Siege of Leningrad: briefly about the events. How long did the blockade last? Liberation of Leningrad
In the history of the war of 1941-1945 there are enough dramatic, tragic pages. One of the worst was the blockade of Leningrad. In short, this is the story of the real genocide of the townspeople, which stretched almost to the very end of the war. Let's remember once more how all this happened.
The attack on the "city of Lenin"
The attack on Leningrad began immediately, in 1941. The group of German-Finnish troops successfully moved forward, cracking the resistance of Soviet units. Despite the desperate, fierce resistance of the defenders of the city, by August of that year all the railways that connected the city with the country were cut, with the result that the bulk of the supply was broken.
So when did the blockade of Leningrad begin? Briefly list the events that preceded this, can be long. But the official date is September 8, 1941.In spite of the fiercest battles in their heat on the approaches to the city, the Nazis could not take it "from a swoop". Therefore, on September 13, an artillery bombardment of Leningrad began, which in fact continued throughout the war.
The Germans had a simple order for the city: wipe out. All defenders were to be destroyed. According to other sources, Hitler was simply afraid that during a massive assault the losses of the German troops would be unreasonably high, and therefore he ordered the beginning of the blockade.
In general, the essence of the blockade of Leningrad was to ensure that "the city itself fell into the hands, like a ripe fruit."
It must be remembered that in the blocked city at that time there were at least 2.5 million inhabitants. Among them were about 400 thousand children. Almost immediately began problems with food. Constant stress and fear of bombing and shelling, lack of medicines and food soon led to the fact that citizens began to die.
It was estimated that during the entire blockade at least hundreds of thousands of bombs and about 150 thousand shells were dropped on the heads of the inhabitants of the city. All this led to both mass deaths of civilians and catastrophic destruction of the most valuable architectural and historical heritage.
The first year was the hardest: German artillery managed to bomb food warehouses, as a result of which the city was almost completely devoid of food stocks. However, there is the opposite opinion.
The fact is that by 1941 the number of residents (registered and visitors) totaled about three million people. Bombed warehouses in Badaev simply could not physically accommodate such a quantity of products. Many modern historians quite convincingly argue that at that time there was no strategic reserve at all. So even if the warehouses were not affected by the actions of German artillery, it delayed the onset of famine, at best, for a week.
In addition, just a few years ago, some documents from the archives of the NKVD concerning the pre-war survey of the city’s strategic reserves were declassified. The information in them draws an extremely disappointing picture: “Butter is covered with a layer of mold, stocks of flour, peas and other cereals are affected by a tick, the floors of the storehouses are covered with a layer of dust and rodent droppings.
From 10 to 11 September, the responsible authorities made a complete inventory of all the food available in the city. By September 12, a full report was published, according to which the city had: grain and ready-made flour for about 35 days, stocks of cereals and pasta were enough for a month, and for the same period it was possible to stretch meat stocks.
Butter remained exactly 45 days, but sugar and ready-made confectionery products were stored immediately for two months. There were practically no potatoes and vegetables. In order to somehow stretch the stocks of flour, 12% of ground malt, oatmeal and soybean flour were added to it. Subsequently, there began to put the cake, bran, sawdust and ground bark of trees.
How was the food issue resolved?
From the very first days of September, ration cards were introduced in the city. All dining rooms and restaurants were immediately closed. The cattle, which was available at local agricultural enterprises, was immediately slaughtered and handed over to procurement centers. All feeds of grain origin were brought to flour mills and milled into flour, which was later used to make bread.
Citizens who were in hospitals during the blockade had rations for this period cut out of coupons. The same procedure applied to children who were in orphanages and pre-school education institutions. Practically in all schools classes were canceled. For children, the breakthrough of the blockade of Leningrad was marked not so much by the opportunity to finally eat as by the long-awaited start of classes.
In general, these cards cost the lives of thousands of people, as cases of theft and even murder committed in order to receive them have become more frequent in the city. In Leningrad of those years there were frequent cases of raids and armed robberies of bakeries and even food warehouses.
With persons who were convicted of something like that, they did not particularly stand on ceremony, shooting on the spot. There were no ships. This was due to the fact that every stolen card cost someone their lives. These documents were not restored (with the rarest exceptions), and therefore the theft doomed people to certain death.
In the early days of the war, few believed in the possibility of a complete blockade, but many began to prepare for such a turn of events.In the very first days of the beginning of the German offensive, all the more or less valuable things were swept away from the shelves of the stores, people were withdrawing all their savings from the Savings Bank. Even the jewelry stores are empty.
However, the beginning of the famine abruptly canceled the efforts of many people: money and valuables immediately depreciated. The only currency became food cards (which were mined exclusively by robbery) and food. In the urban markets one of the most popular goods were kittens and puppies.
The documents of the NKVD indicate that the blockade of Leningrad that had begun (the photo of which is in the article) gradually began to alarm people. Many letters were withdrawn, in which citizens reported on the plight of Leningrad. They wrote that in the fields there was not even cabbage leaves, in the city there was nowhere to get the old flour dust, from which they had previously made glue for wallpaper.
By the way, in the hardest winter of 1941 there were practically no apartments left in the city, the walls of which would have been covered with wallpaper: hungry people simply cut them off and ate, since they had no other food.
Labor feat of Leningrad
Despite the enormity of the current situation, courageous people continued to work. And to work for the good of the country, releasing a lot of weapons. They even managed to repair tanks, make guns and submachine guns literally from "pasture material". All armament obtained in such difficult conditions was immediately used for fighting on the outskirts of the unconquered city.
