World War: EASTERN THEATER: Decision in a Week?

After seven days of fighting, the German High Command was convinced its armies had defeated Russia's. The German High Command has, to most of the world's misfortune, not yet been wrong.

The first seven days were days of mystery. Citizens of the outside world could only ponder the oddities of totalitarian propaganda; look at German pictures of happy byplay in captured villages; muse on Russian geography—Dvinsk here, Pinsk there, Minsk in between; and take their pick between diametric optimism.

"A heavy defeat was inflicted on the enemy," the Russian communique would say.

"Our...

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