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        The Russian Revolution and its impact on the Mennonite Settlements and my life.

From earliest childhood my life and thinking has been influenct by the stories of the great suffering of our Mennonite brothers in Russia. World war two broke out when I was almost 3 years old. The conversation of the people was about the great tragedy that was happening, talk was very much about end times how the Lord would come at any moment and take the suffering elect home. Very often I sat behind the chair of my mother and listened to the peoples conversation, till I was noticed and sent to play . My father was the same age when World war one started and six years old when the Russian Revolution. He was a very sensitive to the talking of older people his thinking and out look on life like mine was formed by tragedy.


 World War one started in 1914 Russia was involved from the start and may even have been a instigator in this terrible war, which shattered the belief that great wars was a thing of the past, that modern civilized nations would settle there differences through diplomacy. But seems like no one had told this to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. Who wanted a bigger share in World trade and more Lebensraum.  Soon almost all the nations of the world were involved. The USA did not come into the war till 1917. The war ended      in 1918 that also was the year of the killer flu that killed more people then the millions  that the war had killed. Germany and its partners lost the war. The devastating effect of modern warfare was seen in all its horrible effectiveness! Modern weapons were used for the first time on a massive scale like poison gas, modern machineguns, combat airplanes   which were used for machine-gunning and bombing. Huge motor driven balloons were used for long range bombing. Huge armored tanks that could only be stopped with huge canons,  landmines, or covered pits, came into use in the later part of the war. The most devastating weapon was the poison mustard gas it ruined the minds of thousands of soldiers who had to spend the rest of their lives in asylums. There were many Mennonite serving in the Russian army as medics. Since in the late 1880’s they had done a alternative service called forestry service rather then serve in the regular army.( When this came up that military service of some kind  would be demanded in the 1870,s it caused the great 1874 migration to the USA&Canada). Russia demanded compulsory army service for all able young men. In time of war many were asked or volunteered to serve as medics without bearing of arms as noncombatants. I have read articles of those who served behind the frontlines and war zones.


Russia did not stay in the war till the end.  They pulled out their forces from the front, Because the war was so very unpopular at home, the economic situation was very poor . many people did not have enough to eat, and now a well armed army came home but there were no jobs waiting for them so the end of the war really made the situation worse. There were long breadlines in the city’s with hungry people but they kept running out of bread There were many instigators of violence around, communist leaders had been waiting a long time for a chance to overthrow the Government and use the wealth of the rich to help the poor. So here was a chance for the common people to over throw the corrupt government and overthrow the power of the rich and divide the wealth of the country evenly among the poor.


The first violence started in Leningrad (at that time and now again St.Petersburg) with riots on the bread lines, from there it spread out over the whole country. Lenin (the leader in the communist party) who was in exile because of his anti government activity came home and took over the leadership of the Revolution. The prisons in Siberia where opened up thousands of political prisoners and common criminals came back with a great anger and desire to take revenge of the rich who they blamed for their exile and imprisonment. So like always in a time of disaster there were people who exploited the situation.


 The Royal family was taken captive Czar Nicolas his wife four teenage daughters and a young sickly son. For a long time it was not established what or how it happened nor  who gave the order. But they were all brutally shot and buried in a secret grave. The grave was not discovered till many years later. The Communist government did not want the truth to be known. But the rest of the world was horrified that a loved Royal family should be treated so brutally. One thing was certain the powers that be wanted no key figure behind which opposition to their evil intent could rally. It was a big blow to the hope and moral of the people.     


   It was a long battle between the white army and the red army, for a while it raged back and forth through the villages of the Mennonites. When food or horses were needed they helped them selves to what the Mennonites had. (There were about a hundred thousand Mennonites in Russia at that time) first one side would take over then the other. And beside that there were many roving bands of lawless marauders or bandits the most famous of them was Nestor Machnov,  who at one time had worked in the Mennonite settlements .and later was sent to Siberia to prison, but was freed by the Revolution. Now he and his band were seeking bloody revenge among the rich German Colonists, which included the Mennonites. They came into the villages murdering men and raping women and stealing what they could. After they raided and robbed a village the dead had to be buried the next day . I once read  that in the Mennonite colonies there are at least a dozen mass graves where up to fifty or more people are buried.


