Osvobozhdenie: Napravleniye glavnogo udara (Liberation) (1971)

 

 

 

Director:     .

Starring:     Mikhail Nozhkin (Yartsev), Nikolay Olyalin (Tsvetaev), Mikhail Ulyanov (Gen. Zhukov), Larisa Golubkina (Zoya), Bukhuti Zaqariadze (Stalin), Vasiliy Shukshin (Gen. Konev), Nikolai Rybnikov (Gen. Panov), Vladislav Strzhelchik (Gen. Antonov), Yevgeni Burenkov (Gen. Vasilevsky), Anatoli Romashin (Gen. Shatilov), Pyotr Shcherbakov (Gen. Telegin), Ivan Pereverzev (Gen. Chuykov), Vladlen Davydov (Gen. Rokossovsky), Sergei Kharchenko (Gen. Vatutin), Dmitri Franko (Gen. Rybalko), Nikolai Rushkovsky (Gen. Moskalenko).

five part story of the Soviet Union's offensive campaigns against Hitler's Germany:  the first film deals with the Battle of Kursk; the second covers the crossing of the Dnieper River and the capture of Kiev in the Ukraine; the third covers liberation of Belarus and onto the Polish border; the fourth deals with the Battle for Berlin;  the fifth covers the last assault on Berlin and the death of Hitler

 

 

Spoiler Warning: 

 

Film I.  The Fire-Bulge.

Hitler meets with his generals.  He says that Field Marshal Manstein will report first.  Manstein reads a draft of Hitler's order.  "Operational order no. 6.  I decided to launch Operation Citadel as soon as the weather conditions permitted.  The main objective of the operation was by simultaneous offensives from the north and south, to surround and destroy the Russian troops concentrated on the Kursk salient, and follow it with a tank attack northeastward, bypassing Moscow."   They will use in the offensive 17 Panzer divisions, 2 motorized divisions and 22 infantry divisions.  Involved will be about one million infantry, 2,700 tanks (including 800 Tiger tanks) and 1,800 aircraft. 

[Kursk is a city and the administrative center of Kursk Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Kur, Tuskar, and Seym Rivers.  It lies about 284 miles (457 kilometers) southwest of south of Moscow.  It's not that far from the eastern border with the Ukraine.]

Hitler complains that the 1941 and 1942 offensives in Russia failed to defeat that country.  Now this third campaign, of 1943, must be a decisive one.  They currently have almost 10 million men fighting on all fronts.  And now he finds out that a Russian anti-tank shell can get through the frontal armor of their super Tiger tanks.  Because of this they cannot launch Operation Citadel.  All the Panzers must be sent back to the factories and given extra armor protection. 

Moscow, April 12, 1943.  Stalin tells his generals that it has been quiet on all fronts for a month now.  One general says it's because the Germans can't catch their breath after their defeat at Stalingrad.  Stalin responds:  "And we after Kharkov, Comrade Vassilevsky."  And the main battle for Kharkov is yet to come. 

[There were four Battles of Kharkov.  The first battle was the October 1941 battle in which German troops captured the city of Kharkov.  The second one was a May 1942 battle in which Soviet forces unsuccessfully attempted to retake the city.]

General Zhukov says the Germans will launch an offensive for the Donbass in the area of the Kursk Bulge.  Since the Russian positions here are west a considerable distance out from the main Russian line,  the Germans can attack the bulge from both the north and south.  The Germans could cut-off the troops of the Central and Voronezh Fronts.  Vassilevsky says troop movement studies indicate that the Germans are going for the Poltava-Kharkov area and the Orel-Bryansk area.  This confirms Zhukov's observations. 

Kursk.  July 5, 00 hours and 10 minutes.  Commander of the Central Front, Army General Rokossovsky. The General is presented with a German private of the 6th Sapper Battalion who was captured early today clearing lands in the minefields.  The German says that he fought at Stalingrad.  The General says then the German private's war is all over for him.  The private gets angry and says the Russians will meet their own Stalingrad at Kursk this very morning.  The offensives will start at 300 hours today.  That's two hours off.  Rokossovsky relays the message to Zhukov.  Zhukov wonders if the threat is real or bogus?  Rokossovsky believes its real.  He suggests a surprise fire from all kinds of artillery.  Zhukov tells him to issue the orders. 

The shelling of the German positions around Kursk begins.

3:10 a.m.  There's an eerie silence over the battlefield. 

3:55 a.m.  Central Front HQ. 

Commander of the Voronezh Front, Army General Vatutin. 

Commander of the 1st Tank Army, Lt.-General Katukov.  The General is out fishing. A messenger comes running up to him to say there's been an attack alert.  Another messenger alerts Lt. Vasilyev who is off with his tank and his girl.  The General is not happy that the crew is here, but the commander and the tank are not.  When Vailyev shows up the General says he will have to be punished after the upcoming battle. 

4:30 a.m.  Commander of the German Ninth Army, Col-General Model.  Model goes in to see Commander of the Army Group Center, Field Marshal von Kluge.  He tells von Kluge that they have now lost their element of surprise.  Von Kluge wants the battle to go on as scheduled.  He orders Model to get ready to attack. 

5:30 a.m.   The German air raid begins.  When a Russian gets a little break from the shelling he looks across the fields and sees an army of tanks headed his way.

Sachsenhausen concentration camp.  [Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used primarily for political prisoners.]  At the German concentration camp, a speaker says that almost all of Europe has been taken by Germany.  And today the German troops have broken the Soviet front. They have 10 Soviet armies in circle of fire.   Now they ask for volunteers to join the German-led Russian Liberation Army.  They only get a handful of volunteers. 

Commander of the 381st Rifle Division Colonel Gromov.  Gromov runs into a German tank in the rear of the Russian positions.  He goes to ask the commander of the army if he knows there are German tanks behind his lines?  The commander says he knows.  Forty tanks broke through the defenses of Maksimov's battalion.  Maksimov shows up and is criticized for leaving his men.  He is even called a coward.  So he takes out his pistol and charges the German tanks on his own.  He is soon killed.  And now news comes that the 2nd Battalion is retreating.  Orlov is retreating!  The Slavs couldn't take it! The artillery captain and another soldier go out to stop them from continuing to flee.  He forces them into a trench to take up new firing positions.   

The captain runs over to Orlov who has been wounded.  The artillery captain checks on Orlov and then returns to his position.  He is knocked down by by a tank shell explosion.  Most of the artillery positions still in operation have very few shells left.  They beg Sasha to get more shells for them. 

A nurse named Zoya treats the wounded while hoping that her beloved will not be killed in combat.  A soldier cries out to her to come to him.  She runs out onto the battlefield and finds her man Seryozha.  He show no signs of life.  Zoya hugs him. 

