Liepāja is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third largest city in the country after Riga and Daugavpils, it is an important ice-free port. In 2017 population of Liepāja is 69,443 people. In the 19th and early 20th century it was a favourite place for sea-bathers with the town boasting a fine park and many pretty gardens, a theatre. Liepāja is however known throughout Latvia as "City where the wind is born" because of the constant sea breeze. A song of the same name has become the anthem of the city, its reputation as the windiest city in Latvia was strengthened with the construction of the largest wind farm in the nation nearby. The coat of arms of Liepāja was adopted four days after the jurisdiction gained city rights on 18 March 1625; these are described as: "on a silver background, the lion of Courland with a divided tail, who leans upon a linden tree with its forelegs". The flag of Liepāja has the coat of arms in the center, with red in the top half and green in the bottom.
It is said that the first settlement at the location of modern Liepāja was known by the name Līva from the name of the river Līva on which Liepāja was located. The name was derived from the Livonian word Liiv meaning "sand"; the oldest written text mentioning Līva village is the treaty of bishop of Courland and the master of the Livonian Order dated 4 April 1253. In 1263, the Teutonic Order established a town; the Latvian name Liepāja was mentioned for the first time in 1649 by Paul Einhorn in his work Historia Lettica. A Russian name from the time of the Russian Empire was Либава or Либау, although Лиепая, a transliteration of Liepāja has been used since World War II; some other names for the city include Liepoja in Lithuanian, Lipawa in Polish and ליבאַװע in Yiddish. It is said that the original settlement at the location of modern Liepāja was founded by Curonian fishermen from Piemare as Līva, but Henry of Livonia, in his famous Chronicle, makes no mention of the settlement; the Teutonic Order established a town which they called Libau here in 1263, followed by Mitau two years later.
In 1418 the village was burned by the Lithuanians. During the 15th century, a part of the trade route from Amsterdam to Moscow passed through Līva, where it was known as the "white road to Lyva portus". By 1520 the river Līva had become too shallow for easy navigation, development of the city declined. In 1560, Gotthard Kettler loaned all the Grobiņa district, including Libau, to Albert, Duke of Prussia for 50,000 guldens. Only in 1609 after the marriage of Sofie Hohenzollern, Princess of Prussia, to Wilhelm Kettler did the territory return to the Duchy. During the Livonian War, Libau was burnt by the Swedes. In 1625, Duke Friedrich Kettler of Courland granted the town city rights, which were affirmed by King Sigismund III of Poland in 1626, although under what legal authority Sigismund had is debatable. Under Duke Jacob Kettler, Libau became one of the main ports of Courland as it reached the height of its prosperity. In 1637 Couronian colonization was started from the ports of Ventspils. Kettler was an eager proponent of mercantilist ideas.
Metalworking and ship building became much more developed, trading relations developed not only with nearby countries, but with Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal. In 1697–1703 a canal was cut to the sea and a more modern port was built. In 1701, during the Great Northern War, Libau was captured by Charles XII of Sweden, but by the end of the war, the city had returned to titular Polish possession. In 1710 an epidemic of plague killed about a third of the population. In 1780 the first Freemasonry lodge, "Libanons," was established by Provincial Grand Master Ivan Yelagin on behalf of the Provincial Lodge of Russia. Courland passed to the control of the Russian Empire in 1795 during the third Partition of Poland and was organized as the Courland Governorate of Russia. Growth during the nineteenth century was rapid. During the Crimean War, when the British Royal Navy was blockading Russian Baltic ports, the busy yet still unfortified port of Libau was captured on 17 May 1854 without a shot being fired, by a landing party of 110 men from HMS Conflict and HMS Amphion.