Finally the young men said this couldn’t go on. We won’t take any more of this. So they formed what they called the( Selbst schutz) or home defense. With the help of a German army Sargent they organized a private army and started patrolling and hitting back. ”In spite of older peoples warning not to do so but rather pray more earnestly.”  They were still hoping that the so called white army would win against the Bolschiwicks, and things would turn back to normal, they were successful for awhile against the marauding bandits. But when the white army lost they were not strong enough to go against army units. So they laid down their arms and disbanded their units. They say the revenge that was taken against the villages that had participated in the Selbst schutz was terrible, in Chortitza alone 80 young men where later murdered or dragged off never to return.

After the Communist had won the Revolution, they had to solidify there position. And that meant to get rid of the people from whom they expected to get the most opposition, which were the community and church leaders. But the first people they got rid of were bandit leaders like Nestor Machnov. Who lived to old age in exile in France. People like     him were useful in weakening and bringing down a organized Government, but useless or even dangerous in forming a new Government. But the horror of anarchy ( no law and no Government ) and mass starvation were used as weapons to force the people into submission.


Now we come to the aftermath of the Revolution the food was stolen but so was the seed grain, It was time to plow but few horses were left with which to plow the fields. Now in the region, which used to be called the bread basket of Europe they face mass starvation. The new Government ordered food to be sent to the starving cities. Many Mennonites had established villages and farms on the plains of Siberia an area that was less affected by the fighting in the Revolution so food was forcefully gathered there. At one time a order went out that each farmer was to butcher a cow in the winter time, when it would stay frozen, and deliver it to the railway station. Every farmer had to supply a cow even if was the only source of milk he had for his children. It turned out to be easier to order the people to deliver the food the rail head than to get freight cars to haul it to the starving cities so much of the food simply spoiled before it could be sent to where it was so desperately needed. The demands for money was incredible, every thing was taxed your horse and cows in short all livestock and the crops you harvested were not taxed according to the amount you harvested but according to the amount you were supposed to have harvested. If you did not pay you were ruthlessly put in prison till someone paid for you. The young men were forcefully conscripted into the army. Many were losing faith because it was so sublimely attacked. When you are starving severe conditions do not  bring out the best in people even supposed to be good Mennonite could be tempted to  seek unjust advantage. For those who stayed true to their conscience it was hard to bear and stay firm. They must have realized the truth in what “Jesus says you have not been tried unto death” before, but  now it was a daily occurrence.    

 Many of the people in authority were untrained and inexperienced. And more concerned for personal immediate gain. Alcoholism then as today was a great problem for the Russiens. Many who live in the state of intoxication and live unconcerned for tomorrow. The problem in a time of starvation is the food can’t be brought to the area of need in time.


The Mennonites in America had listened in horror to the tragedy that was happening to their Brethren in the country from where many of their forefathers had come from. The people forty years and older had even been born there. They had to get organized so they could work together, a committee was formed which still exists today as Mennonite Central Committee known today all over the world as MCC. Food mostly in grain was gathered. Young men were appointed to go along to distribute. Orrie Miller who for many years was the executive secretary of MCC was one of them. One of the three Clayton Kratz disappeared on a train trip in Russia and was never head of again. So one of the first MCC volunteers is a martyr. It was race against time. Would the help reach on time for many it did not they died of starvation. But the food did arrive and saved the lives of many. Ron Mathies the executive secretary of MCC today says that his parents survived because the aid shipment for them  did arrive on time. MCC also sent over many tractors (to replace the missing horses) to prepare the land so they could again grow their on food.          


 The Mennonites were only a small part of the starving masses. If food was so scarce in the countryside were it grows just imagine how it was in the big cities, Millions starved, all over the country. Massive aid was sent in. As we have seen and I believe it most have been so then, in a natural disaster aid is quicker to reach the cities then the countryside. At that time still a large part of the population was rural so the distribution of food must have been a nightmare. People do not starve passively!  Where there was food or supposed to be they were robbed and raided again, and again.


Between 1923-29 the doors of Russia mercifully opened close to 20,000 Mennonites got out they had to leave every thing behind and came out only with the clothes on there back and a thankful but sorrow filled heart. The Mennonites in America did all they could to help them. Many took a family of destitute people into their home. The steamship companies and railways on the reputation of honesty of the Mennonites brought them over on credit. To be paid later. this traveling debt was usually paid well before allotted time.

Many are the reports of tragedy that now were written in the Steinbach post and in Der Bote for the next forty years. Of which I first heard read and later read many articles. Because with world war two there came a whole new wave of tragedies of which I will write more about later.


 The Mennonites that came from Russia at this time were better educated and cultured then those who had come over in 1874. Because of the advanced schooling they had. I read that when one group was crossing the border there was a need of typists the Russian officials were amazed when two dozen secretaries turned up to help. They said we are sorry to see you leave because we need people with education. Well they came on the scene at the right time in Canada. to  At that time a large group was migrating to Mexico and Paraguay. Because of the newly enforced Provincial education laws. Now there was a great need for better educated teachers. For the Mennonite schools now taken over by the government. All they needed to do was learn English which they did in record time.


Many are the complaints I have heard that they brought to many advanced ideas into the schools and even the churches. Almost all the schools I know of had a Ruslander (this is what this new group was called) as a teacher.                   

 In 1929 the exit doors slammed shut. It had become harder and harder to get out. Many who were on their way to get out were hopelessly stranded with little or nothing to go back too.


Now we enter the period of collectivization no private property was to be allowed there was now to be equal distribution of wealth every thing was by the people for the people. I don’t know the exact process or in what year all this took place. I find myself very uninformed to write this chapter. After the death of Lenin Joseph Stalin came to power, a more ruthless ruler the world has not seen. Five-year plans were drawn up and orders given from Moscow how to run the state farms. Over seers were put in charge for whom it was more important to follow orders for their own protection and promotion then to do what made sense. People in leadership from before were Ruthlessly eliminated they were usually taken from their homes at night most never to return. Religious leaders were also on the elimination list. As an atheist nation they forbade all teaching of a belief in God. The prisoners were put in unheated boxcars and shipped to labor camps in Siberia to work in mines and forest camps. Here it was a brutal merciless existence the religious leaders were treated as bigger criminals then murderers or robbers.  Only a few of these victims ever returned to tell the story. They were ether killed outright or starved and work to death. So the red paradise was built on a red foundation of blood of the martyrs.

Many prisoners died while they were being transported, these were often simple thrown out to the railway side. I read recently they did a  chemical imaging by satellite they saw a very unusual reaction along the rail ways in Siberia, when they checked it out they found it was from human bones strewn out beside the railway.  At the two hundred year anniversary (of the Mennonites settlement in Russia) symposium I attended in Winnipeg in 1988 one of the delegates brought a paper of the  man that were  taken away most never to be heard from again, it was over one hundred just from one large village alone.  This was during the years of collectivization ( which means putting together huge state run farms, these were to make all people equal).    


 The communist manifesto had been written by Karl Marx while he was living in exile in England because of his political activities in Germany where he was born. He wrote it in the late eighteen hundreds. It was studied in many countries by political activists, and young idealists, who were looking for a utopian ( paradise like) solution for the worlds under privileged. He wrote the worlds evils existed because of the on even distribution of wealth. In short the exploitation of the poor by the rich. Also the use of religion to control the masses. He pointed out how so much land was or had been in the hands of the huge state churches .At that time the catholic church owned one third of the land in Mexico until the reformer Benito Juarez   brought forth the law in Mexico that the churches could own no property. Which still exists today. All church property and churches are owned by the state. The  Russian Orthodox church owned close to one half of all the land including the people that lived on the land as slaves. Catherine the great took a lot of it away from the church in her time which was a very popular move. But then she turned around and gave much of it to her favorites in Government. They write that the state of these slaves was worse then it had been before. So there was a lot of truth in the charges he made. The terrible part was the “solution”. Eliminate all religion break the power or unity of the Family. This was no less then desolving the glue that had held society as is together since the world began. He called religion the opiate of the people. I don’t think he would like the results. Which is society drowning in Blood and Vodka (the curse of Russia).

 There was a lot of truth in the charges Marx. But the solution has left countless millions dead and many more ruined. The misery just goes on and on.


Many young idealist the world over were very excited that finally a nation was being developed under the utopian plan of Marx. They went  to Russia to take part in this great development  but most were sorely disappointed. It was not true “Marxism”! but “Leninism” which like “Maoist” Revolution later in China was total dictatorship. Karl Marx was planing for a totally unselfish Democratic state by the people for the people. It was to be communism by choice rather then Communism by force. He claimed there was no need of God. But like in the French Revolution a hundred  years earlier, they needed to be ruled only by the laws of morality. But by the rampant raping drunkenness’ and stealing that actually happened, we see the complete lack of morality. This had also been badly lacking in the Royal courts. Reading of the private life of “Catherine the Great” shows this very clearly. After the death of her husband her lover general Gregory with the will of the army established her rule over all of Russia, for many years the first minister Potemkin on whose land the first Mennonites settled was her lover. The list goes on and on. But the people loved her, like “Absalom of old” she knew how to win the hearts of the people. I am writing this to show that it was not a holy Russian Empire our forefathers moved to. When one reads of the strife among those first settlers and continuing on over the years holiness to a large extant was missing among them to.  


 It is hard to imagine what a great task it most have been to collectivize a country larger then the USA and Canada combined crossing 7 time zones. In Russia 180 different languages are spoken. They had already in the eighteen seventies and eighties started a compulsory school system for the Russification of the masses. This served them well now, it made it much easier to give orders. But it also put the Russian speaking people up front. Even in distant Siberia there most have been many ethnic Russians because for over a hundred years, unwelcome persons like criminals and political opposition. Had been sent there to prison and permanent exile. They now ruthlessly without compassion enforced a total change with people starving, they were in a hurry to show the rest of the World what a superior system they had. Lenin had clearly stated that their goal was no less then world domination. In the Bible it says that Satan is thrown out of Heaven and has come down to earth with a great rage knowing that he has little time. These rogue Nations or rulers are always in such a big hurry. So we believe there is a diabolic master behind this whole movement and still is manipulating mankind in a grand design for world domination without God. It also says that Satan is a liar from the beginning. And this is a system operating under deceit. To have power over the people they had to put every body against every body.          


 For the Mennonites and the people of Russia the suffering just went on and on. It was like an “ Apocalyptic tribulation”. They did not look to the future for the great tribulation to come, it was here now!  We may wonder where was God during these terrible times?   But  we sure can see the existence of Satan and His Angels, no one can deny that, 


 With the year of 1929 we have also arrived at the time of the stock market crash and the great depression. This crash in the market caused untold suffering the world over. Germany  had been suffering  what you could call economic collapse since the mid twenties, the German mark had devalued to such extant that it was not worth as much as the paper it was printed on. Germany had lost a lot of territory after world war one and had a huge war debt, on top of that they had to pay a lot of damage because they had lost. So we see in this time of worldwide crises every body had a full \load. Nobody could step in and really help in Russia. Who were going for ward with the collectivization regardless of how expansive it was in human lives.


 The other countries were very afraid of the communist parties that were formed in their own countries and gaining power in this time when the suffering from poverty was so great. In Italy Benito Mussolini and his Fascist black shirts took over the government and the country. They were very strongly anticommunist which made them popular with the rich and the industrialist History does not have much good to say about him. But they do say that he made the trains run on time. Which is quite a accomplishment because Italians are famous for not being in time. And he also provided the people with a strong voice behind which to rally. He also promised to reestablish the Roman Empire which the Italians felt was their birth right.          


