Today, on June 22, on this day of memory and grief, I would like once again to raise the issue about which I wrote exactly three years ago – in June 2012. Since then, the tragedy of Donbass made us perceive the outbreak of war in 1941 more acutely. What did not change are the facts of the origins of the tragedy in 1941.
The tragedy of June 1941 has been thoroughly investigated, and the more it is studied, the more questions remain.
Today I want to let an eyewitness relate the events.
His name is Valentin Berezhkov. He worked as a translator. He translated for Stalin, among many others. He left great memoirs.
On June 22, 1941 Valentin Berezhkov was in Berlin. His recollections of the day are invaluable.
We are being told all the time that Stalin was afraid of Hitler, and because of the fear he did nothing to prepare for the war. Another lie which has become common “knowledge” is that everyone in our leadership, including Stalin, was confused and scared when the war began.
And here’s how it happened in reality. As Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Third Reich, Joachim von Ribbentrop, declared the USSR war:
“At 3 am, or 5 am Moscow time (it was already Sunday, June 22), the phone rang. Some unfamiliar voice said that the Reich Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was waiting for the Soviet representatives in his office at Wilhelmstrasse. The barking, unfamiliar voice and the exceedingly formal phraseology sounded sinister.
Approaching Wilhelmstrasse we saw a crowd in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although the dawn already broke, the entrance with the iron canopy was brightly lit and full of photographers, cameramen and journalists. The driver jumped out of the car and opened the door.
Leaving the car, we were blinded by the lights of magnesium flares and flood lamps. A disturbing thought flashed through my head – does it mean war? Otherwise, it was impossible to explain such a pandemonium at Wilhelmstrasse at this hour. Photographers and cameramen followed us closely.
A long corridor led to the apartments of the minister. Along it stood people in uniform. When we entered, they loudly clicked their heels, and raised their arms in Nazi salute. Finally we were in the cabinet.
In the back of the room stood a desk, behind which sat Ribbentrop in everyday gray-green ministerial uniform.
When we come close to the desk, Ribbentrop stood up and silently nodded. He held out his hand and motioned us to go to the opposite corner of the room where a round table stood.
Ribbentrop had a swollen, red face and dull, bloodshot eyes.
He walked unsteadily in front of us, his head bowed. “Is he drunk?” – flashed through my head. After we sat down and he started talking, my assumption was confirmed. He was drunk.
The Soviet ambassador tried to read a statement which we took with us. Ribbentrop, raising his voice, said that he wanted to speak about something else. Stumbling on almost every word, he began to explain that the German government had information about an increased concentration of Soviet troops on the German border.
Ignoring the fact, that in recent weeks the Soviet embassy had repeatedly drawn the attention of the German side to the flagrant violations of Soviet borders by German troops and aircraft, Ribbentrop said that Soviet troops violated the German border and invaded the German territory, which we knew was a lie. Ribbentrop said that he was summarizing contents of the memorandum of Hitler, and handed us the text. Then Ribbentrop said that the German government sees the existing situation as a threat to Germany at a time when it wages a life and death war with the Anglo-Saxons. All this, said Ribbentrop, is considered by the German Government, and the Fuhrer himself, as an intention of Soviet Union to strike Germany in the back. Fuhrer could not tolerate such a threat and decided to take action for the protection of life and safety of the German nation. It was Fuhrer’s final decision. An hour ago German troops crossed the border of the Soviet Union.
Ribbentrop began to assert that these actions were not German aggression, but only represented a defensive action. Then he stood up and tried to assume a solemn look. But his voice was clearly lacking firmness and confidence when he said the last sentence:
The Fuhrer instructed me to officially announce these defensive measures …
We rose too. The conversation was over. We knew that at the very moment shells were exploding in our country. After the predatory attack had begun, war was now being declared officially … It was impossible to change anything now. Before leaving, the Soviet ambassador said: – This is a blatant, unprovoked aggression. You’ll be sorry for committing this predatory attack on the Soviet Union. You are going to pay dearly for it …. “
“We turned and walked towards the exit. And then something unexpected happened. Ribbentrop rushed towards us. He began to patter and in a whisper to assure us that he was personally against the decision of the Fuhrer. He said that he tried to dissuade Hitler from attacking the Soviet Union. Personally, he, Ribbentrop said, considered it insanity. But he could not help it. Hitler made the decision, he did not want to listen …
– Tell in Moscow that I was against the attack – we heard the last words of Reich Minister, going out into the hallway … “.
Source: Berezhkov VM “Pages diplomatic history” (Бережков В. М. „Страницы дипломатической истории“), published by «Международные отношения»; Moscow; 1987; http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/berezhkov_vm2/01.html
My comment: The Soviet Ambassador Dekanozov not only was “not afraid” of the drunken Ribbentrop but also spoke with an entirely non-diplomatic directness. Also worth noting is the fact that the German “official version” of the causes of the war is identical to the version of Rezun-Suvorov. More precisely – The London resident, traitor and renegade Rezun is using Nazi propaganda as the main thesis of his books:
“The poor, defenseless Hitler was only defending himself in June 1941.” Does the West believe that? Yes they do. And they want to instill this belief in the Russian population as well. It looks like the Western historians and politicians believe Hitler only once: on June 22, 1941. They don’t believe what he said neither before nor after. But Hitler also said that it was Poland who attacked Germany on September 1, 1939, and it was only defending itself against Polish aggression. Western historians believe the Fuhrer only when it is necessary to discredit the USSR-Russia. The conclusion is simple: those who believe Rezun, believe Hitler.
Published in Russian on June 22, 2015 at Nikolai Starikov’s Blog