Eastern Front

The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It was known by many different names depending on the nation, notably the Great Patriotic War (Russian: Âåëèêàÿ Îòå÷åñòâåííàÿ Âîéíà) in the former Soviet Union, while known in Germany as the Eastern Front (German: die Ostfront[3]), the Eastern Campaign (German: der Ostfeldzug) or the Russian Campaign (German: der Ru?landfeldzug).[4] 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,[5] many of them civilians, died 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.[6][7][8] 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 to the Soviet Union. The Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. In addition, the joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are also considered part of the Eastern Front. Despite their ideological antipathy, both Germany and the Soviet Union shared a mutual dislike for the outcome of World War I. The 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, these territories were liberated under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Russia was in a civil war condition, the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government, and the Soviet Union would not be formed for another 4 years so no Russian representation was present. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was a non-aggression agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that contained a secret protocol that aimed to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I 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 between them.