Battle of Stalingrad
Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses, the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble, the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, the Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out, attempts were made to supply the army by air.
Heavy fighting continued for two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition, the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days, the war had been progressing well, the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not particularly threatening, neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been particularly hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again, with the initial operations being very successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the capacity of the city.
The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia and its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler personally rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign, both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union. The expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germanys failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence, the Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war, Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there
The territory was expanded in 1941 to include the District of Galicia. The General Government was run by Nazi Germany as an administrative unit for logistical purposes. Within days, Eastern Galicia was overrun and renamed Distrikt Galizien, until 1945 the General Government comprised much of central and southern Poland, including the major Polish cities of Warsaw, Kraków, Lwów, Lublin and Stanisławów, among others. The Nazi German rulers of the Generalgouvernement territory had no intention of sharing power with the Poles or Ukrainians throughout the war, the authorities rarely even mentioned the name Poland in government correspondence. The only exception to this was the General Governments Bank of Issue in Poland, on 31 July 1940 governor Hans Frank, on Hitlers authority, shortened the name to just Generalgouvernement. A more literal translation of Generalgouvernement, which is a borrowing from French, the correct translation of the term Gouvernement is not government but actually governorate, which is a type of administrative division or territory.
The area was known colloquially as the Restpolen. The designation General Government was chosen in reference to the Government General of Warsaw, after Germanys attack on Poland, all areas occupied by the German army including the Free City of Danzig initially came under the military rule. To settle the deviation from the agreement, the German. Under this revised version of the pact the territory concerned was exchanged for the inclusion in the Soviet sphere of Lithuania, with the new agreement the entire central part of Poland, including the core ethnic area of the Poles, came under exclusively German control. Hitler decreed the annexation to the German Reich of large parts of the occupied Polish territory in the western half of the German zone. Germany organized most of areas as two new Reichsgaue, Danzig-West Prussia and Wartheland. The remaining three regions, the areas of Zichenau, Eastern Upper Silesia and the Suwałki triangle. Draconian measures were introduced by both RKF and HTO, to facilitate the immediate Germanization of the territory, typically resulting in mass expulsions.
The remaining parts of the former Poland were to become a German Nebenland as a frontier post of German rule in the east, a Führers decree of October 12,1939 established the General Government, the decree came into force on October 26,1939. Hans Frank was appointed as the Governor-General of the General Government, German authorities made a sharp contrast between the new Reich territory and a supposedly occupied rump state that could serve as a bargaining chip with the Western powers. The Germans established a border between the two German zones to heighten the difficulty of cross-frontier communication between the different segments of the Polish population. The official name chosen for the new entity was the Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete, this name did not imply anything about the actual nature of the administration
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
World War II
World War II, known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the worlds countries—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust and the bombing of industrial and population centres. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history, from late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. In December 1941, Japan attacked the United States and European colonies in the Pacific Ocean, and quickly conquered much of the Western Pacific.
The Axis advance halted in 1942 when Japan lost the critical Battle of Midway, near Hawaii, in 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy, thus ended the war in Asia, cementing the total victory of the Allies. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world, the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The victorious great powers—the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers waned, while the decolonisation of Asia, most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery.
Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities, the start of the war in Europe is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935. The British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the forces of Mongolia and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939, the exact date of the wars end is not universally agreed upon.
It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the armistice of 14 August 1945, rather than the formal surrender of Japan
Eastern Front (World War II)
The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of the European portion of World War II and it resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower. The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom. The joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front, in addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front.
Despite their ideological antipathy, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union shared a dislike for the outcome of World War I. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union, Estonia and Lithuania would return to Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. I need the Ukraine so that they cant starve us out, the two powers invaded and partitioned Poland in 1939. The annexations were never recognized by most Western states, the annexed Romanian territory was divided between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum, acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, Wehrmacht officers told their troops to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood and the red beast.
The vast majority of German soldiers viewed the war in Nazi terms, Hitler referred to the war in unique terms, calling it a war of annihilation which was both an ideological and racial war. In addition, the Nazis sought to wipe out the large Jewish population of Central, after Germanys initial success at the Battle of Kiev in 1941, Hitler saw the Soviet Union as militarily weak and ripe for immediate conquest. On 3 October 1941, he announced, We have only to kick in the door, Germany expected another short Blitzkrieg and made no serious preparations for prolonged warfare. Throughout the 1930s the Soviet Union underwent massive industrialization and economic growth under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, Stalins central tenet, Socialism in one country, manifested itself as a series of nationwide centralized Five-Year Plans from 1929 onwards. It served as a testing ground for both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army to experiment with equipment and tactics that they would employ on a wider scale in the Second World War
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Nazi Germanys invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II, which was launched on Sunday 22 June 1941. In the two leading up to the invasion, the two countries signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes. Nevertheless, the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, over the course of the operation, about four million Axis personnel invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2, 900-kilometer front, the largest invasion force in the history of warfare. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht employed some 600,000 motor vehicles, the offensive marked an escalation of the war, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Despite their successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow and was pushed back by the Soviet winter counteroffensive. The Red Army repelled the Wehrmachts strongest blows and forced the unprepared Germans into a war of attrition, the Wehrmacht would never again mount a simultaneous offensive along the entire strategic Soviet–Axis front.
The failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most importantly, the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Soviet prisoners of war who were not granted protections stipulated in the Geneva Conventions, a majority of them never returned alive. The Nazis deliberately starved 3.1 million of the prisoners to death as part of a Hunger Plan that aimed to reduce the population of Eastern Europe, over a million Soviet Jews were murdered by Einsatzgruppen death squads and gassing as part of the Holocaust. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his commanders that the next war would be purely a war of Weltanschauungen. Totally a peoples war, a racial war, on 23 November, once World War II had already started, Hitler declared that racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, and with it, the world.
The racial policy of Nazi Germany viewed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germanys destiny was to turn to the East as it did six hundred years ago. Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the Mongolian race threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood, German army commanders cast the Jews as the major cause behind the partisan struggle. The main guideline policy for German troops was Where theres a partisan, theres a Jew, many German troops viewed the war in Nazi terms and regarded their Soviet enemies as sub-human
They are trained to serve as infantry personnel in defensive and offensive operations. A sappers duties are devoted to tasks involving facilitating movement and survival of allied forces, the term sapper is used in the British Army and Commonwealth nations, Polish Army and the U. S. military. The phrase sapper comes from the French saper, saps were excavated by brigades of trained sappers or instructed troops. When an army was defending a fortress with cannon, they had an obvious height, the attacking armys artillery had to be brought forward, under fire, so as to facilitate effective counter-battery fire. This was achieved by digging what the French termed a sappe, using techniques developed and perfected by Vauban, the sappers began the trench at such an angle so as to avoid enemy fire enfilading the sappe. As they pressed forward, a position was prepared from which cannon could suppress the defenders on the bastions, the sappers would change the course of their trench, zig-zagging toward the fortress wall.
Each leg brought the attackers artillery closer until the cannon would be sufficiently suppressed for the attackers to breach the walls. Broadly speaking, sappers were experts at demolishing or otherwise overcoming or bypassing fortification systems. An additional term applied to sappers of the British Indian Army was miner, the native engineer corps were referred to as sappers and miners, as for example, the Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners. The term arose from a task done by sappers to further the battle after saps were dug, the saps permitted cannon to be brought into firing range of the besieged fort and its cannon, but often the cannon themselves were unable to breach the fort walls. This was dangerous work, often lethal to the sappers, and was resisted by the besieged enemy. Since the two tasks went hand in hand and were done by the troops, native Indian engineer corps came to be called sappers and miners. Sapper is the Royal Engineers equivalent of private, the term sapper was introduced in 1856 when the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners was amalgamated with the officer corps of the Royal Engineers to form the Corps of Royal Engineers.
