Saturday, December 12, 2015

Eastern Front Battlefield Relics from Russian Bunkers, Lakes & Forests (28 Pics)

The war on the Eastern Front, known to Russians as the “Great Patriotic War”, was the scene of the largest military confrontation in history. Over the course of four years, more than 400 Red Army and German divisions clashed in a series of operations along a front that extended more than 1,000 miles. Some 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians and nearly 4 million German troops lost their lives along the Eastern Front during those years of brutality. The warfare there was total and ferocious, encompassing the largest armored clash in history (Battle of Kursk) and the most costly siege on a modern city (nearly 900 days in Leningrad), as well as scorched earth policies, utter devastation of thousands of villages, mass deportations, mass executions, and countless atrocities attributed to both sides.
Between June 1941 and May 1945, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union engaged in a cataclysmic struggle on World War II’s Eastern Front.

The resulting war was one of the largest and deadliest military duels in all of human history, and ultimately turned the tables on the Nazi conquest of Europe.

It was also a conflict marked by strategic blunders, mass atrocities and human suffering on a previously unimaginable scale.

Despite their ideological antipathy, both Germany and the Soviet Union shared a common dislike for the outcome of World War I.

The Soviet Union had lost substantial territory in eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where it gave in to German demands and ceded control of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Finland, among others, to the “Central Powers”.

Subsequently, when Germany in its turn surrendered to the Allies and these territories were liberated under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Russia was in a civil war condition and the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government.

The Soviet Union would not be formed for another four years, so no Russian representation was present.

The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was a non-aggression agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that 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.

Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would return to Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided.

Adolf Hitler had declared his intention to invade the Soviet Union on 11 August 1939 to Carl Jacob Burckhardt, League of Nations Commissioner by saying, “Everything I undertake is directed against the Russians.

If the West is too stupid and blind to grasp this, then I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West and then after their defeat turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces.

I need the Ukraine so that they can’t starve us out, as happened in the last war.

Germany’s invasion of Russia was the largest surprise attack in military history, but according to most sources, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise at all.

While the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had signed a famous non-aggression pact in August 1939, many anticipated that Adolf Hitler had designs on attacking the Russians—whom he viewed as an inferior race—as soon as the time was right.

Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf (1925) for the necessity of Lebensraum (“living space”): acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, in particular in Russia.

He envisaged settling Germans there, as according to Nazi ideology the Germanic people constituted the “master race”, while exterminating or deporting most of the existing inhabitants to Siberia and using the remainder as slave labour.

Hitler as early as 1917 had referred to the Russians as inferior, believing that the Bolshevik Revolution had put the Jews in power over the mass of Slavs, who were, in Hitler’s opinion, incapable of ruling themselves but instead being ruled by Jewish masters.

Hard-line Nazis in Berlin (like Himmler) saw the war against the Soviet Union as a struggle between the ideologies Nazism and Jewish Bolshevism.

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