Operation Barbarossa: Anti-Communist Russians and Ukranians

Figure 1.--A reader tell us that this World War II photograph shows a Russian boy wearing a Wehrmacht cap. Unfortunately we do not know just where this photograph was taken. It could have been the Ukraine or perhaps eastern Poland/Beylorusia. I suspect it was taken in the summer of 1941 or perhaps because that is a tulip I see, Spring 1942. Actually the Wehrmacht and Red army had caps like this. I'm not sure how to tell the difference.

The NAZIs had in the Soviet Union the possibility of being received as liberators by substantial elements of the population. This was not just the case in the Baltics, but especially in the Ukraine. Stalin's oppresive regime had alientanted large numbers of Soviet citizens. The NAZIs in their lust for booty and hatred of the Slavs chose not to take advantage of this opportunity. A wide range of NAZI policies turned those opposed to Stalin and and the Soviet regime against the NAZIs. Unlike in Western Europe, the NAZIs did not even an attempt to disguise their intententions. The Soviet prisonors of war were horribly mistreated. Some 3.5? million are believed to have died in NAZI captivity. These include large numbers who may have been enduced to fight with the Germans are as leat have been used as labor in the German war economy. The mass murder of the Einsatgrupen whichb focused on Jews were not limited to them. Much of the Einsatzgrupen killing was doine openly, not behind barbed wire in camps. The administratioin of seized territory in the Soviet Union was in the hands of men like Alfred Rosenberg, Minister for the East, Erich Koch, Commissioner for the Ukraine. These were men who saw the East as a area to be looted and were desorous of reducing the Slav population. The Germans made no attempt to maximize the production inoccupied, Eastern areas. In large measure, they seized what the retreatting Soviets did not destroy and shipped it back to Germany. The civilian popukation was left to fend for itself. Rather than capitalizing on the disaffected Soviet population, they instead built support for Stalin and generated the War's most poweful partisan movement.


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Created: 2:10 AM 11/30/2006
Last updated: 2:10 AM 11/30/2006