, In mid-June 1940, when international attention was focused on the German invasion of France, Soviet NKVD troops raided border posts in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. • Hong Kong Its prospects looked bright when Bock’s armies brought off a great encirclement around Vyazma, where 600,000 more Soviet troops were captured.  In the first two months following the order, over 1,000 troops were shot by blocking units and blocking units sent over 130,000 troops to penal battalions. On repatriation of Soviet citizens.  The order called for soldiers found guilty of disciplinary measures to be forced into "penal battalions", which were sent to the most dangerous sections of the front lines. These gigantic encirclements were partly the fault of inept Soviet high commanders and partly the fault of Stalin, who as commander in chief stubbornly overrode the advice of his generals and ordered his armies to stand and fight instead of allowing them to retreat eastward and regroup in preparation for a counteroffensive. Nevertheless, having dismissed Brauchitsch and appointed himself army commander in chief in December, Hitler persisted in overruling the tentative opposition of the general staff to his strategy.  At the same time, in a meeting in Moscow, Churchill privately told Stalin that the British and Americans were not yet prepared to make an amphibious landing against a fortified Nazi-held French coast in 1942, and would direct their efforts to invading German-held North Africa. World War II - World War II - Invasion of the Soviet Union, 1941: For the campaign against the Soviet Union, the Germans allotted almost 150 divisions containing a total of about 3,000,000 men. The result was similar when Guderian’s tanks, having crossed the Dnieper River on July 10, entered Smolensk six days later and converged with Hoth’s thrust through Vitebsk: 200,000 Soviet prisoners were taken; but some Soviet forces were withdrawn from the trap to the line of the Desna, and a large pocket of resistance lay behind the German armour. He changed his primary goal from an immediate victory in the East, to the more long-term goal of securing the southern Soviet Union to protect oil fields vital to the long-term German war effort.  The most notable example of this was the Battle of Kiev, where over 600,000 Soviet troops were quickly killed, captured or missing.. Factory employees were still driven to desperation on occasion and people resorted to eating glue or horses in factories where food was scarce, but factory employment was the most consistently successful method of survival, and at some food production plants not a single person died. U.S.-Soviet Alliance, 1941–1945 Although relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had been strained in the years before World War II, the U.S.-Soviet alliance of 1941–1945 was marked by a great degree of cooperation and was essential to securing the defeat of Nazi Germany. Religion, which was previously shunned, became a part of Communist Party propaganda campaign in the Soviet society in order to mobilize the religious elements. • Czechoslovakia Stalin met with Churchill and Roosevelt in Tehran Conference and began to discuss a two-front war against Germany and future of Europe after the war.  Accordingly, while almost all of the original 5 million men of the Soviet army had been wiped out by the end of 1941, the Soviet military had swelled to 8 million members by the end of that year. • Atomic bombings  Despite the Soviets' possession of Hitler's remains, Stalin did not believe that his old nemesis was actually dead, a belief that remained for years after the war. "The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of World War II".  Elections for parliament and other offices were held with single candidates listed, the official results of which showed pro-Soviet candidates approval by 92.8 percent of the voters of Estonia, 97.6 percent of the voters in Latvia and 99.2 percent of the voters in Lithuania. The Germans also began to be hampered by the scorched earth policy adopted by the retreating Soviets. Over the next four years, the Soviet Union repulsed German offensives, such as at the Battle of Stalingrad and Battle of Kursk, and pressed forward to victory in large Soviet offensives such as the Vistula-Oder Offensive. The Soviet Union in World War II is the story of several wars. Germany began World War II with a Non-Aggression Pact with the USSR, after signing of which it quickly invaded Poland on 1 September 1939.  In his 1944 May Day speech, Stalin praised the Western allies for diverting German resources in the Italian Campaign, Tass published detailed lists of the large numbers of supplies coming from Western allies, and Stalin made a speech in November 1944 stating that Allied efforts in the West had already quickly drawn 75 German divisions to defend that region, without which, the Red Army could not yet have driven the Wehrmacht from Soviet territories. 1944-1951 годы // История СССР.  Although the Soviets suffered in excess of 1.1 million casualties at Stalingrad, their victory over German forces, including the encirclement of 290,000 Axis troops, marked a turning point in the war. "The Icebreaker Controversy: Did Stalin Plan to Attack Hitler?". He also appealed to the Russian Orthodox church and images of national Russian people. • Berlin Teddy J. Uldricks. On July 12, 1942, World War II was raging in the Soviet Union.  Accounts by Nikita Khrushchev and Anastas Mikoyan claim that, after the invasion, Stalin retreated to his dacha in despair for several days and did not participate in leadership decisions.  Stalin insisted that, after the war, the Soviet Union should incorporate the portions of Poland it occupied pursuant to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Germany, which Churchill tabled. As the German drive against Moscow slackened, the Soviet commander on the Moscow front, General Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, on December 6 inaugurated the first great counteroffensive with strokes against Bock’s right in the Elets (Yelets) and Tula sectors south of Moscow and against his centre in the Klin and Kalinin sectors to the northwest. • Syria and Lebanon  Shortly thereafter, Hitler issued a secret internal directive related to his plan to invade the Soviet Union. 272848. More managed to escape the city; this was most successful when Lake Ladoga froze over and people could walk over the ice road—or “road of life”—to safety. On August 25, 1941, British and Soviet forces jointly invaded Iran, to forestall the establishment of a German base there and to divide the country into spheres of occupation for the duration of the war; and late in September—at a conference in Moscow—Soviet, British, and U.S. representatives formulated the monthly quantities of supplies, including aircraft, tanks, and raw materials, that Great Britain and the United States should try to furnish to the Soviet Union. The German attack on the Soviet Union was to have an immediate and highly salutary effect on Great Britain’s situation. " In the margin, Stalin wrote to the people's commissar for state security, "you can send your 'source' from the headquarters of German aviation to his mother.  Despite having some effect initially, this measure proved to have a deteriorating effect on the troops' morale, so by October 1942 the idea of regular blocking units was quietly dropped By 20 November 1944 the blocking units were disbanded officially. Richard Bidlack; Nikita Lomagin (26 June 2012). • Morgenthau Plan By mid-July, moreover, a series of rainstorms were turning the sandy Russian roads into clogging mud, over which the wheeled vehicles of the German transport behind the tanks could make only very slow progress.  On April 30, Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide, after which Soviet forces found their remains, which had been burned at Hitler's directive. ". A Soviet counteroffensive recaptured Rostov on November 28, and Rundstedt was relieved of his command four days later. • Military equipment  Stalin and Roosevelt, in effect, ganged up on Churchill by emphasizing the importance of a cross-channel invasion of German-held northern France, while Churchill had always felt that Germany was more vulnerable in the "soft underbelly" of Italy (which the Allies had already invaded) and the Balkans. Byelorussia (also known as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic), known today as Belarus, was a republic of the Soviet Union when World War II began. "Pariahs, Partners, Predators: German-Soviet Relations, 1922-1941". From generals downward, the invaders were filled with ghastly thoughts of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. • West Hunan They weren't on a side until the Germans invaded their country. Further information War crimes of the Wehrmacht Clean Wehrmacht Generalplan Ost German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war Fending off the German invasion and pressing to victory in the East required a tremendous sacrifice by the Soviet Union, which suffered the highest military casualties in the war, losing approximately 20 million men.  By April 24, Berlin was encircled by elements of two Soviet fronts, one of which had begun a massive shelling of the city on April 20 that would not end until the city's surrender. "What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa". World War II was especially devastating to citizens of the USSR because it was fought on Soviet territory and caused massive destruction. • Bagration Some of the German generals wanted to break off the offensive and to take up a suitable winter line. As that also accorded with Hitler’s desire, he made no objection. Winter was approaching, and Hitler stopped Leeb’s northward drive on the outskirts of Leningrad.  This, along with abuse by German troops, caused starvation and suffering among the civilian population that were left behind. Nevertheless, Stalin used the early years of the war to make territorial gains for himself.  General Fedor von Boch's diary says that the Abwehr fully expected a Soviet attack against German forces in Poland no later than 1942. • Kuril Islands ISBN. "The Myth of Munich". World War II in the Soviet Union. According to recent figures, of an estimated four million POWs taken by the Russians, including Germans, Japanese, Hungarians, Romanians and others, some 580,000 never returned, presumably victims of privation or the Gulags, compared with 3.5 million Soviet POW that died in German camps out of the 5.6 million taken.  But, some documentary evidence of orders given by Stalin contradicts these accounts, leading historians such as Roberts to speculate that Khrushchev's account is inaccurate. Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; U.S.S.R.), former northern Eurasian empire (1917/22–1991) stretching from the Baltic and Black seas to the Pacific Ocean and, in its final years, consisting of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics. 227, directing that any commander or commissar of a regiment, battalion or army, who allowed retreat without permission from his superiors was subject to military tribunal. , In 1943, Stalin ceded to his generals' call for the Soviet Union to take a defensive stance because of disappointing losses after Stalingrad, a lack of reserves for offensive measures and a prediction that the German's would likely next attack a bulge in the Soviet front at Kursk such that defensive preparations there would more efficiently use resources. Following political instability built-up in Europe from 1930, Germany, which aimed to dominate Europe, attacked Poland on 1 September 1939, marking the start of World War II. • Soviet occupations  At Stalin's direction, Molotov insisted on Soviet interest in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Greece, though Stalin had earlier unsuccessfully personally lobbied Turkish leaders to not sign a mutual assistance pact with Britain and France.  The second provision of the order directed all units fighting in encirclements to use every possibility to fight. The Anglo-Soviet agreement of July 12, 1941, pledged the signatory powers to assist one another and to abstain from making any separate peace with Germany.  Despite substantial losses in 1942 far in excess of German losses, Red Army size grew even further, to 11 million. On September 8, 1943, Metropolitan Sergius was elected Patriarch. He may have wanted to motivate the majority of the population who had Christian beliefs. • Military production Routledge. , Stalin personally told a Polish general requesting information about missing officers that all of the Poles were freed, and that not all could be accounted because the Soviets "lost track" of them in Manchuria. Until then Britain’s prospects had appeared hopeless in the eyes of most people except the British themselves; and the government’s decision to continue the struggle after the fall of France and to reject Hitler’s peace offers could spell only slow suicide unless relief came from either the United States or the U.S.S.R. Hitler brought Great Britain relief by turning eastward and invading the Soviet Union just as the strain on Britain was becoming severe. Kleist was then ordered to wheel northward from the Ukraine, Guderian southward from Smolensk, for a pincer movement around the Soviet forces behind Kiev; and by the end of September the claws of the encircling movement had caught 520,000 men.  From 1942 to 1945, 427,910 soldiers were assigned to penal battalions. One immediate handicap was that the strength of the Luftwaffe was drained in the prolonged effort to maintain supplies by air, under winter conditions, to the garrisons of these more or less isolated bastion towns. ISBN, Nekrich, Aleksandr Moiseevich; Ulam, Adam Bruno; Freeze, Gregory L. (1997). Many factory workers were teenagers, women and old people. The critical situation on the Eastern Front did not deter Hitler from declaring Germany to be at war with the United States on December 11, 1941, after the Japanese attack on the U.S., British, and Dutch positions in the Pacific and in the Far East (see below Japanese policy, 1939–41), since this extension of hostilities did not immediately commit the German land forces to any new theatre but at the same time had the merit of entitling the German Navy to intensify the war at sea.  