Operation "The Great Waltz": how German prisoners were taken to Moscow

• Operation "The Great Waltz": how German prisoners were taken to Moscow

Victory in the Great Patriotic War was forged not only at the front. Huge role in the fight against the enemy ideology played an operation plan. One of those was the operation, known as "The Great Waltz", organized on the orders of Joseph Stalin Supreme Commander in July 1944. The performed almost a year before the historic Victory Parade, the operation is "The Great Waltz" already symbolized the inevitable defeat of Hitler and the triumph of Soviet arms.


What are the aims of the operation, "The Great Waltz"


in 1944 during World War II was marked by brilliant Implemented Soviet command operation "Bagration". In the summer as a result of large-scale offensive of the Red Army on the territory of Belarus, the Baltic states and eastern Poland, the Wehrmacht troops were defeated, suffering heavy losses of military equipment and manpower - about 400 thousand of dead and captured soldiers and officers, 21 general captivated. Allies of the USSR was not easy to believe in the reality of these figures. In addition, the Fuhrer, seeking to refute the data summaries, gave the order to assign a number and the names of some of the twenty-six divisions defeated other military units.

In order to demonstrate the military successes of the Soviet Union, it has been developed and implemented a unique exponential operation, known as "The Great Waltz" - a massive procession of prisoners of Nazi fighters on the streets of Moscow. This name shares offered Lavrenty Beria - by name then popular Hollywood films. Stalin reacted with humor to the title, saying that the transatlantic allies can not hurt to watch this "movie" in the Soviet design. In addition to the informative load operation "The Great Waltz" was carried out to raise the morale of Soviet soldiers at the front and to strengthen faith in the victory of the civilian population.

How was the organization of the march and who "participated" in the parade of losers


The selection of the Nazis to participate in "The Great Waltz" began in July 1944 in an atmosphere of secrecy. 57 600 people were taken from the camps for prisoners of war at the railway stations of the Belarusian city of Bobruisk and Vitebsk. Under the protection of the personnel of the special convoy divisions NKVD 40 trains with German soldiers and officers, among them - 19 generals, arrived in Moscow.

Prisoners housed at the city racetrack and the stadium "Dynamo". For the passage of the march were divided into two groups. As if repeating rotation in a waltz and emphasizing that the name of the operation, the movement of the columns of German prisoners was held in a circle - the Garden Ring.

The first group (about 42 thousand people) the way ahead on Gorky Street and then along the Garden Ring to the Kursk railway station in a clockwise direction. Led the procession of the Wehrmacht generals, followed by officers and ordinary ranks. Procession column lasted for two and a half hours. The second group (about 15 thousand) also proceeded sal Bitter to Garden ring and moved thereon counterclockwise to station Kanatchikovo Railway District. Members of this group are on the march for more than four hours.

Brought up the rear watering machine. This was dictated by considerations of health and hygiene, as the streets of the capital were literally filthy. The fact is that in order to maintain power hungry prisoners nourishing fed to the "parade", and many stomachs could not stand oily food. Also, watering of bridge was also a symbolic act of washing off the dirt from the ground of the Nazi.

How do people behave when passing columns of Hitler's warriors


According to a report by Lavrenty Beria, the march of Nazi prisoners of war, called by the people "parade of losers," passed without incident. Gathered on the streets of Moscow, people did not attempt physical violence against the escorted, limited cries "Death to Hitler!", "Death to fascism!".

However, eyewitness recollections differ somewhat with this statement. According to witnesses of the event, the people beheld the passage of the columns without any exclamations. On the prisoners looked with disdain, but at the same time and with the share of self-pity caused their wretched appearance. Senior military officials were in uniforms and awards, left to them under the terms of surrender. But the rank and file was a pitiable sight.

Who has conducted "The Great Waltz" in Moscow, and how was the fate of the organizers of the "parade of losers"


For the organization of passage of prisoners of the Nazis on the streets of the capital were brought reliable and responsible officials of different types of troops. Thus, protection of the racetrack and the stadium "Dynamo", which housed German prisoners of war to march, provided the guards of the 36th Division of the NKVD escort under Colonel Ivan Shevlyakova. He was also entrusted with escorting columns and prevent acts of violence against the prisoners on the whole route. Development activities for the "Grand Waltz" lay on the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs, in particular - to Colonel-General Arkady Nikolaevich Apollo. Responsibility for the passage of Nazi fighters on the streets of the capital was assigned to Colonel General Paul Artemyevitch Artemyev, the commander of the Moscow Military District. Subsequently, the fate of these people have developed differently. Ivan Sevlakovs was awarded the rank of Major General. The open access of this man is very little information, since the post-war years, he was involved in secret projects relating to missile and nuclear development. Arkady Apollo 46-year old was discharged from the post of deputy minister of state security forces for control. In 1978 he died and was buried at Kuntsevo Cemetery in Moscow. Pavel Artemyev after Stalin's death was sent for further service in the Ural Military District with the demotion. He retired in 1960, after the death in 1979 was buried in the Novodevichy cemetery.