The attention of the Western Allies was on Normany in June 1944. As a result, the greatest defeat of a Germany army in the field is virtually unknown in the West. The massive Wehrmacht victories diring the NAZI Barbarossa invasion of the Soviet Union are some of the best known battles on the Eastern Front. Except the Stalingrad offensive and the concluding Berlin offensive, other Red Army opeations are less-well reported in the West. Stalingrad was not as is often reported the gturning point in the War, rather it was the Red Army offensive before Moscow and ironically the closely related Pearl Harbor attack, both of which occurred within a few days of each other (December 7-10, 1941). While the Red Army Wniter 1941 Offensive is commonly not given the attention it deserves, an even more devestating Soviet offensive is virtually ignored in Western World War II accounts--Opperation Bagration (June-July 1944). Like the Offensive before Moscow and Stalingrad, Bagration wasa master piece of battlefield deception (Maskirovka). It was notable because it was the first major successful Soviet offensive not launched in Winter conditions.
It was also the greatest Red army victory of the War. The Red Army suceeded in destroying the most powerful German formation at the time--Army Group Central. Before Bagration, the Wehrmacht had suffered substantial battlefield losses, but was still a very potent military force. After Bagration not only was the Wehrmacht unable to react powerfully to the Allied invasion of France, but would be unable to launch amother important offensive in the East. The Soviets succeeded in killing and capturing 0.4 million Wehrmact personnel (About 0.3 million were killed), destroying enormous quantities of material (2,000 tanks), and clearing Byelorussia of the Germans. The Red Army did not simply push the Wehrmacht, but blasted a massive hole in the Eastern Front that the Germans were not canle of filling. It left Army Group North exposed as well As Army Group Northern Ukraine. This opened up the advance into of Poland and the assault on the Reich itself. The enormous success of Bagration was due to three factors: 1) superior Red Army forces, 2) deception, and 3) Allied ground operations in Italy and France and air operations over the Reich which made it impossible for the Wehrmact and Luftwaffe to concentrate its forces.
The attention of the Western Allies was on Normany in June 1944. As a result, the greatest defeat of a Germany army in the field is virtually unknown in the West. The massive Wehrmacht victories diring the NAZI Barbarossa invasion of the Soviet Union are some of the best known battles on the Eastern Front. Except the Stalingrad offensive and the concluding Berlin offensive, other Red Army opeations are less-well reported in the West. Stalingrad was not as is often reported the gturning point in the War, rather it was the Red Army offensive before Moscow and ironically the closely related Pearl Harbor attack, both of which occurred within a few days of each other (December 7-10, 1941). While the Red Army Wniter 1941 Offensice is commonly not given the attention it deserves, an even more devestating Soviet offensive is virtually ignored in Western World War II accounts--Opperation Bagration (June-July 1944). The Red army operations in the East are not well covered in WEstern accounts of the War. This is in part due to historians focusing on the operations of their country's military. But in this case was that Soviet secrecy and its police state made it very difficult for Western historians to research.
The Red Army in 1943 had achieved enormous successes. First the Wehrmacht's one-powerful 6th Army had been destroyed at Stalingrad (January 1943). Second the Wehrmacht's third summer offensive at Kursk had been blunted at enormous cost to the Wehrmacht. The Soviets had also suffered substatial losses, but had the human and industrial resources to replace those losses, especially as American Lend Lease supplies were now reaching the Siviets in very substantial quantities. The NAZIs did not have the capability of replacing the huge losses sustained. The subsequent Red Army counter-offensive cleared the Ukraine and carried west to the borders of Romania, a now teetering Axis Ally. With the Winter thaw, the Eastern front in Spring 1944 ran 2,000 miles from Leningrand on the Baltic 2,000 miles south to the Black Sea. Because of the successes in the south, the German front line bulldged out in the north and center while the Red Army had pushed a substantial distance west in the south. Army Group Central was the most powerful formation in the Wehrmacht. It was deployed in a large area of the western Soviet Union, concentrated in Byelorussia, including an area north of the Pripet Marshes where Russian armies in both World War I and II has sustained huge losses. Thus Red Army units in the south had pushed far west of Army Group Central. Army Group Central and the Romanian, Hungarian and Italian armies deployed with the Wehrmacht had been devestated. Italy had been knocked out of the War by the Western Allies and both Hungary and Romania were trying to figure out how to extract themselves from the War. Army Group Center was still, however, a poweful force to be reconed with.
