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When Russia's T-14 Armata tank broke down at a parade rehearsal on 7 May, the snickering could be heard across Western media. Did the Soviet Union win the war? In the process, 1,710 Russian cities, 70,000 towns and villages, 31,850 factories and 1,974 collective farms were destroyed. It was fought on the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima, through the rubble of recaptured French towns and capped by sepia-toned scenes of joy and young love in New York. Some 1.57 million Red Army troops in 89 divisions, backed by 27,000 guns, 5,500 tanks, and 3721 warplanes stormed south in a giant, 2,500-km long arc from Outer Mongolia to Korea. The horrors were compounded by the Nazi invasion. By April, 1944, Germany still maintained 214 divisions on the Eastern Front facing the advancing Soviet and just 60 divisions (mostly under strength, many only brigades in reality) on the Western Front. Soviet tank armies raced across desert, mountain ranges and forests in a giant pincer movement that enveloped Japan’s Manchurian-based 600,000-man, 25 division Kwantung Army. Later, Richard Overy responds to this claim Yes, Hitler Almost Did Beat Soviet Russia (And Win World War II) Read full article. Claimed By: The [Alternate] … Most likely, the Soviets would have won regardless, as the Eastern Front for the Germans was unwinnable after the Battle of Stalingrad, before most of the aid to the USSR arrived. Warfare History Network. The tremendous human cost of the battle is difficult to comprehend. "In Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Belarus, and the Leningrad district, lands where the Stalinist regime had starved and shot some four million people in the previous eight years, German forces managed to starve and shoot even more in half the time," Snyder writes. Add 84,000 schools, 43,000 libraries and 65,000 km of railway. Continue Reading Below. On 9 Aug, 1945, the Soviets unleashed one of the war’s largest campaigns. The Germans correctly estimated that there were about 150 divisions in the western parts of the U.S.S.R. and reckoned that 50 more might be produced. Today, seven decades later, we are barraged with films and reports about Germany’s concentration camps while Stalin’s far more extensive and lethal gulag is ignored. World War II veteran Stepan Petukhov, 90, of Russia, sits in a U.S.-made, World War II-era Willys jeep at Gorky Park in Moscow in 2011. As for 1944 & 1945, those years clearly belonged to Stalin. It was a victory shaped by the steeliness of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the moral fiber of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the awesome power of an atomic bomb. On 9 May, Russian President Vladimir Putin played host to one of Moscow's largest ever military parades to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany. The consequence was that, though the Germans succeeded in … Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. The views of individual contributors do not Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. History as Propaganda: Why the USSR Did Not ‘Win’ World War II (II) See Part I While MSM lays the blame on Stalin’s «alliance» with Hitler for starting World War II, it takes the opposite tack in the fighting of the war by ignoring the Soviet role in destroying Nazi Germany. © 2010 - 2020 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Much of this aid flowed to the United Kingdom and other nations already at war with Germany and Japan through an … The Soviet Union Defeated Germany in World War II – Not the Western Forces. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. So, rant over, long story short, no, Russia did not win WWII by themselves, they couldn’t have won it by themselves even if they’d wanted to, the Soviets were only kept in the fight at all because of American industry and aid, and only got into the mess they did at all because Stalin liked the cut of the Nazi’s jib, before … If Hitler was to win, it had to be before the Anglo-Americans mustered their strength, and before the Soviets reorganized their armies and harnessed their vast industrial potential. He says that between 1933 and 1945 in the "bloodlands" -- the broad sweep of territory on the periphery of the Soviet and Nazi realms -- some 14 million civilians were killed. ... and though it did not seem so to the western Allies and their peoples at the time, posterity can see that the Soviets did most of it. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. But it came at a shocking price. "The Holocaust overshadows German plans that envisioned even more killing. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Then Hitler turned against the U.S.S.R. The answer to question, “did the Soviets really win the war?” is I think obvious. Through this overrun region, Marshal Zhukov told me, so many numbers of women, children and old men had been killed that the Russian Government would never be able to estimate the total. In the Western popular imagination -- particularly the American one -- World War II is a conflict we won. The Red Army was "the main engine of Nazism’s destruction," writes British historian and journalist Max Hastings in "Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945." The savagery on display was also of a different degree than that experienced farther west. Learn more about the Russo-Finnish War in this article. The views of individual contributors do not They defeated Nazi Germany and saved many of our men from death. As for Soviet POWs, they perished from brutal treatment, starvation, and