22 June 1941

Beatrice Paetzold Brücke/Most-Stiftung, Dresden, Germany

16-19 years

90 minutes

General Information

General information on the attack on the Soviet Union by German troops on 22 June 1941

by Bianka Pietrow-Ennker

The impact of the German Blitzkrieg1 against the Soviet Union, which began at dawn on 22 June 1941 along the entire length of the Soviet state border, with the main lines of attack towards Leningrad, Moscow and Ukraine, hit the Soviet armed forces while they were still in the process of being deployed. The first directive issued by the People’s Commissariat2 of Defence to the troops assigned to military border districts, which was intended to put the border troops on alert, came much too late, only at 00.30, on 22 June 1941. It failed to reach most units in time. The content of the directive was also problematic: Soviet troops were ordered not to be provoked and not to open fire even if the enemy was entering Soviet territory. When the German Wehrmacht’s3 attack was already stretching from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea, Soviet troops retreated and recorded their first heavy losses, following which a second directive was issued seven hours after the first. This made clear that the Soviet political and military leadership were continuing to act on the basis that this was a German provocation and that they did not believe a major military confrontation between Germany and the USSR had begun. Troops were ordered to attack and destroy the enemy where they had violated the Soviet border, but there was no mention of a state of war and no general mobilisation. A third directive was issued on the evening of 22 June 1941, by which time the initiative had long since been in the hands of the Germans; this directive ordered offensive counter-attacks on all fronts against the enemy on Soviet territory. At that time, the headquarters had no idea of what was happening at the front. The German Air Force already controlled the airspace, and Soviet troops were fighting heavy defensive battles or were even in retreat. The German bombardment reached 400 kilometres into Soviet territory. It scattered Soviet units, destroyed communications, and made it extremely difficult to bring troops to the front. German units started their offensives at different times, making it impossible to establish a continuous defensive front. As a result, German tanks and motorised units bypassed the Soviet forces and attacked them from the flanks and from behind. Defeats for the Red Army4 in these border battles, the large losses of men and material, and the lack of reserves of weapons and ammunition enabled the Germans to seize the strategic initiative after only a few days. By December 1941, when the German advance had stalled, 4 million Soviet soldiers had fallen and 3.9 million had been captured.

[...] Stalin’s speech [note: 3 July 1941] was the first time that Soviet citizens became fully aware that the Soviet Union was in existential danger, that it was a matter of “life and death”. At the same time, Stalin presented himself as an undisputed leader whose rule had not been shaken despite the German invasion. [...] Apart from acknowledging the defeats of the Red Army, the speech had three central functions: to legitimise the regime’s policy prior to the German attack, to give an explanation for the successful advance of the enemy into Soviet territory, and to mobilise the population and non-hostile foreign countries in defence of the Soviet Union.

In an effort to dispel the suspicion that the party and government had made mistakes, Stalin justified the German-Soviet non-aggression treaty5. It was the Soviet love for peace that had led the USSR government to conclude and honour the treaty proposed by Germany. [...] A further advantage, said Stalin, was the gain in time of one and a half years for rearming the Soviet armed forces. This argument, however, was contradicted by the fact that the Wehrmacht had inflicted severe defeats on the Red Army.

To explain this, Stalin used the attributes “unexpected” and “treacherous”. The former can be interpreted as the subjective view of Stalin, who doubted that Hitler would turn against the Soviet Union before the end of the war with Great Britain. The second attribute related to Germany’s breach of the Non-Aggression Treaty, also implicitly suggesting that Stalin had trusted the National Socialist government. Stalin attributed the advantage in the field that the German Wehrmacht and its allies had to their attack strategy and to the surprise effect of the German invasion. Stalin claimed that the Red Army had not been mobilised and first had to be brought to the border. He did not mention that there had been a prior covert partial mobilisation of the Soviet forces, because that would have undermined his theory of the enemy’s surprise attack.

Stalin made mobilisation attempts for the Soviet Union’s defensive struggle on various levels. [...]

783 words
Source: Prof. Dr. B. Pietrow-Ennker: Einführung,
last visited: 21/01/2021

Glossary of terms

1 In the language of the military, “Blitzkrieg” is the term for the shortest possible, surprising, concentrated campaign of encirclement and annihilation. In the Second World War, the Blitzkrieg concept, derived from the rapid success of the German Wehrmacht in Poland in 1939 and above all in France in 1940, was in particular the basis for the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

2 In the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1946, the People’s Commissariat was the central organ of state management of the various spheres of state activity and the various branches of the national economy. In fact they had the function of ministries.

3 The Wehrmacht is the umbrella name given to the German armed forces in Nazi Germany. The Wehrmacht was divided into the army, the navy and the air force.

4 The Red Army was the name given to the army and air force of Soviet Russia (from 1917 to 1922) and thereafter of the Soviet Union (beginning in 1922).

5 The “Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” (also known as the Hitler-Stalin Pact or Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) was signed by Foreign Ministers Ribbentrop for Germany and Molotov for the Soviet Union on 23 August 1939 in the presence of Stalin - much to the surprise of the world public. After all, the two dictators Hitler and Stalin were regarded as arch-enemies. The main content of the treaty was an agreement of the two powers to refrain from any violence against each other. In a secret additional protocol, the future division of spheres of interest in Eastern Europe was also agreed.

Diaries / Memoirs (Germany)

Günther Roos (*1924 in Brühl, Rheinland-Pfalz) – a young man during the NS Regime

[...] Günther Roos did not only grow up during the National Socialist era - he lived it. He adored Adolf Hitler, climbed the ranks of the Hitler Youth up to the rank of Jungstammführer, and fought in the Second World War as a passionate Wehrmacht soldier who believed in the „final victory“ right up until the moment of defeat. After the German surrender in May 1945, he was in a state of very great shock.

Decades later Günther Roos rediscovered his diaries from that time, and began to talk about his experiences: about his indoctrination by his family, school and the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth), the development of his strong desire for power, about his fanatical belief in the „Führer“, and about the long period of disorientation he experienced in the post-war period. [...]

Excerpts from his diaries, June 1941 (with his comments from 1989)

Saturday, 21 June 1941

I took time off in the morning from school and went to the funeral of the victims of the air raid. They were laid out at the Karlshalle. It was a huge funeral. All of Brühl was there. Then I went swimming with school. In the afternoon at 3 o‘clock I had military exercises. At 5 o‘clock I went swimming. In the evening I wrote a letter to Gustav. At night there was an air-raid warning. In the air-raid shelter Mr Welter told us he knew for sure that the USSR would join the tripartite pact next week. I hope so*.

* Comment Günther Roos 1989: „At that time, the most fantastic rumours were circulating. One was of an expanded alliance with Russia, of the right of passage for our troops to the east, of a visit by Molotov to Berlin. People were saying that the street Unter den Linden was already decorated with red flags, proof that all this was true.“

Sunday, 22 June 1941

Today mother woke me up with terrible news. At first I thought it was a bad joke or a trick to get me out of bed. But it really was true! War! War with Russia!!! This news came so unexpectedly and is so terrible that at first it took my breath away.* Now in the evening I still can‘t believe it. Never, never would I have believed that Russia would fight against us. They can only win if they are on our side. „But the hatred the Bolsheviks felt for the Third Reich has blinded them to all political understanding,“ said the Führer in a speech. Germany, you are in one hell of a fight. And Gustav is in the middle of it. Mother will go mad if anything happens to him. Hopefully, hopefully nothing will happen to him. God, protect my brother! Today we went on a Rhine tour to Honnef with the Jungvolk, the HJ and the BDM. When you think about it that way, it‘s a paradox. We were trying to have fun (although I couldn‘t, really, because I was constantly thinking of Gustav), while in the east they were killing one another. In Honnef we were off duty for three hours. I ate and drank something with Mammel and Schiffer, and then we went rowing. At 9 o‘clock I was back home. Mother did not return from Cologne until 11.30 p.m., where she was with her cousins. At night there was an air-raid warning. [...]

* Comment by Günther Roos 1989: „The start of the war against Russia was a terrible shock for everyone. No one had expected it. Russia was a mysterious, sinister country. And after all the bright and glorious victories of the past, we now felt a dull fear. The first special reports we heard on the radio at lunch, such as the fall of the Brest Litovsk fortress, did not change this.“

Saturday, 28 June 1941

Was at the ironworks at 8 o‘clock in the morning. So I can start on Monday. 32 pfennigs per hour. Shit!!! I got all the papers together in the morning. At 4.30 I left with Wolfgang. At 5.30 we were in Euskirchen. We turned off to the Steinbachtalsperre and had a swim there. The swimming pool was closed but we could still get a swim. On the way back we met Limbach. Was back home at 7 o‘clock. On the way back we found shrapnel in the forest near Weilerswist. The Wehrmacht report says that tomorrow we will find out where we stand in the east. [...]

Sunday, 29 June 1941

At 11 o‘clock I was in church. Then I spent time with the Klugs. Listened to a special news bulletin there. We‘ve been making good progress. 2,000 tanks and 4,100 planes destroyed, and 40,000 prisoners taken. The numbers are rising all the time. Brest (where Gustav is), Dubno, Grodno, Kowno, Wilna, Dünaburg and Minsk are in our hands. Fantastic success! In the afternoon I did some reading. I went to bed early because I start work tomorrow. I’m curious to see where exactly I’ll be working in the ironworks. At night there was an air-raid alarm. [...]

858 words
Source: Günther Roos, Tagebücher (1936-1948), Juni 1941,
https://www.jugend1918-1945.de/portal/archiv/album.aspx?root=9879&id=9879&redir=%2fportal%2fJugend%2fzeitzeuge.aspx%3fbereich%3darchiv%26root%3d27647%26id%3d27647, last visited: 21/01/2021

Diaries / Memoirs (Belarus)

Recollections of Jewish children from Belarus on the attack on the Soviet Union by German troops on 22 June 1941

Evgeni Matchis (*1932, Minsk)

I, Evgeni Savelevich Matchis, born in 1932, a Jew, former prisoner in the Minsk ghetto, was rescued by Mr and Mrs [...] Shashok. [...]

I was living with my parents [...] in Minsk when the war broke out. Before the war, I had finished my second year at Middle School no. 4 [...].

The beginning of the war took me by surprise while I was at the “Drosdy” pioneer camp. The camp closed, and I walked to Minsk. Our house had been burned down in the first days of the war. I went to my maternal grandmother, Lisa Vigdorovich, [...] and stayed with her, because my father had gone to war and my mother had been evacuated to Ufa [approx. 1800 km west of the Ural Mountains] with my sister Olga.

At the beginning of August 1941, my grandmother, my uncle and his family, and I were relocated to the ghetto. [...]

Vladimir Rubezhin (*June 5th, 1929, Gomel), called ‘Volik’ by his friends and relatives

[...] Volik Rubezhin was 13 years old when the war broke out. The leader of the pioneer camp “Medveshino”, in a village near Minsk, to which he had been sent by his father before the war started, said completely helplessly, “I don’t have a car. You’ll have to make your way to Minsk by yourself.

On June 25th, 1941, Volodya arrived at his house on Stepyanskaya. Neighbours told him that his mother and his younger brother Marik had fled the city. His father was in the army. There was a note on the door: “Volik, my son. This morning I went to the pioneer camp. But you weren’t there anymore. We waited for you all day. Marik and I are leaving. We don’t even know where to go. Go to Aunt Natasha’s. She’s a good woman and she’ll help you. I hope that the war will soon be over and we’ll see each other again. Love and kisses, Mum.”

For about a month he lived alone in his own flat. One day, on the way home from the Komarovskii market, where he had swapped some clothes for bread, he met the lady his Mum had called Aunt Natasha and had said was a ‘good woman’. She got into his flat, accompanied by a police officer. Volodya never returned home.

In August (1941), he ended up in the ghetto in Minsk, as tens of thousands of other Jews did. He went from house to house, looking for friends of his parents and his comrades. [...]

Ura Kaplan (*1925, Novy Sverchen)

[...] I was born in Novy Sverchen, in Stolbtsy District, Minsk Region. It was Polish territory at that time.

[...] I went to a Polish school and to a Cheder [“room” in Hebrew, the expression for a traditional, religious school]. I studied the Torah and Yiddish. In 1935 I was transferred to a Jewish school in Stolbtsy, where I was taught Hebrew, Polish and Geography. I was able to go to this school until September 17th, 1939, the day of the liberation of Western Belarus by the Red Army.

After the liberation of Western Belarus, I went to a Belarusian school.

I was 16 years old when the war started. German troops marched into my town on June 27th, 1941. For the previous five days, my father and I had been planning to flee from Belarus to Russia. There were rumours that Germans had been killing the men and sparing the women and children. But when we arrived at the bridge crossing the Memel (there was one in Novy Sverchen), my father said: “Urele, we can’t do this! Mother is all alone with the two girls without any help! What will become of them?” And we went back home. Father went back to work in the sawmill, and I worked in a bakery as a woodchopper. That was our situation up until August 1st, 1941, the day they set up the ghetto. A horrible, sad day...

Pavel Rubinchik (*1928, Minsk)

The war took me by surprise while I was at a pioneer camp near Minsk. I was 13 years old. [...]

There was nothing different about our daily routine on that June 22nd. But we were surprised that all the men on the camp staff were missing. Also, the mother of one of my schoolfriends came to pick him up in the middle of the night. Actually this wasn’t so surprising—she did explain that his father had reserved a place for him in the Artek pioneer camp [a former Soviet Union pioneer camp on the Crimean Peninsula].

When we were playing football the next day, two planes attacking each other flew over our heads. One with the red star, the other with an unknown black cross. We thought the attack was a military exercise. Even on June 24th, after we’d spotted many unusual planes in the sky and many tired people were walking along the road with suitcases and bundles, and troops were moving about chaotically, we still didn’t understand anything. The camp leader explained everything. She called us all into the dining area and told us that the war against Hitler’s Germany had just begun. But our army would win, she said; our troops were already approaching Warsaw. We all yelled “Hooray!” in unison.

But soon enough, our initial joy about our army winning was replaced by anxiety over the sort of things people of our age were worrying about. Now and then, we heard the roaring of planes and the shells coming down, and the peculiar red glow on the horizon did not disappear. We thought the sun had stopped setting at night.

But when parents came to pick up their children, they told us that the red colour had nothing to do with the sun. German bombs had flattened Minsk, and the city was burning. The parents themselves were already refugees on the run.

The parents and their children headed for the road from Minsk to Moscow. There was nobody picking me up, I had nobody. So I went with my schoolmate Petya Golomb’s family. The street was filled with refugees. [...]

979 words
Source: Wir erinnern uns! Unser Vermächtnis für die Welt: Erinnert euch! [We remember! Our legacy for the world: Remember!], written by Holocaust survivors in Belarus, (Translation from Russian), Minsk 2016.

Diaries / Memoirs (Russia)

Recollections on the attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941

Olga Vladimirovna Dosenko, neé Doronina, born 1925. Witness of the Siege of Leningrad. Veteran of the Great Patriotic War: Corporal.

