Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War. The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German and Italian aggression. At the start of the war on 1 September 1939, the Allies consisted of France and the United Kingdom, as well as their dependent states, such as British India. Within days they were joined by the independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. After the start of the German invasion of North Europe until the Balkan Campaign, the Netherlands, Belgium and Yugoslavia joined the Allies. After first having cooperated with Germany in invading Poland whilst remaining neutral in the Allied-Axis conflict, the Soviet Union perforce joined the Allies in June 1941 after being invaded by Germany; the United States provided war materiel and money all along, joined in December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
China had been in a prolonged war with Japan since the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, but joined the Allies in 1941. The alliance was formalised by the Declaration by United Nations, from 1 January 1942. However, the name United Nations was used to describe the Allies during the war; the leaders of the "Big Three"—the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States—controlled Allied strategy. The Big Three together with China were referred as a "trusteeship of the powerful" were recognized as the Allied "Big Four" in the Declaration by United Nations and as the "Four Policemen" of the United Nations. After the war ended, the Allied nations became the basis of the modern United Nations. Members The origins of the Allied powers stem from the Allies of World War I and cooperation of the victorious powers at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. Germany resented signing Treaty of Versailles; the new Weimar Republic's legitimacy became shaken. However, the 1920s were peaceful. With the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, political unrest in Europe soared including the rise in support of revanchist nationalists in Germany who blamed the severity of the economic crisis on the Treaty of Versailles.
By the early 1930s, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler became the dominant revanchist movement in Germany and Hitler and the Nazis gained power in 1933. The Nazi regime demanded the immediate cancellation of the Treaty of Versailles and made claims to German-populated Austria, German-populated territories of Czechoslovakia; the likelihood of war was high, the question was whether it could be avoided through strategies such as appeasement. In Asia, when Japan seized Manchuria in 1931, the League of Nations condemned it for aggression against China. Japan responded by leaving the League of Nations in March 1933. After four quiet years, the Sino-Japanese War erupted in 1937 with Japanese forces invading China; the League of Nations initiated sanctions on Japan. The United States, in particular, was sought to support China. In March 1939, Germany took over Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich Agreement signed six months before, demonstrating that the appeasement policy was a failure. Britain and France decided that Hitler had no intention to uphold diplomatic agreements and responded by preparing for war.
On 31 March 1939, Britain formed the Anglo-Polish military alliance in an effort to avert a German attack on the country. The French had a long-standing alliance with Poland since 1921; the Soviet Union sought an alliance with the western powers, but Hitler ended the risk of a war with Stalin by signing the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact in August 1939. The agreement secretly divided the independent nations of Eastern Europe between the two powers and assured adequate oil supplies for the German war machine. On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. On 17 September 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. A Polish government-in-exile was set up and it continued to be one of the Allies, a model followed by other occupied countries. After a quiet winter, Germany in April 1940 invaded and defeated Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Britain and its Empire stood alone against Mussolini. In June 1941, Hitler broke the non-aggression agreement with Stalin and Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
In December, Japan attacked the Britain. The main lines of World War II had formed. During December 1941, U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt devised the name "United Nations" for the Allies and proposed it to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he referred to the Big Three and China as a "trusteeship of the powerful", later the "Four Policemen". The Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942 was the basis of the modern United Nations. At the Potsdam Conference of July–August 1945, Roosevelt's successor, Harry S. Truman, proposed that the foreign ministers of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States "should draft the peace treaties and boundary settlements of Europe", which led to the creation of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the "Big Five", soon thereafter the establishment of those states as the permanent members of the UNSC. Great Britain and other members of the British Commonwealth, most known as the Dominions, declared war on Germany separately from 3 September 1939 with the UK first, all within one week of each other.
British West Africa and the British colonies in E
Anders' Army was the informal yet common name of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in the 1941–42 period, in recognition of its commander Władysław Anders. The army was created in the Soviet Union but, in March 1942, based on the British-Soviet-Polish understanding, it was evacuated from the Soviet Union and made its way through Iran to Palestine. There it passed under British command and provided the bulk of the units and troops of the Polish II Corps, which fought in the Italian Campaign. At the start of the Soviet invasion of Poland, the Soviets declared that the Polish state invaded by Axis forces on 1 September 1939, no longer existed breaking off Soviet-Polish relations. Soviet authorities deported about 325,000 Polish citizens from Soviet-occupied Poland to the Soviet Union in 1940–41. Due to British mediation and pressure, the Soviet Union and the Polish government-in-exile re-established Polish-Soviet diplomatic relations in July 1941 after the German invasion of the Soviet Union started on 22 June 1941.