Following the invasion of these Balkan countries, Stalin and Churchill met in the fall of 1944, where they agreed upon various percentages for "spheres of influence" in several Balkan states, though the diplomats for neither leader knew what the term actually meant. Priests must be brought back from imprisonment, Leningrad must not be surrendered, but the sacred icon of Our Lady of Kazan should be carried around the city boundary, taken on to Moscow, where a service should be held, and thence to Stalingrad Tsaritsyn.". Ethnic minorities thought to be collaborators were forced into exile. , In 1944, the Soviet Union made significant advances across Eastern Europe toward Germany, including Operation Bagration, a massive offensive in Belorussia against the German Army Group Centre. Soviet Information Bureau (1948).  After Polish railroad workers found the mass grave, the Nazis used the massacre to attempt to drive a wedge between Stalin and the other Allies, including bringing in a European commission of investigators from twelve countries to examine the graves. Nevertheless, they paid a heavy price indirectly for that rigid defense. 2 VA lost 515 aircraft missing or due to unknown/unrecorded reasons, a further 41 in aerial combat and a further 31 to AAA fire, between 5–18 July 1943. That left the Germans momentarily with an almost clear path to Moscow. , A pattern soon emerged where Stalin embraced the Red Army's strategy of conducting multiple offensives, while the Germans overran each of the resulting small, newly gained grounds, dealing the Soviets severe casualties. " Although Stalin increased Soviet western border forces to 2.7 million men and ordered them to expect a possible German invasion, he did not order a full-scale mobilization of forces to prepare for an attack.  The Soviets did not admit responsibility until 1990.  By December, Hitler's troops had advanced to within 25 km of the Kremlin in Moscow. "The Origins of the Second World War, 1933-41". • Crossbow  In the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, when members of the SED reported to Stalin that looting and rapes by Soviet soldiers could result in negative consequences for the future of socialism in post-war East Germany, Stalin reacted angrily: "I shall not tolerate anybody dragging the honour of the Red Army through the mud.  After disagreement regarding Stalin's demand to move Red Army troops through Poland and Romania (which Poland and Romania opposed), on August 21, the Soviets proposed adjournment of military talks using the excuse that the absence of the senior Soviet personnel at the talks interfered with the autumn manoeuvres of the Soviet forces, though the primary reason was the progress being made in the Soviet-German negotiations. He ordered Rundstedt and Kleist, however, to press on from the Dnieper toward the Don and the Caucasus; and Bock was to resume the advance on Moscow. , The Pact was reached two days after the breakdown of Soviet military talks with British and French representatives in August 1939 over a potential Franco-Anglo-Soviet alliance. Levies of Siberian troops, who were extremely effective fighters in cold weather, were used for these offensives. H… Furthermore, another 1,104 Soviet aircraft were lost between 12 July and 18 August. • Ichi-Go , In early 1942, the Soviets began a series of offensives labeled "Stalin's First Strategic Offensives", although there is no evidence that Stalin developed the offensives. , During the early morning of June 22, 1941, Hitler broke the pact by starting Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Soviet-held territories and the Soviet Union that began the war on the Eastern Front.  In their southern campaigns, the Germans took 625,000 Red Army prisoners in July and August 1942 alone. The Soviet Union later invaded Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and part of Romania, along with an attempted invasion of Finland. • Market Garden Ellmana, Michael, and S. Maksudovb. The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). Soviet military casualties totaled approximately 35 million (official figures 28.2 million) with approximately 14.7 million killed, missing or captured (official figures 11.285 million). They responded by murdering around one hundred thousand political prisoners throughout the western parts of the Soviet Union, with methods that included bayoneting people to death and tossing grenades into crowded cells. From. An example of it is the summer offensive of 1942, which led to even more losses by the Red Army and recapture of initiative by the Germans.  Stalin felt that a mobilization might provoke Hitler to prematurely begin to wage war against the Soviet Union, which Stalin wanted to delay until 1942 in order to strengthen Soviet forces.. Nevertheless, by mid-July the Germans had advanced more than 400 miles and were only 200 miles from Moscow. It reports a further 108 missing on operations and four lost on the ground. 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. • Leningrad Marshall Cavendish, 1985, "CHRONOLOGY 1990; The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. By changing the official policy of the party and the state towards religion, he could engage the Church and its clergy in mobilizing the war effort. 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