The Great Unknown War. A must-see documentary about the WWII prelude. By Andrei Medvedev

UPDATE: Please read the very revelavt to this documentary, poignant, and important insights in President Vladimir Putin’s article The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II, published in The National Interest on the 18th of June 2020.

These days mark 71 year since the start of the Great Patriotic war of the USSR against the invading Nazi horde, and 75 years since this horde was defeated. And it is of utmost importance to understand how this horde came to be, who nurtured it. Andrei Medvedev’s documentary “The Great Unknown War” does just that.

It is assumed in our historiography that the USSR and its allies – the United States, Britain and France – fought with Nazi Germany, which was supported by its allies – Hungary, Romania, Italy, and Japan. And the Soviet Union won this unbearably difficult war.

But it is very important to understand whether our allies were really sincere, on whose side were the so-called neutral countries, and why the war on the Eastern front was so violent with mass destruction of the population.

Without understanding who brought Hitler to power, who financed him, who earned money from the war, we will never realize the greatness of the feat of the Soviet people.

Without a deep understanding of the causes of the war and an analysis of diplomatic agreements, we will not see that the attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 was the result of a serious geopolitical process.

An important question is: who was behind Hitler, who in Europe needed such a Germany and why? Aggressive, militarized, anti-Bolshevik and anti-Russian.

What would Germany be without American loans? Without investment from American companies? Germany could not have fought in the East without receiving for free the top-notch factories of Czechoslovakia, which it gained by the Munich Conspiracy of 1938, when England and France gave up the whole country to Hitler. What for? What were the Western politicians planning?

Why did the allies take so long to open a Second front and what is the Bank for International Settlements? Why did its participants meet every month throughout the Second World War?

How many foreigners fought in the SS, and who defended the Reich Chancellery in May 1945? For whom in Europe were Hitler’s ideas so dear: nationalism, anti-Semitism and living space in the East.

The film “The Great Unknown War” is a story about what the Soviet Union actually faced. And the terrible cost at which we won a war that we were not supposed to win.

As promised a month ago, I have now translated the entire documentary to English. White writing this translation, a lot of background checks were done, and every date and name were verified. Most quotes of the Western politicians are re-translations from Russian, except for a few, where open original sources were available. The links to the sources are added both to the transacrips and the downloadable subtitles (as comments).

While watching the documentary, I could not shake off the feeling of the stark parallel of how the Nazi Germany was propped up, and how, in much the same way, the Nazi Ukraine is being propped up now. One example: just replace the name of Henri Deterding of the British-Dutch “Shell” with that of Biden Jr. to see the present-day play of interests. Or replace “Bank for International Settlements” (BIS) with the International Monetary Fund. But there are big differences, too. While Germany was heavily invested into, to make it into a battering ram against Russia, Ukraine is being turned into an ideological battering ram, while at the same time being plundered of its last Soviet industrial legacy.

However, the target was always Russia, and WWII was just a fifth act in a war that lasted for several hundred years, dotted by a few armistices. Here is a list of those wars (with some documentaries in Russian):

  1. The Napoleonic Wars of 1812
  2. World War 0 of 1853-1856, mis-nomered as “The Crimean War”, when that was but one of many battles. Just think of one simple fact: if Russia lost the Crimean War, why did Russia retain Crimea?
  3. The war with Japan and the first attempt to conduct a coup d’etat in Russia in 1905
  4. World War I, which was a suicide for Europe, started in 1914, and culminated in the capitalistic coup d’etat in Russia in February of 1917.
  5. World War II and the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945…
  6. …immediately followed by the Cold War, which was planned to not be that cold. Even before it started Winston Churchill ordered development of the “Plan Unthinkable”, the goal of which was to strike the USSR in July of 1945. I am not quoting The Guardian often, if ever, but this article from 2002 is worth the read: The Soviet threat was a myth
  7. This “Cold War” lead to another coup d’etat in Russia and a forced instalment of the bloody Yeltsin regime in November of 1993, the Wild 90’s that took the lives of over 30 million Russian and Soviet people over the course of 7 years of oligarchic rule; and the destruction of the Yugoslavia by NATO in the process.

It is all intertwined. But now, let as zoom in on the developments between WWI and WWII.

One other parallel that sprung to mind is how the German Weimar Republic and its achievements were appropriated and privatised by the Anglo-Saxon (or, rather, “Naglo-Saxon” West), while the Republic itself became demonised once West-sponsored Hitler took power. The same happened to the great legacy of the Soviet Union now, after the West-sponsored Yeltsin took power in Russia. For example, IG Farben Industries, which gave to humanity fertilisers, magnetic tape and magnetophones and many other things during the Weimar Republic, but once it got taken over by the Nazi state and developed the murderous gas “Zyklon B”, that’s all that remained, while origins of the prior works were earased and ascribed to the “victors” after WWII. More about it in the article “IG Farben – the main weapon of the XX-th century“.


