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
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
Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin was a Soviet military commander during World War II. He was ambushed and mortally wounded in February 1944 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Vatutin was born in Chepuhino village in Voronezh Governorate, into a peasant family of Russian ethnicity. Commissioned in 1920 to the Red Army, he fought against the Ukrainian peasant partisans of Nestor Makhno, the following year, he became a member of the Communist party, and served diligently in junior command positions. Starting in 1926, he spent the decade alternating service with studies in the elite Frunze Military Academy. The 1937–1938 purge of Red Army commanders opened the road to promotion – in 1938, he received the rank of Komdiv, throughout this period, Vatutin combined military service with intensive Party activities. In 1939, Vatutin planned operations for the Soviet invasion of Poland with Germany, in 1940, under the command of Georgy Zhukov, this group seized Bessarabia from Romania. Vatutin was, not up to his new appointment, while innovative and hard-working, he lacked any experience and his knowledge of operational art.
Still, his peasant roots, relative youthful age, and party zeal made him one of Stalins few favorites in the Soviet military, together with the rest of the Red Army high command, failed to prepare the army for the German attack of 22 June 1941. On 30 June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the North-Western Front, in this role Vatutin did not try to claim success for himself in battles, but made a point of identifying and promoting talented subordinates. He was notable for his audacity, at that stage of the war, most of the Soviet generals, shattered by defeats, were reluctant to carry out offensive operations, but Vatutin thrived on attack. The Northwestern Front was defending Leningrad against approaches by the German Army Group North, Vatutin took command of the Soviet forces near Novgorod and rallied them for offense, attempting to encircle a large German force. He surprised Manstein, put him on the defensive, and forced the entire German Army Group North to regroup its troops to halt the Soviet offensive.
The Wehrmacht lost the precious summer season needed for an attack on Leningrad. Due to this, the Germans failed in their best shot to capture Leningrad, Vatutins immediate operational results were far less impressive. Vatutin overestimated the capacities of his troops and created overly ambitious objectives, while his coordination of his forces, additionally, he did not take into account the difficult terrain which benefited German defenses and slowed his attack. Vatutins casualty figures were staggering, in one army nearly reaching 60%, the ineptitude of his subordinate commanders exacerbated Vatutins own shortcomings. One striking exception to this pattern of deficiency was the brilliance of Ivan Chernyakhovsky, the men had much in common, most prominently their penchant for unorthodox approaches to military art, they soon became close friends. The German and Soviet armies were equal in size, during the battle, Vatutin employed innovative tactics and actions, while the Germans responded more conventionally
Battle of Kalach
The Battle of Kalach took place between the German Sixth Army and elements of the Soviet Stalingrad Front between July 25 and August 11,1942. The Soviets deployed the 62nd and 64th Armies in a Don River bridgehead west of Kalach with the intent of impeding the German advance on Stalingrad, in the initial period of the battle, the Germans attacked and managed to surround part of the 62nd Army. In reaction, the Soviets counter-attacked and temporarily forced the Germans onto the defense, following resupply of German forces, the roles again reversed and the Germans attacked into the flanks of the Soviet bridgehead, successfully collapsing it. The German victory positioned the Sixth Army to cross the Don River and advance on Stalingrad, following the occupation of the Crimea and the Battle of Kharkov, the Germans launched their 1942 summer offensive with the objectives of occupying the Don Basin and the Caucasus. Advancing as part of Army Group B, the German Sixth Army pushed toward the town of Kalach on the Don River as a step toward the capture of Stalingrad.
As defenders, the Soviets were reacting to German initiatives, to meet this goal, while the Soviets were generally withdrawing before the German offensive, they retained a bridgehead across the Don at Kalach with lines behind the Tsimla and Chir Rivers. The battlefield was the country west and northwest of Kalach. The terrain of the battlefield is mostly open with occasional treelines that obscure lines of sight, the land rolls slightly and exhibits small rises with an average elevation of 100 to 200 meters above sea level. Cross country vehicular movement is constricted by balkas, steep banks that have been strongly cut by erosion. Between the treelines and balkas, the countryside is agricultural with occasional villages, the relatively open nature of the terrain favors long-range direct fire weapons such as the long 75-mm cannon that were mounted on German Panzer IV tanks. A lack of commanding terrain and structures made observation for artillery fire challenging, in the event, the German forces enjoyed air superiority over the Kalach battlefield with the commitment of the entire VIII Air Corps under the command of General Fiebig.
German Sixth Army had ranged from north to south the VIII, XIV Panzer, LI, and XXIV Panzer Corps, commanding some 270,000 men, over 500 tanks, the German forces had superior battle experience and excellent gunnery skills. Their movement and attacks enjoyed air support, but the Sixth Army had temporarily outrun its supplies, particularly in the cases of fuel, Soviet opposition in the Don bend was still weak, but it was increasing. 62nd Army had 6 rifle divisions, a brigade, and 6 independent tank battalions on its half of the line, and 64th Army had 2 rifle divisions. To the north of the 62nd Army was the 63rd Army, rifle divisions of the Stalingrad Front were in a perilous state, with over half of them understrength, ranging in strength between 300 and 4,000 men. The tank armies would be committed before their organization was complete and without the cohesion enjoyed by more experienced, the Soviet forces in the Kalach Bridgehead were subordinated to the Stalingrad Front under the command of General-Lieutenant Vasiliy N.
Gordov. After a ten-day hiatus caused by a lack of transportation, German Sixth Army returned to the offensive, on 23 July, Paulus submitted his plan to take Stalingrad. He proposed to sweep to the Don on both sides of Kalach, take bridgeheads on the run, and drive a wedge of armor flanked by infantry across the thirty miles
Army Group South
Army Group South was the name of two German Army Groups during World War II. It was first used in the 1939 September Campaign, along with Army Group North to invade Poland, in the invasion of Poland Army Group South was led by Gerd von Rundstedt and his chief of staff Erich von Manstein. Two years later, Army Group South became one of three groups into which Germany organised their forces for Operation Barbarossa. Army Group Souths principal objective was to capture Soviet Ukraine and its capital Kiev, Ukraine was a major center of Soviet industry and mining and had the good farmland required for Hitlers plans for the Lebensraum. To carry out these initial tasks its battle order included the First Panzer Group and the German Sixth and Eleventh Armies, Luftlotte 1, the German Sixth Army, which fought in the destructive Battle of Stalingrad, was re-constituted and made part of Army Group South. In preparation for Operation Blue, the 1942 campaign in southern Russia, in February 1943, Army Group Don and the existing Army Group B were combined and re-designated Army Group South.
A new Army Group B became a major formation elsewhere, on 4 April 1944, Army Group South was re-designated Army Group North Ukraine. Army Group North Ukraine existed from 4 April to 28 September, in September 1944, Army Group South Ukraine was again re-designated Army Group South. At the end of World War II in Europe, Army Group South was again renamed, as Army Group Ostmark, Army Group Ostmark was one of the last major German military formations to surrender to the Allies
The Donbass or Donbas is a historical and economic region in eastern Ukraine. The word Donbass is a formed from Donets Basin, which refers to the river Donets that flows through it. Multiple definitions of the regions extent exist, but its boundaries have never been officially demarcated, a Euroregion of the same name is composed of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in Ukraine and Rostov Oblast in Russia. Donbass formed the border between the Zaporizhian Sich and the Don Cossack Host. It has been an important coal mining area since the late 19th century, in March 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and Russian military intervention, large swaths of the Donbass became gripped by unrest. Until the ongoing war, the Donbass was the most densely populated of all the regions of Ukraine apart from the city of Kiev. Before the war, the city of Donetsk was considered the capital of the Donbass. Large cities included Luhansk, Makiivka, now the city of Kramatorsk is the interim administrative center of the Donetsk Oblast, whereas the interim center of Luhansk Oblast is the city of Severodonetsk.
