that siege:
The 900 Days; The siege of Leningrad by Harrison E. Salisbury, 1969.
Harper & Row, 635 pp. 8vo.
The 900 Days tells the incredible story of how this huge country—the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was so crippled by wishful thinking that Stalin and its other top leaders refused to believe that those Hitlerites would attack them.
At around 3 am on Sunday, June 22, German bombers attacked
Sevastopol in the
Crimea, and also bases at Kronstadt, Liepaja,
Kovno, Rovno and .
Stalin was nowhere to be found—his generals and admirals could not reach
German forces soon began a march toward
the Red Army and Soviet Navy set up defenses. The Germans formed an iron circle
around the city. The Soviets used Leningrad ,
to the north, as a means of supply and escape.
Over a million people were moved out to safer parts of the country, and
supplies were shipped in the same way.
However, it soon came to pass that this path was only usable across the
ice of the frozen lake, and until it froze hard enough for trucks to pass, the
city starved. Lake Ladoga
Leningrad Blockade by Sergey Nemenov, 2006
Rations were reduced to the equivalent of two slices of bread a day, as the city’s leaders attempted to save dwindling supplies of food until the Lednaya Magistral’ (Ice highway) was operating. Even at this starvation level, they were using 30 carloads of flour a day. They ate cats, sparrows, crows. As flour supplies continued to dwindle, they “augmented” the bread recipe with so-called “edible” pine bark and other cellulose products.
This is a story of incredible strength, incredibly incompetent military and civilian leaders, heroic, wonderful leaders and ordinary people. We talk of terrorism today—3000 killed in
Washington and . Still more killed every day in Pennsylvania Afghanistan and Iraq,
Chechnya and , and
elsewhere. We cannot imagine the bitter,
sub-zero cold and starvation of Spain . Three thousand people were dying each day.
Then, there were the daily bombings and artillery attacks that killed still
more. Some 800,000 Leningraders are
believed to have died in the 900 days. Leningrad
p. 376: “The first day or two or three were the worst…If a man had nothing but a slice of bread to eat, he suffered terrible hunger pangs the first day. And the second. But gradually, the pain faded into quiet despondency, a gloom that had no ending, a weakness that advanced with frightening rapidity. What you did yesterday you could not do today. You found yourself surrounded by obstacles too difficult to overcome. The stairs were too steep to climb. The wood was too hard to chop, the shelf too high to reach, the toilet too difficult to clean. Each day the weakness grew. But awareness did not decline. You saw yourself from a distance. You knew what was happening, but you could not halt it.”
Anna Reid was
correspondent for the Economist and The Daily Telegraph from 1993 to 1995. She lives in Ukraine , where she is an advisor to Her
Majesty’s Government. She has written an
excellent book which takes advantage of much information that has been revealed
since the fall of the London Soviet Union.
Leningrad paints a far more graphic picture of the
criminal behavior of Marshal Stalin, Voroshilov, Zhdanov,
and many more Soviet leaders which led to the deaths of some 750,000 in during the
brutally cold winters of 1941-1943.
Their cruelty and colossal mismanagement made this the deadliest siege
in modern history. Leningrad
Using a collection of diaries and journals from prominent
literary figures and plain
citizens, she gives a grim and very personal view of the Siege from inside the
city as members of a family died, one by one, while others struggled to exist
on ever-diminishing rations of bread made with sawdust and wallpaper paste. Leningrad
Why weren’t the Nazis able to smash the ring around
and take the city? They could have, but
they pulled away troops and tanks to attack other targets in the Leningrad ,
and they thought, rather than having to deal with feeding over two million
Russians, it was better to let them all starve to death. USSR
World War II sign on Nevsky Prospekt
One particularly poignant reminder of the daily shellings of the city that Leningraders endured is a sign that we saw in 1981 on Nevsky Prospekt “During artillery shelling this side is more dangerous.” That sign is still in place.
After the siege was lifted and the tremendous job of rebuilding lives and homes began, Stalin lined up his top leaders from
and had them shot. Stalin was always
jealous and envious of this beautiful city on the Leningrad Gulf of
Finland. He never trusted
Leningraders or their leaders. During
the whole conduct of the war, nothing was as important to Stalin as his ongoing
struggle for supremacy. His life was
filled with jealousy, plotting and scheming.