The Germans have taken Major Gennady Mikhailovich Maksimov, commander of the 2nd Battalion, the 206th Rifle Regiment, the 381st Division, prisoner.  They want to know how deep are the Soviet defenses in the direction of Ponyri Station.  The interrogation is stopped by the arrival of a General.  He tells Maksimov that they don't shoot Russian officers.  In fact, Maksimov is free to go.  The General, however, wants Maksimov to tell Zhukov that in three days German tanks will be in Kursk.  So they release the Major and tell him to run.  Maksimov refuses to run.  He keeps insulting the Germans and tells them to shoot him.  He wants to show them how a Russian officer dies.  He insults them some more and is finally shot three times.

At headquarters the Russians mention that General Model's shock army group failed to break through the Russian defenses.  And on the Voronezh Front, the Germans did break through the defenses at Obonyan.  They pushed through the defenses of Chistyakov's 6th Guard Army and moved 30km forward.  Heavy fighting is proceeding in the second zone of defense.  And Katukov's tank army took the blow.  Such is the situation as of July 9. 

Zhukov says that they were all expecting a more massive blow on the Central front, rather than at Vatutin's positions.  Vatutin is having a hard time. 

There's a call for Zhukov.  It's Stalin on the line.  Zhukov tells him that both he and Rokossovsky believe that the enemy is becoming exhausted.  Their units regrouped in the Tyoploye-Ponyri 2 area.  The Germans no longer have the strength for a breakthrough.  And now he feels it's time to attack the Germans with their troops on the Bryansk and Western Fronts, as envisioned by Operation Kutuzov.  The counter-offensive will being on the 12th of July. 

Stalin gets news of his son Yakov.  The Germans offer to exchange him for Field Marshal Paulus.  Stalin says he will not exchange a soldier for a field marshal. 

Meanwhile, Propaganda Minister Goebbels says that the German army is set for a decisive victory at Kursk.  In Britain Churchill sees the situation at Kursk as very serious.  He fears the Russians might not be able to hold out.  A suggestion is made they they speed up the operation to invade at Normandy.  Churchill prefers to sponsor the invasion of Europe through the Balkans.  They need to relieve pressure on the Yugoslavian forces.  An army general says that there's virtually no hope for the Yugoslavs. 

Yugoslavia.  The Yugoslavians are on the march.   The Supreme High Commander of the Yugoslavian People's Liberation army is Josip Broz Tito.  Tito's aim is to join the partisan brigades operating in Eastern Bosnia where they will double their forces.  There is talk of Churchill wanting to attack the Germans from the Balkans.  Tito tells a British captain that Churchill wants to forestall the Russians and not even let the Russians get to the Balkans.  And in one sense a second front has already begun in the Balkans by the People's Revolutionary Army of Yugoslavia.  News comes to Tito that there are German vehicles ahead.  Tito says they will try to break through.  Soon fighting begins.

Lt.-General Shtemenko receives a radio intercept.  The news is that the Yugoslavian People's Army has broken through the German encirclement.  Now Lt.-General Rybalko arrives.  He is the commander of the 3rd Tank Army.  Shtemenko tells the General that Field Marshal von Kluge managed to edge his way into Rokossovsky's defenses by 10 to 12 kilometers in the northeast.  And in the south the enemy advanced against Vatutin for almost 40 kilometers.  Von Kluge has committed his last reserve:  the 12th Panzer, 10th and 36th motorized divisions.  Thereby he has weakened his left flank.  General Stuff believes it's time to begin Operation Kutuzov.  Rybalko will attack the zone of the Bryansk Front.  If he can, he must take the city of Orel.  Rybalko says that he will not take Orel, because there the streets are too narrow and his tanks cannot maneuver very much.  They would become sitting ducks.  He will pass by the town and let the infantry have the glory of capturing Orel.

July 11 at 5:35 a.m.  The offensive of the Bryansk Front and the left wing of the Western Front begins.  The German general alerts his superior officers that the new Russian counter-attack creates the danger of encirclement of Model's entire assault force.  Because of this, he will have to give up the attack on Kursk from the north.  His superior officer tells him not to tell Hitler about this for he plans to commit all eleven of his panzer divisions to the battle.   He hangs up the phone and goes outside to tell his officers that von Kluge hopes to be in Kursk tomorrow.  One of the commanders says that his tankmen of the
Adolf Hitler Panzer Division will be in Kursk today.  Another commander says the SS "Reich" Panzer Division is ready to attack.  Then next commander says his SS "Death Head" Panzer Division will  breakthrough to Kursk.  The commander of the 19th Panzer Division only says that his unit will do its duty. 

July 11.  The Voronezh Front.  The two huge tank armies attack each other.  Number 13 Russian tank boldly attacks in the heart of the German tank formation.  That is, until it is hit.  Then the driver heads for the river to put the fires out.  The crew is able to climb out of the tank.  Tank crews from both sides start shooting their pistols at each other, combined with some hand to hand fighting.   Tank crew members from the same country try to save the crews from other burning tanks. 

An order goes to Chistyakov to stop the breakthrough on his own.  And retake Kazachye (located southeast of Bryansk in the northeast).    At Prokhorovka (southeast of Kursk) the enemy has broken the defenses of the 83rd Division and the 2nd Tank Corps, and are pushing on Prokhorovka. Maybe it's time to ask Stalin to release the 5th Tank Army, part of Konev's Steppe Front, and that Front is the General Staff's reserve intended for an offensive.  So it's decided to ask Stalin. 

Flying over the battlefield is the Commander of the Steppe Front, Col.-General Konev.  Stalin gives two armies from the Steppe Front to Vatutin --  General Zhadova's 5th Guards Army and General Rotmistrov's 5th Tank Army.  Rotmistrov tells Konev that the 5th Tank Army is to hit the German line of deployment, west of Prokhorovka. Konev tells Rotmistrov that the enemy is already in Prokhorovka.  "Turn the army back immediately."

July 12.  "There came a turning point in the Kursk battle, and perhaps, in the entire campaign in the east."  The commander of the 19th Panzer Division reports in:  "My division is no more."  After reporting, he goes outside and shoots himself. 

"The German troops failed to withstand the massive counteroffensive of the Soviet armies.  World War II's greatest tank battle at Prokhorovka had decided the outcome of the Kursk Bulge battle.  It was the beginning of the end of fascist Germany, although until the final victory there still remained two long years of fighting, suffering, sourage and losses.  "

 

Wikipedia says:  "The Battle of Kursk was the first time a German strategic offensive had been halted before it could break through enemy defenses and penetrate to its strategic depths. Though the Soviet Army had succeeded in winter offensives previously, their counter-offensives following the German attack were their first successful strategic summer offensives of the war."

"From this point on the initiative had firmly passed to the Red Army. For the remainder of the war the German army was limited to reacting to Soviet advances, and were never able to regain the initiative."

 

 

Film II.  Breakthrough. 

 

"The great battle at Kursk had changed the balance of forces in Europe.  Anglo-American troops hurried to land in Sicily."

Italy, July 19, Treviso Airport.  Mussolini arrives to greet Hitler when his plane arrives.  One of his advisors urges him that he must tell Hitler that Sicily has been taken.  Mussolini does bring it up, but Hitler immediately goes into a tirade against the Italian troops and their cowardice.  While Mussolini has to listen to Hitler's tirade, the military officials talk to His Majesty the King saying that Mussolini should be relieved of the responsibility of waging war.  In fact, the want the King to issue an order for the arrest of il Duce. 

Rome, July 25.  Mussolini changes into civilian clothes.  He goes to see His Majesty.  While Mussolini talks with the King, the army takes Mussolini's driver and passenger into their custody.  When il Duce leaves the meeting with the King, he is told that he must go with the army.  The pretense is that they want to avoid Mussolini being accosted by a maddened crowd.  Mussolini doesn't believe this, but he has no choice but to get into the back of an ambulance with his fellow passenger from his car. 

Berlin, July 26.  Hitler asks a group of soldiers who knows something about Italy?  Hauptsturmfuhrer Otto Skorzeny says he has been to Italy twice.  So Hitler chooses this fellow to lead a very important mission.  He explains that the Italian King has betrayed Mussolini and had him arrested.  They must save the greatest of all Italians. 

Plans are being put in place to take over Rome and re-establish a fascist regime in Italy.  Rommel is in charge of a group, but it is much too small.  They have summoned Field Marshal Kluge and has arrived now.  Kluge is admitted to the room and Hitler says he has to take some of his divisions away from him and sent them to Italy.  Kluge says he can't possibly remove a single formation from the front.  In fact, they have to withdraw because their flanks are unable to withstand the onslaught of the Russians.  Of course, this makes Hitler furious and he goes into a tirade says that the General is too passive, thinking that it's another Stalingrad everywhere.  Hitler says that Model is the General in charge of the Kursk problem.  Kluge says that Model agrees with him  on this matter.  To leave the Germans troops at the Kursk Bulge would mean the death or imprisonment of almost a million German soldiers. 

Hitler turns to his yes men, who says that Hitler is right not to leave from Orel and the Kursk Bulge.  Hitler says his decision stands as is. 

August 5.  The troops of the Bryansk front, assisted at its flanks by the units of the Western and Central Fronts, as a result of fierce fighting, have captured the city of Orel.  The troops of the Steppe and Voronezh Fronts have broken the resistance of the enemy and captured the city of Belgorod. 

Zhukov calls Comrade Antonov.  He informs him that the Steppe Front under the command of General Konev has taken the positions for attacking Kharkov.  The enemy is retreating along the entire frontline.  They will now begin Operation Railroad War. 

The Russians start destroying the key railway lines and bridges to bog the Germans down. 

Warsaw, Poland.  The Germans line up a group of Polish men on a street and execute them with sub-machine gun fire.  News spreads vast among the Polish people.  Fresh off the race track, a race horse jockey learns the latest news.  He asks if Helen is at home?  The horse trainer tells him that Helena, dressed in a German uniform and Kowal are waiting for him.  Kowal tells the jockey that he must take this packet to the Apollo Cinema.  They buy tickets and go into a theater.  A newsreel says that from Army Group South, under the command of Field Marshal Manstein, has left the city of Kharkov.  Helena and the jockey leave the theater after leaving the bombs behind.  A German soldier stops the jockey to congratulate him on his race performance.  The bomb goes off knocking everyone down in the lobby area, including the jockey and Helena.  But they are able to get away. 

Italy, September 12, Gran Sasso.  Here Mussolini is being held under house arrest. Hde sees German gliders descending onto the grounds.  The Germans grab Mussolini and take him to a waiting biplane.  They put him on the plane and off he goes. 

Mussolini now has to listen to more of Hitler's ranting.  He accuses the Italian leader lof deliberately trying to disappear from the scene.  Mussolini says he has to think about the situation he faces.  He has not heard any recent news of the progress of the war.  Hitler tells him that they are holding strong positions north of Naples. And in Russia an Easter Rampart has been created on the Dnieper's bank. 

On September 21-23, the troops of the Central, Voronezh. Steppe and South-Western Fronts approached the Dnieper River. 

North of Kiev, the Ukraine, September 23.  The first echelon is Orlov's and Troshkin's battalions.   The orders for Colonel Lukin are to capture the bridgehead, no matter what happens.  They are to hold the bridge until the division's main forces arrive.  The troops start rowing to the other side of the river.  Now the Germans open fire on the Russian troops.  Some of the rafts are completely torn apart.  The troops land on the other side and start running to get off the shore. 

Savchuk is badly wounded.  Zoya tries to save him.  An officer who knows Zoya orders her to go to the left bank now.  She doesn't wants to leave Savchuk, but the officer tells insists that she obey him. 

South of Kiev.  September 24.  General Rybalko reports in that his troops have a good hold on their objective.  Tula samovars have arrived.  German artillery starts really opening up on the attempt to get the Russians forces over the Dnieper River.  They blow a link in the bridge allowing the Russian tanks to cross.  The Russian commander redirects all the artillery fire onto the enemy's batteries.  German planes arrive and do some damage.  Then Russian planes arrive. 

North of Kiev. September 24.  German resistance turns out to be fairly weak.  The Russians will take the village soon.  The Germans respond with tank assaults.  The artillery does its best to knock out the tanks coming from different directions.  Two battalions of the 206th Infantry Regiment of the division have crossed the Dnieper.  New orders says that there will be no offensive in one sector.  The division there is being assigned to be part of the 38th Army Shock Group.  The main strike will occur south of here. 

The artillery guns have been destroyed.  The commander only has ten men left.  The Russians catch a German sniper who turns out to be a Russian working for the Germans.  The order is to take the man out and shoot him.  The order is carried out.

Colonel Lukin was shot in the stomach area.  He asks to be take out to the trench.  The artillery commander gives the Colonel his pistol, says he's sorry about this and then leaves the Colonel behind as the Colonel wished. 

The Germans are on the move.  They are coming through the village.  The Russians try to stop them.  The artillery commander, Captain Tsvetaev, heads a section of men, but they can't stop the tanks from coming through.  They try and kill as many infantry soldiers around and behind the tanks, but they have no anti-tank weapons.  The artillery officer uses a short cut through the marsh to get at another group of German soldiers.  But in the run across the marsh, most of the men are shot down.  The officer gets across with a few other men and they mow down a lot of German soldiers, but after the big shoot-out, the Russian officer is the only man left alive and able to still fight. 

Captain Tsvetaev reaches headquarters.  He says he's the only man left from his battalion. 

Stalin is told that they thwarted the Germans' plan to make the Dnieper River area an unassailable rampart.  The have 20 bridgeheads on the Dnieper's right bank.  The General Staff believe that by strengthening the 38th Army,. the can successfully operate from that bridgehead.  The can launch an attempt o sooner than November 20.  Stalin says Kiev must be captured no later than November 6, the anniversary of the Great October Revolution. 

General Moskalenko is given the task of capturing Kiev.  He takes command of the 38th army and makes a plan for the attack.  General Rybalko will transfer his tank army from the Bukrin bridgehead to the Dnieper's left bank.  They give him a fake message to be planted on a Russian dead body to be left behind on the battlefield for the Germans to spot the fake top secret order. 

Rybalko sets up the scenario and the Germans do find the message on the dead Russian.  The General says that now they can cross over the Dneiper River. 

