Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach
Walther Kurt von Seydlitz-Kurzbach was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Seydlitz-Kurzbach was relieved of his command in early 1943 and abandoned the German army lines under German fire to surrender to the Red Army. He became a Soviet collaborator while a prisoner of war, after the war he was convicted by the Soviet Union of war crimes. In 1996, he was pardoned by Russia. Seydlitz-Kurzbach was born in Hamburg, into the noble Prussian Seydlitz family, during World War I he served on both fronts as an officer. During the Weimar Republic, he remained an officer in the Reichswehr. The corps was subordinated to the Sixth Army during the Battle of Stalingrad, on 25 January 1943, he told his subordinate officers that they were free to decide for themselves on whether to surrender. Paulus immediately relieved him of command of his three divisions, a few days later, Seydlitz fled the German lines under fire from his own side with a group of other officers.
He was taken into Soviet custody, where he was interrogated by Captain Nikolay Dyatlenko and he was identified by the interrogations as a potential collaborator. In August 1943, he was taken two other Generals to a political re-education center at Lunovo. A month later, he was sent back to prisoner of war camps to recruit other German officers. He was a leader in the forming under Soviet supervision of an anti-Nazi organization and he was condemned by many of his fellow generals for his collaboration with the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to death in absentia by Hitlers government and his role in Soviet propaganda was largely equivalent to that of Andrey Vlasov in Nazi propaganda. In 1949 he was charged with war crimes and he was put on trial for responsibility for actions against Soviet POWs and the civilian population while in Wehrmacht service. In 1950, a Soviet tribunal sentenced him to 25 years’ imprisonment, but in 1955 he was released to West Germany, Seydlitz died on 28 April 1976 in Bremen.
On 23 April 1996 a posthumous pardon was issued by Russian authorities, Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves Knights Cross on 15 August 1940 as Generalmajor and commander of 12. Infanterie-Division Oak Leaves on 31 December 1941 as Generalmajor and commander of 12, infanterie-Division Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach in the German National Library catalogue
Operation Polyarnaya Zvezda
Operation Polyarnaya Zvezda was an operation conducted by the Soviet Leningrad and Northwestern Fronts in February and March 1943. The operation was planned by Georgy Zhukov in the wake of the successful Operation Iskra and envisaged two separate encirclements. One was to be carried out in the north by the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts near Mga and one was planned to be carried out further to the south, by the Northwestern Front, the operation succeeded in recapturing the Demyansk salient but failed to encircle the German forces. The northern part of the failed, without gaining much ground. With the battles in the south near Kharkov and, the Germans successful evacuation of the Demyansk salient before the battle shortened the frontline enough to build several new defensive lines, bringing the eventual Soviet offensive to a halt. Although Zhukov made several attempts to reinvigorate the offensive throughout March, the spring thaw marked the end major battles on the Eastern Front until the July.
The defences of Army Group North was broken in January 1944, the relative failure of the operation compared to successes at the Battle of Stalingrad or Operation Bagration resulted in silence on the topic after the war. Neither Zhukovs or Meretskovs memoirs make any mention of the operation or even of any fighting in the area after 18 January. Zhukovs memoirs include only a mention of the recapture of the Demyansk salient without any word on his role on the operation. Army Group North, despite holding the line, was not in a good position, with other endangered fronts a priority for the Heer and with the Continuation War ending hostilities north of Leningrad, Group North was increasingly isolated and stretched thin. The end of the blockade of Leningrad moreover, increased the armament strength of previously isolated Soviet forces, the army groups strength would continue to drop throughout 1943, while the opposing Soviet forces would grow in strength. The growing disparity in strength eventually allowed new offenses to break the German line in 1944, after Stalingrad, The Red Armys Winter Offensive 1942-1943. История ВОВ, которую мы не знали
The Continuation War consisted of hostilities between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944. The Continuation War began shortly after the end of the Winter War, in the Soviet Union, the war was considered part of the Great Patriotic War. Germany regarded its operations in the region as part of its war efforts on the Eastern Front. Acts of war between the Soviet Union and Finland recommenced on 22 June 1941, the day Germany launched its invasion of the Soviet Union, open warfare began with a Soviet air offensive on 25 June. Subsequent Finnish operations undid its post-Winter War concessions to the Soviet Union on the Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga Karelia, on the Karelian Isthmus, the Finns halted their offensive 30 km from Leningrad, at the pre-World War II border between the Soviet Union and Finland. Finnish forces did not participate in the siege of Leningrad directly, in 1944, Soviet air forces conducted air raids on Helsinki and other major Finnish cities. A ceasefire ended hostilities on 5 September and was followed by the Moscow Armistice on 19 September, the 1947 Paris peace treaty concluded the war formally.