1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2Please note that translating a documentary film or an article takes a lot of time and emotional effort. I am doing it on a voluntary basis, but if someone feels like supporting my work, a Bitcoin donation to the following address is appreciated: 1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2

On several previous occasions YouTube removed my uploads of translations, so to avoid any problems, here are 5 easy steps that will allow you to watch it with subtitles on your desktop machine:

  1. Download the video, using BitDownloader
  2. Download the subtitles (Right-click the link and choose ‘Save As’)
  3. Download and install VLC for your operating system
  4. Make sure that the video and the subtitle files have the same name
  5. Play the video in VLC – subtitles will load automatically

The complete transcript of the subtitles, with occasional annotation links to external resources, is below the video frame.

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Prague’s Shame – Petty-minded Prague-6 mayor Ondřej Kolář erases the memory of Prague’s saviour, Marshal Ivan Konev

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over the German Fascists, where Soviet Union played the decisive and definitive role in sealing that Victory. This role of USSR is like a thorn in the eye of the modern day revisionists and neo-Fascists, who over the past decades have been ferociously rewriting history and smearing Russia as the heir to the USSR. The history is remembered as long as there are physical manifestations of said history left in the world.

As such, the especially vicious battle has been wielded against the monuments commemorating the Soviet (and by that meaning all nationalities, not just Russian) soldiers and commanders on the post-Soviet space. Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and others started the trend as soon as the CIA assets took power in those countries. After 2014, once the neo-Fascits took hold of power in Ukraine with the help of the USA and EU, the demolition of the WWII memorials was put on the assembly line rate level, at the same tempo as the destruction of the Ukrainian economy that it inherited after the USSR.

Now, that the date of the 75th Anniversary is drawing ever nearer, the newest salvo in the war on the historical monuments was heard from Prague, Czech Republic, where the memorial to Marshal Ivan Konev – the saviour of Prague – was torn down. If not for Konev’s army and his decisive, yet careful actions, Prague would be looking like Dresden now. Albeit, not because of the American firebombing, but because of the demolition charges that the retreating German forces put all around the city. It is the remembrance of the salvation of such cities as Prague and Krakow – at great self-sacrificial cost on the part of the Soviet troops – that the CIA assets are eager to destroy.

Addendum Lada Ray published a very forceful article about the desecration of the memorial to Prague’s saviour on Patreon: 75 Years Later, Nazism Won in Europe? Czechia Demolishes Monument to Russian Marshal Konev, Liberator of Auschwitz & Prague! (LADA RAY REPORT)
Please read it, as it contains a much deeper historical perspective around the liberation of Prague, as wellanalysis of the situation with the war on monuments in particular and the state of the Western world in general.

Related article translation that I published 5 years ago, the the 70th Anniversary: Prague Winter.What is the Czechs’ attitude towards the coming 70th anniversary of the Victory?

Below is my speed-translation of an article from “Argumenty i Facty” from 09.04.2020, showing the shame of Prague district 6 in all its ignominious glory.


“Let’s return Marshal home!” Will the memorial to Ivan Konev come to Moscow from Prague?

Descendants of the Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev began collecting signatures for the transfer to Russia of the monument to the commander that was dismantled in Prague. The daughter of the Marshal, Natalia Koneva, hopes that the monument will be installed in Moscow.

“We have Marshal Konev street. And it will be natural if the monument would stand on it.”

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Prague Winter.
What is the Czechs’ attitude towards the coming 70th anniversary of the Victory?

Below is my translation of an article by Georgij Zotov, published in “Argumenty i Fakty” on the 27th of February 2015. The title is a play on concepts. “Prague Spring” was a period of political and cultural liberalisation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.


Over the last 25 years they repeatedly tried to rewrite history in the Czech Republic so as to show – Prague was liberated by whoever, but not by the Soviet troops. However, this period is now referred to by some citizens of the country as “madness”.

– When was Prague liberated? We celebrate the Victory Day on 8th of May. I do not know what happened there. It seems that the Americans wanted to help the Czechs, who revolted against the SS. But they were prevented by the Russians. Anyway, that’s what we were taught.

“They kissed hands of the Russians”

18-year-old student Vaclav does not know Russian, and standing on the Old Town Square in Prague, the guy is talking to me in English. He’d be happy to answer the question, but he’s not sure about the correct answer. Over 25 years too much has changed in the views of the end of World War II in the Czech Republic – and not for the better for our side. Although Soviet troops entered Prague on the morning of May 9, 1945, Liberation Day is celebrated here on May 8 – with the motivation: “If the whole of Western Europe celebrates on the eighth, so will we.” And the very fact of the liberation is questioned by the Czech press and politicians.