The Sikorski–Mayski agreement of 30 July 1941 resulted in the Soviet Union agreeing to invalidate the territorial aspects of the pacts it had had with Nazi Germany and to release tens of thousands of Polish prisoners-of-war held in Soviet camps. Pursuant to the agreement between the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviet Union, the Soviets granted "amnesty" to many Polish citizens, from whom a military force was formed. A Polish-Soviet military agreement was signed on 14 August 1941. Stalin agreed that this force would be subordinate to the Polish government-in-exile, while operationally being a part of the Soviet-German Eastern Front. On 4 August 1941 the Polish prime minister and commander-in-chief, General Władysław Sikorski, nominated General Władysław Anders, just released from the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, as commander of the army. General Michał Tokarzewski began the task of forming the army in the Soviet town of Totskoye in Orenburg Oblast on 17 August. Anders issued his first orders on 22 August.
The formation began organizing in the Buzuluk area, recruitment began in the NKVD camps among Polish POWs. By the end of 1941 the new Polish force had recruited 25,000 soldiers, forming three infantry divisions: 5th, 6th and 7th. Menachem Begin was among those. In the spring of 1942 the organizing center moved to the area of Tashkent in Uzbekistan and the 8th division was formed; the recruitment process met obstacles. Significant numbers of Polish officers were missing as a result of the Katyn massacre, unknown at that time to the Poles; the Soviets did not want citizens of the Second Polish Republic who were not ethnic Poles to be eligible for recruitment. The newly established military units did not receive proper logistical support or supplies; some administrators of Soviet camps holding the Poles interfered with the authorized release of their Polish inmates. The Soviets, coping with the deteriorating war situation, were unable to provide adequate food rations for the growing Polish army, sharing its limited provisions with the growing group of Polish civilian deportees.
After the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, Stalin agreed on 18 March 1942 to evacuate part of the Polish formation as a military force to Iran, the soldiers transferred across the Caspian Sea to the port of Pahlavi in Iran. All the soldiers and civilians gathered were allowed to leave the Soviet Union and to enter British-controlled territories. More military and civilian men and children were transferred that summer, through the end of August, by ship and by an overland route from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to the railhead in Mashhad, Iran. Thousands of former Polish prisoners had to walk from the southern border of the Soviet Union to Iran. Many died due to cold weather and exhaustion. About 79,000 soldiers and 37,000 civilians – Polish citizens – were able to leave the Soviet Union. Anders' Army was transferred to the operational control of the British government. Many of its soldiers joined a part of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. With the corps, troops from Anders' Army fought in the Italian Campaign, including the Battle of Monte Cassino.
Their contribution is valued in Poland and commemorated in names of streets and other places. When Anders' Army left the Soviet Union on its journey towards the Middle East, families of the soldiers and groups of Jewish children, war orphans, joined the Jewish soldiers. After arriving in Tehran, the children were transferred into the hands of the emissaries who brought them to Palestine. Central in obtaining permission for Jewish groups to cross the Iraqi border - permission, denied - were individuals like Polish Red Cross worker Halina Dmochowska, prayers were said for her in various synagogues in Palestine; when Anders' Army reached Palestine, of its over four thousand Jewish soldiers three thousand left the army. Some deserted, while others, including Menachem Begin, obtained permission to depart their formations; the majority of Jewish soldiers who left Anders' Army joined other military units the British Army. The Polish army did not pursue the Jewish deserters and it is said that Anders facilitated the r
The Persian Corridor was a supply route through Iran into Soviet Azerbaijan by which British aid and American Lend-Lease supplies were transferred to the Soviet Union during World War II. This supply route originated in the US and UK with ships sailing around the Cape of Good Hope to the Persian Gulf. From there, the materiel transited Iran to the USSR. Other supply routes included the Northern route across the Arctic, the Pacific route which handled US cargo at Vladivostok and used the Trans-Siberian Railway across the USSR; this Persian Route became the only all-weather route to be developed to supply Soviet needs. English-language official documents from the Persian Corridor period continue to make the word "Persia" interchangeable with the name of Iran. In correspondence by the government of the United Kingdom, usage of "Persia" over "Iran" was chosen by Winston Churchill to avoid possible confusion with neighbouring Iraq. Following Germany's invasion of the USSR in June 1941, Britain and the Soviet Union became allies.
