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
Semiluki is a town and the administrative center of Semiluksky District in Voronezh Oblast, located on the Don River. Population 26,023 , it was founded in 1894 near the Semiluki railway station, named after the nearby village. In 1929, the main enterprise of the settlement, a factory of fireproof materials, was built. In 1931, Semiluki became the administrative center of Semiluksky District. In July 1942, it was occupied by Nazi Germany, it was liberated on January 25, 1943. A factory of fireproof materials was completely destroyed by the Nazis. Town status was granted to Semiluki in 1954. Within the framework of administrative divisions, Semiluki serves as the administrative center of Semiluksky District; as an administrative division, it is incorporated within Semiluksky District as Semiluki Urban Settlement. As a municipal division, this administrative unit has urban settlement status and is a part of Semiluksky Municipal District; as most other towns in Russia, Semiluki is divided into microdistricts for town planning purposes.
The microdistricts bear proper names. Many such areas have informal names, some of those names are used in official documents together with, or instead of, the official names. Severny 1 Microdistrict, for example, is known as Pole chudes. Воронежская областная Дума. Закон №87-ОЗ от 27 октября 2006 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Воронежской области и порядке его изменения», в ред. Закона №41-ОЗ от 13 апреля 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в Закон Воронежской области "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Воронежской области и порядке его изменения"». Вступил в силу по истечении 10 дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Молодой коммунар", №123, 3 ноября 2006 г.. Воронежская областная Дума. Закон №88-ОЗ от 2 декабря 2004 г. «Об установлении границ, наделении соответствующим статусом, определении административных центров муниципальных образований Грибановского, Каширского, Острогожского, Семилукского, Таловского, Хохольского районов и города Нововоронеж», в ред.
Закона №77-ОЗ от 4 июня 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в отдельные законодательные акты Воронежской области в связи с изменением границ некоторых муниципальных образований Воронежской области». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Коммуна", №189, 4 декабря 2004 г.. Residential areas of Semiluki and their informal names
Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin was a Soviet military commander during World War II. Vatutin was responsible for many Red Army operations in Ukraine as commander of the Southwestern Front, the Voronezh Front during the Battle of Kursk and the 1st Ukrainian Front during the liberation of Kiev, he was mortally wounded in February 1944 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Vatutin was born in Chepukhino village in Voronezh Governorate, into a peasant family of Russian ethnicity. Commissioned in 1920 to the Red Army, he fought against the Ukrainian peasant partisans of Nestor Makhno; the following year, he became a member of the Communist party, served diligently in junior command positions. Starting in 1926, he spent the next decade alternating service with studies in the elite Frunze Military Academy and the General Staff Academy; the 1937–1938 purge of Red Army commanders opened the road to promotion – in 1938, he received the rank of Komdiv, was appointed Chief of Staff of the important Kiev Special Military District.
Throughout this period, Vatutin combined military service with intensive Party activities. In 1939, Vatutin planned operations for the Soviet invasion of Poland with Germany, served as Chief of Staff of the Red Army Southern Group. In 1940, under the command of Georgy Zhukov, this group seized Bessarabia from Romania; as a reward for these non-combat campaigns, Stalin promoted Vatutin to the rank of Lieutenant General and appointed him to the critical post of Chief of the Operational Directorate of the General Staff. Vatutin was, not up to his new appointment: while innovative and hard-working, he lacked any combat experience and his knowledge of operational art and strategy was too abstract. Still, his peasant roots, relative youthful age, party zeal made him one of Stalin's few favorites in the Soviet military. Vatutin, together with the rest of the Red Army high command, failed to prepare the army for the German attack of 22 June 1941. On 30 June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the North-Western Front, which enabled him to exercise his better qualities.
In this role Vatutin did not try to claim success for himself in battles, but made a point of identifying and promoting talented subordinates. He was notable for his audacity. At that stage of the war, most of the Soviet generals, shattered by defeats, were reluctant to carry out offensive operations, but Vatutin thrived on attack; the Northwestern Front was defending Leningrad against approaches by the German Army Group North, spearheaded by armored corps led by Erich von Manstein. Vatutin took command of the Soviet forces near Novgorod and rallied them for offense, attempting to encircle a large German force, he surprised Manstein, put him on the defensive, forced the entire German Army Group North to regroup its troops to halt the Soviet offensive. The Wehrmacht lost the precious summer season needed for an effective attack on Leningrad, while the Red Army got additional time to strengthen the fortifications of the city. Due to this, the Germans failed in their best shot to capture Leningrad, one of the key German strategic failures during the early phase of war.