In 1857 an Imperial Decree provided for a new railway to Libau, the same year the engineer Jan Heidatel developed a project to reconstruct the port. In 1861–1868 the project was realized – including the building of a lighthouse and breakwaters. Between 1877–1882 the political and literary weekly newspaper Liepājas Pastnieks was published – the first Latvian language newspaper in Libau. In the 1870s the further rapid development of Russian railways the 1871 opening of the Libava-Kaunas and the 1876 Liepāja–Romny Railways, ensured that a large proportion of central Russian trade passed through Libau. By 1900, 7% of Russian exports were passing through Libau; the city became a major port of the Russian Empire on the Baltic Sea, as well as a popular resort. On the orders of Alexander III, Libau was fortified against possible German attacks. Fortifications were subsequently built around the city, in the early 20th century, a major military base was established on the northern edge, it included extensive quarters for military personnel.
As part of the military development, a separate port was excavated for military use. This area became known as Kara Osta and served military needs through
Staraya Russa is a town in Novgorod Oblast, located on the Polist River, 99 kilometers south of Veliky Novgorod, the administrative center of the oblast. Its population has decreased over the past years, going from 41,538 recorded in the 1989 Census to 35,511 in the 2002 Census to 31,809 in the 2010 Census; the origin of the name of Staraya Russa is unclear. The most involved and widespread hypothesis was presented by philologists and linguists R. A. Akheyeva, V. L. Vasilyev, M. V. Gorbanevsky. According to this hypothesis, Russa comes from Rus'—a people of Slavic, Finno-Ugric and Varangian composition who settled in the vicinity to control trade routes leading from Novgorod to Polotsk and Kiev—which, in turn, is thought to originate from an Old Norse term for "the men who row" as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe, that it could be linked to the Swedish coastal area of Roslagen or Roden, as it was known in earlier times. Staraya is Russian for "Old". Thought to have originated in the mid-10th century, it was first mentioned as Rusa in chronicles for the year 1167 as one of three main towns of the Novgorod Republic, alongside Pskov and Ladoga.
After Pskov became independent, Russa became the second most important town and trade center of the Novgorod Republic after Novgorod itself. By the end of the 15th century, it contained about one thousand homesteads. Brine springs made the saltworks the principal business activity in the town, the biggest center of salt industry in the Novgorod region. Catherine II appointed German mineralogy expert Franz Ludwig von Cancrin as director of the salt-works in 1783; the wooden fortifications of Russa burned to ashes in 1190 and in 1194, after which they were replaced by the stone fortress. In 1478, it was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow together with Novgorod; the word Staraya was prefixed to the name in the 15th century, to distinguish it from newer settlements called Russa. The current name established only in the 19th century, when the salt mining settlements around the town became collectively known as Novaya Russa; when Ivan the Terrible ascended the throne in 1533, Staraya Russa was a populous town.
During the Time of Troubles, it was held by Polish brigands and depopulated. Only thirty-eight people lived there in 1613. In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, Staraya Russa was included into Ingermanland Governorate. In 1727, separate Novgorod Governorate was split off. In 1776, Staraya Russa became the seat of Starorussky Uyezd of Novgorod Viceroyalty. In 1796, the viceroyalty was transformed into Novgorod Governorate. In the 1820s, military settlements were organized in Staraya Russa and around, in accordance with the project designed by Aleksey Arakcheyev, an influential statesman, it was inconvenient to have both civil and military administration in Staraya Russa, therefore the uyezd was abolished in 1824. The town of Staraya Russa and some adjacent territories were directly subordinated to the Defense Ministry; the military settlements were proven inefficient, in particular, in 1831, the area participated in the Cholera Riots. They were abolished in 1856.
