World War II in archival documents (collection of digitized archival documents, film and photo materials)

World War II in archival documents (collection of digitized archival documents, film and photo materials)

September 3, 2021 more than 3.5 thousand digitized archival documents, film and photo materials starting September 1, 1939 - June 22, 1941 provided from 8 federal archives (Russian State Military Archives, Russian State Archives of Social and Political History, Russian State Archives of Contemporary History, State Archives of the Russian Federation, Russian State Archives of Economy, Russian State Archives of Film and Photo Documents, Russian State Naval Archives, Russian State Archives in Samara), institutional archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Federal Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, as well as state archives of Belarus) entered the Collection.

Archival documents, including recently declassified and for the first time introduced into scientific circulation cast light on the growing aggression of Nazi Germany and its allies and the events that led to the German attack on the USSR and the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

The Collection contains documents from the Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is now publicly available. It includes cipher telegrams of the plenipotentiary representatives of the USSR in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Baltic countries, Finland, the Balkans, Turkey, China, the USA, covering the internal political situation in the host countries and their foreign policy, records of conversations of the Soviet People's Commissars for Foreign Affairs and their deputies with ambassadors and foreign representatives, reference materials of the Soviet People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. Special attention is paid to international statutes: mutual assistance pacts between the USSR and Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia; a peace treaty with Finland, which formalized the modern border of both states; the Soviet-German Non-aggression Pact of September 28, 1939, with secret and additional protocols; a Treaty of Friendship and Non-aggression with Yugoslavia, concluded the day before the German attack on Yugoslavia; Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact, which excluded the USSR from waging a war on two fronts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation provided more than a thousand diplomatic documents in total.

The Collection contains documents of the General Staff of the Red Army and the People's Commissariat of Defence of the USSR from the Russian State Military Archives: orders, brief reports on the international situation from Soviet military attaches, intelligence and intelligence materials of the 5th Directorate of the Red Army, reports and memoranda of the Red Army leadership, political information and much more. The documents tell about the collapse of the Polish state, the reunification of Western Ukraine with the USSR and Western Belarus with the BSSR, the inclusion of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia into the USSR, Soviet-Finnish negotiations and Soviet proposals for territorial exchange, the course and results of the "Winter War", changes in the Red Army and preparing for a possible war with Germany. Foreign documents from the Russian State Military Archives cast light on Anglo-French intentions to strike the USSR, including plans to carry an attack at the oil-bearing regions of the Soviet Caucasus.

Of particular interest are documents on the Red Army measures to resist possible aggression: memoranda from the leadership of the People's Commissariat of Defence of the USSR and the General Staff of the Red Army to the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) with proposals for plans for the strategic posture in case of war with Germany and its allies, directives from the People's Commissariat of Defence of the USSR to heads of the military districts. The protocols of the meetings of the Main Military Council of the Red Army in April - June 1941 are available in full. The item of particular interest is Directive No. 1 of the Soviet People's Commissariat of Defence, which was sent at the close of the day on June 21, 1941, to the military councils of all districts. It announced a general alert related to the possibility of an unexpected attack by Germany. All these documents, as well as a large cartographic material, were provided by the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation in Podolsk.

For the first time, a single resource provides copies of original and translated documents on the preparation of the war against the USSR by Nazi Germany from various archives - the German Federal Archives, the State Archives of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Military Archives, the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History and the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. There are protocols of Adolf Hitler's meeting on the intended operation in the East; Directive No. 21 on the war with the USSR (Barbarossa plan) of December 18, 1940; the map of Barbarossa plan; Wehrmacht directives on the establishment of an occupation regime on the Soviet territory and other documents of the German command.

The Collection includes various archival materials of the Russian State Archives of Social and Political History: documents from personal collections of Joseph Stalin, V. M. Molotov, K. Ye. Voroshilov, A. I. Mikoyan. There are records of conversations with the leaders and diplomatic representatives of the UK, Germany, Japan, Turkey and China on the most significant issues of foreign policy and economic cooperation; cipher telegrams of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V. M. Molotov from Berlin in November 1940 and the Soviet envoys to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the USSR; notes from the register of the Kremlin office with the names of visitors to Joseph Stalin on the eve and on the day of the German attack on the USSR.

For the first time, the Russian State Archives of Social and Political History included a big selection of resolutions of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) on the development of the Soviet military industry, the growth of the Soviet defensive capacity and foreign policy issues.

