Second Vienna Award
The Second Vienna Award known as the Second Vienna Diktat was the second of two territorial disputes arbitrated by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Rendered on 30 August 1940, it assigned the territory of Northern Transylvania from Romania to Hungary.. Romania was in this way forced by the Axis Powers to cede a part of Transylvania to Hungary. After World War I, the multi-ethnic Kingdom of Hungary was split apart by the Treaty of Trianon to form several new nation-states, but Hungary claimed that the new state borders did not follow the real ethnic boundaries; the new Magyar nation-state of Hungary was about a third the size of former Hungary, millions of ethnic Magyars were to be left outside the Hungarian borders. Many important areas of Hungary were assigned to other countries, the distribution of natural resources came out unevenly as well. Thus, while the various non-Magyar populations of the old Kingdom saw the treaty as justice for the historically-marginalized nationalities, from the Hungarian point of view the Treaty had been unjust, a national humiliation and a real tragedy.
The Treaty and its consequences dominated Hungarian public life and political culture in the inter-war period. Moreover, the Hungarian government swung more and more to the right; the alliance with Nazi Germany made possible Hungary's regaining of southern Czechoslovakia in the First Vienna Award of 1938 and Subcarpathia in 1939. But neither that nor the subsequent military conquest of Carpathian Ruthenia in 1939 satisfied Hungarian political ambitions; these awards allocated only a fraction of the territories lost by the Treaty of Trianon, anyway the loss that the Hungarians resented the most was that of Transylvania ceded to the Romanians. At the end of June 1940, the Romanian government gave in to a Soviet ultimatum, allowed Moscow to take over both Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, which were incorporated into Romania after World War I, Hertza region. Though the territorial loss was undesirable from its perspective, the Romanian government preferred it rather than a military conflict which could have arisen had Romania resisted Soviet advances, given that Finland had just ceded territories after its war with the Soviets.
However, the Hungarian government interpreted the fact that Romania gave up some areas as an admission that it no longer insisted on keeping its national territory intact under pressure. Thus, the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina inspired Budapest to escalate its efforts to resolve "the question of Transylvania". Hungary hoped to gain as much of Transylvania as possible, but the Romanians would have none of that and submitted only a small region for consideration; the Hungarian-Romanian negotiations fell through entirely. After this and Hungary were "browbeaten" into accepting the Axis arbitration. Meanwhile, the Romanian government had acceded to Italy's request for territorial cessions to Bulgaria, another German-aligned neighbor. On 7 September, under the Treaty of Craiova, the "Cadrilater" was ceded by Romania to Bulgaria. On 1 July 1940, Romania repudiated the Anglo-French guarantee of 13 April 1939, now worthless in light of France's collapse; the next day Carol II addressed a letter to Hitler suggesting Germany send a military mission to Romania and renew the alliance of 1883.
Germany used Romania's new desperation to force a settlement of the territorial dispute produced by the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 in favour of Germany's old allies: Hungary and Bulgaria. In an exchange of letters between Carol and Hitler, the Romanian king insisted that no territorial exchange occur without a population exchange, while the German leader based German goodwill towards Romania on the latter's good relations with Hungary and Bulgaria; the Romanian foreign minister at the time was Mihail Manoilescu and the German minister plenipotentiary in Bucharest was Wilhelm Fabricius. In accordance with German wishes, Romania began negotiations with Hungary at Turnu Severin on 16 August; the initial Hungarian claim was 69,000 km² of territory with 3,803,000 inhabitants two thirds Romanian. Talks were broken off on 24 August; the German and Italian governments proposed an arbitration, a proposal characterised in the minutes of the Romanian crown council of 29 August as "communications with an ultimative character made by the German and Italian governments".
