German–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk

German–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk
German–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk on September 22, 1939

German–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk (German: Deutsch-sowjetische Siegesparade in Brest-Litowsk, Russian: Совместный парад вермахта и РККА в Бресте) refers to an official ceremony held by the troops of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on September 22, 1939 during the invasion of Poland in the city of Brest-Litovsk (Polish: Brześć nad Bugiem or Brześć Litewski, then in the Second Polish Republic, now Brest in Belarus), which marked the withdrawal of German troops to the previously agreed demarcation line and the handover of the city and its fortress to the Soviet Red Army.[1][2]

According to the initial agreement, the procedure included German and Soviet troops marching before their commanding officers followed by changing the flag, accompanied by national anthems of Germany and the USSR.[3] However, the Soviet commanding officer, Kombrig Semyon Krivoshein, writes in his memoirs that he did not allow Soviet troops to pass alongside the German forces, because he was afraid that Soviet troops, weary after a long march to Brest, would look inferior in comparison with the Germans, who stayed in the city for several days. Instead, he suggested that the Soviet columns would enter the city separately and salute the leaving Germans whenever they meet.[4] The parade took place on the Union of Lublin street (Polish: ulica Unii Lubelskiej), the main road of the city of Brest.



Rolling Soviet tanks and German motorcyclists.
German and Soviet officers present at the parade: Major General Heinz Guderian (center) and Kombrig Semyon Krivoshein (right)

The secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, signed on August 23, 1939 defined the boundary between the German and Soviet "spheres of influence". However, during their invasion of Poland, some German forces, especially Heinz Guderian's XIX. motorized Corps, have advanced beyond this line in pursuit of their strategic goals.[2]

The XIX. Corps, approached Brest on September, 13 and defeated the Polish resistance in the ensuing battle by September, 17, establishing their base of operations in the city. During the following days, Guderian was informed, much to his chagrin, that the demarcation line between German and Soviet-controlled regions was drawn along the Bug River and that his forces were to retreat behind this line by September, 22.[5]

On September, 17, after Vasily Chuikov's 4th Army received the order to cross the Polish border, its 29th Tank Brigade, led by Kombrig Semyon Krivoshein, entered the town of Baranovichi (pl. Baranowicze).[6] After taking the town and capturing a few thousand Polish soldiers who were stationed there, his units kept on moving westward, reaching the village of Pruzhany (pl. Prużana) on 19 September.[7]

On 20 September, advance units of the 29. Tank Brigade, encountered Guderian's forces at the village of Vidomlya (pl. Widomla), three days after the Soviet invasion of Poland and twenty days after the German invasion of Poland.[7] The Soviet Brigade had seen little combat, because most of the fighting had already been over by this time.

According to Krivoshein, a recon unit returned with a group of 12 German officers who identified themselves as part of Guderian's XIX Corps and explained that they, too, were moving in the direction of Brest. They were invited to Krivoshein's tent, who then proposed a toast to both commanders and invited the attending German officers to Moscow after they achieved a quick victory over "capitalist England"[8] Through them Krivoshein also sent warm greetings to the German general and made sure to approach the city from the opposite direction than that taken by the Wehrmacht.[6]

Upon approaching the town in the morning of September 22, Krivoshein realized that German troops were already busy looting the town and that Guderian had already established his headquarters there.[6] Soon afterwards, Guderian's representatives arrived, and greeted the "glorious Red Army" and its general. Following a short exchange of formalities, Krivoshein offered to visit Guderian and personally pay his respects to him. The offer was accepted and Krivoshein was taken to the German headquarters to share breakfast with the German General.[4]

During the meeting, Guderian proposed a joint parade of Soviet and German troops through the town, including a lineup of soldiers from both armies on the central square. Because the Soviet troops were tired after a long march, Krivoshein declined, but promised to supply a military band and a few battalions, and agreed to Guderian's request that he and Guderian would stand and review the parade together.[4][6][7]