22 June

Sunday. After breakfast, we played ball. We went for a walk. While I was playing ball, Lyuba was chatting to Boris. She invited me over, but I didn’t feel like talking to them. But then they said, “Let’s go for a walk”. We—that’s Vera and I—went over to see Lyuba. Then Vera went off to the Triangle Hostel, and I stayed with them. Boris sat me down on a bench. Yasha came over. They started chatting, asking who worked where. Obviously I told them I didn’t work. Our conversation was cut short when we set off on our walk. Lyuba and I walked up front with the photographer, singing happily. We all went to the Trade Union Hostel and photographed ourselves next to the portrait of Stalin. Yasha and Boris were right there next to us, and everyone around us ended up in the shot. There were also some other guys sitting down – we were totally surrounded by men. Boris and Yasha kept saying, “We need something to remember this by, since we’re leaving today.” But we’d had enough. They came with us in the end. When we were nearly at the ‘Moonstone’, Lyuba and I started running, trying to be the first ones to climb up onto it. I reached it and started climbing. There was a boy there who helped me up. Then Lyuba, Boris, Yasha and the others climbed up too. We all sat down at the front. On one side of me was Boris in his favourite shirt and on the other was Yasha. It was very funny when they tried to climb down. The stone is very big. And I jumped off it. First I dropped my sandals down, then I came down after them. I sat down to put them back on. I saw Boris was waiting for me as I put them on. When I was done we caught up with Lyuba and Yasha. Then we took photos of ourselves in an oak tree. Once again, Lyuba and I climbed up first. Then Yasha and Boris climbed up above us and made a sort of small pyramid. We laughed. We played. We walked down through a clearing to the river. We took some pictures there too. There was an accordionist playing. First we played ball with Kolya, the holiday-camp entertainer, then Lyuba went off to sunbathe, followed by Yasha and Boris. Lyuba called me over.

I played for a little longer then joined them. Lyuba was in her swimming costume, but I didn’t get changed. The four of us sat there chatting. Boris had thought I was Jewish. We told jokes. But we couldn’t stay there for long because we needed to have lunch. We messed around on the way. The heel of one of my sandals broke. We walked with difficulty. I picked up a stone from the river. Boris talked a lot. Boris offered to buy me some kvass from the kiosk, but I said no. Then we saw some girls who looked at us in a way that almost made me laugh. When we got to the gate, we went our separate ways. We went home. We washed and changed. We went to have lunch in good spirits. Well! How quickly everything can change. Suddenly we heard: “Germany has bombed Kiev and other cities. This means war. At 4 a.m. they crossed the border.” The war had begun. Straight away everyone’s expressions became very serious. We went into the canteen. There were three men and two women sitting near our table. Suddenly, one of the men stood up, white- faced, and left. I asked one of the women, “Has he been called up?” and she replied “Yes! At a moment’s notice.” It was too much for me and I began to cry, covering my face with my hands. When I uncovered it again, I saw that many people had tears in their eyes. After lunch Boris cheered us up. Yasha went off somewhere and Boris said, “Let’s go and sunbathe”. And the three of us, he, Lyuba and I, all went to sunbathe.

We walked a long, long way, talking as we went. Then when we got to the clearing we left the track and sat down. We undressed and started sunbathing. We talked about all sorts of things and told each other jokes. Just chatted away really. We talked a lot about the war. Boris told us he’d fought in the Finnish war and been wounded. He showed us his injured leg. He’s a nice chap, I like him. That evening we were playing ball – Lyuba, Pavlushka and I, plus a few others – when Boris came over. It looked like he had wanted to tell me something. He had jostled his way through to me but had gone off again when I didn’t respond. It was only once he’d gone that I realised he wanted to tell me something. That evening he left. I gave him my address. He asked me to get some pictures done for him, but I didn’t have the money. In the end I never got to say goodbye. Yasha left too. Sasha was the only one left. But he always acted a little strangely towards us. Boris once said that “he’s a child of nature and he’s scared of girls.”

Tatyana Vassoyevich, 1929 – 2012. Leningrad schoolgirl. Witness of the Siege of Leningrad.

