September
18
Categories 1941Tags

Siege of Leningrad consolidated

Russian men leave their village as they are called up into the Soviet Army, summer 1941.

The Russian News Agency RIAN has released a collection of World War II images, available to view on Wikipedia Commons.

Recruits leave for the front during Soviet mobilisation, in Russia near Moscow 1941.
' Our cause is just. The enemy will be defeated. Victory will be ours.'
Nurses helping people hit during the first bombardment of Leningrad.

On the 18th September the defenders of Leningrad saw the tanks of the German 4th Panzer Army being loaded on to trains, to be transported to the Moscow front. It was the first clear sign that there was not going to be a direct assault on the city. The bombing that was taking place was not something preparatory to an attack – it was the strategy. Leningrad, almost completely encircled on the [permalink id=13528 text=”8th September”], would be besieged and bombed not in an attempt to make the city surrender but in order to kill the people within it.

Hitler would soon issue a War Directive spelling out the the policy but he had already told Otto Abetz, the German ambassador to Vichy France:

Petersburg — the poisonous nest from which, for so long, Asiatic venom has spewed forth into the Baltic — must vanish from the earth’s surface. The city is already cut off. It only remains for us to bomb and bombard it, destroy its sources of water and power and then deny the population everything it needs to survive.

One of the first Luftwaffe bombing objectives had been the food warehouses for the city – centralised under the Soviet system. The rations for civilians had now been reduced. Much worse was to come.

Scenes of the early air raids during the blockade of Leningrad:

One thought on “Siege of Leningrad consolidated”

  1. The photos are clearly propaganda images. The prospects for Russian conscripts were grim, and their equipment, at least in the early stages of the war, was pitiful. Smiles and kisses would seem less likely than terrified foreboding, knowing that they would probably never see their loved ones again, but also that that was the least-worst option available to them.

    It was common for Russian conscripts to join the Communist Party, because, when they were killed, the party would inform their relatives. The army did not take that responsibility, and those who weren’t party members would simply never be heard of again.

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