Britain and the USSR saw the newly opened Trans-Iranian Railway as an attractive route to transport supplies from the Persian Gulf to the Soviet Union. Britain and the USSR used concessions extracted in previous interventions to pressure Iran into allowing the use of their territory for military and logistical purposes. Increased tensions with Britain led to pro-German rallies in Tehran. In August 1941, because Reza Shah refused to expel all German nationals and come down on the Allied side and the USSR invaded Iran, arrested the monarch and sent him into exile to South Africa, taking control of Iran's communications and the coveted railway. In 1942 the United States, now an ally of Britain and the USSR in World War II, sent a military force to Iran to help maintain and operate sections of the railway; the British and Soviet authorities allowed Reza Shah's system of government to collapse, they limited the constitutional government interfaces. They installed Mohammad Reza Pahlavi onto the Iranian/Persian throne.
The new Shah soon signed an agreement pledging full non-military logistical cooperation with the British and Soviets, in exchange for full recognition of his country's independence, a promise to withdraw from Iran within six months of the war's conclusion. In September 1943, the Shah went further, he declared war on Germany, he signed the Declaration by United Nations entitling his country to a seat in the original United Nations. Two months he hosted the Tehran Conference between Churchill and Stalin; the presence of so many foreign troops in Iran accelerated social change and it roused nationalist sentiment in the country. In 1946, Hossein Gol-e-Golab published the nationalist song Ey Iran. After the British were pushed off the continent, Germany was without any opposition in Europe. British and American leaders sought to establish another front opened up to engage the German military. In June 1941 Hitler launched the invasion of the USSR; the western Allies made the strategic decision to provide Stalin with significant material support to ensure that the USSR could continue to engage a significant portion of the German military.
Agreements were created which defined the type and amount of materiel that would be delivered within a given time frame. Due to German military action on the Northern route and the fact that it could not be traversed during part of the year, the US was unable to meet the demands of the first protocol; this caused increasing pressure on the Allies to develop the route using the Persian Corridor. The Allies delivered all manner of materiel to the Soviet Union ranging from Studebaker US6 trucks to American canned food. Most of the supplies transiting through the Persian Corridor arrived by ship at various ports in the Persian Gulf and were carried northwards by railroad or in long truck convoys; some goods were reloaded onboard ships to cross the Caspian Sea and others continued their journey by truck. The United States Army forces in the corridor were under the Iran-Iraq Service Command - renamed the Persian Gulf Service Command; this was the successor to the original United States Military Iranian Mission, put in place to deliver Lend-Lease supplies before the United States had entered the World War.
The mission was commanded by Colonel Don G. Shingler, replaced late in 1942 by Brigadier General Donald H. Connolly. Both the Iran-Iraq Service Command and the PGSC were subordinate to the U. S. Army Forces in the Middle East. PGSC was renamed the Persian Gulf Command; the Allied supply efforts were enormous. The Americans alone delivered over 16.3 million tonnes to the Soviets during the war, via three routes, including the Arctic Convoys to the ports of Murmansk and Archangelsk. Soviet shipping carried supplies from the west coast of the United States and Canada to Vladivostok in the Far East, since the Soviet Union was not at war with Japan until August 1945; the Persian Corridor was the route for 4,159,117 long tons of this cargo. However, this was not the only allied contribution via the Persian Corridor. About 7,900,000 long tons of shipborne cargo from Allied sources were unloaded in the Corridor, most of it bound for the USSR - but some of it for British forces under the Middle East Command, or for the Iranian economy, sustaining the influx of tens of t
The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. The first documented Polish monarch was Prince Mieszko I; the Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir III the Great. Branches of the Piast dynasty continued to rule in the Duchy of Masovia and in the Duchies of Silesia until the last male Silesian Piast died in 1675; the Piasts intermarried with several noble lines of Europe, possessed numerous titles, some within the Holy Roman Empire. The early dukes and kings of Poland are said to have regarded themselves as descendants of the semi-legendary Piast the Wheelwright, first mentioned in the Cronicae et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum, written c. 1113 by Gallus Anonymus. However, the term "Piast Dynasty" was not applied until the 17th century. In a historical work the expression Piast dynasty was introduced by the Polish historian Adam Naruszewicz, it is not documented in contemporary sources. No one in over a 1000 years of Polish history bore the first name Piast.