22 June

At 12 midday, they announced that the war had begun. Comrade Molotov made a speech on the radio. Mum cried. I smiled. (...) We spent the whole day hurrying about: Mum, Vova and I ran to the shops and to the bank and to Lyusa’s. (...)

23 June

In the morning I ran to the art school to see Pyotr Pavlovich Kazakov. I didn’t take my drawings, I just went to talk about what had happened. Pyotr Pavlovich had a new office. I stood in front of the door, hesitating, and then went in. P.P. greeted me and asked, “Did you bring your work, or did you just come for a chat?”. “Just came,” I said. “Well I’m gathering up my work, I reckon I’ll be called up to the front.” We talked about the war, about the places the Germans had taken, how many planes they had shot down. P.P. collected up his work and his easel, and we left. Outside it was windy but warm. We walked in silence. I wanted to ask what kind of pilot he was, but decided against it. We walked to the corner of Srednii street, P.P. shook my hand, we said goodbye and... he walked away, and I went home. (...)

1002 words

Original Sources (Germany)

Excerpts from the Baruther Anzeiger, founded in 1865 and the oldest local newspaper of the city of Baruth and the administrative districts of Paplitz and Radeland, for June 23rd/24th, 1941

Address of the Führer to the German people

Revenge for Moscow’s Betrayal

A military line from the North Cape to the Black Sea –British-Bolshevik conspiracy revealed – How the Soviets tried to backstab us – Fight for Europe’s Safety

DNB [Nationwide German news agency]. Berlin, June 22nd. The Führer has issued the following notice to the German people:

German people! National Socialists!

Weighed down with heavy cares, condemned to months-long silence, now at last I can speak frankly.

On September 3rd, 1939, the German Reich received the English declaration of war. This represented yet another attempt by the British to prevent any consolidation of Europe—a consolidation which would lead to the rise of Europe—by fighting whichever power on the Continent was strongest at any given time. [...]

The rise of our people from distress, misery and shameful disregard was a purely internal renaissance. Britain in particular was not in any way affected or threatened by it. Nevertheless, they immediately recommenced their policy of encirclement against Germany, a policy born of hatred. The result was that both internally and externally we saw plotting so familiar to us all, between Jews and democrats, Bolsheviks and reactionaries, the sole aim of which was to inhibit the establishment of the new German people’s State, and to plunge the Reich once more into impotence and misery. [...]

The policy of encirclement against Germany

[...] National Socialists!

[...] The German people have never harbored hostile feelings towards the peoples of Russia. However, for over ten years, the Jewish Bolshevik rulers in Moscow have been endeavoring to set not only Germany but all of Europe aflame. At no time has Germany ever attempted to carry her National Socialist world view into Russia. By contrast, the Jewish Bolshevik rulers in Moscow have been unswervingly endeavoring to foist their domination upon us and other European peoples, not only by ideological means but above all by military force. [...]

It was therefore only with extreme difficulty that I brought myself in August, 1939 to send my Minister to Moscow in an endeavor to oppose the British encirclement policy against Germany. I did this only from a sense of responsibility toward the German people, and above all in the hope of achieving a permanent lessening of tension, and in the hope that the sacrifices which might otherwise have been demanded of us might be reduced. [...]

From Home
Baruth, 23 June 1941

The Red Betrayal

Moscow’s mask has slipped. – The Führer acts.

On Sunday, yesterday, loudspeakers were already at full blast by early morning in Baruth. Work has not even stopped at home on Sundays now. There are hard-working people everywhere, and over and over again they are strengthening the unbreakable ribbon that connects frontline and motherland. Every man getting ready for work, wherever he was, turned on his radio. The news spread in no time: The voices of our Reich Minister of the Exterior and Reich Minister of Propaganda could be heard everywhere, in every city and village. They informed every street and square of the Führer’s decision, who with his shrewd foresight has once again disrupted the enemies’ plans. Our German sword is now directed at our old enemy, the red forces. Make no mistake, we will answer the duplicity of Moscow; we will reply to our treaty partner’s betrayal of us.

