150th Rifle Division
The 150th Idritsa-Berlin Order of Kutuzov 2nd Class Motor Rifle Division of the Russian Ground Forces was re-instituted in 2016. It is part of the 8th Guards Army, re-instituted in 2017, its Red Army′s predecessor fought on the Eastern Front of World War II from 1941 to 1945. It gained fame as a formation, whose soldiers raised the Soviet flag over the Reichstag shortly before the end of the war; the nickname ‘Idritskaya’ was given to the Soviet division on July 23, 1944, by the order № 207 for its heroic battle in the town of Idritsa. The Division fought at Berlin; the Division was formed three times, being established at Vyazma in September 1939. As part of the 3rd Army's 3rd Rifle Corps, the division took part in the Soviet Invasion of Poland. Force Composition 469th Rifle Regiment 674th Rifle Regiment 756th Rifle Regiment 328th Light Artillery Regiment 418th Howitzer RegimentOperating as part of the 9th Army on 22 June 1941 after the Second Battle of Kharkov, was wiped out at Izyum in May 1942.
The division was reformed at Turga in the Siberian Military District on July 23, 1942, based on the 1st Siberian Volunteer Division. The unit was made up of over 10,000 men from Siberian factories and the Kuzbass coal fields and had a cadre of 1,460 combat veterans. By September 1 it had enlisted 13,754 personnel, 43.8 percent of whom were Communist Party members or Komsomols. Within two weeks it was assigned to the 6th "Siberian Volunteer" Rifle Corps and began moving by rail to camps near Moscow where it received the last of its support troops and transport. On September 30, the 150th set out on a 170km road march to join the 22nd Army near Belyi in Kalinin Front. During the Second Rzhev-Sychevka Offensive the 150th Division and the 6th Rifle Corps were referred to as "Stalin" units and were regarded as an elite force. On January 6, 1943, the division was pulled from the line and moved by rail to the Velikiye Luki area, where it served in the 5th Guards Rifle Corps during the last few days of the battle for that city on the 25th staged an assault crossing of the Lovat and Loknya Rivers.
By the middle of February it was back in 6th Corps in 22nd Army. Over the next two months it fought in the Kholm area, pinning down the German forces evacuating from the Demyansk Pocket. On April 16 the Supreme High Command recognized the service of the 6th "Siberian Volunteer" Rifle Corps by re-designating it as the 19th Guards Rifle Corps, three days the 150th became the second formation of the 22nd Guards Rifle Division, it was re-created for the third time in September 1943. When formed for the third time, it was composed of the 127th, 144th, 151st brigades; this division fell under the command of the 34th Army. But during some time in early 1944, it was transferred to the 6th Guards Army, finally it was assigned to the 79th Rifle Corps of the 3rd Shock Army, of the 1st Belorussian Front, under which it would stay on the offensive all the way from Nevel, Pskov Oblast to Berlin. On April 22, 1945, when victory for the Soviet Army was near, an order from the Military Council of the 3rd Shock Army designated the 150th Division to be one of 9 divisions to receive a special banner for the purpose of raising it over the Reichstag as a sign of the Soviet victory.
Red Army photographer Yevgeny Khaldei took the picture of soldiers Kovaliev and another comrade of the Division's 756th Rifle Regiment hoisting the flag on April 30, 1945, on the roof of the Reichstag building. An earlier flag had been raised the day before while the building was being fought over with remaining German soldiers. However, as the flag was raised after dusk, there was no chance to take a picture. After taking the shot with the flag Khaldei rushed back to Moscow, it was decided that the true persons on the photo and his comrade, were not politically correct. So they became Mikhail Yegorov. On April 26, 1945, for its heroic overnight victory at lake Voshvanzee 150th Rifle Division was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, second degree. In December 1946 the division was disbanded in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.15 personnel were awarded the Gold Star Medal as Heroes of the Soviet Union, while a veteran of the unit was given the Gold Star Medal as a Hero of Ukraine in 2005. The unit was re-established in December 2016 in Rostov Oblast as a full motor rifle division with its division HQ scheduled to open in Novocherkassk and was meant to become part of the to-be-reactivated 8th Guards Army, as part of the broader structural reform of the Russian armed forces.