The 38th Army must break the enemy's defenses on the very first day of the attack. 

November 5.  There is heavy street fighting in the city.  Gromov gets impatient with the pace of the Russian advance, so he goes out front to lead the men forward.  Gromov is wounded but the troops have broken the first line.  Rybalko's tanks now head forward.  The city of Kiev is taken. Gromov is so thrilled with his troops that he kisses several of the men in formation. 

Zoya's medical truck breaks down.  While she is waiting for it to be fixed she sees her Seryozha.  Captain Tsvetaev has his truck stop.  Zoya is thrilled to see that he is still alive.  He tells Zoya that he loves her. 

Stalin goes to a conference in Teheran with Churchill and Roosevelt.  Roosevelt is told that Marshal Stalin invites him to stay in the Russian Mission.  Roosevelt accepts his offer.  He meets with Stalin.  He says:  "After the battle of the Kursk Bulge, the Russians are entitled to special respect from the President of the United States."  

The conference Stalin says they have destroyed 56 divisions over 13,000 tanks and over 14,000 aircraft.  What they now want from their allies in the opening of a second front in Europe in the near future.  FDR says that they are here to set a date to cross the English Channel and head through France to get at Germany.  Churchill says such an invasion will lead to terrible casualties.  Stalin says:  "A war presupposes losses, Mr. Churchill."  He proposes the Balkans as the place for opening a new front.  FDR says they will be closer to Germany by going through France. 

The Russian troops celebrate the new year of 1944 while moving forward through the snow and cold. 

 

 


  Film III.  Part 1.  Direction of the Main Blow.

Teheran, November 30, 1943.  FDR announces that they will be opening a second front in the north of France in May 1944.  Stalin says he's satisfied by that.  Meanwhile, the Russians will prepare a massive blow against the Germans. 

Ankara, Turkey, December 15, 1943.  Presented to the British ambassador to Turkey are the protocols of the Teheran conference.  The ambassador may needs these protocols in connection with the talks on Turkey's entering the war.  The ambassador says that Turkish President Inonu is already thinking about joining in on the war.  There is, however, no need to hurry Turkey for they shall need the million-strong Turkish Army when the Russians are approaching the Balkans. 

There is a spy in the British embassy.  He retrieves the protocols from the safe and photographs them.

Berlin. Reich Chancellery.  January 6, 1944.  Hitler looks over the protocols.  He says the information is from von Papen's agent and he doesn't trust von Papen.  He suggests that this is Churchill's use of disinformation.  He says the documents are fake.  "Churchill will never dare land in Normandy!"

"The great battle at Kursk proved to be one of the greatest battles of World War II.  Here, in the summer of 1943, the tank hordes of Fascist Germany had been routed.  From here, the German army, which had enslaved Europe had begun its retreat.  Our troops mounted a wide offensive on the right-bank in Ukraine and were moving towards the state border of the USSR."

First Ukrainian Front, February 29, 1944.

Commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Arm Ganeeai Vatutin.  The General rolls along in a three jeep convoy.  All of a sudden a shot rings out and his aide is hit.  The general is wounded in the fire fight.  He is out as commander.  Zhukov says he will take the command. 

March 4, 1944.  Three Ukrainian Fronts are on the offensive against the Germans.  Zhukov tells Stalin that they have pushed the German back toward Germany, but the German resistance is increasing.  The Russian troops need a serious reinforcement in strength and material.  "It's time to go over to defensive actions.  Stalin says they are here to talk about the offensive, not the defensive side of things.  They need to determine the direction of the main blow to be delivered to the German in the summer campaign.  And now he wants to hear from the commanders of the various Front.  Comrade Bagramyan says about the north front that they are going to strike a blow in the Baltic and cut off the Army Group North from the territory of Germany.  The 1st Baltic Front will attack alone the Western Dvina on the direction Polotsk-Dvinsk  and come out to Riga, Latvia on the Gulf of Riga.  There is a big objection to this plan.  There are too many lakes and marshes for the Russian tanks in Latvia.     

Zhukov supports the plan.  He says:  "I propose to strike the main blow where we're not expected."  But he wants to strike in the boggy and wooded localities of Belarus.  Stalin tells Zhukov to go to Belarus himself and check out the terrain. 

At the front, a captain says he cannot take the ridge.  He says:  "One more attack like this, and I'll lose all my men." Zoya asks the captain for two men to help her move the Russian wounded to a safer place.  The captain says every man counts here where they are fighting.  He tells her to go away.  They will move the wounded out at night. 

Zoya goes forward to check on the wounded.  The men really like Zoya and they want to protect her.  So the captain decides to launch an attack. When Captain Tsvetaev reaches his Zoya, he slaps her for putting herself into such grave danger. 

The report to Zhukov is that the 2nd Battalion of the 36th Regiment has taken height 217.  The Battalion suffered great loses.  Zhukov gives the order to stop the offensive.  The goal is to advance to Parichi, but the Germans haves set up good defensive positions near there. Zhukov goes to check the terrain out in the rough section.

Moscow, Kremlin, May 23.   Rokossovsky explains to Stalin that the plan is to go through the less defended, rougher terrain section.  They will use the 3rd, 48th, 65th and 28th armies in the direction of Bobruisk, Belarus.  Stalin tells Rokossovsky to go out in the hall and think his plan over again.  Rokossovsky doesn't like this, but he obeys Stalin.  Now Stalin turns to Vassilevsky. He has been planning an attack in the Crimea to gain its liberation. 

Vassilevsky presents the plan for the summer offensive of 1944.  The offensive will be a system of major operations taking place on a vast territory from the Baltic to the Carpathians in Romania.  In early June, the first blow will take place at Leningrad (aka St. Petersburg).  Then the action will be on the Karelian Front heading in the direction of Vyborg.  [Vyborg is a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, situated on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Bay of Vyborg, 130 kilometers to the northwest of St. Petersburg.]   This will lead to the routing of Finland and its exit from the war. 

The main blow will be in Belarus.  The shortest way to Berlin lies through Belarus.  They will be supported by the Belarusian partisans of which there are some 270,000. Once they have taken Belarus, they can head into Poland.  Fighting in Belarus will be the 3rd Belarusian Front under General Chernyakhovsky and the 1s Belarusian Front under Gen. Rokossovsky.  Stalin says the Belarus campaign will be called Operation Bagration, the hero of 1812. 

Vassilevsky goes on to say that the Germans will transfer troops to Belarus.  Then Marshal Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front will strike it blow in the direction of Lvov, the Ukrine.  The German army here will crash and they can then put their offensive into actions in the Balkans  --  Romania,, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Hungary.

Stalin asks for Zhukov's observations.  He says they should send into a breakthrough only tank corps and not commit the four tank armies.  This will mislead the enemy into thinking the main blow will come in the Ukraine.  The tank armies can serve as a powerful reserve in the second state of the offensive.  And it will securely provide for the left flank of General Rokossovsky's attacking armies.  With that done Stalin calls in Rokossovsky, who says he still believes in the plan.  Stalin accepts the pla

June 6, 1944  The Anglo-American troops land in Northern France. 

