The first hand accounts were originally intended as a record of the Soviet Union's "Great Patriotic War". Due to the graphic nature of the accounts, the Kremlin published only a small portion of them after 1945, preferring to opt for more orthodox Stalinist propaganda. The "protocols" languished in Moscow's archives until 2008, when, acting on a tip, Hellbeck was able to gain access to 10,000 pages.
|Ref: AWNS-19431103-15-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Whether some of the interviews were given purely for Soviet propaganda purposes remains open to question. Those given by political officers suggest they played an important role in providing the inspiration to fight. There are accounts of them distributing leaflets during the height of battle depicting "the hero of the day". Brigade Commissar Vasilyev recalls: "It was viewed as a disgrace if a communist was not the first to lead the soldiers into battle."
|Ref: AWNS-19410709-31-2, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Auckland Libraries resources relating to Stalingrad.
|Ref: AWNS-19420204--19-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections|