At the end of World War II, Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower met with supreme Soviet commander Marshal Georgy Zhukov, and toasted the destruction of the Nazi Third Reich with a glass of Coca Cola. Immediately Zhukov was smitten by the sugary, fizzy American cola beverage, and wanted more. However there was a problem. Coca Cola was banned in the Soviet Union, being seen as a symbol of American capitalist imperialism. It certainly wouldn’t do to have the Soviet Union’s highest ranking military officer and most decorated soldier being caught drinking the carbonated milk of the evil capitalist pig-dog.
Zhukov turned to Gen. Mark Clark, commander of the US sector of Allied occupied Austria, if there was some way cases of Coca Cola could be shipped to him in more discreet packaging. Gen. Clark passed the request on the President Harry Truman, who in turn passed it on to James Farley, Chairman of the Board of Coca Cola Export Operations. Farley found a chemist who was successfully able to remove the color from Coca Cola while preserving its taste. The new “White Coke” was then bottled in straight clear bottles which resembled vodka bottles, the cap featuring a red star. The first shipment of “white coke” for Marshal Zhukov was a case of 50. It is unknown how much white coke was produced for Zhukov, as the production and distribution of it was a company secret.
The American Paratrooper Who Served in the Red Army During World War II.
When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Joseph R. Beyrle enlisted in the US Army and volunteered for the elite paratrooper service. After completing paratrooper training and training as a demonlitions expert, he was assigned to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles) with the rank of sergeant. Little did he know where the winds of destiny would blow him.
His first two missions were secret clandestine operations in which he covertly parachuted into German occupied France wearing bandoliers filled with gold, which he delivered to the French Resistance. On June 6th, 1944 Beyrle participated in the legendary D-Day drop during the Normandy Invasions. When his plane came under heavy fire he was forced to jump early and only 120 meters above the ground. Despite being separated from his unit, Sgt. Beyrle continued his mission, performing acts of sabotage behind enemy lines which resulted in the destruction of two bridges and a power station. Unfortunatley a few days later he was captured by the Germans when he accidentally stumbled upon a German machine gun nest. For the next 7 months he was held as a prisoner of war, where he became notorious as an escape artist, making several attempts, two of which were seccessful. After each attempt, the Germans tortured, starved, and beat him, then transfered him to a different camp. During his time in German captivity he was shuffled between seven different camps. After his 7th escape attempt, which was successful except that he accidentally boarded a train for Berlin, the Germans sent him to a camp deep within Poland, with the idea that it’s distance from the Western Front would discourage him from further escape attempts. Promptly after arriving at the camp in January of 1945, he successfully escaped and made his way to Soviet lines.
After his escape, he came upon the 1st Battalian of the 1st Tank Guards, where he met the famous lady tank commander Captain Aleksandra Samusenko, introducing her with the greeting, “Americansky tovarishch” (American comrade), while handing over a pack of Lucky Strikes.
Wanting to get back into the war, Bayrle convinced Samusenko to allow him to join the Battalion. Samusenko agreed, and he was appointed a tank machine gunner. For the next month he would serve with the Red Army, even taking part in the liberation of the POW camp from which he had escaped. In February of 1945, he was seriously wounded after an attack by a Stuka dive bomber, and was evacuated to a Soviet hospital. During his recuperation, he met none other than the Soviet supreme military commander, Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov.
When Bayrle arrived at the US Embassy in Moscow, he learned that he was officially listed as dead, and that his family back home in Muskegon, Michigan had celebrated his funeral. As it turns out, when he was captured during the Normandy Invasion, his uniforn and dogtags were taken and used by a German infiltration unit. The German soldier wearing the uniform was unexpectidly killed in September, the corpse being recovered by the Allies and mistakenly identifed as Bayrle’s and buried in France. Bayrle returned home in April of 1945, married in 1946 (coincidentally in the same church that held his funeral) and lived a happy life raising three children. In 1994 during the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, he was awarded with medals by both US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin at the White House. He was also personally awarded a specially made presentation AK-47 dedicated to him by Mikhail Kalashnikov. Joseph “Jumpin’ Joe” Beyrle passed away in 2004 while visiting the paratrooper training grounds in Toccoa, Georgia. He was buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
Stalingrad, a 3 episodes documentary by Pascale Lamche and Daniel Khamdamov, 2015, Roches Noires Prod., Fondation Aleksandr
Broadcast by the Belgian and French TV on March and May 2015, I highly recommend to watch this powerful, breathtaking, even lyrical documentary about the Battle of Stalingrad.
Exclusively made of original footage of the battle, with emotional first hand account by Vassili Grossman, Alexander Werth and common Russian and German soldiers, this is the most realistic and profound documentary I saw about war.
We have to make justice to the Soviet people and the Russians for the high price they paid in defeating Hitler. The Cold War almost made us forget that they were the ones who entered Berlin long before the Americans.
Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov (December 1, 1896 - June 18 1974),, political, military and Marshal of the Soviet Union, considered one of the most prominent commanders of World War II.
He is known for defeating the Japanese in 1939 during the battles of khalkhin gol and during World War II for his victories against the Germans in the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk, in Operation Bagration and the capture of Berlin.
The present day marks 2 years of my blogging activity and I would like to thank you all! This is my first follow forever, so I tried to group all my friends here. Who knows, you might make new friends as well?
The Soviet Invasion of Manchuria, Part I — The Rising Sun and the Bear
In 1930 China was in turmoil as the country was divided among a number of warlords who controlled their own independent realms. On the pretext of defending an important Japanese built railway in the region of Northeast China called Manchuria, the highly imperialistic Japanese government stationed the Kwantung Army to protect it. The Kwantung Army was the elite force of the Japanese Army, and perhaps the most prestigious command of in the Japanese military.
Although under the authority of Japanese High Command, the Kwantung Army had a mind of its own as it was staffed by officers who sought power, wealth, and glory. In 1931 the Kwantung Army conducted a false flag operation where they bombed the railway they were guarding. Blaming the bombing on a local warlord, they used the incident as a pretext to invade and conquer all of Manchuria. The forces of the local warlord, although larger than the Kwantung Army, were no match for the organization and professionalism of the Japanese. Within five months, the Kwantung Army had defeated the Chinese and conquered Manchuria. They created a puppet stated called “Manchuko”, which was ruled by a puppet emperor from the former Chinese Manchu Dynasty. Incredibly, the Kwantung Army did all of this without any orders from the Japanese government.
Throughout the 1930’s Japan continued to expand into Chinese territory. By the late 1930’s Japan also sought to expand into the Soviet Union, hoping to gain possession of the rich oil and gas fields of Siberia. In the summer of 1938, a series of clashes between Japanese and Soviet forces occurred near Lake Khazan near Vladivostok. Then in 1939, the Kwantung Army attempted a full scale invasion of the Soviet Union and her ally, Mongolia. The two armies met at a river called Khalkin Gol on May 11th, 1939.
The Japanese invaded with a massive force composed of 75,000 men of the 6th Japanese Army, a unit of the Kwantung Army. Throughout the summer of 1939, the Japanese assaulted Soviet-Mongolian lines, but had little success. Then a large Soviet force led by future marshal Georgy Zhukov arrived with a heavily mechanized army. While the Japanese prided themselves on their courageous infantry, throughout World War II they always lacked armored forces. In addition Japanese tanks were of typically light armed and armored light tanks. Japanese tanks also had the reputation as being the among the worst tanks produced during the war. By contrast, the Soviets had a reputation for producing some of the best tanks of the war. The pathetic tanks of the Japanese Army were no match for the steel behemoths of the Soviet Red Army.
At the Battle of Khalkhin Gol the Japanese brought 135 tanks 250 aircraft. Georgy Zhukov brought 500 tanks, hundreds of vehicles, and over 800 aircraft. In late August, he conducted a massive counterattack lead by three tank brigades and 50,000 infantry. The Red Army easily swept the Japanese air force from the skies, while simultaneously bombing Japanese defensive positions and supply lines. Soviet tank units made mincemeat of the Japanese armored forces while smashing through the flanks of the Japanese. Once the Japanese flanks were destroyed, Soviet infantry encircled and surrounded the Japanese. Zhukov demanded the Japanese surrender, but the Japanese commander, Michitaro Kumatsubara, announced that he would fight to the death. Over the next several days Soviet artillery and aircraft pounded the Japanese as the Red Army tightened its noose around the encircled army. It seemed that within a matter of days the 6th Army would be wiped out. Then in August, 1939 it was announced that Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Germany, and since Japan was Germany’s ally, they were required to make peace with the Soviets. In essence, the Japanese had been saved by the bell.
The Battle of Khalkhin Gol was the biggest ass whoopin’ dealt to the Japanese until the Battle of Midway in 1942. Afterwards, the Japanese signed a separate non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, pretending that the whole thing had never happened.
As a result of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, the Japanese chose not to intervene when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, then the Soviet Union overran and destroyed Germany. However, a promise between Joseph Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt guaranteed that the Soviet Union and Imperial Japan would clash once again.
A be-medalled but clearly dejected Leutnant Kurt Tanzer, Staffelkapitän of 13./JG 51, contemplates his final flight from Parchim/Redlin to Flensburg on 2 May 1945 to await the arrival of British forces.
Note the bomb container on the D-9 - possibly Tanzer’s own ‘White 1’ - in the background.
Photo & Caption from “Osprey (Aviation Elite Units): Jagdgeschwader 51”
@georgy-konstantinovich-zhukov posted a different “cropped” version of this photo (much like the one in the above book). In this version im posting you can see the full left side of photo.
Field Marshals Georgi Zhukov, Konstantin Rokossovsky, and other Soviet officers greeting Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and other British officers at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany, 12 Jul 1945.