“Why does life almost come to a halt on June 22? And why does one feel a lump in the throat?”
This how Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to address the fateful day in 1941, when Germany invaded Russia, with an extraordinarily detailed article on June 19: “75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future.” ( See: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/63527 )
Citing archival data, Putin homes in on both world wars, adding important information not widely known, and taking no liberties with facts well known to serious historians. As for the “lump in the throat”, the Russian president steps somewhat out of character by weaving in some seemingly formative personal experiences of family loss during that deadly time and post-war years. First, the history:
“On June 22, 1941, the Soviet Union faced the strongest, most mobilized and skilled army in the world with the industrial, economic, and military potential of almost all Europe working for it. Not only the Wehrmacht, but also Germany’s satellites, military contingents of many other states of the European continent, took part in this deadly invasion.
“The most serious military defeats in 1941 brought the country to the brink of catastrophe. … By