Eastern Front (World War II)

Theatre of war of European Axis and Soviet Union blocs / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers against the Soviet Union (USSR), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It was known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union – and still is in some of its successor states, while almost everywhere else it has been called the Eastern Front. In present-day German and Ukrainian historiography the name German-Soviet War is typically used.

Quick facts: Eastern Front, Date, Location, Result, Territ...
Eastern Front
Part of the European theatre of World War II

Clockwise from top left: Soviet T-34 tanks storming Berlin; German Tiger I tanks during the Battle of Kursk; German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Front, December 1943; Ivanhorod Einsatzgruppen photograph of German death squads murdering Jews in Ukraine; Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender; Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad
Date22 June 1941 (1941-06-22) – 8 May 1945 (1945-05-08)
(3 years, 10 months, 2 weeks and 2 days)
Location
Europe east of Germany: Central and Eastern Europe, in later stages: Germany and Austria
Result

Soviet victory[lower-alpha 1]

Territorial
changes
Belligerents
Axis: Allies: Former Axis powers:
Air and naval support:
Commanders and leaders
(until 1944) (from 1944)
Strength
  • 1941
    3,767,000 troops
  • 1942
    3,720,000 troops
  • 1943
    3,933,000 troops
  • 1944
    3,370,000 troops
  • 1945
    1,960,000 troops
  • 1941
    (Front) 2,680,000 troops
  • 1942
    (Front) 5,313,000 troops
  • 1943
    (Front) 6,724,000 troops
  • 1944
    6,800,000 troops
  • 1945
    6,410,000 troops
Casualties and losses
5.1 million dead
4.5 million captured
See below.
8.7–10 million dead
4.1–5.7 million captured
See below.
Civilian casualties:
18–24 million civilians dead
See below.
Close

The battles on the Eastern Front of the Second World War constituted the largest military confrontation in history.[1] They were characterised by unprecedented ferocity and brutality, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life due to combat, starvation, exposure, disease, and massacres. Of the estimated 70–85 million deaths attributed to World War II, around 30 million occurred on the Eastern Front, including 9 million children.[2][3] The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations.[4]

The two principal belligerent powers were Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never sending in ground troops to the Eastern Front, the United States and the United Kingdom both provided substantial material aid to the Soviet Union in the form of the Lend-Lease program along with naval and air support. 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 is generally also considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front.