Vatutin's immediate operational results were far less impressive. Vatutin overestimated the capacities of his troops and created overly ambitious objectives, while his coordination of his forces and control over the unfolding of the battle were poor. Additionally, he did not take into account the difficult terrain which benefited German defenses and slowed his attack. Vatutin's casualty figures were staggering, in one army nearly reaching 60%; the ineptitude of his subordinate commanders exacerbated Vatutin's own shortcomings. One striking exception to this pattern of deficiency was the brilliance of Ivan Chernyakhovsky, an obscure young Colonel in command of the 28th tank division; the men had much in common, most prominently their penchant for unorthodox approaches to military art. In January 1942, during the Soviet winter offensive following the Red Army victory in the Battle of Moscow, Vatutin's forces trapped two German corps in Demyansk, achieved the first large Soviet encirclement of German forces.
The German and Soviet armies were equal in size. During the battle, Vatutin employed innovative tactics and actions, while the Germans responded more conventionally; the Red Army was unable to destroy the German defenses due to the weakness of the Soviet air-force. In April 1942, Vatutin breached the German lines, just as a German relief force arrived. However, post-World War II American experts have evaluated the result of this operation as a draw; the German command drew self-congratulatory and misleading lessons from their narrow escape, concluding that they could overcome Soviet encirclements with supplies from the air while mounting a relief operation. This thinking contributed to the Wehrmacht disaster at Stalingrad. From early May to July 1942, Vatutin served as deputy of the Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army until the German Army Group South embarked on its huge strategic offense, "Operation Blau"; the German assault focused on Voronezh. They wanted to breach the Soviet front line at the Battle of Voronezh and attack the Soviet Southern Front and Southwestern Front from the rear.
On 1 July 1942, Stalin sent Vatutin as an all-powerful Stavka representative, to the critical Bryansk Front, which within a few days was renamed as Voronezh Front and placed under Vatutin's command. During the battle, Vatutin again met Ivan Chernyakhovsky, now the newly appointed commander of the 18th Tank Corps of the 60th Army; the German attack was on the verge of breaching the Soviet front line when Cherniakhovsky's corps arrived by train
A flamethrower is a mechanical incendiary device designed to project a long, controllable stream of fire. They were first used by the Greeks in the 1st century AD. In modern times, they were used during World War I, more in World War II. Most military flamethrowers use flammable liquid thickened into a substance similar to napalm, but commercial flamethrowers tend to use high-pressure propane and gasoline, considered safer, as they both die out faster and are easier to put out. Note that napalm was never used with flamethrowers. In comparison, a liquid flamethrower's fuel sticks to its targets and is harder to put out with water, while allowing for a more specific burn effect. Napalm also deoxygenates the surrounding air, making smoke inhalation or asphyxiation a real threat, they are used by the military and by people needing controlled burning capacity, such as in agriculture or other such land management tasks. They can be designed to be mounted on a vehicle. Modern flamethrowers were first used during the trench warfare conditions of World War I and their use increased in World War II.
They can be man-portable. The man-portable flamethrower consists of two elements -- the gun; the backpack element consists of two or three cylinders. In a two-cylinder system, one cylinder holds compressed, inert propellant gas, the other holds flammable liquid petrol, with some form of fuel thickener added to it. A three-cylinder system has two outer cylinders of flammable liquid and a central cylinder of propellant gas to maintain the balance of the soldier carrying it; the gas propels the liquid fuel out of the cylinder through a flexible pipe and into the gun element of the flamethrower system. The gun consists of a small reservoir, a spring-loaded valve, an ignition system; the igniter can be one of several ignition systems: A simple type is an electrically-heated wire coil. The flamethrower is a potent weapon with great psychological impact, inflicting a horrific death; this has led to some calls for the weapon to be banned. It is used against battlefield fortifications and other protected emplacements.
A flamethrower projects a stream of flammable liquid, rather than flame, which allows bouncing the stream off walls and ceilings to project the fire into unseen spaces, such as inside bunkers or pillboxes. Popular visual media depict the flamethrower as short-ranged and only effective for a few meters. Contemporary flamethrowers can incinerate a target some 50–80 meters from the gunner. Flamethrowers pose many risks to the operator; the first disadvantage was the weapon's weight and length, which impairs the soldier's mobility The weapon is limited to only a few seconds of burn time, since it uses fuel quickly, requiring the operator to be precise and conservative The weapon was visible on the battlefield, which caused operators to become singled out as prominent targets for snipers Flamethrower operators were taken prisoner when their target survived an attack by the weapon. To be effective, flamethrower soldiers must approach their target. Vehicular flamethrowers have this problem; the risk of a flamethrower operator being caught in the explosion of their weapon due to enemy hits on the tanks is exaggerated in films.
