Joseph Stalin's war maps compete for attention in a new exhibit with Adolf Hitler's swastika-daubed globe, with the German words for "I am coming" inscribed over the Soviet Union.
The words "I will be there soon" march across the North American continent.Snatched from the rubble of Hitler's Berlin bunker as Soviet troops seized the city at the end of World War II, the globe has been held ever since by the Russian military archives in Moscow.
It is an arresting object in a new exhibit, "World War II Through Russian Eyes," opening Thursday for a monthlong run in the atrium of the new Reagan federal office building.
The privately organized exhibit draws its uniforms, weapons, film, photographs, posters, paintings and other artifacts and documents from the Russian archives.
Most of the items have never been seen in the West and many - including Hitler's globe - are said to have never been displayed anywhere.
From Hitler's bunker: the Nazi dictator's personal standard and flag, uniform jacket, walking stick and war maps.
From the Kremlin: the maps that Stalin used to follow the course of the war, as well as a collection of personal items he kept on top of his own desk.
"This is the opening up of the Russian military archives, an opportunity to see firsthand the impact of the war on the eastern front," exhibit organizer Mark Talisman said at a recent news conference. "We were able to have total access to all of these artifacts."
In a 50-seat theater, films shot by the Soviet signal corps show the devastating 900-day siege of Leningrad, the battle for Berlin and the celebration of the end of the war in Red Square.
Hitler's invasion is estimated to have cost 26 million Soviet lives, both military and civilian. Many Russians believe that the nation's wartime torment has never been fully appreciated in the West.
The exhibit is financed by Florida entrepreneur Kermit Weeks, an aerobatic pilot and collector of antique aircraft. He opened negotiations for the exhibition of Soviet military artifacts while traveling in Russia searching for historic aircraft.
Weeks declined to disclose the cost of the exhibition but Talisman said it was in the range of $500,000. Corporate sponsors are being sought, Talisman said.