Beria (Russia) III

Lead: After clawing his way to the top of the ailing Joseph Stalin's pyramid of bureaucratic terror, Lavrentiy Beria seemed set to succeed the maximum leader.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1938 Stalin brought him to Moscow after Beria had distinguished himself as the bloody enforcer of the Great Purges in Georgia and other southern Soviet provinces near the Caucasus Mountains. He became assistant to Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD, in the waning days of the purge, and after Yezhov's fall from power and execution, Beria took his place. He became a candidate member of the Politburo and during World War II he sat on the five-member State Defense Committee, which, with Stalin, directed the war effort. Beria was responsible for internal security as well as foreign intelligence operations and the network of forced labor camps he ruled, the Gulag Archipelago, turned out much of the raw material for the Soviet war industry.

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Beria (Russia) II

Lead: Of the henchmen of Joseph Stalin, none struck fear in the hearts of Russians quite like Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born of Georgian peasant stock in 1899, Beria became a Marxist sympathizer while attending technical college in Azerbaijan. At the fall of the Russian monarchy, Beria dropped out of school to join the Army, apparently to spread Communist ideas and help undermine morale. When the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional government in the October Revolution, Beria returned home to finish his studies but was soon caught up in his party's counterintelligence service, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage, or CHEKA.

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Beria (Russia) I

Lead: In a history punctuated by rulers noted for their villainy, Russia produced few leaders as efficiently cruel or as feared as Stalin's exterminator, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his long rule over the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin acquired a reputation for ruthlessness and near barbarity in the pursuit and maintenance of his power, yet it was some of his henchmen, anxious to do his bidding and please him, who brought a whole new dimension to the practice of state sponsored terrorism.

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Barbarossa II

Lead: By December 1940 Adolf Hitler had decided to attack Soviet Russia late the following spring. In March he compounded that blunder with a catastrophic error born of pure rage.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Before Hitler could attack Russia he had to clean up the deteriorating situation in the Balkans. He rescued the Italian Army which was being beaten up by Greeks, he dragooned the Bulgarians into the Tripartite Alliance with Germany and Italy, and he thought he had browbeaten the Yugoslav government into same fate, but the Yugoslavs were made of sterner stuff. A popular uprising in March overthrew the Yugoslav regime and let it be known that that little country would not be a puppet of Berlin. Hitler absolutely hit the ceiling, launching into a wild rage, and ordered his generals to level Belgrade with bombing and crush the Yugoslavs.

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Barbarossa I

Lead: In June 1941 Adolf Hitler launched what would become his greatest blunder. Like Napoleon before him, he attacked Russia and endured the same crushing, disastrous defeat.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The thieves had already begun to fall out. Hitler and Stalin were quite willing to carve up defenseless Poland in 1939, but with the collapse of France in the West, Hitler began cast his eyes to the East seeking Lebensraum, literally “living space,” a vital part of Nazi doctrine asserting that Germany had as its right possession of the land of those considered racially impure, mostly in the East. This brought Russia and Germany, the two great European military, political, and social superpowers, into fatal conflict.

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Spy Satellites

Lead: It was mid-August 1960. In a White House ceremony, President Dwight D. Eisenhower displayed a United States flag that been recovered from an environmental satellite orbiting the earth. He wasn’t exactly telling the whole truth.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Actually, the flag had been carried into orbit aboard Discoverer XIII and was returned to earth in an ejected capsule which was then recovered from its splash down point northwest of Hawaii by a Navy taskforce. It was the first time an object had been catapulted into earth orbit and brought back without mishap, but this exercise was far more than patriotic chauvinism. The Discoverer program was a ruse, a clever cover-up for a secret reconnaissance operation known as Corona.

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The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk – Part II

Lead:  When Lenin and the Bolsheviks took power in Russia in October, 1917, the most important task before them was to stop the war.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: World War I went badly for the Russians. Continued defeat and incompetence had brought down the Czarist regime and the provisional government that followed it. In their place were Lenin and the Bolsheviks. He knew if their regime was to survive, they had to have peace, no matter what it cost.

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Treaty of Brest-Litovsk – Part I

Lead:  After nearly four years of fighting Russia desperately needed peace - at any price.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By March, 1918, years of warfare had finally taken their toll on the Russian people. The war had gone badly, with German forces racking up one victory after another. There were two million Russian casualties in 1915 alone. Czar Nicholas II had proven to be a profoundly incompetent war leader, so anxious to maintain supreme royal power that he ignored the Duma, the elected legislature. In 1916, no longer willing to listen to the Duma's criticism, he adjourned it and went to the front. His wife, Czarina Alexandra, tried to rule in his absence, but she was equally incompetent and brought scandal to the government by her emotional dependence on the mystic priest Rasputin. His murder by three discontented aristocrats did little to improve the morale of the country and in March, 1917 severe food shortages brought an abrupt end to the famed Russian tolerance of misfortune. The nation snapped. Food riots led to revolution. When the soldiers sent to quell the riots joined in, the Duma declared a provisional government and three days later the Czar abdicated.

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