Washington.  Eleanor Roosevelt asks her husband if may they should have opened up another front, this one in the Balkans, as Churchill suggested.  FDR says Churchill is thinking about politicos after the war.  He wants to stop Stalin from taking over in countries like Hungary, Romania and Austria.  But the is not going to risk American lives in the Balkans just to improve Britain's position on the European continent after the war.

Berlin, Reich Chancellery, June 12.  Hitler speaks with four of his military men.  He asks Keitel where will Stalin strike in the summer offensive.  Keitel says the strike will be in northern Ukraine.  General Model agrees.  He says after the strike in Ukraine, they will breakthrough to Poland and head for the Balkans. 

Belarus.  Secretary of the Minsk Regional Underground Committee of the Communist Party, Vassily Ivanovich Kozlov.  He is taken by boat and horse over to a meeting.  The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus Ponomarenko greets Kozlov.  The Secretary says that gathered her are Belarus' underground committees and the commanders of major units of Belarus artisans.  He then announces that the army will launch an offensive in Belarus. 

June 20.  The partisans of Belarus attack the enemy's railway communications along the whole frontline up to the state border. 

Third Belarus Front, June 23.  Operation Bagration is starting.  Commander of the 303rd Fighter Aviation Division, Major-General Zakharov.  He calls in Colonel Golubov.  He also calls in the Commander of the Normandy Fighter Aviation Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Pouillarde.  Zakharov tells the two regimental commanders that they are to use their planes to blockade Vitebsk, northern Belarus from the air.   The pilots go to the attack.  A French pilot nick-named "Normandy" shoots a German plane out of the sky, but is then shot out of the sky by a German Messerschmitt.  A Russian pilot lands and picks up Normandy.  He puts him in his lap in the plane and takes off.  The plane is shot down by German anti-air craft fire. 

 

 

Film III.  Part 2.  Direction of the Main Blow.

1st Belarus Front, June 24, 3 a.m.  In the course of the past day, Operation Bagration is successfully developing. Bagramyan broke the German Front, forced the crossing of the Western Dvina and surrounded Vitebsk.  Chernyakhovsky is rapidly advancing with his right flank to the Berezina in the direction of Borisov (southwest of Vitebsk).  Zakharov's 2nd Belarus Front successfully broke the defenses and is moving to Mogilev (south of Vitebsk).  The Belarus partisans have done a very good job. 

The Russian construct a corduroy road through the worst of the boggy areas.  Panov's corps is released to begin the fighting.  Commander of the 1st Guards Armored Corps, Major-General Panov.  The tanks starts moving over the corduroy road.  A tank sinks in the mud.  Soldiers falls into the bog water. When they reach solid ground, the tank open up on the German lightly-defended posts. 

Panov's tank corps mad a gap in the enemy battle formations, and is rapidly moving to Bobruisk. Exploiting Panov's success, the rifle corps of the 65th and 28th Armies and Pliev's group are pushing further north.  The enemy, fearing encirclement, withdraws behind the Berezina (southwest of Mogilev).  Zakharov tells Zhukov that he wants to breakthrough to Bobruisk from the east. 

The Berezina River, June 25, 8 a.m.  Brigade Commander of the Dnieper Military Flotilla.  Captain of the Second Rank Lyalko.  The ships land on the temporary bridge carrying Germans over the River.  The soldiers start jumping off the ship to attack the Germans.

Field Marshal Model comes to replaces the Commander of Army Group Center, Field Marshal Buchs.  Buchs is already aware that he is being replaced.  He summarizes he situation for Model.  The armies of Bagramyan and Chernyakhovsky have occupied Polots, Vitebsk, Orsha and are pushing towards Vilnius and Minsk, going round the left flanks of the main forces of Army Group Center. Rokossovsky's troops have broken through to Bobruisk and trapped there 40,000 German soldiers.  German General Haman is in charge in Bobruisk.

Harman is told to destroy the town of Bobruisk as they leave it.  So, Harman tells his officers to set everything on fire!

Bobruisk. June 28, 2 a.m.  Flame throwers are used too set the city afire. 

Captain Tsvetaev looks out over the landscape.  He takes a walk down to the lake.  He sees Zoya in the water.  He calls to her and she comes out.  She puts on her uniform.  They talk for awhile, as the Germans are on the march.  The battle starts again.  The artillery opens up on the Germans and they start running away.  All German counterattacks from the Bobruisk cauldron are repulsed.  June 29, the Russian troops liberate Bobruisk.  The soldier make a triumphant march into Bobruisk. 

After their defeat at Vitebsk and Bobruisk, the Germans, instead of retreating, engaged in prolonged frontal fighting.  Zhukov says this was a clear mistake.  This will allow Panov's 1st Tank Coprps to advance into Minsk, Belarus.  The main forces will concentrate on Slutsk and Baranovichi, south and southwest of Minsk.  This will cut off any retreat routes for the German troops.  Chernyakhovsky is already advancing to Minsk.  They shall completely encircle the Germans.  This will finish the first stage of Operation Bagration.

In the second stage, the 1st Belarus Front will advance in the direction of Kovel-Brest and approach Poland's border.  Brest, on the Polish border, is in line with Warsaw, Poland. 

Zhukov consults with the Polish army officers at headquarters.  The highest ranking officer says that they want the Polish Army to be attacking into Poland in the first echelon.  But first, the Russians have to conquer Minsk. 

Southwest of Minsk, 1st Guards Armored Corps.  Their orders are to head northwest to cut off the routes of retreat for the Germans.  There they will join with the 3rd Belarus Front.  They head northwest.  They run into partisans from Kozlov's brigade and the Russian commanders tells the men to get on the tops of the tanks. 

Minsk Cargo Station.  The partisans help capture the Minsk station.   The tanks proceed through Minsk and start to go over the bridge at the river.  They run into tanks of the 3rd Belarus Front.  The men of both armies rush down to the river to celebrate their liberation of Minsk. 

Zhukov telephones Stalin with the good news.  57,000 Germans have been taken prisoners.  The Russians now advance toward Poland. 

German POWs are marched through the streets of Moscow. There are thousands and thousands of them. 

Berlin.  Von Kluke and von Witzleben meet together.  Then the two men go to meet with the other men here.  There is Colonel-General Bek, Dr. Carl Goerdeler, General Friedrich Olbricht, the Deputy Commander of the Reserve Army, Col. Count Claus von Stauffenberg, Chief of Staff of the Reserve Army, Oberleutnant Werner von Haeften, adjutant to the Chief of Staff of the Reserve Army.  The men talk about the worsening picture in Belarus where each day the Russians have been advancing 40 kilometers.  And now they are approaching the Polish borders.  In other words, the Russian armies are at the gates to Europe. 

The men agree that the only solution is to remove Hitler and make peace in the West.  Then thjey can concentrate all their forces on stopping the Russians and, thereby, stop Communism at Germany's gates.  Stauffenberg insists they should make peace with both the West and the East.  They have worked out a plan called Operation Valkyrie.  Stauffenberg himself plans to kill Hitler with a bomb at the Wolfsschanze. 

