The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland and other allies, which encompassed Northern, Southern and Central and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War (Russian: Великая Отечественная Война, Velikaya Otechestvennaya Voyna) in the former Soviet Union and in modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front (German: die Ostfront), the Eastern Campaign (der Ostfeldzug) or the Russian Campaign (der Rußlandfeldzug).

The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life variously due to combat, starvation, exposure, disease, and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million,

many of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for Germany's defeat. It resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower.
The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom and the United States both provided substantial material aid in the form of the Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union. The joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front. In addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may also be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front.

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  • 1. [Operation Barbarossa] Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa) was the code name for Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II, which began on 22 June 1941. Over the course of the operation, about four million soldiers of the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union along a 2,900 kilometer front, the largest invasion force in
  • 2. [Battle of Stalingrad] The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in Southern Russia, on the eastern boundary of Europe.
  • 3. [Red Army] The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (Russian: Рабоче-крестьянская Красная армия; РККА, or Raboche-krest'yanskaya Krasnaya armiya: RKKA, frequently shortened in Russian to Красная aрмия; KA, in English: Red Army) was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and after 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established
  • 4. [Battle of France] In the Second World War, the Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the successful German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, defeating primarily French forces. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), German armoured units pushed through
  • 5. [Battle of Kursk] The Battle of Kursk was a Second World War engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk (450 kilometres or 280 miles south-west of Moscow) in the Soviet Union during July and August 1943. The German offensive was code-named Operation Citadel (German: Unternehmen Zitadelle) and led to one of the largest
  • 6. [Wehrmacht] The Wehrmacht (German pronunciation: [ˈveːɐ̯maxt], lit. "defence force") was the unified armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1946. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe (air force). The designation Wehrmacht for Nazi Germany's military replaced the previously used term, Reichswehr (1919-1935), and constituted the Third Reich’s efforts to rearm the nation to a greater extent than the small armed forces the Treaty of Versailles permitted.
  • 7. [Western Front (World War II)] The Western Front of the European theatre of World War II encompassed Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Western Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are generally considered under separate headings. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations. The
  • 8. [Invasion of Poland] The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign, or the 1939 Defensive War in Poland (Polish: Kampania wrześniowa or Wojna obronna 1939 roku), and alternatively the Poland Campaign (German: Polenfeldzug) or Fall Weiß in Germany (Case White), was a joint invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent,
  • 9. [Army Group Centre] Army Group Centre (German: Heeresgruppe Mitte) was the name of two distinct German strategic army groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II. The first Army Group Centre was created on 22 June 1941, as one of three German Army formations assigned to the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). On
  • 10. [Army Group South] Army Group South (German: Heeresgruppe Süd) was the name of a number of German Army Groups during World War II.
  • 11. [Battle of Moscow] The Battle of Moscow (Russian: Битва за Москву) is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow,
  • 12. [Axis powers] The Axis powers (German: Achsenmächte, Japanese: 枢軸国 Sūjikukoku, Italian: Potenze dell'Asse), also known as the Axis, were the nations that fought in the Second World War against the Allied forces. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not coordinate their wars.
  • 13. [Army Group North] Army Group North (German: Heeresgruppe Nord) was a German strategic echelon formation, commanding a grouping of field armies during World War II. The army group was subordinated to the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), the German army high command, and coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics.
  • 14. [Operation Bagration] Operation Bagration (/bʌɡrʌtiˈɒn/; Russian: Oперация Багратио́н, Operatsiya Bagration) was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation during World War II, which cleared German forces from the Belorussian SSR and eastern Poland between 22 June and 19 August 1944. The operation was named after 18th–19th century Georgian Prince Pyotr Bagration, general of the Imperial Russian Army who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Borodino.
  • 15. [Battle of Berlin] The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European theatre of World War II.
  • 16. [Luftwaffe] The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the German Wehrmacht during World War II. Germany's military air arms during the First World War, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy, had been disbanded in 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.
  • 17. [6th Army (Wehrmacht)] The 6th Army was a designation for a German field army that saw action in World War II. The 6th Army is best known for fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad, during which it became the first entire German field army to be destroyed. After the battle of Stalingrad, approximately 107,800 soldiers of the 6th Army entered Soviet captivity, of which only about 6,000 survived the captivity.