Finland ceded Pechengsky District to the Soviets, leased Porkkala peninsula to them, shortly afterward, Germany invaded Poland and as a result the United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany. The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland on 17 September, Moscow demanded that the Baltic states allow the establishment of Soviet military bases and the stationing of troops on their soil. The Baltic governments accepted these ultimatums, signing corresponding agreements in September and October 1939, the Finnish government refused, and the Red Army attacked Finland on 30 November 1939. Condemnation of the Soviets by the League of Nations and by all over the world had no effect on Soviet policy. International help for Finland was planned, but very little actual help materialized, the Moscow Peace Treaty, which was signed on 12 March 1940, ended the Winter War. By the terms of the treaty, Finland lost one eleventh of its national territory, Finland had avoided having the Soviet Union annex the whole country.
Finlands foreign policy had been based on multilateral guarantees for support from the League of Nations, Finnish public opinion favored the reconquest of Finnish Karelia. Finlands government declared the countrys defense to be its first priority, Finland purchased and received donations of war material during and immediately after the Winter War. On Finlands southern frontier the Soviet Union had acquired a base in Hanko near the capital Helsinki. Finland had to resettle some 420,000 evacuees from the lost territories, to ensure the supply of food, it was necessary to clear new land for the evacuees to cultivate. This was facilitated by the Rapid Settlement Act, the Finnish leadership wanted to preserve the spirit of unanimity that was commonly felt throughout the country during the Winter War
Siege of Odessa (1941)
Odessa was a port on the Black Sea in the Ukrainian SSR. On 22 June 1941, the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union, in August, Odessa became a target of the Romanian 4th Army and elements of the German 11th Army. Romanian forces suffered 93,000 casualties, against Red Army casualties estimated to be between 41,000 and 60,000. On 27 July 1941, Hitler sent a letter to General Ion Antonescu in which he recognised the Romanian administration of the territory between the Dniester and the Bug rivers, the Romanian Third Army had already crossed the Dniester on 17 July. On 8 August, the Romanian General Staff issued the Operative Directive No.31 instructing the 4th Army to occupy Odessa off the march and it was thought that the city garrison, which was heavily outnumbered, would surrender quickly. Odessa was heavily fortified by three lines and, thanks to the presence of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, could not be completely surrounded. The first line was 80 km long and situated 25–30 km from the city, the second and main line of defense was situated 6–8 km from the city and was about 30 km long.
The third and last line of defense was organized inside the city itself, the Red Army had 34,500 men and 240 artillery pieces in the area. Air support was provided by the 69 IAP, two squadrons and one bomber squadron. Later, other fighters joined the defenders, as did an Il-2 squadron, the defense of Odessa lasted 73 days from 5 August to 16 October 1941. On 10 August, in the sector of the 3rd Corps, in the sector of the 5th Corps, the 1st Armored Division broke through Odessas first line of defense. That evening, the Romanian division reached the line of defense. The 1st Cavalry Brigade took Severinovka and joined the 1st Armored Division, at the same time, the 10th Dorobanţi Regiment overran the Soviet forces at Lozovaya. The 4th Army gradually closed the circle around Odessa, but the offensive was stopped by Antonescu on 13 August to strengthen the line west of the Hadjibey bank. The offensive resumed on 16 August, as Romanian troops attacked along the entire line, the Soviet forces put up a stubborn resistance, launching repeated counter-attacks and taking heavy casualties.