The Romanians accepted and Foreign Ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop of Germany and Galeazzo Ciano of Italy met on 30 August 1940 at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. The two powers reduced the Hungarian demands to 43,492 km² with a population of 2,667,007. A Romanian crown council met overnight on 30–31 August to accept the arbitration. At the meeting, Iuliu Maniu demanded that Carol II abdicate and the Romanian army resist any Hungarian effort to take over northern Transylvania, his demands were pragmatically rejected. The population statistics in Northern Transylvania and the changes following the award are presented in detail in the next section; the rest of Transylvania, known as Southern Transylvania, with 2,274,600 Romanians and 363,200 Hungarians remained Romanian. The territory in question covered an area of 43,104 km²; the 1930 Romanian census registered for this region a population of 2,393,300. In 1941 the Hungarian authorities conducted a new census which registered a total population of 2,578,100.
Both censuses asked separately about nationality. The results of the two censuses are summarized in the following table; as Árpád E. Varga writes, "the census conducted in 1930 met international s
Oradea is the capital city of Bihor County and Crișana region and one of the most important economic and cultural centers in the western part of Romania. The city is located in the north-west of the country, nestled between hills on the Crișana plain, on the banks of the Crișul Repede River, that divides the city into equal halves. Located about 10 km from Borș, one of the most important crossing points on Romania's border with Hungary, Oradea ranks tenth in size among Romanian cities, it covers an area of 11,556 hectares, in an area of contact between the extensions of the Apuseni Mountains and the Crișana-Banat extended plain. Oradea enjoys a high standard of living relative to other Romanian cities and ranks among the most livable cities in the country; the city is a strong industrial center in the region, hosting some of Romania's largest companies. Besides its status as an economic hub, Oradea boasts a rich Art Nouveau architectural heritage and is a member of the Réseau Art Nouveau Network.
The city lies at the Crișul Repede's basin. It is situated 126 meters above sea level, surrounded on the north-eastern part by the hills of Oradea, part of the Șes hills; the main part of the settlement is situated on the floodplain and on the terraces situated down the river Crișul Repede. Oradea is famous for its thermal springs; the river Crişul Repede crosses the city right through the center, providing it with a picturesque beauty. Its flow depends on the season. Oradea has a warm-summer humid continental climate with oceanic influences; the city's topoclimatic action is determined by the prevailing Western winds. Annual average temperature is 10.4 °C. In July the average is about 21 °C, while in January the average is 1.4 °C. Rainfall is enough to support the woods and vegetation of the zone, registering an annual average of about 585.4 mm. Rainfall is variably distributed throughout the year, with a maximum in June and a minimum in the late Autumn and Winter months of the year. While modern Oradea is first mentioned in 1113, under the Latin name "Varadinum" in a diploma belonging to Benedictine Zobor Abbey – Bishop Sixtus Varadiensis and Saul de Bychar are mentioned in the document – recent archaeological findings, in and around the city, provide evidence of a more or less continuous habitation since the Neolithic.
The Dacians and Celts inhabited the region. After the conquest of Dacia the Romans established a presence in the area, most notably in the Salca district of the city and modern day Băile Felix; the feudal state was a principality ruled by Prince Menumorut at the end of the 9th and beginning of the 10th centuries, until the Hungarian land-taking. Its citadel was centred at Biharea. In the 11th century when St. King Ladislaus I of Hungary founded a bishopric settlement near the city of Oradea, the present Roman Catholic Diocese of Oradea; the city flourished both economically and culturally during the 13th century as part of the Kingdom of Hungary. It was at this time that the Citadel of Oradea, first mentioned in 1241 during the Mongol invasion, was first built, it would be rebuilt several times over the course of following centuries. The 14th and 15th centuries would prove to be of the most prosperous periods in the city's history up to that point. Many works of art would be added to the city, including: statues of St. Stephen and Ladislaus and the equestrian sculpture of St. King Ladislaus I were erected in Oradea.
St. Ladislaus' fabled statue was the first proto-renaissance public square equestrian in Europe. Bishop Andreas Báthori rebuilt the Cathedral in Gothic style. From that epoch dates the Hermes, now preserved at Győr, which contains the skull of St. Ladislaus, and, a masterpiece of the Hungarian goldsmith's art, it was at this time that astronomer Georg von Peuerbach wrote his Tabula Varadiensis, published posthumously in 1464, at the Observatory of Varadinum, establishing the city's observatory as the Earth's point of reference and prime meridian. In 1474, the city was captured by the Turks after a protracted siege, their tolerant policies towards others peoples ensured that the city would become an ethnic mosaic of Romanians, Austrians, Hebrews and Turks, causing Oradea to grow as an urban area starting with the 16th century. After the Ottoman invasion of Hungary, in the 16th century, the city became a constant point of contention between the Principality of Transylvania, the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy.
The Peace of Várad was concluded between Emperor Ferdinand I and John Zápolya here on 4 February 1538, in which they mutually recognized each other as legitimate monarchs. Following Michael the Brave's conquest of the Principality of Transylvania, the Ottomans sent a punitive expedition that laid siege to the city in 1598, however the siege failed. After Michael's assassination in 1601 and the Peace of Vienna of 1603, the city was permanently incorporated in the Principality of Transylvania by imperial decree; as a result of Gyorgy Rakoczi II's, at the time Prince of Transylvania failed attempt to gain the throne of Poland the Ottomans sent yet another punitive expedition against him and his Wallachian and Moldavian allies. The expedition failed, but it gave the Romanian chronicler Miron Costin the occasion to write the first full chronicle about the city, Oradiia. In 1660 the Ottomans, wit
Operation Tidal Wave
Operation Tidal Wave was an air attack by bombers of the United States Army Air Forces based in Libya and Southern Italy on nine oil refineries around Ploiești, Romania on 1 August 1943, during World War II. It was a strategic bombing mission and part of the "oil campaign" to deny petroleum-based fuel to the Axis; the mission resulted in "no curtailment of overall product output."This mission was one of the costliest for the USAAF in the European Theater, with 53 aircraft and 660 air crewmen lost. It was the second-worst loss suffered by the USAAF on a single mission and its date was referred to as "Black Sunday". Five Medals of Honor and 56 Distinguished Service Crosses along with numerous others awards were awarded to Operation Tidal Wave crew members. Romania had been a major power in the oil industry since the 1800s, it was one of the largest producers in Europe and Ploesti was a major part of that production. The Ploiești oil refineries provided about 30% of all Axis oil production. Related: Bombing of Romania in World War II In June 1942, 13 B-24 Liberators of the "Halverson project" attacked Ploiești.
Though damage was small, Germany responded by putting strong anti-aircraft defenses around Ploiești. Luftwaffe General Alfred Gerstenberg built one of the heaviest and best-integrated air defense networks in Europe; the defenses included several hundred large-caliber 88mm guns and 10.5 cm FlaK 38 anti-aircraft guns, many more small-caliber guns. The latter were concealed in haystacks, railroad cars, mock buildings; the Luftwaffe had three fighter groups within flight range of Ploiești. Gerstenberg counted on warnings from the Luftwaffe signals intelligence station in Athens, which monitored Allied preparations as far away as North Africa; the Ninth Air Force was responsible for the overall conduct of the raid, the formed Eighth Air Force provided three additional bomb groups. All the bombers employed were B-24 Liberators. Colonel Jacob E. Smart planned the operation, based on HALPRO's experiences. HALPRO had encountered minimal air defenses in its raid, so the planners decided Tidal Wave would be executed by day, that the attacking bombers would approach at low altitude to avoid detection by German radar.
Training included extensive review of detailed sand table models, practice raids over a mock-up of the target in the Libyan desert and practical exercises over a number of secondary targets in July to prove the viability of such a low-level strike. The bombers to be used were re-equipped with bomb-bay fuel tanks to increase their fuel capacity to 3,100 gallons; the operation was to consist of 178 bombers with a total of 1,751 aircrew, one of the largest commitments of American heavy bombers and crewmen up to that time. The planes were to fly from airfields near Libya, they were to cross the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea, pass near the island of Corfu, cross over the Pindus Mountains in Albania, cross southern Yugoslavia, enter southwestern Romania, turn east toward Ploiești. Reaching Ploiești, they were to locate pre-determined checkpoints, approach their targets from the north, strike all targets simultaneously. For political reasons, the Allied planners decided to avoid the city of Ploiești, so that it would not be bombed by accident.