Yet, when he died in 1953, millions of regular, average Soviet citizens
wept at his funeral.
We lived in
when Soviet Premier Brezhnev died in
1982. Russians told us that the mourning
for Stalin 29 years earlier was much more profound. His death to the average Soviet marked a
major milestone in the lives of a people who suffered greatly. Moscow
The Personal Navigator offers these books and papers:
Der Grosse Deutsche Feldzug Gegen Polen, [The Great German Campaign in Poland] Eine Chronik Des Krieges in Wort und Bild; Herausgegeben im Einvernehmen mit dem Reichsbildberichterstatter der NSDDAP, Prof. Heinrich Hoffman, Geleitwort Generaloberst Von Reichenau [Text in German] ca. 1940 Vienna, Austria: Verlag Für Militär Und Fächliteratur A. Franz Göth & Sohn. Triumphant book of pictures and German text extolling German march into
in 1939, with many references to the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919.
Geleitwort [Preface by] Generaloberst Von Reichenau. [Many photos of Adolf
Hitler and his generals, happy “liberated” Germans in Danzig and other
cities in Poland greeting Hitler and his troops with enthusiastic "heils". Many spirited exhortations from A. Hitler,
General von Brauchitich, Field Marshal Hermann Göring, Admiral Raeder. Pictures
of children presenting flowers to troops. Picture of truckload of Jews, text
notes that a million Jews live in Poland . This is one of many
propaganda pieces created by the Nazis to "explain" their
attack against the “aggressive” Poles to "rescue" the
beleagured Germans in the City of Poland .
Der Feldzug in Polen; Zusammenfassende Darstellung, Die polnische Wehrmacht;
Der polnische Angriffsplan; Ziel und Anlage der deutschen Operationen. Maps show how German troops stormed across
Polish border, with attacks from Danzig Czechoslovakia,
Germany and East Prussia; Drives on Lodz,
Warsaw and Krakow.
Maps show attacks as of 2, 6, 11, 14, 18 and 19 September. Last two maps show
attacks from East by Soviet troops. Full-page portrait photos of Göring, Von
Brauchitsch, Halder, von Rundstedt, von Bock, List, von Reichenau, von Kluge,
von Küchler, Keitel, Guderian, Hoepner, Strauss, Hoth, Schmidt, von Briefen,
Reinhardt, Kübler, Olbricht, Admirals Albrecht, and Schniewind. 344 pp. 22 x 32
cm.Green cloth on board, front and back hinges cracked, inside front hinge
mended with black plastic tape, but front board loose; frontispiece of Hitler
loose, top 6 cm of each page warped from moisture. On front free endpaper is inscription: "Sgt.
'45". All pictures and text completely readable, clear. Poor. (7697)
$95.00. World War II/Propaganda Salzburg
Richard's Photo Scrapbook of World War II
Richard's Photo Scrapbook with World War II Navy pictures, trip to Canada, life in affluent New York home after the war 1945 Mill Neck, NY; ephemera. Lieutenant Commander Richard Tucker commanded USS Brister (DE-327) and was commended for his leadership in rescuing survivors after a collision between two oil tankers. Photos show an affluent, upper class family enjoying trip to
just after Richard came home, at war's end.
~80 pp. 29 x 25 cm. Photo album with many postcards and other
memorabilia pasted in. Very good. (6143) $62.00. World War II/Ephemera Canada
Social Justice, Father Coughlin's National Weekly, March 14, 1938 Coughlin, Rev. Charles E., LL.D. 1938
Royal Oak, MI: Social
Justice Publishing Co. 20 pp. 28 x 40 cm.
"Fellow Citizens:" by Andrew Jackson--a farewell warning to the
people of the
by one of the Nation's greatest Presidents. Coughlin was a bitter opponent of
President Roosevelt, and the free-wheeling fiscal policies of the New Deal.
Coughlin holds up United States Jackson's fierce opposition to
the Bank of the during his time in office
(1829-1837) to sound the alarm for FDR's
monetary policy. "Innocents at Home
and Abroad" --American Labor Needs to Remember That Charity Begins at
Home, by Edward Lodge Curran, Ph.D. Another warning about American labor
getting involved overseas. Social Justice fought involvement in the troubles in
Europe and United
States Asia. "The Garbage Man Who Became Mayor" by James F. Edwards.
