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September, 1939: Poland between Germany and the USSR


September, 1939: Poland between Germany and the USSR

N.S. Lebedeva *

Article is devoted to a research of the facts of political and military history allowing to recreate fuller picture of the crash of the Polish state and undressed him in 1939

Special attention is paid to the actions of the Soviet Union directed to establishment of control over the Western Ukraine and the Western Belarus, earlier belonging to Poland.

years passed from tragic events of September, 1939. Dozens of volumes of documents, hundreds of monographic researches, thousands of research articles and essay in many countries of the world, including in Russia are published. The post-war Soviet historiography and journalism, up to the middle of the 1980th in the main thing repeated theses of the semi-official reference "Falsifiers of history", one of authors of which was future academician V.M. Hvostov. In them not only completely the Soviet-German contracts of 1939 came true, existence of confidential protocols to them was denied, but also the pre-war policy of the USSR directed allegedly to defense of peace and safety of the Country of Councils was extolled. The main warmongers along with Germany were called Great Britain, France and SShA1. It was claimed that by September 17 Poland as the state ceased to exist. Actions of the Red Army in its territory were called as a liberating campaign to the Western Belarus and the Western Ukraine.

Some changes were outlined in a historiography of the eve of war after the XX congress of the CPSU, in 19561962, but they practically did not concern events of August-September, 1939. During the Brezhnev's period

any criticism of foreign policy of the Soviet state was forbidden; the archival funds connected with the international relations remained tightly closed. The official publication of documents of foreign policy of the USSR was suspended on the XXI volume, i.e. for 1938. In multivolume historical researches it was claimed that "World War II generated by mutual fight of capitalist powers began as imperialistic on both sides — both from Germany, and from England, France" 2.

The new situation arose only since the end of the 1980th — the beginning of the 1990th when history of foreign policy of the USSR in 1939-1941 came under the center of attention and historians, and wide obshchestvennosti3. In December, 1989. The second congress of People's Deputies of the USSR recognized confidential protocols to the Soviet-German contracts of 1939 "as legally insolvent and invalid from the moment of their signing" 4. The slightly opened archives, numerous publications of documents, including confidential protocols to the Soviet-German contracts of 1939, cancellation of censorship created favorable conditions for scientific research. In many works published in the 1990th it was told about the fourth partition of Poland, about the fate of the Polish prisoners of war, deportations, mass

* Natalya Sergeyevna Lebedeva is a doctor of historical sciences, the leading researcher of Institute of general history of RAS.

repressions. And still process of recognition of historical realities in the USSR and Post-Soviet Russia went with big zatrudneniyami5.

Stalin, having liquidated all dissidents of colleagues by 1939, switched the attention from internal affairs to foreign policy. Probably, the idea of return lost during the revolution and civil war of territories of the former Russian Empire imposed "the father of the people" obsessed with a gigantomania. Besides it was represented tempting to push off the western democracies and powers of "Axis", and most to wait when these countries exhaust each other.

On the other hand, the Munich agreement convinced Hitler that he can pursue further policy of ultimatums and captures, without encountering resistance from the western powers. Reanimating policy of Rapallo, the Fuhrer intended to prevent alliance of the USSR with England and France, to provide for a certain time support of Moscow in his expansionist aspirations and thus to solve a war problem, eternal for Germany, on two fronta6.

Actions of Hitlerite Germany and the Stalin USSR, signed on August 23, 1939 the nonaggression pact with the confidential additional protocol to it, were directed to elimination of the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of four countries and per se roughly violated the standard norms international prava7.

