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Major General Valentin Larionov on: Soviets and Americans at the End of WWII
Q: At the end of WWII, if I am properly informed, there is this famous scene of the Soviet army and the American, the Western Allies meeting in Germany and rushing across this open field and embracing. You witnessed that event.

GL: I remember. Those were embraces without any ulterior motives, truly friendly embraces...Certainly, no one thought then about any aggravations of the situation; everyone thought that the peace had come, the peaceful times arrived, and that it would stay for a long time. It is only there in the higher circles of the state apparatus that they were already thinking about something in the future, and Stalin declared that the future war would be a war with the U.S. But on our level, on the level of an average commander, soldier, and sergeant, everything looked bright. All that was sincere.

I only remembered one episode: We went to the other side, spontaneously -- this whole fraternization and all these embraces were completely spontaneous, and then the higher command began to control it. I remember when we made the official invitation to the leadership of the American division, and the tables were set, vodka was brought from Moscow; there was only Russian, not any kind of captured, vodka on the table. The table was covered with captured food, appetizers, alcohol, and Russian vodka and Russian food brought straight from Moscow. I felt then that we were letting our American allies know that we also had something to boast about and that we were very proud.

I was 18 then; now I am 75. And I still have it all in my soul.

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