Ivan's War: The Red Army, 1939-45 by Catherine Merridale

By Catherine Merridale

In line with records of letters, diaries and police experiences, 'Ivan's War' explores the human component of Russia's conflict opposed to German invasion, and the psychology that enabled a badly fed and badly run strength to defeat an influence that will another way have enslaved all of Europe.

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Sample text

And then proceed to Linz. M. and 31 ANSCHLUSS were formally sworn into office by President Miklas. At 11:30 the "council of ministers"—the formal name for the cabinet—met for the first time. The session lasted forty-five minutes and, although Seyss-Inquart no longer believed he could worm five years of independence out of Hitler, the business discussed was that of a government with longerterm plans and aims. The new cabinet declared a bank holiday and stiffened foreign exchange regulations in order to prevent capital flight.

He sounded tired and his usual elan was missing. "Whatever may come," he told the huge crowd, "the German Reich, as it stands today, will never be torn apart again. No peril, no threat, and no act of violence can break this our oath. " Then Hitler went to bed. " And what days they had been. It was only Monday night, but the ebullient Schuschnigg of Friday morning was already a distant memory—both for the bullies and their victims. 35 ANSCHLUSS Austrian Nazis had gone berserk. Looting, mayhem, violence, beatings, even murder became so common that they became too much for officials from the Reich who saw Austria as a source of wealth and raw materials needed to speed Hitler's military buildup, not as an oriental bazaar to be looted.

Fatherland Front propaganda was working, however, and technical preparations for the plebiscite were well under way. Schuschnigg told Zernatto that internal security was in hand, despite nationwide Nazi disruption. He also saw German troop movements as an attempt to intimidate the Austrian government and not as a signal of imminent invasion. Hitler couldn't afford the international condemnation that would follow military action, Schuschnigg believed. Still, he wanted to talk to Seyss but the Interior Minister was nowhere to be found.

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