Katyn

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In the middle of the 20th century, two totalitarian empires, Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, killed 14 million non-combatants, in peacetime and in war. The movie Katyn and the excerpt from Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin captures the vivid images of the mass murderers throughout the 20th century. Mr. Snyder argues, “Hitler and Stalin thus shared a certain politics of tyranny: they brought about catastrophes, blamed the enemy of their choice, and then used the death of millions to make the case that their policies were necessary or desirable”. Throughout the movie, many scenes match the details that are described within the excerpt, The Bloodlands.

Beginning in 1939, the Soviets invaded eastern Poland after the Germany non-aggression pact was signed. The Soviets captured thousands of Polish military and civilian leaders, whom were then sent to concentration camps. While at the camps, “the prisoners had no other clothes but their army uniforms with white eagles on their caps” (Snyder 134) When Winter of 1940 came, Stalin ordered NKVD to murder most polish prisoners. Katyn does a very good on acting the time period out to how it actually was. In the movie, the polish soldier Andrzej was sent to a camp not long before winter and was killed shortly after. As shown in the movie, “the prisoners were taken into a building on the complex, where they were shot. Their bodies were then delivered, probably by truck in batches of thrity, to mass gave that had been dug in the forest. This continued until all 4,410 prisoners sent from Kozelsk had been shot” (Snyder 137). This “forest” where the bodies were buried is known as the Katyn Forest, which gives rise to the title of the movie.

In Spring 1943, German troops discovered mass graves of Katyn victims. The Germans reported this to the world because it made the Soviets look bad, while also due to propaganda purposes. One scene in the movie shows a woman being forced by...
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