Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war in the former Russian Empire after the two Russian Revolutions of 1917, as many factions vied to determine Russia's political future. The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fighting for the Bolshevik form of socialism led by Vladimir Lenin, the loosely allied forces known as the White Army, which included diverse interests favouring political monarchism, economic capitalism and alternative forms of socialism, each with democratic and anti-democratic variants. In addition, rival militant socialists and non-ideological Green armies fought against both the Bolsheviks and the Whites. Eight foreign nations intervened against the Red Army, notably the former Allied military forces from the World War and the pro-German armies; the Red Army defeated the White Armed Forces of South Russia in Ukraine and the army led by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak to the east in Siberia in 1919. The remains of the White forces commanded by Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel were beaten in Crimea and evacuated in late 1920.
Lesser battles of the war continued on the periphery for two more years, minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces in the Far East continued well into 1923. The war ended in 1923 in the sense that Bolshevik communist control of the newly formed Soviet Union was now assured, although armed national resistance in Central Asia was not crushed until 1934. There were an estimated 7,000,000–12,000,000 casualties during the war civilians; the Russian Civil War has been described by some as the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen. Many pro-independence movements emerged after the break-up of the Russian Empire and fought in the war. Several parts of the former Russian Empire—Finland, Latvia and Poland—were established as sovereign states, with their own civil wars and wars of independence; the rest of the former Russian Empire was consolidated into the Soviet Union shortly afterwards. After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Russian Provisional Government was established during the February Revolution of 1917.
Provisional Government was unable to solve the most pressing issues of the country, most to end the war with Central Powers, was overthrown by the Bolshevik wing of Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in the late 1917. From mid-1917 onwards, the Russian Army, the successor-organisation of the old Russian Imperial Army, started to disintegrate. In January 1918, after significant Bolshevik reverses in combat, the future People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, Leon Trotsky headed the reorganization of the Red Guards into a Workers' and Peasants' Red Army in order to create a more effective fighting force; the Bolsheviks appointed political commissars to each unit of the Red Army to maintain morale and to ensure loyalty. In June 1918, when it had become apparent that a revolutionary army composed of workers would not suffice, Trotsky instituted mandatory conscription of the rural peasantry into the Red Army; the Bolsheviks overcame opposition of rural Russians to Red-Army conscription units by taking hostages and shooting them when necessary in order to force compliance the same practices used by the White Army officers.
The Red Army utilized former Tsarist officers as "military specialists". At the start of the civil war, former Tsarist officers comprised three-quarters of the Red Army officer-corps. By its end, 83% of all Red Army divisional and corps commanders were ex-Tsarist soldiers. While resistance to the Red Guard began on the day after the Bolshevik uprising, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the instinct of one party rule became a catalyst for the formation of anti-Bolshevik groups both inside and outside Russia, pushing them into action against the new regime. A loose confederation of anti-Bolshevik forces aligned against the Communist government, including landowners, conservatives, middle-class citizens, pro-monarchists, army generals, non-Bolshevik socialists who still had grievances and democratic reformists voluntarily united only in their opposition to Bolshevik rule, their military forces, bolstered by forced conscriptions and terror as well as foreign influence, under the leadership of General Nikolai Yudenich, Admiral Alexander Kolchak and General Anton Denikin, became known as the White movement and controlled significant parts of the former Russian Empire for most of the war.
A Ukrainian nationalist movement was active in Ukraine during the war. More significant was the emergence of an anarchist political and military movement known as the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine or the Anarchist Black Army led by Nestor Makhno; the Black Army, which counted numerous Jews and Ukrainian peasants in its ranks, played a key part in halting Denikin's White Army offensive towards Moscow during 1919 ejecting White forces from Crimea. The remoteness of the Volga Region, the Ural Region and the Far East was favorable for the anti-Bolshevik forces, the Whites set up a number of organizations in the cities of these regions; some of the military forces were set up on the basis of clandestine officers' organizations in the cities. The Czechoslovak Legions had been part of the Russian army and numbered around 30,000 troops by October 1917, they had an agreement with the new Bolshevik governmen
Third Battle of Kharkov
The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod; as the German Sixth Army was encircled in Stalingrad, the Red Army undertook a series of wider attacks against the rest of Army Group South. These culminated on 2 January 1943 when the Red Army launched Operation Star and Operation Gallop, which between January and early February broke German defenses and led to the Soviet recapture of Kharkov, Kursk, as well as Voroshilovgrad and Izium; the Soviet victories caused participating Soviet units to over-extend themselves, though this was due to Manstein's strategy of controlled retreat towards the Dneiper. Freed on 2 February by the surrender of the German Sixth Army, the Red Army's Central Front turned its attention west and on 25 February expanded its offensive against both Army Group South and Army Group Center.