The first "Piasts" of Polan descent, appeared around 940 in the territory of Greater Poland at the stronghold of Giecz. Shortly afterwards they relocated their residence to Gniezno, where Prince Mieszko I ruled over the Civitas Schinesghe from about 960; the name Polani, from Slavic: pole, did not appear until 1015. The Piasts temporarily ruled over Pomerania and the Lusatias, as well as Ruthenia, the Hungarian Spiš region in present-day Slovakia; the ruler bore the title of a king, depending on their position of power. The Polish monarchy had to deal with the expansionist policies of the Holy Roman Empire in the west, resulting in a chequered co-existence, with Piast rulers like Mieszko I, Casimir I the Restorer or Władysław I Herman trying to protect the Polish state by treaties, oath of allegiances and marriage politics with the Imperial Ottonian and Salian dynasties; the Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty, the Hungarian Arpads and their Anjou successors, the Kievan Rus' also the State of the Teutonic Order and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were mighty neighbours.
The Piast position was decisively enfeebled by an era of fragmentation following the 1138 Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty. For nearly 150 years, the Polish state shattered into several duchies, with the Piast duke against the formally valid principle of agnatic seniority fighting for the throne at Kraków, the capital of the Lesser Polish Seniorate Province. Numerous dukes like Mieszko III the Old, Władysław III Spindleshanks or Leszek I the White were crowned, only to be overthrown shortly afterwards; the senior branch of the Silesian Piasts, descendants of Bolesław III Krzywousty's eldest son Duke Władysław II the Exile, went separate ways and since the 14th century were vassals of the Bohemian Crown. After the Polish royal line and Piast junior branch had died out in 1370, the Polish crown fell to the Anjou king Louis I of Hungary, son of late King Casimir's sister Elizabeth Piast; the Masovian branch of the Piasts became extinct with the death of Duke Janusz III in 1526. The last ruling duke of the Silesian Piasts was George William of Legnica who died in 1675.
His uncle Count August of Legnica, the last male Piast, died in 1679. The last legitimate heir, Duchess Karolina of Legnica-Brieg died in 1707 and is buried in Trzebnica Abbey. Numerous families, like the illegitimate descendants of the Silesian duke Adam Wenceslaus of Cieszyn, link their genealogy to the dynasty. About 1295, Przemysł II used a coat of arms with a white eagle – a symbol referred to as the Piast coat of arms or as the Piast Eagle; the Silesian Piasts in the 14th century used an eagle modified by a crescent, which became the coat of arms of the Duchy of Silesia. Piast kings and rulers of Poland appear in list form in the following table. For a list of all rulers, see List of Polish monarchs. Świętosława, daughter of Mieszko I of Poland, Queen consort of Denmark, Norway and England, mother of Cnut the Great, King of all England and Norway Świętosława of Poland, daughter of Casimir I the Restorer, Queen consort of Bohemia Richeza of Poland, Queen of Sweden, daughter of Bolesław III Wrymouth, Queen consort of Sweden, mother of Canute V of Denmark, King of Denmark and Sophia of Minsk, Queen consort of Denmark Richeza of Poland, Queen of Castile, daughter of Władysław II the Exile, Queen consort of León and Galicia, Queen consort of Castile, Empress of All Spains Salomea of Poland, daughter of Leszek I the White, Queen consort of Halych Fenenna of Kuyavia, daughter of Ziemomysł of Kuyavia, Queen consort of Hungary Elizabeth Richeza of Poland, daughter of Przemysł II, Queen consort of Poland and Bohemia Viola of Cieszyn, daughter of Mieszko I, Duke of Cieszyn, Queen consort of Hungary and Poland Maria of Bytom, daughter of Casimir of Bytom, Queen consort of Hungary Beatrice of Silesia, daughter of Bolko I the Strict, Queen of the Romans Hedwig of Kalisz, daughter of Bolesław the Pious, Queen consort of Poland, mother of Casimir III the Great King of Poland and Elizabeth of Poland Queen consort of Hungary Elizabeth of Poland, daughter of Władysław I the Elbow-high, Queen consort of Hungary, mother of Louis I, King of Poland and Croatia and Charles I of Hungary, King of Hungary and Croatia Anna of Świdnica, daughter of Henry II, Duke of Świdnica, Queen consort of Germany, of Bohemia and Holy Roman Empress, mother of Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia, King of the Romans and of Bohemia Hedwig of Sagan, daughter of Henry V of Iron, Queen consort of Poland Bolesław of Toszek – Archbishop of Esztergom Władysław of Wroclaw – Archbishop of Salzburg Jarosław of Opole – Bishop of Wrocław Mieszko of Bytom – Bishop of Nitra and of Veszprém Henry of Mas
