Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

If you have not watched it, the movie The Death of Stalin is great, mostly historically accurate, though not in the depiction of the characters, and extremely funny. Zhukov is represented as a hilarious bully who intimidates the whole politburo.

One thing that amused me about that film was all the actors use there own accents with the exception of Jason Isaacs, who decided that General Zhukov should be protrayed with a Yorkshire accent.

As the saying goes, you can always tell a Yorkshireman... but you can't tell him much. ;)

Later Zhukov was on his track to become a dictator in 1957, flaunting his personal command over Soviet military on multiple occasions. It took a combined pushback of (otherwise feuding) Soviet elites to bring him in check.

I am not praising Zhukov himself. The way he spent men to win Stalingrad is another questionable aspect of the character.

Stalingrad was the decisive turn of fate during WWII, if the allies had lost it, the Axis would probably take over the all of Europe. Sure, a lot of men were sacrificed, but this was total war, those sacrifices saved tens of millions.

We live with this slight propaganda that the USA was the responsible to liberate Europe, but in fact, USA showed up here at the end of the war when the Russians had already inflicted a major defeat on the German army, and it was the sacrifice of Russian men at Stalingrad (together with any material help the British could afford to spare to that front), that ultimately won the war for the Allies, not D-day.

The Allies weren’t exactly sitting on their hands. Just taking the strategy of picking off North Africa and Southern Europe before hitting Western / Central.

Trying to reduce the war down to any one side is, IMHO, wrong and suspect.

They were letting the Soviets do the heavy lifting, contributing more materiel than manpower until late in the process.

I don’t blame the western allies for the strategy but the soviets don’t get adequate credit for the privation they suffered.

> soviets don’t get adequate credit for the privation they suffered.

this old trope? the soviets were horrible monsters. they killed jews (many pogroms). during peacetime they killed at least as many people as the nazis did.

the great trick that the soviets managed is to make us belief they were on the right side of history, when in reality they were on the worst side, every single time.

one of the greatest mistakes of WW2 was the US support of the USSR. they should have left the two madmen to kill eachother. the world would have been a much better place. what did we get in return? USSR dominating half of Europe, murdering, scheming, destroying the social fabric of the continent for half a century.

Towards the end of the war there clearly wasn't US support for the USSR; we were racing them towards Berlin (and lost) and raced them to get Japan to surrender (won that one). The optics of completely abandoning someone you are ostensible allied with are poor.

All of that is orthogonal to the fact that over a third of the people who died in WW2 were Soviets, and many people do not realize it, which is the point the grandparent comment was making.

> soviets don’t get adequate credit for the privation they suffered.

According to whom?

We certainly learned the human burden the Soviets bore, including their less-than-Western regard for life, as a part of the war in my public school.

Perhaps if they hadn't raped, pillaged, and plundered their way through Europe they would've seen a bit more celebration from their erstwhile allies.

> Perhaps if they hadn't raped, pillaged, and plundered their way through Europe they would've seen a bit more celebration from their erstwhile allies.

Makes you wonder why Americans did get that celebration then:

"In 1945, after the end of the war in Europe, Le Havre was filled with American servicemen awaiting return to the States. A Le Havre citizen wrote to the mayor that the people of Le Havre were "attacked, robbed, run over both on the street and in our houses" and "This is a regime of terror, imposed by bandits in uniform."[4] A coffeehouse owner from Le Havre testified "We expected friends who would not make us ashamed of our defeat. Instead, there came only incomprehension, arrogance, incredibly bad manners and the swagger of conquerors."[6] Such behavior also was common in Cherbourg. One resident stated that "With the Germans, the men had to camouflage themselves—but with the Americans, we had to hide the women."" [1]

I wonder if it had anything to do, with the much better implemented propaganda machine, USA had in Western Europe after WWII.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_during_the_liberation_of_...

Are you really equating “incomprehension, arrogance, incredibly bad manners and the swagger of conquerors” to the mass rapes the Russians committed?

You do understand that the title of the wikipedia article - and its main point - is about the rape of French woman by American soldiers on the aftermath of D-Day, right?

Then why did they quote about "bad manners"?

Having studied the Eastern Front extensively, incidents like this would not even have been significant enough to be recorded in the context of the Soviets or Germans.

Stalin and Zhukov both actively condoned the rape of women and the atrocities in East Prussia included the rape and crucifixion of women and elderly children and the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff which was equivalent to 5+ Titanics

It was a different order of magnitude of brutality on both sides

Soviet behavior in Eastern Europe is pretty par for the course for a conquering army that isn't re-conquering what it considers home turf.

Considering how the Nazis treated the Slavic peoples they conquered and that the Russians got to see all that on their tour of eastern Europe prior to arriving in Germany I think it's a miracle that the soviet army didn't get even.

> Trying to reduce the war down to any one side is, IMHO, wrong and suspect.

Exactly. Just look at how many times Allied victory in WWII in Europe is reduced to D-Day. It's highly wrong and suspicious.

I don't see anyone in this thread railing about D-Day as the turning point. Please avoid whataboutism.

As far as I know Stalingrad was a big ego trip of both hitler and Stalin. They sacrificed a lot of lives for symbolism and not for military value.

I enjoyed the movie, but when I first saw the trailer I thought Jason Isaacs would be playing Marshal Rokossovsky instead of Zhukov. He looks more like the former than the latter. But I don't think Rokossovsky was heavily involved in Kremlin politics at the time (or ever, other than getting bones broken while in captivity during the Great Purge).

As soon as I saw the title here, I started skimming comments to see if this had been mentioned yet. Highly recommended, indeed!

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact