When Germany returned Christianity to the Soviet Union

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… by Ian Greenhalgh

 

One of the key aspects of the revival of Russian society under Vladimir Putin has been the resurrection of the Russian Orthodox Church. Under the Soviet regime the Orthodox Church was attacked relentlessly; many churches and Cathedrals were destroyed, thousands of priests and monks tortured or killed.

The original Bolsheviks were almost all Jews, so many officials of the Communist party were Jews that some commentators have argued that in effect, Russia’s several million Jews enslaved 150 million Russians.

One of the forgotten aspects of the German invasion of Russia in 1941 is the way that the Germans, themselves Christians, not only allowed but actively encouraged and supported the resurrection of the Russian Orthodox Church, as shown in the video below:

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beltbuckle2w
On the left is a ww2-era Wehrmacht belt buckle; below is a ww1-era Prussian army buckle. The Nazi Adler (eagle) carrying a Swastika has replaced the crown but the motto ‘Gott Mit Uns’ (God is With Us) remained, unchanged.

Hitler himself may have had little time for religion, but the German character at the time remained steadfastly Christian in it’s beliefs and ethics.

 

 

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Of course, when we think of the German conduct of the war against the Soviet Union we immediately think of cruelty, burning villages, murdered civilians, all the worst crimes against humanity you can imagine.

This is a tale that has been consistently been promoted by the media of both west and east ever since; as Mike Harris likes to point out – Hollywood has demonised two groups above all others – Nazis and Arabs.

Perhaps the most visceral and uncomfortable portrayal of the genocidal Germans on the Eastern Front narrative can be found in the 1985 Belorussian film Idi I Smotri (Come and See); a film that is truly disturbing and upsetting to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaheUmowPDk

I have studied the eastern front in depth for over 20 years and I have come to realise that the reality of events has been obscured by a large amount of propaganda and outright lies.

There is no doubt that the peoples of European Russia, the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine and Belorussia suffered immensely during the years 1941-45; that thousands of villages were burned; that millions of non-combatants died, many of them murdered.

However I don’t think the Germans carried out many of these attrocities – there is a lot of evidence that the Soviets dressed up in German uniforms then went round burning villages and slaughtering people in order to harden the hearts of the people against the German invader.

The Einsatzgruppen of which we have heard so much were not in the business of ethnic cleansing or genocide, they were small groups with specific tasks – to identify and eliminate the organs of the Bolshevik party; their killings were highly targeted – they picked out party leaders, political commissars, the functionaries who had run the Bolshevik regime.

The fact that the majority of these people were Jews has allowed the Stalinist propagandists such as Wassily Grossman and Ilya Ehrenburg to weave the Einstazgruppen into their Holocaust narrative. There is no doubt that the Germans on the Eastern Front did behave harshly on many occasions, that they did commit war crimes.

How do we reconcile this picture of the Germans with the very different one seen on the Western Front where the Germans fought the British, Americans and other allies according to the accepted rules of war? The fact that the Soviet Union was not a signatory to the various conventions governing the conduct of war was certainly significant.

The German harshness to Russian POWs is perhaps understandable given the way the Soviets treated German prisoners. Two days into the invasion the Germans found an abandoned field ambulance; in it were several dead German soldiers. The Soviets had tied them up with barbed wire then mutilated them with knives.

I think the key lesson to learn about the Eastern Front in WW2 is that the complexity of the situation; the ever-shifting patchwork of alliances of convenience between a number of groups is all far beyond the overly simplistic, propagandised ‘official’ version of events would have us believe.

We have learned from studying the current conflicts in Syria and Iraq that actual events on the ground are usually rather different to what is reported by the media; that there are multiple groups involved and often they put on the uniforms of other groups in order to hide the worst of their crimes.

I believe that a similarly complex situation existed on the Eastern Front in ww2 – that there were a large number of groups involved; not just the two warring regimes of Hitler and Stalin represented by the Wehrmacht, Waffen SS, Red Army and NKVD.

There were partisan groups of all flavours – Jewish, Polish, Lithuanian, Belorussian, Ukrainian and others. Some were nationalists, intent on creating their own nation such as the Ukrainian nationalists led by Stepan Bandera who carried out large scale ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Poles of Galicia. As well as these idologically driven groups there were a lot of outright criminals ands of brigands who preyed on the local population.

In short, the situation on the Eastern Front in WW2 was every bit as complex as that found in Syria and Iraq today

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Ian Greenhalgh

Ian Greenhalgh is a photographer and historian with a particular interest in military history and the real causes of conflicts.

His studies in history and background in the media industry have given him a keen insight into the use of mass media as a creator of conflict in the modern world.

His favored areas of study include state sponsored terrorism, media manufactured reality and the role of intelligence services in manipulation of populations and the perception of events.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. The Soviets released doctored German photos, and they could remain unchallenged for years. Now, Western NGOs can release videos of Syrians hurt by chemical weapons, and there are user comments linking to the UN statements implicating the rebels, not the Syrian government, within minutes. It keeps surprising me how much of a game-changer the Internet is…

  2. Reading the responses to Mister Ian Greenhalgh well investigated article, excuse me, but I have respectfully to say, you guys have done your homework excellently

  3. Gail Evans: Marshall Von Manstein, first gesture, once reaching Ukraine, was to open a Church and provide for a Mass celebration so, Mr. Greenhalgh has correct sources.

  4. Gail Evans: If you accept the enforced MSM-Hollywood-Soviet “Holocaust-ic” script, everyone knows now that it heads to confront a different reality. From the start, WWI till the end of WWII, Germany was earmarked to disappearance. Apparent facts, without touching causes and consequences, inasmuch as the “air” we breath becomes an neurotoxic gas that makes us unable to discern falsehood from truth.
    To face a different narrative has the immediate reply and classification as a Nazi, revisionist, fascist, racist, denier, extremist, or truther but never a reasoning or confronting with fine print arguments.
    WWII has a complete and documented historical work in David Hoggan´s “The Forced War”, if you want a different perspective on the starting of the Eastern Front war, have a look at the “Icebreaker” from Viktor Suvorov and on the realities of Russian campaign and the war against partisans there is a comprehensive job in the “The Phantom War” by Cooper Matthew. On the point, General Wlasov, a Russian, endured an outstanding endeavor against behind the lines communist guerrilla. He had an army of 400.000 volunteers siding with Germany. If Germans were abhorred by the population hardly would have had such support from Russians eager to get rid of communism. As a final thought, the first Marshall Von Manstein gesture once reaching Ukraine,

  5. Thanks Ian Greenhalgh for this long awaited and still very actual revision of the operation “Barbarossa”. Hitler described “National Sozialismus” as the new and right Religion for the Germans but this “German Revolution” was not offensive toward any form of monotheism as almost the whole German population was Christian. He adored the Muslim fighters with their willingness to die for an ideal.

    The Russian crusade was clearly to prevent the Jewish Bolshevik invasion into Europe. At the end of the war he really regretted that he started the crusade not earlier 1941 ( he had to help out Mussolini / Italy in Greece).

    Russian leadership tries to close the WW2 archives. Actually both cold war parties used the Jewish Hollywood WW2 narrative against each other. Putin the new Hitler, or the “Nazi Government” in Ukraine. Paul Craig Roberts, the Saker, or recently Tierry Meyssan work hard for a nomination at the Simon Wiesenthal Nazi hunter award.

    The German government and the MSMedia branded the resistance against Merkels Refugees welcome movement as Neo Nazis.

    Sorry its not about Christianity anymore, Banksterism is now the leading war strategy.

  6. The Germans returned Christianity to the areas they occupied for the duration of the time they were in occupation. Which is around three years for most of the territory. The title refers to the video. Sorry if this was misleading.

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