But the situation with food and medicines was complicated day by day. It soon became apparent that only Lake Ladoga could save the inhabitants. How is it connected with the blockade of Leningrad? In short, this is the famous Road of Life, which was opened on November 22, 1941. As soon as a layer of ice formed on the lake, which theoretically could withstand the machines loaded with products, their crossing began.
Beginning of hunger
Hunger was approaching inexorably. Already on November 20, 1941, the rate of grain allowance was only 250 grams per day for workers. As for the dependents, women, children and the elderly, they were supposed to be half as much. At first, workers who saw the condition of their loved ones brought their rations home and shared with them.But soon this practice was put to an end: people were ordered to eat their portion of bread directly at the enterprise, under supervision.
That's how the blockade of Leningrad. The photos show how depleted were the people who at that time were in the city. For every death from the enemy shell accounted for hundreds of people who died of starvation.
It should be understood that in this case “bread” was understood as a small piece of sticky mass, in which there was much more bran, sawdust and other fillers than the flour itself. Accordingly, the nutritional value of such food was close to zero.
When the blockade of Leningrad was breached, people who received fresh bread for the first time in 900 days often fainted with happiness.
On top of all the problems, the urban water supply system was completely out of service, as a result of which citizens had to carry water from the Neva. In addition, the winter of 1941 itself was unusually harsh, so that doctors simply could not cope with the influx of frostbitten, cold people, whose immunity was unable to resist infections.
Consequences of the first winter
By the beginning of winter, the bread ration was almost doubled. Alas, this fact was not explained by the breakthrough of the blockade and the restoration of normal supply: simply by that time half of all dependents had already died. The documents of the NKVD testify to the fact that hunger took absolutely unbelievable forms. Cases of cannibalism have begun, and many researchers believe that no more than a third of them were officially recorded.
Especially bad at that time accounted for children. Many of them had to stay alone in empty, cold apartments for a long time. If their parents died of starvation in the workplace or in the event of their death in constant shelling, the children spent 10-15 days all alone. Most often they also died. Thus, the children of the siege of Leningrad carried a lot on their fragile shoulders.
Front-line soldiers recall that Leningraders always stood out among the crowd of seven-eight-year-olds in evacuation: they had eerie, tired and over-grown eyes.
By the middle of the winter of 1941, there were no cats and dogs left on the streets of Leningrad; there was practically no raven and rats. Animals understood that it is better to stay away from hungry people.All trees in city squares lost most of the bark and young branches: they were collected, ground and added to flour, just to increase its volume a little.
The siege of Leningrad lasted less than a year at that time, but during the autumn harvesting, 13 thousand corpses were found on the streets of the city.
The road of life
The Road of Life has become a true “pulse” of the besieged city. In the summer it was a waterway along the water area of Lake Ladoga, and in the winter this role was played by its frozen surface. The first food barges passed on the lake already on September 12. Shipping continued until the thickness of the ice made it impossible for ships to pass.
Each voyage of the sailors was a feat, since the German planes did not stop the hunt for a minute. We had to go on flights daily, under any weather conditions. As we already said, on ice the cargo was first shipped on November 22. It was a horse carriage. After just a couple of days, when the thickness of the ice became more or less sufficient, the trucks moved on.
No more than two or three bags of foodstuffs were put on each car, since the ice was still too unreliable and the cars were constantly sinking.Deadly dangerous flights continued until the spring. “On watch” barges stepped on. The end of this deadly merry-go-round was laid only by the liberation of Leningrad from the blockade.
Road number 101, as it was then called, allowed not only to maintain at least a minimum food ration, but also to take many thousands of people out of the blocked city. The Germans constantly tried to interrupt the message, not sparing for this projectiles and fuel for aircraft.
Fortunately, they did not succeed in this, and on the shores of Lake Ladoga today there is a monument called “The Road of Life”, and a museum of the Leningrad blockade is open, which contains many documentary evidence of those terrible days.
In many ways, the success with the organization of the crossing was explained by the fact that the Soviet command quickly attracted fighter aircraft to defend the lake. In winter, anti-aircraft batteries were mounted directly on the ice. It should be noted that the measures taken gave very positive results: for example, on January 16 more than 2.5 thousand tons of food were delivered to the city, although only two thousand tons were planned to be delivered.
Beginning of freedom
So when did the long-awaited lifting of the blockade of Leningrad happen? As soon as the German army suffered the first major defeat at Kursk, the country's leadership began to think about how to free the sharpened city.
The immediate lifting of the blockade of Leningrad began on January 14, 1944. The task of the troops was to break through the German defense in its thinnest place to restore the land communication of the city with the rest of the country. By January 27, fierce fighting began, in which Soviet units gradually gained the upper hand. This was the year of the lifting of the blockade of Leningrad.
The Nazis were forced to begin a retreat. Soon the defense was broken through on a length of about 14 kilometers. On this way into the city immediately went columns of trucks with food.
So how long did the siege of Leningrad last? Officially, it is believed that it lasted 900 days, but the exact duration is 871 days. However, this fact does not in the least detract from the determination and incredible courage of its defenders.
Today is the day of lifting the blockade of Leningrad - this is January 27th. This date is not a holiday. Rather, it is a constant reminder of the horrific events through which the inhabitants of the city were forced to pass.For the sake of justice, it’s worth saying that the real day of lifting the blockade of Leningrad is January 18, since the corridor we talked about was broken through that day.
That blockade claimed more than two million lives, and mostly women, children and old people died there. As long as the memory of those events is alive, nothing like this should be repeated in the world!
Here is the whole blockade of Leningrad briefly. Of course, you can quickly describe that terrible time, but the blockade who could survive it, remember those terrifying events every day.