With El Alemine Otober 1942), Stalingrad November 1942), Tunis (May 1943), Sicily (July 1943), Kursk (July 1943), and Salerno (September 1943) the initiatove in the War had passed to the Allies. The Germans were no longer capable of a major summer offensive. Thus Soviet planners had to assess how to strike the NAZIs. Several options existed. 1) Souther drive: The Soviets could continue their southern push west into Romanian and the Balkans. This had the dvantage of striking the Germans where they were weakest and detaching the Romanians and Hungarians from the Axis. A drive into the Balkans was, however, an indirect route in the the Reich. The mountainous terraine of the Balkans was also not the best geography for employing the increasingly mobil capability of the resurgent Red Army. And a drive into the Balkans at a time when Leningrad and other Russian cities were still occupied was not a viable option. It would also expose a huge northern flank to the Germans. 2) Drive north: An invitiging option was turn the axis of the Red Army's southern offensive north and drive from the Ukraine through central Poland to the Baltic. This would have been the largest most decisive offensive of the War, esentially destouing the Wehrmact by cutting off Army Group Central and Army Group North. With the Western Allies destroing Army Group West, the Wehrmacht would have been destroyed in 1944. A operation of this magnitude would have been the most complex offensive of the War, along the dimensions of the Germn Barbaross offensive. The Red Army had mde enormous strides since the dark days of Barbarossa, but an operation of this magnitude would have taxed its manageral and planning capabilities as well as its improvng but still limited mobile capability. It would also have meant a major confrontation with the still poweful German Panzer fotces on the open plains of Poland. 3) The Byelorussian Balcony. A third option was a more limited attack on what the Soviets called the Byelorussian Balcony, am allusion to the way Army Group central's position in Byelorussia extended far east of the front in the south, thus on the may looking lon the may like a balcony.
Stalin's only traveled outside the borders of the DSoviet Union twice. The first was to meet with Roosevelt and Churchill at Teheran. President Roosevelt's healt was failing and the trip was an enormous strain on him. But Teheran was the furthest out of the Soviet Union tht Stalin could be induced to come. Stalin at the meeting castigated Churchill and Roosevelt for not engaging the NAZIs more forcefully. He question their commitment to the War. Churchill was personally affronted, but bided his tounge. (He could have mentioned that Britain began the fight with the NAZIs at a time that Stalin was cooperating with Hitler to carve up Poland (September 1939). Stalin questioned whether the Allies were serious about invading France, especially when he learned that a commandr for the invasion was not yet selected. It was at this time that Dwight Eisenhower was selected.
The “Big Three” devoted a substantial part of the discussions in deciding about just when Operation Overlord would be launched, the commander, and just where operations should begin. President Roosevelt gave Stalin his personal pledge that Anglo-American forces would open the long-awaited second front in Spring 1944. This is what Stalin had hoped for since the NAZIs launched Barbarossa in June 1941. Stalin committed to launching an offensive in the East to make sure that the Germans could not withdraw forces from the Eastern Front to crush the invasion.
The Red Army aggressively pressured the Wehrmacht throughout March. Zhukov renewed his offensive against Manstein who is forced to fall bavk in the Ukraine (March 4). Koniev supported Zukov with attacks toward Uman (March 5). Koniev took Uman opening an offensive toward the Bug and Dnieper rivers (March 10). The Germans stop Zhukov at the Bug River (March 11). The Russians took Kherson in the southern Ukraine (March 13). The Russians took Vinnitsa in the Ukraine. This had been the site of Hitler's Headquarters during 1943 (March 20). A Russian tank army succeeded in crosseing the Dnieper near the pre-War Czech border (March 24). Malinovsky ro the south crossed the Bug near its Black Sea mouth (March 24). The Russians had cut off the First Panzer Army 18 divisions. Hitler interferes as to how to respond. Eventually Manstein cnvinces Hitler to allow the First Panzer Army to break out to the west of Lvov (March 25). Hitler wanted them to move south. Koniev reached the Pruth River Pruth (Marched 26). The Russians recapture Kamenets-Podolsk in the Ukraine (March 26). The Red Army took Nikolaev on the Black Sea and enter actually eter Romanian territory (March 28). Hitler frustrated by the mounting revrses in the East, fires Kleist and Manstein. It was Manstein who had warned Hitle about weakening the Sixth Army's drive on Stalingrad to reinforce a drive into te Caucauses. And it was Manstein who managed to stabaize the ffront after the Salingrad disaster. Gtler replaces them with Schorner and Model (March 30). The Russians threated to shoot one third of the German POWs they held if the surrounded First Panzer Army did not surrender (April 2). The Soviets crossed the Prut River. Field Marshal Busch commanding Army Group Center launched an attack to reach German troops tht had been cut off since 19th March in the Pripet marshes (April 4). The Red Army reached the Czech border. (April 8). The Soviets at this time generally suspended major offensive operations. There were two exceotions. One was in the south where the Soviets aggresively pressed the German 17th Army cut off in the Crimea. The other was operations aginst the Finns. The survivig units of the German 1st Panzer Army reached German lines (April 9).