July 20.  Werner brings the bomb to Stauffenberg, who now travels to Rastenburg.  At Rastenburg, Stauffenberg sets the bomb in motion.  He has only ten minutes to set the bomb and get away.  He goes into the meeting room, but soon sneaks out leaving his briefcase behind.  The bomb goes off and Stauffenberg almost doesn't get out of Rastenburg. 

Berlin.  Werner and Stauffenberg arrive with the good news that the bomb went off.  Operation Valkyrie is on.  They go to see the Commander of the Reserve Army, Colonel-General Fromm.  They tell Fromm that Hitler has been assassinated.  Fromm tells them that Hitler is not dead.  He survived the explosion at the Wolfsschanze.  They have to arrest Fromm. 

Major Remer goes to see Goebbels.  He tells his secretary that they have orders to arrest Goebbels.  Goebbels hears what's happening and comes out to explain to Remer that Hitler is alive.  He gets Hitler on the phone and Hitler promotes Remer to Colonel and tells him to arrest all those involved in the conspiracy against him.  Remer recognizes Hitler's voice and will do as he says.

Remer and his men arrives and starts arresting the conspirators.  Stauffenberg is wounded in the consequent shoot-out.  He and the others are taken to the courtyard.  Fromm gives Bek a pistol to shoot himself.  Bek kills himself.  He is then shot two more times by a guard.  Stauffenberg and the others are executed in the courtyard. 

Hitler has Stauffenberg's wife and children sent to a concentration camp. 

The new chief of the general staff, Colonel-0General Guderian.  He reports in the last three months the Germans have lost 1,200,000 men.  Hitler says he has 5.5 million men under arms.  And then there are 2 million more men in reserve.  "I shall stop the Russian offensive."

London.  Churchill is informed that the plot against Hitler failed.  Churchill is satisfied that it failed.  He would not want to sign a peace treaty with the Allies only in Normandy and the Russians at Poland's door.  He receives a packet from Stalin.  It is a photo of Stalin looking very regal.  Churchill figures that it is odd to receive a portrait of Stalin without any letter.  He thinks about it for awhile and then says that the Russians must now already be in Poland and this photo is to honor that accomplishment. 

The Western Bug.  Russian troops pass over the But River.  The liberation of the enslaved Europe has begun.  Ahead of them are Warsaw and Budapest, Belgrade and Sofia, Vienna and Bucharest, Bratislava and Prague.  And Berlin!

 

 

Film IV.  The Battle for Berlin. 

"The latest news from the northeastern France, the Ardennes area.  Watch some newsreels captured by the Fuhrer glorious soldiers.  The sequences shows the advance of American mechanized columns.  They move by the mountain roads in the hope of an easy victory.  But the great German army struck an unexpected blow at the arrogant Americans.  [In the counter-attack known as the Battle of the Bulge] 80,000 of them have been taken prisoner.  The enemy has been thrown back 120 kilometers.  Our troops are advancing deep into France." 

Stalin is concerned about the situation.  Eisenhower has written him asking if they can count on a Russian offensive on the Vistula front or elsewhere.  Stalin tells his aide:  "A delicate and cunning appeal for help."  Stalin asks his aide Antonov for the latest developments toward a renewed Russian offensive.  The aide tells him that they have concentrated all the breakthrough armies.  They have 9,000 tanks, 9,000 airplanes, 70,000 guns and 180 rifle divisions.  The generals want to go in late January.  Stalin moves the date up to January 12. 

On January 12-14, 1945 the armies of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Belarus Fronts, the 1st and 4th Ukrainian Fronts, assisted by the ships of the Baltic Fleet and the Ukraine partisan units, assume the offensive towards Berlin!  The blow on the German flank is carried out by the 1st and 2nd Guards Tank Armies.  It forces the German troops to withdraw from Warsaw.  On January 17, the units of the 1st Polish Army enter Warsaw.  People start returning to the city. 

Commander of the 1st Belarus Front Marshal Zhukov.  As Zhukov in his jeep approaches the center city, the Germans start shelling the city.  The go to the Russian Headquarters.  There they find in attendance, the Chief of HQ of the 745 Rifle Regiment Major Orlov. The regiment commander in resting.  Zhukov tells Orlov to wake the commander.  Orlov gets Lt.-Colonel Korkin up.  Zhukov asks for a report on the current state of the battle.  Orlov takes over from a possibly inept Korkin.  Orlov says that the enemy is holding onto the flour-grinding factory.  They beat off two attacks of the 1st and 2nd battalions. The 3rd battalion is gathering at the cemetery to attack the factory.  Zhukov says from now on Major Orlov will be the regiment commander and Korkin will be his deputy. 

The Russians keep advancing.  The First Tank Army.  Lt.-General Katukov just to keep on moving forward.  Don't investigate side roads.  The tanks cruise into a small town and catch the German troops in formation and off-guard.  The troops run away. 

Hitler's staff says that the time has come to ask Gen. Eisenhower to enter into a 100-day armistice.  This way the Germans can concentrate all their forces in the east.  Hitler rejects the whole idea.  He asks Guderian for a report on the situation between the Vistula and the Oder, on the border of Poland and Germany.  Guderian says that the Russian 1st Tank Army has approached the Order south of Kustrin, which is on the Polish side of the border and almost directly east of Berlin.  Hitler becomes concerned for that is only 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Berlin.   He says:  "This is treason!  Betrayal and treason!"

Guderian proposes that they strike a counterblow in Pomerania.  They can gather a large army and attack Zhukov's flank.  Hitler is interested.

Switzerland.  Secretary of State Dulles has a chat with a fellow, a German agent, who asks him what is he going to do about the Russian troops being only 50 miles away from Berlin?  And the Americans are 500km (311 miles) away. 

Kremlin.  In the next six days, after consolidating their gains, they will make a sweeping assault to capture Berlin on February 15 or 16.  Zhukov says:  so it's only 15 days to Berlin.  He says okay.  Zhukov is next told that in Pomerania, Poland there has been spotted a grand movement of major tank and motorized forces of the enemy.  The 2nd and 11th Armies, operating against our right flank, already compromise up to seven tank divisions.  He asks what's the situation in Kustrin?  Berzarin's troops are persistently fighting for the Oder bridgeheads.  The divisions have up to only 50 percent of their manpower.  The Germans are counter-attacking all the time.  On average the tank brigades only have 40 tanks.  Reinforcement is going too slowly.  Furthermore, the troops need a rest. 

It is said that the Russian troops are fighting at the limits of human possibility.  Zhukov says he thinks the enemy is getting exhausted.  His troops are all stretched out along the area of the front and they have lost their ability of penetration. 

Zhukov decides that for now there will be no Berlin offensive.  He tells the commander of the 1st Tank army to leave his positions on the Oder to others and move north to West Pomerania to Arnswalde (Choszczno in Polish). 