– Since 1990 we learned a lot of “new” from the articles of Czech newspapers and statements of historians, – says ex-employee of the TV Czechoslovakia Tatiana Ditrihova. – Especially about the uprising in Prague that erupted on May 5, 1945. For example, it was reported that the Russians did not allow the US Army to rescue the residents of Prague. Although it was the Americans themselves, who ignored calls for help, not wanting to get involved in heavy fighting. Other “experts” claimed – Vlasov’s fighters helped rebels more than the Soviet soldiers. Yes, hoping for amnesty, Russian units of the Wehrmacht joined the revolt, but already two days later they left Prague residents to fend for themselves by fleeing to the Americans. There were printed even such views as saying that on May 9 Russians entered the empty city, that armed Czechs liberated the capital on their own. This is nonsense. Prague Radio begged Marshal Konev: “An SS division moved out against Prague, we are being bombarded from the air, they press us out with tanks, we run out of ammo.” On the 8th of May, Nazi commandant of Prague, General Rudolf Toussaint, accepted the surrender of the guerrillas – the Germans crushed the uprising. When the Red Army entered Prague on the next morning, many Czechs were crying from happiness on the streets and kissed the hands of Soviet soldiers.


The joy of the people of Prague. Photo: RIA Novosti

How to uproot memory

The first to burst into Prague was the tank of 25-year-old Lieutenant Ivan Goncharenko. A fight broke out. On Manesov bridge T-34 was hit and Goncharenko died, becoming the first of the Soviet soldiers who died for the liberation of the capital of Czechoslovakia. On July 29, 1945, on ​​Stefanik square there was unveiled a monument to Goncharenko: tank “IS-2” raised on a pedestal. He has long been a symbol of the liberation of Prague, but now the tank is no longer there – coming to Stefanik (now called Kinsky Square), on the site of the monument I see a crudely made fountain. On April 28, 1991 an avant-garde artist David Black mockingly repainted the tank in pink. And so it began … the combat vehicle was deprived of the status of “cultural monument”, dismantled and its pedestal destroyed – they even destroyed the flower bed in the form of a five-pointed star. When I ask the Prague residents about the tank, they feel uncomfortable. “We have nothing to do with it – sighs an elderly passerby on the Kinsky square. – We were not asked, and I am ashamed of hysteria in relation to Russian. Why the monuments in Berlin and Vienna do not trouble anybody? The new authorities explained their actions as follows: like this tank now only represents the Soviet intervention during the Prague Spring.

Of course, the decision by Brezhnev in 1968 to suppress the rally of the Czech people is a “black page” in the history of the USSR; back then 108 citizens of Czechoslovakia were killed. However, in the six years of the Nazi occupation, there were killed 325,000 Czechs, Slovaks, Jews, Roma (90% of them – civilians). Only in 1943, 350,000 people were driven to work in Germany. Only in one day of the American bombing of Prague on the 14th of February 1945, 700 residents were burned alive. I want to ask Czechs what is more important to them – the memory of an idiotic act of Brezhnev, or respect for the people who, by giving their lives, saved millions of others? However, since 2011 they already hold discussions in the Czech press: Should the tank be returned to its place for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Prague? Alas, it doesn’t go further than mere talk.

Before
After
Stefanik Square in Prague before and after.
Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org / ŠJů; AIF / Georgy Zotov

End of insanity

– For me, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Prague, is of course a celebration – said to “AiF” Maria Dolezhalova-Shupikova, one of the few surviving residents of the village of Lidice that in 1942 was obliterated from the face of the earth by SS punishers. – I was sent to be raised in a German family, forbidden to speak Czech, I had almost forgotten my mother tongue. If the Soviet army didn’t come, I would not have returned home and would not have found my mother. Of course there are problems between the Russians and the Czechs, there are differences of opinion. But this is not a reason to forget about the events that took place in Prague seventy years ago.

On May 11, 1945 a war correspondent Boris Polevoy conveyed report from Prague to “Moskovskaya Pravda”: “Near an overturned truck there lay a body of a girl with such a beautiful face, which it seemed that even death could not change. Next to her, with arms spread, a mighty Red Army tanker lay on the ground on his back, killed by a stray bullet that hit him in the forehead just at the moment when he probably wanted to rush to the aid of the girl. They lay here, head to head, surrounded by a silent crowd, as a symbol of the brotherhood of Czechoslovak and Soviet people. Brotherhood designated by a bloody seal.” There is, perhaps, no more brotherhood – it disappeared with the collapse of the USSR and Czechoslovakia. But the memory remains the same: after the “short madness,” as the situation was aptly described by one of Prague citizens, respect for Soviet soldiers is returning. The graves of our soldiers on Olshansky cemetery in Prague are restored at the expense of the authorities, flowers are brought to the gravestones.

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the capital of the Czech Republic they plan celebrations, during which they promised to reflect the role of the Red Army in the rescue of the city. Is Prague winter finally over? I hope so. Oh yeah, I forgot. Avant-garde artist David Black, who in 1991 defaced the Soviet tank, did not respond to my request for an interview to the “AiF”. Perhaps he simply had nothing to say…