  • 18. [Volgograd] Volgograd (Russian: Волгогра́д; IPA: [vəlɡɐˈɡrat]), formerly Tsaritsyn (Russian:  Цари́цын​ ), 1589–1925, and Stalingrad (Russian:  Сталингра́д​ ), 1925–1961, is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is 80-kilometer (50 mi) long, north to south and is situated on the western bank of the Volga River. Population: 1,021,215 (2010 Census); 1,011,417 (2002 Census); 1,022,578 (1989 Census).
  • 19. [Soviet partisans] The Soviet partisans were members of a resistance movement that fought a guerrilla war against the Axis occupation of the Soviet Union during World War II.
  • 20. [Erich von Manstein] Fritz Erich Georg Eduard von Lewinski, known as Erich von Manstein (24 November 1887 – 9 June 1973), was one of the most prominent commanders of the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany's armed forces during the Second World War. He attained the rank of field marshal.
  • 21. [T-34] The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank that had a profound and lasting effect on the field of tank design. Although its armour and armament were surpassed later in the war, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient, and influential tank design of World War II. At its introduction, the T-34 possessed
  • 22. [SS (Nazi Germany)] The Schutzstaffel (abbreviated as SS) German pronunciation: [ˈʃʊtsˌʃtafəl], "protection squadron" or "defence corps"; also with stylized "Armanen" sig runes) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP). It began in 1923 as a small, permanent guard unit known as the "Saal-Schutz" (Hall-Protection) made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security
  • 23. [Panzer] Panzer /ˈpænzər/ (German pronunciation: [ˈpantsɐ]) is a German language word that means either tank (the military vehicle) or armour. It is occasionally used in English and some other languages as a loanword in the contexts of German military.
  • 24. [4th Panzer Army] The 4th Panzer Army (German: 4. Panzerarmee) was, before being designated a full army, the Panzer Group 4 (Panzergruppe 4), a German panzer army that saw action during World War II. Its units played a part in the invasion of France, and then on the Eastern Front.
  • 25. [Oberkommando des Heeres] The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was the Supreme High Command of the German Army. It was founded in 1935 as a part of Adolf Hitler's re-militarisation of the Third Reich. Its commander held the title Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres, Supreme High Commander of the Heer. From 1938 OKH was together with OKL Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, Supreme
  • 26. [Case Blue] Case Blue (German: Fall Blau), later renamed Operation Braunschweig, was the German Armed Forces' (Wehrmacht) name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942.
  • 27. [Siege of Leningrad] The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade (Russian: блокада Ленинграда, transliteration: blokada Leningrada) was a prolonged military blockade undertaken by the German Army Group North against Leningrad—historically and currently known as Saint Petersburg—in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. The siege started on 8 September 1941, when the last road
  • 28. [Georgy Zhukov] Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov (Russian: Гео́ргий Константи́нович Жу́ков; IPA: [ɡʲɪˈorgʲɪj kənstɐnʲtʲinəvʲtɕ ˈʐukəf]; 1 December [O.S. 19 November] 1896 – 18 June 1974), was a Soviet career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played the most pivotal role in leading the Red Army drive through much of Eastern Europe to
  • 29. [Heinrich Himmler] Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (German: [ˈhaɪnʁɪç ˈluˑɪtˌpɔlt ˈhɪmlɐ]; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler briefly appointed him a military commander and later Commander of the Replacement (Home) Army and General Plenipotentiary for
  • 30. [Winter War] The Winter War (Finnish: Talvisota, Swedish: Vinterkriget, Russian: Зи́мняя война́, tr. Zimnyaya voyna) was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland in 1939–1940. It began with the Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939 (three months after the outbreak of World War II), and ended with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. The League of Nations deemed the attack illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from the League on 14 December 1939.
  • 31. [Balkan Campaign (World War II)] The Balkan Campaign of World War II began with the Italian invasion of Greece on 28 October 1940. In the early months of 1941, Italy's offensive had been stalled and a Greek counter-offensive pushed into Albania. Germany sought, by deploying troops to Romania and Bulgaria, to aid Italy by attacking Greece from the east; while
  • 32. [Stavka] Stavka (Russian: Ставка) is the term used to refer to the high command of the armed forces in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. It was used in Imperial Russia to refer to the administrative staff, and to the General Headquarters in the late 19th Century Imperial Russian armed forces and subsequently in the
  • 33. [Third Battle of Kharkov] The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov (or Kharkiv) between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the Germans as the Donets Campaign, and to the Soviets
  • 34. [Joseph Stalin] Joseph Stalin (18 December 1878 –5 March 1953, birth surname: Dzhugashvili) was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953.