Yalta Conference, February 4.  The Soviets report on their progress.  The troops of General Chernyakhovsky are attacking Konigsberg.  Rokossovsky is cutting off East Prussia.  The troops of Marshal Zhukov have reached the Oder River.  Konev is advancing to Breslau (Wroclaw in Polish, the largest city in western Poland).   American General Marshall says if the offensive planned is successful, the troops could move onward to Dusseldorf and then onto Berlin.  Stalin asks how far away from Berlin are the American forces?  About 600 miles.  Stalin contrasts the 37 miles of separation for the Russians.

Stalin expresses his worry that the United States and Britain might be going behind his back.  He has a photo of Dulles meeting with a German agent.  FDR denies that they are trying to make a separate peace treaty with Germany behind Russia's back.  So Stalin tears up the photo. 

The 1st Belarus Front has turned its troops northward.  The repulsed the enemy counterblow in Pomerania.  They routed the Germans and then went onto the offense on March 1. 

A Polish battalion commander stops his men to ask the tank commander what is the holdup.  Captain Vasilyev explains that they have no more fuel for their tanks.  The Polish commander asks one of his men about fuel and the man says that he saw cisterns 3 km away from the highway.  So a Russian soldier, Tankman Dorozhkin, is sent with the Polish soldier to check the cisterns.  Meanwhile, the Polish battalion marches forward again.  The soldiers checking on the cisterns find them filled with alcohol, not tank fuel.  While the men drink some of the alcohol, they hear banging noise coming for the box cars.  They go to check and find women in concentration camp uniforms in the box cars.  They are so relieved that the two men are Polish and Russian.  They say they are from Smolensk and Poltava.  And there are French and Czech women with them.  The women come down and kiss the men.  They open another car and find the male prisoners.  Many of them are anti-fascist activists.  The two soldiers finally find a cistern filled with tank fuel. 

Moscow April 1.  Zhukov and Konev come in to speak with Stalin.  He says they do not know the latest situation going on.  He shows the two men the intelligence reports.  The Americans and British are planning to put a rush on to Berlin with the aim of taking the city before the Soviets do.  The main group is under the command of Field Marshal Montgomery.  They will strike north of the Ruhr Valley.  Stalin adds that the Hitlerites might just let the American and British troops head to Berlin uninhibited.  Stalin plans on being in Berlin first. 

Zhukov talks to the commanders.    He says they will have to fight four German armies, no less than a million men, to get to Berlin before the Americans. Taking Berlin will be their most difficult battle in the war.  They will hit the German front with such overwhelming force that it will shatter their system of defense to its very foundations.  They have concentrated 22,000 barrels of artillery and mortar, 4,000 tanks and self-propelled guns and 5,000 aircraft.  Furthermore, the attack will be at night, two hours before dawn, and under the lights of 140 anti-aircraft searchlights.  There are several objections to the searchlights.  So Zhukov takes them onto a large field where the searchlights are pointed at their faces.  They all have to cover their eyes to avoid of the pain of looking into the lights. 

Hitler is told that their counter-attacks in Pomerania and Hungary were beaten off by the Bolsheviks.  Gen. Dietrich's 6th Panzer Army failed to thrust its way to Budapest.  Hitler strips Dietrich of his awards and medals and tells him to get out.  The bombardment of Berlin begins and Hitler replace Goderian with Gen. Krebs as the new Chief of the General Staff.  He then tells Bormann to tell Himmler to send all cowards and traitors to the gallows!

Goebbels tells Hitler congratulations!  Roosevelt is dead!  Hitler is thrilled. 

April 16.  The Germans are running away from their defensive positions. 

Commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front Marshal Konev reports that the front's troops have breached the enemy defenses.  Stalin listens to the report and comments that Zhukov is still having difficulties.  He decides to take the tanks from Zhukov over to Konev where they have already made a breakthrough in the German lines. Konev say not because it would create confusion and Zhukov will breakthrough in his sector.  Stalin agrees. 

Konev calls Rybalko.  He asks the tank commander what's he doing?  Rybalko says he's fighting for Friedrichshain.  Konev orders the commander to turn his tank army onto Berlin from the south. 

Konev decides to telephone the Commander of the 4th Tank Army, Col.-General Lelyushenko.  A bullet came into the tank commander's headquarters through the window.  The Russian catch the fellow and bring him to the General.  The General asks how old is the boy?  15 years old.  Has he got a mother?  Yes.  The General tells his men to send the boy home.  "Let his mother give him a thrashing."  The General now informs his officers that their army is now turned toward Berlin. 

April 20.  Berlin.  Hitler introduces his friend Eva Braun to his military officers.  She came out of seclusion to share his fate whatever that might be.  It's Hitler's birthday today.  Today Hitler and other will be shown a film on the 50th anniversary of the fascist party in Germany.  The movie is interrupted by a bombardment of the Reich Chancellery.  Now the officers all have excuses to leave Hitler.  They take off. 

On April 21, the troops of the 1st Belarus Front burst into Berlin.  A Russian tank gets it tread blown off and the tank goes backward into a restaurant.  Our friend from the attempt to find tank oil in cisterns, Tankman Dorozhkin, is one of the tank crew members.  He tries to calm the owner of the restaurant and his family, but he doesn't really speak German, although he knows a few words.  Two of the crew have a lunch with the family.  The lunch is disturbed by machine gun fire.  The two crew members go out to see what's going on.  They start firing on German soldiers running in the streets. 

On April 25, the 4th Tank Army, outflanking Berlin from the south, enters Potsdam, southwest of Berlin.  Outflanking Berlin from the north, Bogdanov's 2nd Tank Army swiftly advanced to link up with the 4th Tank Army.  The Russians are encircling Berlin. 

Commander of the 2nd Tank Army, Col.-General Bogdanov.  Bogdanov asks one of the tank driver why did the attack stop?  Where's the battalion commander?  The answer is that the commander was killed.  The driver introduces himself as the battalion's political officer, Lt. Kruglikov.  The lieutenant says they need infantry to deal with faustpatroners.  The General sends two tank crew members to go get some infantry.  Very quickly the men find the infantry and they all come running.  The are Polish infantrymen and they have sappers with them.  The General orders them to get rid of the faustpatroners.
The soldiers move out, accompanied by the tanks.  Some of the tanks land up in the Berlin Zoo.  The young lieutenant is so excited to see the animals that he pops his head up out of the tank and is shot in the head by a German infantryman.  Even the Generals stop to look at the zoo animals. 

 

 

 

Film V.  The Last Assault.

In Berlin there is a lot of house to house fighting.  One group hears talking coming from the fireplace.  They place a grenade there and it blows  a hole through to the next apartment.  In the next apartment are Captain Tsvetaev and nurse Zoya.  The Russians asks who are the other Russians and they find out they are meeting men from a different tank army.  They have a toast to their joining up in Berlin. 