Italian Campaign (World War II)
The Italian Campaign of World War II consisted of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945. The Joint Allied Forces Headquarters was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre and it planned and led the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, followed in September by the invasion of the Italian mainland and the campaign in Italy until the surrender of the German Armed Forces in Italy in May 1945, it is estimated that between September 1943 and April 1945, 60,000–70,000 Allied and 38,805–150,660 German soldiers died in Italy. The number of Allied casualties was about 320,000 and the German figure was over 330,000. Fascist Italy, prior to its collapse, suffered about 200,000 casualties POWs taken in the Allied invasion of Sicily, including more than 40,000 killed or missing. Over 150,000 Italian civilians died, as did 35,828 anti-Fascist partisans and some 35,000 troops of the Italian Social Republic. In the West, no other campaign cost more than Italy in terms of lives lost and wounds suffered by infantry forces of both sides, during bitter small-scale fighting around strongpoints at the Winter Line, the Anzio beachhead and the Gothic Line.
The campaign ended when Army Group C surrendered unconditionally to the Allies on May 2, 1945, one week before the formal German Instrument of Surrender. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican, both surrounded by Italian territory suffered damage during the campaign. Before the victory in the North African Campaign in May 1943, there was disagreement among the Allies on the best strategy to defeat the Axis; the British the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, advocated their traditional naval-based peripheral strategy. With a large army, but greater naval power, the traditional British answer against a continental enemy was to fight as part of a coalition and mount small peripheral operations designed to weaken the enemy; the United States, with the larger U. S. Army, favoured a more direct method of fighting the main force of the German Army in Northwestern Europe; the ability to launch such a campaign depended on first winning the Battle of the Atlantic. The strategic disagreement was fierce, with the U.
S. service chiefs arguing for an invasion of France as early as possible, while their British counterparts advocated a policy centred on operations in the Mediterranean. There was pressure from some Latin American countries to stage an invasion of Spain, which under Francisco Franco was friendly to the Axis nations, although not a participant in the war; the American staff believed that a full-scale invasion of France at the earliest possible time was required to end the war in Europe, that no operations should be undertaken that might delay that effort. The British argued that the presence of large numbers of troops trained for amphibious landings in the Mediterranean made a limited-scale invasion possible and useful; the U. S. and British political leadership reached a compromise in which both would commit most of their forces to an invasion of France in early 1944, but launch a small-scale Italian campaign. A contributing factor was Franklin D. Roosevelt's desire to keep US troops active in the European theatre during 1943 and his attraction to the idea of eliminating Italy from the war.
It was hoped that an invasion might knock Italy out of the conflict, or at least increase the pressure on it and weaken it. The elimination of Italy would enable Allied naval forces, principally the Royal Navy, to dominate the Mediterranean Sea, securing the lines of communications with Egypt, the Far East, the Middle East and India. Italian divisions on occupation and coastal defence duties in the Balkans and France would be withdrawn to defend Italy, while the Germans would have to transfer troops from the Eastern Front to defend Italy and the entire southern coast of France, thus aiding the Soviets. A combined Allied invasion of Sicily began on 10 July 1943 with both amphibious and airborne landings at the Gulf of Gela; the land forces involved were the U. S. Seventh Army, under Lieutenant General George S. Patton, the British Eighth Army, under General Bernard Montgomery; the original plan contemplated a strong advance by the British northwards along the east coast to Messina, with the Americans in a supporting role along their left flank.
