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What was the percent of the Soviet territory that was under Nazi control at maximum extent?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

A widely cited figure is "500,000 sq mi of Russian territory" occupied by Nazi Germany, but it does not seem plausible because of the imprecise choice of wording.

Wikipedia says (without providing a reference), that in course of Operation Barbarossa Germany captured 1.3 mln km2 until the end of 1941 plus a maximum of 0.65 mln km2 later. That would be a total of 1.95 mln km2.

Properly, this should be divided by Soviet land area as of 22 June 1941, but I've been unable to find this figure. I substitute the 1991 figure, which is only a little bit lower.

1.95 / ( 22.27 or more ) * 100% = 8.8% (or less)

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It possibly should be noted that this includes all area which was ever occupied. If to take the area which was held at any given moment, the figure will possibly drop further (note that Stalingrad offensive happened when Germans were already pushed back from Moscow). –  Anixx Jan 26 '12 at 8:54
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That's not a terribly easy question as the numbers and definitions are in dispute. For example, do you mean occupied, military presence, or actually subjugated, and if subjugated how much resistance? Then do you include Soviet occupied Poland? If Poland, then what about Finland? Since the Russians practiced slash and burn, do you include territory which was more-or-less unable to be occupied?

The amount of land under control can be seen here and here. Both maps are from the same period and both show some very different maps. It appears that the most that the Germans were able to hold indisputably was somewhere around a third of the territory of the Soviet Union west of the Urals. The broader chart suggest closer to half of the territory west of the Urals.

Of course, both of those estimates exclude Siberia.

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I would like to see a number, at least, approximate. To include or not include the annexed before the war parts of Poland and Finland is not that important if it is explicitly noted whether they are included (I prefer to see a number with these territories included though). I had a dispute with some folks saying it was at best 6% of the total Soviet territory while others suggested 15% and 25%. –  Anixx Dec 27 '11 at 2:52
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Just to clarify why a map is not that good as seeing a calculated number is that the area of maps usually does not correspond to a proportional area of land due to used cartographic projections. –  Anixx Dec 27 '11 at 3:12
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