An army parade was, in keeping with a tradition, held on Red Square on November 7, 1941. The parading troops left Moscow for the western front.
It took the enemy nearly a month (June 22 to July 20) to seize the Brest Fortress. The defending troops pinned down no less than an infantry division supported by tanks, artillery and aviation. Most of them were killed, but a few men found a way to join the guerrillas, although some, mostly heavily wounded men, were taken prisoner.
It took the Germans 250 days (November, 1941 to July, 1942) to seize the Black Sea city of Sebastopol. The troops defending that city thwarted the enemy plans at the southern stretch of the frontline.
The wartime routine, the truthful depiction of the developments stunned those who first saw paintings and drawings of the war years. Art is powerful inasmuch as it enters life.
The Nazis broke the world record of war crimes. They razed to the ground thousands upon thousands of villages and cities. The soldiers and officers of the German Wermacht were told to kill "any Soviet they would meet, be it an old man or a woman, a boy or a girl." They would have to kill everyone, they were told, if they wanted "to stay alive, secure a good future for their families and have generations to come glorify their names."
The Act of the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces was signed in Karlhorst, near Berlin, on May 8, 1945.
The Soviet Union had for a long time been pining up for the victory. There were new developments, new faces and new moods to paint. The post-war paintings spelt out a new message: the happiness of being alive and hope for a happy future.
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