The parade

The parade began at 16:00,[4] and the "Victory Arches" were erected which the Soviet troops decorated with swastikas and red stars, and through which German troops marched.[9] The Soviets fielded the 4th Battalion of 29th Light Tank Brigade, which was the first unit of the Red Army to roll into the city. The Soviet and German generals paid homage to each other's armies and their respective victories over Polish forces.[10]


After the parade, which Niall Ferguson described as amicable,[11] the Germans withdrew to the western bank of the Bug, and the Soviets took control over the city, as well as the rest of Eastern Poland (now Western Belarus and Western Ukraine).

Press coverage

According to a 2008 article in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the purpose of the parade was to display the power of the newly formed "Soviet–Nazi alliance" to the whole world.[12] The source also notes that the commander of the Polish forces who defended Brest against the Germans, General Konstanty Plisowski, was arrested by the NKVD, sent to the Soviet prison camp in Starobielsk and later executed in the Katyn massacre.[12]

German–Soviet parades in other Polish cities

Several historic works published in the 1980s-1990s[13] discuss joint military parades of the Red Army and German Wehrmacht in other cities of occupied Poland.

For example, Russian historian Mikhail Semiryaga writes in his 1992 work Secrets of Stalin's diplomacy: "Joint parades with militaries of both countries as participants took place In Grodno, Brest, Pinsk and several other cities (Germans called them "victory parades"). The parade in Grodno was supervised by Kombrig Vasily Chuikov."[14]

Alexander Nekrich writes: "The conclusion of military operations against Poland was marked by joint parades of German and Soviet militaries in Brest and Lwow in the first days of October [1939]."[15]

In later works, Russian historians Mikhail Meltiukhov and Oleg Vishlyov dismiss the parades in other cities and call them "a myth".[16] Vishlev also disputes that the events in Brest were a military parade and call them "ceremonial departure of German forces under the supervision of Soviet representatives".[16]

See also


  1. ^ Secret Additional Protocol of the Treaty of Nonaggression Between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, clause 2.
  2. ^ a b Steven J. Zaloga, Howard Gerrard. Poland 1939: The Birth of Blitzkrieg, page 83.
  3. ^ "Agreement on the handover of the city of Brest-Litovsk and further actions of Russian troops" (page 1; Bundesarchiv BA-MA RH21-2/21,40-41, 21.09.1939)
  4. ^ a b c d (Russian) Krivoshein S.M. Междубурье. (Between the Storms) Voronezh, 1964, pp. 250−262
  5. ^ Heinz Guderian. Erinnerungen eines Soldaten (Panzer Leader). — Heidelberg, 1951, p. 73.
  6. ^ a b c d (Polish) Janusz Magnuski, Maksym Kolomijec, "Czerwony Blitzkrieg. Wrzesien 1939: Sowieckie Wojska Pancerne w Polsce" ("Red Blitzkrieg. September 1939: Soviet armored troops in Poland"). Wydawnictwo Pelta, Warszawa 1994 ISBN 8385314032, Scan of page 72 of the book.
  7. ^ a b c (Russian) Mikhail Meltyukhov Советско-польские войны. Военно-политическое противостояние 1918—1939 гг. Часть третья. Сентябрь 1939 года. Война с запада (Soviet-Polish wars. A Politico-military Confrontation 1918-1939. Part three. September 1939. The War from the West.) — Moscow, 2001.
  8. ^ George Schmidt, "The Report from Hell", excerpt. p.10
  9. ^ Richard C. Raack, "Stalin's drive to the West, 1938-1945: the origins of the Cold War", Stanford University Press, 1995, p. 39
  10. ^ Raack, p. 58
  11. ^ Niall Ferguson, The War of the World, The Penguin Press, New York 2006, page 418
  12. ^ a b (Russian) Novaya Gazeta: "Советско-фашистская дружба" (Soviet-Fascist Friendship), 21 September 2008
  13. ^ See, for example, (German) Heller M., Nekrich A. Geschichte der Sowjetunion. Bd. 2. (History of the Soviet Union. Vol. 2) Königstein, 1982. pp. 29-30; (German) Pietrow B. Stalinismus. Sicherheit. Offensive: Das «Dritte Reich» in der Konzeption der sowjetischen Außenpolitik. (Stalinism. Security. Offensive: The Third Reich in the Concept of Soviet Foreign Policy) Melsungen, 1983.; (Russian) Berezhkov V. M. Просчет Сталина (Stalin's Blunder), Mezhdunarodnaya zhizn'. 1989. № 8. p. 19; (Russian) Semiryaga M. I. Тайны сталинской дипломатии. 1939—1941 гг. (Secrets of Soviet Diplomacy. 1939-1941) Moscow, 1992. p. 101; (Russian) Lebedeva N. S. Катынь: преступление против человечества. (Katyn: A Crime Against Humanity) p. 34.; (Russian) Nekrich A. M. 1941, 22 июня. (1941, June, 22nd. Soviet-German cooperation, 1939-1941) — Moscow.: Pamyatniki istoricheskoy mysli, 1995.
  14. ^ (Russian) Semiryaga M. I. Тайны сталинской дипломатии. 1939—1941 гг. (Secrets of Soviet Diplomacy. 1939-1941) Moscow, 1992. p. 101
  15. ^ (Russian) Nekrich A. M. 1941, 22 июня. Советско-германское сотрудничество, 1939-1941. (1941, June, 22nd. Soviet-German cooperation, 1939-1941) — Moscow.: Pamyatniki istoricheskoy mysli, 1995.
  16. ^ a b (Russian) Vishlyov O. V. Накануне 22 июня 1941 года. Документальные очерки. (On the Eve of 22 June 1941. Documentaries.) Moscow., 2001. pp. 108—109.

