Dnieper Dam Blown up by Retreating Russians

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Globalization41
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Dnieper Dam Blown up by Retreating Russians

Post by Globalization41 » 20 Jun 2004 19:48

Berne, Switzerland, By Telephone to The
New York Times,
By Daniel T. Brigham,
Thursday, August 21, 1941: [Late Wednesday,
U.S. time.]
An indication of how hard-pressed
are Marshal Semyon Budenny's Soviet forces
in the Dnieper River elbow region was
contained in an unconfirmed report from
Bucharest, Rumania, early this morning that
Russian sappers had blown up the great
Dnieper dam
near Dniepropetrovsk [260 miles
southeast of Kiev, 245 miles northeast of
Odessa on the Black Sea, 210 miles east of the
midpoint of the 280-mile north-south line
between Kiev and Odessa],
releasing millions
of tons of muddy, swirling water to flood the
lowlands below the delta. ... The dam raised
the level of the river above it almost 200 feet.
Completed in 1932, it furnished the most
important source of power in Southeastern
Russia and was built to provide electricity for
the important Krivoy Rog mining area to the
east. ... ... The New York Times, Late
Wednesday, August 20, 1941:
The Istanbul
correspondent of a Stockholm newspaper also
reported that the Russians had destroyed the
dam, according to a dispatch from Stockholm
to The New York Times. Stockholm sources
believe that if the dam had not already been
destroyed it would be soon, if for no other
reason than because it constituted an excellent
bridge that the Germans might use. The
Istanbul correspondent also said that the
Russians had evacuated 100,000 men from
Odessa. ... ... The Dnieper River dam,
completed in 1932 after day and night work for
five years, was looked upon as a symbol of the
new Russia
in her drive toward industrialization
and wide distribution of electric power.
[Beginning in the late 1920's, typical of
Stalin's leadership, the Soviets would arrest
middle and upper-class farmers and use them
for slave labor in state-sponsored projects such
as dam building, timber harvesting, canal
digging, mining, etc. The communists would
then assign the lower-class farmers to work the
confiscated farms with most of the yield going
to the state. Since the implementation of these
policies was unpopular, the farmers resisted by
producing less and the government responded
with search and confiscate missions,
supplemented with mass arrests and executions
which were scaled back as famine began to
make, in Stalin's view, the state's job easier.
The famine peaked in 1933 (the same year
Hitler accepted the German Chancellorship).
The surviving farmers were thus motivated to
work the collective farms that became the
norm afterwards. Stalin, the all-time master at
turning negatives into positives, was hailed as
a hero
for having "broken the backs" of the
independent farmers. (Lenin had gotten cold
feet and backed off his collectivization program
in the early 1920's after a few million famine
deaths.) Many of Stalin's potential political
enemies were later executed for having been
too tough on the farmers, i.e. "dizzy with
success" in Stalin's words.]
... The dam was
built, however, under the supervision of an
American engineer, the late Colonel Hugh L.
Cooper;
was operated with American
machinery built by General Electric Company,
and supervised in its first year of operation by
an American, E.E. Robinson of Kewanee, Ill.
... Built at cost of $110,000,000, the Dnieper
Dam at the time of its completion was the
largest power plant in the world, surpassing the
Muscle Shoals Dam, which was built by
Colonel Cooper during the World War. The
Dnieper Dam has since been surpassed,
however, by Boulder Dam, nearly three times
as high, the Shasta and Grand Coulee Dams,
and the Tennessee Valley development. ...
Principal use of the Dnieper Dam was to
supply electric power to heavy industries at
Dniepropetrovsk in the bend of the river
[which flowed southeasterly into the bend
and, after turning due south for bit, then
southwesterly toward the Black Sea]
in the
South Ukraine. It was designed eventually to
supply electric energy to an area of 70,000
square miles [264 x 264] and a population of
16,000,000, including the Donets coal basin
[200 miles east of the dam]. ... The dam was
200 feet high, compared with the 726 feet of
Boulder Dam, opened in Nevada in 1936, and
had a water storage capacity of about one-third
that of Boulder Dam. The power plant, in full
operation, generated 750,000 horsepower. ...
A year before the dam was completed a
tremendous flood poured down the Dnieper
River, but work continued and the dam was
completed eight months ahead of schedule.

Daily progress of the work was reported in
Soviet newspapers as an example of
Communist enterprise
and the project was
considered the first fulfillment of Lenin's
dream of an industrialized Russia.

London, United Press, The New York Times,
Thursday, August 21, 1941: [Late Wednesday,
U.S. time]
It was reported today that Marshal
Semyon Budenny,
acting under personal orders
of Premier Josef Stalin, had blown up the huge
Dnieper Dam to cover his Ukrainian retreat,
leaving a long stretch of the river a raging
torrent. The dam was destroyed shortly before
dawn [Wednesday], according to dispatches
from Stockholm.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41.]

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