On the separatist side, Donetsk and Horlivka are now the largest cities in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, the region now known as the Donbass was largely unpopulated until the second half of the 17th century, when Don Cossacks settled in the area. The first town in the region was founded in 1676, called Solanoye and it named the conquered territories New Russia. As the Industrial Revolution took hold across Europe, the vast coal resources of the region, discovered in 1721, began to be exploited in the mid-late 19th century. It was at point that the name Donbass came into use, derived from the term Donets Coal Basin. The rise of the industry led to a population boom in the region. The region was governed as the Bakhmut and Mariupol counties of Yekaterinoslav Governorate, the most important city in the region today, was founded in 1869 by British businessman John Hughes on the site of the old Zaporozhian Cossack town of Oleksandrivka. Hughes built a mill and established several collieries in the region.
The city was named after him as Yuzovka, with development of Yuzovka and similar cities, large amounts of landless peasants from peripheral governorates of the Russian Empire came looking for work. According to the Russian Imperial Census of 1897, ethnic Ukrainians comprised 52. 4% of the population of region, whilst ethnic Russians comprised 28. 7%. Ethnic Greeks, Germans and Tatars had a significant presence in the Donbass, particularly in the district of Mariupol, despite this, Russians constituted the majority of the industrial work-force
Third Battle of Kharkov
Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod. As the German Sixth Army was encircled in Stalingrad, the Red Army undertook a series of attacks against the rest of Army Group South. The Soviet victories caused participating Soviet units to over-extend themselves, months of continuous operations, had taken a heavy toll on the Soviet forces and some divisions were reduced to 1, 000–2,000 combat effective soldiers. On 19 February, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein launched his Kharkov counterstrike, using the fresh II SS Panzer Corps, the Wehrmacht flanked and defeated the Red Armys armored spearheads south of Kharkov. This enabled Manstein to renew his offensive against the city of Kharkov proper on 7 March, despite orders to encircle Kharkov from the north the SS Panzer Corps instead decided to directly engage Kharkov on 11 March. This led to four days of fighting before Kharkov was recaptured by the 1st SS Panzer Division on 15 March.
The German forces recaptured Belgorod two days later, creating the salient which in July 1943 would lead to the Battle of Kursk, the German offensive cost the Red Army an estimated 90,000 casualties. The house-to-house fighting in Kharkov was particularly bloody for the German SS Panzer Corps, at the start of 1943, the German Wehrmacht faced a crisis as Soviet forces encircled and reduced the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and expanded their Winter Campaign towards the Don River. On 2 February 1943 the Sixth Armys commanding officers surrendered, total German losses at the Battle of Stalingrad, excluding prisoners, were between 120,000 and 150,000. Throughout 1942 German casualties totaled around 1.9 million personnel, on 2 February, the Red Army launched Operation Star, threatening to recapture the cities of Belgorod and Kursk. A Soviet drive, spearheaded by four tank corps organized under Lieutenant-General Markian Popov, pierced the German front by crossing the Donets River, despite Hitlers orders to hold the city, Kharkov was abandoned by German forces and the city was recaptured by the Red Army on 16 February.
Hitler immediately flew to Mansteins headquarters at Zaporizhia, on 19 February Soviet armored units broke through the German lines and approached the city. In view of the situation, Hitler gave Manstein operational freedom. When Hitler departed, the Soviet forces were only some 30 kilometers away from the airfield, by this time Stavka believed it could decide the war in the southwest Russian SFSR and eastern Ukrainian SSR, expecting total victory. The surrender of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad freed six Soviet armies, under the command of Konstantin Rokossovsky, which were refitted and reinforced by the 2nd Tank Army and these forces were repositioned between the junction of German Army Groups Center and South. Originally planned to begin between 12–15 February, deployment problems forced Stavka to push the date back to 25 February. Meanwhile, the Soviet 60th Army pushed the German Second Armys 4th Panzer Division away from Kursk and this opened a 60 kilometers breach between these two German forces, shortly to be exploited by Rokossovskys offensive.