  In Germany Adolf Hitler tried to come to power in the mid twenties. He spent almost a year in prison for his political activity. In prison he wrote his infamous Mein Kampf which was the blue print of what he would do if he came to power it was much read by the people in Germany and abroad. He made his second try in the thirties, the people ere tired  of the dismal economic situation. He put forward a attractive plan to remedy that, he promised to create jobs for the people. Communism was greatly feared by the rich industrialists. So he was an attractive alternative.  He came to power in 1933. And immediately he started to put the country on a war footing. As we know modern warfare takes a lot of manufacturing, This means a lot of work and also business for the factory, which means profit. He claimed they were setting up a thousand year Reich (which lasted twelve years). He claimed that the German People were the master race. (This thinking infected the Mennonites somewhat, when I read German papers of that time in Canada I feel the excitement of the great development, which many feel is their country of origin)         

  Claiming to be the master race really touched the German sense of pride. But it was a very poor foundation on which to build a thousand-year Reich. Because the Bible clearly states that pride comes before the fall. And as we will see fall they did  from unimagined heights.              

 In Asia the stage was also being set for the disastrous world war that was to occupy  the world from 1939 to 1945 and would greatly effect the Mennonites the world over and for many of the suffering Mennonites in Russia it would mean a change for a life of opportunity but for many more total disaster even death.

 Japan also considered them-selves to be a superior nation entitled to more Lebensraum. They took over Manchuria and invaded China several years before world war two. This gave them experience for the big war to come. But it also weakened the Chinese country for the final communist take over in 1947.

 Here we have four countries arising in a decade. Japan with a master plan to rule the pacific ocean in short all of Asia. Italy with the aim for the Roman empire. Germany with a thousand year plan which means no less then total world domination. All three of them use the fear of communism to gain power. On top of all this we have Russia claiming to have the solution for the world. For them communism is the natural trend of evolution. We as Christians call all of them evil powers who had nothing less in mind then the enslavement of the nations. It looks as thou the Prince of this world had plan A B C and D. When Hitler signed a ten year non-aggression pact with Russia the powers were lined up for world conquest.

 England was at its height of colonialism almost one third of our world map in school was marked red which color they used for the British Empire, the saying was the sun never sets on the Empire which was true, it circled the globe. The British navy ruled the waves. The USA was the biggest industrial nation. President Roosevelt was in the White House, he was putting forward a new program called the new deal which many felt was a fore runner of communism. The policy of the country was never to get involved in a foreign wars again, in the future they would let Europe solve its own problems. But this was not to be.        

The Germans were putting their master race plan into action. One of the first things they did was start to discriminate against the Jews. Hitler had a big hatred of the Jews. As successful business people and financiers they were looked upon as an obstacle for the big plans of total control. (They say in his youth Hitler got a sexually transmitted decease in a brothel, which he found out was owned by a Jew, then he found out most of the brothels in that city were owned by Jews.) Soon after he took control the Jews were not allowed in public eating-places and were discriminated against in business to the point were they had to sell at a great loss. Hatred for the Jews is old as the stories as  the Bible, remember the book of Esther. We find they suffered from pogroms all over Europe, especially in Russia for centuries. Now many simply left the country but it was hard to find a host country, the countries then as now had tough emigration laws.  Many hated to leave without their property, in the past pogroms had soon passed, no one realized that total extermination was being planned now, to their regret later they paid with their lives. This program against the Jews would escalate till the final solution was reached were millions were dead in death camps like Buchenwald and the furnaces of Auswitz. Historians debate whether extermination was planned from the start, or the plan grew as they proceeded. Some say if you carefully read Mein Kampf it seems to have been planned far in advance.   