The division was equipped with T-90A MBTs, BMP-3 IFVs and BTR-80 APCs, contains as-yet undisclosed infantry, artillery and SAM regiments, as well as communications and intelligence units. The division's re-formation was completed by 2017. In 2018, Russian president Putin signed decrees naming some of the division's units after localities in Belarus and Ukraine. Organization as of 2017Division HQ 102nd Slonim-Pomeransk Motor Rifle Regiment 103rd Motor Rifle Regiment 68th Guards Zhytomyr-Berlin Tank Regiment 163rd Guards Nizhyn Tank Regiment 381st Guards Warsaw Artillery Regiment 993rd Upper Dnipro Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment 174th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion Separate Anti-Tank Artillery Battalion 539th Separate Engineers Battalion 258th Separate Signal Battalion 293rd Separate Materiel Battalion Separate Medical Battalion Separate Electronic Warfare Company Separate UAV Company Separate NBC protection company Major-general Sergei Alekseyevich Kniazkov Major-general Alexander Ivanovich Pastrevich Major-general Daniil G
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established after the 1917 October Revolution; the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; the Red Army provided the largest land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II, its invasion of Manchuria assisted the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan. During operations on the Eastern Front, it accounted for 75–80% of casualties the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS suffered during the war and captured the Nazi German capital, Berlin. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote: "There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, and, to create a people's militia and to fuse it with the army."
At the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. 23% of the male population of the Russian Empire were mobilized. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters, 1.8 million dead, 5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners. He estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million. While the Imperial Russian Army was being taken apart, "it became apparent that the rag-tag Red Guard units and elements of the imperial army who had gone over the side of the Bolsheviks were quite inadequate to the task of defending the new government against external foes." Therefore, the Council of People's Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918. They envisioned a body "formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes." All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible. Its role being the defense "of the Soviet authority, the creation of a basis for the transformation of the standing army into a force deriving its strength from a nation in arms, furthermore, the creation of a basis for the support of the coming Socialist Revolution in Europe."
Enlistment was conditional upon "guarantees being given by a military or civil committee functioning within the territory of the Soviet Power, or by party or trade union committees or, in extreme cases, by two persons belonging to one of the above organizations." In the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a "collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary." Because the Red Army was composed of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations and assistance with farm work. Some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army. If they were turned away they would prepare care-packages. In some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army; the Council of People's Commissars appointed itself the supreme head of the Red Army, delegating command and administration of the army to the Commissariat for Military Affairs and the Special All-Russian College within this commissariat. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy.
Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as people's commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars. At a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked: "We have no army; the demoralized soldiers are fleeing, panic-stricken, as soon as they see a German helmet appear on the horizon, abandoning their artillery and all war material to the triumphantly advancing enemy. The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies. We have no power to stay the enemy; the Russian Civil War occurred in three periods: October 1917 – November 1918: From the Bolshevik Revolution to the First World War Armistice, developed from the Bolshevik government's nationalization of traditional Cossack lands in November 1917. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledin's Volunteer Army in the River Don region; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics.
The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, in which twelve foreign countries supported anti-Bolshevik militias. A series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. January 1919 – November 1919: Initially the White armies advanced: from the south, under General Anton Denikin; the Whites defeated the Red Army on each front. Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked: the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchak's army in June, the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-Nove
XXXXI Panzer Corps
XXXXI Panzer Corps was a Panzer corps in the German Army during World War II. The corps was formed, as the XXXXI Corps, on 5 February 1940 in Wehrkreis VIII as "Armeekorps". Reorganised as a Panzer Corps, it was known as the XXXXI Panzer Corps and was commanded by General Georg-Hans Reinhardt. In the May 1940 Battle of France, the XXXXI Panzer Corps was one of the three Panzerkorps that broke through the Ardennes in the Battle of Sedan and drove west to the sea at Abbeville. In June 1941, the XXXXI Panzer Corps was deployed on the Eastern Front for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, it defeated the Soviet 3rd Mechanised & 12th Mechanised Corps in the Battle of Raseiniai in late June, which destroyed more than 300 Soviet tanks and led the advance of Army Group North to the outskirts of Leningrad in October. It was reorganised in 1942; the XXXXI Panzer Corps fought at Bely, in the anti-partisan operations at Nikitinka, Yartsevo and Dukhovshchina. In March 1943, the corps fought at Smolensk and Bryansk.
In April 1943, it fought in Ponyri. The XXXXI Panzer Corps fought at the Battle of Kursk. During this period it transferred several times between the 2nd Panzer Armies. In June / July 1944 the corps was destroyed during the Soviet summer offensive, Operation Bagration, required complete rebuilding; as part of the reconstructed 4th Army, it faced the East Prussian Offensive during January 1945. After a week of heavy fighting, its divisions were encircled in the Heiligenbeil pocket on the Baltic coast, where they were destroyed in March. Lieutenant General Georg-Hans Reinhardt - 5 February 1940 - 5 October 1941 Lieutenant General Otto-Ernst Ottenbacher - 5 October - 1 November 1941 General of Panzer Troops Walther Model - 1 November 1941 - 10 January 1942 General of Panzer Troops Josef Harpe - 10 January 1942 - 15 October 1943 General of Artillery Helmuth Weidling - 15 October 1943 - 19 June 1944 Lieutenant-General Edmund Hoffmeister - 19 June - 1 July 1944 General of Artillery Helmuth Weidling - 1 July 1944 - 10 April 1945 Lieutenant-General Wend von Wietersheim - 10–19 April 1945 Lieutenant-General Rudolf Holste - 19 April - 8 May 1945 Samuel W. Mitcham: The Panzer Legions.
Stackpole Books ISBN 0-8117-3353-X
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe; the designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the used term Reichswehr, was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler's most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern offensively-capable armed force, fulfilling the Nazi regime's long-term goals of regaining lost territory as well as gaining new territory and dominating its neighbors; this required the reinstatement of conscription, massive investment and defense spending on the arms industry. The Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany's politico-military power. In the early part of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht employed combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what became known as a Blitzkrieg, its campaigns in France, the Soviet Union, North Africa are regarded as acts of boldness.
At the same time, the far-flung advances strained the Wehrmacht's capacity to the breaking point, culminating in the first major defeat in the Battle of Moscow. The operational art was no match to the war-making abilities of the Allied coalition, making the Wehrmacht's weaknesses in strategy and logistics apparent. Cooperating with the SS and the Einsatzgruppen, the German armed forces committed numerous war crimes and atrocities, despite denials and promotion of the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht; the majority of the war crimes were committed in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Italy, as part of the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, the Holocaust and Nazi security warfare. During the war about 18 million men served in the Wehrmacht. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, German forces had lost 11,300,000 men, about half of whom were missing or killed during the war. Only a few of the Wehrmacht's upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.
The majority of the three million Wehrmacht soldiers who invaded the USSR participated in committing war crimes. The German term "Wehrmacht" stems from the compound word of German: wehren, "to defend" and Macht, "power, force", it has been used to describes any nation's armed forces. The Frankfurt Constitution of 1849 designated all German military forces as the "German Wehrmacht", consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that: "The Reich's President holds supreme command of all armed forces of the Reich". From 1919, Germany's national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name, dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, the armed forces were dubbed Friedensheer. In March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420,000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr; the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, in June, Germany signed the treaty that, among other terms, imposed severe constraints on the size of Germany's armed forces.
The army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, twelve destroyers. Submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921. General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty; the Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, retained only the most capable officers. The American historians Alan Millet and Williamson Murray wrote "In reducing the officers corps, Seeckt chose the new leadership from the best men of the general staff with ruthless disregard for other constituencies, such as war heroes and the nobility". Seeckt's determination that the Reichswehr be an elite cadre force that would serve as the nucleus of an expanded military when the chance for restoring conscription came led to the creation of a new army, based upon, but different from, the army that existed in World War I.
In the 1920s, Seeckt and his officers developed new doctrines that emphasized speed, combined arms and initiative on the part of lower officers to take advantage of momentary opportunities. Though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air force by the Versailles treaty; these officers saw the role of an air force as winning air superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations; the leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, a close protégé of Alfred von Tirpitz, was dedicated to the idea of reviving Tirpitz's High Seas Fleet. Officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922
Nikolai Erastovich Berzarin was a Soviet officer in the Red Army during the Stalinist era and the Second World War. In 1945 he became the first town mayor of the Soviet occupying forces in Berlin. Berzarin was born in Saint Petersburg as the son of a seamstress, he had four sisters. In 1925, he married bank employee Natalja Prosinjuk, with whom he had two daughters and Irina. In 1918 Berzarin fought against Allied troops in Archangelsk. Between 1921 and 1923 he received more military training at the Leningrad Command Courses, machine gun course at the "Vistrel" and a command course at the Siberian Military District. In 1922, he became a member of Komsomol. In 1923 he was assigned to Siberia. In 1926, after officer training, he became a member of the CPSU, he began service as an enlisted soldier in the Soviet Union in Petrograd, after service on the Northern Front against the Allied Intervention participated in the suppression of the Kronstadt Rebellion. In 1924 he was serving as a junior officer in the Amur region against the bandit raiders.