However, there are cases where the pressure tanks have exploded and killed the operator when hit by bullets or grenade shrapnel. In the documentary Vietnam in HD, platoon sergeant Charles Brown tells of how one of his men was killed when his flamethrower was hit by grenade shrapnel during the battle for Hill 875; the best way to minimize the disadvantages of flame weapons was to mount them on armoured vehicles. The Commonwealth and the United States were the most prolific users of vehicle-mounted flame weapons. Early tank-mounted flamethrower vehicles included the "Oke", used first at Dieppe. A propane-operated flamethrower is a straightforward device; the gas is expelled through the gun assembly by its own pressure and is ignited at the exit of the barrel through piezo ignition. Liquid-operated flamethrowers use a smaller tank with a pressurized gas to expel the flammable liquid fuel; the propellant gas is fed to two tubes. The first opens in the fuel tanks; the other tube leads to an ignition chamber behind the exit of the gun assembly, where it is mixed with air and ignited through piezo ignition.
This pre-ignition line is the source of the flame seen in front of the gun assembly in movies and documentaries. As the fuel passe
Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union; the official language is Hungarian, the most spoken Uralic language in the world, among the few non-Indo-European languages to be spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; the territory of modern Hungary was for centuries inhabited by a succession of peoples, including Celts, Germanic tribes, West Slavs and the Avars. The foundations of the Hungarian state were established in the late ninth century CE by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád following the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, his great-grandson Stephen I ascended the throne in 1000, converting his realm to a Christian kingdom. By the 12th century, Hungary became a regional power, reaching its cultural and political height in the 15th century.
Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Hungary was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. It came under Habsburg rule at the turn of the 18th century, joined Austria to form the Austro–Hungarian Empire, a major European power; the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed after World War I, the subsequent Treaty of Trianon established Hungary's current borders, resulting in the loss of 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, 32% of ethnic Hungarians. Following the tumultuous interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary became a satellite state of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a socialist republic spanning four decades; the country gained widespread international attention as a result of its 1956 revolution and the seminal opening of its previously-restricted border with Austria in 1989, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. On 23 October 1989, Hungary became a democratic parliamentary republic.
Hungary is an OECD high-income economy and has the world's 58th largest economy by PPP. It ranks 45th on the Human Development Index, owing in large part to its social security system, universal health care, tuition-free secondary education. Hungary's rich cultural history includes significant contributions to the arts, literature, sports and technology, it is the 13th most popular tourist destination in Europe, attracting 15.8 million international tourists in 2017, owing to attractions such as the largest thermal water cave system in the world, second largest thermal lake, the largest lake in Central Europe and the largest natural grasslands in Europe. Hungary's cultural and academic prominence classify it as a middle power in global affairs. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and has been part of the Schengen Area since 2007, it is a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the AIIB, the Council of Europe, the Visegrád Group.
The "H" in the name of Hungary is most due to early founded historical associations with the Huns, who had settled Hungary prior to the Avars. The rest of the word comes from the Latinized form of Byzantine Greek Oungroi. According to an explanation,the Greek name was borrowed from Old Bulgarian ągrinŭ, in turn borrowed from Oghur-Turkic Onogur. Onogur was the collective name for the tribes who joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars; the Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of ország. The word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeri; the first element magy is from Proto-Ugric *mäńć-'man, person' found in the name of the Mansi people. The second element eri,'man, lineage', survives in Hungarian férj'husband', is cognate with Mari erge'son', Finnish archaic yrkä'young man'; the Roman Empire conquered the territory west of the Danube between 35 and 9 BC. From 9 BC to the end of the 4th century, Pannonia was part of the Roman Empire, located within part of Hungary's territory.
Around AD 41–54, a 500-strong cavalry unit created the settlement of Aquincum and a Roman legion of 6,000 men was stationed here by AD 89. A civil city grew in the neighbourhood of the military settlement and in AD 106 Aquincum became the focal point of the commercial life of this area and the capital city of the province of Pannonia Inferior; this area now corresponds to the Óbuda district of Budapest, with the Roman ruins now forming part of the modern Aquincum museum. Came the Huns, a Central Asian tribe who built a powerful empire. After Hunnish rule, the Germanic Ostrogoths and Gepids, the Avar Khaganate, had a presence in the Carpathian Basin. In the 9th century, East Francia, the First Bulgarian Empire and Great Moravia ruled the territory of the Carpathian Basin; the freshly unified Hungarians led by Árpád, settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895. According to linguistic evidence, they originated from an ancient Uralic-speaking population that inhabited the forested area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains.