On September 1, 1939 Hitlerites attacked Poland, two days later Great Britain and France declared war agressoru8. Disturbed by signing of the Soviet-German pact and without knowing as Stalin Russia in the conditions of war will behave, ambassadors of France and other countries at meetings with the leading figures of People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs tried to clear a position of the USSR. So, the chargê d'affaires of France in Moscow Zh. Payar put the following questions before V.P. Potemkin: "1. Whether keeps in ours [i.e. Soviet. — N.L.] eyes force the French-Soviet mutual-assistance pact after we ratified the Soviet-German nonaggression pact... 2. Whether we send our delegation to the forthcoming session of the League of Nations. 3. Whether the obligation of Article 4th of the Soviet-German nonaggression pact" 9 is compatible our participation in the League of Nations.

On August 31 Molotov said in the speech at the IV extraordinary session of the Supreme Council that the USSR and Germany "stopped being enemies", and the nonaggression pact between them "is a turning point in the history of Europe and not only Europe". Next day Hitler, acting in the Reichstag, specified that he "can join each word which sounded in the speech of the Russian national commissioner of foreign affairs Molotov". I. von Ribbentrop, in turn, asked to transfer to the Soviet part that he hotly welcomes told by the people's commissar and is very happy with its extreme clarity rechi10.

Since September 1 the direct military-political cooperation of the USSR with Germany began. This day the employee of the German Embassy in Moscow G. Hilger reported to People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs a request of the chief of the General Staff of the German Air Force that the Soviet radio station served as the radio beacon for actions of Luftwaffe against Poland in Minsk. Molotov11 gave the green light to it. The German vessels in Northern Atlantic received the order to follow to Murmansk, adhering to as much as possible northern course. In the address to Moscow the German Foreign Ministry informed: "We intend and to send further the German merchant ships to Murmansk and we expect that the Soviet government will facilitate unloading, loading and transportation of cargoes by rail to Leningrad where the German vessels" 12 will come for loading. Moscow reported about the consent. As a result for the first 17 days of September of 18 German vessels arrived in Murmansk.

3 September the new Plenipotentiary Representative of the USSR in Berlin

And. A. Shkvartsev in a festive atmosphere handed accrediting diploma A. To Hitler also delivered the speech made in Moscow and approved by V.M. Molotov. It was specified in it: ". The people of the Soviet Union with deep satisfaction met improvement of the relations between the Soviet Union and Germany which found the solemn expression in ratification of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact signed in Moscow and this year ratified by the Supreme Council of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in a meeting on August 31. Soviet-German contract

about non-aggression puts a strong basis for friendly and effective cooperation of two great European states in economic and political areas, narrows the field of possible military collisions in Europe and, being equitable to the interests of all people, serves business of the universal peace". The Fuhrer in reply said: "The German people are happy that the Soviet-German nonaggression pact is signed. This contract will serve business of the commonwealth of both people, both in political, and in economic areas" 13. He assured the Soviet Plenipotentiary Representative that as a result of war will Poland is crushed and the situation existing since 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles is liquidated. "At this audit Russia and Germany will establish the borders existing before world war" — Hitler emphasized.

4 September Shulenburg informed Molotov the main contents of the telegram of Ribbentrop dated previous day. It was specified in it that defeat of the Polish army will take several weeks; the areas falling within the scope of the German interests will be as a result occupied. At the same time it was emphasized: "It is natural, however, that we will be forced for the reasons of military character to continue fighting against those Polish armed forces which will be in that

the moment in the Polish territory belonging to the sphere of the Russian interests. Please, immediately discuss it with Molotov and find out whether considers the Soviet Union desirable that the Russian armed forces opposed at the corresponding moment the Polish armed forces near the sphere of the Russian interests and in return occupied this territory" 14. Intending to involve the USSR in operation against Poland practically along with the German approach, the Hitlerite management expected to make him the accomplice of the new partition of Poland and by that to nullify the relations of Moscow with England and France. The prominent Russian historian A.O. Chubaryan notes that "in Berlin, undoubtedly, realized about that resonance which will cause in the world actually new partition of Poland" 15. In its monograph it is noted also that the Soviet leaders, considering public opinion in the world and in the USSR, did not want to look the warring ally of Germany. Certain steps were taken to delay time of introduction of the Soviet troops to Poland, there will be no its fast defeat obvious yet and also to camouflage true intentions of soviet leadership. Molotov, in particular, told on September 5 the Polish ambassador

V. To Gzhibovsky: "Germany, Poland, England and France, and the Soviet Union are already involved in war does not want to be involved in this war on any given party" 16.

