05 July 2016

Relics of the Eastern Front

Jack has an article at War History Online about long-missing relics:

Between June of 1941 and May of 1945, Nazi Germany and the then-Soviet Union engaged in a cataclysmic struggle on World War Two’s Eastern Front. The resulting war was one of the largest and deadliest military duels in all of human history, and ultimately turned the tables on the Nazi conquest of Europe. It was also a conflict marked by strategic blunders, mass atrocities, and human suffering on a previously unimaginable scale.
Despite their ideological antipathy, both Germany and the then-Soviet Union shared a common dislike for the outcome of World War One. The then-Soviet Union had lost substantial territory in eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where it gave in to German demands and ceded control of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Finland, among others, to the Central Powers. Subsequently, when Germany in its turn surrendered to the Allies and these territories were liberated under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Russia was in a civil war and the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government. The Soviet Union would not be formed for another four years, so no Russian representation was present.
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, signed in August of 1939 ,was a non-aggression agreement between Nazi Germany and the then-Soviet Union that contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War One status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union. Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would return to Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided.
Adolf Hitler had declared his intention to invade the Soviet Union on 11 August 1939 to Carl Jacob Burckhardt, the League of Nations Commissioner, by saying that “everything I undertake is directed against the Russians. If the West is too stupid and blind to grasp this, then I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West, and then, after their defeat, turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces. I need the Ukraine so that they can’t starve us out, as happened in the last war."
As we all know, the Eastern Front was a gigantic battlefield and comes no surprise as to the amount of relics lost and buried on this battlefield. The images are just a few from the Facebook page The Ghosts of the Eastern Front. There is always a debate to the digging of battlefields, and that will continue forever. If you are a collector, then you can buy relics from their website.
The two powers invaded and partitioned Poland in 1939. After Finland refused a Soviet pact of mutual assistance, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 in what became known as the Winter War, a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland maintaining its independence but losing parts of eastern Karelia. In June of 1940, the Soviet Union occupied and illegally annexed the three Baltic states in violation of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and numerous bi-lateral conventions and treaties signed between the Soviet Union and the Baltics. The annexations were never recognized by most Western states.
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ostensibly provided security to the Soviets in the occupation of both the Baltics and the north and north eastern regions of Romania (Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia) although Hitler, in announcing the invasion of the Soviet Union, cited the Soviet annexations of Baltic and Romanian territory as having violated Germany’s understanding of the Pact. The annexed Romanian territory was divided between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics.
All that was left for the Soviets to do was to launch an offensive to capture central Germany (which would eventually become East Germany after the War). The Soviet offensive had two objectives. Because of Stalin’s suspicions about the intentions of the Allies to hand over territory occupied by them in the post-war Soviet zone of occupation, the offensive was to be on a broad front and move as rapidly as possible to the west, to meet the Allies as far west as possible. But the overriding objective was to capture Berlin. The two were complementary because possession of the zone could not be won quickly unless Berlin was taken. Another consideration was that Berlin itself held strategic assets, including Adolf Hitler and part of the German atomic bomb program.
The offensive to capture central Germany and Berlin started on 16 April 1944, with an assault on the German front lines on the Oder and Neisse rivers. After several days of heavy fighting the Soviet 1BF and 1UF punched holes through the German front line and were fanning out across central Germany. By 24 April 1945, elements of the 1BF and 1UF had completed the encirclement of the German capital and the Battle of Berlin entered its final stages. On 25 April the 2BF broke through the German 3rd Panzer Army’s line south of Stettin. They were now free to move west towards the British 21st Army Group and north towards the Baltic port of Stralsund. The 58th Guards Rifle Division of the 5th Guards Army made contact with the American 69th Infantry Division of the First Army near Torgau, Germany at the Elbe river.
On 29 and 30 April 1945, as Soviet forces fought their way into the center of Berlin, Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun and then committed suicide by taking cyanide and shooting himself. Helmuth Weidling, defense commandant of Berlin, surrendered the city to the Soviets on 2 May. Altogether, the Berlin operation (16 April to 2 May) cost the Red Army nearly four hundred thousand dead, wounded, missing, and sick and two thousand tanks and assault guns. German losses in this period of the war remain impossible to determine with any reliability.
Rico says it's yet another war he's glad he missed. (Matter of fact, Rico can't think of one he does miss...)

No comments:


Casino Deposit Bonus