Months of continuous operations had taken a heavy toll on the Soviet forces and some divisions were reduced to 1,000–2,000 combat effective soldiers. On 19 February, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein launched his Kharkov counterstrike, using the fresh II SS Panzer Corps and two panzer armies. Manstein benefited from the massive air support of Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen's Luftflotte 4, whose 1,214 aircraft flew over 1,000 sorties per day from 20 February to 15 March to support the German Army, a level of airpower equal to that during the Case Blue strategic offensive a year earlier; the Wehrmacht flanked and defeated the Red Army's armored spearheads south of Kharkov. This enabled Manstein to renew his offensive against the city of Kharkov proper on 7 March. Despite orders to encircle Kharkov from the north, the SS Panzer Corps instead decided to directly engage Kharkov on 11 March; this led to four days of house-to-house fighting before Kharkov was recaptured by the 1st SS Panzer Division on 15 March.
The German forces recaptured Belgorod two days creating the salient which in July 1943 would lead to the Battle of Kursk. The German offensive cost the Red Army an estimated 90,000 casualties; the house-to-house fighting in Kharkov was particularly bloody for the German SS Panzer Corps, which had suffered 4,300 men killed and wounded by the time operations ended in mid-March. At the start of 1943, the German Wehrmacht faced a crisis as Soviet forces encircled and reduced the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and expanded their Winter Campaign towards the Don River. On 2 February 1943 the Sixth Army's commanding officers surrendered, an estimated 90,000 men were captured by the Red Army. Total German losses at the Battle of Stalingrad, excluding prisoners, were between 120,000 and 150,000. Throughout 1942 German casualties totaled around 1.9 million personnel, by the start of 1943 the Wehrmacht was around 470,000 men below full strength on the Eastern Front. At the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht was equipped with around 3,300 tanks.
As the forces of the Don Front were destroying the German forces in Stalingrad, the Red Army's command ordered the Soviet forces to conduct a new offensive, which encompassed the entire southern wing of the Soviet–German front from Voronezh to Rostov. On 2 February, the Red Army launched Operation Star, threatening to liberate the cities of Belgorod and Kursk. A Soviet drive, spearheaded by four tank corps organized under Lieutenant-General Markian Popov, pierced the German front by crossing the Donets River and pressing into the German rear. On 15 February, two fresh Soviet tank corps threatened the city of Zaporizhia on the Dnieper River, which controlled the last major road to Rostov and housed the headquarters of Army Group South and Luftflotte 4. Despite Hitler's orders to hold the city, Kharkov was abandoned by German forces and the city was recaptured by the Red Army on 16 February. Hitler flew to Manstein's headquarters at Zaporizhia. Manstein informed him that an immediate counterattack on Kharkov would be fruitless, but that he could attack the overextended Soviet flank with his five Panzer Corps, recapture the city later.
On 19 February Soviet armored units approached the city. In view of the worsening situation, Hitler gave Manstein operational freedom; when Hitler departed, the Soviet forces were only some 30 kilometers away from the airfield. In conjunction with Operation Star the Red Army launched Operation Gallop south of Star, pushing the Wehrmacht away from the Donets, taking Voroshilovgrad and Izium, worsening the German situation further. By this time Stavka believed it could decide the war in the southwest Russian SFSR and eastern Ukrainian SSR, expecting total victory; the surrender of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad freed six Soviet armies, under the command of Konstantin Rokossovsky, which were refitted and reinforced by the 2nd Tank Army and the 70th Army. These forces were repositioned between the junction of South. Known to the Soviet forces as the Kharkov and Donbas operations, the offensive sought to surround and destroy German forces in the Orel salient, cross the Desna River and surround and destroy German Army Group Center.
Planned to begin between 12–15 February, deployment problems forced Stavka to push the start date back to 25 February. Meanwhile, the Soviet 60th Army pushed the
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
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939, he was involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust. Hitler was raised near Linz, he moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I. In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party, the precursor of the NSDAP, was appointed leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he was imprisoned. In jail, he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf. After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda, he denounced international capitalism and communism as part of a Jewish conspiracy.
By July 1932 the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, but did not have a majority, no party was able to form a majority parliamentary coalition in support of a candidate for chancellor. Former chancellor Franz von Papen and other conservative leaders persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism. Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France, his first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, the annexation of territories inhabited by millions of ethnic Germans, which gave him significant popular support.
Hitler sought Lebensraum for the German people in Eastern Europe, his aggressive foreign policy is considered the primary cause of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and, on 1 September 1939, invaded Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In December 1941, shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hitler declared war on the United States, bringing it directly into the conflict. Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun. Less than two days on 30 April 1945, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army. Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims who he and his followers deemed Untermenschen or undesirable.
Hitler and the Nazi regime were responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre. The number of civilians killed during World War II was unprecedented in warfare, the casualties constitute the deadliest conflict in history. Hitler's father Alois; the baptismal register did not show the name of his father, Alois bore his mother's surname Schicklgruber. In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Alois's mother Maria Anna. Alois was brought up in the family of Johann Nepomuk Hiedler. In 1876, Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Alois's father. Alois assumed the surname "Hitler" spelled Hiedler, Hüttler, or Huettler; the name is based on "one who lives in a hut". Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Alois's mother had been employed as a housekeeper by a Jewish family in Graz, that the family's 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois.
No Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, no record has been produced of Leopold Frankenberger's existence, so historians dismiss the claim that Alois's father was Jewish. Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary, close to the border with the German Empire, he was christened as "Adolphus Hitler". He was the fourth of six children born to his third wife, Klara Pölzl. Three of Hitler's siblings—Gustav and Otto—died in infancy. Living in the household were Alois's children from his second marriage: Alois Jr. and Angela. When Hitler was three, the family moved to Germany. There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian German, which marked his speech throughout his life; the family returned to Austria and settled in Leonding in 1894, in June 1895 Alois retired to Hafeld, near Lambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended Volksschule (a state-owned primary schoo
Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities. Moscow is the major political, economic and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city on the European continent. By broader definitions, Moscow is among the world's largest cities, being the 14th largest metro area, the 18th largest agglomeration, the 14th largest urban area, the 11th largest by population within city limits worldwide. According to Forbes 2013, Moscow has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and has one of the world's largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. Moscow is the coldest megacity on Earth.
It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe. By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the area of the capital more than doubled, going from 1,091 to 2,511 square kilometers, resulting in Moscow becoming the largest city on the European continent by area. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, making it Europe's most populated inland city; the city is well known for its architecture its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its colorful architectural style. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012; the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation.
Moscow is a seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress, today the residence for work of the President of Russia. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament sit in the city. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of Russian artists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums and political institutions and theatres; the city is served by a transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railway terminals, numerous trams, a monorail system and one of the deepest underground rapid transit systems in the world, the Moscow Metro, the fourth-largest in the world and largest outside Asia in terms of passenger numbers, the busiest in Europe. It is recognized as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich architecture of its 200 stations. Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome, the Whitestone One, the First Throne, the Forty Soroks.
Moscow is one of the twelve Hero Cities. The demonym for a Moscow resident is "москвич" for male or "москвичка" for female, rendered in English as Muscovite; the name "Moscow" is abbreviated "MSK". The name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River. There have been proposed several theories of the origin of the name of the river. Finno-Ugric Merya and Muroma people, who were among the several Early Eastern Slavic tribes which inhabited the area, called the river Mustajoki, it has been suggested. The most linguistically well grounded and accepted is from the Proto-Balto-Slavic root *mŭzg-/muzg- from the Proto-Indo-European *meu- "wet", so the name Moskva might signify a river at a wetland or a marsh, its cognates include Russian: музга, muzga "pool, puddle", Lithuanian: mazgoti and Latvian: mazgāt "to wash", Sanskrit: májjati "to drown", Latin: mergō "to dip, immerse". In many Slavic countries Moskov is a surname, most common in Bulgaria, Russia and North Macedonia. There exist as well similar place names in Poland like Mozgawa.