When the Eighth Army were held up by stubborn defences in the rugged hills south of Mount Etna, Patton amplified the American role by a wide advance northwest toward Palermo and directly north to cut the northern coastal road. This was followed by an eastward advance north of Etna towards Messina, supported by a series of amphibious landings on the northern coast that propelled Patton's troops into Messina shortly before the first units of the Eighth Army; the defending German and Italian forces were unable to prevent the Allied capture of the island, but they succeeded in evacuating most of their troops to the mainland, with the last leaving on 17 August 1943. The Allied forces gained experience in opposed amphibious operations, coalition warfare, large airborne drops. Forces of the British Eighth Army, still under Montgomery, landed in the'toe' of Italy on 3 September 1943 in Operation Baytown, the day the Italian government agreed to an armistice with the Allies; the armistice was publicly announced on 8 September by two broadcasts, first by General Eisenhower and by a proclamation by Marshal Badoglio.
Although the German forces prepared to defend without Italian assistance, only two of their divisions opposite the Eighth Army and one at Salerno were not tied up disarming the Royal Italian Army. On 9 September, forces of the U. S. Fifth Army, under Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, expecting little resistance, land
Battle of Monte Cassino
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome. At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido-Gari and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges. Together, these features formed the Gustav Line. Monte Cassino, a historic hilltop abbey founded in AD 529 by Benedict of Nursia, dominated the nearby town of Cassino and the entrances to the Liri and Rapido valleys. Lying in a protected historic zone, it had been left unoccupied by the Germans, although they manned some positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey's walls. Repeated pinpoint artillery attacks on Allied assault troops caused their leaders to conclude the abbey was being used by the Germans as an observation post, at the least. Fears escalated along with casualties and in spite of a lack of clear evidence, it was marked for destruction.
On 15 February American bombers dropped 1,400 tons of high explosives. The raid failed to achieve its objective, as German paratroopers occupied the rubble and established excellent defensive positions amid the ruins. Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops. On 16 May, soldiers from the Polish II Corps launched one of the final assaults on the German defensive position as part of a twenty-division assault along a twenty-mile front. On 18 May, a Polish flag followed by the British Union Jack were raised over the ruins. Following this Allied victory, the German Senger Line collapsed on 25 May; the German defenders were driven from their positions, but at a high cost. The capture of Monte Cassino resulted in 55,000 Allied casualties, with German losses being far fewer, estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded; the Allied landings in Italy in September 1943 by two Allied armies, following shortly after the Allied landings in Sicily in July, commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander, the Commander-in-Chief of the 15th Army Group, were followed by an advance northward on two fronts, one on each side of the central mountain range forming the "spine" of Italy.
On the western front, the American Fifth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, which had suffered heavy casualties during the main landing at Salerno in September, moved from the main base of Naples up the Italian "boot" and on the eastern front the British Eighth Army, commanded by General Sir Bernard Montgomery, advanced up the Adriatic coast. Clark's Fifth Army made slow progress in the face of difficult terrain, wet weather and skillful German defences; the Germans were fighting from a series of prepared positions in a manner designed to inflict maximum damage pulling back while buying time for the construction of the Winter Line defensive positions south of the Italian capital of Rome. The original estimates that Rome would fall by October 1943 proved far too optimistic. Although in the east the German defensive line had been breached on Montgomery's Eighth Army Adriatic front and Ortona was captured by the 1st Canadian Division, the advance had ground to a halt with the onset of winter blizzards at the end of December, making close air support and movement in the jagged terrain impossible.
The route to Rome from the east using Route 5 was thus excluded as a viable option leaving the routes from Naples to Rome, highways 6 and 7, as the only possibilities. Highway 6 ran through the Liri valley, dominated at its south entrance by the rugged mass of Monte Cassino above the town of Cassino. Excellent observation from the peaks of several hills allowed the German defenders to detect Allied movement and direct accurate artillery fire, preventing any northward advance. Running across the Allied line was the fast flowing Rapido River, which rose in the central Apennine Mountains, flowed through Cassino and across the entrance to the Liri valley. There the Liri river joined the Gari to form the Garigliano River. With its fortified mountain defences, difficult river crossings, valley head flooded by the Germans, Cassino formed a linchpin of the Gustav Line, the most formidable line of the defensive positions making up the Winter Line. In spite of its potential excellence as an observation post, because of the fourteen-century-old Benedictine abbey's historical significance, the German C-in-C in Italy, Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, ordered German units not to include it in their defensive positions and informed the Vatican and the Allies accordingly in December 1943.
