East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast; the bulk of the ancestral lands of the Baltic Old Prussians were enclosed within East Prussia. During the 13th century, the native Prussians were conquered by the crusading Teutonic Knights. After the conquest the indigenous Balts were converted to Christianity; because of Germanization and colonisation over the following centuries, Germans became the dominant ethnic group, while Masurians and Lithuanians formed minorities. From the 13th century, East Prussia was part of the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. After the Second Peace of Thorn in 1466 it became a fief of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1525, with the Prussian Homage, the province became the Duchy of Prussia; the Old Prussian language had become extinct by early 18th century. Because the duchy was outside of the core Holy Roman Empire, the prince-electors of Brandenburg were able to proclaim themselves King beginning in 1701.
After the annexation of most of western Royal Prussia in the First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, eastern Prussia was connected by land with the rest of the Prussian state and was reorganized as a province the following year. Between 1829 and 1878, the Province of East Prussia was joined with West Prussia to form the Province of Prussia; the Kingdom of Prussia became the leading state of the German Empire after its creation in 1871. However, the Treaty of Versailles following World War I granted West Prussia to Poland and made East Prussia an exclave of Weimar Germany, while the Memel Territory was detached and annexed by Lithuania in 1923. Following Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II in 1945, war-torn East Prussia was divided at Joseph Stalin's insistence between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of Poland; the capital city Königsberg was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. The German population of the province was evacuated during the war or expelled shortly afterwards in the expulsion of Germans after World War II.
An estimated 300,000 died either in war time bombing raids, in the battles to defend the province, or through mistreatment by the Red Army. At the instigation of Duke Konrad I of Masovia, the Teutonic Knights took possession of Prussia in the 13th century and created a monastic state to administer the conquered Old Prussians. Local Old-Prussian and Polish toponyms were Germanised; the Knights' expansionist policies, including occupation of Polish Pomerania with Gdańsk/Danzig and western Lithuania, brought them into conflict with the Kingdom of Poland and embroiled them in several wars, culminating in the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War, whereby the united armies of Poland and Lithuania, defeated the Teutonic Order at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. Its defeat was formalised in the Second Treaty of Thorn in 1466 ending the Thirteen Years' War, leaving the former Polish region Pomerania/Pomerelia under Polish control. Together with Warmia it formed the province of Royal Prussia. Eastern Prussia as a fief of Poland.
1466 and 1525 arrangements by kings of Poland were not verified by the Holy Roman Empire as well as the previous gains of the Teutonic Knights were not verified. The Teutonic Order lost eastern Prussia when Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach converted to Lutheranism and secularized the Prussian branch of the Teutonic Order in 1525. Albert established himself as the first duke of the Duchy of Prussia and a vassal of the Polish crown by the Prussian Homage. Walter von Cronberg, the next Grand Master, was enfeoffed with the title to Prussia after the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, but the Order never regained possession of the territory. In 1569 the Hohenzollern prince-electors of the Margraviate of Brandenburg became co-regents with Albert's son, the feeble-minded Albert Frederick; the Administrator of Prussia, the grandmaster of the Teutonic Order Maximilian III, son of emperor Maximilian II died in 1618. When Maximilian died, Albert's line died out, the Duchy of Prussia passed to the Electors of Brandenburg, forming Brandenburg-Prussia.
Taking advantage of the Swedish invasion of Poland in 1655, instead of fulfilling his vassal's duties towards the Polish Kingdom, by joining forces with the Swedes and subsequent treaties of Wehlau and Oliva, Elector and Duke Frederick William succeeded in revoking the king of Poland's sovereignty over the Duchy of Prussia in 1660. The absolutist elector subdued the noble estates of Prussia. Although Brandenburg was a part of the Holy Roman Empire, the Prussian lands were not within the Holy Roman Empire and were with the administration by the Teutonic Order grandmasters under jurisdiction of the Emperor. In return for supporting Emperor Leopold I in the War of the Spanish Succession, Elector Frederick III was allowed to crown himself "King in Prussia" in 1701; the new kingdom ruled by the Hohenzollern dynasty became known as the Kingdom of Prussia. The designation "Kingdom of Prussia" was applied to the
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Greek People's Liberation Army
The Greek People's Liberation Army known by its acronym ELAS, mistakenly called the National People's Liberation Army, was the military arm of the left-wing National Liberation Front during the period of the Greek Resistance until February 1945, following the Dekemvriana clashes and the Varkiza Agreement, it was disarmed and disbanded. After Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union with the initiation of Operation Barbarossa (June 22, 1941 — with most of Greece having fallen under Axis occupation since April and the Battle of Crete having ended on June 1 — the Greek Communist Party called for national resistance; the KKE together with minor parties of the Left formed a political structure called National Liberation Front. They were joined by center-left or non-politicised Greek resistance militants. On February 16, 1942, EAM gave permission to a communist veteran, called Athanasios Klaras to examine the possibilities of a victorious armed resistance movement, it was the birth of the Greek People's Liberation Army.
