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We Drink Water from the Dnieper

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Soviet WWII poster: For the Motherland, for Stalin

Soviet Loss and Reconquest of the Dnieper, Prut, Neman and Bug Rivers

Poster translation reads: "We drink water from dear Dnieper - we will drink from Prut, Neman and Bug! We will clear our land from fascists!" Poster artist, Victor Ivanov.

The western Bug River in Poland, had become a dividing line between German and Russian occupation of this country, prior to Operation Barbarossa. After the signing of the Treaty of Non-Aggression with Germany, Russia annexed the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which contained the Neman River alluded to in the poster. Also annexed was Bessarabia which was bounded by the Prut and Dniester Rivers, angering Adolf Hitler who had already made an arrangement with the Romanians to purchase oil. Now the close proximity of the Soviet armies threatened the Romanian oil fields.

On June 22 1941, Nazi-Germany invaded the Soviet Union after secret preparations. The map below shows arrows marking Germany's invasion plans for Operation Barbarossa, the code name for the invasion of Russia. During this invasion, Germany captured Russian occupied Poland, the Baltics, Bessarabia and pushed on into Russia.


Map of Barbarossa campaign

Objectives of the first phase of Operation Barbarossa included advancing to the Dnieper River (also spelled Dniepr), the city of Smolensk, and the Dvina River.

The 4 rivers mentioned in the poster - Dnieper, Prut, Neman (also spelled Nieman) and Bug - were eventually captured by the Germans and are marked in red on the map on the right. (Map locations are approximate). With the fall of Stalingrad in February 2, 1943, the Russians began the long process of recapturing their country. On October 14, 1943, the Soviets destroyed the Zaporozhye Dam on the Denieper River, a source of electric power for the western Ukraine and a necessity for Hitler to continue German run factories in that area. In 1944, Soviet tank armies crossed the Bug, Dniester and Prut Rivers to cut off the Germans who were forced to retreat in order to break out. Through a series of battles, the Red Army in the north recaptured Estonia, Lithuania and a large portion of Latvia in 1944. The remainder of Latvia continued to resist until the end of the war in May 1945, at which point the Soviet Union was granted the right to occupy the Baltics as per an earlier agreement with the Allies.

The Soviets had continued to "clear [their] land from fascists" and reconquer previously invaded territory, however, the reconquered areas were subjected to brutal Sovietization.


*Disclaimer: World War II posters, insignias and documents of Nazi Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, are displayed on this website as historical documents of the time period. They are not intended to promote or condone any political, racial, military, religious, or social views and/or actions. This website does not condone genecide.


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