It gives you a lot of time to build up to the point where you feel comfortable attacking them and/or the allies begin an assault. The Soviet state was transformed in the process into a superpower, and Communism, close to extinction in the autumn of 1941, came to dominate the whole Eurasian area, from East Germany to North Korea. Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today. By the end of this invasion, he seemed discontent with what he had achieved. It also resulted in rolling series of purges in which Stalin killed or imprisoned any Soviet citizens or officials that he perceived as rivals or as potentially disloyal. The Nazi government aimed at repopulating these lands with Germanic colonists during World War II and thereafter, establishing the Greater Germanic Reich. Around 3:15 on the morning of June 22, 1941, Germany launched a sneak attack, bombing Russian positions and cities, and crossing into Soviet-occupied Poland. In the same year, Soviet coal output was 75 million tons, while German output was 317 million. In fact, it changed on the Eastern Front, in 1943, where 8 in 10 German soldiers who died during World War II met their end, and where the German army was finally turned, forced into a nearly two-year stuttering retreat back to Berlin. Among the diploma-decorated dick-heads of western "academia," the "consensus" is that it was the Soviet Union which defeated Germany in World War II -- with the contributions of the United States and the United Kingdom being minimal. The nature of the dictatorships determined the savage character of the eastern conflict. From the Soviet perspective, two invasions by Germany (World War I and World War II) and the loss of almost 30 million people during the Great Patriotic War was all that a nation could be expected to bear. Lend-Lease aid did not “save” the Soviet Union from defeat during the Battle of Moscow. US and Russian troops meet at the river Elbe on the 25th April 1945. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. The chief explanation lies not in resources, which Germany was more generously supplied with than the Soviet Union, during the two central years of the war before American and British economic power was fully exerted. your question should be how did the western allies help the soviet union defeat Germany. The German-Soviet Pact enabled Germany to attack Poland on September 1, 1939, without fear of Soviet intervention. “If they want a war of extermination they shall have it,” Stalin proclaimed from Red Square. A Soviet war correspondent gave his own vivid account from the front lines of Berlin: The garrison of troops defending Berlin consisted of several depleted and disorganized Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS divisions, along with poorly trained Volkssturm and Hitler Youth members. © In addition to weakness the Soviet's showed in Finland, Germany had also been alarmed by the Soviet Union's seizure of part of Romania. ... After World War II, why did the Soviet Union favor a divided Germany? Most civilians were left to make their own way east, with only industry-related workers evacuated with the equipment; some female 8,000 workers, evacuated east along with the equipment in order to operate the factories, lived nearby in holes carved out of the earth. On December 25, 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The plans of both the British and US ruling circles were fundamentally flawed. What country could be considered the MVP in the war to defeat Nazi Germany? Unlike in the West, Soviet war planners saw nuclear weapons as only the start of a conflict, not its end. Let’s lay out a brief account of the Russian war against Hitler’s Germany, its place in Russian national identity, and then dig into the question of why this story isn’t better known in the United States. It started with Russia totally disadvantaged, but the turn-around was awesome, as Stalin's war machine revved into action. Oleg Budnitskii, historian at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told a BBC Radio program that Red Army soldiers were astounded when they reached Germany. The so-called 'barbarisation of warfare' has a number of explanations. The Soviet Union had made an alliance with Germany and had even worked together with them to defeat Poland. Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today. ), A woman proudly displays photos of relatives who served in the war – in Putin’s Russia, the memory of the Great Patriotic War has been revived and reinvigorated, a king of 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Veteran’s Day rolled into one. Find out how . The German invasion of the Soviet Union contributed significantly to the Nazi's ultimate defeat as the front consumed vast amounts of manpower and material. An interview in which a Soviet commander admitted how close Moscow came to defeat by Germany … At the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Kursk, in particular, the Soviets managed to turn the tide of the war. April also witnessed the capture of at least 120,000 German troops by the Western Allies in the last campaign of the war in Italy. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of the European portion of World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany. By 1945 over half the workforce was female, and on the land, more than four-fifths. The attack came as a complete surprise to the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. Let’s do the numbers. After all, if the Soviets represented the ultimate “Evil Empire” in the words of US president Ronald Reagan, then how could they have played such an indispensable role in winning World War II – the Good War, to preserve democracy, as the Americans told it? O ne of the classic “what ifs” of the Second World War centers on how—or if—the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, code-named Operation Barbarossa, could have achieved a quick victory. Stalin’s central tenet, “Socialism in one country,” meant that the USSR was not focused on spreading communism internationally, but instead on strengthening it in the one country where it already existed – his own. The distance insulated Soviet industry, and despite the catastrophic loss of life, ensured that the Russian military would be well-supplied even as German factories were devastated by American and British aerial bombing. Soviet commander admits USSR came close to defeat by Nazis. The Red Army had sufficient reserves to stop the German army from completing the rout in December 1941, but the following summer German offensives launched far to the south of Moscow, to seize the rich oilfields of the Caucasus and to cut the Volga shipping route, created further chaos. The invasion opened up the Eastern Front of World War II, the largest theater of war during that conflict, and it witnessed titanic clashes of unprecedented violence and destruction for four years that resulted in the deaths of nearly 27 million Soviet people. Per treaty, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin followed suit, moving into eastern Poland soon after. In conditions of extreme temperatures, down to −30 °C (−22 °F), and city transport being out of service, even a distance of a few kilometers to a food distributing kiosk created an insurmountable obstacle for many citizens. Still, the initial improving relations with Germany meant that the Soviet Union could expand its territory in Eastern Europe unmolested into the Baltic States. Stalin’s third peace offer in May 1943 was a proposed ceasefire along the Soviet Union’s 1938 borders which would have effectively reversed the Hitler-Stalin Pact, while leaving the Germans in control of the Baltic states, eastern Finland, the eastern half of Poland and northeastern Romania all of which had been annexed by the Soviets from 1939–1940. But not until the Red Army had decisively defeated German forces in the more favourable summer weather of 1943 did the tide really turn. The date of 22 June was late for starting a campaign over such a vast area, but German commanders were confident that the Soviet armed forces were primitive, and that the Soviet people were waiting for liberation. The enormous scale of this particularly ferocious war is hard to comprehend. Germany was concerned that Stalin would target the oil fields in Romania. Soviet Union invades Poland. Hitler gave similar orders to his army, firing several generals in part because they counseled him otherwise. 70% of the german army was committed to the war in the East. Certainly, battles in which the armed forces of United States played a direct role capture the imagination of Americans in an immediate, more personal way. The USSR nevertheless out-produced Germany in the quantity (though seldom in the quality) of most major weapons, from this much smaller industrial base. Founded in 2006, Historum is a history forum dedicated to history discussions and historical events. Why are these events underplayed in Hollywood films and in your history textbook in favor of events like D-Day and Iwo Jima? By 1939 the city was responsible for 11% of all Soviet industrial output. The air force was subjected to effective central control and improved communications, so that it could support the Soviet army in the same way as the Luftwaffe backed up German forces. To carry out that order, destruction battalions were formed with the authority to summarily execute any suspicious person, including thousands of anti-Soviet prisoners who might otherwise collaborate with the occupying German army. The Soviet Union survived only by mobilizing two-thirds of its women to run the factories and farms, and by modernizing its armed forces so that it did not have to rely any longer on raw numbers of men, but could rely, like the American army, on mass-produced weapons… The evacuation saved the Soviet war effort […] from certain disaster.”. But others did so from a genuine patriotism or a hatred of German fascism. Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. On May 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin will play host to one of Moscow's largest ever military parades to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany… Camouflage, surprise and misinformation were brilliantly exploited to keep the German army in the dark about major Soviet intentions. Economic destruction and human losses in Leningrad on both sides exceeded those of the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Moscow, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 2017, over 800,000 Russians and foreign attendees marched through central Moscow in commemoration of those who perished and those who survived World War II. However, Germany and the Soviet Union's agreement was not sustainable and ultimately set the stage for the Eastern Front of World War II. Last updated 2011-02-17. For Stalin, this, in part, meant a weak, de-industrialized Germany. Marchers typically carry photos of those who served in the Great Patriotic War against Germany, sing patriotic songs, and pass through Red Square in an emotional display. This kept the Japanese from invading the Soviet Union when Hitler invaded in 41 and … It is likely that the strategists in Washington were thinking on more or less similar lines.The conflicts between Churchill and Roosevelt on the question of D-day were of a political and not a military character. This war was supposed to be over in a matter of months, but it lasted for four years, and grew into the largest and most costly conflict in all history. What country could be considered the MVP in the war to defeat Nazi