JF Ptak Science Books Post 2748
Neige Russe is a straightforward-looking and scarce1 little pamphlet, though the cover photo is really quite provocative. No publisher, year, or place of publication is mentioned, though it is almost certainly 19422--and as a piece of propaganda it is rather well-made, printed on a solid, heavier stock with a bit of a sheen to it, an unusually better-quality production for what it was.
The pamphlet is a very interesting collection of German newspaper and radio comments on the state of the winter in Russia and its effects on the German troops in the world's largest military movement, Operation Barbarossa. The attack by the Nazis on 22 June began an enormous and horrible campaign that would last two winters, the initial vast successes of the aggressor checked and then nearly defeated in the first winter just months after the offensive began. There are dozens of quotes taken from German sources that de-emphasize the effect of the historically impregnable Russian winter on the armies, reported mostly from October-December 1941, and of course the would be no truthful information shared by the Nazi-controlled radio or press on the effect of the winter that was engulfing the German troops--quite the contrary, if you look at some of the samples below. The winter existed, but not for Germany, and it had little effect on the troops.
By the next winter, in January 1943, the Germans would lose entire armies to the cold and to the massive numbers of Soviet troops and tanks and artillery, and the long, slow retreat back to Germany would end in total failure 14 months later.
Some examples of German news reports on the winter in Russia, 1941:
- “L'hiver n'existe qu'en Meteorology”
- “La guerre sera decidee, en tout etat de cause, avant l'hiver” (the war will end before winter)
- “Rien n'arrete l'avance allemande”
- “Les Allemands n'aiment pas la terre brulee”
- "Indomptee par les rigeurs de l'hiver"
- “Il n'est pas Question de Prendre les Quartiers d'Hiver”
- “Le problemedeliverestexcessivementserieuxpoulestroupesSovietiques”
- “Apres tout, les soldats Allemands ne peuvent pas supporter le froid cokme les Siberiens”
- “La ligne d'hiver sera tenue”
The photos used in the pamphlet are varied of course by the source—the German images devoted to ease and possible victory, the Russian showing defeat and bitterness and deadly cold.
- It turns out that there is scarcely a mention of the work online, and only six copies are located in libraries around the world, and according to WorldCat/OCLC, these institutions are prestigious: the work is found only at Yale, Harvard, Haifa, National Library of Poland, Nanterre, and Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience. I had expected more of a presence, given that this pamphlet wasn't made to be so disposable as its brethren, but not many seem to have survived.
- The date is given as  in the WorldCat listings.