Finally the Soviet high command (Stavka) determined on the third option (April 1944). The offense was named Operation Bargration. The Red Army prepared the plns for the offensive (April May). The Red Army was ordered to a defesive posture (April 17-19). The Soviets sought to confuse the Germans about their forces, cpabilities, and intentions. The Germans throughout the fighting in the East had undrestimated the Red Army's size, capabilities, and ability to create new units. Along with the sitch to the defensive, the Soviets with operational camouflage hoped to confuse the Germans. The Soviets sought to confuse the Germans by making defensive preparations that were infact ruses like fake minefields. Here the German would not expect an attack from am area whre the Soviets were building major defenive barrier. The Stavka took elaborte steps to guarante the security of their operation. The plans were developed by five senior commanders. These five officers were in charge of the operational plans of the various sectors. Plans were drafted by hans without secretaril support and and delivered in person to front-line commanders. General Eisenhower in the West sttled on a broadfront strategy, must to the frustration of battlefield commnders like Montgomery who wanted to cgharge into the Reich. The Red Army once the initative chnged decided in a strategy of remaining relatively stic and then marshelling its forces for a massive attck where the Germans least expected it. Bagration was the consumate Soviet offensive of the War.
Like the Offensive before Moscow and Stalingrad, Bagration wasa master piece of battlefield deception (Maskirovka). The evolving Red Army plan involved a substantial redeployment of forces and to achieve the maximum success, surprise was needed. This necesitated a level of deception even greater than that achieved before Moscow (Devember 1941) and around Stalingrad (November 1944). Much has been written about the D-Day deception campaign. Must less well known is the Bagration deception campaign, achieved without the air superority that the Allie enjoyed in the West. It was clear that the Soviets would launch a summer offensive. The balance of forces gave the Soviets the ability to do this and the Wehrmacht no longer had the capability. The Soviets understood that the Germans would be expecting and preparing or an attack. The question as on the Atlantic Wall was when and where. Thus the Soviets could not hide the fact that there would be an attack. They could, however, attemp to deceive the Germans as to where the attack would fall. The Wehrmacht since the Soviet countr-offensive before Mosow (December 1941) had been suprosed and deceived at great cost. Thus Wehrmacht intelligence was never sure that information they picked up was an actual build-up or a deception effort. Soviet intelligence throughout the War was remarkably successful at learning about major Wehrmacht offensives. (Soviet spies even learned about Barbarossa, but Stalin refused to believe the reports.) The NAZIs in contrast, failed to penetrte Soviet security. (This is remarable considering the level of anti-Societ sentiment before the War and the terrible purges Stalin carried out in the Red Army.) The principle Soviet strategy was to play on Wehrmacht expectations. This was the same approach used by the Western Allies in the D-Day decption campaign. The basic principle is that it is much easier to reinforce the ememey's pre-existing expecttions than to completely change them. The best deceptions are those tht prey on the enemies pre-conceived expectations. The Soviets sought to convince the German High Command that the Red Army Summer offensive would come somewhere oher than Byelorussia. Also they attempted to convince the Germans that the attack would not come until July. The principal effort was to convince the Germans tht the attack would come in the southwest in the northern Ukraine.
The Soviet deception effortwas primarily focused on convincing the Germans that the primaru blow of the expected Red Army summer offensive will fall on the Wehrmacht Army Group North Ukraine formed from what was left of Army Group South. Marshal Zhukov was the consumate planner of suprise offensives. Bagration was different than Moscow (1941), Stalingrad (1942), and Kursk (1943). There the Germans were not expecting a Soviet attack. Now they were expecting a Soviet offensive. Zukov also knew that Wehrmacht intelligence expected the attack in the northern Ukraine. Thus Zukov planned the deception campaign to play upon the prelininary German assessment. This was the key aspect of the Soviet deception effort. Rgere was a huge redeployments to the 1st Ukrainian Front which faced the German Army Group North Ukraine and to the south of the 1st Byelorussian Front facing Army Group Center's 2nd Army. The area east of Kovel was critical for the Soviet battleplan. Her the Soviets had to convince the Germans that the northern Ukraine was where the Red Army would strike.
