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60

I'm not sure there is any direct evidence that it was strategically a bad idea. Strategically it made sense to attack the Soviet Union while they were weak and unprepared for war. Hitler knew that as he made progress on the Western front that Stalin grew more and more nervous every day about the growing power of Nazi Germany. What must be remembered is that ...


51

We have to delve into two spheres to address this question, the political and the military. Militarily, the Japanese fought a series of border skirmishes with the Soviet Union at Khalkhin Gol (located along the Manchurian - Mongolian border, Mongolia then being a "People's Republic" and puppet of the Soviet Union) through early summer to early autumn 1939, ...


33

By this time, Germany controlled the entire European peninsula, and it was very hard to see the Allied forces coming back from that. Hitler told one of his generals in June 1940 that the victories in western Europe "finally freed his hands for his important real task: the showdown with Bolshevism" [from here]. Reasons to attack the Soviet Union ...


33

TL;DR Khrushchev wanted to (1) test his political power, and (2) to please the Ukrainian population, and (3) to shift the rebuilding cost to the Ukrainian republic. Khrushchev wanted to test his political power If anyone would wanted to challenge Khrushchev, just rising to power, his controversial idea and hollow arguments would be a perfect occasion. The ...


32

The Soviet Union had three seats in the UN. In addition to the Soviet Union itself, two of the Soviet republics had seats: Ukraine and Belarus. This obviously didn't make much sense given that neither of them was an independent state at the time. So it can only be viewed as a way for the Soviet Union to increase its weight in the UN. This was one of the ...


22

It is depending on your definition of a Russian. Gagarin was born in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, so he was the first Russian in space. Sergei Krikaljow (also a Russian) started as a citizen of the Soviet Union, when the Soviet Union was dissolved on December 26, 1991 he was in space. So he was the first citizen of the Russian ...


21

Germany always wanted to attack and defeat Soviet Russia. There is an ideological battle between fascism and communism. Germany really thought that Russia was the enemy of the world. Some Germans believed, such was the evil of communism, that when they started the eastern front, the English would come over to their side to fight communism rather than ...


17

There was a Autonome Sozialistische Sowjetrepublik der Wolgadeutschen (Russian Автономная Советская Социалистическая Республика Немцев Поволжья, English Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) From Wikipedia: The republic was created following the Russian Revolution, by October 29 (some claim 19th) Decree of the Soviet government, Volga ...


15

Churchill was not Prime Minister when the MRP was announced or when it went into effect. He wasn't even in the government at all. He was in Parliament, but mostly an exile due to his bellicose views. It was the war that forced the Conservative government to take him in, and he didn't become Prime Minister until after France was invaded, well after the ...


15

Basically, you've given the answer yourself in the question: handwatches were a very rare thing in Soviet Russia at the time and it is small wonder that they became the soldiers' favourite trophy, especially since handwatches were highly portable and could be kept by the soldier himself. As to why handwatches were so rare in Russia - well, that was a ...


14

No! The Cold War was the standoff between the Capitalistic USA and Communistic USSR. Communism lost. What remains is corruption within the former communist country (Russia). The War in Ossetia was over oil (a distinctly capitalistic move) not ideology (spreading Communism) as it would have been were the Cold War still ongoing.


14

There were in fact several domestic attempts to assassinate Stalin. Source November 16, 1931. Ogaryov met Stalin on the Ilyinka str. near house 5/2 and tried to pull out his gun, but was stopped by a member of pre-KGB. In early 1930-s, there was a society of people who called themselves "Klubok" (something like "a roll, a ball" if translated into ...


14

I thought for sure he had actually killed someone himself, and early on around the Tflis bank robbery period there were times he almost did. But Simon Sebag Montefiore recently wrote a biography on Stalin's earlier years (Young Stalin, 2007, Vintage Books), and he states a few times that Stalin himself never pulled a trigger during his whole life (that ...


14

Unlike Soviet ground forces the fleet was well prepared at the beginning of German invasion and did not panic or wait for orders. For example as early as August 1941 Baltic fleet air force bombed Berlin from the island Ezel. In 1941 Baltic fleet placed 12047 mines. In 1943 the Finns together with the Germans successfully placed a net across the Gulf of ...


14

As others have pointed out, it will never be possible to answer this question conclusively based on documents, because the Soviet officials have always been eager to downplay (for the propaganda reasons) the importance of the Allied contribution to the war in general and Lend-Lease in particular, so all the official Soviet sources are suspect (as, by the ...