Early on the morning of 1 August 1943, the five groups comprising the strike force began lifting off from their home air fields around Benghazi. Large amounts of dust kicked up during take-off caused limited visibility and strained engines carrying the burden of large bomb loads and additional fuel; these conditions contributed to the loss of one aircraft during take-off, but 177 of the planned 178 aircraft departed safely. The formation reached the Adriatic Sea without further incident. Lt. Guy Iovine — a personal friend of Flavelle and piloting aircraft #23 Desert Lilly — descended from the formation in order to look for survivors, narrowly missing aircraft Brewery Wagon piloted by Lt. John Palm. No survivors were seen, due to the additional weight of fuel, Iovine was unable to regain altitude to rejoin the formation and resume course to Ploiești; the resulting confusion was compounded by the inability to regain cohesion due to orders to maintain strict radio silence. Ten other aircrews returned to friendly air fields after the incident, the remaining aircraft faced the 9,000 ft climb over the Pindus mountains, which were shrouded in cloud cover.
Although all five groups made the climb around 11,000 ft, the 376th and 93rd, using high power settings, pulled ahead the trailing formations, causing variations in speed and time which disrupted the careful synchronization of the group attacks deemed so important by Smart. Mission leaders deemed these concerns to be less important than maintaining security through radio silence; the American leaders were unaware that the Germans knew of their presence, though not of their target. Although the Americans' orders would have allowed them to break radio silence to rebuild their formations, the strike proceeded without correction, this proved costly. Although now well strung out on approach to Piteşti, all five groups made the navigational check point 65 mi from Ploiești. At Câmpina, the 389th Bomb Group departed as planned for its separate, synchronized approach to the mission target. Continuing from Piteşti, Col. Keith K. Compton and Gen. Ent made a costly navigational error. At Târgovişte, halfway to the next check point at F
The Prague Offensive was the last major military operation of World War II in Europe. The offensive was fought on the Eastern Front from 6 May to 11 May 1945. Fought concurrently with the Prague uprising, the offensive was one of the last engagements of World War II in Europe and continued after Nazi Germany's unconditional capitulation on 8 May; the city of Prague was liberated by the USSR during the Prague Offensive. All of the German troops of Army Group Centre and many of Army Group Ostmark were killed or captured, or fell into the hands of the Allies after the capitulation. By the beginning of May 1945, Germany had been decisively defeated by the coalition of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. Germany's capital, was on the verge of capitulation in the face of a massive Soviet attack and the great bulk of Germany had been conquered. However, in southeastern Germany, parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia, there were still large bodies of active German troops of Army Group Centre and the remnants of Army Group Ostmark.
On 2 May 1945, general Alfred Jodl ordered the German forces to avoid being captured by Russia and facilitate the separated negotiation with Western Allies. The German remnant forces continued to resist the USSR 4th and 1st Ukrainian Fronts while only accepting an armistice on the Western Front, and while the German command body lost its centralized control over its armed forces, SS and Gestapo forces were still working at their highest intensity and efficiency. SS officers and commanders were affiliated in command and control of German armed forces in Czechoslovakia, and in contrast to the declining quality of Wehrmacht units in the last days of the war, SS corps still maintained their remarkably high fighting capability. The Nazi regime considered Czechoslovakia and neighboring areas as their last bastion in the event that Berlin fell. Therefore, in 1945 they concentrated many powerful military units in the region, including elements of 6th SS Panzer Army, 1st and 4th Panzer Armies, 7th, 8th and 17th Combined Armies.
Alfred Jodl had ordered the local Nazi regime to prepare numerous fortified buildings which could serve as offices for the new Nazi government and German High Command. From 30 April to 1 May 1945, SS Senior Group Leader and General of Police Karl Hermann Frank announced over the radio in Prague that he would drown any uprising in a "sea of blood". Frank was a general of the Waffen SS; the situation in Prague was unstable. Frank knew. More he was faced with a city population ready to be liberated. At the same time, two divisions of the Russian Liberation Army arrived in the vicinity of Prague; the KONR 1st Division encamped north of the city while the KONR 2nd Division took up positions south of the city. Ostensibly allied with the Germans, the allegiance of the KONR forces would prove to vary depending on the situation they faced. On the Allied side, both Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin saw Prague as a significant prize, the seizure of which could influence the political makeup of postwar Czechoslovakia.
On 1 May 1945, before Berlin was subdued, Stalin issued orders directing the 1st Belorussian Front to relieve the 1st Ukrainian Front in the Berlin area so that the latter could regroup to the south along the Mulde River and drive on Prague. The 2nd Ukrainian Front received orders on 2 May to drive on Prague from the southeast. Stalin was determined to have the Soviet Army present in force in western Czechoslovakia when the German troops there surrendered; the terrain over which the Soviets had to advance was varied, but in the main mountainous and forested. The routes of march of the 1st and 4th Ukrainian Fronts were perpendicular to the orientation of the ridges while the 2nd Ukrainian Front was able to move along a less arduous route in regions of lower elevation that led to Prague. In particular, the 1st Ukrainian Front had to cross the Ore Mountains to advance on Prague from the area north of Dresden and Bautzen; the other significant military terrain obstacle was urban areas, the two largest of which to surmount were Dresden and Prague itself.
With Soviet and U. S. forces pressing in from all sides, Army Group Centre's deployment resembled a horseshoe straddling the historical regions of Bohemia and Moravia. To the west, the 7th Army had been pushed east by operations of the U. S. Sixth Army Group and had become a subordinate command of Army Group Centre. 7th Army was deployed along a north-south axis in western Czechoslovakia. Besides one Panzer division and one Volksgrenadier division, 7th Army had only four other "divisions", two of which were named battle groups while the remaining two were replacement army formations mobilized for combat and filled out with military school staffs and trainees. To the northeast of Prague and just north of Dresden and Bautzen, the 4th Panzer Army defended along a front running southeast. 4th Panzer Army had five Panzer or mechanized divisions as well as 13 other divisions or battle groups. Furthermore, 4th Panzer Army had just won the Battle of Bautzen, damaging the Soviet 52nd and Polish 2nd Armies.
To 4th Panzer Army's right flank was 17th Army. The 17th counted 11 divisions, including one motorized division; these were organized into three corps and deployed in an arc that began about 40 kilometers SW of Breslau and which led to the southeast in the vicinity of Ostrava. From here the front ran southeast to Olomouc, where the 1st Panzer Army was deployed, including a salient that jut
The Jassy–Kishinev Operation, named after the two major cities, Iași and Chișinău, in the staging area, was a Soviet offensive against Axis forces, which took place in Eastern Romania from 20 to 29 August 1944 during World War II. The 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts of the Red Army engaged Army Group South Ukraine, which consisted of combined German and Romanian formations, in an operation to reclaim the Moldavian SSR and destroy the Axis forces in the region, opening the way into Romania and the Balkans; the offensive resulted in the encirclement and destruction of the German forces, allowing the Soviet Army to resume its strategic advance further into Eastern Europe. It forced Romania to switch allegiance from the Axis powers to the Allies; the Red Army had made an unsuccessful attack in the same sector, sometimes referred to as First Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, from 8 April to 6 June 1944. In 1944, the Wehrmacht had been pressed back along its entire front line in the East. By May 1944, the South Ukraine Army Group was pushed back towards the prewar Romanian frontier, managed to establish a line on the lower Dniester River, however breached in two places, with the Red Army holding bridgeheads.
After June, calm returned to the sector. Heeresgruppe Südukraine had been, until June 1944, one of the most powerful German formations in terms of armour. However, during the summer most of its armoured units were transferred to the Northern and Central fronts to stem Red Army advances in the Baltic states, northern Ukraine, Poland. On the eve of the offensive, the only armoured formations left were the 1st Romanian Armoured Division, the German 13th Panzer and 10th Panzergrenadier Divisions. Soviet deception operations prior to the attack worked well; the German command staff believed that the movement of Soviet forces along the front line was a result of a troop transfer to the north. Exact positions of Soviet formations were not known until the final hours before the operation. By contrast, the Romanians were aware of the imminent Soviet offensive and anticipated a rerun of Stalingrad, with major attacks against the 3rd and 4th Armies and an encirclement of the German 6th Army; such concerns were dismissed by the German command as "alarmist".
