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Sep 22, 2022
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Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Yugoslavs fought in the same ranks with the Red Army

Freedom is not brought on a golden platter, it is taken with a weapon in hand

The war of annihilation that German Nazism launched against the Soviet Union required the Soviet leadership to mobilize any forces and means capable of strengthening the rebuff to Hitler’s aggression.

One of the sources of such forces was the revived movement for the unity of the Slavs. If before the war the idea of ​​Slavic unity was most often identified with “tsarist pan-Slavism”, which resulted in the actual defeat of academic Slavic studies and repressions against individual scientists, now this idea has come to be seen as the most important tool in gathering allies to repel Germany – “the worst enemy of the Slavs and everything humanity.”

The archives have preserved a memorandum, which the famous Slavist Academician N.S. Derzhavin and economist Professor E.Z. Volkov was sent to the State Defense Committee on July 29, 1941: “We believe that now the wonderful moment has come when, by the very course of historical events, the Soviet Union has been placed at the head of the Slavic peoples, when the Soviet Union can openly extend a hand of fraternal help to its younger brothers before the whole world – to the Slavs, to unite them around themselves and thus create from all the Slavic peoples under their leadership in Central Europe and the Balkans a natural and powerful bulwark against fascism and its possible successors in the future. Scholars proposed the creation of an International Bureau to assist the Slavic peoples in their struggle for liberation from the fascist yoke.

scientists supported creative intelligentsia. ten August 1941 mr. efforts in first turn Union writers was organized in mode radio broadcasts The first Panslavic rally. opened his Alexei Tolstoy urged Slavic nation unite for fight With Hitlerism. Tolstoy said what freedom not bring on the gold platter her take With weapons in hands: “I They who thinks somehow survive this is time, become meek as well as inconspicuous, brutally are wrong. humble, how contagious squeezing paws, will crush fascist boot… Slavs! We unite for fight as well as victory”.

The result of this activity, fully supported by the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, was the creation International Pan-Slavic committee.

The most important activity of the committee was propaganda, including the military brotherhood of the Slavs. This work was connected with the practical efforts of the Main Directorate for the Formation and Staffing of the Red Army Troops, and since 1943 – and the special apparatus of the authorized Headquarters of the Supreme High Command for foreign military formations established by the decision of the State Defense Committee of the USSR for foreign military formations to create and train military units of some Slavic countries on the territory of the USSR, subjected to fascist occupation. All of them were provided according to the full standards of material and technical supply established for similar units and formations of the Red Army.

The first foreign units in the USSR began to form in September 1941 on the territory of the Uzbek, Tajik and Kazakh Union Republics from Polish servicemen who were captured by the Red Army during its campaign against Western Ukraine and Western Belarus in September 1939, and Poles -volunteers. The number of troops led by General V. Anders amounted to 73 thousand people.

However, the Polish government in exile in London, with which the Soviet government restored diplomatic relations, opposed the use of the Anders army on the Soviet-German front, and Polish troops were withdrawn to Iran in the summer of 1942, later they participated in battles with the Wehrmacht in the Western European theater of operations .

Sagmund Berling

Sagmund Berling

On May 6, 1943, the GKO allowed the formation of the 1st Polish division named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, which began at an accelerated pace in military camps near Ryazan. Three months later, in August, the deployment of the 1st Polish Corps under the command of Colonel Z. Berling began. And two months later, on October 12, 1943, the 1st Polish division named after T. Kosciuszko for the first time took part in hostilities as part of the 33rd Army of the Western Front near the village of Lenino, Mogilev Region. In March 1944, the corps was transformed into the 1st Polish Army, which, as part of the 1st Belorussian Front, participated in the liberation of Poland, as well as in the Dresden and Berlin operations.

The Soviet Union transferred 309 guns and mortars, 105 tanks and armored vehicles, 1,425 machine guns, 6,967 machine guns, 19,759 rifles, as well as means of communication and transport, equipment and uniforms to equip Polish units and formations.

