Stalin Planned to Destroy Moscow Ahead of Nazis

Bombs, booby traps set in 1,200 buildings
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2008 4:40 PM CST
Members of modern Young Pioneers, the successor of the similar Communist league for pre-teens in the Soviet Union, salute to the monument of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin at his grave as their elder...   (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
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(Newser) – Stalin would have all but destroyed Moscow if the Nazis had taken the city, the Telegraph reports. Secret 1941 documents now on display detail the rigging of 1,200 buildings with explosives so that the Germans—only 19 miles from the city at the time—would conquer little more than smoldering wreckage. The Bolshoi Theater and St. Basil’s Cathedral were among the booby-trapped buildings.

Besides historic monuments, water, telephone, and power utilities also were designated for destruction. The plan also armed ballerinas and circus performers with grenades and pistols, instructing them to murder German leaders if they took power and attempted to organize cultural activities. Composer Lev Knipper was personally given the order to kill Hitler if he got the chance.