Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich was a commander of the Russian Imperial Army during World War I. He was a leader of the anti-communist White movement in Northwestern Russia during the Civil War. Yudenich was born in Moscow. Yudenich graduated from the Alexandrovsky Military College in 1881 and the General Staff Academy in 1887, he first served with the Life Guards Regiment in Lithuania from November 1889 to December 1890. In January 1892, he was transferred to the Turkestan Military District, was promoted to lieutenant colonel in April 1892, he was a member of the Pamir Expedition in 1894, was promoted to colonel in 1896. From September 20, 1900 Yudenich served on the staff of the 1st Turkestan Rifle Brigade. In 1902, Yudenich was appointed commander of the 18th Infantry Regiment, which he continued to command during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, he was wounded in the arm during the Battle of Sandepu, wounded in the neck during the Battle of Mukden. At the end of the war, he was promoted to major general.
Subsequently, from February 1907, Yudenich served as Quartermaster of the General Staff of the Caucasus Military District. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1912, served as Chief of staff at Kazan, followed by the Caucasus Military District in 1913. At the beginning of World War I Yudenich was appointed Chief of Staff of the Russian Caucasus Army. Major operations included the Battle of Sarikamish, a victory against Enver Pasha of the Ottoman Empire. In January 1915, Yudenich was promoted to General of Infantry, replaced Count Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov as commander of the Caucasus Campaign. Yudenich tried to exploit the Turkish defeat by attacking into Turkish territory around Lake Van during the Siege of Van. While the Russians did capture Van in May 1915, they were forced to withdraw from the city two months later; the Ottoman 3rd Army re-occupied Van in August. At this time, Grand Duke Nicholas, having been removed from command of all of Russia's armies, was put in charge of the Caucasus region.
Yudenich was given a free hand by the Grand Duke and, in September, the Russians retook Van and re-established the Administration for Western Armenia in June 1916. Fighting back and forth around this region continued for the next 14 months without a clear victory for either side. In 1916 Yudenich carried out an offensive, winning the Battle of Erzurum and the Trebizond Campaign. In the summer of that year, his forces fought off a Turkish counter-attack culminating in the Battle of Erzincan. During this battle, Yudenich was awarded the Order of St. George, the final time this decoration was awarded in the Russian Empire. Following the February Revolution, in 1917 Yudenich was appointed commander of the Caucasus Front, but in May the Russian Provisional Government removed him from command for insubordination, on the direct orders from Alexander Kerensky, he retired from the army. Yudenich relocated from Tbilisi to Petrograd, where he supported the Kornilov Revolt. Following the October Revolution of 1917, Yudenich went into hiding from the Bolsheviks, sheltered by a former sergeant of the Life Guards of Lithuania, who had served with Yudenich from his time in the Pamirs.
He managed to escape to exile in Finland in January 1919. In Helsinki, Yudenich joined the "Russian Committee", which had formed in November 1918 to oppose the Bolsheviks, was proclaimed leader of the White movement in northwest Russia with absolute powers. In the spring of 1919 Yudenich visited Stockholm, where he met with diplomatic representatives of Great Britain and the United States, trying with limited success to obtain assistance in developing a Russian volunteer corps to fight the Bolsheviks. In June 1919 Yudenich made contact with Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak's All-Russian Government based in Omsk, which subsequently acknowledged him as commander-in-chief of all Russian armed forces operating against the Bolsheviks in the Baltic Sea and in northwest Russia. Kolchak provided much-needed funds to pay and equip his forces. In June 1919 Yudenich went to Tallinn to meet with General Aleksandr Rodzyanko, the commander of the White Russian Northern Army, attacking Petrograd formally under the Estonian High Command.