The original Old Russian form of the name is reconstructed as *Москы, *Mosky, hence it was one of a few Slavic ū-stem nouns. As with other nouns of that declension, it had been undergoing a morphological transformation at the early stage of the development of the language, as a result the first written mentions in the 12th century were Московь, Moskovĭ, Москви, Moskvi, Москвe/Москвѣ, Moskve/Moskvě. From the latter forms came the modern Russian name Москва, a result of morphological generalisation with the numerous Slavic ā-stem nouns. However, the form Moskovĭ has left some traces in many other languages, such as English: Moscow, German: Moskau, French: Moscou, Georgian: მოსკოვი, Latvian: Maskava, Ottoman Turkish: Moskov, Tatar: Мәскәү, Mäskäw, Kazakh: Мәскеу, Mäskew, Chuvash: Мускав, etc. In a similar manner the Latin name Moscovia has been formed it became a collo
The Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, abbreviated G. U. the Main Intelligence Directorate and still known by its previous abbreviation GRU, is the foreign military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Unlike Russia's other security and intelligence agencies, such as the SVR, the FSB, the FSO, whose heads report directly to the president of Russia, Director of GRU is subordinate to the Russian military command, i.e. the minister of defence and the Chief of the General Staff. Until 2010, again from 2013, the GRU combined a military intelligence service and special forces; the Directorate is reputedly Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency. According to unverified statements by GRU defector Stanislav Lunev, in 1997 the agency deployed six times as many agents in foreign countries as the SVR, the successor of the KGB's foreign operations directorate, it commanded 25,000 Spetsnaz troops in 1997.
The first Russian body for military intelligence was established in 1810 by the War minister Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly who suggested to the emperor the creation of a permanent body for Strategic military intelligence. In January 1810, The Expedition for Secret Affairs under the War Ministry was formed. Two years it was renamed the Special Bureau. In 1815, the bureau became the First Department under the General Chief of Staff. In 1836 the intelligence functions were transferred to the Second Department under the General Chief of Staff. After many name changes through the years, in April 1906 the Military intelligence was carried out by the Fifth Department under the General Chief of Staff of the War Ministry, its first predecessor in Soviet Russia was created on 21 October 1918 on the initiative of Leon Trotsky, the civilian leader of the Red Army. Simon Aralov was its first head. In his history of the early years of the GRU, Raymond W. Leonard writes: As established, the Registration Department was not directly subordinate to the General Staff.
Administratively, it was the Third Department of the Field Staff's Operations Directorate. In July 1920, the RU was made the second of four main departments in the Operations Directorate; until 1921, it was called the Registrupr. That year, following the Soviet–Polish War, it was elevated in status to become the Second Directorate of the Red Army Staff, was thereafter known as the Razvedupr; this resulted from its new primary peacetime responsibilities as the main source of foreign intelligence for the Soviet leadership. As part of a major re-organization of the Red Army, sometime in 1925 or 1926 the RU became the Fourth Directorate of the Red Army Staff, was thereafter known as the "Fourth Department." Throughout most of the interwar period, the men and women who worked for Red Army Intelligence called it either the Fourth Department, the Intelligence Service, the Razvedupr, or the RU. As a result of the re-organization, carried out in part to break up Trotsky's hold on the army, the Fourth Department seems to have been placed directly under the control of the State Defense Council, the successor of the RVSR.
Thereafter its analysis and reports went directly to the GKO and the Politburo even bypassing the Red Army Staff. The GRU was given the task of handling all military intelligence the collection of intelligence of military or political significance from sources outside the Soviet Union; the GRU operated residencies all over the world, along with the SIGINT station in Lourdes and throughout the former Soviet-bloc countries in Lithuania and Estonia. The first head of the 4th Directorate was Janis Berzin, a Latvian Communist and former member of the Cheka, who remained in the post until 28 November 1937, when he was arrested and subsequently executed during the Great Purge; the GRU was known in the Soviet government for its fierce independence from the rival "internal intelligence organizations", such as the NKVD and KGB. Nonetheless, the Cheka infiltrated the GRU in 1919; that worsened a fierce rivalry between the two agencies, which were both engaged in espionage and was more intense than the rivalry between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency in the US.