During the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I Australian sappers repaired a bridge at the crossing of the Jordan River at Jisr Benat Yakub. Here the retreating Ottoman and German rearguard had blown up the central arch which was repaired in five hours by sappers attached to the Australian Mounted Division. Australian Sappers in the Vietnam War were honoured in the Cold Chisel song Khe Sanh with the line I left my heart to the Sappers round Khe Sanh, in the Canadian Forces, sappers exist both in the regular force and reserve force. The rank of sapper is used instead of private trained to signify completion of the Engineer DP1 course, Canadian sappers have been deployed in many major conflicts in recent history including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the War in Afghanistan. Ultimately, the objective of the sappers is to facilitate the living and fighting for friendly troops on the battlefield, the motto of the Canadian Military Engineers is Ubique a motto shared with the Royal Canadian Artillery
The Workers and Peasants Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and after 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution, the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. The Red Army is credited as being the land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II. During operations on the Eastern Front, it fought 75%–80% of the German land forces deployed in the war, inflicting the vast majority of all German losses and ultimately capturing the German capital. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote, There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, at the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters,1.8 million dead,5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners and he estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million.
Therefore, the Council of Peoples Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918 and they envisioned a body formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes. All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible, in the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary. Because the Red Army was composed mainly of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations, some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army, along with some women, flooded the recruitment centres. If they were turned away they would collect scrap metal and prepare care-packages, in some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy, Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for war, Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as peoples commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars, at a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked, We have no army.
The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies and we have no power to stay the enemy, only an immediate signing of the peace treaty will save us from destruction. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledins Volunteer Army in the River Don region, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics. The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, a series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, and the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. The Whites defeated the Red Army on each front, Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked, the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchaks army in June, and the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-November the White armies were all almost completely exhausted, in January 1920, Budennys First Cavalry Army entered Rostov-on-Don. 1919 to 1923 At the wars start, the Red Army consisted of 299 infantry regiments, Civil war intensified after Lenin dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly and the Soviet government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, removing Russia from the Great War
The Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs, abbreviated NKVD, was a joint law enforcement agency of the whole Soviet Union that directly executed the will of the All-Union Communist Party. It was closely associated with the Soviet secret police, which at times was part of the agency, the NKVD was headed by Soviet secret police officials. The NKVD contained the regular, public police force of the USSR, including police, border guards. It is best known for the activities of the Gulag and the Main Directorate for State Security and it was tasked with protection of Soviet borders and espionage, influencing foreign governments and enforcing Stalinist policy within communist movements in other countries. After the Russian February Revolution of 1917, the Provisional Government dissolved the Tsars police, realizing that it was left with no capable security force, the Council of Peoples Commissars of the RSFSR created a secret political police, the Cheka, led by Felix Dzerzhinsky. It gained the right to undertake quick non-judicial trials and executions, the Cheka was reorganized in 1922 as the State Political Directorate, or GPU, of the NKVD of the RSFSR.
In 1922, the USSR was formed with the RSFSR as its largest member, the GPU became the OGPU, under the Council of Peoples Commissars of the USSR. The NKVD of the RSFSR retained control of the militsiya, as a result, the NKVD became responsible for all detention facilities as well as for the regular police. Since its creation in 1934, the NKVD of the USSR underwent many organizational changes, on February 3,1941, the Special Sections of the NKVD responsible for military counterintelligence became part of the Army and Navy. The GUGB was separated from the NKVD and renamed the Peoples Commissariat for State Security, after the German invasion, the NKVD and NKGB were reunited on July 20,1941. The CI sections were returned to the NKVD in January 1942, in April 1943, the CI sections were again transferred to the Peoples Commissariats of Defense and the Navy, becoming SMERSH, at the same time, the NKVD was again separated from the NKGB. In 1946, all Soviet Commissariats were renamed ministries, the NKVD of the USSR was renamed as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while the NKGB was renamed as the Ministry of State Security.
In 1953, after the arrest of Lavrenty Beria, the MGB was merged back into the MVD, the police and security services were finally split in 1954 to become, The USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, responsible for the criminal militia and correctional facilities. The USSR Committee for State Security, responsible for the police, counter-intelligence, personal protection. In implementing Soviet internal policy towards perceived enemies of the Soviet state, untold multitudes of people were sent to GULAG camps, most of these people were convicted by NKVD troikas – special courts martial. Evidential standards were low, a tip-off by an anonymous informer was considered sufficient grounds for arrest. Use of physical means of persuasion was sanctioned by a decree of the state. Hundreds of mass graves resulting from operations were discovered throughout the country