Social Justice writer finds Communism in 's Labor Unions. The Spanish
Civil War, a proxy fight between Nazi-backed Fascists and Stalin-backed
Communists, gave the world a preview of some of World War II."Child 'Slaves' in Spain Mines" by Thomas L.
McNamara. Tiny hands that should hold a kindergarten primer wield a pick in a
murky mine. Magazine, large format, cover wraps loose. Fair.
(8232) $25.00. History/World War II Missouri
Social Justice, Father Coughlin's National Weekly, June 19, 1939 Royal Oak, MI: The Social Justice Publishing Co. Lead headline: "50,000 Spanish Reds Coming to U.S. Border"-- Del Vayo and Negrin arranging to settle refugees in Mexico. Delores Ibarruri; Leon Trotzky, self-appointed leader of the Fourth International; Rear cover shows Rep. Martin Dies, with headline: "Inquiry Seeks to Find Real Enemies of
Criticism of New Deal, America Roosevelt. "An
Answer to Father Coughlin's Critics"-- among whom are the Jewish
General Council. 20 pp. 28 x 40 cm. Newspaper,
very good. (6800) $29.00. World War II/Newspapers/Religious
United States Naval Institute Proceedings, November, 1942, Vol. 68 No. 477
Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute. World War II issue
includes excellent photos, including Battle of Midway, June 4-6, 1942, sinking
of carrier Yorktown after Midway, aerial view of convoy in South Pacific, ,
formation of VB-3's, modern Navy fighter, tail marking XF-4F-2, Navy Patrol
Bomber by Glenn L. Martin Co., Cruiser USS Memphis. "The Case for Aircraft-Carrying Oil
Tankers" by B. Orchard Lisle. "Fox's United
to Russia" by
Commander L.J. Gulliver, USN (Ret.) writes of Civil War Mission of Assistant
Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Vasa Fox to , and of Russian fleet visits
to American ports during that war. "The Captain of the 'Whip' Pearl
Harbor to Russia "
by Lieut. Commander C.A. Ferriter, USN (16 p.). Professional Notes: USS
Yorktown. Commander Irving Day Wiltsie, USN, ace aviator and formerly
navigator of Australia Yorktown describes
the final hours of that ship. Ads for Kollsman, Bethlehem Steel Co., Foote
Bros. Gear and Machine, Remler, Kellogg's Cereals, Electric Boat Co., Chicago
Wheel & Mfg. Co., New York Shipbuilding Corp., Higgins Industries, Inc.,
Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Boeing, Douglas Aircraft Co., RCA, Alcoa, Nordberg Mfg.
Co., and more. 152 pp. + adv. 17 x 25 cm. Paper periodical, minor nicks and soiling in cover wrap, very good. (7901) $28.00. Navy/World War II
Washington’s Death: Ulster County Gazette, Published at Kingston, (
Ulster County) Saturday, January 4, 1800 : Samuel Freer & Son. 4 pp. 28 x 40 cm. This issue
of Kingston, NY
county newspaper mourns the death of President Washingon on Dec. 14, 1799 in
his 68th summer. Report of the funeral and interment from Ulster , Dec. 20, 1799, description of
military procession, pallbearers, and procession. Poem "On the Death of General Washington"
by a Young Lady, for the Ulster County Gazette.Exchange of speeches on December
10th, 1799 upon opening of Congress, by President John Adams and members of
Congress. Foreign news obtained from latest ship arrivals: English account of
the battle of George Town Zurich; Buonaparte and Berthier
are in France, at the very
moment when the fame of their triumphs at ,
they disembarked at Frejus. It appears they were afraid of being taken by the
English when they attempted to land at Paris .
They have left the army of Toulon
in a most satisfactory state. Letter from the U.S. Senate to the President on
the death of General Washington, and answer from President Adams. Advertisement for a Stout, Healthy Negro Wench.
Any person inclined to purchase apply to John Schoonmaker, Jun at Egypt , Nov. 23, 1799. Newspaper, fair. (8233) $58.00.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org