However, unexpected German resistance began to slow the operation considerably, offering Rokossovsky only limited gains on the flank of his attack
Romanization of Russian
Romanization of the Russian alphabet is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin alphabet. Scientific transliteration, known as the International Scholarly System, is a system that has used in linguistics since the 19th century. It is based on the Czech alphabet and formed the basis of the GOST, OST8483 was the first Soviet standard on romanization of Russian, introduced in 16 October 1935. This standard is an equivalent of GOST 16876-71 and was adopted as a standard of the COMECON. GOST7. 79-2000 System of Standards on Information, Librarianship and it is the official standard of both Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Machine readable passports is an adoption of an ICAO stadards for travel documents and it was used in Russian passports for a short period during 2010–2013. The standard was substituted in 2013 by GOST R ISO/IEC 7501-1-2013, which does not contain romanization, ISO/R9, established in 1954 and updated in 1968, was the adoption of the scientific transliteration by the International Organization for Standardization.
It covers Russian and seven other Slavic languages, ISO9,1995 is the current transliteration standard from ISO. It is based on its predecessor ISO/R9,1968, which it deprecates, for Russian, the UNGEGN, a Working Group of the United Nations, in 1987 recommended a romanization system for geographical names, which was based on the 1983 version of GOST 16876-71. It may be found in some international cartographic products, American Library Association and Library of Congress romanization tables for Slavic alphabets are used in North American libraries and in the British Library since 1975. The formal, unambiguous version of the system requires some diacritics and two-letter tie characters, British Standard 2979,1958 is the main system of the Oxford University Press, and a variation was used by the British Library to catalogue publications acquired up to 1975. The BGN/PCGN system is relatively intuitive for Anglophones to read and pronounce, the portion of the system pertaining to the Russian language was adopted by BGN in 1944 and by PCGN in 1947.
In Soviet international passports, transliteration was based on French rules, in 1997, with the introduction of new Russian passports, a diacritic-free English-oriented system was established by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but this system was abandoned in 2010. In 2006, GOST52535. 1-2006 was adopted, which defines technical requirements and standards for Russian international passports, in 2010, the Federal Migratory Service of Russia approved Order No. 26, stating that all names in the passports issued after 2010 must be transliterated using GOST52535. 1-2006. The standard was abandoned in 2013, finally in 2013, Order No.320 of the Federal Migratory Service of Russia came into force. It states that all names in the passports must be transliterated using the ICAO system. This system differs from the GOST52535. 1-2006 system in two things, ц is transliterated into ts, ъ is transliterated into ie, Scholarly ¹ Some archaic letters are transcribed in different ways
Battle of Nikolayevka
The Battle of Nikolayevka refers to the breakout of the Italian forces in January 1943, as a small part of the larger Battle of Stalingrad. The breakout involved a corps of the Italian 8th Armys near the village of Nikolayevka, on December 16,1942, Soviet forces launched Operation Little Saturn aimed at the Italian 8th Army. The Soviet plan was to force the River Don and destroy the Italian 8th Army along the Don, push towards Rostov-on-Don, the Soviet armored columns now rapidly advanced south towards the Black Sea. On January 13,1943, the Red Army launched the stage of Operation Saturn. On the evening of January 17, the officer of the corps General Gabriele Nasci ordered a full retreat. At this point only the Tridentina division was capable of conducting effective combat operations. On the morning of January 26, the spearheads of the Tridentina reached the hamlet of Nikolayevka, occupied by a Soviet division, General Luigi Reverberi, commander of the Tridentina division, led the final assault.
As the 4,000 Alpini advanced, all remaining soldiers of the fell in. The Corps Chief of Staff General Giulio Martinat was killed at the head of his troops on 26 January, the retreat of the Alpini was no longer contested by Soviet forces and on February 1 the remnants of the Corps reached Axis lines. The Italians suffered heavy losses in the breakout, the Cuneense division had destroyed, one tenth of the Division Julia survived. The battle has become a point of reference for the Alpini. The Alpini Association supports programs in the city. Italian Army in Russia Italian participation in the Eastern Front Hamilton, H