14

Answers to your questions: Were most of [the super-wealthy Russians] able to flee the country? No. Most of them were executed by the Bolsheviks along with their families and anybody that the Bolsheviks deemed to be in league with them. You can get a sense for the survival chances by reading about the last Grand Dukes of Russia. Remember that these are the ...


13

As I understand it, the ratio of Soviet to Axis losses was something like 6 or 7 to 1 in 1941, perhaps 2 to 1 in 1942, and (close to) 1 to 1 in the latter part of the war. This includes not only German losses, but those of allies (principally Hungarians, Romanians, and Italians.) So Soviet to German totals would be higher. The Germans got off to a strong ...


12

The original source for the stories you heard is apparently the book "Scorpion Down" by Ed Offley. The book's statements are questionable to say the least and this book review makes a good point. I checked what the Russian sources say about K-129. This 2008 interview with Viktor A. Dygalo, the commander of the division that K-129 belonged to, covers this ...


12

NKVD means Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennih Del, that is People's Comissariat of Internal Affairs. It was just a general internal affairs department. Although it included law enforcement agencies, it on the other hand included firefighters and civil registry services too. Now GPU/OGPU was the secret police which sometimes was a part of NKVD, and sometimes was ...


12

The relationship between Ataturk and Lenin created a minor controversy in Turkey in 2008, when the Atatürk Thought Association used a banner showing them side by side: A public prosecutor's office in İstanbul has reportedly launched a probe into the Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD) over its use of a banner showing Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder ...


12

Sometimes it deliberately wasn't kept secret from the enemy. This is from William Taubman's Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, about the Cuban missile crisis in 1962: At 10:00 A.M., Washington time, when the quarantine went into full effect, the U.S. strategic Command moved from Defense Condition 3 to DEFCON 2, one level below that of general war. For ...


12

Executive Summary The small conflict was important to SU but much less so for Japan. Japanese ground forces were not the best Despite the purges, the Red Army still had some good generals (surprised?) Details Importance Stalin wanted to point Japan south and east, freeing himself to pursue his European expansion policy. He wanted to give the IJN a ...


11

Unfortunately, we cannot ask Hitler about that and he didn't leave any written notices about his reasons. So every answer to that question is a speculation and I've seen a number of such speculations. The official Soviet version states an ideological war between fascism and communism that prompted Hitler to attack the Soviet Union without considering ...


11

I think your information is incorrect. I think Khrushchev very rarely wore military uniform when he became a leader. The son of Nikita Khrushchev tells in his memoirs http://lib.rtg.su/memor/35/84.html that until 1958 Khrushchev had only WWII front-line uniform. In 1958 for the 40-years jubilee of the Soviet Army he sewed a new uniform for the occasion, in ...


11

I trust David Remnick's Lenins's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire as a source, which includes this passage: To begin with, Gorbachev himself was still convinced of what he called the "rightness of socialist choice." He continued to see Lenin as his guiding intellectual and historical model. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that ...


11

The USSR growth rate during the 50's was not exceptionally high. The claims of 5-10% growth, although certainly theoretically possible, were simply not true, but Soviet propaganda. Real growth rates during the 50's and 60's were rather 3-4%, with an average of 3.4%. This is lower than both average OECD and average global growth during the same period at4%. ...


10

After Soviet performance in the Winter War in Finland, it was believed that the Soviet army could be rapidly and easily defeated. The Red Army had started to undergo significant reforms based on its experiences, as well as modernizing much of its equipment, particularly tanks. While Germany was unlikely to become significantly stronger over time, the Red ...


10

Japan was interested in extending its influence in Asia and for that it had to confront either USSR or USA. While I don't think that the exact reason for choosing USA is known, Japan was at a clear disadvantage when battling USSR: while the Soviet Union had established overland supply line for its troops in the far east (Trans-Siberian Railway) the Japanese ...


10

Yes, in 1944 there was operation Zeppelin, a German plot to assassinate Stalin. Also, Beria supposedly claimed to have killed Stalin, although it's more likely that this is a reference to him delaying treatment after Stalin had a stroke. While Stalin was responsible for the imprisonment and executions of many Russians, it is also worth remembering that ...


10

Baltic fleet: There were a whole bunch of mines laid by Germany and their co-belligerents Finland and Sweden shortly before the Great Patriotic War began, which did not help the naval forces in Leningrad. This and the fast German advance up the Baltic coast prevented the Russians making my use of their surface fleet in open water. See the wikipedia page. ...



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