Antonescu suggested a withdrawal of Axis forces to the fortified Carpathian–FNB–Danube line, but Friessner, the commander of Army Group South Ukraine, was unwilling to consider such a move, having been dismissed by Hitler from Army Group North for requesting permission to retreat. 2nd Ukrainian Front – Army General Rodion Malinovsky 6th Guards Tank Army – Major General Andrei Kravchenko 18th Tank Corps – Major General V. I. Polozkov Cavalry-Mechanized Group Gorshkov – Major General S. I. Gorshkov 5th Guards Cavalry Corps 23rd Tank Corps – Lieutenant General A. O. Akhmanov 4th Guards Army – Galanin 27th Army – Lieutenant General S. G. Trofimenko 52nd Army – Koroteev 7th Guards Army – Shumilov 40th Army – Lieutenant General F. F. Zhmachenko 53rd Army – Lieutenant General I. M. Managarov 3rd Ukrainian Front – Army General Fyodor Tolbukhin 5th Shock Army – Lieutenant General Nikolai Berzarin 4th Guards Mechanized Corps – Major General Vladimir Zhdanov 7th Mechanized Corps – Major General F. G. Katkov 57th Army – Lieutenant General N. A. Gagen 46th Army – Lieutenant General I.
T. Shlemin 37th Army – Major General M. N. Sharokhin 6th Guards Rifle Corps 66th Rifle Corps Black Sea Fleet Army Group South Ukraine - Generaloberst Johannes Friessner Army Group Dumitrescu Romanian 3rd Army – Colonel General Petre Dumitrescu 6th Army - General der Artillerie Maximilian Fretter-Pico 13th Panzer Division - Generalleutnant Hans Tröger 306th Infantry Division 76th Infantry Division - General der Infanterie Erich Abraham Army Group Wohler 8th Army – General der Infanterie Otto Wöhler 10th Panzergrenadier Division - Generalleutnant August Schmidt Romanian 4th Army - Lieutenant General Ioan Mihail Racoviță Romanian 1st Armoured Division – Brigadier General Radu Korne Romanian 4th Mountain Division - Brigadier General Alexandru Nasta As of 19 July 1944, the Romanian Army possessed a total of 430 tanks of all types, ranging from tankettes armed with machine guns to Panzer IVs and StuG IIIs. However, only 197 of these could face the mainstay tank of the Red Army, the T-34. From these 197, over 40% were part of the 1st Romanian Armored Division, they are listed below: The division had a dedicated anti-tank battalion.
Its main weapons were of Romanian origin: 10 TACAM T-60 tank destroyers and 24 75 mm Reșița field/anti-tank guns. The 24 guns were the first ones produced of this model; the 1st Romanian Armored Division had lost 34 armored fighting vehicles by 23 August, but claimed 60 Soviet tanks on 20 August alone. Stavka's plan for the operation was based on a double envelopment of German and Romanian armies by the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts; the 2nd Ukrainian Front was to break through north of Iași, commit mobile formations to seize the Prut River crossings before withdrawing German units of the 6th Army could reach it. It was to unleash the 6th Tank Army to seize the Siret River crossings and the Focșani Gap, a fortified line between the Siret River and the Danube; the 3rd Ukrainian Front was to attack out of its bridgehead across the Dniester near Tiraspol, release mobile formations to head north and meet the mobile formations of the 2nd Ukrainian Front. This would lead to the encirclement of the German forces near Chișinău.
Following the successful encirclement, the 6th Tank Army and the 4th Guards Mechanised Corps were to advance towards Bucharest and the Ploiești oil fields. Both the 2nd and the 3rd Ukrainian Fronts undertook a major effort, leading to a double envelopment of the German Sixth
Operation Little Saturn
Operation Saturn, revised as Operation Little Saturn, was a Red Army operation on the Eastern Front of World War II that led to battles in the North Caucasus and Donets Basin regions of the Soviet Union from December 1942 to February 1943. The success of Operation Uranus, launched on 19 November 1942, had trapped 250,000–300,000 troops of General Friedrich Paulus' German 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army in Stalingrad. To exploit this victory, the Soviet general staff planned a winter campaign of continuous and ambitious offensive operations, codenamed "Saturn". Joseph Stalin reduced his ambitious plans to a small campaign codenamed "Operation Little Saturn"; the offensive succeeded in smashing Germany's Italian and Hungarian allies, applied pressure on the over stretched German forces in Eastern Ukraine and prevented further German advances to the relief of the entrapped forces at Stalingrad. Despite these victories, the Soviets themselves became over extended, setting up the stages for the German offensives of the Third Battle of Kharkov and the Battle of Kursk.