Yudenich appointed Rodzyanko as his aide. In August 1919, under pressure from the British government, ad hoc in order to issue a binding guarantee of the independence of his key ally Estonia, Yudenich was forced to create the counterrevolutionary "Regional Government of Northwest Russia", which included Monarchists, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks. Yudenich spent the next two months organizing and training his army. By September 1919 Yudenich had a well-organized army of 17,000 troops, with 53 guns and six tanks; the six tanks were supplied by Great Britain, together with their volunteer crews, who were the only British ground troops to fight alongside the Northwestern Army. In early October 1919, Yudenich launched his army against Petrograd, only defended as the Red Army was engaged on several other fronts: fighting Kolchak's forces in Siberia and several Cossack armies in the Ukraine. Yudenich's friend from the Imperial Russian Army, General Mannerheim, asked the president of Finland, Ståhlberg, to join Yudenich's force and attack Petrograd with help from the Finnish White Guards.
Yudenich would have recognized Finland's independence and the country's pro-Triple Entente relationships would be recognized. As Kolchak would not recognize Finland's independence, Stålhberg denied Mannerheim's request. Overall, the Northwestern Army was
Ivan Stepanovich Konev was a Soviet military commander who led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front during World War II, retook much of Eastern Europe from occupation by the Axis Powers, helped in the capture of Germany's capital, Berlin. In 1956, as the Commander of Warsaw Pact forces, Konev led the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution by Soviet armoured divisions. Konev was born on 28 December 1897 into a peasant family near Podosinovets in Vologda Governorate, he worked as a lumberjack. In the spring of 1916, he was conscripted into the Imperial Russian Army. Konev was sent to the 2nd Heavy Artillery Brigade at Moscow and graduated from artillery training courses. In 1917, he was sent to the 2nd Separate Heavy Artillery Battalion on the Southwestern Front as a junior sergeant and fought in the Kerensky Offensive; when the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917 he was demobilised and returned home, but in 1919 he joined the Bolshevik party and the Red Army, serving as an artilleryman. During the Russian Civil War he served with the Red Army in the Russian Far Eastern Republic.
His commander at this time was Kliment Voroshilov a close colleague of Joseph Stalin and Commissar for defence. This alliance was the key to Konev's subsequent career. In 1926 Konev completed advanced officer training courses at the Frunze Military Academy, between and 1931 he held a series of progressively more senior commands, becoming head of first the Transbaikal the North Caucasus Military Districts. In July 1938 he was appointed commander of the 2nd Red Banner Army. In 1937 he became a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet and in 1939 a candidate member of the Party Central Committee; when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Konev was assigned command of the 19th Army in the Vitebsk region, waged a series of defensive battles during the Red Army's retreat, first to Smolensk and to the approaches to Moscow. He commanded the Kalinin Front from October 1941 to August 1942, playing a key role in the fighting around Moscow and the Soviet counter-offensive during the winter of 1941–42.
For his role in the successful defence of the Soviet capital, Stalin promoted Konev to Colonel-General. In the summer of 1942 Konev led the Kalinin Front and the Western front in the battle on the Rzhev salient. Konev held "Front" commands for the rest of the war, he commanded the Soviet Western Front until February 1943, the North-Western Front February–July 1943, the 2nd Ukrainian Front from July 1943 until May 1945. He participated in the Battle of Kursk, commanding the southern part of the Soviet counter-offensive, the Steppe Front, where he was an active and energetic exponent of maskirovka, the use of military camouflage and deception. Among the maskirovka measures he adopted to achieve tactical surprise were the camouflaging of defence lines and depots. In David Glantz's view, Konev's forces "generated a major portion of the element of surprise"; the result was that the Germans underestimated the strength of the Soviet defences. The commander of 19 Panzer, General G. Schmidt, wrote that "We did not assume that there was one fourth of what we had to encounter".
After the victory at Kursk, Konev's armies retook Belgorod, Odessa and Kiev. The subsequent Korsun–Shevchenkovsky Offensive led to the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February 1944; the offensive was part of the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In it, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, commanded by Nikolai Vatutin and Konev, trapped German forces of Army Group South in a pocket or cauldron west of the Dnieper river. During weeks of fighting, the two Red Army Fronts tried to eradicate the pocket. According to Milovan Djilas, Konev boasted of his killing of thousands of German prisoners of war: "The cavalry finished them off.'We let the Cossacks cut up as long as they wished. They hacked off the hands of those who raised them to surrender' the Marshal recounted with a smile." For his achievements in Ukraine, Konev was promoted by Stalin to Marshal of the Soviet Union in February 1944. He was one of Stalin's favourite generals and one of the few senior commanders whom Stalin admired for his ruthlessness.
During 1944 Konev's armies advanced from Ukraine and Belarus into Poland and into Czechoslovakia. In May he participated in an unsuccessful invasion of the Balkans, together with Generals Rodion Malinovsky and Fyodor Tolbukhin. By July he had advanced to the Vistula River in central Poland, was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. In September 1944 his forces, now designated the Fourth Ukrainian Front, advanced into Slovakia and helped the Slovak partisans in their rebellion against German occupation. In January 1945 Konev, together with Georgy Zhukov, commanded the Soviet armies which launched the massive winter offensive in western Poland, driving the German forces from the Vistula to the Oder River. In southern Poland his armies seized Kraków. Soviet historians, Russian sources, claimed that Konev preserved Kraków from Nazi-planned destruction by ordering a lightning attack on the city. Konev's January 1945 offensive prevented planned destruction of the Silesian industry by the retreating Germans.
In April his troops, together with the 1st Belorussian Front under his competitor, Marshal Zhukov, forced the line of
East Prussian Offensive
The East Prussian Offensive was a strategic offensive by the Soviet Red Army against the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front. It lasted from 13 January to 25 April 1945; the Battle of Königsberg was a major part of the offensive. The East Prussian Offensive is known to German historians as the Second East Prussian Offensive; the First East Prussian Offensive, took place from 16–27 October 1944, was carried out by the 3rd Belorussian Front under General I. D. Chernyakhovsky as part of the Memel Offensive of the 1st Baltic Front; the Soviet forces took heavy casualties while penetrating 30–60 km into east-northern part of Poland, the offensive was postponed until greater reserves could be gathered. The main thrust of the offensive was to be conducted by the 3rd Belorussian Front under Ivan Chernyakhovsky, his forces were tasked with driving westwards towards Königsberg, against the defensive positions of the 3rd Panzer Army and 4th Army, the northern armies of General Georg-Hans Reinhardt's Army Group Centre.
From the north, on Chernyakhovsky's right flank, General Hovhannes Bagramyan's 1st Baltic Front would attack the positions of the 3rd Panzer Army on the Neman, as well as crushing its small bridgehead at Memel. Chernyakhovsky's left flank would be supported by the 2nd Belorussian Front of Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky, ordered to push north-west to the Vistula, through the lines of the 2nd Army, thereby sealing off the whole of East Prussia; the Soviet offensive began on 13 January with a heavy preparatory bombardment. At first, the Red Army made disappointing progress. Over the next five days, the Soviets managed to advance only a further 20 km, at the cost of high casualties. After two weeks of severe fighting, the Red Army began making steady progress, although again, this came at the price of high losses. Over the next few days, the 3rd Panzer Army of General Erhard Raus was destroyed or withdrew into Königsberg, while General Friedrich Hossbach′s 4th Army began to find itself outflanked.
Against fierce resistance, Rokossovsky attacked across the Narew on 14 January. This sudden change of direction caught Hossbach by surprise. On 24 January, Rokossovsky's leading tank units had reached the shore of the Vistula Lagoon, severing land communications with the rest of German armed forces for the entire 4th Army along with several divisions of the 2nd Army which were now trapped in a pocket centered on East Prussia. On the same day, Hossbach began to pull his units back from the fortified town of Lötzen—a center of the East Prussian defence system—and through a series of forced marches attempted to break out westward. In the meantime, Chernyakhovsky had succeeded in rolling up the defences from the East, pushing the remnants of the 3rd Panzer Army into Königsberg and Samland. On 28 January, Bagramyan's forces captured Memel. With the remnants of Army Group Centre contained, Soviet forces could concentrate on reducing the German forces in Pomerania and eliminating any possible threat to the northern flank of their eventual advance on Berlin.
Reinhardt and Hossbach—who had attempted to break out of East Prussia and save their troops—were relieved of command, the Army Group was placed under the command of General Lothar Rendulic. Reinhardt gave up his command with the words "There is nothing more to say". Raus and the staff of the destroyed 3rd Panzer Army were assigned to a new formation; the defending forces, in the meantime, were besieged in three pockets by Chernyakhovsky's armies: Some 15 divisions of the 4th Army had become encircled on the shore of the Vistula Lagoon in what became known as the Heiligenbeil Pocket. After bitter fighting, these units were overcome on 29 March; the remnants of 3rd Panzer Army—placed under 4th Army's command—became isolated in the Siege of Königsberg. The city was taken by the Soviets—after massive casualties on both sides—on 9 April. After this point the remaining German forces around the Bight of Danzig were reorganised into Armee Ostpreußen under the overall command of Dietrich von Saucken; the third group of German forces—the XXVIII Army Corps or Armeeabteilung Samland under General Hans Gollnick—occupied the Samland Peninsula, where the port of Pillau was retained as the last effective evacuation point for the area.
The last elements were cleared from Pillau on 25 April in the Samland Offensive. After this time, German forces continued to resist on the Vistula Spit, the long sandbar enclosing the Vistula Lagoon, until the end of the war. Evacuation of East Prussia Battle of Königsberg Prussian Nights Vistula–Oder Offensive Operation Hannibal, the evacuation effort by the Kriegsmarine East Pomeranian Offensive, the parallel Soviet offensives in Pomerania Strategic operations of the Red Army in World War II Beevor, Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Penguin Books, ISBN 0-670-88695-5 Duffy, Red Storm on the Reich: The Soviet March on Germany, 1945, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-22829-8 Glantz, David M..
Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus, situated on the Svislač and the Nyamiha Rivers. As the national capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region and Minsk District; the population in January 2018 was 1,982,444. Minsk is the administrative capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States and seat of its Executive Secretary; the earliest historical references to Minsk date to the 11th century, when it was noted as a provincial city within the Principality of Polotsk. The settlement developed on the rivers. In 1242, Minsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, it received town privileges in 1499. From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodeship, in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, it was part of a region annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union.
Minsk will host the 2019 European Games. The Old East Slavic name of the town was Мѣньскъ; the direct continuation of this name in Belarusian is Miensk. The resulting form of the name, was taken over both in Russian and Polish, under the influence of Russian it became official in Belarusian. However, some Belarusian-speakers continue to use Miensk as their preferred name for the city; when Belarus was under Polish rule, the names Mińsk Litewski'Minsk of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania' and Mińsk Białoruski'Minsk in Belarus' were used to differentiate this place name from Mińsk Mazowiecki'Minsk in Masovia'. In modern Polish, Mińsk without an attribute refers to the city in Belarus, about 50 times bigger than Mińsk Mazowiecki; the area of today's Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century AD. The Svislach River valley was the settlement boundary between two Early East Slav tribes – the Krivichs and Dregovichs. By 980, the area was incorporated into the early medieval Principality of Polotsk, one of the earliest East Slav principalities of Old Rus' state.
