Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky (Soviet Union)
The Order of Bohdan Khmelnitsky was a Soviet award named after Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate The award was first established on October 10, 1943, by the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR during World War II. The order was discontinued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A similar award, the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, was begun on May 3, 1995, by Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of victory in the German-Soviet War The General Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet filmmaker Alexander Dovzhenko, poet Mykola Bazhan initiated the idea to create this award; the order was created during World War II and was awarded to Soviet Armed Forces personnel and the members of the Ukrainian Front for their exceptional duty in combat operations that led to the liberation of Soviet territory. The Order of Bohdan Khmelnitsky was broken down into three different classes: 1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class. General Alexey Danilov became the first recipient of the 1st class Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky.
The 1st class medal is awarded to army commanders at the front, for successful direction of combat operations that led to the liberation of a region or town where they were successful in inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Altogether 323 people were awarded Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st class. Distinguished people who received this order were several future Marshals of the Soviet Union including Sergey Biryuzov, Kirill Moskalenko, Matvei Zakharov and Petr Koshevoi amongst others; the 2nd class medal is awarded to corps, brigade or battalion commanders for a breach of a defensive enemy line or a raid into the enemy's rear. 2400 people were awarded Order of 2nd class. The 3rd class medal is awarded to officers, partisan commanders, sergeants and privates of the Red Army and partisan units for outstanding bravery and resourcefulness leading to a battle victory. 5700 people were awarded Order of 3rd class. Most of them were either Red Army soldiers who fought on Ukrainian partisans; the Order was discontinued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In 1995 Ukraine established the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. Although it is the same name it is a different medal. Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky president.gov.ua - Order of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans, to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort, to murder the rest, to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories. In the two years leading up to the invasion and the Soviet Union signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes; the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, which Adolf Hitler authorized on 18 December 1940. Over the course of the operation, about three million personnel of the Axis powers – the largest invasion force in the history of warfare – invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer front. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht deployed some 600,000 motor vehicles, between 600,000 and 700,000 horses for non-combat operations.
The offensive marked an escalation of World War II, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Operationally, German forces achieved major victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union and inflicted, as well as sustained, heavy casualties. Despite these Axis successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow at the end of 1941, the subsequent Soviet winter counteroffensive pushed German troops back; the Red Army absorbed the Wehrmacht's strongest blows and forced the Germans into a war of attrition that they were unprepared for. The Wehrmacht never again mounted a simultaneous offensive along the entire Eastern front; the failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue in 1942 and Operation Citadel in 1943 – all of which failed. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a turning point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in which more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history.
The Eastern Front became the site of some of the largest battles, most horrific atrocities, highest World War II casualties, all of which influenced the course of both World War II and the subsequent history of the 20th century. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Red Army troops, who were denied the protection guaranteed by the Hague Conventions and the 1929 Geneva Convention. A majority of Red Army POWs never returned alive; the Nazis deliberately starved to death, or otherwise killed, 3.3 million prisoners of war, as well as a huge number of civilians. Einsatzgruppen death-squads and gassing operations murdered over a million Soviet Jews as part of the Holocaust; as early as 1925, Adolf Hitler vaguely declared in his political manifesto and autobiography Mein Kampf that he would invade the Soviet Union, asserting that the German people needed to secure Lebensraum to ensure the survival of Germany for generations to come. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his army commanders that the next war would be "purely a war of Weltanschauungen... a people's war, a racial war".
On 23 November, once World War II had started, Hitler declared that "racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, with it, the world". The racial policy of Nazi Germany portrayed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, ruled by Jewish Bolshevik conspirators. Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germany's destiny was to "turn to the East" as it did "six hundred years ago". Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost; the Germans' belief in their ethnic superiority is evident in official German records and discernible in pseudoscientific articles in German periodicals at the time, which covered topics such as "how to deal with alien populations". While older histories tended to emphasize the notion of a "Clean Wehrmacht", the historian Jürgen Förster notes that "In fact, the military commanders were caught up in the ideological character of the conflict, involved in its implementation as willing participants."