On 17 May 1942, German Army Groups A and B launched a counteroffensive against advancing Soviet armies around the city of Kharkov, resulting in the Second Battle of Kharkov. By 6 July, General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army had taken the city of Voronezh, threatening to collapse the Red Army's resistance. By early August, General Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist's First Panzer Army had reached the oil center of Maykop, 500 kilometres south of the city of Rostov, taken by the Fourth Panzer Army on 23 July; the rapid German advance threatened to cut the Soviet Union off from its southern territories, while threatening to cut the lend-lease supply lines from Persia. However, the offensive began to peter out, as the offensive's supply train struggled to keep up with the advance and spearhead units began to run low on fuel and manpower. Operation Uranus was the codename of the Soviet strategic operation in World War II which led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army and Fourth Romanian armies, portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army.
The operation formed part of the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad, was aimed at destroying German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced as early as September 1942, was developed with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center and German forces in the Caucasus; the Red Army took advantage of the fact that German forces in the southern Soviet Union were overstretched around Stalingrad, using weaker Romanian armies to guard their flanks. These Axis armies were deployed in open positions on the steppe and lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor. Operation Winter Storm, undertaken between 12–23 December 1942, was the German Fourth Panzer Army's attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad. In late November, the Red Army completed Operation Uranus, which resulted in the encirclement of Axis personnel in and around the city of Stalingrad. German forces within the Stalingrad Pocket and directly outside were reorganized under Army Group Don, under the command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein.
As the Red Army continued to build strength, in an effort to allocate as many resources as possible to the eventual launch of the planned Operation Saturn, which aimed to isolate Army Group A from the rest of the German Army, the Luftwaffe had begun an attempt to supply German forces in Stalingrad through an air bridge. However, as the Luftwaffe proved incapable of carrying out its mission and it became more obvious that a successful breakout could only occur if it was launched as early as possible, Manstein decided to plan and launch a dedicated relief effort. After the defeat of the Romanian Army around Stalingrad and the successful encirclement of the German Sixth Army, Stalin started a counter-offensive nicknamed "Operation Little Saturn" in order to enlarge the area controlled by the Soviet Army in eastern Ukraine until Kharkov and Rostov. Zhukov states the South-Western Front was assigned a mission in which the 1st and 3rd Guard armies and the 5th Tank Army "were to strike out in the general direction of Morozovsk and destroy the enemy grouping in that sector."
They would be supported by the 6th Army of the Voronezh Front. The first stage — an attempt to cut off the German Army Group A in the Caucasus — had to be revised when General Erich von Manstein launched Operation Winter Storm on 12 December in an attempt to relieve the trapped armies at Stalingrad. While General Rodion Malinovsky's Soviet 2nd Guards Army blocked the German advance on Stalingrad, the modified plan Operation Little Saturn was launched on 16 December; this operation consisted of a pincer movement. General Fyodor Isidorovich Kuznetsov's 1st Guards Army and General Dmitri Danilovich Lelyushenko's 3rd Guards Army attacked from the north, encircling 130,000 soldiers of the Italian 8th Army on the Don and advancing to Millerovo; the Italians resisted the Soviet attack for nearly two weeks, although outnumbered 9 to 1 in some sectors, but with huge losses. Manstein sent the 6th Panzer Division to the Italians' aid: of the 130,000 encircled troops, only 45,000 survived after bloody fighting to join the Panzers at Chertkovo on 17 January.
To the south the advance of General Gerasimenko's 28th Army threatened to encircle the 1st Panzer Army and General Trufanov's 51st Army attacked the relief column directly. In a dar
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.
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