Minsk was first mentioned in the name form Měneskъ in the Primary Chronicle for the year 1067 in association with the Battle on the River Nemiga. 1067 is now accepted as the founding year of Minsk. City authorities consider the date of 3 March 1067, to be the exact founding date of the city, though the town had existed for some time by then; the origin of the name is unknown but there are several theories. In the early 12th century, the Principality of Polotsk disintegrated into smaller fiefs; the Principality of Minsk was established by one of the Polotsk dynasty princes. In 1129, the Principality of Minsk was annexed by the dominant principality of Kievan Rus. By 1150, Minsk rivaled Polotsk as the major city in the former Principality of Polotsk; the princes of Minsk and Polotsk were engaged in years of struggle trying to unite all lands under the rule of Polotsk. Minsk escaped the Mongol invasion of Rus in 1237–1239. In 1242, Minsk became a part of the expanding Grand Duchy of Lithuania, it joined peacefully and local elites enjoyed high rank in the society of the Grand Duchy.
In 1413, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland entered into a union. Minsk became the centre of Minsk Voivodship. In 1441, the Polish-Lithuanian prince and future king Casimir IV included Minsk in a list of cities enjoying certain privileges, in 1499, during the reign of his son, Alexander I Jagiellon, Minsk received town privileges under Magdeburg law. In 1569, after the Union of Lublin, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland merged into a single state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Afterwards, a Polish community including government clerks and craftsmen settled in Minsk. By the middle of the 16th century, Minsk was an important economic and cultural centre in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, it was an important centre for the Eastern Orthodox Church. Following the Union of Brest, both the Uniate church and the Roman Catholic Church increased in influence. In 1655, Minsk was conquered by troops of Tsar Alexei of Russia. Russians governed the city until 1660 when it was regained by King of Poland.
By the end of the Polish-Russian War, Minsk had just 300 houses. The second wave of devastation occurred during the Great Northern War, when Minsk was occupied in 1708 and 1709 by the army of Charles XII of Sweden and by the army of Peter the Great; the last decades of the Polish rule involved decline or slow development, since Minsk had become a small provincial town of little economic or military significance. Minsk was annexed by Russia in 1793 as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. In 1796, it became the centre of the Minsk Governorate. All of the initial street names were replaced by Russian names, though the spelling of the city's name remained unchanged, it was occupied by the Grande Armée during French invasion of Russia in 1812. Throughout the 19th century, the city continued to grow and improve. In the 1830s, major streets and squares of Minsk were paved. A first public library was opened in 1836, a fire brigade was put into operation in 1837. In 1838, the first
Estonian War of Independence
The Estonian War of Independence known as the Estonian Liberation War, was a defensive campaign of the Estonian Army and its allies, most notably the White Russian Northwestern Army and the United Kingdom, against the Soviet Western Front offensive and the aggression of the Baltische Landeswehr. It was fought in connection with the Russian Civil War during 1918–1920; the campaign was the struggle of Estonia for its sovereignty in the aftermath of World War I. It was concluded in the Treaty of Tartu. In November 1917, upon the disintegration of the Russian Empire, a diet of the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia, the Estonian Provincial Assembly, elected in the spring of that year, proclaimed itself the highest authority in Estonia. Soon thereafter, the Bolsheviks dissolved the Estonian Provincial Assembly and temporarily forced the pro-independence Estonians underground in the capital Tallinn. A few months using the interval between the Red Army's retreat and the arrival of the Imperial German Army, the Salvation Committee of the Estonian National Council Maapäev issued the Estonian Declaration of Independence in Tallinn on 24 February 1918 and formed the Estonian Provisional Government.
This first period of independence was short-lived, as the German troops entered Tallinn the following day. The German authorities recognized neither the provisional government, nor its claim for Estonia's independence, counting them as a self-styled group usurping sovereign rights of the Baltic nobility. After the German Revolution with the capitulation of Imperial Germany, between the 11 and 14 November 1918, the representatives of Germany formally handed over political power to the Estonian Provisional Government. On 16 November the provisional government called for voluntary mobilization and began to organize the Estonian Army, with Konstantin Päts as Minister of War, Major General Andres Larka as the chief of staff, Major General Aleksander Tõnisson as commander of the Estonian Army consisting of one division. In late November 1918, Soviet forces moved against Estonia. On 28 November 1918, the 6th Red Rifle Division struck the border town of Narva, which marked the beginning of the Estonian War of Independence.