Stavka ordered the Third Ukrainian Front cpmmander to conduct operations designed to convince the Germans that the Red Army would resume the offensive in the south and drive into Romania and the Balkans. The primary German concern here was Ploesti, the primary source of German oil. The llied air offensive, however, the Allied who began to strile at the Ploesti oilfield by air, stpped up attacks. The Americans and British begn 24 round-the-clock raids on the Ploesti oil refineries April 1944).
Here the Soviets did not expect to convince the Germans, but just to sew a degree of uncertainty. The Soviet commander moved eight infantry divisions supported by tanks and artillery in such a way as to draw attention. Movement of AA guns and fighter patrols were also designed to be detected by the Germans. The Germans had to at least consider the possibility of a Soviet drive into the Balkans. The most convincing aspect of the Soviet deception here was the tank armies were left in the south while newer tank forces were clandestently moved into place for the offensive into Byelorussia. Not only were tank armies left in the south, but little effot was made to conceal them. This was important because the German battlefield asessments were strongly influenced by deployment of armor. The Germans saw armor as a indicator of where attacks would occur.
The Soviets conducted other opeations, primarily to confuse the Germans. Stavka ordered the commander of the 3rd Baltic Front move units to convince the Germans that the Soviet might stike in the north (May 3). At the time the Germans still stood outside of Lenningrad. The 1st Baltic Front was given extensive, detailed deception orders.
While the Soviets wanted to the Germans to see troop concentations in other areas, in Byelorussia where the blow would actually fall, the Doviets wanted to conceal the buildup. One measure takn was to impose radio silence. Soviet intelligence had determined German listening and direction finding units weresucessfully ;ocating Red Army units. Thus radi traffic was stopped while the Red army signals units workd out safer communications systems and radio methods. The 1st Byelorussian Front was ordered to envelop Army Group Central's 9th Army at Bobruisk. This involved assembling a substantial force. To prevent the Germans of detcting the build-up, the 1st Byelorussian Army began mocing at night. During the day when they could be seen by German aerial recognisance, they attempted to stay off the roads. They worked on disguising real and creating false troop, artillery, and tank concentrations. Orders were given for deception efforts at all level, including small units. A degree of routine on troop movements, reconnaissance, communications, and artillery fire was estanlished. This llled the Germans into thinking that they could predict Red Army actions
Training commenced for the opertion, but it was conducted well back from the frontlines and at night. And the Soviets continued deception effort even after the main offensive had been launched.
Germany began World War II with the most professionl military in the world and a battlefield doctrine at last 2 years ahead of any other military. One of the weakeness of the Wehrmacht, however, was intelligence. When Germany face weaker or unprepared opponents, it was not critical, but when facing the Soviets and Britain reinforced by America, it proved a very costly weakness. Troughout the War the Allies were able to obtain information on German plans as well as sucessfully deceive the Germans. Bagration was just one, albeit the most costly, of the failures of German military inteligence. The Germans did begin picking up indications of a Red Army build up in Byelorussia beginning in late May. The initial assessment because the Grmans expected the attack in the northern Ukraine, was that the activity in Byelorussia was part of the expected Red Army deception campaign. As more reports came in of Red Army activity, the German analysts concluded thatthey were indications that the Soviets were planing a limited hilsing attack to fix Army Group Center in place while the main attack came in the northern Ukraine. Thus the Grman intelligence reports did not pinpoint where the attack would come, but rather helped to back up the Soviet deception campaign. Important Wehrmacht staff officers at the begging of June began to have second thoughts, but failed to convince the High Command, especially Hitler. The Soviets were partiularly successful in hiding their tank forces assembled for the attack on Army Group Center in Byelorussia. Army Group Center thus was lulled into a false sence of security.