 The Mennonites have suffered much religious persecution, but the Jews have suffered religious, racial and political persecution over the centuries, to a much greater extent then the Mennonites ever have. There is one big difference the Mennonites have suffered in the name of Jesus our Savior! Who foretold that this would happen. Often it can be pointed out that we are guilty of some misconduct. A lot of the suffering in the past has been because they happened to be part of the country that was in the path of invading armies. Like when the Swedish army passed through the Danzig area when they marched through to fight the Catholics during the reformation, Mennonite villages were laid waste not necessarily because they were Anabaptists but they were in the path of marching armies. The Jews were often hated because of their wealth, not so much because how they got but because they have it. Like the Mennonites living in Latin America, they appear to be very wealthy, not so much because of their personal wealth but because of their combined or visible wealth. And the poor the worlds over definitely have been exploited by the rich And historical and definitely not in the present can we say that we are free of guilt.

   World war two started in September 1939 when Hitler’s army invaded Poland. England and France had a mutual pact with Poland that to attack one country meant war with all three so they declared war on Germany. The world now learned to know a new type of war called Blitz Krieg (lightning war) with a massive attack on the ground and in the air Germany. But now something unexpected happened Russia moved and took over the northern half of Poland. It looked as though it was part of the ten year nonaggression pact between Russia and Germany. In three weeks the fighting in Poland was over. They now had a harsh new master. It was to have disastrous consciences for the millions of Jews in Poland what became known as the Holocaust with at least six million exterminated Jews during the war. After Poland surrendered there was a phase that came to be known as the Sitz Krieg.(the sitting war) Germany was much better prepared. the major attack they made against the Allies was on the ocean many of ships at sea were torpedoed by submarines . The plan was destroy the supply lines. England was very dependent on imports. The USA was not ready to join the war. But they were in favor of the Allies but because of  politics at home they had a cash and carry policy. The Germans thought when England’s credit ran out that would be it. By cutting off the supply lines they would choke them to death.

 In 1940 Germany invaded Norway after a quick victory they were ready to deal with France and the Low Countries, the English army was ready on the mainland of Europe. It was a Blitz Krieg all over again, soon the British army was cornered at Dunkirk in Belgium. The Germans thought they would now surrender. Now the British proved that not for nothing did they rule the waves. In a marvelous rescue effort they managed to rescue the army. They left all their heavy equipment behind but the men were free to fight again. The French were forced to surrender. Just before they surrendered Italy invaded France they also wanted a share in the spoils of war. Now all of Europe except neutral Sweden Switcherland and Spain was in the hands of the Axis as the Germans and their partners were called. They had all of sea coast in their control. With all those ports from which to send out their submarines and raider ships to destroy the supply of England.

 The world held its breath it looked like the beginning of the end. With only a twenty-mile wide English channel between them and the enemy. But like in the time when Hannibal and at one time Spatarcus threatened the Roman Empire. The need found the man, this time it was Winston Churchill the English people and their friends rallied because of his confident voice never to give up. After preparing air strips in September 1940 Germany started bombing the cities of England. They were better prepared to defend themselves then the rest of the world knew. With their advanced secret radar stations they could see how many bombers were coming over and where they would strike, with a limited amount of aircraft they managed to shot down so many German planes that after 58 nights of continues bombing they stopped. Thousands of buildings in London and other cities had been turned to rubble. Thousands of people had been killed but many were saved by sleeping in the under ground subway stations.                

 During all of this the German submarine wolf packs as they were called roamed the sea destroying Allied ship convoys who were constantly improving their defense weapons. To give you a idea how much the factories turned out during the war. Germany started the war with less then a hundred submarines but lost over seven hundred during the war they sank over three thousand five hundred ships of the Allies. When the USA was attacked by Japan in Hawaii they had only four aircraft carrier ships. when the war ended in spite of their losses they had over a hundred in operation. When president Roosevelt asked congress for a aircraft building program, to build fifty thousand aircraft per year many thought he was crazy, this could never be done. They actually built sixty thousand aircraft per year and thousands of them heavy bombers. So we can see the tremendous industrial out put during the war.

 In 1941 we see the real action it is hard to imagine the scale on which the war was fought Italy had invaded Greece and Ethiopia. Germany was getting ready to invade Russia. Italy was no match for the well equipped English army that was in those countries to help defend them, Now Hitler decided to step in and help.  He had to postpone the invasion of Russia for a month which was to prove disastrous at the end of the year, Germany now sent the famous general Irwin Rommel who became known as the desert fox to defeat the English in Africa. He almost succeeded. In history you always have the much used word “BUT” which I see as nothing less then the “HAND OF GOD” even through sinful man as we see in the Bible He directs the out come battles of wars). We will see later in the progress of the war how the human mind though supposedly operating a master plan fail because of human blunders.

 Germany did hot trust that Russia would keep the non-aggression pact. They might strike when it suited them when Germany was occupied elsewhere. Active trade was still going on between the two countries. Russia did have a big defensive army close to the border. According to one report I read they 4,500,000 stationed there. Now Hitler decided to strike with out warning, how they could amass a striking force of 3,500,000 with 700,000 vehicles among them thousands of tanks and aircraft is unbelievable (according to historians the British did warn the Russians that it would happen)Over confidence and underestimation of the enemy and the weather was to be more costly for Hitler then it had been for Napoleon of France in 1812. Early in the morning even as a train thundered across a bridge making another grain delivery, Germany struck on a three thousand mile wide front. It was Blitz Krieg allover again most of the front line Russian aircraft and tanks were destroyed before they could move into action. With huge pincer movements they encircled whole armies and took them captive. The plan was that it should be over in six weeks, hundreds of thousand troops were taken captive. In the pincer movement around Kiev alone over five hundred thousand Russian soldiers were taken and much equipment and supplies. Vast amounts of territory were over run in a few weeks. Even up to the gates of Leningrad. This city was under siege for nine hundred days close to a million died in the bombardment and of starvation. The Germans planned to keep the city surrounded and starve them into submission. Apparently they had not figured on the thickness of the ice on lake Lodoga, supplies were brought in on a massive scale in the winter. According to the Germans plan it was to be over before winter set in.

 The Russians started to evacuate many of the German and Mennonite settlers before the advancing armies and resettle them in Siberia. But they had not moved fast enough many of them were soon behind the German lines. The Mennonites now entered of a period much better treatment they were now part of the master race. But not so for the Jews special units now did a mopping up job behind the lines in many cases they rounded up the Jews took them to isolated areas and shot them, thousands upon thousands died in this way.

The rush was on for the capital city of Moscow the resistance started to get stronger. The Russians in the defense of there country were willing but also forced to lay down their lives, Stalin gave orders that cowardly retreating soldiers were to be shot. (Like in the battle of Borden in 1812 where the Russians stood their ground even tho they lost half of their soldiers. Napoleon finally won that battle but lost so many people that he lost the war.)The time was now coming that the German commanders would fearfully reach for their history books. When the fall rains came and turned the roads into mud they were still far from Moscow but before winter set in one German army unit did reach the outskirts of the city. The government offices were moved to the north. Now General Winter set in! a early harsh winter. The Germans had not prepared for winter the soldiers shoes were tight fitting and did not have room for warm socks, so there were a lot of frozen feet the clothing was to light for the cold. Such cold was unknown in Germany. They had vast winter clothing drives at home for the freezing troops. The motors did not have antifreeze so they were ruined from cracked blocks. The machine guns oil got so thick they could not operate. The only thing that did not freeze were the hand grenades but when you have to use them you are fighting at close quarters that’s when the numbers count, and Russia had  a bigger population to draw from. The troops from  Siberia were used to the cold and they were dressed for it.

 Russia used the scorched earth policy successfully which means destroy every thing when you have to retreat don’t leave any thing useful for the advancing enemy. Destroy all of the bridges and factories be sure not to leave food ssupply.

 As soon as the Russians were attacked England supported them and diverted many supplies to Russia. Winston Churchill said Germanys enemy is our friend,