Following in their footsteps

Neznámý autor, 1945, zdroj zde/ Unknown author, 1945, source here


  • What emotions are the people in the photo feeling?
  • Are you inclined to trust the soldier in the photo? Why or why not?
  • What purpose could having photos like this in the media serve?


In this photo, we can see a Soviet soldier walking with a little Czech girl, who is dressed in her national costume and carrying a Czech flag. The two pose together, both grinning happily. Towards the end of World War II, the Allied powers, sensing their impending victory, began planning exactly how it would take place. The Soviet Union, wanting to keep the countries on their borders within their sphere of influence, made deals with the other Allied forces so that they could be the ones to liberate those countries. The strategy worked particularly well in the Czech lands, where the American army had advanced faster than the Soviets, which led to them having to wait around while the Soviet army worked their way to Prague. Parts of the Czech populace, unaware of the dealings between the United States and their Soviet allies, could not explain the American decision not to move forward after already having liberated part of the country. This helped Stalin gain the Czech following that he had wanted all along, and this loyalty would greatly help the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in their eventual rise to power. As opposed to the situations in Poland and Hungary, where the Communist Party needed substantial support from the Soviet Union in order to gain power, the Czechoslovak communists were able to step into power essentially on their own.