The Germans in France did just what the Allies hoped. They concentrated their forces in the Pas de Calais and held the powerful Panzer divisions back from Normandy. The Germans on the Eastern Front did just what the Soviets had hoped. They weakened Army Group Center. The Wehrmacht moved their now limited armor reserves nto the northern Ukraine. CG AG North Ukraine was given 80 percent of German armor on the Eastern Front. Army Group Center was commanded by Field Marshall Ernst Busch one of the weaker German commanders on the Eastern Front. He gave into Field Marshal Models demands for the LVI Panzer Corps to strengthen CG AG North Ukraine. Model had convinced Hitler. Busch was a NAZI stalwart from the beginning of the Third Reich and did not attempt to sand up to Hitler like commanders such as Guderian and Manstein. This left Army Group Central virtuaslly stripped of its armored striking force at the same time the Red Army was amassing a huge armored force.
Ernst Bussch was a career German commander. As a junior officer he had fought bravely on the Western Front in World War I. He was one of the Wehrmacht senior officers who had been a willing and ethusiastic supporter of the NAZIs. He was rewarded with promotions after the NAZI take over. With the outbreak of war, Busch had important battlefield assignments in Poland, France, and Barbarossa. In the Soviet offensive before Moscow, his command had to be resued by Manstein. Senior offivers wanted him releaved, but Hitler appreciaing his loyalty promoted him to field marshal (February 1943). Army Group Center commander Field Marshal Guenther von Kluge was injured in an automoblile accident (October 28, 1943). Hitler the next day replaced him with Busch. That was only weeks before the Red Army launched the Stalingrad offensive. The Germans in Barbarossa had almost achieved parity with the Red Army, the losses t Stalingrad and later at Kursk and other battles had left the Wehrmacht significantly reduced in comparison to the expanding Red Azrmy. The Wehrmacht as of May 1944 had abour 2.2 million men and had been stripped of effective allies. The Wehrmacht faced was confronted by over 6.0 million Red army soldiers. Not only was the Wehrmacht badly outnumbered, but the Soviets were becoming increasing competenbt and better equipped. In addition the Red Air Force was now an increasigly important factor as the Luftwaffe was being worn down by the Allied air offensive. Busch found himself deep in the Soviet Union with tenpuous supply lines, grossly outnumbered, exposed flauks, abd with the loss of the LVI Panzer Corps, vrtually no armor reserve.
Busch 0.7 million men faced 2.5 million Red Army soldiers. Bush went to Hitler suggesting a withdraw west to the saftey of the Dnieper or the Beresina. Hitler rejected the suggestion out of hand. A more competent commnder might have persisted. An ardent NAZI like Busch did not press Hitler.
Unlike the Axis, the Allies attempted to coordinate their strategy. Thus the Soviets launched their major 1944 effort in coordination with the D-Day landings to prevent the Wehrmach from transferring forces west to smash the Normandy bridgehead. The Allied landings in France proved successful, but the Germans succeeded in boyyeling the Allies up in the Normandy beachhead. Stalin as promised, timed Bagration to prevent the Germans from transferring forces from the eastern Front. Like wise it meant that the German forces in France were fully involved and could not be transfrred east.
Bagration was notable because it was the first major successful Soviet offensive not launched in Winter conditions. Operation Bagration was timed to begin on the same day the NAZIs invaded the Soviet Union (June 22) 3 years earlier. The NAZIs had launced offensives in Spring or early Summer 1941, 42, and 43). The Wehrmacht no longer was capable of a major offensive in the East. It was the Red Army's turn in 1944. The target was the Wehrmcht's Army Group Central in Byelorussia.
The Red Army did not simply push the Wehrmacht, but blasted a massive hole in the Eastern Front that the Germans were not canle of filling. It left Army Group North exposed as well As Army Group Northern Ukraine.
Bagration was the greatest Red army victory of the War. Bagration in many ways was a replay of Barbarossa, only in reverse. The Red Army in a massive 5 weeks campaigm suceeded in moving the front line west to Warsaw, clearing Beylorusia and much of pre-War Poland of the Germans. Army Group Center was shattered. The Red Army completely destroyed 17 Wehrmacht divisions and heavily damaged the combat effectivness of more than 50 other German divisions. Army Group Central was effectivekly limited as an effective command. It was the single greatest defeat suffered by the Wehrmacht in the
War. The Wehrmact suffered greater casualties than at Stalingrad. [Zaloga] Bagration not only smashed Army Group Central, but drove the Germans back deep into Poland. The Red Army suceeded in destroying the most powerful German formation at the time--Army Group Central. Before Bagration, the Wehrmacht had suffered substantial battlefield losses, but was still a very potent military force. After Bagration not only was the Wehrmacht unable to reactt powerfully to the Allied invasion of France, but would be unable to launch amother important offensive in the East. The Soviets succeeded in killing and capturing 0.4 million Wehrmact personnel (About 0.3 million were killed), destroying enormous quantities of material (2,000 tanks), and clearing Byelorussia of the Germans. This opened up the advance into of Poland and the assault on the Reich itself.
The enormous success of Bagration was due to four factors: 1) superior Red Army forces, 2) deception, and 3) Allied ground operations in Italy and France which made it impossible for the Wehrmacht to concentrate its forces, and 4) Allied air operations over the Reich which made it impossible for the Luftwaffe to concentrate its forces. As a result of severe lossess, the Wehrmacht was badly outnumbered on all fronts, especially in the East. The Red army not only outnumbered the Germans in manpower, but also in key arms categories like tanks. Soviet arms plants alone by 1944 were out producing the Germans. And the United States through Leand Lease was delivering huge quantities of arms and supplies. One especially important item was trucks. World War II histories focus on taks. Tks were critical in opening breeches in enemy lines, but the humble truck was needed to exploit the breeches and move in troops and supplies in large quantities. General George S. Patton chimself insisted, "The 2 1/2-ton truck is our most valuable weapon."
And American Lend Lease provided the Red Army trucks in enormous quantity. Those truicks gave the Red Army a degree of mobility that the Germans never possessed even during their successful Blitzkrieg campaigns (1939-42). Every Red Army soldier who might know no English, knew at least two words: Studabaker and Spam. This was part of the reason that Army Group Center was not better prepared for Bragration. Not only did Red Army deception measures sucessfully mask preparations, but American trucks gave (including many Studabakers) the Red Army the ability to move forward much faster than the German OKW thought possible.
Throughout the war the Germans considered their military prowess unmatched. It is true that the Wehrmacht was a highly professional militarty force. They developmened an implemented what amounts to the rincioles of modern warfare. Their officers were well trained and highly competent and the motivation and morale of the ordinary soldier unexcelled. Here the Hitler Youth played a major role in preparing German Youth for military service. They also had some of the fimest engineered weapons of the War. During the War German reverses were blamed on the fact that they were outnumbered both in manpower and industrial capavity. NAZI mismanagement did not fully utilize the potential of Germa industry until Speer took command of the economy and by then it was too late. After the War historians added Hitler's interference in military command and NAZI racist policies which mde it impossible to cpitalize on anti-Soviet feeling in the Ukrine and other areas of the Soviet Union. But there were weakenesses in the Wehrmacht itself. Wehrmacht procurement demanded a very high grade of weapons enguneering. This produced some of the finest weapons of the War. It also meant weapons that were difficult to mass produce and often were hard to maintain in the field. Another major fault was military inteligence. German military intelligence constantly failed before the major battles of the War. While German professional soldiers looked derisively at the Red Army and the U.S. Army it was these forces that defeated the Wehrmacht not just with brute force, but with artful deception campaigns and superior military intelligence. D-Day and Bagration are but two examples of this. There are several more.
The Red Army offensive so suprised the Army Group Center and the resulting advance so rapid that the SS did not have time to destroy Majdanek and hide the evidence of what tranpired there. It was thus one of the first NAZI camps liberated. The Red Army reached it (July 24, 1944). Unlike the five death camps, Majdnek was still largey intact when the Soviets liberated it. Operation Bagration unfolded so rapidly that the SS did not have time to desmantle the camp. The Soviets had so surrised Wehrmacht Army Group Central and the American-supplied Lend Lease trucks had given the Red Army such mobility that the Germans defense crumbled abd the Germans were surronded or driven back over large streaches of Beylorussia and eastern Polnd. The SS only mznaged to destroy the crematoria. The NAZIs suceeded in destroying much of the death camps. I am not sure to what extent the Soviets publicized what they found at Majdnek because the Allies were shocked when they entered NAZI concentration camps about a year later. Soviet media did report on the liberation of the camp, but the releases did not mention Jews or suggest that the Germans were conducting a Holocaust. I am not sure to what extent this represented a lack of knowledge or a calculated decesion to down play the NAZI killing of Jews. This approach continued after the War. Monuments and memorials avoided mentiining the Jews.
Zaloga, S. Bagration 1944: The Destruction of Army Group Centre (Osprey Publishing, 1996).
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