External links

Media related to German and Soviet parade in 1939 at Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement — German Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement Signed January 10, 1941 Location Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union Signatories Soviet Union …   Wikipedia

  • German–Soviet Axis talks — In October and November 1940, German–Soviet Axis talks occurred concerning the Soviet Union s potential entry as a fourth Axis Power. The negotiations included a two day Berlin conference between Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, Adolf… …   Wikipedia

  • German–Soviet Commercial Agreement (1940) — For other uses, see German–Soviet Commercial Agreement (disambiguation). German Soviet Commercial Agreement German Soviet Commercial Agreement Signed February 11, 1940 Location Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Signatories Union of… …   Wikipedia

  • German–Soviet Credit Agreement (1939) — For other uses, see German–Soviet Commercial Agreement (disambiguation). German–Soviet Credit Agreement Signed August 19, 1939 Location Berlin, Germany Signatories Union of Soviet Socialist Republics …   Wikipedia

  • German–Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Demarcation — Map attached to the German–Soviet Treaty dividing Poland into German and Soviet occupation zones The German–Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Demarcation (also German–Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty) was a treaty signed by Nazi… …   Wikipedia

  • Soviet–German relations before 1941 — German and Soviet troops shaking hands following the invasion of Poland. Soviet–German relations date to the aftermath of the First World War. The Treaty of Brest Litovsk,[1] ending World War I hostilities between Russia and Germany, was signed… …   Wikipedia

  • Soviet invasion of Poland — This article is about the invasion in 1939. For the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1920, see Polish Soviet War. Soviet invasion of Poland Part of the invasion of Poland in World War II …   Wikipedia

  • Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina — History of Moldova This article is part of a series Antiquity …   Wikipedia

  • German occupation of Czechoslovakia — Occupation of Czechoslovakia redirects here. For the 1968 invasion, see Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. The partition of Czechoslovakia in 1938–1939. German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945) began with the Nazi annexation of… …   Wikipedia

  • Soviet Armed Forces — Soviet Armed Forces …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.