The End of the War in Europe and Moscow

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the end of the Second World War was celebrated by the Soviet Union in their capital city, Moscow. It was May 8th 1945.

The Soviets well remembered conquering Berlin. Flying their aircraft at will over the capital of the Evil Empire:

Everybody was friends (some more than others) :

On May 2nd 1945, the Red Army had flown their flag from the highest point in Berlin, the Reichstag building:

There was, of course, plenty of argument about who performed this iconic act. The photograph itself was taken by Yevgeny Khaldei using a flag sown together by his uncle:

Officially, the two men who carried out this dizzy feat were Meliton Kantaria and Mikhail Yegorov. Others state that the man who raised the flag was Alyosha Kovalyov. Yevgeny Khaldei, the photographer, supported this man as the actual flag raiser but aided by Abdulkhakim Ismailov and Leonid Gorychev (who is mentioned elsewhere as Aleksei Goryachev). The very same problems of identification had happened elsewhere on a previous occasion:

Back in Moscow, there were searchlights:

There were fireworks:

And in Red Square, there were vast numbers of soldiers of the Red Army on parade:

Georgy Zhukov, Marshal of the Soviet Union rode a white horse across the slippery, wet cobbles of Red Square, without problems, thank goodness:

Red Army soldiers brought in German banners and then they threw them down on the ground in disgust and triumph:

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And just for once, just for a few weeks, until minds were re-poisoned, everybody was friends and they all smiled big smiles and saluted each other until they grew tired of it:

And then, like little children, they played on the grass in the park and drank vodka nicely together and they danced. Oh Comrade, how we danced……




Filed under History, Personal, Politics

12 responses to “The End of the War in Europe and Moscow

  1. And this world we will never see again….

    • You’re right, of course. I would give money though, if we could recreate it a little. Donald Trump riding a spirited charger across wet cobble stones or Vladimir Putin embracing that American soldier in that rather disconcerting way. To be honest, I think we were better off in the days of the Soviet Union. They seemed to have the capacity for a better whole world view that ensured we all carried on living our lives whatever blips occurred. Putin I am not so sure of. He seems to carry out policies all for the benefit of Vladimir Putin and has few, if any, abstract ideals. He certainly lost most of my sympathy with his attack on the ex-spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

      • Agreed on your entire comment, John. With the Soviet Union, you usually knew where you stood. Even Khrushchev said, “I don’t need to do anything, you’ll destroy yourselves from within.”

  2. How quickly we forget the pain and loss!

    • I’ve just looked it up and “estimates of total deaths range from 50 million to more than 80 million”. And all of it, in may opinion, directly traceable to that shot that killed Archduke Ferdinand back in 1914. That was the spark for WW1 and then the Versailles Treaty laid excellent foundations for WW2. I just hope that the present-day politicians realise the pain and loss that war entails, never for them or theirs, but certainly for millions of ordinary people.

  3. Would that it had lasted

  4. If only Stalin had died in Roosevelt’s place, the world would have been a great deal better !. As it was, Roosevelt apparently believed everything Stalin said, and didn’t seem to realise that Stalin would remain in all those little countries like Poland and Hungary and occupy them with his armies.

  5. When I think of all that Hitler and his men did I just cannot think straight. Only human beings can be so cruel and this cruelty is still happening. It is really tragic.

    • Yes, it is. And perhaps more than that, it is so difficult to understand. Somebody is different from you, and your reaction is to hurt them rather than show interest in their way of life. As the English proverb says “Variety is the spice of life”. We should celebrate Mankind’s differing reactions to his own existence.

  6. It’s a shame the east and west didn’t continue dancing, drinking and embracing like that, maybe the world would be a better place today.

    • …although I don’t think it would have done much for road traffic accident levels! The Russian people I met in 1969 were perfectly decent, well behaved, reasonable people. They had a great regard for the British after all their help in the war and as Mrs Thatcher said, they were definitely people we could do business with. I think they have been made more nervous over the decades by the Americans in Europe. Having countries right next to Russia as NATO members has not helped nor have the missiles that are supposedly based so close to Russian territory. I think that the first step to a better and more secure Europe would be to have missile free countries to the west of Russia so they do not feel so threatened.

      • A very good point John. If we consider the reaction of the US when the Russians placed missiles in Cuba, we can perhaps at least (dare is say it) sympathise a little with them. Mistrust is the biggest problem with east – west relations.

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