The Royal Romanian Air Force actively supported the troops, disrupting Soviet naval traffic to and from Odessa. In support of the offensive, the Romanian Navy dispatched motor torpedo boats to the recently occupied port of Ochakiv. During the night of 18 August, the torpedo boats NMS Viscolul and NMS Vijelia attacked a Soviet supply convoy South of Odessa
Case Blue, renamed Operation Braunschweig, was the German Armed Forces name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942. Initially, the offensive saw gains, with an advance into the Caucasus capturing large areas of land, the Red Army defeated the Germans at Stalingrad, following Operations Uranus and Little Saturn. This defeat forced the Axis to retreat from the Caucasus, only the city of Kursk and the Kuban region remained tentatively occupied by Axis troops. On 22 June 1941 the Wehrmacht had launched Operation Barbarossa with the intention of defeating the Soviets in a Blitzkrieg lasting only months, the Axis offensive had met with initial success and the Red Army had suffered some major defeats before halting the Axis units at Moscow. Although the Germans had captured vast areas of land and important industrial centers, in the winter of 1941–42 the Soviets struck back in a series of successful counteroffensives, pushing back the German threat to Moscow.
Despite these setbacks, Hitler wanted a solution, for which he required the oil resources of the Caucasus. By February 1942 the German Army High Command had begun to develop plans for a campaign to the aborted Barbarossa offensive – with the Caucasus as its principal objective. On 5 April 1942, Hitler laid out the elements of the now known as Case Blue in Führer Directive No.41. The main focus was to be at the capture of Caucasus region, the Caucasus, a large, culturally diverse region traversed by its eponymous mountains, is bounded by the Black Sea to the west and the Caspian Sea to the east. South of the lay the densely populated region of Transcaucasia, comprising Georgia, Azerbaijan. This heavily industrialized and densely populated area contained some of the largest oilfields in the world, the capital of Azerbaijan, was one of the richest, producing 80 percent of the Soviet Unions oil—about 24 million tons in 1942 alone. The Caucasus possessed plentiful coal and peat, as well as nonferrous, manganese deposits at Chiaturi, in Transcaucasia, formed the richest single source in the world, yielding 1.5 million tons of manganese ore annually, half of the Soviet Unions total production.
The Kuban region of the Caucasus produced large amounts of wheat, sunflower seeds and these resources were of immense importance to Hitler and the German war effort. Of the three tons of oil Germany consumed per year,85 percent was imported, mainly from the United States, Venezuela. An indication of German reliance on Romania is evident from its oil consumption, in 1938, in late 1941, the Romanians warned Hitler that their stocks were exhausted and they were unable to meet German demands. Whereas in 1941 most units fought on the central front supporting Army Group Centre,1,610 aircraft, initially commanded by Löhr, on 20 July 1942, Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen took command of Luftflotte 4. Blau II, Sixth Army, commanded by Friedrich Paulus, would attack from Kharkiv and move in parallel with Fourth Panzer Army, to reach the Volga at Stalingrad. Blau III, First Panzer Army would strike south towards the lower Don River, with Seventeenth Army on the western flank, the strategic objectives of the operation were the oilfields at Maykop and Baku
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a union of national republics, but its government. The Soviet Union had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917 and this established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic and started the Russian Civil War between the revolutionary Reds and the counter-revolutionary Whites. In 1922, the communists were victorious, forming the Soviet Union with the unification of the Russian, Ukrainian, following Lenins death in 1924, a collective leadership and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s. Stalin suppressed all opposition to his rule, committed the state ideology to Marxism–Leninism. As a result, the country underwent a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization which laid the foundation for its victory in World War II and postwar dominance of Eastern Europe. Shortly before World War II, Stalin signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, in June 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theater of war in history.
Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at battles such as Stalingrad. Soviet forces eventually captured Berlin in 1945, the territory overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Eastern Bloc. The Cold War emerged by 1947 as the Soviet bloc confronted the Western states that united in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. Following Stalins death in 1953, a period of political and economic liberalization, known as de-Stalinization and Khrushchevs Thaw, the country developed rapidly, as millions of peasants were moved into industrialized cities. The USSR took a lead in the Space Race with Sputnik 1, the first ever satellite, and Vostok 1. In the 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, the war drained economic resources and was matched by an escalation of American military aid to Mujahideen fighters. In the mid-1980s, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost.