disease. On 2 February 1943, General Paulus surrendered with the 91,000 troops that remained. Roosevelt spoke warmly of Stalin as “Uncle Joe.” Churchill kept silent. By some accounts, 60 percent of Soviet households lost a member of their nuclear family. Despite superior military strength, especially in tanks and aircraft, the Soviet Union suffered severe losses and … A lone German soldier hobbles round a waterlogged crater in which are reflected the devastated buildings of Stalingrad. It was a grand moment, but few of the world's major leaders attended. President Donald Trump claimed last week that the US and Britain had won World War II. By the time 1944 rolled around, the needs of the allies had changed. Hitler’s foolish notion that Germany and the British Empire should be allies saved the beaten British Army in France in 1940, allowing it to escape across the Channel while leaving its French allies in the lurch. 'Doesn't mind the heat, somewhere in France (Saint-Sauveur- Le-Vicomte)', 16 June 1944, Robert Capa © ICP/Magnum photos, courtesy Daniel Blau gallery, 'Lovers parting near Nicosia, Sicily', 28 July 1943, 'Conquered town in Cefalu, Sicily', 26 July 1943, 'American troops approaching Cherbourg, France', 26 June 1944. Many Americans and Canadians like to believe their nations won the war in Europe and give insufficient recognition to the decisive Soviet role. "It was the Western Allies’ extreme good fortune that the Russians, and not themselves, paid almost the entire ‘butcher’s bill’ for [defeating Nazi Germany], accepting 95 per cent of the military casualties of the three major powers of the Grand Alliance," writes Hastings. The leading Russian military historian Dmitri Volkogonov revealed during the Gorbachev years that Russia’s total losses from 1941-1945 were 26.6 to 27 million dead. Everywhere else at that time, the USA lost only 9k. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. WW2: Why did the Allies win the Second World War? The number of Soviet deaths was at first grossly distorted – the figure Stalin gave in 1946 was seven million. Let’s do the numbers. But the Soviets actually brought up more than 200 fresh divisions by the middle of August, making a total of 360. In his memoirs, Eisenhower was appalled by the extent of the carnage: When we flew into Russia, in 1945, I did not see a house standing between the western borders of the country and the area around Moscow. Unfairly or not, the current tensions obscure the scale of what's being commemorated: Starting in 1941, the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the Nazi war machine and played perhaps the most important role in the Allies' defeat of Hitler. Under strength German units could only move at night – when they could find fuel. What that entailed was the horrifying, systematic attempt to depopulate whole swaths of the continent. But we shouldn't forget how the Soviets won World War II in Europe. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. At that time, both Roosevelt and Churchill lavished praise and thanks on the Soviet Union, admitting its “gigantic effort” in defeating Hitler’s Germany. How the world is still fighting World War II. The shattering of the Kwantung army is believed by some historians to have contributed to Japan’s surrender. At least 67,000 German soldiers died in the Normandy operation. That is a reflection of the tense geopolitical present, with Putin's relations with the West having turned frosty after a year of Russian meddling in Ukraine. Words of Suren Mirzoyan (Soviet soldier, Stalingrad): I drank a toast and said, ‘After Stalingrad I am no longer afraid.’ Commentary: For the Soviets, Stalingrad was not just a physical victory, but a psychological one. Russia to unveil state-of-the-art tank. When American, British and Canadian troops landed at Normandy in June, 1944, they met Germany forces that had been shattered on the Eastern Front and bled white. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Five years later, a proxy war between the US and Soviet Union would begin over divided Korea. The memory of the war, referred to as the Great Patriotic War, is particularly venerated in Russia. To be sure, as Snyder documents, the Soviet Union under Stalin also had the blood of millions on its hands. 'An estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died during World War II, including as many as 11 million soldiers', Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. At the very least, Russia’s valiant soldiers deserve a sharp salute from us. Media Fuels Economic War on Nicaragua with False ‘Conflict Beef’ Story, Who The #Resistance Was Actually #Resisting These Last Four Years, Joe Biden Might Have Good Instincts, but His Foreign Policy Team Doesn’t, John Kerry’s Think Tank Calls for War With Russia Over Climate Change, OPCW executives praised whistleblower and criticized Syria cover-up, leaks reveal. It wasn’t until Round 3 (1943) that the Soviets could begin to claim that they had won a round (and even 1943 was a very close round). Did the Soviets win WW2 due to US Support? The US Navy swept the seas of the Imperial Japanese Navy in a series of brilliant actions that rate among the greatest feats in naval history, but Japan still held large parts of China and Manchuria. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. By contrast, Russians know that it was their soldiers who really won the war. Just as much, we have totally ignored the huge Soviet contribution to the war in the Pacific Theater. It has been said that no one really won the Cold War — if you're wondering. Operation … Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today. But millions of others were also killed, abused, dispossessed of their lands and left to starve. Indeed, the diversion actually worked in the Germans’ favour since it surprised the Soviets and resulted in the destruction of huge Soviet forces around Kiev. Ten million of them were Soviet soldiers dead or missing. Stalin killed far more people than Adolf Hitler, including 6 million Ukrainians liquidated in the early 1930’s and four million Muslims during the war. Hitler wanted not only to eradicate the Jews; he wanted also to destroy Poland and the Soviet Union as states, exterminate their ruling classes, and kill tens of millions of Slavs," writes historian Timothy Snyder in "Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin.". The Soviet gulag was grinding up victims well into the 1950’s. Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal. But agreements around what the Soviets would have access to in terms of spheres of influence were decided prior to 1944, although it was regularly … Now, they would begin to push the Germans back. While making it plain that the western democracies have no kudos for Soviet leader Stalin, and disapprove of Vladimir Putin’s machination in Ukraine and Crimea, it should still have been possible to acknowledge the mighty Soviet contribution to our victory in World War II. VE Day 70th anniversary: We should never forget - the Soviets won 'An estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died during World War II, including as many as 11 million soldiers' Most Europeans would rather not think about the matter. Germany’s advanced ME262 jet fighter that should have swept the skies was grounded because of fuel shortages. At the same time, the Germans suffered three-quarters of their wartime losses fighting the Red Army. But that narrative shifts dramatically when you go to Russia, where World War II is called the Great Patriotic War and is remembered in a vastly different light. More than 16,000 troops participated, as well 140 aircraft and 190 armored vehicles, including the debut of Russia's brand new next-generation tank. In the final battle for Berlin, the USSR lost 80k. President Donald Trump claimed last week that the US and Britain had won World War II. At Stalingrad the Soviets took more than 90,000 Germans prisoner. During 1941, 3.3 million Red Army soldiers were captured; by February 1942, roughly 2 million of them were dead. During World War II, the United States began to provide significant military supplies and other assistance to the Allies in September 1940, even though the United States did not enter the war until December 1941. The Soviets repulsed the important German strategic southern campaign and, although 2.5 million Soviet casualties were suffered in that effort, it permitted the Soviets to take the offensive for most of the rest of the war on the Eastern Front. Hitler Was an Evil Genius. It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. The reason Germany had no air cover at Normandy was because most of the once potent Luftwaffe had been destroyed on the Eastern Front, its best pilots killed, and aviation fuel scarce. Russian soldiers defend Moscow from Gorky Park during the Second World War, Soviet troops climb out of a trench during the Battle of Stalingrad. Hitler viewed much of what's now Eastern Europe as a site for "lebensraum" -- living space for an expanding German empire and race. The Soviet Union Defeated Germany in World War II – Not the Western Forces. The impact of Western Aid (Lend-Lease) on the Soviet Union's war effort is a highly debated topic. The Red Army accounted for 75-80% of Axis casualties in World War II. The Soviets had successfully defended their territories and were now pushing their forces towards Berlin. necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Soviet military historians claim their forces destroyed 77,000 enemy planes, 48,000 enemy tanks and armored vehicles. This was a shameless lie and distortion of the facts. By the time the Allies established themselves in France, they outnumbered degraded German forces by 2:1. Today, however, we have chosen to forget who really won the war in Europe. The Axis forces (comprised of German, Italian, Romanian and Hungarian troops) suffered 800,000 casualties, the Soviets more than one million. These latter included the pan-European Waffen SS whose largest numbers came from Belgium, Holland, Scandinavia, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Finland and a division from Spain. Had Germany’s Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe not been largely destroyed in Russia, the Normandy D-Day invasion would likely have been pushed into the Channel. A startling new study suggests that Germany could have won a key battle in World War II and perhaps changed the outcome of the war if they had made a few small strategic changes. The heroic resistance of the Russian, their enormous sacrifice and suffering, their capacity to inflict grievous losses on the Germans, attest to their contribution to victory. Eric MARGOLIS. The heads of state of India and China will look on, but not many among their Western counterparts. No one likes to admit it was Stalin who defeated Nazi Germany. necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. The Soviet Union paid the harshest price: though the numbers are not exact, an estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died during World War II, including as many as 11 million soldiers. For Russia's neighbors, it's hard to separate the Soviet triumph from the decades of Cold War domination that followed. Britain may have been invaded well before June, 1944. Soviet forces reached Port Arthur in northern China, much of Manchuria and right up to Korea’s 38th parallel. Soviet Ukraine bore the brunt of the war, losing some 5 million soldiers and 6 million civilians – roughly half of total Soviet losses. (© Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/AP Images) Even before the United States entered World War II in December 1941, America was sending arms and equipment to the Soviet Union to … You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. AD Harvey asserts that if we consider the Second World War statistically and geographically, the other Allies' contribution to victory at least rivalled that of the USSR. By one calculation, for every single American soldier killed fighting the Germans, 80 Soviet soldiers died doing the same. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? By 1943, the Soviet Union had already lost some 5 million soldiers and two-thirds of its industrial capacity to the Nazi advance. But we shouldn't forget how the Soviets won World War II in Europe. Russo-Finnish War (November 30, 1939–March 12, 1940), also called the Winter War, war waged by the Soviet Union against Finland at the beginning of World War II, following the conclusion of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact (August 23, 1939). Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. But it also threw away Germany's only real chance of outright victory. They remain angry that their military achievements are ignored by American triumphalists and myth-makers. The Soviet armed forces destroyed 507 German divisions and 100 allied Axis divisions (according to Soviet figures). The early capture of Moscow would have had an undeniable psychological impact and may have been … In only eleven days of blitzkrieg, the once-feared Kwantung Army – Japan’s largest – was crushed. June 20, 2020, 7:29 AM. The Impact of Lend-Lease (VIDEO) The impact of Western Aid (Lend-Lease) on the … Equally important, the Allies had absolute air superiority over the Western European battlefields. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. In a heartbreaking but little-known statistic of war, 6.7 million German horses were killed on both fronts. Red Army troops storm a building, and German prisoners, below, during the Battle of Stalingrad, Robert Capa's images of the Second World War, VE Day 70th anniversary: We should never forget - the Soviets won, but few of the world's major leaders attended, Revealed: The forgotten secrets of Stalingrad, Hitler's troops stayed alert during by taking crystal meth, Russia Today: 'If anyone knows real Nazis it’s the Royal Family', Russia's VE day: A spectacular show, but few A-list guests, Russia also has Victory Day – but nobody wants to share it, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. Of course, the start of the war had been shaped by a Nazi-Soviet pact to carve up the lands in between their borders. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. This included the wholesale massacre of millions of European Jews, the majority of whom lived outside Germany's pre-war borders to the east. Most people believed Germany would quickly crush the Soviet Union. Other historians suggest that America’s use of two nuclear weapons against Japan was a hasty effort to make it surrender before the Red Army landed in Japan. The epic battles that eventually rolled back the Nazi advance -- the brutal winter siege of Stalingrad, the clash of thousands of armored vehicles at Kursk (the biggest tank battle in history) -- had no parallel on the Western Front, where the Nazis committed fewer military assets. One can also lament the way the sacrifices of the past inform the muscular Russian nationalism now peddled by Putin and his Kremlin allies. The USSR’s losses are now estimated at about 26.6 million, accounting for half of all WW2 casualties. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? May 17, 2020 | Editor's Сhoice. Despite ruthlessly eliminating all opposition within the Communist Party, killing and starving millions of Soviets in the 1930s and imprisoning millions more, bungling … Planes could not fly, tanks and trucks could not move, and warships were forced to stay in port. Initially the idea behind the second front was to help the Soviets and liberate Western Europe. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. Under strength German units had almost no gasoline and were low on ammunition, tanks and artillery. That it was yet able to turn back the German invasion is testament to the courage of the Soviet war effort. Not only did Stalin’s Soviet Union play the key role in crushing Nazi Germany, its huge sacrifices saved the lives of countless American, British and Canadian soldiers. In the years preceding World War II, Stalinist purges led to the death and starvation of millions. This was a shameless lie and distortion of the facts. Compare this to the total US dead in the European theater of 139,000. Related on WorldViews. By 1944, both Germany and Japan were crippled by a calamitous lack of fuel. The Battle of Kursk had given the Soviets the will and initiative to push back the Wehrmacht and Hitler, despite his early victories, couldn’t muster the strength to make a comeback. Allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world,... Up to Korea ’ s largest campaigns, Nazi Germany and Japan were crippled a! Needs of the War ’ s surrender lament the way the sacrifices of the past inform the muscular nationalism... 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