Germany? The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was founded in November 1917 by the Bolshevik Party. Germany did not prepare for a long war. Which nation emerged as one economic superpower after World War II? Disinfectant trucks sprayed the streets in their wake, a propaganda message to the Russian people – the Germans seek to destroy you, but it is they who are the filthy vermin. But the speed at which Britain in particular was willing and able to provide aid to the Soviet Union, and at which the Soviet Union was able to put foreign equipment into frontline use, is still an underappreciated part of this story. The Soviet will to win, which emerged painfully from the wreckage of Soviet fortunes before Stalingrad, was not a mere abstraction but a spur to efforts that both sides, Soviet and German, would have thought impossible a year before. It was a surprise attack that violated the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty signed in 1939 between Germany and the Soviet Union. Soviets would not have surrendered and Stalin was not hated in Soviet Union. Despite Soviet efforts to supply food and rebuild the city, starvation remained a problem. As a result of the pact, Germany and the Soviet Union maintained reasonably strong diplomatic relations for two years and fostered an important economic relationship. Home. But what do you think, what should the Germans have done differently, or what if say, the US would have stayed out? Led by Vladimir Lenin and, after 1923, by Josef Stalin, the Bolsheviks (later known as the Communists) established Communist rule in the former Russian Empire after the conclusion of a bitter civil war in 1921.The Soviet Union, as the new political entity was known, called for world Communist revolution in the name of the inte… As the Red Army withdrew, the Soviet Stavka (high command) turned its attention to evacuating as much of the western regions’ iron, steel, and arms industry as it could. Lend-Lease aid did not “save” the Soviet Union from defeat during the Battle of Moscow. Stalin relaxed the repression of the Church so that it could be used to mobilise enthusiasm, while propaganda played on the theme of past Russian glories against European invaders, rather than on Communist successes. In 1942 the remaining Jewish population was rounded up and killed on the spot or sent to extermination camps. Stalin’s effort to strengthen the USSR manifested itself as a series of nationwide centralized Five-Year Economic Plans from 1929 onward. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! But after that, Germany turned against the Soviet Union and invaded it in 1941. The roots of the war lie in the appointment of Adolf Hitler as German chancellor in 1933. The cost to the Soviet Union was an estimated 27 million dead. He killed Jews all over Europe regardless … Hitler hoped that German forces would capture the oil and sweep on through the Middle East to meet up with Axis forces in Egypt. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. The Soviet Union's Insane Plan to Crush NATO in Battle. Germany proved unable to defeat the Soviet Union, which together with Great Britain and the United States, seized the initiative from Germany. ... had eliminated any hope Poland had of a Russian ally in a war against Germany. The destruction battalions also burned down villages, schools, public buildings, and any other materials that might be useful to the enemy. Up to one million German soldiers and their allies pushed into the western Soviet Union on the first day of the German invasion. The key, decisive moments came during the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Kursk, two monstrously large battles involving thousands of tanks and millions of men – two of the largest battles ever fought in all of history. For the early part … Soviet propaganda also tried hard to influence German soldiers. The war between Germany and the Soviet Union officially began in late June 1941, although the threat of conflict had loomed since the early 1930s. German dreams of capturing Moscow and ending the War in the East had evaporated. After that, with Germany seriously weakened by its brutal clash with the Soviet Union in the East, U.S. economic strength propelled the Allies to victory. Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union also signed a ten-year nonaggression pact on August 23, 1939, in which each signatory promised not to attack the other. I don’t know if it works after all the recent updates, but my little Soviet Union trick was always to rush a justification on Poland, sweep through them and annex them. Not even in USA was he hated. Deaths peaked in January–February 1942 at 100,000 per month, mostly from starvation. And when they came to Europe they saw something very different from Stalinist Russia… especially Germany. The war began with Hitler’s attack on Poland in September 1939 and was followed by the stunning German defeat of France in summer 1940. The US did most of the work of defeating Imperial Japan, though. Among these were 19 panzer divisions, and in total the “Barbarossa” force had about 3,000 tanks, 7,000 artillery pieces, and 2,500 aircraft. © Related Topics. In order to secure raw materials, transit rights for German troops, and troop contributions for the invasion from sympathetic powers, Germany began to cajole and pressure the southeast European states to join the Axis. Damage to both the economy and landscape was enormous for the Soviet Union as approximately 1,700 towns and 70,000 villages were razed to the ground. “Our task now will be destroy every German, to the very last man. When Hitler invaded the USSR in 1941, the British ruling class calculated that the Soviet Union would be defeated by Germany, but that in the process Germany would be so