Here is part of a US made, pro USSR propaganda film that won an Academy award in 1942. It is about the December 6, 1941 Soviet counterattack on the German forces that were advancing upon Moscow. This happened, conveniently, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the successful defense of Moscow appears to have helped convince the Allies that Hitler was defeatable.
I did not know that G. K. Zhukov, victor at Stalingrad and then also Leningrad, had also been in charge of this battle. I am beginning to think he is the twentieth century’s most valuable player.
The reason I am watching World War II on film is that I have been looking for interesting footage around the Spanish Civil War, where conditions appear to be nearly as primitive as those in the U.S. Civil War. I wanted to know whether this war in Central Europe had been more technologically advanced and the answer appears to be yes, but no.
This war appears to be mestizo, half nineteenth century and half twenty-first, not nearly as advanced technologically as the Viet Nam War, which I remember, appeared to be. A very, very great deal of its transportation was by foot, and there are many horse-carts and scooters. Operation Barbarossa, for example, had 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses.
In this film the USSR, or CCCP soldiers rush at the Germans on foot, on horseback with drawn swords, and by motorcycle as well as in tanks. They parachute down from planes and then jump onto skis. Tanks pull sleds. Everyone’s camouflage suit is white to blend in with the snow.
At this point in the German invasion the USSR had already lost some 2,500,000 soldiers but they had reinforcements now and plans to lose fewer. German troops surrendering to Russians look somewhat concerned but Soviet POWS marching to Germany do not appear to realize they are going to be starved to death.