The existence of the GRU was not publicized during the Soviet era, but documents concerning it became available in the West in the late 1920s, it was mentioned in the 1931 memoirs of the first OGPU defector, Georges Agabekov, described in detail in the 1939 autobiography by Walter Krivitsky, the most senior Red Army intelligence officer to defect. It became known in Russia, the West outside the narrow confines of the intelligence community, during perestroika, in part thanks to the writings of "Viktor Suvorov", a GRU officer who defected to Great Britain in 1978, wrote about his experiences in the Soviet military and intelligence services. According to Suvorov the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to enter GRU headquarters, needed to go through a security screening. Following the dissolution
Battle of Lwów (1939)
The Battle of Lwów was a World War II battle for the control over the Polish city of Lwów between the Polish Army and the invading Wehrmacht and the Red Army. The city was defended at all cost; the town of Lwów was not to be defended as it was considered too deep behind the Polish lines and too important to Polish culture to be fought over in warfare. However, the fast pace of the Nazi invasion and the complete disintegration of the Polish reserve Prusy Army after the Battle of Łódź resulted in the city being in danger of a German assault. On September 7, 1939, general Władysław Langner started to organise the defence of the city; the Polish forces were to defend the Bełżec – Rawa Ruska – Magierów line against the advancing German forces. General Rudolf Prich was given command of the Polish forces in the area and on September 11 he prepared a plan of defence of the area; the Polish units were to defend the line of the San river, with nests of resistance along the Żółkiew – Rawa Ruska – Janów to the west of the river Wereszycą – Gródek Jagielloński line.
The following day the first German motorised units under Colonel Ferdinand Schörner, 1st Mountain Division, arrived in the area. After capturing Sambor, Schörner ordered his units to break through the weak Polish defences and capture the city as soon as possible; the assault group was composed of a battery of 150 mm guns. The group outflanked the Polish defenders and reached the outskirts of the city, but was bloodily repelled by the numerically inferior Polish defenders; the Polish commander of the sector had only three infantry platoons and two 75 mm guns, but his forces were soon reinforced and held their positions until dawn. The same day command of the city's defence was passed to General Franciszek Sikorski, a World War I and Polish–Soviet War veteran; the following day the main forces of Colonel Schörner arrived, at 14.00 the Germans broke through to the city centre, but again were driven back after heavy city fighting with the infantry units formed of local volunteers and refugees. To strengthen the Polish defences, on September 13 General Kazimierz Sosnkowski left Lwów for Przemyśl and assumed command over a group of Polish units trying to break through the German lines and reinforce the city of Lwów.
Schörner decided to encircle the city to await reinforcements. His forces achieved a limited success and captured the important suburb of Zboiska together with the surrounding hills. However, the Polish forces were now reinforced with units withdrawn from central Poland and new volunteer units formed within the city. In addition, the Polish 10th Motorised Brigade under Colonel Stanisław Maczek arrived and started heavy fighting to take back the suburb of Zboiska; the town was re-captured. The hills gave a good overview of the city centre and Schörner placed his artillery there to shell the city. In addition, the city was constantly bombed by the Luftwaffe. Among the main targets for the German air force and artillery were prominent buildings such as churches, water plant and power plants. On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union declared all pacts with Poland null and void as the Polish state had ceased to exist, joined Nazi Germany in the occupation of Polish territory; the forces of the 6th Red Army of the Ukrainian Front under Filipp Golikov crossed the border just east of Lwów and started a fast march towards the city.
The Soviet invasion made all plans of the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead obsolete, the Polish commander decided to withdraw all his units to the close perimeter and defend only the city itself instead of the whole area. This strengthened the Polish defences. On September 18 the Luftwaffe dropped thousands of leaflets over the city urging the Poles to surrender. However, this was ignored and a general assault was started on the city, once again to be repulsed; the intervention of the Red Army on 17 September made necessary some changes in the German plan of operations. In the early morning of September 19, the first Soviet armoured units reached the eastern outskirts of the city and the suburb of Łyczaków. After a short fight, the Soviet units were pushed back. However, overnight the Soviet forces completed the encirclement of the city and linked with the German army besieging Lwów from the west; the Polish defences were composed of field fortifications and barricades constructed by the local residents under supervision of military engineers.
General Sikorski ordered organised defence of the outer city rim, with in-depth defences prepared. In the morning of September 19, the first Soviet envoys arrived and began negotiations with the Polish officers. Colonel Ivanov, the commander of a tank brigade, told Colonel Bronisław Rakowski that the Red Army entered Poland to help it fight the Nazis and that the top priority for his units was to enter the city of Lwów; the same day Colonel Schörner demanded the city be surrendered to his troops. When the Polish envoy replied that he had no intention of signing such a document, he was informed that a general assault was ordered for September 21 and the city would most be taken. Hitler's evacuation order from September 20 instructed Rundstedt to leave the capture of Lwow to the Russians; the attack planned by XVIII Corps for 21 September was cancelled, the German corps prepared to move to the west of the Vistula-San River line. The following day, General Sikorski decided; the reserves, human resources and materiel were plentiful, but fu