Before and during the invasion of the Soviet Union, German troops were indoctrinated with anti-Bolshevik, anti-Semitic, anti-Slavic ideology via movies, lectures and leaflets. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the "Mongolian race" threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as "Jewish Bolshevik subhumans", the "Mongol hordes", the "Asiatic flood", the "Red beast". Nazi propaganda portrayed the war against the Soviet Union as both an ideological war between German National Socialism and Jewish Bolshevism and a racial war between the Germans and the Jewish and Slavic Untermenschen. An'order from the Führer' stated that the Einsatzgruppen were to execute all Soviet functionaries who were "less valuable Asiatics and Jews". Six months into the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered in excess of 500,000 Soviet Jews, a figure greater than the number of Red Army soldiers killed in combat during that same time frame.
German army command
1st Guards Tank Army (Russia)
The 1st Guards Tank Army is a tank army of the Russian Ground Forces. The army traces its heritage back to the 1st Tank Army, formed twice in July 1942 and in January 1943 and converted into the 1st Guards Tank Army in January 1944; the army fought as part of the Red Army on the Eastern Front during World War II. The army was commanded throughout most of the war by Mikhail Katukov, it fought in the early defense during the Battle of Stalingrad, Operation Uranus participated at the Battle of Kursk, Proskurov-Chernovtsy Operation, Lvov-Sandomierz Operation, Vistula-Oder Offensive and the Battle of Berlin. After the war, the army was stationed in East Germany as part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. After the end of the Cold War and the resultant withdrawal of Soviet units in Germany, the army was relocated to Smolensk, disbanded in 1999; the army was reformed in 2014 as part of a Russian military expansion. The 1st Tank Army was first formed within the Stalingrad Front from 38th Army in July 1942, under the command of Major General Kirill Moskalenko.
The army was encircled and destroyed, was disbanded as a result in August 1942, its headquarters becoming the Southeastern Front headquarters. The 1st Tank Army was formed a second time on 30 January 1943 from the headquarters of the 29th Army, under the command of famous armoured troops commander Lieutenant General of Tank Troops Mikhail Katukov appointed by Stalin; the army was transferred to the North-Western Front. 3rd Mechanised Corps and 6th Tank Corps joined it on formation, served with the army throughout the war. It was transferred to Voronezh Front for the defense of the Kursk salient's southern shoulder, it was awarded a Guards title and became the 1st Guards Tank Army in April 1944, Katukov was promoted to Colonel General. On 1 January 1945, the Army's principal combat formations were: 8th Guards Mechanized Corps 19th Guards Mechanized Brigade 20th Guards Mechanized Brigade 21st Guards Mechanized Brigade 1st Guards Tank Brigade 48th Guards Separate Tank Regiment 353rd Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment 400th Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment 265th Guards Mortar Regiment * 405th Guards Mortar Battalion * 358th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment 8th Guards Motorcycle Battalion 11th Guards Tank Corps 40th Guards Tank Brigade 44th Guards Tank Brigade 45th Guards Tank Brigade 27th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade 399th Guards Heavy Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment 362nd Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment 1454th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment 350th Light Artillery Regiment 270th Guards Mortar Regiment * 53rd Guards Mortar Battalion * 1018th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment 9th Guards Motorcycle Battalion Army Troops 64th Guards Tank Brigade 11th Guards Separate Tank Regiment 19th Light Self-Propelled Artillery Brigade 197th Light Artillery Brigade 79th Guards Mortar Regiment * 17th Motorised Engineer Brigade 191st Guards Liaison Aviation Regiment 6th Motorcycle Regiment 12th Guards Motorcycle Regiment* Guards Mortar Regiment was the overt designation used for Katyusha rocket launcher units.