The goal was to preserve the Communist Party while reversing the economic stagnation, the Cold War ended during his tenure, and in 1989 Soviet satellite countries in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist regimes. This led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the USSR as well, in August 1991, a coup détat was attempted by Communist Party hardliners. It failed, with Russian President Boris Yeltsin playing a role in facing down the coup. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the twelve constituent republics emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union as independent post-Soviet states
Battle of Rzhev, Summer 1942
The Battle of Rzhev in the Summer of 1942 was part of a series of battles that lasted 15 months in the center of the Eastern Front. It is known in Soviet history of World War II as the First Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation, however, it is widely documented that the fighting continued undiminished into September and did not finally cease until the beginning of October 1942. Rzhev lies 140 miles west of Moscow and was captured by the German Wehrmacht in Operation Typhoon in the autumn of 1941, when the Soviet counteroffensive drove them back, Rzhev became a cornerstone of the Germans defense. By the summer of 1942, the city stood at the apogee of a salient that protruded from the front lines, the attack would fall upon one of their main opponents of the winter battles, General Walter Models 9th Army, which occupied the majority of the Rzhev salient. The two-month struggle left an impression on the Soviet soldiers who took part. The Red Army suffered massive casualties for little gain during the fighting, earning the battle the sobriquet Rzhev meat grinder, although the offensive failed, Zhukov was given another chance to crush the Rzhev salient soon afterwards.
The closing stages of the Battle of Moscow saw the formation of the Rzhev salient, the Soviet counter-offensive had driven the Wehrmacht from the outskirts of Moscow back more than 100 miles, and had penetrated Army Group Centres front in numerous places. Rzhev, a crossroads and vital rail junction straddling the Volga. It was the town of note for many miles and gave the 9th Army something to hang on to, in what otherwise seemed a wilderness of forest. The salients existence was threatened at the moment of its creation. The Soviet counter-attack had run out of steam and the Germans recovered enough to mount several operations to clear up their rear area and he commanded 10th Army and Army Group C in Italy. General of Panzer Troops Walter Model had commanded 3rd Panzer division at the start of Operation Barbarossa and he had shown great resolve in the defensive winter battles, and was promoted to 9th Army commander on 12 January 1942. He proved to be a soldier and a defensive specialist. Respected by Hitler, his continued to rise, becoming a field marshal in March 1944.
He became a troubleshooter, commanding the Leningrad Front in the autumn, Zhukov remained in the central sector, and he argued in the spring of 1942 that the Moscow axis was the most critical and that Army Group Center posed the greatest threat to the Soviet Union. To him, the German forces at Rzhev represented a dagger pointed at Moscow, Zhukov convinced Stalin to give him the extra forces he needed. He commanded Western Fronts attacks until, in the part of August. Later, he continued to hold the highest commands in the Soviet Army, colonel-General Ivan Konev began the war against Germany commanding the 19th Army, which become encircled around Vitebsk in the first weeks of the conflict
Sinyavino Offensive (1942)
At the same time, German forces were planning Operation Northern Light to capture the city and link up with Finnish forces. To achieve that heavy reinforcements were arriving from Sevastopol, which the German forces captured in July 1942, both sides were unaware of the others preparations, and this made the battle unfold in an unanticipated manner for both sides. The Soviet offensive began first in two stages, the Leningrad Front began the offensive on August 19 and the Volkhov Front launched the main offensive on August 27. From August 28, the German side shifted the forces which were building up for their own offensive to gradually halt the Soviet offensive, initial German counterattacks failed, but the Soviet forces could not advance either. After a ten-day stalemate, the significantly reinforced Germans launched a counterattack against the Soviet forces on September 21, after five days of heavy fighting, the German forces linked up and cut off the bulge formed by the Soviet offensive. By October 10, the front line returned to the position before this battle, heavy fighting continued until October 15, in the end, the Soviet offensive failed, but heavy casualties caused the Germans to order their forces to assume a defensive stance.
In November, the German reinforcements and other units were stripped from Army Group North to deal with the major Soviet offensive at Stalingrad, the Siege of Leningrad started in early autumn 1941. By September 8,1941, German and Finnish forces had surrounded the city, cutting off all routes to Leningrad. However the original drive on the city failed and the city was subjected to a siege, during the winter 1941–42, the city was partially supplied via the Road of Life over the frozen Lake Ladoga, which allowed the defenders to continue holding out. Soviet forces tried to lift the siege, which was causing damage to the city. The Road of Life was frequently disabled by regular German airstrikes, several smaller offensives were launched in 1942 in the region, but failed. The last offensive near Lyuban resulted in the encirclement and destruction of most of the Soviet 2nd Shock Army, the opening of a supply route to Leningrad was so important that preparations for the new operation began almost immediately after the defeat at Lyuban.
