The contorted, frozen corpse of a Soviet soldier, one of numerous casualties caused by the fierce Finnish winter of 1939-1940
Their demands to Finland for a trade in territory unmet, the Soviet Union launched the Winter War invaded Finland on November 30th, 1939. A few days earlier, to create a casus belli, the Red Army had shelled the Russian village of Mainila and blamed it on the Finns. The Soviets, however, were terribly unprepared, and poorly led. Not expecting the tenacity that the Finns put up in defense, the invasion quickly stalled against the Mannerheim Line on the Karelian Isthmus.
The fierce winter that came on the tail of the attack did no wonders for the Soviets either, who had poorer winter gear than their opponents, and some lacked any at all. With temperatures plunging at times to below -40 degrees, more than a few simply froze to death.
It wasn’t until February that the Soviets, with new leadership and better preparation, were able to renew the offensive and punch through the Mannerheim Line. Their main defenses breached, and the hoped for foreign intervention not forthcoming – or at least, not coming in enough time, as the British were making overtures – the Finns had no choice but to enter peace negotiations, the war officially coming to an end on March 13th, 1940.
The Finns were forced to turn over significant territory on their eastern border, and just over a year later, would resume hostilities in the so called Continuation War, joining Germany as a ‘co-belligerent’ at the onset of Operation Barbarossa.
(Part of the collection of the Library of Congress.)
Link to original source from the Central Library of Zurich.
That’s the Eads Bridge, which is in St Louis. Carnegie was an early shareholder in the St Louis Bridge Company, and the bridge was built of Carnegie-made steel. But Carnegie wasn’t personally involved in the design or construction of the bridge; he sold out his stock in the company early in construction, and had a tempestuous relationship with James Eads (the head of the company, the bridge’s designer, and ultimately its namesake).
Vasily Grossman, (a journalist with the Red Army), near Moscow: “Germans, frozen to death, line the roads. Practical jokers put them in fanciful poses.”
Women’s experience during the siege of Leningrad: Leningrad’s women, 16-45, were mobilized by the thousands. Women were the majority of the half-million civilians who dug anti-tank ditches and defense fortifications and1,500 women were mobilized to work in peat bogs to provide the city with fuel.
The long-suffering women of Leningrad suddenly realized that on them lay the fate not only of their family, but of their city, even of the entire country. Aware of the burden placed upon them to protect their city, able-bodied Leningradian women between 16- and 45-years-old were mobilized in numbers reaching the hundreds of thousands. Women formed the vast majority of the approximately half-million civilians assembled to build anti-tank ditches and defense fortifications along the Pskov-Ostrov and Luga rivers, and 1,500 women were mobilized to work in peat bogs to provide the city with fuel.
The death of men in Leningrad during the war made the siege of Leningrad a woman’s experience. In the face of the men’s absence, women were expected to replace men in the factories, prepare defense fortifications, and protect the city from incendiary bombs, among many other traditionally male duties. All the while, women also fulfilled their traditional responsibilities, such as maintaining home and hearth and preserving societal morality, all increasingly difficult tasks during the severe conditions of the siege. Women managed to assume both roles, all while suffering from starvation, the disintegration of relationships, and alienation from their own bodies. Their experience of the siege illustrates how the ideology of the “new Soviet woman” — woman as man’s professional equal, fulltime worker, loyal Communist citizen, and devoted mother and wife — persisted in the darkest days of the siege of Leningrad.
There are a ton of survivor testimonials on the siege of Leningrad on YouTube.
- The siege of Leningrad lasted 872 days. Civilians in the city suffered from extreme starvation. 750 000 people died, which represented between quarter and a third of the city’s pre-siege population. It was the greatest loss of life experienced by a modern city.
I got 2 minutes into this one before I couldn’t take any more.