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Vlasov - General For Two DEVILS
Russian Volunteers in Hitler's Army
Hitler Films / Nazi WW2 Movies Description:
Vlasov - General For Two DEVILS Russian Volunteers in Hitler's Army: Patriot or traitor? More than one-half century after his execution, General Andrei Vlasov remains one of World War II's most controversial figures. A brilliant Soviet commander, Vlasov was captured by the German Wehrmacht in July, 1942, and soon became central to the campaign by junior German officers to launch a Russian Liberation Army (usually referred to as the ROA) against Stalin's regime. These plans ran up against Nazi dogmas of Lebensraum and Slavic inferiority, however, and Vlasov spent much of the war under house arrest. Only in the last months of the war did the Germans consent to sponsor a truncated version of his Liberation Army, with predictable futile results. Yet Vlasov's vision-of a Russia freed of Stalin's yoke, with guaranteed freedoms for its peoples - survived his battlefield defeats; that he sought to attain his goals through German Nazi sponsorship underlines the tragedy of his and Soviet Russia - predicament. This new documentary offers newly - found film footage and extensive interviews with Vlasov's surviving associates, lieutenants, and foot soldiers, including Igor Novosiltzev, Constantine Sacharevitsch, Nikolai Kozlov, Nikolai Numerov, Nikolas Vastchenko, and Nikolai A. Chiketov. The views of Vlaso's German backers are represented by Hans von Herwath, Robert Kroetz, and Helmuth Schwenninger, while William Sloane Coffin, Arthur Cowgill, Frank Roberts, and Tom Dennis comment upon the U.S. - British supervised repatriation of Vlasov's surviving troops to the Soviet Union in 1945. With its multiple perspectives and rich visual documentation, this solidly - researched film provides the clearest picture yet of this difficult subject, revealing Vlasov's tortured legacy in its many dimensions. English commentary and subtitles.
Vlasov - General For Two DEVILS
Russian Volunteers in Hitler's Army
DVD064 - Vlasov - General For Two DEVILS
Details: Running time 59 minutes, Black / White & Color, English Commentary and Subtitles.
= English Language
“Russia” has always been synonymous for “tragedy”. Nowhere is this old axiom more apparent than in the “Vlasov, A General for Two Devils,” the untold but important story of Andrei Vlasov --- one of Stalin’s ablest commanders, who later sided with the Germans, becoming briefly the most popular Russian leader of the 20th Century, only to die on a Soviet gallows.
Even knowledgeable students of World War Two will be surprised to learn that more than half a million ex-Soviet p.o.w.s enlisted in his crusade to liberate their homeland from Communism. Critics of German policy have long contended that Hitler could have won the war if he had used them from the beginning of the Campaign. But, as the dvd makes clear, immediately arming these soldiers and sending them into combat was not as simple as it appeared to outsiders. Hitler and his colleagues were aware that an unknown number of Soviet agents active among the prisoners might lead them back to the Red Army or even turn them against the Germans at a critical moment. The risk of building a Russian Liberation Army seemed too great.
There were, moreover, the claims of numerous Eastern European peoples who wanted independence following the universally desired break-up of the USSR, but they were likewise unanimous in their opposition to Russian domination of any kind. Vlasov needed more than a year to win over the friendly opposition and create a united front. This he accomplished in a truly futuristic vision for his country. Each people were to enjoy the autonomy they long dreamt of in a loosely knit confederation similar to conditions as they developed after the disintegration of the USSR in the 1990s. In his documentary, Vlassov emerges as a great, if flawed leader.
The single division the Germans eventually allowed him to raise saw only combat once, in April 1945, after vastly superior Soviet hordes had already cross the Oder River, far too late to stem the tide. What his forces were unable to achieve on the battlefield they more than made up for in a tremendous propaganda victory that resulted in hundreds of thousands of Red Army desertions to the Axis. “Vlasov, A General for Two Devils” conducted interviews with both Russian and German contemporaries, and features never-before-seen film footage of the Russian Liberation Army, its officers and equipment. The documentary is a thought-provoking insight into a virtually unknown but deeply intriguing chapter of the Second World War.
It brings out, for example, how, from 16 August 1941, Stalin ordained that any of his troops captured alive by the enemy were condemned as traitors, and their families were arrested. Churchill and Roosevelt were aware of this policy when they agreed with “Uncle Joe” at Yalta that all Russians that fell into Anglo-American hands would be turned over to him at once. Accordingly, Vlasov and innumerable Eastern Europeans --- not only veterans, but their wives and families --- were forcibly repatriated to Soviet death camps. We learn first-hand from both the victims and a former British Army officer about the kind of atrocities never discussed in the mainstream news and entertainment media.
Years previous to this tragedy, Vlasov dealt the Wehrmacht its first defeat as Major-General of the XXth Red Army, which saved Moscow in December, 1941, when the Germans lost 100,000 men captured or killed. Thereafter, he was promoted to Leftenant-General and Commander-in-Chief of the 2nd Strike Force aimed at breaking the Axis siege of Leningrad. While Vlasov came close to repeating his earlier success, superior German artillery led to the encirclement and destruction of his army, and he was taken prisoner in July 1942.
Although a loyal Red Army officer, he personally despised Communism and was a witness to its horrors. He therefore reacted positively to a suggestion made by Reinhard Gehlen, head of the Eastern espionage Office, that an army of Russian volunteers be formed under Vlasov’s leadership to become part of the Axis coalition against Stalin. The masses of German-occupied Eastern Europe enthusiastically applauded their plan, and hundreds of thousands of P.O.W.s flocked to the newly risen banner of Russian liberation.
Wehrmacht Chief-of-Staff, Wilhelm Keitel, was less sympathetic, however, and refused to formation of a free Russian army. Preparations for its formation progressed nonetheless in the hope that Keitel would eventually change his mind. They were right, and he did after German reverses continued to mount after defeat at Stalingrad. But Keitel had his job cut out for him, because Hitler was still strenuously opposed to Gehlen’s proposal. What really won the Fuehrer over, in addition to unrelenting bad news from the Eastern Front, was Vlasov himself, whom Hitler came to respect as “a real soldier”.
Accordingly, Heinrich Himmler met with Vlasov at the Fuehrer’s Wolfschanze Headquarters on 16 September 1944, promising him a free hand in the formation of three fully equipped divisions. Now Vlasov’s greatest challenge was getting all the other Eastern European peoples to accept his command. He succeeded with the brilliant, inspiring, and profoundly historic Prague Manifesto, in which the confederation he envisioned guaranteed freedom of religion, opinion, the press, rights of the farmers to own their own land, the abolishment of Stalin’s police-state and ruinous Marxism.
Although his proposed state was not modelled after the Third Reich, its was wholeheartedly endorsed by the German authorities, who had, in any case, explained for many years before that “National Socialism is not for export.” The upsurge in support and popularity across Europe Vlasov experienced with the declaration of his Prague Manifesto granted him great prestige and influence, so much so, a new wave of Red Army defectors swelled his ranks, even as Soviet forces were victoriously rolling toward the German border.
The question naturally arises: What if Vlasov had been allowed to form his army in mid-1942 instead of late 1944? Would he have won the war for the Axis? See this highly engaging documentary, and decide for yourself.
- Marc Roland
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Friday, March 24, 2017