On the territory of the USSR, the creation of Czechoslovak units was also going on. The 1st Czechoslovak infantry battalion began to form in 1942 in the city of Buzuluk, Chkalov (now Orenburg) region. By attracting new personnel, he grew into a brigade that participated in the Voronezh Front in a number of battles, including the liberation of Kyiv.

A new impetus to Soviet-Czechoslovak relations was given by an agreement on friendship, mutual assistance and post-war cooperation, signed by President E. Benes and V.M. Molotov on December 12, 1943 in Moscow. On the territory of the USSR, on the basis of the 1st Czechoslovak separate infantry brigade in 1944, the 1st Czechoslovak army corps was formed with a three-brigade strength of 32 thousand soldiers and commanders. All these units, and from the autumn of 1944 the corps was commanded by Ludwig Svoboda, the future president of Czechoslovakia, Hero of the Soviet Union and three times Hero of Czechoslovakia.

Ludwig Svoboda

Ludwig Svoboda

The corps took an active part in the liberation of their homeland from the fascist invaders: being under the operational subordination of the commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, he fought in Transcarpathia and Slovakia, then in Moravia. Its composition was replenished due to the mobilization of the local, patriotic population.

The People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia (NOAYU), unlike the armed formations of Poland and Czechoslovakia, waged an independent struggle against the invaders on its own land. It was essentially in the position of a partisan army, and the Soviet Union provided the NOAU, headed by I.B. Tito, great help. Including forming Yugoslav military units on its territory since the autumn of 1943. By the time the liberation of the Balkans began, two brigades were formed and equipped – the 1st Infantry (1946 people) and the 1st Tank (872 people and 65 T-34 tanks), as well as two aviation regiments.

For the sake of truth, it should be said that military units were also formed on the territory of the USSR from non-Slavic Romania (1st Romanian Volunteer Infantry Division named after Tudor Vladimirescu), France (Normandie Aviation Regiment) and Hungary (1st Volunteer Infantry Division).

It should be clarified that all foreign units and formations formed in the Soviet Union were not organizationally part of the Red Army and only came under the operational subordination of the Soviet front command for the period of hostilities. In matters of internal life, they enjoyed complete independence: they retained national traditions, religious and party affiliation, had their own battle banners, national uniforms, insignia, military ranks, training was conducted in the native language of personnel.

It is clear that the Red Army played a decisive role in the defeat of the troops of Nazi Germany and its allies, in the liberation of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and other countries of Eastern and Central Europe. But the contribution of the military units and formations of these countries, formed on Soviet territory and equipped by the Soviet Union, must also be appreciated. It is appropriate to refer to the review of the commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Marshal of the Soviet Union I.S. Konev (refers to the time of the Carpathian-Dukla operation in September-October 1944): “The Czechoslovak Corps, fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Soviet troops as part of the 38th Army of the 1st Ukrainian Front, showed itself to be combative and strong, united connection … We noted the successful actions in this battle of the artillerymen and tankmen of the Czechoslovak corps, as well as the skillful and energetic command and control of the troops by the commanders, headquarters of the brigades and battalions who were in the battle formations of the troops.

At the same time, the Soviet marshal remarked about the commander he put at the head of the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps: “The commander himself, General L. Svoboda, showed his subordinates an example in combat control, being directly in the battle formations of the advanced infantry units. His contempt for danger and courage forced me to tell him that he was in vain so often appearing in battle formations, and asked him still not to turn into an ordinary submachine gunner even at critical moments of the battle, since he is dear to us and we need him as a corps commander.

Our then allies were not only distinguished by courage in the struggle for the freedom of their native land, but also by a natural feeling of gratitude to our country, which came to the aid of Polish, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav patriots in the most difficult period of history for their Motherland.

Departing to the front in 1943 at the head of the unit entrusted to him, Zygmunt Berling sent I.V. A letter to Stalin with deep gratitude for organizing and arming the division, for “realizing our dream of participating in the struggle against the German oppressors of Poland.” “We will never forget this. The heart of the Polish people will forever live in deep gratitude to the great Soviet ally, who provided us with real help in a difficult moment, ”the Polish military leader assured.

These would be words – yes, in the ears of the current Warsaw rulers.

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