ELAS initiated actions against the German and Italian forces of occupation in Greece on 7 June 1942. Aris Velouchiotis with a small group of 10–15 guerrillas entered the village of Domnista in Evrytania and proclaimed in front of the surprised villagers that they had set off to "start the war against the forces of Axis and their local collaborators". Velouchiotis collected the traditional local mountain living bandits, like Karalivanos, in order to create a small group of experts in guerilla fighting. On a night in September 1942, a small group of British SOE officers parachuted into Greece near Mt. Giona; this group, led by Brigadier Eddie Myers, had been tasked to blow up one of three bridges of the country's main railway line, to get the two main, but competing, guerrilla groups of ELAS and EDES to cooperate. After much deliberation, the Gorgopotamos bridge was chosen due to the difficulty of making repairs to the structure. But, for the mission to succeed, it was important to meet the guerrillas.
Dimos Karalivanos, an ELAS guerrilla, was the first guerrilla. At the end of October a second group of British officers were parachuted into the Greek mountains, their leaders were Colonel Christopher Woodhouse. Their mission was to locate the guerrillas of EDES and their leader Napoleon Zervas, who were friendlier to the British Headquarters of the Middle-East than ELAS, co-operate with them; the resulting mission was a challenge for the two guerrilla groups, EDES and ELAS. They agreed to collaborate; the British did not favour the participation of ELAS, because it was a pro-communist group, but the forces of ELAS were larger and better organised, without their participation, the mission was to fail. So, in a rare and unique event, ELAS and EDES-EOEA joined forces. On November 14, the 12 British saboteurs, the forces of ELAS and those of EDES met in the village Viniani in Evrytania and the operation started. Ten days the forces were at Gorgopotamos. On the night of November 25, at 23:00, the guerrillas started the attack against the Italian garrison.
The Italians were startled, after little resistance, they were defeated. After the defeat of the Italians, the saboteurs set the explosives. ELAS forces had placed ambushes on the routes towards the bridge, to block the approach of Italian reinforcements; the explosion occurred at 03:00. Afterwards, the guerrillas' forces returned to Viniani; the destruction of the Gorgopotamos bridge was, along with the Norwegian heavy water sabotage in Rjukan, one of the two biggest guerrilla acts in occupied Europe. The blowing up of the bridge disrupted the German transportation of ammunition via Greece to Rommel's forces for several weeks, taking place at a time where the German forces in North Africa, retreating after the defeat of El Alamein, were in absolute necessity of provisions; the blowing up of Gorgopotamos bridge favored ELAS. Soon, lots of the inhabitants of the villages of Central Greece became members of ELAS. Furthermore, people sympathised with the ELAS guerrillas because they weren't helped by the British in contrast with EDES.
