In 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union Vassili Subbotin was caught up as an ordinary soldier in the Red Army’s great retreat. In 1945, during the final days of the war, as a war correspondent, he went into Berlin with the troops who fought the ferocious final battles in the streets and sealed Germany’s defeat. Later he recorded in vivid impressionistic detail the climax of the last act of the campaign and of the entire war in the east – the storming of the Reichstag which came to symbolise of the Soviet victory over the Nazis. His first-hand experience of that final operation – and his insight into the small band of ordinary soldiers who played a part in it – is graphically conveyed in this memoir. In his description of the confusion and violence of the street fighting around the Reichstag and the vicious hand-to-hand floor-by-floor struggle to capture the huge shattered building, the personalities of the soldiers are revealed, as are their fears and determination. Vassili Subbotin served as a conscript in the Red Army during the Second World War, first as an infantryman during the Soviet retreat after the German invasion in 1941, then as a divisional war correspondent during the Red Army’s long advance towards Germany.
WE STORMED THE REICHSTAG
As a war correspondent, Vassili Subbotin was present throughout the final battle for Berlin and observed the capture of the Reichstag at first hand. After the war he wrote this evocative memoir recording his experiences and those of the soldiers who took part.