In 1857, Starorussky Uyezd was re-established. The Soviet authority in Staraya Russa was established on November 5, 1917. In August 1927, the uyezds were abolished and, effective October 1, 1927, Starorussky District was established, with the administrative center in Staraya Russa. Novgorod Governorate was abolished as well and the district became a part of Novgorod Okrug of Leningrad Oblast. On July 23, 1930, the okrugs were abolished and the districts were directly subordinated to the oblast. On September 19, 1939, Staraya Russa was elevated in status to that of a town of oblast significance and thus ceased to be a part of the district; the town was occupied by the Germans between August 9, 1941 and February 18, 1944. Destroyed during the war, it was restored. On July 5, 1944, Staraya Russa was transferred to newly established Novgorod Oblast and remained there since. On February 16, 1984, Staraya Russa was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War. Within the framework of administrative divisions, Staraya Russa serves as the administrative center of Starorussky District though it is not a part of it.
As an administrative division, it is, together with two rural localities, incorporated separately as the Town of oblast significance of Staraya Russa—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the town of oblast significance of Staraya Russa is incorporated within Starorussky Municipal District as Staraya Russa Urban Settlement; the biggest enterprise in Staraya Russa is the aircraft repair. The mechanical engineering plant went bankrupt in 2011 and no longer exists. A railway which connects Bologoye and Pskov passes through Staraya Russa. Staraya Russa is connected by roads with Novgorod and Bezhanitsy via Kholm. There are local roads. There is a wharf on the Polist River in the Lake Ilmen basin; the Polist is navigable downstream from Staraya Russa. The town is served by the Staraya Russa Airport. Staraya Russa is a spa, celebrated for its mineral springs used for baths and inhalations. A summer residence of the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who wrote his novels The Brothers Karamazov and Demons there, is open to visitors as a museum.
Monuments include the Transfiguration Monastery, which includes a cathedral built in sevent
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
Army Group B
Army Group B was the title of three German Army Groups that saw action during World War II. Army Group B took part in Battle for France in 1940 in Belgium and the Netherlands; the second formation of Army Group B was established when Army Group South was divided for the summer offensive of 1942 on the Eastern Front. Army Group B was given the task of protecting the northern flank of Army Group A, included the 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. In February 1943, Army Group B and Army Group Don were combined to create a new Army Group South. A new Army Group B was formed in northern Italy under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in 1943 and was moved to Northern France. On 19 July 1944, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge took command from Rommel and on 17 August, Field Marshal Walter Model replaced Kluge. Army Group B participated in the Battle of Normandy. Moving to the Low Countries, Model received a shock when his HQ was located at Osterbeek close to Arnhem during the 17 September start of Operation Market Garden before the army group participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
The army group was isolated in the Ruhr Pocket in northern Germany and after being divided up into smaller and smaller sections, the final section surrendered to the Allies on 21 April 1945. Western FrontEastern FrontNorthern Italy/Northern France 12 October 1939 - 9 May 1941 General Hans von Salmuth 20 May 1941 General Hans von GreiffenbergEastern Front August 1942 - 20.5.1943 General Georg von Sodenstern Builder, Carl H. Bankes, Steven C. & Nordin Richard, Command concepts: a theory derived from the practice of command and control, RAND, Santa Monica, CA, 1999
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
Commanders of World War II
The Commanders of World War II were for the most part career officers. They were shaped the direction of modern warfare; some political leaders those of the principal dictatorships involved in the conflict, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito, acted as supreme military commanders as well as dictators for their respective countries or empires. Air force Stoyan Stoyanov Allied leaders of World War II Axis leaders of World War II
Estonian anti-German resistance movement 1941–44
The Estonian resistance movement was an underground movement to resist the occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany, 1941–1944 during World War II. Due to the unusually benign measures implemented in Estonia by the German occupation authorities in contrast to the preceding harsh Soviet occupation of Estonia, the movement was slower to develop effective tactics on a wide scale than in other occupied countries. While there was a general mood of gratitude towards Germany as the liberator of Estonia from Soviet occupation, this reservoir of goodwill dissipated within the first months of the war and was transformed into a mood ranging from resigned indifference to active hostility. Professor Uluots' request to the German occupation authorities for the establishment of an independent Estonian Government was rejected and Adolf Hitler subsequently appointed Alfred Rosenberg as Reichkommissar. After it became clear that the Germans were against the restoration of independence of the Estonian state, this negative relationship between the new occupiers and the occupied was sealed.
