In the memoirs of veterans, as well as in photos and video chronicles of the Second World War, one can come across images of dozens and hundreds of rifles stuck with a bayonet into the ground. This makes an ambiguous and almost surreal impression on a modern person, especially if he does not know who and why did it. Well, let's try to open the veil of secrecy over a strange phenomenon.
"Bayonet into the ground" - this was the name of the German propaganda leaflets, which at the first stage of the war were scattered by the Wehrmacht propaganda detachments over the Soviet positions. The leaflets contained texts in Russian with propaganda material. He could be the most diverse. As a rule, German agitation boiled down to several main directions: the war for the USSR is going badly and will end soon, the children of the political leadership have already surrendered and curse their own fathers, you need to go over to the side of the Reich in order to fight the oppression of the Bolsheviks. In addition, the SHVZ leaflets could contain "classic" motives of anti-Bolshevik German propaganda in the spirit of the Bolsheviks drinking blood from the peoples of the Soviet Union.
In addition, the leaflets often contained copies of passes that allegedly allowed the person who provided the pass to surrender freely to the Wehrmacht or SS soldiers. Of course, the only real purpose of these "passes" was all the same agitation and propaganda. In the same SHVZ it was often written that the Red Army soldiers could boldly surrender to the very first soldier of the Reich by raising their hands, shouting "Stalin is kaput!" or by sticking your rifle into the ground with a bayonet.
In the first months of the war, many units of the Red Army were surrounded. A huge number of people eventually surrendered, deciding that the Germans would deal with them, as it should be with prisoners of war. This was a mistake. The overwhelming majority of those who surrendered were later destroyed in concentration camps, many Red Army soldiers were killed by Wehrmacht and SS soldiers at the stage. A huge number of prisoners were starved to death or died of disease in the camps for "temporary" detention.
The more decisively the Wehrmacht attacked in 1941-1942, the more actively the Germans were engaged in agitation and propaganda. The Soviet Union, in turn, conducted counter-propaganda, and the commanders of military units and the NKVD were authorized to suppress and, if necessary, punish the Red Army for collecting SHVZ leaflets, which were scattered from aircraft or thrown into positions with the help of special artillery shells. However, the German agitation had a rather weak effect on the units of the Red Army, with the exception of those cases when the units fell into a stalemate. More often than not, people were motivated to surrender, not by hatred of the regime (which the German agitation was primarily counting on and in which it was mistaken from the very beginning), but the quite understandable fear of death and the hope of salvation.
As for the photographs with rifles stuck with bayonets in the ground, they can be both authentic and staged. The surrendering Red Army soldiers could indeed follow the instructions of German agitation. At the same time, it is impossible to deny the possibility that the Reich propaganda detachments, after the defeat of the Red Army units, took staged photographs, independently sticking the rifles of the killed soldiers into the ground. Such pictures were later used for propaganda aimed at both the inhabitants of the USSR and their own compatriots, who should have continuously demonstrated their success in the war.
If you want to know even more interesting things, then you should read about why the Mauser K96 pistol is called "sniper", and whether he could land a target 1 km away.