Vasily Danilovich Sokolovsky (Russian: Васи́лий Дани́лович Соколо́вский; 21 July 1897 – 10 May 1968) was a Soviet general and Marshal of the Soviet Union who led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front during World War II. After the war, he was made commander-in-chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany and head of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany.
Shakespeare was right a thousand times when he said in his time: “He who started with evil will be mired in it.” — Said at the presence of military generals during the German signing of unconditional surrender in May 1945
Тысячу раз был прав Шекспир, сказавший в своё время: «Кто начал злом, тот и погрязнет в нём.
You, our glorious Soviet youth, have someone to take an example from, someone to learn from! Your grandfathers, fathers and mothers performed miracles of heroism in battles and labor during the years of the revolution and civil war, during the five-year plans, during the difficult years of the Great Patriotic War and in the post-war years of the restoration and development of the national economy of the USSR. The older generation of Soviet people is passing the torch of the builders of communism into the reliable hands of the younger generation. You have all conditions for study, work and rest. Use these conditions, which the older generations have created for you, wisely and to the fullest. The motherland expects from you, young, strong and cheerful, to devote all your strength and knowledge to the cause of building a communist society. If, however, danger hangs over our country, then you, following the example of the older generations, with weapons in your hands, will defend the cause of the Great October Revolution from any enemy — In a letter he addressed to the youth of the Lviv Oblast, Ukranian SSR on the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution (1967), "Маршал Советского Союза Василий Соколовский"
Вам, наша славная советская молодежь, есть у кого брать пример, у кого учиться! Ваши деды, отцы и матери совершали чудеса героизма в боях и труде в годы революции и гражданской войны, в годы пятилеток, в тяжелые годы Великой Отечественной войны и в послевоенные годы восстановления и развития народного хозяйства СССР. Старшее поколение советских людей передает эстафету строителей коммунизма в надежные руки молодого поколения. У вас есть все условия для учебы, труда и отдыха. Используйте же эти условия, которые создали для вас старшие поколения, разумно и со всей полнотой. Родина ждет от вас, молодых, сильных и жизнерадостных, отдачи всех сил и знаний на дело строительства коммунистического общества. Если же над нашей страной нависнет опасность, то вы по примеру старших поколений с оружием в руках отстоите дело Великого Октября от любого врага!
Message to the German people (June 1948) (excerpts)
- The currency reform is being carried out separately, in the interests of the American, British and French monopolies, which are dismembering Germany and trying to weaken her by subordinating her economy to themselves.
- As everyone knows, the Soviet military administration in Germany, acting in line with instructions from the Soviet Government, has always insisted on the preservation of Germany’s political and economic unity. It has always opposed all separatist actions aimed at the dismemberment of Germany. In the bodies of the Control Council, the representatives of the Soviet Union have used every opportunity to seek agreement on the carrying out of a uniform currency reform for the whole of Germany.
- It is now clear that the American, British and French representatives, while formally conducting discussions in the Control Council about an all-German currency reform, used these discussions for the secret preparation of a separate currency reform. Attempts to justify the separate currency reform are being made by reference to the necessity of bringing order into the circulation of currency in the Western German zones of occupation, ruined by National Socialism.
- Huge sums of money have remained in the Western Zones, entirely in the hands of big capitalists and profiteers, money which they had made from war deliveries and speculation. German banking and industrial monopolies have remained in the Western zones and many of them have as good as been transformed into branches of Wall Street, that is branches of American banks and industrial monopolies.
- The separate currency reform does serious damage to the economic recovery of Germany. Instead of a uniform German currency there will be two currencies, instead of uniform prices there will be two standards of prices. Trade relations inside the country will be disrupted. In actual fact, inter-zonal trade is becoming trade between different States, in so far as there are different currencies.
- Seeking to make secure the development of Germany’s peace economy on the basis of the Potsdam decisions and in the interests of the German people, the Soviet military administration in Germany tries to get a currency reform for the whole of Germany. The Soviet military administration condemns the action of the American, British and French occupation authorities in carrying out a separate currency reform, and holds them completely responsible for the consequences of this action.
- For the purpose of protecting the interests of the population of the Soviet zone of occupation of Germany and of the Greater Berlin area and of preventing economic dislocation through the separate actions of the Western Powers, the Soviet military administration in Germany will also adopt other necessary measures arising out of the present situation. The Soviet military administration in Germany feels certain that the German population will support its measures and will take the necessary steps to overcome difficulties, to raise the level of economy and strengthen currency circulation in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany
Statement Marking the Soviet Withdrawal from the Allied Control Council for Germany (March 1948)
- At the London conference official representatives of the United States, Britain and France discussed and decided such questions regarding Germany which come directly within the competence of the Control Council and can be decided only on the basis of agreement among the Four Powers occupying Germany. The American, British and French occupation authorities, however, do not wish to inform the Control Council of the decisions prepared in London nor to give an account of the instructions they received in connection with the unilateral London decisions on the German question.
- A situation has arisen in which only the Soviet side has to give an account to the Control Council whereas the American and British sides refuse to give an account to the Control Council of the actions in the zones of Germany they occupy. Thus, these delegations merely prove that they are tearing up the agreement on the Control Machinery in Germany and are assuming responsibility for breaking up this agreement. By their actions these three delegations once again confirm that the Control Council virtually no longer exists as the supreme body of authority in Germany exercising quadripartite administration of that country. This is also clear from the position taken by the afore-mentioned three delegations at all recent meetings of the Control Council and its agencies.
- This means that these delegations are destroying the Control Council and burying it, are destroying the agreements reached regarding the Allied Control Council in Germany. Undoubtedly this constitutes one of the most serious violations of the obligations undertaken by the British, American and French occupation authorities in Germany by virtue of the Four-Power agreements on the administration of Germany during the occupation period. But it is hence clear that the actions taken now or which will be taken in the future in the Western zones of occupation in Germany in implementation of the unilateral decisions of the London conference cannot be recognized as lawful.
Quotes about Sokolovsky
Highly cultured, with great military erudition and organizational skills, the general ... He has great willpower and firmness of character, courageous and energetic, decisive and enterprising, constantly demanding of himself and his subordinates ... During the Berlin operation, he directly led the fighting to conquer Berlin and successfully carried out the tasks of the front command. — Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov, "Маршал Советского Союза Василий Соколовский"
Высокой культуры, с большой военной эрудицией и организаторскими способностями генерал... Обладает большой силой воли и твердостью характера, смелый и энергичный, решительный и инициативный, постоянно требовательный к себе и подчиненным... В период Берлинской операции непосредственно руководил боевыми действиями по овладению Берлином и успешно выполнял задания командования фронтом.