The 6th Red Rifle Division attacked with 7,000 infantry, 22 field guns, 111 machine guns, an armored train, two armored vehicles, two airplanes, the Bogatyr class cruiser Oleg supported by two destroyers. The town was defended by men of the Estonian Defence League and Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 405 of the German Army. The Reds captured Narva on 29 November, the Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 405 withdrew westwards. The Soviet 2nd Novgorod Division opened a second front south of Lake Peipus, with 7,000 infantry, 12 field guns, 50 machine guns, two armored trains, three armored vehicles. Estonian military forces at the time consisted of 2,000 men with light weapons and about 14,500 poorly armed men in the Estonian Defence League; the end of November 1918 saw the formation of the Baltic Battalion a mounted machine-gun company plus infantry. Estonia's Baltic German minority provided a sizable troop of volunteer militia for the Battalion, one of the first fighting units of the Estonian Army, maintained staunch loyalty to the authority of the Republic.
This contrasts with the Baltische Landeswehr in Latvia. The 49th Red Latvian Rifle Regiment took the Valga railway junction on 18 December and the city of Tartu on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, the 6th Red Rifle Division captured the Tapa railway junction, advancing to within 34 kilometers of the nation's capital Tallinn. Estonian Bolsheviks declared the Estonian Workers' Commune in Narva. By the end of the year, the 7th Red Army controlled Estonia along the front line 34 kilometers east of Tallinn, west from Tartu and south of Ainaži. Colonel Johan Laidoner was appointed Commander in chief of the Estonian armed forces, he recruited 600 officers and 11,000 volunteers by 23 December 1918. He reorganized the forces by setting up the 2nd Division in Southern Estonia under the command of Colonel Viktor Puskar, along with commando units, such as the Tartumaa Partisan Battalion and the Kalevi Malev Battalion; the national government obtained foreign assistance. On 5 December, Finland delivered 20 field guns along with ammunition.
A British Royal Navy squadron commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair arrived at Tallinn on 31 December, delivered 6,500 rifles, 200 machine guns, two field guns. The squadron captured two Russian destroyers and Avtroil, turned them over to Estonia, which renamed them Vambola and Lennuk. On 2 January, Finnish volunteer units with 2,000 men arrived in Estonia. Three armored trains were built in Tallinn under the command of Captain Anton Irv. By the beginning of 1919, the Estonian Army had increased its ranks to a total of 13,000 men, with 5,700 on the front facing 8,000 Soviets; the strengthened Estonian Army stopped the 7th Red Army's advance in its tracks between 2 and 5 January 1919 and went on the counter-offensive on 7 January. Tapa was liberated two days in a campaign highlighted by the implementation of the successful "soomusrongid"; this turn of events was swiftly followed by the liberation of the sizable town of Rakvere on 12 January. In liberating Narva, a 1,000-strong Finnish-Estonian force landed at Utria to the rear of the Soviet 6th Rifle Division on 17 January.
In so doing, retreat eastward for the Soviet forces was precluded. The following day Narva was liberated. Consequent to this the northeastern front stabilized along the Narva river. Within 11 days, the 1st Division h
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, 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. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or 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 and the two wars merged in 1941; 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 fo
Arkhangelsk known in English as Archangel and Archangelsk, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, in the north of European Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea; the city spreads for over 40 kilometers along the banks of the river and numerous islands of its delta. Arkhangelsk was the chief seaport of medieval and early modern Russia until 1703. A 1,133-kilometer-long railway runs from Arkhangelsk to Moscow via Vologda and Yaroslavl, air travel is served by the Talagi Airport and a smaller Vaskovo Airport; as of the 2010 Census, the city's population was 348,783, down from 356,051 recorded in the 2002 Census, further down from 415,921 recorded in the 1989 Census. The arms of the city display the Archangel Michael in the act of defeating the Devil. Legend states that this victory took place near where the city stands, hence its name, that Michael still stands watch over the city to prevent the Devil's return. Vikings knew the area around Arkhangelsk as Bjarmaland.