4 September the Soviet people's commissar answered Berlin: "We agree that at a well-chosen moment surely we should begin specific actions. But we consider that this moment for the present did not ripen. We understand that during operations one of the parties or both parties can be forced to cross temporarily the line of contact of interests of both parties, but such cases cannot interfere with exact implementation of the adopted plan" 17. In the same spirit also the Soviet military attache M.A. Purkayev answered the commander-in-chief of the German ground forces V. Braukhich.

The soviet leadership undertook military, economic and ideological measures on preparation for the introduction of parts of the Red Army to Poland from the first days of war.

1 September, 1939. The Supreme Council of the USSR adopted the law on a general duty. On the same day the Politburo of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) of the Central Committee made the decision to increase the number of rifle divisions in RKKA from 51 to 17318. On September 3 this body prolonged for a month service in RKKA for the Red Army men and sergeants who served the term and being subject to demobilization (only 310,632 persons) and also about a raising for training sessions for a period of 1 month of assigned structure Leningrad, Kalinin, Belarusian special and Kiev special military districts, parts of an air surveillance of communication, motor transport, horses, tractors, reduction in readiness of points

air defense of Leningrad, Velikiye Luki, Minsk and Kiyeva19. On September 6 in seven military districts the directive of the people's commissar of defense was received

about holding Big training sessions that meant the hidden mobilization.

8 September of the Politburo approved the joint resolution of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) of the Central Committee and Council of People's Commissars (CPC) of the USSR on reduction for the term of 10 till September 20 of civil cargo transportation from 66,448 cars to 46,243 on average in day and on a third — passenger structures to release them for military tseley20. On September 10 the highest party authority charged to Economsovet to provide uninterrupted supply of army and fleet with food, a ware, obozny, sanitary and veterinary and fuel allowance and also political and educational property; To Committee of defense — arms, the equipment, ammunition and transport, including railway. A.I. Mikoyan was appointed Economsovet's chairman, his permanent deputy — N.A. Bulganin. The committee of defense was headed by Molotov, N.A. Voznesensky became his deputy to whom duties of preparation of questions and observation of execution of decisions were assigned. Both of these bodies were expanded by inclusion in them of the persons, most influential in the country. They were obliged to sit ezhednevno21.

of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) of the Central Committee took also other measures connected with preparation of large-scale operation — a so-called "liberating campaign" to the Western Belarus and the Western Ukraine, that is on those territories which in Poland were called East voivodeships. In particular, it was offered to narcomats of internal and foreign affairs to systematize urgently data on Poland and to present the notes to the secretary of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) of the Central Committee A.A. Zhdanov. Sent the reference signed by the chief of Special bureau People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the USSR P. Shariya, the people's commissar of internal affairs of the USSR L.P. Beria to his address. In it the state system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, its national structure, economy, armed forces, transport were characterized. It was specified that the president allocated with the power in such sizes which "far go beyond functions and the rights of the president of any bourgeois-democratic state" is at the head of Poland. It was emphasized that "the Polish constitution promises nothing neither in the field of social security, nor in the field of labor protection, she does not guarantee any freedoms, does not forbid exploitation of juveniles, does not provide any obligations in protection of motherhood and an infancy". It was reported that, as of 1938, the population of the country made