The thematic collections of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) from the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History feature materials on the development of a "strange war" in the West, the situation in the Baltic countries in 1939-1940, trade and economic cooperation between the USSR and Germany, as well as the most prominent document of June 21, 1941 - the draft of the last pre-war resolution of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) on the creation of the Southern Front, new appointments and armies of the second defensive line, adopted during an evening meeting in the office of Joseph Stalin on June 21, 1941, and written by G. M. Malenkov. Especially for the collection, the State Archives of the Russian Federation digitized a large array of documents, including decisions of the Defence Committee under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, correspondence and reports of the Defence Committee on the development of the Soviet military industry in 1939-1941.

The Collection includes documents of the Russian State Archives of Economy with statistical data and information on the trade and economic activities of the USSR on the eve of the war. They show that then the main trading partner of the Soviet Union was the United States. The USA successfully replaced the UK, which declared a trade blockade of Germany.

For the first time, the information resource promotes exploring a significant array of Soviet intelligence documents provided by the archives of the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation. The users have an opportunity to read intelligence reports by Richard Sorge (Ramsay), N. D. Skornyakov (Meteor), members of the Cambridge Five, German anti-fascists from the Red Chapel and other agents still unknown to the general public. Soviet intelligence could receive a significant amount of important information about the preparation of the Third Reich and its allies for a war against the USSR. Some of these messages contain contradictory information, in particular, on the assessment of the Wehrmacht forces against the Red Army and the time of the German attack on the USSR.

The Belarusian state archives provided for publication documents of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian State Archives of Film and Photo Documents, the Belarusian State Archives-Museum of Literature and Art. There are the resolutions of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) in Belarus on the improvement of the regional centers of the western regions of the BSSR, the creation of a network of health and educational institutions, documents on the defence measures and special messages, intelligence reports of the Commissariat for the Internal Relations of the BSSR on the actions of German troops in the border territories, etc.

The Collection acquired newly discovered documents of the period before September 1, 1939. It includes memoranda to the Defence Committee under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR; documents of the Soviet People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs on the progress of negotiations on the conclusion of a Soviet-Turkish agreement in April - August 1939; official diplomatic correspondence with the Soviet plenipotentiary mission in Italy; records of conversations between the Soviet plenipotentiary in Italy B. E. Stein, who stayed in Helsinki, with representatives of the Finnish government about a possible exchange of territories and the conclusion of a trade agreement between the USSR and Finland in March 1939 and documents on the further development of this issue in July-August 1939. The Collection includes documents from the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation on the activity of "Kin", the Soviet resident in Finland, in 1938. It also features recently declassified agent materials of the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army for 1935-1937 from the Russian State Military Archives - more than 150 documents in total.

In 2020, the Collection has provided about 1800 archival documents, photographs, newsreel fragments which cast Iight on the prehistory of World War II from January 1933 to August 31, 1939. Thus, today the Collections contains about 5.5 thousand digitized archival documents. documents, photographs and newsreels. The work on the identification and declassification of archival documents, their digitization and placement as part of the Collection will continue in 2022.

 

 

Executive institution:

Federal Archival Agency (Rosarkhiv)

Operator:

Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library of the Administrative Directorate of the President of the Russian Federation

 

Participants:

Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation (AVP RF)

Russian State Military Archives (RGVA)

Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI)

State Archives of the Russian Federation (GA RF)

Russian State Archives of Contemporary History (RGANI)

Russian State Archives of Film and Photo Documents (RGAKFD)

Russian State Archives of Economy (RGAE)

Russian State Archives in Samara (RGA in Samara)

Central Archives of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation (CA MO RF)

Foreign Intelligence Service Archives of the Russian Federation (Archive of SVR)

Central Archive of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (CA FSB)

German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv)

National Archives of the Republic of Belarus (NARB)

Belarusian State Archives of Film and Photo Documents (BGAKFFD)

Belarusian State Archives-Museum of Literature and Art (BGAMLI)

  • About the Collection

    In acordance with Paragraph № 4 "k" of the List of instructions for the implementation of the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on January 15, 2020 № Pr-113, the Federal Archival Agency with the participation of archival services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation will organize the preparation of a set of digitized archival documents, film and photo materials dedicated to the Second World War.

    Based on information resources of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library of the Administrative Directorate of the President of the Russian Federation, electronic copies of archival documents which spotlight the history, course and results of the Second World War will be placing on the Internet for a number of years.

    Identification and digitization of documents are carried out on the basis of domestic, captured and foreign archival funds.

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