Hitler is miffed because the commander of the forces in Berlin can't give him a status report on where the Russian forces are.  The commander says that all communication in Berlin are broken.  Goebbels says that the telephones are still working.  He calls a telephone number for someone on Wilhelmstrasse.  He asks if they have any Russians there?  The landlady says yes.  Goebbels asks what are they doing?  The landlady says they are singing.  He called the number where Captain Tsvetaev and nurse Zoya are.  Goebbels hangs up and tells Hitler that the Russians are on Wilhelmstrasse.  This news shakes Hitler to his core.  Now the commandants of Berlin says they are no longer able to defend Berlin.  Hitler is delusional.  He insists that General Wenck's army is moving to Berlin.  "They will throw the Russians back."

There is fierce fighting in the streets of Berlin.  German soldiers go down into the subway to get away from the Russians.  This frightens the many civilians already down in the subway.  And now the Russians are bringing down an artillery gun to deal with the retreating Germans.  From a subway car, a machine gunner opens up on the advancing Russians.  The Russians use their artillery piece to blow the car up. 

Hitler learns that the Russians are in the subway.  They are approaching the subway station Kaiserhof.  Hitler says to open the floodgates.  "If we lose this war, the German nation will cease to exist.  If our nation couldn't even subjugate the Slav peoples, it has no right to exist."  Despite the fact that Hitler knows that German residents of Berlin are in the tunnels, he still orders the Berlin command to let the Spree waters run into the tunnels!

In the tunnels the Russian soldiers have to retreat from the flooding of the subway tunnels.  The water is rising fast.  The Russian grenade a locked gate open and people start struggling to get out of the gate.  German soldiers and Russian soldiers now are together trying to get out of the tunnel.

Zoya sees the waters almost reaching street level.  She worries about her Captain.

Commander of the 150th Infantry Division Major-General Shatilov.  He learns from Lt.-Colonel Orlov that Captain Neustroyev's battalion has reached the Spree.  And the Reichstag is ahead.  The General tells the Colonel that they finally got to the center of Berlin. 

Commander of the 756th Rifle Regiment Colonel Zinchenko reports to the General, who tells him that his regiment will hoist the Russian flag on the Reichstag.  The Colonel calls for Scouts Yegorov and Kantaria and tells them to hoist the flag on the Reichstag!

Berlin.  April 29.  The tanks are shelling the Reichstag.  Tankman Dorozhkin goes to help tank commander Vasilyev.  He will assist him with the firing.

Hitler learns that the Russians are 600meters away from the Imperial Chancellery.  The last airfield has been burned by the Russians.  Hitler asks where's Wenck?  Wenck is fighting in the Potsdam area and can't break through to Berlin.  And  now comes the news that Mussolini and his girlfriend Clara Petacci were hanged by the partisans upside down in the Piazzale Loreto in Milan. 

Hitler goes to Eva with cyanide pills, but she says she doesn't want to die as Hitler's mistress.  So Hitler says they will have a wedding.  German soldier forcefully take a priest toward Hitler's bunker.  A Russian sniper sees this and shoots one of the soldiers.  The priest stars walking to the Russian sniper as the sniper motions him to come over.  The sniper takes the priest over to Commander of the 8th Guard Army Col.-General Chuikov.   The sniper says that the priest just keeps talking about some wedding ceremony.   The General tells the sniper to send him over to the anti-Fascists.  So the priest is taken to where over a loud-speaker a German anti-Fascist pleads with the German to give up the fight.  The priest takes the microphone and makes his own plea for the German soldiers to stop fighting. 

Hitler marries Eva Braun. 

April 30.  As the troops gets closer and closer to the Chancellery, so too does the Russian flag detail.  The steps of the Chancellery are reached.  Now hundreds of soldiers rush inside the Chancellery.  There are lots of Germans guarding the inside, but they are moved down one by one. 

Now the Russians have secured the first floor.  Tankman Dorozhkin, a radioman, is with the men in the Chancellery.  He is told to tell the Colonel that the first floor belongs to the Russians.  Then telephoned is the Commander of the 3rd Shock Army Col.-General Kuznetsov.  He asks why did it take them so long to capture the first floor?  He tells the men to make sure they hoist the Russian flag.  Kuznetsov now telephones Zhukov.  He too says the soldiers are moving too slow.  Now Zhukov will telephone Stalin.

Hitler says goodbye to his staff.  He shakes hand with each of them.  Now he goes to Eva to give her the cyanide pills.  He forces her to down the pills.  She dies almost immediately.  Eva's body lies on his desk.  Hitler is too afraid to shoot himself in the head.  He takes the pill.  A staff officer goes in and shoots Hitler in the head.  Then he tells the staff that Hitler killed himself.  The fighting in the Chancellery goes on.  The German soldiers do not give up and die at their posts. 

Tankman Dorozhkin directs the fire to the top of the Chancellery.  He then joins in the fighting.  And there he is hit by German gunfire.  And there he dies.

Berlin, May 1.  The Russian flag now flies over the Chancellery.  Over a loud-speaker someone calls for a ceasefire.  The priest now goes outside and is shot down by a German machine gunner. The Chief of the German Army General Staff General Krebs comes out in a jeep with a white flag on it.  He speaks the the Russians.  Krebs tells them that on April 30, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker.   Grossadmiral Doenitz has been made the new head of state.  The former government no longer exists.  Goebbels has asked for a one day cease fire so that the new government people can come to Berlin.  The Russians say there will be no ceasefire.  There must be first a complete and unconditional surrender of the German government.

Goebbels refuses unconditional surrender.  He talks of following Hitler's example.  He goes in and tells his wife Maghda. She will now kill their six children with poison in a syringe.  The Germans are having a party.  Goebbels now wants a German guard to shot he and his wife in the heads as they go up the stairs. 

Berlin May 2.  Chuikov phones Zhukov that the Germans in the Chancellery have put out a white flag.  They are surrendering.  The Germans broadcast over the radio that they are asking for a ceasefire and then negotiations for peace.  Zhukov has broadcast over the radio that they will only accept an unconditional surrender.  He says they will be taking prisoners at the Brandenburg Gate.  And he guarantees the lives of everyone. 

The Russians come out of the Chancellery.  Captain Tsvetaev goes in to call out for radioman Dorozhkin. The men file out of the Chancellery and start firing their weapons into the air.  Captain Tsvetaev goes over to be united with Zoya. 

All of Russia celebrates the fall of Berlin and the end of World War II. 

The dead in WWII:

520,000 French

400,000 Italians

320,000 British

325,000 Americans

364,00 Czechs and Slovaks

1,600,000 Yugoslavians

6,028,000 Poles

9,700,000 Germans

20,000,000 Soviet people.

 

 

Terrific movie and just the one I have wanted to see for a long time.  For a long time I wanted to know what happened after Stalingrad besides the fall of Berlin.  This movie explains in detail what happened in the barren movie wasteland of no films.  You see the war from the perspective of the Russians.  You realize how paranoid Stalin was about a possible double-cross of the British and American leaders.  Though the five films, we follow the top commander Zhukov, as well as Captain Tsvetaev, nurse Zoya and tank radioman Dorozhkin.  The battle scenes are well done.  The acting is good.  Come and watch a period of history mostly ignored in world film.  It's well worth a view. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 

 

 

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