As a federation of united tribes, Hungary was established in 895, some 50 years after the division of the Carolingian Empire at the Treaty of Verdun in 843, before the unification of the Anglo-Saxon king
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
Hermann Hoth was a German army commander and war criminal during World War II. He fought as a panzer commander on the Eastern Front. Hoth commanded the 3rd Panzer Group during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the 4th Panzer Army during the Wehrmacht's 1942 summer offensive. Following the encirclement of the 6th Army in the Battle of Stalingrad in November 1942, Hoth's panzer army unsuccessfully attempted to relieve it during Operation Winter Storm. After Stalingrad, Hoth was involved in the Third Battle of Kharkov, the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943 and the Battle of Kiev. Hoth implemented the criminal Commissar Order during the invasion of the Soviet Union. After the war, Hoth was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the High Command trial and sentenced to 15 years, he was released on parole in 1954. Born in 1885, Hoth joined the army in 1903 and was awarded both classes of the Iron Cross during World War I, he remained in the Reichswehr in the interwar period. Following the reorganization of the German military into the Wehrmacht in 1935, he was appointed to command the 18th Infantry Division.
Hoth was promoted to Lieutenant-General and given command of the XV Motorised Corps in 1938, leading it in the invasion of Poland the following year. During the invasion of France in May 1940, his panzer corps was on Guderian's right flank during their advance through the Ardennes, contained the 5th Panzer and 7th Panzer Divisions. Hoth was promoted to Generaloberst in July 1940. In Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Hoth commanded the 3rd Panzer Group which captured Minsk and Vitebsk as part of Army Group Center's operations. In mid July, the 3rd Panzer Group was subordinated to Army Group North to shore up the flanks and attempted to seize Velikie Luki. Hoth's forces were driven back on 20 July when Red Army forces broke through the German lines, prompting criticism from Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, commander of Army Group Center for unnecessarily striking out too far to the north east. In mid to late August, Hoth's forces faced another setback owing to heavy losses and dispersal of efforts: facing the reinforced Soviet 19th Army, he committed the 7th Panzer Division without infantry support, which resulted in what the historian David Stahel describes as a "debacle".
The division's attack was repulsed with the loss of 30 tanks. As with all German armies on the Eastern Front, Hoth's Panzer Group implemented the Commissar Order. According to reports from subordinate units, the order was carried out on a widespread basis. In October Hoth was appointed commander of the 17th Army in Ukraine. Hoth was an active supporter of the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, calling on his men to understand the need for "harsh punishment of Jewry". Under Hoth's command, units of the 17th Army took part in the hunt for and murder of Jews in its territory of control. Following the issuance of the Severity Order by Walter von Reichenau in October 1941, he issued the following directive to troops under his command in November 1941: Every sign of active or passive resistance or any sort of machinations on the part of Jewish-Bolshevik agitators are to be and pitilessly exterminated... These circles are the intellectual supports of Bolshevism, the bearers of its murderous organisation, the helpmates of the partisans.
It is the same Jewish class of beings who have done so much damage to our own Fatherland by virtue of their activities against the nation and civilisation, who promote anti-German tendencies throughout the world, who will be the harbingers of revenge. Their extermination is a dictate of our own survival. During the Soviet winter offensives of early 1942, Hoth's 17th Army was driven back in the Second Battle of Kharkov. In June 1942, he took over from General Richard Ruoff as commander of 4th Panzer Army; as part of Operation Blue, the German offensive in southern Russia, the army reached the Don River at Voronezh. Hoth was ordered to drive to Rostov-on-Don, it advanced to the north in support of the Sixth Army's attempt to capture Stalingrad. In November 1942, the Soviet Operation Uranus broke through the Axis lines and trapped the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. Hoth's panzer army led the unsuccessful attempt to relieve the Sixth Army, under the overall command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein's Army Group Don.
By 25 December, the operation had failed. In February 1943, Hoth's 4th Panzer Army participated in the counteroffensive against the Soviet forces advancing in the Donbass region; the operation did not receive a name. Known as Third Battle of Kharkov, it commenced on 21 February, as the 4th Panzer Army launched a counter-attack; the German forces cut off the Soviet mobile spearheads and continued the drive north, retaking Kharkov on 15 March and Belgorod on 18 March. Exhaustion of both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army coupled with the loss of mobility due to the onset of the spring rasputitsa resulted in the cessation of operations for both sides by mid-March; the counteroffensive left a salient extending into the German area of control, centered around the city of Kursk, leading up to Operation Citadel. In July 1943, Hoth commanded the 4th Panzer Army in the Battle of Kursk as part of Army Group South. Operation Citadel called for a double envelopment, directed at Kursk, to surround the Soviet defenders and seal off the salient.
The Army Group South committed Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, alongside Army Detachment Kempf. Hoth's divisions, reinforced by the II SS Panzer Corps under Paul Hausser, penetrated several Soviet defensive lines, before being brought to a halt in the Battle of Prokhorovka. In the aftermath of Ku