Stalin said people should ' understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle'.
Vodka played a role, of course, but the worst of the behaviour was fuelled by sheer hatred and aggression, as well as a cold-hearted sense of deterrence for the future.
'It's absolutely clear that if we don't really scare them now, there will be no way of avoiding another war in future,' one Red Army soldier wrote at the time.
What do you think of this justification?
DO YOU THINK THE MASS RAPE OF GERMAN WOMEN IN 1945 WAS JUSTIFIED IN ANY WAY?
(Total votes cast: 428)
Yes: 51 (11%)
Somewhat: 29 (6%)
No: 365 (82%)