Public resentment began to grow against Germany from 1942 with the imposition of conscription for men into the police battalions, the introduction of the labour draft and the reduction of food rations, while the Estonian Self-Administration was held in contempt for attempting to enforce this conscription. Hjalmar Mäe, the head of the Self-Administration, became unpopular for his criticism of President Konstantin Päts, he had been imprisoned by Päts' regime in 1935 for taking part of an alleged coup. Germans offered his position several times to Jüri Uluots; the Estonian people regarded German occupation with greater bitterness than the previous 1917–1918 German occupation and were repelled by the implementation of the German race laws and the insouciant exploitation of the country's natural resources. One Dutch Nazi visiting Estonia in June 1942 commented upon the "chauvinist national consciousness" of the Estonian people and no genuine Germanophile could be found. An underground resistance movement, whose members looked to the western Allies for support, developed that reflected the political divisions that existed before 1940, ranging from Päts loyalists to the opposition groups such as the National Centre and Socialist Workers parties.
The resistance, expressed through a campaign of non-compliance co-ordinated by the underground movement and a clandestine press, was favoured by the geographical proximity to Sweden and Finland where the organised political resistance in Tartu and Tallinn were able to maintain contact with London and Stockholm via the Estonian Envoy to Finland and a fortnightly fast motorboat connection between Tallinn and Stockholm. A number of underground organisations existed such as the Free Estonia Front, established in August 1942 and headed by Juhan Reigo and Endel Inglist; the VEVR published an anti-Nazi newspaper Vaba Eesti. Another underground newspaper titled Võitlev Eestlane was published by a group within the editorial staff of the newspaper Postimees. In the autumn of 1941, the precursor to the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia was founded by Heinrich Mark, Ants Oras and Jaan Ots; the organisation was headed by Ernst Kull in 1943 and it was through his efforts that the various groups were merged into a unified opposition to Nazi rule.
In June 1942 political leaders of Estonia who had survived Soviet repressions held a hidden meeting from the occupying powers in Estonia where the formation of an underground Estonian government and the options for preserving continuity of the republic were discussed. On January 6, 1943 a meeting was held at the Estonian foreign delegation in Stockholm, it was decided that, in order to preserve the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia, the last constitutional prime minister, Jüri Uluots, must continue to fulfill his responsibilities as prime minister. The movement subsequently formed the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia in March 1944; the original initiative to form the committee came from the Estonian pre-war opposition parties but it was joined by Jüri Uluots, the last constitutional pre-war Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia and his supporters. The Committee aimed to establish a provisional government during expected German withdrawal as the Red Army had reached the border of Estonia on 2 February 1944.
By April 1944 a large number of the committee members were arrested by the German security agencies. While some 200 people were arrested, the leaders of the resistance movement escaped arrest however their activities were curtailed until mid June. In June 1944 the elector’s assembly of the Republic of Estonia gathered in secrecy from the occupying powers in Tallinn and appointed Jüri Uluots as the prime minister with the responsibilities of the President. On 21 June 1944 Jüri Uluots appointed Otto Tief as deputy prime minister. On 18 September 1944 Uluots, suffering from cancer, named Otto Tief the Acting Prime Minister and appointed a Government which consisted of 11 members. Tief assumed office in accordance with the constitution and took the opportunity with the departure of the Germans to declare the legitimate Estonian government restored; the Estonian national government was proclaimed in Estonia, the Estonian military units seized the government buildings in Toompea and ordered the German forces to leave.
The flag of Germany was replaced with the Estonian tricolour in the Pikk Hermann, the flag tower of the seat of the Government. Tief’s government failed to keep control, attempting to organise the defence of the capital city against the advancing Red Army making us