Won the battles but lost the war

The occupying Soviet troops celebrated, some indulging in the rape and murder of German citizens. When Stalin was told how the Red Army soldiers were treating German refugees, he is reported to say: We lecture our soldiers too much; let them have some initiative. Those Waffen-SS men who were in the combat-ready elements and continued to fight did so for three main reasons: They were determined to protect German civilians from Soviet reprisals; and they had little to return to in their homelands. Some hoped to join with the British and Americans in an anti-Soviet war. Also, they knew all too well about the Soviet Red Army's methods if captured. Vladlen Anchishkin, a Soviet battery commander on the 1st Ukrainian Front, sums up the horror, when he tells how he took personal revenge on captured Waffen-SS Grenadiers: I can admit it now. I said, Bring them here for an interrogation and I had my special knife, and as they come in I slit their throats. I knifed a lot of them. Four years I waited for you. Four years you hunted me. Dont look at me as if I were a criminal. It was a long time ago. Source: Laurence Rees, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Image: Three unidentified Waffen-SS Grenadiers. PhotoSS-Kriegsberichter Max Büschel. US National Archives and Records Administration. Fair use.


  1. iain wilson5/5/12

    There were never any real alternatives; Surrender and death at the hands of the Bolsheviks or surrender to the west and death through deliberate starvation in the post war camps!

  2. The Amateur Researcher2/2/18

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