In 1927 he returned to Siberia, where he was an assistant to commander of an officers training unit in Irkutsk. From 1933 to 1935, he served in the staff of the Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army; until 1938, he was the chief instructor of the Amur group. During the Great Purge, he was accused of owing his career to the "enemies of the people", but was supported by various Communist Party members; as commander of the 32nd Rifle Division, he repelled Japanese attacks at Lake Khasan, for which he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. After his appointment as Major General, he was transferred at his own request to Riga, became commander of the 27th Army in May 1941, he fought against the German armed forces after their assault on the Soviet Union. From December 1941 to May 1944 he was Commander-in-Chief of several armies, he received the Order of Lenin and was promoted to Colonel General for his success in breaking through German lines in the Jassy-Kishinev Offensive. After conquering Chișinău in August 1944, the Belorussian and Ukrainian Fronts began their march on Berlin.
During the Battle of Berlin, Berzarin's 5th Shock Army reached the eastern outskirts of Berlin on April 21, 1945, making them the first Soviet Army to do so. On April 24, he was appointed commander of the city by Marshal Zhukov, in an echo of the Tsarist tradition of rewarding the first commander to enter a city with command over it. By his "Order No. 1", Berzarin assumed all governmental power. He worked to re-establish order in the ruined German capital, creating a city police force and supplying the population with food, water and electricity, as well as re-opening schools and theatres. On May 17, he appointed non-partisan Arthur Werner the first post-war Mayor of Berlin presiding over a civil city government. On June 16, 1945, after only 55 days in office, he was killed in a motorcycle accident when he collided with a truck convoy near his office in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, aged 41. Rumors that scattered Nazi Werwolf forces had assassinated him were never established. Berzarin is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.
In 1975 Berzarin posthumously was bestowed honorary citizenship of East Berlin. After German reunification he was formally removed from the roll of honorary citizens by the Senate of Berlin in 1992. Upon a resolution by the Berlin Abgeordnetenhaus parliament, he regained his honorary citizenship in 2003, in view of his merits concerning the supply of the local population. Detractors of the re-awarding claimed that Berzarin was a Stalinist and involved in Soviet war crimes being responsible for the deportation of 47,000 Balts in 1940; these accusations, were proven wrong on, as Berzarin was deployed in Vladivostok at the questioned time. From 1947 until 1991 Petersburger Straße in Berlin-Friedrichshain, a section of the Inner Ring Road, was named Bersarinstraße in his honour, the Bersarinplatz roundabout bears his name up to today. In April 2005, a road bridge in Berlin-Marzahn was named after Berzarin, in the area where his army reached the Berlin city limits in 1945. A birch tree planted in 2005 and a memorial stone mark the site of his motorcycle accident.
Battle in Berlin
21st Army Tank Brigade
The 21st Army Tank Brigade was an armoured brigade formation of the British Army active during World War II. The brigade served with the British First Army and the British Eighth Army during the fighting in Tunisia and Italy. In 1939, the brigade was a 1st Line Territorial Army Brigade stationed in the United Kingdom, it was assigned to Eastern Command defending the south-eastern portion of the country. Equipment shortages prevented it from receiving any significant numbers of modern tanks. Shortly after that battle, the brigade HQ was pulled back to Salisbury Plain, although each tank battalion was detailed as a mobile reserve for the infantry divisions holding the coastline; each regiment could only form the remaining two serving as infantry. In August 1940, it began to receive modern Valentine I tanks, the first of what would be a continual change in tanks. Valentine IIs were received from April 1941 and the brigade had about a hundred Churchill tanks on strength by the end of the year; the brigade lost 44th Royal Tank Regiment on 11 September 1940, but 43rd Royal Tank Regiment wasn't assigned until 9 November 1940.
42nd Royal Tank Regiment was transferred away on 12 April 1941 and 43rd Royal Tank Regiment was exchanged for 12th Royal Tank Regiment on 12 April 1941. 145th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps arrived on 15 November 1941. This left the brigade with 12th and 48th Royal Tank Regiment and the 145th Royal Armoured Corps, the units which it would keep for the bulk of the war; the brigade was redesignated as the 21st Tank Brigade on 6 June 1942 when it was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division as part of the British experiment with "Mixed Divisions". A mixed division had one tank brigade with two non-motorized infantry brigades; the 4th Division, with the brigade, didn't arrive in North Africa until the end of March 1943, although it helped to break open the approaches to Tunis in April. The battle was costly, 48th RTR alone losing 38 Churchills during the fighting, the mixed division was judged a failure for lack of infantry to fight through difficult country; the division remained behind in North Africa until another infantry brigade could be assembled to replace the 21st Tank Brigade.