34.5 million people, and on a census of 1931 of 69% of citizens called themselves Poles, 14.3% — Ukrainians, 3.9% — Belarusians, 3.9% — Germans, 7% — Jews. However it was noted that official statistics underestimates quantity national

minorities which, according to Beria's department, made 40% (7 million Ukrainians, 2 million Belarusians, 3 million Jews, 1 million Germans, 100 thousand Lithuanians, etc.). It was specified that in Stanislavovsky, Tarnopolsky, Novogrudsky, Brest and Volynsk voivodeships the Poles made less than 25% of the population, in Lviv and Vilensky — to 50%, in Bialystok — over 50%. Thereby the legitimacy of "return" of these lands to structure of the Soviet Ukraine and Belarus was proved. The question of external debts of the country, of a share of the foreign capital in joint-stock companies (42.9%) was in detail taken up, data on all families of armed forces of Poland, about its defensive sooruzheniyakh22 were provided.

Also the document made by the East European department of People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs is very curious. In particular, it was specified in it: "Poland was formed after World War I of parts of Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia. Poland with assistance of the Entente took the Western Ukraine and the Western Belarus. The political system of Poland — the republic of fascist type". Authors of the document sought to prove that an overwhelming part of the population of the country are landless and land-poor country families (2,650 thousand) while serednyatsky farms contained only 600-700 thousand, the kulak, owning from 10 to 15 hectares of the earth — 300 thousand. It was emphasized that landowners, clergy and the state owned nearly a half of all land property (42.4%). Also data were provided in the reference

about the largest parties Polshi23. In further People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of one of the main tasks of the services considered identification of all members of the Polish political parties, from left to the most right as most active part of the population, and their universal destruction.

It was entrusted to prepare materials about the Western Ukraine and the Western Belarus, about the policy of the Polish government also to Executive committee of the Communist International (IKKI). In the first days of war the management of Komintern, without receiving instructions from the Kremlin, did not see anything bad in numerous statements of the Communist Parties in protection of Poland, with condemnation of the German aggression, in appeals to battle against Nazism and fashizma24. However on September 7 the secretary general of IKKI G. Dimitrov was called to I.V. Stalin who "explained" it a situation. The leader characterized Poland as the fascist state which oppresses Ukrainians, Belarusians, etc. "Destruction of this state in present conditions would mean one bourgeois fascist state less! What bad would be if as a result of defeat of Poland we extended a socialist system to new territories and the population" — told Stalin25. As a result already next day — on September 8 — the corresponding directive was sent to the Communist Parties. In it it was emphasized that the begun war — imperialistic, unfair, in it is equally guilty

bourgeoisie of all warring states. "War especially the Communist Parties cannot support in one country neither working class, nor. War is waged between two groups of the capitalist countries for world supremacy. The international proletariat cannot protect fascist Poland which rejected the help of the Soviet Union oppressing other nationalities" 26 by no means.

15 September the secretariat of IKKI adopted the resolution forbidding to communists and sympathizing them to enter legions which began to be created in a number of the countries for participation in war against Nazi Germany on the party Polshi27.

Along with political preparation for invasion into the eastern regions of Poland also military preparations were intensified.

On September 7-16 orders on a conscription of reservists of five military districts, re-deployments of many connections in the direction of the western border, formation of new divisions and cases are given. As a part of the Kiev Special Military District (KSMD) and the Belarusian Special Military District (BSMD) the powerful groups of troops renamed then in army are created. On September 17 the politburo made the decision in addition to direct to training sessions for a period of 1 month assigned structure of the ships of the Baltic, Black, Northern and Far East fleet (11,915 people) 28. Also measures for expansion of prospecting work, including on the fleet are undertaken. On September 16 the people's commissar of navy N.G. Kuznetsov sent to the politburo a note about need of detailed study of future battlefield and probable opponents, first of all foreign ports, approaches to them and maritime routes of the message in the Gulf of Finland and on the Baltic Sea. "The easiest to carry out it by commission of systematic flights by one of merchant ships (under a trade flag) between the ports which are the most interesting us, with performance of the valid cargo operations of the organizations of the Soviet Union trading with the abroad. Not to decipher the system of study and at the same time to present ample opportunities to command structure to study the opponent, it is necessary to fully complete the vessel intended for this purpose a personnel of navy.". The vessel "Pioneer" making flights mainly between the ports of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Shvetsii29 was called the most suitable for this purpose.

On September 9 in connection with the misinformation transferred from Berlin about occupation the German troops of Warsaw Molotov sent congratulations and greetings to the German government and Shue-lenburgu told that "the Soviet military operations will begin in next few days" 18. On the same day the people's commissar of defense of the USSR K.E. Voroshilov and the chief of the General Staff of RKKA B.M. Shaposhnikov signed directives

No. 16633 to the Council of War of BOVO and No. 16634 to the Council of War of KOVO about transition by troops of the Belarusian and Ukrainian fronts in the night of September 13

1939 of the Soviet-Polish border with a task to crush the Polish troops. In them tasks for the next two days for each of army groups of these special districts on the basis of which on September 11 were created and developed Belarusian and Ukrainian fronty30 were defined. On September 10 Molotov reported to Shulenburg that are already mobilized
3 one million chelovek31.

According to L.P. Beria's order of September 8 in KOVO and BOVO 9 task forces till 50-70 security officers in everyone given to army groups were created. In their order about 300 fighters were allocated. For holding all necessary actions to Ukraine the first deputy of Beria chief of Head department of state security V.N. Merkulov, went to Belarus — the chief of Special department of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the USSR V.M. Bochkov.

9 September the people's commissar of state security of the Ukrainian SSR I.A. Serov reported to Beria: "The number of operatives and political workers is marked out completely. Communication with comrade Khrushchev and comrade Tymoshenko regular" 32.

News that Warsaw still keeps induced to delay date of transition by parts of the Red Army of the Soviet-Polish border. On September 10 Molotov at a meeting with Shulenburg told that fast progress of Wehrmacht in Poland took unawares the Soviet army which is not ready to actions yet. He specified that the government of the USSR intends to state that as a result of approach of the German troops Poland ceased to exist and therefore the Soviet Union has to come to the rescue of Ukrainians and Belarusians to whom Germany threatens. "This pretext will present intervention of the Soviet Union plausible in the opinion of masses and will give to the Soviet Union the chance not to look an aggressor" — noticed


On September 14 Molotov told Shulenburg that "The Red Army reached a ready state rather, than it was expected. The Soviet actions therefore can begin before the specified term. Considering political motivation of the Soviet action (fall of Poland and protection of Russian "minorities"), it would be extremely important not to begin to work before the administrative center of Poland — Warsaw" 34 falls. Next day Ribbentrop answered that falling of Warsaw — a question of several days. He charged to the ambassador to transfer Molotova: "If the Russian intervention is not begun, inevitably there will be a question of whether it will be created in the area lying east of the German zone of influence, a political vacuum. having created conditions for formation of the new states" 35. The corresponding negotiations were conducted by the German services in Galicia and with figures of UPA, with that, probably, to push the USSR to resolute actions.

Since September 11 in the Soviet newspapers the anti-Polish campaign began. On September 16 the politburo considered a question of work of political departments of the Kiev and Belarusian special districts. In the decision the complete cessation in mass media and propaganda performances of criticism of Germany and also promotion of anti-fascist slogans and the ideas was recommended. For justification of invasion on the territory of Poland it was necessary to declare need of assistance to Ukrainians and Belarusians, "suffering many years under a yoke of the Polish bourgeoisie and landowners and now risking to fall under domination of Germany". This argument was suitable as for internal use, and internationally. Plenipotentiary Representatives were recommended to quash rumors that Moscow and Berlin are going to divide among themselves the whole world, and the partition of Poland is only a first step. The agreement with Germany was intended not joint aggression, and it ogranicheniye36.

