Missed Tipping Point

With tipping points being missed on all sides, how easily history could have turned out differently!

С хлебом-солью встречали немцев и донские станицы….Разве от нас — через глушь советской пропаганды, через толщу гитлеровской армии — легко было поверить, что западные союзники вошли в эту войну не за свободу вообще, а только за свою западно-европейскую свободу, только против национал-социализма, получше использовать советские армии, а на том и кончить? Разве не естественней было нам верить, что наши союзники верны самому принципу свободы — и не покинут нас под тиранией худшей?.. Правда, именно эти союзники, за которых мы умирали и в Первую Мировую войну, уже и тогда покинули нашу армию в разгроме, спеша обернуться к своему лагополучию. Но опыт слишком жесток, чтоб усвоиться сердцем. [27-8 in solzhenitsyn.ru.]

The Germans were met with bread and salt in the villages on the Don. The pre-1941 population of the Soviet Union naturally imagined that the coming of a foreign army meant the overthrow of the Communist regime—otherwise it could have no meaning for us at all. People expected a political program which would liberate them from Bolshevism. From where we were, separated from them by the wilderness of Soviet propaganda, by the dense mass of Hitler’s army—how could we readily believe that the Western allies had entered this war not for the sake of freedom in general, but for their own Western European freedom, only against Nazism, intending to take full advantage of the Soviet armies and leave it at that? Was it not more natural for us to believe that our allies were true to the very principle of freedom and that they would not abandon us to a worse tyranny? . . . True, these were the same allies for whom Russians had died in the First World War, and who then, too, had abandoned our army in the moment of collapse, hastening back to their comforts. But this was a lesson too cruel for the heart to learn. [Gulag Vol. 5, 30 in Archive.]

 

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