When 25 guerrillas deserted from ELAS, Aris Velouchiotis went to Epirus to threaten Napoleon Zervas not to come in touch with them. The 25 deserters were arrested and executed in the village of Sperhiada; the winter of 1942, ELAS groups were formed like Thessaly and Macedonia. In Central Greece, Aris Velouchiotis succeeded to form a powerful semi-conventional army which could attack German and Italian forces. Aris became a legendary figure who imposed an iron discipline in ELAS. At the same time, some members of ELAS have been distinguished during the battles. Aris Velouchiotis formed a group of 30–35 men, called "Mavroskoufides", who were his personal guards. During the winter of 1942–1943, new units of ELAS were composed in many regions of Greece; some areas in the mountains of Central Greece passed from the control of Axis forces to that of ELAS. The leadership of ELAS followed a triadic form, from its top down to platoon level: the captain, elected by the men and the overall leader of the unit, the military specialist a regular Army officer, responsible for tactical planning and training, the political leader a KKE member, as EAM's
Pomerania is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland. The name derives from the Slavic po more, meaning "by the sea" or "on the sea". Pomerania stretches from the Recknitz and Trebel rivers in the west to the Vistula river in the east; the largest Pomeranian islands are Usedom/Uznam and Wolin. The largest Pomeranian city is Gdańsk, or, when using a narrower definition of the region, Szczecin. Outside its urban areas, Pomerania is characterized by farmland, dotted with numerous lakes and towns; the region was affected by post–World War I and II border and population shifts, with most of its pre-war inhabitants leaving or being expelled after 1945. Pomerania is the area along the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea between the rivers Recknitz and Trebel in the west and Vistula in the east, it reached as far south as the Noteć river, but since the 13th century its southern boundary has been placed further north. Most of the region is coastal lowland, being part of the Central European Plain, but its southern, hilly parts belong to the Baltic Ridge, a belt of terminal moraines formed during the Pleistocene.
Within this ridge, a chain of moraine-dammed lakes constitutes the Pomeranian Lake District. The soil is rather poor, sometimes sandy or marshy; the western coastline is jagged, with many peninsulas and islands enclosing numerous bays and lagoons. The eastern coastline is smooth. Łebsko and several other lakes were bays, but have been cut off from the sea. The easternmost coastline along the Gdańsk Bay and Vistula Lagoon, has the Hel Peninsula and the Vistula peninsula jutting out into the Baltic; the Pomeranian region has the following administrative divisions: Hither Pomerania in northeastern Germany, stretching from the Recknitz river to the Oder–Neisse line. This region is part of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; the southernmost part of historical Vorpommern is now in Brandenburg, while its historical eastern parts are now in Poland. Vorpommern comprises the historical regions inhabited by Slavic tribes Rugians and Volinians, otherwise the Principality of Rügen and the County of Gützkow.
The West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland, stretching from the Oder–Neisse line to the Wieprza river, encompassing most of historical Pomerania in the narrow sense. The Pomeranian Voivodeship, with similar borders to Pomerelia, stretching from the Wieprza river to the Vistula delta in the vicinity of Gdańsk; the northern half of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, comprising most of Chełmno Land. The bulk of Farther Pomerania is included within the modern West Pomeranian Voivodeship, but its easternmost parts now constitute the northwest of Pomeranian Voivodeship. Farther Pomerania in turn comprises several other historical subregions, most notably the Principality of Cammin, the County of Naugard, the Lands of Schlawe and Stolp, the Lauenburg and Bütow Land. Parts of Pomerania and surrounding regions have constituted a euroregion since 1995; the Pomerania euroregion comprises Hither Pomerania and Uckermark in Germany, West Pomerania in Poland, Scania in Sweden. "Pomerania" and its cognates in other languages are derived from Old Slavic po, meaning "by/next to/along", more, meaning "sea", thus "Pomerania" means "seacoast" or "land by the sea", referring to its proximity to the Baltic Sea.
Pomerania was first mentioned in an imperial document of 1046, referring to a Zemuzil dux Bomeranorum. Pomerania is mentioned in the chronicles of Adam of Bremen and Gallus Anonymous; the term "West Pomerania" is ambiguous, since it may refer to either Hither Pomerania or to the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. The term "East Pomerania" may carry different meanings, referring either to Farther Pomerania, or to Pomerelia or the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Settlement in the area called Pomerania for the last 1,000 years started by the end of the Vistula Glacial Stage, some 13,000 years ago. Archeological traces have been found of various cultures during the Stone and Bronze Age, Baltic peoples, Germanic peoples and Veneti during the Iron Age and, in the Dark Ages, Slavic tribes and Vikings. Starting in the 10th century, early Polish dukes on several occasions subdued parts of the region from the southeast, while the Holy Roman Empire and Denmark augmented their territory from the west and north. In the 12th century, narrow Pomerania became Christian under saint Otto of Bamberg.
