Soldiers place Soviet banners over the Brandenburg Gate. (RIA Novosti) / RIA Novosti
On May 9, Russia celebrates the defeat of the Nazi forces in the Great Patriotic War (WWII), which cost the country over 26 million of lives. RT looks back at the most significant events of the bloodiest war in the history of humanity.
The Great Patriotic War began at 4 am on June 22, 1941, when Nazi
Germany attacked the Soviet Union, breaking the 1939
On the first day of the, the Hitler Army bombed Sevastopol, Kiev,
Zhitomir, Kaunas and other cities. The Soviet Union lost about
1,200 aircraft: 300 were destroyed in aerial battles and 900 were
eliminated on the ground.
The Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR issued a decree
on mobilization, beginning June 23, of all the enlisted citizens
born between 1905 and 1918. In total, The Red Army conscripted
over 34 million people during the war, with 850,000 from Moscow
Moving further to the East, Nazi troops eliminated thousands of
Soviet towns, villages, plants, factories, cultural and historic
monuments. Only in Belarus, over 200 towns and 9,200 villages
were burnt or destroyed.
The Battle for Moscow – which lasted from late autumn of 1941 to
mid-spring of 1942 - marked the first major defeat of Nazi
Germany in WWII. “When I am asked what event in the war impressed
me most, I always say: the Battle of Moscow,” Soviet Marshal
Georgy Zhukov wrote in his memoirs.
The Soviet victory in the fight for Moscow was of moral and
strategic importance. Both sides suffered tremendous losses: the
USSR lost 1.8 million people while the German Wehrmacht – over
By late September 1941, Nazi troops had taken control over
Smolensk, Kiev, started a siege of Leningrad and approached
For Hitler, capturing the peninsula on the Black Sea, Crimea was
strategically important to prevent Soviet air raids on Romanian
oil fields and get access to the Caucasus region.
The town of Kerch, in the east of Crimea, fell to the Nazi
onslaught in November 1941. The key Black Sea port city of
Sevastopol was invaded following months of bloody fighting in
July 1942. The peninsula was retaken by the Red Army on April 18,
1944. Sevastopol was liberated on May 9, 1944.
The epic Battle of Stalingrad became the turning point in World
War II, and consequently led to the defeat of the Nazi army. The
bloody confrontation lasted between August 1942 and February 2,
1943, claiming the lives of nearly 2 million people on both
On January 27, 1944, the Soviet Army lifted the blockade of
Leningrad that had been besieged by the Nazi forces for 872 days.
The siege claimed the lives of over a million people, who died of
starvation, cold and in the extensive bombing of the city.
On June, 6, 1944 the Western Allies landed in Normandy, opening
the long-awaited "Second Front" in the fight against the Nazi
Germany. On June 23, the Soviet Union launched mass-scale
offensive Bagration, which resulted in the liberation of Belarus.
The final battles of the Great Patriotic War and of the European
Theatre of the WWII took place in April-May 1945. On May 8 (at
00:43, May 9 Moscow time), Germany surrendered.
On May 1, 1945, Soviet soldiers placed the red Soviet Victory
Banner over the Reichstag building in Berlin, symbolizing the
final collapse of Nazi Germany.