It participated in the Battle of Kursk, the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation, the Vistula-Oder Offensive, the Battle of Berlin. The 1st Guards Tank Army was awarded the Order of the Red Banner postwar, became part of the Soviet occupation force in Germany, known as Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, with its headquarters in Dresden. In 1968, it, along with the 11th Guards Tank and 20th Guards Motor Rifle Divisions, took part in the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, but immediately returned to their respective garrisons. In the late 1980s the Army included the 20th Guards Motor Rifle Division, 9th Tank Division, 11th Guards Tank Division; the headquarters was withdrawn to Smolensk, in the Moscow Military District in the early 1990s, lost the'Tank' from its title in 1995. In its last period within the Russian Army it comprised the 4th Guards'Kantemir' Tank Division and the 144th Motor Rifle Division, it was disbanded in 1998. 9th Red Banner Order of Suvorov Babruysk-Berlin Tank Division, Riesa. Withdrawn to Smolensk 11th Red Banner Order of Suvorov Carpathian-Berlin Guards Tank Division, Dresden.
Withdrawn to Slonim 20th Red Banner Order of Suvorov Carpathian-Berlin Guards Motor Rifle Division, Grimma. Withdrawn to Volgograd After a 15-year break, the Army was reconstituted in November 2014 on 13 November 2014; the army was formed as the main ground forces manoeuvre and reserve operational formation of the Western Military District in addition to the 6th Combined Arms Army and the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army. It is considered the elite of the Russian Ground Forces; the army carries on the traditions of the chronologically first army of the Soviet Union to reach'Guards' status. Further it has the 2nd Motor Rifle and the 4th Tank guards divisions, which are considered the elite formations of their respective combat arms; the most decorated divisions of the Soviet Army, they were garrisoned the closest to Moscow. Due to their proximity to the capitol their personnel was put to extra scrutiny, they were considered a prestigious posting, received the latest hardware and thus known as the'household' divisions of the Soviet Army.
Their loyalty to the regime was demonstrated by their involvement in the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt. The divisions retained their elite status wit
Hero of the Soviet Union
The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society. The award was established on April 1934, by the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union; the first recipients of the title received only the Order of Lenin, the highest Soviet award, along with a certificate describing the heroic deed from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Because the Order of Lenin could be awarded for deeds not qualifying for the title of hero, to distinguish heroes from other Order of Lenin holders, the Gold Star medal was introduced on August 1, 1939. Earlier heroes were retroactively eligible for these items. A hero could be awarded the title again for a subsequent heroic feat with an additional Gold Star medal and certificate. An additional Order of Lenin was not given until 1973; the practice of awarding the title multiple times was abolished by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in 1988 during perestroika.
Forty-four foreign citizens were awarded the title. The title was given posthumously, though without the actual Gold Star medal given; the title could be revoked only by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. As the Highest Honor of the Soviet Union. Individuals who received the award were entitled to special privileges; these include: A pension with survivor benefits in the event of the death of the title holder. First priority on the housing list with 50% rent reduction, tax exempt and an additional 45 square metres in living space. Annual round-trip first class airline ticket Free bus transportation Free annual visit to sanitarium or rest home Medical benefits Entertainment benefits In total, during the existence of the USSR, the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to 12,777 people, including twice – 154, three times – 3 and four – 2. Ninety-five women were awarded the title. Among the Heroes of the Soviet Union, 44 people are citizens of foreign states; the great majority of them received it during World War II.
Eighty-five people were awarded the title for actions related to the Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted from 1979 until 1989. The first recipients of the award were the pilots Anatoly Liapidevsky, Sigizmund Levanevsky, Vasily Molokov, Mavriky Slepnyov, Nikolai Kamanin, Ivan Doronin, Mikhail Vodopianov, who participated in the successful aerial search and rescue of the crew of the steamship Cheliuskin, which sank in Arctic waters, crushed by ice fields, on February 13, 1934. Valentina Grizodubova, a female pilot, was the first woman to become a Hero of the Soviet Union for her international women's record for a straight-line distance flight. Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, a Soviet partisan, was the first woman to become a Hero of the Soviet Union during World War II, posthumously. In addition, 101 people received the award twice. A second Hero title, either Hero of the Soviet Union or Hero of Socialist Labour entitled the recipient to have a bronze bust of his or her likeness with a commemorative inscription erected in his or her hometown.
