Cze
03

Kontynuacja odcinka 2

Thirty thousand Russians who were taken captive by the Finish army were to expect a chilly welcome after the conflict was over. Most commanders were executed, ordinary soldiers were imprisoned in forced labour camps at Vorkuta for many years. This ominous place where political prisoners were kept was yet to play a surprisingly important role in the life of Viktor Korchnoi. The Soviet regime sentenced its own soldiers as traitors and cowards even though they were not guilty of anything. The only person who was to be blamed for all failures and pointless losses that the Russian Army suffered at Finish battlefield was Stalin. He was also the one who had provoked this greedy war. Following purges in the commandership performed upon Stalin’s order and under his supervision, the army had ended up without qualified leadership. Stalin had appointed Marshal Voroshilov, a veteran of the civil war, who had considered an equestrian attack with pulled out sabers a key element of military art, the commander of the Finnish campaign. On the other hand the marshal showed obsequious faithfulness towards Stalin. However, not even doglike devotion saved Voroshilov from leader’s anger. In a fit of anger Stalin accused him of the failure in fights against Fins. According to testimony of Nikita Chruščov, the marshal, after being violently insulted by the leader, suddenly screamed at Stalin:  “That is all your fault…You had liquidated the old army guard, you had the best generals shot to death!” After this incident Stalin appointed General Timoshenko the leader of troops fighting in Finland.

Soviets managed to break the Finish resistance only at the cost of countless human and material casualties and the small country had to accept their peace conditions in March 1940. Fins surrendered the required territories to Moscow. Unlike the Baltic countries they luckily avoided bolshevization and retained independence. The success in the Finish war won at such a high price did not discourage Stalin from conquest plans in Europe.

In summer of the same year chief commanders of the general staff of the Red Army prepared, upon Stalin’s order, a plan for preventative attack of Germany. It was supposed to be a mighty attack via southern Poland, Hungary and Romania. Moscow ignored the fact that an ally treaty between both the countries was still in force at that time. After all, Hitler did not interrupt the process of planning how to proceed to the east either. However, he made effort to gain as much as possible from the temporary ‚friendship’ with the Soviet Union. In the mid-November 1940 the German dictator negotiated with Vjaceslav Molotov in Berlin. Hitler was unpleasantly surprised at intransigence that the Bolshevik foreign minister applied when requiring further and further compromises from Germany. Moscow wanted to extend its power to Finland (after all, the defeat of Fins was already half way through), Bulgaria, Black Sea straits, and Moscow also wanted to mark out their interests in the Near and Middle East. Stalin´s greediness convinced Hitler that he would have to end up with the Soviets at any rate. In December 1940 Hitler signed the Barbarossa plan which determined the date of attack against the Soviet Union – May of the following year. The skillfully pretended friendship between both the gangster regimes complemented the strange illusion in which their rulers lived. Both of them planned to break all promises given to the other party soon. However, at the same time both of them refused to believe that the other would be able to betray the other one. Stalin considered the growing avalanche of evidence about the prepared German attack to be British disinformation campaign that, in his opinion, attempted to involve Stalin in the common fight against the Nazi.

Zdeněk Vybíral

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