    Stalin led the Soviet Union through its post-war reconstruction phase, which saw a significant rise in tension with the Western world that would later be known as the Cold War.
  • 35. [Heinz Guderian] Heinz Wilhelm Guderian (German: [ɡuˈdeʀi̯an]; 17 June 1888 – 14 May 1954) was a German general during World War II, noted for his success as a leader of Panzer units in Poland and France and for partial success in Russia.
  • 36. [Courland Pocket] The Courland Pocket (German: Kurland-Kessel) refers to the Red Army's blockade or encirclement of Axis forces on the Courland Peninsula during the closing months of World War II. The Soviet commander was General Bagramyan (later Marshal Bagramyan).
  • 37. [Western Bloc] The Western Bloc or Capitalist Bloc during the Cold War refers to the countries allied with the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and its allies. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc, a more common term in English than Western Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were
  • 38. [Adolf Hitler] Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and Führer ("leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As effective dictator of Nazi Germany, Hitler was at the centre of World War II in Europe and the Holocaust.
  • 39. [Panzer division] A panzer division (German: Panzerdivision) was an armored (tank) division in the army branch of the Wehrmacht and of Nazi Germany during World War II. The panzer divisions were the key element of German success in the Blitzkrieg operations of the early years of the war. Later the Waffen-SS formed panzer divisions, and even the Luftwaffe fielded a panzer division, the Herman Goring Division.
  • 40. [Russian Civil War] The Russian Civil War (Russian: Гражданская война́ в Росси́и Grazhdanskaya voyna v Rossiy) (November 1917 – October 1922) was a multi-party war in the former Russian Empire immediately after the Russian Revolutions of 1917, as many factions vied to determine Russia's political future. The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fighting for the
  • 41. [Tiger I] Tiger I  listen  is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. The Tiger I gave the Wehrmacht its first tank which mounted the 88 mm gun in its first armoured fighting vehicle-dedicated version: the KwK 36. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent heavy tank battalions, which proved highly effective.
  • 42. [Vistula–Oder Offensive] The Vistula–Oder Offensive was a successful Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European Theatre of World War II. It took place between 12 January and 2 February 1945. The offensive took Soviet forces from their start lines on the Vistula River almost 300 mi (480 km) to the Oder River; located 70 km (43 mi) from the German capital of Berlin.
  • 43. [Operation Uranus] Operation Uranus (Russian: Операция «Уран», romanised: Operatsiya "Uran") was the codename of the Soviet 19–23 November 1942 strategic operation in World War II which led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army, the Third and Fourth Romanian armies, and portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army. The operation formed part of the ongoing Battle
  • 44. [1st Panzer Army] The 1st Panzer Army (German: 1. Panzerarmee) was a German tank army which was a large armoured formation of the Wehrmacht during World War II.
  • 45. [Generaloberst] Generaloberst (en: colonel general) was, in the German Reich, the Reichswehr, Wehrmacht and the Austria-Hungary Common Army, the second highest general officer rank comparable to the then four-star rank in many NATO-Armed forces (Rangcode OF-9). In armed forces, structured in line to the former Soviet Army or the today´s Russian Army, today it is a
  • 46. [9th Army (Wehrmacht)] The 9th Army (German: 9. Armee) was a World War II field army. It was activated on 15 May 1940 with General Johannes Blaskowitz in command.
  • 47. [5th SS Panzer Division Wiking] The 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking was one of the elite Panzer divisions of the thirty eight Waffen SS divisions. It was recruited from foreign volunteers in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and Belgium under the command of German officers. During the course of World War II, the division progressed from a motorised
  • 48. [17th Army (Wehrmacht)] The German Seventeenth Army (German: 17. Armee) was a World War II field army.
  • 49. [20 July plot] On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. This event has become known by the misnomer Operation Valkyrie which was the planned coup d'etat that took place immediately after the attempted assassination. The apparent purpose of
  • 50. [Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact] The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the former Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, officially the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and also known as the Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact or Nazi–Soviet Pact, was formally a non-aggression pact, but according to the secret additional
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