Eastern Front (World War II)

1941–1945 World War II theater

The Eastern Front during World War II or the Great Patriotic War was where the Axis countries and the Soviet Union fought. It began in 1941 with Operation Barbarossa and ended in 1945 by the Soviet soldiers capturing Berlin. Both the Axis countries and the Soviet Union had many millions of soldiers, and both sides lost millions.

Eastern front
Part of World War II

Map from August 1943 - December 1944
Date22 June 1941 - 8 May 1945
Result Soviet victory
Allied powers
 Soviet Union
 •  Polish Army in the East
Former Axis Powers
 Romania (from August 1944)
 Bulgaria (from September 1944)
 Finland (from September 1944)
Axis powers
 •  Slovakia
 •  Croatia
 Romania (until August 1944)
 Finland (until September 1944)
 Italy (until September 1943)

Romania, Italy and other Axis members joined the war, and Finland fought the Continuation War against the Soviet Union in cooperation with the bigger Axis war.

The Eastern Front is called the "Great Patriotic War" in Russia, and it is sometimes called the "Soviet-German War" in the West.

About four fifths of the Axis soldiers killed in World War II died on the Eastern Front. Even more millions of Soviet soldiers died. Many war crimes were committed by German troops. The Eastern Front was the most important conflict in Europe during World War II.

The winter of 1941-1942 began unusually early. It was not noted as being particularly bad by the Soviets, but the Germans were accustomed to warmer temperatures and so were ill-prepared. The Germans' equipment broke down in the cold, and some men were still wearing summer uniforms, which they stuffed with newspapers in an attempt to stay warm. Many German soldiers froze to death in the extreme cold.

The partly successful Operation Barbarossa was followed in 1942 by the failed "Fall Blau" (Case Blue), which was intended to take the Caucasus region and its oilfields.

A few years later, the Soviets pushed the German soldiers and invaded the German-occupied territories in Eastern Europe. The Soviets then invaded Germany itself and fought the Battle of Berlin, the final battle before Germany's surrender. Although the Soviets eventually repelled the Germans, the tremendous cost was five times as many Soviet deaths as Germans.

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