The Führer has not been deceived by the threat in Moscow for a single second. [...] The goal of his politics is peace for the nation and the Reich, and peaceful cooperation between nations. He has demonstrated this intent to Poland as well as to the peoples of Western Europe. He has also struggled hard to achieve the same peace with the Soviet Union; but the Soviet Union is a political construct and the driving force behind, and source of, almost all political global unrest. [...]

On June 22nd, 1941, as the Führer said in his address to the German nation, he decided to “place the fate and future of the German Reich and our people in the hands of our soldiers.” It is the turn of the German nation again. We know that the entire German nation fully trusts and proudly thanks the Führer and his soldiers. Betrayal and mistrust have always been regarded by Germans as the most shameful of all wrongdoing. The German nation has always kept its word and its promises, even in the gravest times of difficulty.

And that is why the confidence of the German nation to give Moscow’s betrayal the condemnation it deserves is greater than ever. The close cooperation between Bolshevism and plutocracy has been exposed. German weapons will therefore strike at them jointly, as befits a traitor.

811 words
Source: https://bit.ly/3rBIeri

Original Sources (Russia)

Extract of a speech by V. Molotov, broadcast on Russian radio on 22 June 1941

At four o’clock this morning, without voicing any grievances against the Soviet Union, and without declaring war, German troops attacked our country. They attacked many places along our borders, and bombed our cities - Zhitomir, Kiev, Sevastopol, Kaunas, and others. More than two hundred of our people have been killed and wounded. Enemy air raids and artillery fire were also launched against us from Romanian and Finnish territory.

This unheard-of attack on our country is an act of treachery unprecedented in the history of civilised nations. This attack on our country was carried out despite the fact that a non-aggression treaty is in place between the USSR and Germany, and the Soviet government has fulfilled all the conditions of this treaty in good faith. This attack on our country was carried out despite the fact that throughout the whole period during which the treaty has been in force, the German government has never been in a position to voice any grievance against the USSR regarding the manner in which we have fulfilled our obligations. All responsibility for this attack on the Soviet Union falls entirely on the German fascist rulers.

Only after the attack, at 5.30 a.m., did the German Ambassador to Moscow, Schulenburg, make a statement to me, in my capacity as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, on behalf of his government, to the effect that the German government had decided to go to war against the USSR because of the massing of Red Army divisions on the eastern German border.

In response, I stated on behalf of the Soviet government that right until the last minute, the German government had voiced no grievances against the Soviet government, that Germany had attacked the Soviet Union despite the amicable position adopted by the Soviet Union, and that fascist Germany was thus the aggressor.

On behalf of the Government of the Soviet Union, I must also state that our troops and our aircraft have not violated the border at any point, and therefore the statement made by Romanian radio this morning that Soviet aircraft opened fire on Romanian airfields is a complete lie and provocation. Today’s declaration by Hitler is from start to finish a repeat of the same lie and provocation. Hitler is simply attempting to re-write history and accuse the Soviet Union of failing to comply with the Soviet-German pact.

Now that the attack on the Soviet Union has taken place, the Soviet government has ordered our troops to repel the bandit attack and expel the German troops from the territory of our homeland. This war has not been forced on us by the German people, not by German workers, peasants or intellectuals, whose suffering we understand well, but by a clique of bloodthirsty fascist rulers, who have already enslaved the French, Czechs, Poles, Serbs, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Greece and other peoples ...

The government calls on you, citizens of the Soviet Union, to unite even more closely around our glorious Bolshevik Party, around our Soviet government and around our great leader, Comrade Stalin.

Our cause is right. The enemy will be defeated. Victory will be ours.

534 words
Source: https://bit.ly/3psgmDs, last visited: 05/12/2021

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