[log in to unmask] wrote:
> Too bad you caught it so fast, I was licking my lips over that one.<g>
> No Russians at Normandy (at least, no Soviets), that's true.  But there weren't nearly as many Germans, or German war material, as there would have been without a little distraction called the Eastern Front.

Historians of the future will regard World War II as primarily a
German-Russian war with marginal involvement of the U.S. and G.B. The
Russians were fighting over 200 divisions while the U.S. in France was
facing some 80 divisions. The greatest tank battle of all time occurred
in the east, lasting several days and ending in Soviet victory.

There were 400,000 + u.s. casualties. Here is just a _part_ of the
Russian losses (and victories):


History / World War II

The Invasion of Russia: The Turning Point

The Civil War had its Gettysburg, the Peloponnesan War had its Sicily,
and World War One had its Marne.  So too does World War Two have its
turning point: Operation Barbarossa and Stalingrad.   The operation was
ordered on December 18, 1940.  Hitler wanted to strike at Russia because
it would have given Germany the "space and resources" that the Germans
needed.  He also wanted to strike before they made an alliance with
England.   Since July, Hitler had been building up forces on the eastern
front, and Romania and Finland had joined Germany for the attack on
Russia.  The only problem for the Germans was that Italy had already
been taken and Germany was vulnerable to attack from the south.  Russia
figured out what Germany was doing and started to send them "gifts" and
relaxed their grip on Finland and Romania.  Despite this, Hitler decided
to commence the attack.

Hitler began his four-year campaign against Russia, sending 7.2 million
troops who caught the Russian army off guard and were initially
successful.  By July 17 Germany was less than two miles from Moscow, and
by August the Russian casualties exceeded three million.  The attack was
stopped in early winter, which immobilized the tanks and made it
difficult for troop movement in general.  The Russians, on the other
hand, were adept at moving large bodies of soldiers in the snow and
started a counter attack that brought the Germans into a retreat by the
end of the year.  One out of five German soldiers were killed, totalling
at 1.44 million casualties.  Perhaps Hitler should have quit earlier,
while he was ahead.

The next summer, Germany launched a new offensive with three main
objectives: to capture Leningrad, join the Flemish army, and cut off
Moscow's oil supplies by crossing the Volga river. The attack made it
across the Volga and soon reached Stalingrad.  By June, Hitler was
prematurely telling his advisers that "Russia is finished."   Hitler
made the biggest error of his life (I'm not counting suicide as an
error- in fact, it was one of his best) and decided to try to hold
Stalingrad.  His army was quickly surrounded by five Russian armies and
over 200,000 Germans were taken prisoner, the rest managing to escape
back to Germany.  While in Russia, Hitler was so angered by their
resistance that he ordered the killing of all Russian Jews and anyone
related to Communism and, seeing that Russia was Communist, that meant
all Russians. Germans shot 50-100 Russians for every one of their
soldiers killed.  The total Russian losses in the campaign exceeded 17
million as well as 1.7 million Jews.

World War II


The story of the seige of Leningrad is hardly equalled in the history of
human courage and determination.

There seems to me to be a continuity in Gerontion (the mind of Europe),
the references to survival and destruction of civilizations in The
Wasteland, "Tradition and the Individual Talent," and _East Coker_ (in
my end is my beginning, etc). Eliot reified, as have so many in the last
century and a half, "Western Civilization" as a entity with an
_essence_, the accidents of which could be traced in their variations
over time. My query, is there an analogy (in Eliot's thought) between,
on the one hand, tradition and the individual talent in art, and, on the
other hand, a reified or essentialized "westernciv" and individual
manifestations of that essence?