As the Red Army tried to convince the soldiers of the Wehrmacht to surrender

History 25/02/20 waralbumКак the Red Army tried to convince the soldiers of the Wehrmacht to surrender

Much has been said about how the German command tried to persuade the soldiers to surrender. But debt remained and the Soviet military, which took countermeasures, trying to force the Germans to move to his side.

In the early years of the war the Germans were more afraid of being captured than die. Their scare stories of colleagues, describing “atrocities” of the Soviet soldiers abusing prisoners of war. In addition, the leaflets distributed by Soviet propaganda, not actually acted on the morale of the soldiers of the Wehrmacht.

Lieutenant Evert Gottfried told how in the early autumn of 1941 in the bushes across the Soviet flyer, where on the one hand Stalin was portrayed together with the German soldier, the other was an expressive poem. In addition, it contained the standard instructions for the defector. Assessing the aesthetic content of agitation, Gottfried, however, was not eager to move to the side of the enemy.

After the painful defeats of the Wehrmacht in late 1942 – mid 1943 the situation changed dramatically. The Germans, who, for refusing to fight could hang on the first tree, willingly surrendered. They are more convinced of the leaflets in which the Soviet leadership for a voluntary decision to lay down their arms and promised fair treatment and good conditions.

Bureau of the Soviet military-political propaganda appeared on 25 June 1941. Its primary mission is to debunk the myth that the Soviet Union posed a threat to the German people and to convince the soldiers of the Wehrmacht that they need to capture “vital space in the East”. The next step is to convey to the Nazis that the war against the Soviet state in any case doomed to failure.

the General tone of the first leaflets is that the main enemy of the Germans – Hitler himself who unleashed this bloodyYu slaughter. German soldiers have not yet campaigned to surrender, and called to draw weapons against their own dictator, moving to the side of the red Army. However, it quickly became clear that this agitation is not consistent with the sentiments prevailing in the ranks of the armed forces of the Reich.

By the end of 1941, tone of Soviet propaganda has changed: they have become more emotional and emphatic. “You must choose between a life in captivity or death in the environment”, – was written in one of the leaflets. It was explained that every surrendered German will receive a warm shelter, abundant food and the possibility of correspondence with family.

further, the emphasis often was placed on family values. It has developed a series of sentimental leaflets printed on paper of pink color, in which Germans were encouraged to reflect on the fact that his family needs him alive. “Vater ist tod” (Dad killed) – shouting is depicted in the propaganda material of the German child. A slogan on the supervision of the Soviet military often forced the soldier to make a difficult decision.

Well-acted the warning leaflets that reflect the real story. One of them was written about four Austrian soldiers who “leaky tunics and ragged boots” nearly froze to death, and only the decision to give in to Soviet captivity have preserved their lives. Many acted leaflet in which he promised that comrade Stalin personally guarantees all of the surrendered person.

on 1 July 1941 the Council of people’s Commissars issued a “Special situation of prisoners of war”. His points could not be credible dared to surrender to soldiers and officers of Wehrmacht. The position is strictly prohibited to maltreat and even to insult the prisoners, to force them to do anything or threaten them to use the prisoners as orderlies, to take away their personal items, insignia and awards.

According to the document, the camp authorities were obliged to provide prisoners with housing, clothing, basic necessities, and in accordances cases allowance. The prisoners had a right to health care along with the soldiers of the red Army.

For the German prisoners were receiving parcels from Germany or other countries. Enlisted personnel, going to work, could use force in the Soviet system of labour protection, the officers were attracted to the works only in case of their voluntary consent.

in addition, the words before the surrender of German soldiers were promised access to cigarettes, a full regime of work and rest, increased rate of supply, if necessary, to qualified medical care. They say that in some cases the Germans even allowed to work as a hairdressers and serve not only the prisoners, but the Soviet military.

the Most extensive scope of application of the labour of German prisoners – construction, logging, loading, mines and agriculture. Someone was lucky enough to work in more comfortable conditions, for example, a bookbinder. The Germans noted that the attitude towards them among the local population was not always negative. One of the prisoners remembered how his Easter went Russian woman, with the words “Hristos voskres”, gave a parcel in which was bread, eggs and meat.

For freedom

Another tool, agitate the Germans to surrender, was the national Committee “Free Germany” and the political center of German anti-fascists, established on 12 July 1943 in the Soviet Union at the initiative of the Communist party of Germany. In addition to the anti-fascists it was also captured at Stalingrad, German officers. The Board President was elected to the German poet émigré Erich Weinert.

“Free Germany” immediately identified their goals: first, it is Amnesty to all supporters of Hitler, ready to prove their rejection of the doctrine of national socialism, and secondly, the gift of ex-Nazis freedom of activity in various fields, including trade and crafts. They had been promised protection purchased legally of ownership of, and seized by the government of the Reich property.

To strengthen the activities of the “Free Germany” in December 1943 in the Soviet Union was established by the “Union of German officers”, the head of which stood the General of the artillery Walter von Seydlitz of Kurzbach. The main purpose of the Union became anti-fascist propaganda in the operating units of the German army, and its main mouthpiece was the weekly newspaper “Freies Deutschland” and the radio station of the same name.

After the war, all members of the “Free Germany” and the “Union of German officers” returned to their homeland. The first has made an important contribution to the education of the German Democratic Republic, and the latter participated in the organization of the National people’s army of the GDR.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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