Two famous Soviet fighter pilots, Aleksandr Pokryshkin and Ivan Kozhedub were three times Heroes of the Soviet Union. A third award entitled the recipient to have his/her bronze bust erected on a columnar pedestal in Moscow, near the Palace of the Soviets, but the Palace was never built. After his release from serving a 20-year sentence in a Mexican prison for the assassination of Leon Trotsky, Ramon Mercader moved to the Soviet Union in 1961 and was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal from KGB head Alexander Shelepin; the only individuals to receive the title four times were Leonid Brezhnev. The original statute of the Hero of the Soviet Union, did not provide for a fourth title. Both Zhukov and Brezhnev received their fourth titles under controversial circumstances contrary to the statute, which remained unchanged until the award was abolished in 1991. Zhukov was awarded a fourth time "for his large accomplishments" on the occasion of his 60th birthday on December 1, 1956. There is some speculation that Zhukov's fourth Hero medal was for his participation in the arrest of Beria in 1953, but this was not entered in the records.
Brezhnev's four awards further eroded the prestige of the award because they were all birthday gifts, on the occasions of his 60th, 70th, 72nd and 75th birthdays. Such practices halted in 1988 due to a decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which formally ended it. By the 1970s, the award had been somewhat devalued. Important political and military persons had been awarded it on the occasions of their anniversaries rather than for any immediate heroic activity. All Soviet cosmonauts, starting from Yuri Gagarin, as well as foreign citizens who participated in the Soviet space program as cosmonauts, received Hero award for each flight. Apart from individuals, the title was awarded to twelve cities as well as the fortress of Brest for collective heroism during the War; the last recipient of the title "Hero of the Soviet Union" was a Soviet diver, Captain of the 3rd rank Leonid Mikhailovich Solodkov on December 24, 1991 for his leadership and participation in a series of unprecedented extreme depth diving experiments.
Following the collapse of the
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic; the dominant religions in the country are Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2, making it the largest country within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world; the territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was split between Poland and the Russian Empire, merged into the Russian-dominated Soviet Union in the late 1940s as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991 Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but most sources have since moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses. Following its independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. In 2013, after the government of President Viktor Yanukovych had decided to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia, a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan began, which escalated into the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that led to the overthrow of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government; these events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, the War in Donbass in April 2014. On 1 January 2016, Ukraine applied the economic component of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union.
Ukraine is ranks 88th on the Human Development Index. As of 2018, Ukraine has the second lowest GDP per capita in Europe. At US$40, it has the lowest median wealth per adult in the world, it suffers from a high poverty rate and severe corruption. However, because of its extensive fertile farmlands, Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters. Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe after that of Russia; the country is home to a multi-ethnic population, 77.8 percent of whom are Ukrainians, followed by a large Russian minority, as well as Georgians, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Jews and Hungarians. Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative and judicial branches; the country is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the GUAM organization, one of the founding states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older widespread hypothesis, it means "borderland", while some more recent linguistic studies claim a different meaning: "homeland" or "region, country"."The Ukraine" used to be the usual form in English, but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, "the Ukraine" has become less common in the English-speaking world, style-guides recommend not using the definite article.
"The Ukraine" now implies disregard for the country's sovereignty, according to U. S. ambassador William Taylor. The Ukrainian position is that the usage of "'The Ukraine' is incorrect both grammatically and politically." Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites which include a mammoth bone dwelling. The territory is considered to be the location for the human domestication of the horse. Modern human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni–Trypillia culture flourished in wide areas of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was Scythia. Beginning in the sixth century BC, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras and Chersonesus, were founded on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea.
These colonies thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, the Khazars took over much of the land. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Antes were located in the territory of; the Antes were the ancestors of Ukrainians: White Croats, Polans, Dulebes and Tiverians. Migrations from Ukraine throughout the Balkans established many Southern Slavic nations. Northern migrations, reaching to the Ilmen l
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet