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Questions tagged [soviet-union]

The Soviet Union or USSR (1922–1991) was a socialist state in Eurasia. After the 1924 death of founding leader Lenin (who led the October Revolution in 1917), Stalin established a planned economy and suppressed political opposition. After World War II, the Soviet Union emerged as one of the world's two superpowers, opposing the USA in the Cold War. 1980s leader Gorbachev attempted reform with perestroika and glasnost but the country collapsed in 1991.

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191
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34answers
172k views

Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

During World War 2, Hitler was fighting a war with Great Britain, but while fighting that war, he attacked the Soviet Union. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad......
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Why did Stalin deem Quantum Mechanics 'counter-revolutionary'?

I've read that in the late 1940s Stalin planned to hold a conference to discuss the ideological difficulties of physics in the Soviet Union, but called it off (presumably because of the successful ...
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Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
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5answers
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What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

One reason it was so hard for Germany to invade Russia/the Soviet Union in World War II (and I) was because the Russians had a different (wider) railroad gauge than that of most of the rest of Europe, ...
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7answers
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Why didn't the discrepancy in the Kursk casualty ratio work against the Soviets?

According to conventional wisdom, Soviet to German loss ratio at Kursk and immediately after in Soviet offensives was around 3:1 in men, and 5:1 (or more) in armored vehicles (tanks and self-propelled ...
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How dependent were the Germans on horse transport in their invasion of the Soviet Union?

The Germans were very sophisticated in "combined" operations, that is, in using airpower and tanks to attack behind the Soviet lines. That's what gave them the advantage in the early part of the war. ...
65
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Why did the USSR give Crimea to Ukraine?

In 1954 Soviets transferred Crimea from Russian Soviet Republic to Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Why is this strange? The whole act, at least officially, was meant to be "a gift", a token of friendship....
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Did the Soviets excel in one area of weaponry during World War II?

The Germans had some of the best machine guns and tanks during World War II. Likewise, the Americans had a big advantage with the M1 Garand (which Patton famously called "The greatest battle implement ...
27
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5answers
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Did Stalin believe Israel would go communist?

In Anne Applebaum's recent book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 she claims the USSR supported the new state of Israel and states "Stalin believed Israel would quickly join the ...
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5answers
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How many people were affected by the Holodomor [Famine-Genocide in Ukraine]

How many people were affected during the famine? Are there any sources for Soviet records on the Holodomor?
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5answers
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How true is the statement “Soviet troops got into Berlin riding American trucks, walking in American boots and using American trains”?

In other words, how significant was American lend-lease in helping the Soviet front? Would the Soviets be suffering a lot more had lend-lease not happen, or was it not as significant as people make ...
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3answers
347 views

Has there ever been a mass migration of factories comparable to the USSR's in WW2?

When the Soviet Union was invaded in 1941, the authorities quickly decided to move their factories east across the Urals in anticipation of the Blitzkrieg. This saved a lot of production capacity and ...
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How did the Czech Legion get home?

The Czech Legion was allied with the Russian Tsars just prior to the Russian revolution. After the Bolsheviks took power, they were unable to return via Europe. So they crossed the whole of Eurasia ...
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7answers
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How to explain the Khalkhin Gol outcome in view of Soviet weakness and Japanese strength at that time?

Conventional wisdom says that the USSR was very weak in 1939/40/41, in large part due to the purges of the 1930s, ideological interference in the armed forces, and lack of equipment, preparation and ...
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5answers
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Effects of the successful defense of the Soviet Union against Germany on the opening of the western front in WW2

I remember reading somewhere that the Allies (USA/UK) was not really keen on opening a second front to help the Soviet Union until the Soviets started to make progress in defeating Germany around 1942,...
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Was the Wehrmacht a mechanized army?

I read random descriptions of Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, and I got the impression that besides tanks, the armies carried with them millions of horses and that the bulk of the soldiers were ...
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4answers
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In the Soviet Union, how was payment enforced for public transportation?

From my previous, related question, public transport was not free in the USSR. It seems prices were very low, around 3 to 5 kopecks. This seems so low that I'm surprised the government didn't simply ...
25
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14answers
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What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on Eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the Eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
21
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4answers
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Why did the Germans forbid the possession of pet pigeons in Rostov-on-Don in 1941?

Photograph made by Max Alpert shows a dead boy holding a pigeon. It seems that the child has been tortured before he was killed. Source: Federal Archive Agency of Russia, Russian state archive of ...
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1answer
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How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
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4answers
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What are the main reasons historians give for the Soviet Union's collapse?

(I thought that How and Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse? is a good question so would like to rephrase it a bit but the question was too far gone to edit) The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 with ...
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4answers
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Why did the USSR preserve the national republics?

Ever since the inception of the Soviet Union, the central government continued to maintain the existence of national republics such as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. What was the reason behind ...
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10answers
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At what point did Soviet armored units have qualitative parity with Wehrmacht armored units?

Was the T-26 a match for the Panzer II,III, and IV in the early stages of Barbarossa? The T-34 has been given a lot of credit as the tipping point where Soviet technology created a weapons platform ...
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4answers
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What was the reason for Soviet troops to withdraw from Yugoslavia in World War II?

For all these countries that the Red Army entered (Poland, Romania, part of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary), the procedure was straightforward. Once the Soviets beat the Germans they become de facto ...
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4answers
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When planning Barbarossa, did Germany conceive of the Soviet migration of heavy industry?

Wikipedia has a very tiny article on this. Basically, when Barbarossa was launched, the Soviet Union started evacuating the factories. They were migrated to places beyond the Ural Mountains. I'm ...
25
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2answers
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Why did Stalin keep the famine of 1932 a secret?

The famine of 1932 took millions of lives, before the Soviet authorities took some measures to alleviate the lives of the peasants. During the whole time, and for decades afterwards, the affair was ...
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5answers
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Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union?

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union? I'm interested in the metros and buses. If not, what did they cost? I'm most interested in the period around the late 1950's, early 1960's, but it ...
18
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9answers
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Why was Stalin surprised by the German attack in June 1941?

Although he was warned by many, including Churchill, of the forthcoming German attack on 22 June, Stalin did not believe those warnings and was surprised when the attack started. I believe the ...
11
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3answers
939 views

Is there documentary evidence that Stalin intended/prepared to fight Germany after the Nazi-Soviet pact?

It's often said the peace was only both sides buying time. There's ample evidence Hitler always intended to break the pact. Did Stalin? Suvorov's thesis that Stalin was preparing for an offensive ...
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3answers
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Was there any terrorism in the Soviet Union?

Did terrorist attacks ever occur within the borders of the USSR? By this, I do not mean: terrorist acts committed by the USSR against its own people terrorists abroad sponsored by the USSR acts of ...
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4answers
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Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
27
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1answer
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Why was Kaliningrad placed under the Russian SFSR rather than the Lithuanian SSR?

Kaliningrad was (and still is) Russia's only (non-trivial*) exclave. Why did Stalin and the Soviet leaders transfer Kaliningrad to the Russian SFSR rather than the Lithuanian SSR (with which ...
26
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1answer
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Why did the Soviet Union get 3 seats in the UN?

Even before the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine and Belarus (which were then officially part of the Soviet Union) had independent seats at the United Nations. Why didn't the US or the UK get the ...
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Did American policymakers seriously consider scaling down Lend Lease Aid to the Soviet Union after the battle of Kursk?

In 1941, Senator (and future President) Harry Truman famously said, "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany." ...
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3answers
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How did the Soviets decide what to annex in WW2?

During and after World War II Soviet Union annexed some countries while others eventually became member states of the Warsaw Pact. What is known about how the Soviets made the decisions about which ...
14
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6answers
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Why did the Soviet Union's economy grow fast in the 1950's-1960's?

Communist economic systems self-implode. Today it has been recognized that Communism is bad for economic progress. There is no dispute that Communism makes countries poor based on what has happened in ...
13
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3answers
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What sources or documentation exists to indicate Stalin's level of popularity in Russia today?

To what extent is Stalin still loved and/or respected by Russians (and for extra points former USSR states)? While articles like these news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/...
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4answers
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What is the historical evidence behind the claim that the Soviet armies perpetrated mass rapes during their stay in Germany?

Besides accounts from Anthony Beevor's book and research done by Sander & Johr, which some members of the amateur historian community dismiss as biased and revisionist, are there any other source ...
7
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2answers
351 views

Motivation Behind the USSR Assisting China's Nuclear Program

What motivated the USSR to assist China with the development of Nuclear Weapons? Why would the USSR want China to have this technology during the 1950s and early 1960s? What did they get out of this ...
31
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6answers
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What was the role of the Soviet Navy during WWII?

Most books about WWII speak of the naval battles of Allied and Axis powers during the war, but none about the Soviet Navy. The Soviets had an active fleet at the time - why did it not engage the ...
23
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3answers
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Were there any attempts to assassinate Joseph Stalin?

Were there any attempts to assassinate Stalin? I haven't learned of any attempt to kill him, was he so brutal that no one tried to kill him?
15
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1answer
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Austria and Iron Curtain during Cold War

Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech from 1946 contains the following famous passage: From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. ...
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4answers
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Was the population of Moscow wildly overstated during the Cold War?

The science fiction author Robert Heinlein was a socialist in his youth, but became a strident anticommunist during the Cold War. In 1960, he and his wife Virginia went as tourists to the USSR, and he ...
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2answers
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Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union?

Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union? That is what the world history teacher told me. Please show your sources.
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5answers
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Was Russo-Polish of 1919-1920 a war of independence?

What evidence is there to call the 1919-1920 conflict between Poland and the Soviet Union a "war of independence"? As for a definition of independence, I would say it is a full political, legal, and ...
12
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2answers
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Did NATO promise Gorbachev not to accept membership applications from former Warsaw Pact nations?

There have been several claims that there was an agreement between NATO and USSR at the end of the Cold War. This agreement supposedly required NATO to reject any membership applications from the ...
12
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10answers
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Why didn't Hitler invade Middle East for resources first before invading Soviet Union?

Why didn't Hitler invade Middle East for resources instead of Soviet Union? Or at least invade Middle East first to secure the resources needed for sustained military operation? I understand Hitler ...
11
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2answers
1k views

What was the role of the Russian Orthodox church in Soviet Russia?

Considering that Soviet Union was officially atheistic and Bibles and most "Christian" denominations were banned, it is interesting to me that the government left the Russian Orthodox churches ...
9
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2answers
993 views

Was the Soviet Union in 1945 seeking to capture German soldiers and civilians, or drive them west?

The latter part of Prit Buttar's Battleground Prussia deals with the desperate attempts by German soldiers and civilians to escape from the ports and peninsulas of East and West Prussia in early 1945. ...
8
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1answer
381 views

During WW2, did the USSR re-gauge railways in conquered areas?

Basically, Germany uses 1435 mm gauge train track while Russia used 1524 mm. I recently came across this question about the Germans re-gauging the track that they could during their invasion of Russia....