Some Allied reconnaissance aircraft maintained they observed German troops inside the monastery. While this remains unconfirmed, it is clear that once the monastery was destroyed it was occupied by the Germans and proved better cover for their emplacements and troops than an intact structure would have offered; the plan of the Fifth Army commander, Lieutenant General Clark, was for the British X Corps, under Lieutenant General Richard McCreery, on the left of a thirty-kilometer front, to attack on 17 January 1944, across the Garigliano near the coast. The British 46th Infantry Division was to attack on the night of 19 January across the Garigliano below its junction with the Liri in support of the main attack by U
Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, as well as the most populated city in ex-Soviet Central Asia with a population in 2018 of 2,485,900. It is located in the north-east of the country close to the Kazakhstan border. Tashkent was influenced by the Sogdian and Turkic cultures in its early history, before Islam in the 8th century AD. After its destruction by Genghis Khan in 1219, the city was profited from the Silk Road. From 18th to 19th century, the city became an independent city-state, before being re-conquered by the Khanate of Kokand. In 1865, it fell to the Russian Empire, became the capital of Russian Turkestan. In Soviet times, Tashkent witnessed major growth and demographic changes due to forced deportations from throughout the Soviet Union. Today, as the capital of an independent Uzbekistan, Tashkent retains a multi-ethnic population, with ethnic Uzbeks as the majority. In 2009, the city celebrated its 2,200 years of written history. See also: Timeline of Tashkent and History of TashkentDuring its long history, Tashkent has had various changes in names and political and religious affiliations.
Tashkent was settled by ancient people as an oasis on the Chirchik River, near the foothills of the West Tian Shan Mountains. In ancient times, this area contained Beitian the summer "capital" of the Kangju confederacy; some scholars believe that a "Stone Tower" mentioned by Ptolemy and by other early accounts of travel on the Silk Road referred to this settlement. This tower is said to have marked the midway point between China. Other scholars, disagree with this identification, though it remains one of four most probable sites for the Stone Tower. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the town and the province were known as Chach; the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi refers to the city as Chach. The principality of Chach had a square citadel built around the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, some 8 kilometres south of the Syr Darya River. By the 7th century AD, Chach had more than 30 towns and a network of over 50 canals, forming a trade center between the Sogdians and Turkic nomads; the Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who travelled from China to India through Central Asia, mentioned the name of the city as Zhěshí.
After the 16th century, the name evolved from Chachkand/Chashkand to Tashkand. The modern spelling of "Tashkent" reflects Russian 20th-century Soviet influence; the city was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219 and lost much of its population as a result of the Mongols' destruction of the Khwarezmid Empire in 1220. Under the Timurid and subsequent Shaybanid dynasties, the city's population and culture revived as a prominent strategic center of scholarship and trade along the Silk Road. In 1809, Tashkent was annexed to the Khanate of Kokand. At the time, Tashkent had a population of around 100,000 and was considered the richest city in Central Asia, it prospered through trade with Russia but chafed under Kokand’s high taxes. The Tashkent clergy favored the clergy of Bukhara over that of Kokand. However, before the Emir of Bukhara could capitalize on this discontent, the Russian army arrived. In May 1865, Mikhail Grigorevich Chernyayev, acting against the direct orders of the tsar and outnumbered at least 15-1, staged a daring night attack against a city with a wall 25 kilometres long with 11 gates and 30,000 defenders.
While a small contingent staged a diversionary attack, the main force penetrated the walls, led by a Russian Orthodox priest armed only with a crucifix. Although the defense was stiff, the Russians captured the city after two days of heavy fighting and the loss of only 25 dead as opposed to several thousand of the defenders. Chernyayev dubbed the "Lion of Tashkent" by city elders, staged a "hearts-and-minds" campaign to win the population over, he abolished taxes for a year, rode unarmed through the streets and bazaars meeting common people, appointed himself "Military Governor of Tashkent", recommending to Tsar Alexander II that the city is made an independent khanate under Russian protection. The Tsar liberally rewarded Chernyayev and his men with medals and bonuses, but regarded the impulsive general as a "loose cannon", soon replaced him with General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman. Far from being granted independence, Tashkent became the capital of the new territory of Russian Turkistan, with Kaufman as first Governor-General.
A cantonment and Russian settlement were built across the Ankhor Canal from the old city, Russian settlers and merchants poured in. Tashkent was a center of espionage in the Great Game rivalry between Russia and the United Kingdom over Central Asia. T