May 5, 2015

1943. The American Ambassador Visits the Ruins of Stalingrad

The Soviet Union Reacts to Churchill's Speech to the American Congress
"Soviet troops patrolling the ruins of Stalingrad, Russia." February 2, 1943. Photo by Georgi Zelma (source)
The parentheses indicate portions that did not pass Soviet censors for military or propaganda reasons.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 19, 1943

The Russians are going to find a lot that will cheer them in Prime Minister Churchill's speech to the American Congress. They have not yet had a chance to examine the speech. We correspondents listened carefully to it as it was re-broadcast from London.

Tomorrow or the next day, all the Russian newspapers will undoubtedly carry full digests of the speech. And the Russian people are going to read it and listen to it on the Soviet radio looking for only one thing—they will watch only for references to the Second Front.

They will like Mr. Churchill's full and freely given recognition that Russia bears the main weight of Germany's armed might, but they will like even more his statement that the armed forces of America and Britain "presently shall furnish further examples" of the Allies' ability to wage war.

To the Russians that means a Second Front, and not in the too-far-distant future.

Mr. Churchill's declaration that America and Britain must take some of the weight off the Soviet Union is a full-fledged promise to this country. It's a promise that is bound to be reflected in the entire outlook of the nation as it faces another, and perhaps its greatest, trial of the war.

(There probably will be no official reaction to Mr. Churchill's statement that Mr. Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister hope to meet with Joseph Stalin.)

Joseph Davies, special representative to President Roosevelt, arrived in Moscow this afternoon. He said that he is "only a messenger" carrying a sealed letter from the president to Russia's commander-in-chief. We would make no statement as to the content of the message.

Mr. Davies visited Stalingrad yesterday and laid a spray of lillies-of-the-valley on a common grave for the defenders located in the city's main square. The former ambassador said that he and his crew were appalled by the complete destruction of the city. The general reaction of the crew was this:

"The so-and-so's—I could tear them apart with my hands..."

Mr. Davies said he wished every American fighting man could have a look at the tragedy of Stalingrad before he went into battle against the Germans.