Ohthere of Hålogaland told circa 890 of his travels in an area by a river and the White Sea with many buildings. This was the place known as Arkhangelsk. According to Snorri Sturluson, Vikings led by Thorir Hund raided this area in 1027. In 1989, an unusually impressive silver treasure was found by local farm workers by the mouth of Dvina, right next to present-day Arkhangelsk, it was buried in the beginning of the 12th century, contained articles that may have been up to two hundred years old at that time. Most of the findings comprised a total of 1.6 kilograms of silver in the form of coins. Jewelry and pieces of jewelry come from Russia or neighboring areas; the majority of the coins were German, but the hoard included a smaller number of Kufan, Bohemian, Danish and Norwegian coins. It is hard to place this find until further research is completed. There are at least two possible interpretations, it may be a treasure belonging to the society outlined by the Norse source material. Such finds, whether from Scandinavia, the Baltic area, or Russia, are tied to well-established agricultural societies with considerable trade activity.
Alternatively, like the Russian scientists who published the find in 1992, one may see it as evidence of a stronger case of Russian colonization than thought. In the 12th century, the Novgorodians established the Archangel Michael Monastery in the estuary of the Northern Dvina River; the main trade center of the area at that time was Kholmogory, located 75 kilometers southeast of Arkhangelsk, up the Dvina River, about 10 kilometers downstream from where the Pinega River flows into the Dvina. Written sources indicate that Kholmogory existed early in the 12th century, but there is no archeological material to illuminate the early history of the town, it is not known whether the origin of this settlement was Russian, or if it goes back to pre-Russian times. In the center of the small town, there today is a large mound of building remains and river sand, but it has not been archeologically excavated; the area of Arkhangelsk came to be important in the rivalry between Norwegian and Russian interests in the northern areas.
From Novgorod, the spectrum of Russian interest was extended far north to the Kola Peninsula in the 12th century. However, here Norway enforced rights to the fur trade. A compromise agreement entered in 1251 was soon broken. In 1411, Yakov Stepanovich from Novgorod went to attack Northern Norway; this was the beginning of a series of clashes. In 1419, Norwegian ships with five hundred soldiers entered the White Sea; the "Murmaners", as the Norwegians were called, plundered many Russian settlements along the coast, among them the Archangel Michael Monastery. Novgorod managed to drive the Norwegians back. However, in 1478 the area was taken over by Ivan III and passed to the Grand Duchy of Moscow with the rest of the Novgorod Republic. Three English ships set out to find the Northeast passage to China in 1553. Ivan the Terrible found out about this, brokered a trade agreement with the ship's captain, Richard Chancellor. Trade privileges were granted to English merchants in 1555, leading to the founding of the Company of Merchant Adventurers, which began sending ships annually into the estuary of the Northern Dvina.
Dutch merchants started bringing their ships into the White Sea from the 1560s. Scottish and English merchants traded in the 16th century. In 1584 Ivan ordered the founding of New Kholmogory. At the time access to the Baltic Sea was still controlled by Sweden, so while Arkhangelsk was icebound in winter, it remained Moscow's sole link to the sea-trade. Local inhabitants, called Pomors, were the first to explore trade routes to Northern Siberia as far as the trans-Urals city of Mangazeya and beyond. In December 1613, during the Time of Troubles, Arkhangelsk was besieged by Polish-Lithuanian marauders commanded by Stanislaw Jasinski, who failed to capture the fortified town. In 1619 and in 1637 a fire broke out, the complete city was burned down. In 1693, Peter the Great ordered the creation of a state shipyard in Arkhangelsk. A year the ships Svyatoye Prorochestvo, Apostol Pavel, the yacht Svyatoy Pyotr were sailing in the White Sea. However, he r