The brigade was relieved of its assignment on 12 December 1943 by the 28th Infantry Brigade, but wasn't transferred to Italy until May 1944. In the meantime, it was reorganized and reequipped with new Churchill V close-support tanks and Stuart light tanks replaced the Bren Carriers in its reconnaissance troops. Most of these had their turrets removed. Many of its Churchills had their 6 pdr guns bored out to accept American 75 millimetres ammunition or replaced by guns and their mounts from damaged Sherman tanks. A number of Shermans were put into service by the regiments of the brigade; this gave each regiment a wide variety of tanks in service. For example, in September 1944, 12th RTR had 6 Churchill I's, 6 Churchill V's, 23 Churchill III/IV's with the 6 pdr gun, 6 Churchill NA75s and 12 Shermans, it remained under the direct command of the Eighth Army after it arrived in Italy until it was subordinated to the I Canadian Corps on 7 July 1944, but saw no action until it supported the Canadian attack on the Gothic Line on 31 August 1944.
In December, 48th RTR was temporarily detached to support the 43rd Gurkha Infantry Brigade while 145th RAC was disbanded and replaced by the North Irish Horse. In January 1945, it began to receive "heavy" Churchill VIIs and converted to an all-Churchill structure. In February, it came under the command of the V Corps and supported its various units during Operation Grapeshot, the Allied offensive in the Po Valley. On 11 June 1945, it reorganized as the 21st Armoured Brigade. 21st Brigade was constituted as follows during the war: 42nd Royal Tank Regiment 44th Royal Tank Regiment 48th Royal Tank Regiment 43rd Royal Tank Regiment 12th Royal Tank Regiment 145th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps North Irish Horse British Armoured formations of World War II British Army Order of Battle "21st Army Tank Brigade". Orders of Battle.com. Cole, Howard. Formation Badges of World War 2. Britain and Empire. London: Arms and Armour Press. Hughes, David. British Tank and Armoured Brigades, 79th Armoured Division, Armoured Car Regiments, African and other Colonial Forces.
The British Armies in World War Two: An Organizational History. Four. George F. Nafziger. ISBN 1-58545-085-5. Joslen, H. F.. Orders of Battle, Second World War 1939-1945. London: London Stamp Exchange. ISBN 0-948130-03-2
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe, Southeast Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties; the battles on the Eastern Front of the Second World War constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres; the Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70-85 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, the majority of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front.
The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations. The two principal belligerent powers were Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United States and the United Kingdom both provided substantial material aid in the form of the Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union; the joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front. In addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. Germany and the Soviet Union remained unsatisfied with the outcome of World War I. Soviet Russia had lost substantial territory in Eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where the Bolsheviks in Petrograd conceded to German demands and ceded control of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and other areas, 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 at Versailles, Soviet Russia was in the midst of a civil war and the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government, so no Soviet Russian representation attended. 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 I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West and after their defeat turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces. I need the Ukraine as happened in the last war; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was a non-aggression agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union. It 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 and Lithuania would return to the Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. The Eastern Front was made possible by the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement in which the Soviet Union gave Germany the resources necessary to launch military operations in Eastern Europe. On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. On 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Eastern Poland, and, as a result, Poland was partitioned among Germany, the Soviet Union and Lithuania. Soon after that, the Soviet Union demanded significant territorial concessions from Finland, after Finland rejected Soviet demands, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 in what became known as the Winter War – a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland maintaining its independence but losing its eastern parts in Karelia. In June 1940 the Soviet Union illegally annexed the three Baltic states; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ostensibly provided security to the Soviets in the occupation both of the Baltics and of the north and northeastern regions of Romania, although Hitler, in announcing the invasion of the Soviet Union, cited the Soviet annexations of Baltic and Romanian territory as having violated Germany's understanding of the Pact.
Moscow partitioned the annexed Romanian territory between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum: 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; the Nazi leadership, saw the war against the Soviet Union as a struggle between the ideologies of Nazism and Jewish Bolshevism, ensuring territorial expansion for the Germanic Übermensch, who according to Nazi ideology were the Aryan Herrenvolk, at the expense of