Since the Griffin Duchy of Pomerania stayed with the Holy Roman Empire and the Principality of Rugia with Denmark, while Pomerelia, under the ruling of Samborides, was a part of Poland. Pomerania, during its alliance in the Holy Roman Empire, shared borders with Slavic state Oldenburg, as well as Poland and Brandenburg; the Teutonic Knights succeeded in integrating Pomerelia into their monastic state in the early 14th century. Meanwhile, the Ostsiedlung started to turn Slavic narrow Pomerania into an German-settled area. In 1325 the line of the pri
The Ordnungspolizei, abbreviated Orpo, were the uniformed police force in Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1945. The Orpo organization was absorbed into the Nazi monopoly on power after regional police jurisdiction was removed in favor of the central Nazi government; the Orpo was under the administration of the Interior Ministry, but led by members of the Schutzstaffel until the end of World War II. Owing to their green uniforms, Orpo were referred to as Grüne Polizei; the force was first established as a centralized organisation uniting the municipal and rural uniformed police, organised on a state-by-state basis. The Ordnungspolizei encompassed all of Nazi Germany's law-enforcement and emergency response organizations, including fire brigades, coast guard, civil defense. In the prewar period, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and Kurt Daluege, chief of the Order Police, cooperated in transforming the police force of the Weimar Republic into militarised formations ready to serve the regime's aims of conquest and racial annihilation.
Police troops were first formed into battalion-sized formations for the invasion of Poland, where they were deployed for security and policing purposes taking part in executions and mass deportations. During World War II, the force had the task of policing the civilian population of the conquered and colonized countries beginning in spring 1940. Orpo's activities escalated to genocide with the invasion of Operation Barbarossa. Twenty-three police battalions, formed into independent regiments or attached to Wehrmacht security divisions and Einsatzgruppen, perpetrated mass murder in the Holocaust and were responsible for widespread crimes against humanity and genocide targeting the civilian population. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler was named Chief of German Police in the Interior Ministry on 17 June 1936 after Hitler announced a decree, to "unify the control of police duties in the Reich". Traditionally, law enforcement in Germany had been a state and local matter. In this role, Himmler was nominally subordinate to Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick.
However, the decree subordinated the police to the SS. Himmler gained authority as all of Germany's uniformed law enforcement agencies were amalgamated into the new Ordnungspolizei, whose main office became populated by officers of the SS; the police were divided into the Ordnungspolizei and the Sicherheitspolizei, established in June 1936. The Orpo assumed duties of regular uniformed law enforcement while the SiPo consisted of the secret state police and criminal investigation police; the Kriminalpolizei was a corps of professional detectives involved in fighting crime and the task of the Gestapo was combating espionage and political dissent. On 27 September 1939, the SS security service, the Sicherheitsdienst and the SiPo were folded into the Reich Main Security Office; the RSHA symbolized the close connection between the police. The Order Police played a central role in carrying out the Holocaust. By "both career professionals and reservists, in both battalion formations and precinct service" through providing men for the tasks involved.
The German Order Police had grown to 244,500 men by mid-1940. The Orpo was under the overall control of Reichsführer-SS Himmler as Chief of the German Police in the Ministry of the Interior, it was commanded by SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Generaloberst der Polizei Kurt Daluege. In May 1943, Daluege was removed from duty, he was replaced by SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS und der Polizei Alfred Wünnenberg, who served until the end of the war. By 1941, the Orpo had been divided into the following offices covering every aspect of German law enforcement; the central command office known as the Ordnungspolizei Hauptamt was located in Berlin. From 1943 was considered a full SS-Headquarters command; the Orpo main office consisted of Command Department, responsible for finance and medical. Administration was the administrative branch of the Orpo and had overall command authority for all Orpo police stations; the Verwaltungspolizei was the central office for record keeping and was the command authority for civilian law enforcement groups, which included the Gesundheitspolizei and the Baupolizei.
In the main towns, Verwaltungspolizei and Kriminalpolizei would be organised into a police administration known as the Polizeipraesidium or Polizeidirektion, which had authority over these police forces in the urban district. State protection police, state uniformed police in cities and most large towns, which included police-station duties and barracked police units for riots and public safety. Municipal protection police, municipal uniformed police in smaller and some large towns. Although integrated into the Ordnungspolizei-system, its police officers were municipal civil servants; the civilian law enforcement in towns with a municipal protection police was not done by the Verwal
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