Magazine article Russian Life

Survival German. (Survival Russian)

Magazine article Russian Life

Survival German. (Survival Russian)

Article excerpt

It was sixty years ago that the Soviet Union finally halted the German offensive outside Moscow, turning the tide in the war and overturning Hitler's plan for a [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (blitzkrieg, see page 49). Yet even for Russians of my generation and younger, the war is still in our hearts and minds, largely because of the heavy toll (27 million lives) of victory.

In 1941, when Hitler was implementing his[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Barbarossa Plan), Moscow was strewn with [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (anti-tank "hedgehogs") and the situation was more than grave.

From those days one famous phrase-the slogan of the day-is still well known: [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]!" ("Russia is huge, but there is nowhere to retreat, for Moscow is behind us.") In the same vein, at that time the whole country sang a song we still all know by heart:

[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

Get up, huge country

To a deadly battle

With the dark fascist force

With the damned Horde

Let the noble fury

Mount like a wave

A People's War is raging

A Holy War!

The lyrics of this song should give pause to those who mistranslate [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("Great Patriotic War"; there is even a set acronym for it -- BOB) as World War II (which is actually [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).

Luckily, Moscow's defenders repulsed the enemy. But the true turning of the war's tide would not come until Stalingrad in 1943. And victory was still four years off. Plenty of new phrases and idioms would take root in the Russian language during those difficult years.

While most borrowings from those times were German (i.e., Germans were commonly referred to as [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Fritz'), from the common German name), some English words did break through our linguistic lines, e.g. [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Lend-Lease). Many Russians survived on [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (canned meat) which came to the USSR no [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Of course, the USSR most wanted the [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (opening of a second front), which finally happened with the allied landing at Normandy ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). …

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