Westphalia is a region in northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of 7.9 million inhabitants. The region is identical to the Province of Westphalia, a part of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1918 and the Free State of Prussia from 1918 to 1946. In 1946, Westphalia merged with the Northern Rhineland, another former part of Prussia, to form the newly created state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1947, the state with its two historic parts was joined by a third one: Lippe, a former principality and free state. All of the seventeen districts and nine independent cities of Westphalia and Lippe's only district are members of the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association. Previous to the formation of Westphalia as a province of Prussia and state part of North Rhine-Westphalia, the term "Westphalia" was applied to different territories of different sizes such as a part of the ancient Duchy of Saxony, the Duchy of Westphalia or the Kingdom of Westphalia.
The Westphalian language, a variant of the German language, spreads beyond Westphalia's borders into southwestern Lower Saxony and northwestern Hesse. Being a part of the North German Plain, most of Westphalia's north is flat. In the south the German Central Uplands emerge. Westphalia is divided into the following landscapes. Flat to hilly: East Westphalia, Münsterland, eastern Ruhr Metropolitan Area, Tecklenburg Land, Westphalian Hellweg Hilly to mountainous: Westphalian part of the Sauerland, Wittgenstein Westphalia is the region in between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located both north and south of the Ruhr River. Other important rivers are the Lippe; the Langenberg and the Kahler Asten in the Sauerland part of the Rothaar Mountains are Westphalia's and North Rhine-Westphalia's highest mountains. The term "Westphalia" contrasts with the much less used term "Eastphalia", which covers the southeastern part of the present-day state of Lower Saxony, western Saxony-Anhalt and northern Thuringia.
Westphalia is divided into three governmental districts. These are subdivided into independent cities. All districts and independent cities of the governmental districts of Arnsberg and Münster are considered to be a part of Westphalia as a historic region; the District of Lippe as successor of the Free State of Lippe in the Governmental District of Detmold is rather considered to be a separate historic region. The traditional symbol of Westphalia is the Westphalian Steed: a white horse on a red field, it is derived from the Saxon Steed in the coat of arms of the medieval Duchy of Saxony which most of today's Westphalia was part of. In official contexts the coat of arms of Westphalia is being used by the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association, which represents these two historic parts of North Rhine-Westphalia; the coat of arms of North Rhine-Westphalia uses the Westphalian Steed to represent Westphalia as one of its parts alongside the Lippish Rose representing Lippe and the Rhine River representing the Northern Rhineland.
Prussia used the Westphalian Steed in the coat of arms of its Province of Westphalia. The coat of arms of Lower Saxony uses a different version of the Saxon Steed since the state covers large parts of the Old Saxons' duchy; the colors of Westphalia are red. The flag of the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association uses these colors with the Westphalian coat of arms in its center; the flag of North Rhine-Westphalia is a combination of the Northern Rhineland's colors green/white and the Westphalian white/red. The flag of the Prussian Province of Westphalia displayed the colors white and red; the flag of Lower Saxony shows the colors of the Saxon Steed. Composed in Iserlohn in 1886 by Emil Rittershaus, the Westfalenlied is an unofficial anthem of Westphalia. While the Northern Rhineland and Lippe are different historic territories of today's North Rhine-Westphalia, the old border between the former Rhine Province and the Province of Westphalia is a language border. While in Westphalia and Lippe, people tend to speak West Low German dialects and the Westphalian variant of the Low German language, Central German and Low Franconian dialects are being spoken in the Northern Rhineland.
These different regional identities are being emphasized by different majorities of denomination between Roman Catholics and Lutheran Protestants. The different majorities date back to the days of the territorial fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire which existed until 1806; the Münsterland and the region around Paderborn for instance are still Catholic regions because of the former existence of the prince-bishoprics of Münster and Paderborn. The Lutheran Lippe was able to retain its independence as a small state within Germany in the form of a principality until 1918 and as a free state until 1946; this continues to influence the identity of its people who distinguish themselves from neighboring regions such as East Westphalia. In addition to these historic and religious aspects, there are some regional differences in culture and mentality; that is why many of the citizens of North Rhine-Westphalia rather see themselves either as "Rhinelanders", "Westphalians" or "Lippers" rather than as "North Rhine-Westphalians".
Westphalia is known for the 1648 Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, as the two treaties were signed in Münster and Osnabrück. It is one of the regions that were part of all incarnations of the German state since the Early M
The Battle of the Kamenets-Podolsky pocket was part of a greater Soviet "Proskurov-Chernovtsy Operation", whose key goal was to envelop the Wehrmacht's 1st Panzer Army of Army Group South. The envelopment occurred in March 1944 on the Eastern Front during the Second World War; the Red Army created a pocket, trapping some 220,000 German soldiers inside. Under the command of General Hans-Valentin Hube and with the direction of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, the majority of German forces in the pocket were able to fight their way out by mid-April in coordination with the German relief forces led by the 2nd SS Panzer Corps, transferred from France with just months before the Allied D-Day landings. While the majority of the 1st Panzer Army was rescued, it came at the cost of losing the entire heavy equipment and a significant territory while many divisions ended up being shattered formations, which required thorough refitting; this Soviet offensive and the ongoing crisis had absorbed all German strategic reserves that could otherwise be used to repel the future Allied D-Day landings or Soviet Operation Bagration.
All told, 9 infantry and 2 panzer divisions, 1 heavy panzer battalion and 2 assault gun brigades with a total strength of 127,496 troops and 363 tanks/assault guns were transferred from across France, Denmark, Balkans to the Ukraine between March-April 1944. In total, the German forces stationed in France were deprived of a total of 45,827 troops and 363 tanks, assault guns, self-propelled anti-tank guns on 6 June 1944. Although the Soviets were unable to destroy the 1st Panzer Army, they did achieve major operational goals. With the Soviet 1st Tank Army crossing the Dniester river and reaching Chernovtsy near the Carpathian Mountains, the 1st Panzer Army's links with the 8th Army in the south had been cut off; as a result, Army Group South was split into two- north and south of Carpathians. The northern portion was renamed to Army Group North Ukraine, while the southern portion to Army Group South Ukraine, effective from 5 April 1944, although little of Ukraine remained in German hands. For the Wehrmacht defeat, the commander of Army Group South Erich von Manstein was dismissed by Hitler and replaced by Walther Model.
As a result of this split, the Soviets had cut the main supply lifeline of Army Group South- the Lvov-Odessa railway. Now, the southern group of German forces would have to use the long roundabout route through the Balkans, with all of the supplies being rerouted over the Romanian railroads, which were in poor condition. In February 1944, the 1st Panzer Army—commanded by Generaloberst Hans-Valentin Hube—consisted of four Corps, three of which were Panzer Corps. Together with three attached Fourth Panzer Army division, rear service units, Organization Todt personnel, police and assorted forces the 1st Panzer Army included 220,000 men but only 43 operational tanks and 50 assault guns, it was the most powerful formation of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein's Army Group South. The formation's III Panzer Corps had fought extensively in operations to thwart an earlier Soviet attempt to trap and destroy two corps in the Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket,Realizing the significance of the 1st Panzer Army, Soviet Marshal Georgi Zhukov began planning to bring about its destruction with hopes of creating a collapse of the entire South-Eastern Front.
Zhukov planned a multi-Front offensive, involving his own 1st and Marshal Ivan Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front. This force of over eleven armies, including two air armies, was to attempt to outflank and encircle Hube's Army, and, in a repeat of the Battle of Stalingrad, reduce the resulting pocket until all troops in it have surrendered; the operations were to take place on the extreme south of the Army Group South's front. Manstein was informed of large troop movements all across Hube's front and was aware of an impending operation, with Adolf Hitler's refusal to allow strategic withdrawals, there was little he could do; the Soviet offensives began in early March, with Zhukov taking personal command of Vatutin's 1st Ukrainian front. The Red Army's massive concentration in troops and material forced Hube to withdraw his northern flank to south-west until it reached the Dniester river. Despite constant Red Army attacks, this position held until late March. Five Soviet Tank Corps of the 1st and 4th Tank Armies and the 3rd Guards Tank Army penetrated the extreme northern flank of Hube's position east of Ternopil and turned south, advancing behind the 1st Army along the corridor between the Zbruch and Seret rivers.
The force continued toward Chernivtsi. Behind them followed infantry and antitank units which began establishing defensive positions along the path of the advance behind the German positions. With the Soviet advance along the southern flank near the Dniester, the recent Soviet attacks to the north and west and now southwest, the 1st Panzer Army was confined to a salient with a supply line, tenuous. Manstein requested that the position be withdrawn to avoid encirclement, but Hitler refused, persisting with his "no retreat" orders. Hube ordered all non-combat personnel out of the salient along the last remaining open roadway. Seeing this movement to the south Zhukov concluded that Hube was in full retreat. In a matter of days and Konev's forces had crossed the Dniester and were in position to complete the encirclement. On 25 March, the last line of communications corridor out of Hube's bridgehead located on the northern bank of the Dniester was severed at Khotyn; the entire 1st Panzer Army was now encircled in a pocket centered around the city of Kamiane
The Prague Offensive was the last major military operation of World War II in Europe. The offensive was fought on the Eastern Front from 6 May to 11 May 1945. Fought concurrently with the Prague uprising, the offensive was one of the last engagements of World War II in Europe and continued after Nazi Germany's unconditional capitulation on 8 May; the city of Prague was liberated by the USSR during the Prague Offensive. All of the German troops of Army Group Centre and many of Army Group Ostmark were killed or captured, or fell into the hands of the Allies after the capitulation. By the beginning of May 1945, Germany had been decisively defeated by the coalition of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. Germany's capital, was on the verge of capitulation in the face of a massive Soviet attack and the great bulk of Germany had been conquered. However, in southeastern Germany, parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia, there were still large bodies of active German troops of Army Group Centre and the remnants of Army Group Ostmark.
On 2 May 1945, general Alfred Jodl ordered the German forces to avoid being captured by Russia and facilitate the separated negotiation with Western Allies. The German remnant forces continued to resist the USSR 4th and 1st Ukrainian Fronts while only accepting an armistice on the Western Front, and while the German command body lost its centralized control over its armed forces, SS and Gestapo forces were still working at their highest intensity and efficiency. SS officers and commanders were affiliated in command and control of German armed forces in Czechoslovakia, and in contrast to the declining quality of Wehrmacht units in the last days of the war, SS corps still maintained their remarkably high fighting capability. The Nazi regime considered Czechoslovakia and neighboring areas as their last bastion in the event that Berlin fell. Therefore, in 1945 they concentrated many powerful military units in the region, including elements of 6th SS Panzer Army, 1st and 4th Panzer Armies, 7th, 8th and 17th Combined Armies.
Alfred Jodl had ordered the local Nazi regime to prepare numerous fortified buildings which could serve as offices for the new Nazi government and German High Command. From 30 April to 1 May 1945, SS Senior Group Leader and General of Police Karl Hermann Frank announced over the radio in Prague that he would drown any uprising in a "sea of blood". Frank was a general of the Waffen SS; the situation in Prague was unstable. Frank knew. More he was faced with a city population ready to be liberated. At the same time, two divisions of the Russian Liberation Army arrived in the vicinity of Prague; the KONR 1st Division encamped north of the city while the KONR 2nd Division took up positions south of the city. Ostensibly allied with the Germans, the allegiance of the KONR forces would prove to vary depending on the situation they faced. On the Allied side, both Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin saw Prague as a significant prize, the seizure of which could influence the political makeup of postwar Czechoslovakia.
On 1 May 1945, before Berlin was subdued, Stalin issued orders directing the 1st Belorussian Front to relieve the 1st Ukrainian Front in the Berlin area so that the latter could regroup to the south along the Mulde River and drive on Prague. The 2nd Ukrainian Front received orders on 2 May to drive on Prague from the southeast. Stalin was determined to have the Soviet Army present in force in western Czechoslovakia when the German troops there surrendered; the terrain over which the Soviets had to advance was varied, but in the main mountainous and forested. The routes of march of the 1st and 4th Ukrainian Fronts were perpendicular to the orientation of the ridges while the 2nd Ukrainian Front was able to move along a less arduous route in regions of lower elevation that led to Prague. In particular, the 1st Ukrainian Front had to cross the Ore Mountains to advance on Prague from the area north of Dresden and Bautzen; the other significant military terrain obstacle was urban areas, the two largest of which to surmount were Dresden and Prague itself.
With Soviet and U. S. forces pressing in from all sides, Army Group Centre's deployment resembled a horseshoe straddling the historical regions of Bohemia and Moravia. To the west, the 7th Army had been pushed east by operations of the U. S. Sixth Army Group and had become a subordinate command of Army Group Centre. 7th Army was deployed along a north-south axis in western Czechoslovakia. Besides one Panzer division and one Volksgrenadier division, 7th Army had only four other "divisions", two of which were named battle groups while the remaining two were replacement army formations mobilized for combat and filled out with military school staffs and trainees. To the northeast of Prague and just north of Dresden and Bautzen, the 4th Panzer Army defended along a front running southeast. 4th Panzer Army had five Panzer or mechanized divisions as well as 13 other divisions or battle groups. Furthermore, 4th Panzer Army had just won the Battle of Bautzen, damaging the Soviet 52nd and Polish 2nd Armies.
To 4th Panzer Army's right flank was 17th Army. The 17th counted 11 divisions, including one motorized division; these were organized into three corps and deployed in an arc that began about 40 kilometers SW of Breslau and which led to the southeast in the vicinity of Ostrava. From here the front ran southeast to Olomouc, where the 1st Panzer Army was deployed, including a salient that jut
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. Its area is about 40,000 km2, its population about 8,000,000. Silesia is located along the Oder River, it consists of Upper Silesia. The region is rich in mineral and natural resources, includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław; the biggest metropolitan area is the Upper Silesian metropolitan area, the centre of, Katowice. Parts of the Czech city of Ostrava fall within the borders of Silesia. Silesia's borders and national affiliation have changed over time, both when it was a hereditary possession of noble houses and after the rise of modern nation-states; the first known states to hold power there were those of Greater Moravia at the end of the 9th century and Bohemia early in the 10th century. In the 10th century, Silesia was incorporated into the early Polish state, after its division in the 12th century became a Piast duchy.
In the 14th century, it became a constituent part of the Bohemian Crown Lands under the Holy Roman Empire, which passed to the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in 1526. Most of Silesia was conquered by Prussia in 1742 and transferred from Austria to Prussia in the Treaty of Berlin. Silesia became, as a province of Prussia, a part of the German Empire and the subsequent Weimar Republic; the varied history with changing aristocratic possessions resulted in an abundance of castles in Silesia in the Jelenia Góra valley. After World War I, the easternmost part of this region, i.e. an eastern strip of Upper Silesia, was awarded to Poland by the Entente Powers after insurrections by Poles and the Upper Silesian plebiscite. The remaining former Austrian parts of Silesia were partitioned to Czechoslovakia, forming part of Czechoslovakia's German-settled Sudetenland region, are today part of the Czech Republic. In 1945, after World War II, the bulk of Silesia was transferred, on demands of the Polish delegation, to Polish jurisdiction by the Potsdam Agreement of the victorious Allied Powers and became part of Poland.
The small Lusatian strip west of the Oder–Neisse line, which had belonged to Silesia since 1815, remained in Germany. The largest town and cultural centre of this region is Görlitz. Most inhabitants of Silesia today speak the national languages of their respective countries, while before the population shifts after 1945, the majority of Silesia's population spoke German; the population of Upper Silesia is native, while Lower Silesia was settled by a German-speaking population before 1945. An ongoing debate exists whether Silesian speech should be considered a dialect of Polish or a separate language. A Lower Silesian German dialect is used, although today it is extinct, it is used by expellees who relocated to the remaining parts of Germany, as well as by Germans who stayed in their Lower Silesian home. The names of Silesia in the different languages most share their etymology—Latin and English: Silesia; the names all relate to the name of a mountain in mid-southern Silesia. The mountain served as a cultic place.
Ślęża is listed as one of the numerous Pre-Indo-European topographic names in the region. According to some Polish Slavists, the name Ślęża or Ślęż is directly related to the Old Slavic words ślęg or śląg, which means dampness, moisture, or humidity, they disagree with the hypothesis of an origin for the name Śląsk from the name of the Silings tribe, an etymology preferred by some German authors. In the fourth century BC, Celts entered Silesia, settling around Mount Ślęża near modern Wrocław, Oława, Strzelin. Germanic Lugii tribes were first recorded within Silesia in the 1st century. Slavic peoples arrived in the region around the 7th century, by the early ninth century, their settlements had stabilized. Local Slavs started to erect boundary structures like the Silesia Walls; the eastern border of Silesian settlement was situated to the west of the Bytom, east from Racibórz and Cieszyn. East of this line dwelt a related Slav tribe, the Vistulans, their northern border was in the valley of the Barycz River, north of.
The first known states in Silesia were Bohemia. In the 10th century, the Polish ruler Mieszko I of the Piast dynasty incorporated Silesia into the Polish state. During the Fragmentation of Poland and the rest of the country were divided among many independent duchies ruled by various Silesian dukes. During this time, German cultural and ethnic influence increased as a result of immigration from German-speaking parts of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1178, parts of the Duchy of Kraków around Bytom, Oświęcim, Chrzanów, Siewierz were transferred to the Silesian Piasts, although their population was Vistulan and not of Silesian descent. Between 1289 and 1292, Bohemian king Wenceslaus II became suzerain of some of the Upper Silesian duchies. Polish kings had not renounced their hereditary rights to Silesia until 1335; the province became part of the Bohemian Crown under the Holy Roman Empire, passed with that crown to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. In the 15th century
Armoured warfare, mechanised warfare or tank warfare is the use of armoured fighting vehicles in modern warfare. It is a major component of modern methods of war; the premise of armoured warfare rests on the ability of troops to penetrate conventional defensive lines through use of manoeuvre by armoured units. Much of the application of armoured warfare depends on the use of tanks and related vehicles used by other supporting arms such as infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, other combat vehicles, as well as mounted combat engineers and other support units; the doctrine of armoured warfare was developed to break the static nature of World War I trench warfare on the Western Front, return to the 19th century school of thought that advocated manoeuvre and "decisive battle" outcomes in military strategy. Modern armoured warfare began during the First World War with the need to break the tactical and strategic stalemates forced on commanders on the Western Front by the effectiveness of entrenched defensive infantry armed with machine guns—known as trench warfare.
Under these conditions, any sort of advance was very slow and caused massive casualties. The development of the tank was motivated by the need to return manoeuvre to warfare, the only practical way to do so was to provide caterpillar traction to guns allowing them to overcome trenches while at the same time offering them armour protection against small arms fire as they were moving. Tanks were first developed in Britain and France in 1915, as a way of navigating the barbed wire and other obstacles of no-man's land while remaining protected from machine-gun fire. British Mark I tanks first went to action at the Somme, on 15 September 1916, but did not manage to break the deadlock of trench warfare; the first French employment of tanks, on 16 April 1917, using the Schneider CA, was a failure. In the Battle of Cambrai British tanks were more successful, broke a German trenchline system, the Hindenburg Line. Despite the unpromising beginnings, the military and political leadership in both Britain and France during 1917 backed large investments into armoured vehicle production.
This led to a sharp increase in the number of available tanks for 1918. The German Empire to the contrary, produced only a few tanks, late in the war. Twenty German A7V tanks were produced during the entire conflict, compared to over 4,400 French and over 2,500 British tanks of various kinds. Nonetheless, World War I saw the first tank-versus-tank battle, during the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918, when a group of three German A7V tanks engaged a group of three British Mark IV tanks they accidentally met. After the final German Spring Offensives of 1918, Entente tanks were used in mass at the Battle of Soissons and Battle of Amiens, which ended the stalemate imposed by trench warfare on the Western Front, thus ended the war. Tactically, the deployment of armour during the war was typified by a strong emphasis on direct infantry support; the tank's main tasks were seen as crushing barbed wire and destroying machine-gun nests, facilitating the advance of foot soldiers. Theoretical debate focused on the question whether a "swarm" of light tanks should be used for this or a limited number of potent heavy vehicles.
Though in the Battle of Cambrai a large concentration of British heavy tanks effected a breakthrough, it was not exploited by armour. The manoeuvrability of the tank should at least in theory regain armies the ability to flank enemy lines. In practice, tank warfare during most of World War I was hampered by the technical immaturity of the new weapon system causing mechanical failure, limited numbers, general underutilisation, a low speed and a short range. Strategic use of tanks was slow to develop during and after World War I due to these technical limitations but due to the prestige role traditionally accorded to horse-mounted cavalry. An exception, on paper, was the Plan 1919 of Colonel John Fuller, who envisaged using the expected vast increase in armour production during 1919 to execute deep strategic penetrations by mechanised forces consisting of tanks and infantry carried by lorries, supported by aeroplanes, to paralyse the enemy command structure. Following the First World War, the technical and doctrinal aspects of armoured warfare became more sophisticated and diverged into multiple schools of doctrinal thought.
During the 1920s, only few tanks were produced. There were however, important technical developments. Various British and French commanders who had contributed to the origin of the tank, such as Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne, B. H. Liddell Hart and J. F. C. Fuller, theorised about a possible future use of independent armoured forces, containing a large concentration of tanks, to execute deep strategic penetrations. Liddell Hart wrote many books about the subject propagating Fuller's theories; such doctrines were faced with the reality that during the 1920s the armoured vehicles, as early road transport in general, were unreliable, could not be used in sustained operations. Mainstream thought on the subject was more conservative and tried to integrate armoured vehicles into the existing infantry and cavalry organisation and tactics. Technical development focussed on the improvement of the suspension system and engine, to create vehicles that were faster, more reliable and had a better range than their WW I predecessors.
To save weight, such designs had thin armour plating and this inspired fitting small-calibre high-velocity guns in turrets, giving tanks a good antitank capacity. Both France and Britain built specialised infantry tanks, more armoured to provide infantry
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre 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 intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Donetsk is an industrial city in Ukraine on the Kalmius River. The population was estimated at 929,063 in the city, over 2,000,000 in the metropolitan area. According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, Donetsk was the fifth-largest city in Ukraine. Administratively, it has been the centre of Donetsk Oblast, while it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the larger economic and cultural Donets Basin region. Donetsk is adjacent to another major city of Makiivka and along with other surrounding cities forms a major urban sprawl and conurbation in the region. Donetsk has been a major economic and scientific centre of Ukraine with a high concentration of companies and a skilled workforce; the original settlement in the south of the European part of the Russian Empire was first mentioned as Aleksandrovka in 1779, under the Russian Empress Catherine the Great. In 1869, Welsh businessman, John Hughes, built a steel plant and several coal mines in the region. During Soviet times, the city's steel industry was expanded.
In 1924, it was renamed Stalino, in 1932 the city became the centre of the Donetsk region. Renamed Donetsk in 1961, the city today remains the centre for steel industry. Since April 2014, Donetsk and its surrounding areas have been one of the major sites of fighting in the ongoing Donbass War, as pro-Russian separatist forces have battled against Ukrainian military forces for control of the city and surrounding areas. Through the majority of the course of this war, the city of Donetsk has been administered by the pro-Russian separatist forces, with outlying territories of the Donetsk region being divided between the two sides. On June 27, 2014, the unrecognized nation of South Ossetia recognized the Donetsk People's Republic's independence from Ukraine; as of May 8, 2018, the Donetsk People's Republic has full control of the city, with Ukrainian and DPR forces still engaging in combat outside of the city. The city was founded in 1869 when the Welsh businessman John Hughes built a steel plant and several coal mines at Aleksandrovka, in the south of European part of Russia.
It was named Hughesovka. In its early period, it received immigrants from Wales the town of Merthyr Tydfil. By the beginning of the 20th century, Yuzovka had 50,000 inhabitants, had attained the status of a city in 1917; the main district of "Hughezovka" is named English Colony, the British origin of the city is reflected in its layout and architecture. When the Russian Civil War broke out, on 12 February 1918 Yuzovka was part of the Donets-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic; the Republic was disbanded at the 2nd All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets on 20 March 1918 when the independence of the Soviet Ukraine was announced. It failed to achieve recognition, either internationally or by the Russian SFSR, and, in accordance with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, was abolished. In 1924, under the Soviet rule, the city's name was changed to Stalin. In that year, the city's population totaled 63,708, in the next year, 80,085. In 1929–31 the city's name was changed to Stalino; the city did not have a drinking water system until 1931, when a 55.3 km system was laid underground.
In July 1933, the city became the administrative center of the Donetsian Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1933, the first 12 km sewer system was installed, next year the first exploitation of gas was conducted within the city. In addition, some sources state that the city was called Trotsk—after Leon Trotsky—for a few months in 1923. At the beginning of World War II, the population of Stalino consisted of 507,000, after the war, only 175,000; the German invasion during World War II completely destroyed the city, rebuilt on a large scale at the war's end. It was occupied by German and Italian forces as part of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine between 16 October 1941 and 5 September 1943. In 1945, young men and women aged 17 to 35, from the Danube Swabian communities of Yugoslavia and Romania, were forcibly sent to Russia as Allied "war reparations", being put to work as slave labour to rebuild Stalino and to work in its mines; the conditions were so poor that many died from malnutrition. During Nikita Khrushchev's second wave of destalinization in November 1961, the city was renamed Donetsk, after the Seversky Donets River, a tributary of the Don in order to distance it from the former leader Joseph Stalin.
In 1965, the Donetsk Academy of Sciences was established as part of the Academy of Science of the Ukrainian SSR. After experiencing a tough time in the 1990s, when it was the center of gang wars for control over industrial enterprises, Donetsk has modernised in recent years under the influence of big companies. In 1994 a referendum took place in the Donetsk Oblast and the Luhansk Oblast, with around 90% supporting the Russian language gaining status of an official language alongside Ukrainian, for the Russian language to be an official language on a regional level. In the 1990s and the 2000s coal mine collapses took place in Donetsk and the region, taking the lives of hundreds. Ukraine has had a series of mining accidents since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, one reason being given is the linking of miners' pay t