The German side insisted on publication after introduction of Soviet troops to Poland of the Soviet-German communique absolutely of other contents. The draft of this document was sent by Ribbentrop Shulenburg for delivery to his Molotov on September 15 and was intended allegedly for "political support of a performance of the Soviet army". Rejecting the Soviet thesis about need of protection of the Ukrainian and Belarusian people against Germany, the minister suggested to define so the purposes of the USSR and Germany in Poland: "In view of obvious split among the nationalities living in the territory of the former Polish state, the Government of the Reich and the Government of the USSR consider it necessary to put an end to the political and economic situation intolerant further existing in these territories. They consider the general task to restore peace and order in their natural spheres of influence and to reach this new order creation of natural borders and the viable economic organizations" 37. Actually this text put an equal-sign between actions of Germany and the USSR and per se was unacceptable for Moscow. Next day Molotov told Shulenburg that the Soviet part in general doubts need of the communique. The Soviet part considered the best explanation of the actions arguments about the actual termination existence of the Polish state and need to protect the Ukrainian and Belarusian brothers. Understanding concern of Berlin, Molotov agreed to clean from the planned document the place especially sensitive for a Reich — that is "protection against the German threat" 38. Discussion of the text of the communique continued also after transition by the Soviet troops of border with Poland.

The re-deployment of many parts of the Red Army to the Soviet-Polish border did not remain is unnoticed -

ache in the world. On September 11 Zh. Payar tried to find out from Potemkin what is meant by the "partial mobilization" manufactured in the USSR 39. On September 13 during the press conference in the gebbelsovsky ministry of promotion the American correspondent Siegfried Schultz, referring to concentration of the Soviet troops on the Polish border, asked a question whether Russians will come. She did not receive the answer. On the same day the Swedish envoy V. Vinter at a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Commissar S.A. Lozovsky asked: "What point of the mobilization actions hosted by the USSR? In Sweden these actions caused the known excitement". He added that in diplomatic corps there is a lot of talk about what purposes of this mobilization, some piers say that it is directed against Poland, others — against Germany, the third — that it is precautionary measures. That the French government finds possible occupation of a part of Poland by the Soviet Union, the Soviet Plenipotentiary Representative in France Ya.Z. Surits reported on September 14. In this case, according to the statement

And. Leger, "the guarantee given to Poland will be, naturally, and against the USSR" — the Plenipotentiary Representative specified. Special indignation at world, and in particular at French, the public caused publication in the Pravda of September 14 of Article "About the Internal Reasons of Military Defeat of Poland" 40.

The difficult situation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, however, not too upset the Lithuanian politicians. The envoy in Germany K. Shkirpa, referring to difficulties in trade with the USSR because of need to direct all freight traffics through Latvia, in a conversation with the Soviet Plenipotentiary Representative noticed: "Lithuania needs to take an opportunity and to attach to itself the Vilensky region and thus to establish the general border with the USSR" 41. Earlier Italian ambassador in Berlin B. Attoliko also asked A.A. Shkvar-tsev whether Lithuania Vilno will receive and whether there will be the USSR indifferent at section Polshi42. Naturally, the Plenipotentiary Representative evaded the question. The question of Vilno's fate was brought up also by Molotov during the conversation with F. Shulenburg

16 September. The people's commissar asked to report opinion of the German side on Vilno's fate and on the one who has to occupy this gorod43.

Also the Estonian diplomats were very concerned about the situation. On September 14 the Estonian envoy in Berlin K. Tofer who very unflatteringly spoke of heads of Poland quoted then several phrases from the white paper published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which it was told

about attraction of the USSR to the partition of Poland. Shkvartsev hurried to assure the interlocutor: "No documents or agreements in this respect are known to me" 44.

Meanwhile, military preparation of the forthcoming campaign was well under way. On September 14 Voroshilov and Shaposhnikov sent directives to the Belarusian and Ukrainian fronts to begin approach council -

sky troops at 05:00 17 sentyabrya45. Thus, orders on transition of parts of two fronts to approach against Army Polish were given when both the government, and the Supreme command of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were in the country and continued to take intensive measures to the organization of defense.

On the Belarusian front (the commander — the commander of the II rank M.P. Kovalyov, members of the Council of War — the first secretary of the Central Committee of the RC (b) of Belarus P.K. Ponomarenko and case the commissioner I.Z. Susay-kov, the chief of staff of the front — M.A. Pur-kayev's komkor) had to operate with

four army (Polotsk, Minsk, Dzerzhinsk, Babruysk) and one horse mechanized groups. Their expansion began on September 5 and came to the end, except Dzerzhinsk, by September 16.

Battle-order No. 01 of the Belarusian front was given on the night of September 15. In it the immediate task of the front was defined "— to destroy and captivate the armed forces of Poland acting to the east of the Lithuanian border and the Grodno — Kobrin line" 46 (my italics. — N.L.). These purposes were thought to be reached by drawing the Polish army of heavy blow by the center of the front in the general direction to Grodno — Volkovysk. It was planned to cut off completely with an exit of the right group "a vilensky corridor" from the central regions of Poland.

Concrete operational tasks received also the BOVO army groups. It was ordered them, without expecting the end of concentration of all parts given them, at 05:00 on September 17 to cross the border. At the same time the Polotsk group had to seize on September 18 by the outcome the Region of Sventsyany — Mikhalishki and further to move on Vilno; Minsk — having broken through the front, to the same term to leave to the Region of Oshmyany — Ivye further a part of its connections assisted the Polotsk group in Vilno's mastering, and by other forces to attack Grodno.

The Dzerzhinsk group was necessary to continue concentration on border while the konnomekhanizirovanny mobile group (KMG) "undertook to beat powerful blow to troops of the opponent them, coming in the direction on New breasts, Volkovysk, and by the outcome on September 18 to come to the river Molchad on the site from its mouth to m of Molchad, further to move to Baranovichi, to strike a blow to Volkovysk" 47.

Bobruyskoy group by the outcome should have come on September 17 to approaches to Baranovichi. the 23rd rifle corps and the Dnieper flotilla provided a joint with the Ukrainian front and within two days had to seize Lunints.

The front aircraft was entrusted to promote approach of the main forces Polotsk and Bobruyskoy group and the Dzerzhinsk KMG, "to open group of land troops and aircraft of the opponent in the area of Sventsyana — Vilno — Grodno — Brest-Litovsk and to destroy them; to prohibit approach of reserves about -

a tivnik by rail and to soil ways from Sventsyana's lines — Vilno — Grodno — Brest-Litovsk; not to allow withdrawal of the opponent for the line Postava — Lida — Slonim — Pinsk" 48.

As a part of the Ukrainian front which was ordered by the commander of the I rank S.K. Tymoshenko (the Chief of Staff — the divisional commander N.F. Vatutin, the member of the Council of War — case the commissioner V.N. Borisov and the first secretary of the Central Committee of RC (b) at N.S. Khrushchev) three army groups acted. The right wing of the front was made by Shepetovsky (Northern) group (the commander — the divisional commander I.G. Sovetnikov). It was deployed at the front in 250 km on Exactly — Vladimir-Volynsk the direction, the right flank — on Kovelsky. Already on September 14 concentration of two of its cases in the areas allocated to them ended. On September 16 the group was completely ready to reach a starting position. "Political morale of troops good" — reported to the administration of the Chief of Staff of Savinov49. According to the order of command of the front the group had to borrow on September 17 by the outcome Exactly, Dubno, on September 18 — the district of Lutsk and then to attack Vladimir-Volynsk. In battle-order No. 01 of the headquarters of Shepetovsky group of September 16 it was said: "The order of the Council of War of KOVO to troops of Shepetovsky army group set the task — to strike a powerful and lightning blow to the Polish troops, resolutely and quickly coming in the direction Exactly". Having established a task for each of cases, Sovetnikov ordered further: "Operations of cases and armored brigade have to be fast and resolute" 50. This army took prisoner the greatest number of the Polish military personnel subsequently — 190.5 thousand people.

In the center of the Ukrainian front, on the site near

90 km Volochiskaya (subsequently East) group accommodated (the commander — a komkor F.I. Golikov). The task to strike on September 17 a powerful blow to the Polish troops near the Tare field (nowadays Ternopil), to leave next day to the district of Busk, Peremyshlyan, Bobrki with a further task to seize Lviv was set for it. At the same time the Polish troops were recommended to bar the ways of withdrawal on zapad51.
16 September on troops of Volochisky group, as well as on all connections of the Ukrainian and Belarusian fronts, the order by the end of day of "make a regrouping of troops of group and it is reserved to bring up them on 3-5 km to our frontiers in a starting position" was given, to check combat readiness and material security of parts. To management of the Ukrainian front it was reported about readiness of army to start "performance of a fighting task" 52.

Before the Kamyanets-Podilsky (Southern) group (the commander — the commander of the II rank I.V. Tyulenev) making the left wing of the front and deployed in a radius about 70 km in the direction on Stanislavov (nowadays Mr. Stanislav) and Drogobych, the purpose was set:

to crush the parts of the opponent resisting to it and by the outcome on September 17 to come to the Strypa River. By the end of the next day the group should have seized the district of Galich, Stanislavov and further to step on Stry and Drogobych. The left flank the group had to bar to the opponent the ways of retreat to Romania and Vengriyu53.

Thus, follows from documents that the detailed plan of a military campaign was developed and concrete orders on conducting offensive fighting against the neighboring state with which the USSR was connected by the nonaggression pact, other international acts are given. In practice troops were faced by a problem not of release and protection of the Ukrainian and Belarusian population for what it was rather simple to push aside from these areas the Polish parts to Romania and Hungary, and shattering and full defeat of the Polish army, liquidation of the state in which the Stalin management for many years saw the potential opponent.

16 September Molotov told Shulenburg that the Soviet operations will begin today or, as a last resort, tomorrow. For their implementation 28 shooting and 7 cavalry divisions, 10 armored brigades and 7 artillery regiments were concentrated. In total in them there were more than 466 thousand people, about 4 thousand tanks, from above
5.5 one thousand tools and 2 thousand samoletov54. These connections surpassed all Army in the power Polish.

Directly on border only the Polish parts of the Case of Protection of a Border Zone (CPBZ) could resist to troops of the Ukrainian front. The Region of Sarny protected by summary group in 10 thousand people was quite well strengthened boundary. In Exactly there were on rearrangement remains

7, The 8 and 11 Polish divisions. The place of collecting disabled parts and creations on their base of new connections served Kovel and Dubno. Near Tar-nopol six infantry divisions which lost a considerable part of the structure in fights with Wehrmacht concentrated. Lions were protected from the coming German parts by group of the general V. Lyangner in 15 thousand bayonets and sabers. In total in east voivodeships by September 15 there were about 340 thousand Polish soldiers and officers, 540 tools, more than 70 tankov55.

At 02:00 on September 17 Stalin accepted in the Kremlin of Shulenburg, having told him that the Red Army will cross at 6 in the morning the border with Poland. He read it the text of a note of the Soviet government Poland and introduced in it amendments taking into account wishes of the ambassador. At 3 o'clock in the morning on September 17 V.P. Potemkin summoned the Polish ambassador V. Gzhibovsky and tried to hand him the modified note. In it it was said: "The Polish-German war revealed internal insolvency of the Polish state. Warsaw as the capital of Poland does not exist more. The Polish government broke up and not

shows signs of life. It means that the Polish state and the government actually p

Daniel Walther
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