Moscow Strikes Back

Still frame from Moscow Strikes Back, a Soviet propaganda film released in the United States in August 1942. This view shows a T-26 tank of the 30th Army with ski troops and other troops on sledges and on the tank's deck. The film accurately depicts Tankodesantniki (Tank Borne Troops) arriving in battle from the decks of tanks. Originally released as Razgrom Nemetskikh Voysk Pod Moskvoy ("The Defeat Of German Forces Near Moscow") the film, directed by Leonid Varlamov (July 13, 1907 - September 3, 1962) and Ilya Kopalin (August 2, 1900 - June 12, 1976) won the Stalin Prize in 1942. The film covers the defense of Moscow from the Red Square Parade of November 7, 1941 to the Red Army counterattack of December 1941. The English language version cues was written by Albert Maltz (October 28, 1908 - April 26, 1985) and Elliot H. Paul (February 10, 1891 - April 7, 1958), and the vocal narration was by Edward G. Robinson (December 12, 1893 – January 26, 1973). Distribution in the United States was by Artkino Pictures, the primary distributor of Soviet films in the United States, Canada, Central America and South America, and Republic Pictures. The film was one of the first wartime films to depict civilian casualties. Critic Jeremy Hicks argues that Moscow Strikes Back was one of the first films to confront the American public with the Holocaust, but the strong Soviet propaganda caused many Americans to recoil in disbelief. It wasn't until the first film of the concentration camps was made public in 1945 that the American public began to comprehend the size and scope of the Holocaust. Participation in the film later became an issue for the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for all three Americans. Maltz and Paul were blacklisted and Robinson was forced out of the major studios.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Archival Identifier: 
Moscow Oblast
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics