Role of the Soviet Union in World War II Victory
On 9 May Russia celebrates the 76th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War – the war between the USSR and Nazi Germany that raged between 22 June 1941 and 9 May 1945. This Victory was of crucial significance to ending the most devastating world conflict in history – World War II, several months later, in September 1945.
The Victory in the war prevented the Nazis from spreading their inhuman ideology worldwide, in accordance with which they planned to physically eliminate entire ethnic groups: Jews, Romans, Russians, Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, French and Czech.
The Soviet Union and Russia, being its successor, always highly appreciated the contribution of the anti-Hitler coalition Allies. The efforts of all countries and peoples who fought against a common enemy resulted in victory. Russia is eternally grateful to the peoples of Great Britain, the United States of America, and France, anti-fascists of various countries and members of the underground resistance. Russia also remembers the assistance rendered by the Allies, who provided the Red Army with munitions, raw materials, food and equipment, which amounted to about 7 percent of the total military production of the USSR.
At the same time, it should be mentioned that it is the Soviet Union and the Red Army, who made the crucial contribution to the defeat of Nazism. The Wehrmacht spent at least ten times more time on the Soviet front than on all other allied fronts. About four fifths of German tanks and two thirds of German aircraft were drawn to the Soviet front.
The USSR accounted for about 75 percent of all military efforts undertaken by the Anti-Hitler Coalition. There were no parallels to these battles anywhere on the Western Front. The Red Army defeated 626 divisions of the Axis States, of which 508 were German. Three fourths of the German armed forces were crushed on the SovietGerman Front.
Then US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated that the “Russian forces have destroyed…more troops, planes, tanks and guns than all the other United Nations put together” and then Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill wrote to Joseph Stalin that “it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine”. Almost 27 million Soviet citizens perished on the fronts, in German prisons, starved to death and were bombed, died in ghettos and furnaces of the Nazi death camps. The USSR lost one in seven of its citizens.
The damage done to the Soviet Union was greater than the combined damage inflicted to all other European countries. British historian, Max Hastings wrote: “It was the Western Allies’ extreme good fortune that the Russians, and not themselves, paid almost the entire ‘butcher’s bill’ for [defeating Nazi Germany], accepting 95 percent of the military casualties of the three major powers of the Grand Alliance”. Victory Day and the liberation of Europe from Nazism is one of the most important and revered dates. In our country not a single family was spared by the war. Representatives of all republics of the Soviet Union made their contribution to the Great Victory, fought side by side together in that heroic battle, both on the frontlines and in the rear.
Without their heroism and valour, it would have been impossible to stop and destroy the enemy. The memory of those who fell in battle fighting the enemies will remain alive as long as we mark the Victory Day – the day of salvation and liberation. It is our sacred duty to safeguard the truth about what happened during those years, and remember the grim lessons of war in order to prevent such tragedies from repeating themselves.
Yury Materiy Ambassador of Russia