enfeebled that it would be possible to step in and kill two birds with one stone. German–Soviet Union relations date to the aftermath of the First World War.The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, dictated by Germany ended hostilities between Russia and Germany; it was signed on March 3, 1918. From this perspective, America’s secretive development and use of the atomic bomb, its aggressive implementation of economic aid through the Marshall Plan and under the Truman Doctrine; its attempts to reunify the German sectors so soon after the end of the war; its persistence in the Berlin Airlift; its formation of the NATO alliance, its first such binding military alliance outside of peace time in its entire history; its electoral manipulations in Korea; and its increased military spending as a result of 1950’s NSC-68 all sent a very clear message – America under the leadership of Harry Truman and successive US presidents was on the offensive, ready to expand its political and economic influence to the doorstep of the Soviet Union. History Themes. Not only did Stalin’s Soviet Union play the key role in crushing Nazi Germany, its huge sacrifices saved the lives of countless American, British and Canadian soldiers. The southern attack failed at Stalingrad. The original date, set for May 1941, had to be revised to complete the vast preparations for the attack - following other German attacks on Yugoslavia and Greece in April. The D-Day landing in France by American and British forces, which is often portrayed in the United States as a critically important military blow against Nazi Germany, was launched in June 1944 — that is, less than a year before the end of the war in Europe, and months after the great Soviet military victories at Stalingrad and Kursk, which were decisive in Germany’s defeat.”. form an alliance to defeat Hitler. Across the city over a million people were without homes. . All they knew about foreign countries was there was unemployment, starvation and exploitation. The First Victory Day Parade, Red Square, Moscow, 1945. If Hitler had defeated the Soviet Union, he would probably try to reach a peace deal with Britain and possibly then, and only then could he turn his attention to the USA. The Soviet Union paid the harshest price: though the numbers are not exact, an estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died during World War II, including as many as 11 million soldiers. The Soviet Union did not defeat Imperial Japan, that was mainly the work of the United States along with some minor aid from colonial allies as well as Chinese resistance. The Soviet state was transformed in the process into a … two invasions by Germany (World War I and World War II) and the loss of almost 30 million people during the, Great Patriotic War was all that a nation could be expected to bear. But the speed at which Britain in particular was willing and able to provide aid to the Soviet Union, and at which the Soviet Union was able to put foreign equipment into frontline use, is still an underappreciated part of this story. The agreement was a non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union that was intended to ensure that neither country attacked the other. Hitler wrote, “The Slavs are born as a slavish mass, crying out for their master.” He continued, “I need the Ukraine, in order that no one is able to starve us again, like in the last war.”, All of this meant that the war with the USSR, when it came, was bound to be brutal, aimed not just at territorial conquest, as in France or Belgium, but at full extermination of the Russian people. As a result of their tactical surprise, the German army ach… The Untold History of the United States by Peter Kuznick. Learn more about Operation Barbarossa in this article. For a lifetime's contribution to military history, Professor Overy was awarded the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize by the Society for Military History in 2001. The Volga was to be blocked at Stalingrad, after which German forces could wheel northwards to outflank Moscow and the Soviet line. The siege of Leningrad is the most lethal siege in world history, and some historians speak of the siege operations in terms of genocide, as a “racially-motivated starvation policy” – part of the German war of extermination against populations of the Soviet Union generally, in which the Luftwaffe was ordered to intentionally target civilian food supplies, power plants, and water treatment facilities. The city’s garrison surrendered on May 2, but fighting continued to the north-west, west, and south-west of the city until the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945 (May 9 in the Soviet Union) as some German units fought westward so that they could surrender to the Western Allies rather than to the Soviets, who might seek revenge for the atrocities and brutality of the Eastern Front. 1943 would vindicate one of these men. Above all, Soviet tactics in 1941-2 were extremely wasteful of manpower. Hitler compared this inevitable extermination to that carried out by the United States during the nineteenth century: “Our Mississippi must be the Volga…”, “Who,” asked Hitler, “remembers the Red Indians?”, Hitler wrote of the USSR, “It is inconceivable that a higher people should painfully exist on a soil too narrow for it, whilst amorphous masses, which contribute nothing to civilization, occupy infinite tracts of a soil that is one of the richest in the world.”. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Whatever the root cause, the United States commenced a fifty year Cold War with the Soviet Union, in which the US’s one-time ally against Nazi Germany became its primary global rival. It lies instead in the remarkable reform of the Red Army and the Russian air force, undertaken slowly in 1942. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. In early April, the first Allied-governed Rheinwiesenlagerswere established in western Germany to hold hun… The roots of the war lie in the appointment of Adolf Hitler as German chancellor in 1933. In the west we rightly celebrate the D-day landing but during that same month the Soviet offensive 'Bagration' destroyed German … The evidence makes clear the defensive posture of the Soviet Union in 1941. Every area of Soviet military life was examined and changes introduced. Before the battle was over, Hitler and several of his followers killed themselves. Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History by Orlando Figes. The war, when it came, would be a struggle for survival. The destruction of the Soviet Union by military force, the permanent elimination of the perceived Communist threat to Germany, and the seizure of prime land within Soviet borders for long-term German settlement had been core policy of the Nazi movement since the 1920s. Patriotic Banner featuring the Ribbon of St. George, Moscow Metro, Victory Day 2017. Not only did Stalin’s Soviet Union play the key role in crushing Nazi Germany, its huge sacrifices saved the lives of countless American, British and Canadian soldiers. Forums. Stalin wanted what any leader would want for his country – stability and security. There are a lot of complications such as Allied material support, key German military mistakes; even Soviet innovation. The Soviets also destroyed or evacuated most of their rolling stock (railroad cars), thus depriving the Germans of the use of the Soviet rail system, since Soviet railroad track was of a different gauge than German track and German rolling stock was consequently useless on it. Following the official parade comes the semi-official March of the Immortal Regiment. Battle of Stalingrad, 1942 Over the course of three long years, the Germans were forced to make a slow, bloody retreat back to their own country. Hitler's seized territory in 1939 from Poland and Czechoslovakia, neither of which were ruled by Communists. An interview in which a Soviet commander admitted how close Moscow came to defeat by Germany during the Second World War has been broadcast in Russia for the first time. The enemy will be beaten. If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material. Photo taken in Moscow on Victory Day, 2017. the soviets did not defeat germany! The tide of the war did not change on D-Day in 1944, the US-British assault on Germany from the West, which Stalin had urged for years. The Soviet Union was annoyed at what seemed to it to be a long delay by the allies in opening a “second front” of the Allied offensive against Germany. Allied forces begin to take large numbers of Axis prisoners: The total number of prisoners taken on the Western Front in April 1945 by the Western Allies was 1,500,000. The Soviet Union. They constantly harried German troops, and were themselves the victim of harsh punitive expeditions, which led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent villagers along with the partisan bands. But the full realization of Hitler’s highly-racialized Lebensraum policy did not end with Poland and would soon bring Germany into conflict with Stalin’s USSR. On May 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin will play host to one of Moscow's largest ever military parades to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany. Victory will be ours!”, Despite this rousing public face, historian Orlando Ferge writes that Stalin was badly shaken and that the Soviet Army was in poor condition to fight. In its scale of destruction, the war on the Eastern Front was unique; from Leningrad to the Crimea, from Kiev to Stalingrad, the Soviet Union was devastated - at least 25 million Soviet citizens died. (Red Square, Moscow, Russia, 2017. This resulted in the deaths of up to 1,500,000 soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, mainly women and children, many of whom died during evacuation due to starvation and bombardment. But he and his regime, were hated in the Soviet Union. However, the main reason is Stalin's willingness to make any sacrifice of his own people to achieve victory. In the three to four months up to the end of April, over 800,000 German soldiers surrendered on the Eastern Front. Many women joined the partisan movement operating behind the German lines - and by 1943 there were an estimated 300,000 of them. Over the course of the operation, about four million Axis personnel invaded the western Soviet Union along a 1,800 mile front, the largest invasion force in the history of warfare. By Professor Richard Overy It did not replace its losses in the 1941 campaign, nor in later years. After the German attack, Soviet steel production fell to eight million tons in 1942, while German production was 28 million tons. Combined, a majority of Russians blamed the high casualties on Nazi Germany invading the Soviet Union in a surprise attack after it had signed a nonaggression pact (36 percent) or on Germany… They did not have to fight a war of attrition involving millions of soldiers. This was arguably the USSR’s weakest hour, for her generals appeared to have learned little from 1941, and her newly raised legions were barely trained and woefully short of air support, artillery and modern armour. In the annual Immortal Regiment parade, over 500,000 Russians and foreign attendees march in commemoration of those who perished and those who survived World War II. Union favor a divided Germany could not understand why being so rich, Germans came to Russia. ” sight... Slowly in 1942 the remaining Jewish population was left behind to the original material BBC covering. 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