The area south of Ladoga is heavily forested with many close to the lake. This terrain hindered the mobility of artillery and vehicles, in addition the forest shielded both sides from visual observation. One of the key locations were the Sinyavino heights, which were approximately 150 metres higher than the flat terrain. The heights were one of the few dry and clear areas, the plan to capture Leningrad in summer-autumn 1942 was first outlined in the OKW directive 41 of April 5,1942. The directive stressed that the capture of Leningrad and the drive to the Caucasus in the east were the objectives in the summer campaign on the Eastern Front. During discussions with Hitler on June 30, the commander of Army Group North, Field Marshal Georg von Küchler, the redeployment was complete by July 23
Soviet evacuation of Tallinn
Soviet forces had occupied Estonia in June 1940. In expectation of a Soviet breakout, the Kriegsmarine and the Finnish Navy had started on 8 August 1941 to lay minefields off Cape Juminda on the Lahemaa coast, at the same time the German 3. Schnellbootflottille with E-boats S-26, S-27, S-39, S-40 and S-101 was concentrated at Suomenlinna outside Helsinki, German Junkers Ju 88 bombers from Kampfgruppe 806 based on airfields in Estonia were put on alert. On 19 August the final German assault on Tallinn began, during the night of 27/28 August 1941 the Soviet 10th Rifle Corps disengaged from the enemy and boarded transports in Tallinn. This, together with heavy German shelling and aerial bombardment killed at least 1,000 of the evacuees in the harbor. On 28 August KG77 and KGr 806 sank the 2,026 grt steamer Vironia, the 2,317 grt Lucerne, the 1,423 grt Atis Kronvalds, the rest of the Soviet fleet were forced to change course. This took them through a mined area. As a result,21 Soviet warships, including five destroyers, struck mines, on 29 August, the Luftwaffe, now reinforced with KG76, KG4 and KG1, accounted for the transport ships Vtoraya Pyatiletka and Leningradsovet sunk.
In addition, the ships Ivan Papanin, Saule and the Serp i Molot were damaged by I. /KG4, that evening the armada was attacked by Finnish and German torpedo boats, and the chaotic situation made organized mine sweeping impossible. Darkness fell at 22,00 and the Soviet armada stopped and anchored at midnight in the heavily mined water, early on 29 August Ju 88 bombers attacked the remains of the convoys off Suursaari, sinking two transports. Meanwhile, the ships made best speed to reach the safety of the Kronstadt batteries. The heavily damaged merchant ship Kazakhstan disembarked 2300 men of the 5000 on board before steaming on to Kronstadt, in the following days ships operating from Suursaari rescued 12,160 survivors. The Soviet evacuation of Tallinn succeeded in evacuating 165 ships,28,000 passengers and 66,000 tons of equipment, at least 12,400 are thought to have drowned in circumstances little known outside the former Soviet Union. The event was long downplayed by the Communist regime after the war, the evacuation may have been the bloodiest naval disaster since the battle of Lepanto.
On the sixtieth anniversary a memorial was unveiled at Juminda,71 -28 August 1941, off Cape Juminda Minesweeper No. Also, mines heavily damaged destroyer leader Minsk, destroyers Gordy and Slavnyi, minesweeper T-205, list of shipwrecks in August 1941 Bergstrom, Christer. Barbarossa - The Air Battle, July–December 1941
Lyuban Offensive Operation
Lyuban Operation was an offensive operation conducted by the Volkhov Front of the Red Army with the goal of relieving Leningrad. The offensive used no tanks because of the terrain, therefore it was down to the infantry, the Soviets attacked but they were under intense fire from formidable German defensive positions, and the Soviets lacked proper artillery support on the German positions. The offensive had stalled and the Soviets were up to the defensive. Field Marshal Georg von Küchler, counterattacked with an operation called Wild Beast and it was destroyed in June 1942 and its commander Andrey Vlasov was taken captive