On the morning of the 18th October, 1941, Japanese counter-intelligence initiated a number of arrests in Tokyo that smashed a Soviet sky-ring. The Soviet Red Army had humiliated the Japanese Imperial Army a number of times in 1938 and 1939 in battles that occurred in and around the Mongolia-Manchuria border areas. Following the Japanese surrender to the Soviets, the Government of Japan was reluctant to get directly involved in another war with the USSR. However, following the Nazi German invasion of the USSR during June, 1941, the Soviet High Command were not sure whether Japan would attack the USSR from the East. This knowledge was important, particularly as Nazi German forces were sweeping through the USSR from the West, and even reaching the outskirts of Moscow by early October, 1941.
The Soviet High Command was evacuating Moscow when the Soviet Leader – Joseph Stalin – took the decision to personally stay and over-see the defence of Russia’s capital city. Enter Soviet spy master Richard Sorge (Рихард Зорге) whose dedication to the Soviet Union, and selfless service to the cause of Communism, quite literally ‘saved’ the Soviet Union from the disaster of a complete Nazi German victory, through the vital intelligence he provided. Richard Sorge successfully worked as an undercover Nazi German journalist in Hitler’s Germany (supplying an endless stream of intelligence to the USSR), before securing transfer (as an apparent Nazi German journalist) to Tokyo, Japan in 1940. He is famous for confirming (from Japanese sources) Hitler’s definite plan to invade the USSR (although not the exact date), but his most outstanding contribution is that information secured at great personal cost (as it was guaranteed to blow his cover), when he found out that Imperial Japan, despite appearing to be preparing to invade the Eastern Soviet Union, in fact had no intention whatsoever to initiate this plan. Primarily because the Japanese High Command was preparing to attack the USA (and other extensive targets throughout Asia), and needed to preserve and focus all its available military forces for these operations. Once Joseph Stalin received Richard Sorge’s report (knowing as he did the quality of this Soviet spy’s information), he was free to move the vast (and fresh) Soviet Armies stationed toward the East of the USSR, so as to converge on Moscow, and drive the Nazi German forces out off the outskirts of that city!
This early victory became the glimmer of light that would eventually turn into the full Soviet counter-offensive that saw the Nazi German Army driven out of the USSR, and the Nazi German regime thoroughly destroyed in Berlin by the Red Army! Richard Sorge, meanwhile, was tried in Japan for being a Soviet spy, and sentenced to Death by hanging. His grave still exists in Japan today, and is treated with respect. All the way through his trial, Richard Sorge maintained his cover story and continued to speak fluent German. Eventually, whilst stood on the trap-door of the gallows, and following the hood and noose being placed over his head – Richard Sorge shouted in Russian ‘Long Live the Soviet Union!’
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