poet Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

#60 on top 500 poets

Conscientious Objector

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about Conscientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay

  • 3673734242 (11/15/2018 6:07:00 PM)

    dis like death my u can like pown me but u aint powning anybody elsE with my help liek i mean i may be useless to do agaienst u but liike i aint helping u even If it helpin me right

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  • kouin (4/1/2018 3:56:00 AM)

    Swiss Army Questionnaire for C.O.'s.

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  • Another Conscientious Objector (2/3/2018 5:27:00 PM)

    I will die, yes. But I will not serve Death by killing in war, by betraying anyone who is hiding from killers. My death is inevitable, but human killing of one another is a different story. I object and refuse to participate.

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  • Colleen Courtney (5/17/2014 8:28:00 AM)

    Not a big fan of this poem for some unknown reason.

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    9 person liked.
    19 person did not like.
  • John Robinson (5/24/2012 4:43:00 AM)

    TitanicFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search
    Lord Mersey presided over the inquiryThe sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912 resulted in an inquiry by the British Wreck Commissioner on behalf of the British Board of Trade. The inquiry was overseen by High Court judge Lord Mersey, and was held in London from 2 May to 3 July 1912. The hearings took place mainly at the Royal Scottish Drill Hall, on Buckingham Gate.

    There were a total of 36 days of official investigation. Lord Mersey and the various counsels, assessors and experts in marine law and shipping architecture, questioned White Star Line officials, government officials, surviving passengers and crew, and those who had aided the rescue efforts. Organisations represented by legal counsels included shipping unions and government organisations. Nearly 100 witnesses testified, answering more than 25,000 questions. The questioning resulted in a report that contained a detailed description of the ship, an account of the ship's journey, a description of the damage caused by the iceberg, and an account of the evacuation and rescue.

    The final report was published on 30 July 1912. Its recommendations, along with those of the earlier United States Senate inquiry that had taken place in the month after the sinking, led to changes in safety practices following the disaster.

    Contents [hide]
    1 Background
    2 Formation
    3 Legal personnel
    4 Testimony
    5 Report and conclusions
    6 Reactions
    7 Notes
    8 Bibliography
    9 External links

    [edit] BackgroundThe sinking of the RMS Titanic, a trans-Atlantic passenger liner operated by White Star Line, occurred in the early hours of 15 April 1912 while the ship was on its maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, to New York, USA. The sinking was caused by a collision with an iceberg in the North Atlantic some 700 nautical miles east of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Over 1500 passengers and crew died, with some 710 survivors in Titanic's lifeboats rescued by the RMS Carpathia a few hours later. There was initially some confusion in both the USA and the UK over the extent of the disaster, with some newspapers at first reporting that the ship and the passengers and crew were safe. By the time Carpathia reached New York, it had become clear that Titanic, reputed to be unsinkable, had sunk and many had died. Official inquiries were set up in both countries to investigate the circumstances of the disaster.[1]

    [edit] Formation
    The Attorney General, Sir Rufus Isaacs, presented the inquiry with a list of 26 key questions to be answeredWhen news of the disaster reached the UK government the responsibility for initiating an inquiry lay with the Board of Trade, the organisation responsible for British maritime regulations and whose inspectors had certified Titanic as seaworthy before her maiden voyage. On 22 April 1912, Sydney Buxton, President of the Board of Trade, asked Lord Loreburn, the Lord Chancellor, to set up a commission of inquiry. The Lord Chancellor appointed Lord Mersey as the inquiry's President.[2]

    The resultant hearings took place from 2 May to 3 July 1912, mainly at the Royal Scottish Drill Hall, on Buckingham Gate.[2] The location was chosen for its large size, as sizeable audiences were expected, but turned out to have terrible acoustics that made it hard to hear what was going on.[3] The last two days were held at Caxton Hall, Westminster[2] due to the Scottish Drill Hall being booked for an examination.[4] To assist the inquiry, Titanic's builders Harland and Wolff provided a 20 feet (6.1 m) half-model of the ship showing its starboard side, next to which was mounted a large map showing the North Atlantic shipping lanes and locations of sea ice.[3]

    The Attorney General for England and Wales, Sir Rufus Isaacs, gave the commission a list of 26 questions concerning issues such as Titanic's construction, how she had been navigated and the ice warnings received prior to the collision with the iceberg. A further question was added after the inquiry began concerning the role played by the SS Californian, which had been in the vicinity of Titanic but had not rendered assistance to the sinking ship.[5]

    [edit] Legal personnelThose carrying out the questioning and representation included legal counsels, and assessors and experts in marine law and shipping architecture. The five assessors consisted of Rear Admiral the Honourable Somerset Gough-Calthorpe; Captain A. W. Clarke of Trinity House; Commander Fitzroy Lyon of the Royal Naval Reserve; Professor John Harvard Biles, an expert on naval architecture at the University of Glasgow; and Edward Chaston, an Admiralty senior engineer assessor.[6]

    Also involved were the Attorney General, Sir Rufus Isaacs (representing the Board of Trade) , Robert Finlay (representing the White Star Line) , Thomas Scanlan, and Clement Edwards. Organisations represented included shipping unions and government organisations. The maritime law firm Hill Dickinson represented the White Star Line. Other counsels (several of whom were also Members of Parliament) included Hamar Greenwood and Henry Duke, the solicitor-general John Simon (also representing the Board of Trade) , the prime minister's son Raymond Asquith, Sidney Rowlatt, and Edward Maurice Hill.[7]

    Organisations with counsel representing or watching on their behalf included the Board of Trade, the White Star Line, the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union of Great Britain and Ireland (see National Union of Seamen) , the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, the British Seafarers' Union, the Imperial Merchant Service Guild, the Marine Engineers' Association, the National Union of Stewards (see National Union of Ship's Stewards) , and the builders of the ship, Harland and Wolff. Organisations with representatives watching the proceedings were Allan Line Royal Mail Steamers, Canadian Pacific Railway, and Leyland Line.[7][8]

    [edit] Testimony
    Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon's testimony was a highlight of the inquiry, attracting many society figuresDuring 36 days of official investigations (spread over two months) , testimony was recorded from nearly 100 witnesses in the form of answers to set questions that the process was designed to answer. These questions, combined with sometimes extensive cross-examination, resulted in over 25,000 questions being recorded in the official court records.[9] With a cost of nearly £20,000 (£1,467,509 at today's prices) , it was the longest and most detailed court of inquiry in British history up to that time.[10] Those testifying included surviving passengers and crew members, as well as captains and crew members of other ships in the vicinity, expert witnesses, government officials, and White Star Line officials and ship designers.

    Surviving crew members who testified included the most senior surviving officer Charles Lightoller (Second Officer on Titanic) , [11] the lookout who sounded the alarm Frederick Fleet, [12] the surviving wireless operator Harold Bride, [13] and the ship's baker Charles Joughin.[14] Those from other ships who gave evidence at the hearings included Harold Cottam (wireless operator on the Carpathia) , [15] Stanley Lord (Captain of the Californian) , [16] Arthur Rostron (Captain of the Carpathia) , [17] and J. B. Ranson (Captain of RMS Baltic) .[18] Expert witnesses included Guglielmo Marconi (Chairman of the Marconi Company) , [19] and explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.[20] Others called to give testimony included Harold Arthur Sanderson, UK Vice President of International Mercantile Marine, the shipping consortium headed by J. P. Morgan that controlled White Star Line.[21] White Star Line officials that testified included J. Bruce Ismay (Chairman and Managing Director) , [22] Charles Alfred Bartlett (Marine Superintendent) .[23] From Harland and Wolff, evidence was given by Alexander Montgomery Carlisle (Naval Architect) .[24] Carlisle was the brother-in-law of the shipyard's chairman Lord Pirrie, and together with Pirrie was initially responsible for the design of the Olympic-class liners (including Titanic) . Carlisle had retired in 1910, and like Pirrie had not travelled on the maiden voyage of Titanic. The lead designer on board had been Thomas Andrews, Pirrie's nephew, who went down with the ship. The only passengers to testify, other than Ismay, were Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his wife.[25]

    The questioning of the Californian's crew and the Duff Gordons were seen as highlights of the inquiry. The failure of Californian to go to the rescue of the sinking Titanic, which had been disclosed by the American inquiry, was already controversial and became even more so with the testimony of Captain Lord and his officers. Lord's claims and explanations were contradicted by his officers and he was portrayed by them as an intimidating and somewhat tyrannical figure.[10] Although Lord appeared only as a witness and was not accused of wrongdoing, [5] as one historian of the Titanic disaster has put it, the image created in the mind of the public ever since has been of the Californian's officers standing idly on the bridge, so thoroughly intimidated by their captain that they would rather watch another ship sink than run the risk of facing his wrath.[10] The testimony of the Duff Gordons, who had been accused of misconduct for their actions in leaving Titanic aboard a lifeboat with 40 seats but only 12 passengers, attracted the largest crowds of the inquiry. Many notable society figures attended, including Margot Asquith, the wife of Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith; the Russian Ambassador to London, Count Aleksandr Beckendorf; several Members of Parliament, and various aristocrats.[26]

    [edit] Report and conclusionsThe final report was published on 30 July 1912. The lines of questioning at the inquiry had resulted in a detailed description of the ship, an account of the ship's journey, a description of the damage caused by the iceberg, an account of the evacuation and rescue. There was also a special section devoted to the circumstances of the Californian.[27]

    The report found that Titanic's sinking was solely the result of colliding with the iceberg, not due to any inherent flaws with the ship, and that the collision had been brought about by a dangerously fast speed in icy waters:

    The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances of the above mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons appearing in the annex hereto, that the loss of the said ship was due to collision with an iceberg, brought about by the excessive speed at which the ship was being navigated.[27]

    It also found that the lookout being kept was inadequate given the navigational hazards Titanic faced, and that the ship's officers had been complacent. There were too few lifeboats available and they had not been properly filled or manned with trained seamen, though they had been lowered correctly. The inquiry concluded that the Californian could have pushed through the ice to the open water without any serious risk and so have come to the assistance of the Titanic. Had she done so she might have saved many if not all of the lives that were lost.[28] The Board of Trade's representative suggested to Lord Mersey that a formal inquiry should be held into Captain Lord's competency to continue as Master of a British ship but no action was taken against him due to legal technicalities. The Board of Trade was criticised for its inadequate regulations, notably the failure to ensure that enough lifeboats were provided and that crews were given proper training in their use. The Duff Gordons were cleared of wrongdoing but it was made clear that they should have acted more tactfully.[29]

    In contrast to the American inquiry, the Mersey report did not condemn the failures of the Board of Trade, the White Star Line or Titanic's captain, Edward Smith. The report found that although Smith was at fault for not changing course or slowing down, he had not been negligent because he had followed long-standing practice which had not previously been shown to be unsafe[30] (the inquiry noted that British ships alone had carried 3.5 million passengers over the previous decade with the loss of just 10 lives[31]) . It concluded that Smith had merely done only that which other skilled men would have done in the same position. However, the practice itself was faulty and it is to be hoped that the last has been heard of this practice. What was a mistake in the case of the Titanic would without doubt be negligence in any similar case in the future.[30]

    The report's recommendations, along with those of the earlier United States Senate inquiry that had taken place in the month after the sinking, led to changes in safety practices following the disaster.

    [edit] ReactionsThe report was well-received by the British press. The Daily Telegraph commented that although technically speaking, the report is not the last word, but in practice it would probably be treated as if it were.[31] The Daily Mail opined that it was difficult to suppose that any court which had to inquire into the responsibility of the owners of the ship would disregard the expression of opinion of Lord Mersey and those who sat with him... The report having, in effect, acquitted them of all blame, it is not likely that any attempt will be made hereafter to establish the contrary.[32]

    Others were more critical. In his memoirs, Charles Lightoller pointed out the inquiry's conflict of interest: A washing of dirty linen would help no one. The Board of Trade had passed that ship as in all respects fit for the sea... Now the Board of Trade was holding an inquiry into the loss of that ship – hence the whitewash brush.[32] Titanic historian Donald Lynch notes the consequences: Apart from protecting itself, the [Board of Trade] had no interest in seeing the White Star Line found negligent. Any damage to White Star's reputation or balance sheet would be bad for British shipping – and there was considerable potential for both. Negligence on the part of the shipping company might pave the way for millions of dollars in damage claims and lawsuits that would tie up the courts for years, possibly break the White Star Line, and result in the loss of much of Britain's lucrative shipping traffic to the Germans and the French.[33]

    Stephanie Barczewski notes the contrast between the approaches taken by the American and British inquiries. The British inquiry was much more technical, the more learned and erudite of the two, while the American inquiry's report was a reflection of a comparatively poorly managed inquiry that had frequently allowed itself to get sidetracked. However, the American report took a much more robust stance on the failures that had led to the disaster. As Barczewski puts it, it bristles with criticisms of established seafaring traditions and of the conduct of the Titanic's builders, owners, officers and crew, and conveys righteous indignation and a passion to right the wrongs done to the victims of the disaster and to prevent any recurrence. The authors of the two reports took markedly different interpretations of how the disaster had come about. The American report castigated the arrogance and complacency that had led to the disaster and held Captain Smith, the shipping industry and the Board of Trade culpable for their failures. The British report emphasized that the importance of this Enquiry has to do with the future. No Enquiry can repair the past.[34]

    [edit] Notes1.^ Ward 2012, pp. vi–vii.
    2.^ a b c British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOT01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    3.^ a b Eaton & Haas 1994, p.260.
    4.^ Eaton & Haas 1994, p.274.
    5.^ a b Eaton & Haas 1994, p.114.
    6.^ Butler 1998, p.192.
    7.^ a b British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: List of Counsel Present. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/counsel18-36.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    8.^ Several of the unions were later consolidated and merged. Two (the Imperial Merchant Service Guild and the Marine Engineers' Association) form part of the history of Nautilus UK: Nautilus International: About Us: History. Nautilus International. http: //www.nautilusint.org/About-Us/pages/History.aspx. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    9.^ British Titanic inquiry plan on display in Belfast. BBC News Northern Ireland.21 April 2011. http: //www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13112649. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    10.^ a b c Butler 1998, p.194.
    11.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Charles Lightoller. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq11Lightoller01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    12.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Frederick Fleet. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq15Fleet01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    13.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Harold Bride. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq14Bride01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    14.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Charles Joughin. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq06Joughin01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    15.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Harold Cottam. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq15Cottam01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    16.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Stanley Lord. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq07Lord01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    17.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Arthur Rostron. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq28Rostron01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    18.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Joseph Barlow Ranson. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq26Ranson01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    19.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Guglielmo Marconi. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq26Marconi01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    20.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Ernest Shackleton. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq26Shackleton01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    21.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Harold Sanderson. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq17Sanderson01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    22.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of J. Bruce Ismay. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq16Ismay01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    23.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Charles Bartlett. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq21Bartlett01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    24.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Alexander Carlisle. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq20Carlisle01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    25.^ British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Testimony of Cosmo Duff Gordon. Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq10Duff-Gordon01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    26.^ Lynch 1998, p.183.
    27.^ a b British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry: Report on the Loss of the Titanic. (s.s.) . Titanic Inquiry Project. http: //www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTReport/BOTRep01.php. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
    28.^ Butler 1998, p.196.
    29.^ Butler 1998, pp.195–6.
    30.^ a b Lynch 1998, p.189.
    31.^ a b Eaton & Haas 1994, p.265.
    32.^ a b Barczewski 2011, p.70.
    33.^ Lynch 1998, p.182.
    34.^ Barczewski 2011, pp.70–1.
    [edit] BibliographyBarczewski, Stephanie (2011) . Titanic: A Night Remembered. London: Continuum International. ISBN 978-1-4411-6169-7.
    Butler, Daniel Allen (1998) . Unsinkable: The Full Story of RMS Titanic. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-1814-1.
    Eaton, John P.; Haas, Charles A. (1994) . Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 978-1-85260-493-6.
    Lynch, Donald (1998) . Titanic: An Illustrated History. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 978-0-7868-6401-0.
    Ward, Greg (2012) . The Rough Guide to the Titanic. London: Rough Guides Ltd. ISBN 978-1-4053-8699-9.
    [edit] External linksSOS Titanic, details of a TV dramatisation of the inquiry (BBC)
    Further reading
    Complete transcripts of the inquiry and report are available at British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry (Titanic Inquiry Project)
    Mersey, Lord (1999) [1912]. The Loss of the Titanic,1912. The Stationary Office. ISBN 978-0-11-702403-8
    Chapter 3 ('Exercise Your Own Common Sense') of The Titanic Story: Hard Choices, Dangerous Decisions (Stephen Cox,1999) ISBN 0-8126-9396-5
    Notes on Life and Letters by Joseph Conrad includes an essay ('Certain Aspects of the Admirable Inquiry into the Loss of the Titanic') on the inquiries (Wikisource)
    [show]v ·t ·eRMS Titanic

    RMS Titanic Grand Staircase ·Animals aboard ·Passengers ·Crew ·Musicians ·Popular culture ·Replica Titanic

    Sinking Sinking of the RMS Titanic ·Alternative theories ·Changes in safety practices ·Legends and myths ·Lifeboats ·British inquiry ·US inquiry ·Wreck of Titanic (Maritime Memorial Act)

    Deck officers Edward J. Smith (Captain) ·Henry T. Wilde (Chief Officer) ·William M. Murdoch (First Officer) ·Charles H. Lightoller (Second Officer) ·Herbert J. Pitman (Third Officer) ·Joseph G. Boxhall (Fourth Officer) ·Harold G. Lowe (Fifth Officer) ·James P. Moody (Sixth Officer)

    Notable crew members Harold Bride ·Sid Daniels ·William Denton Cox ·Frederick Fleet ·Robert Hichens ·Violet Jessop ·Charles Joughin ·Reginald Lee ·William Mintram ·Jack Phillips

    Notable passengers Thomas Andrews ·John Jacob Astor ·Madeleine Astor ·Lawrence Beesley ·Karl Behr ·Margaret Molly Brown ·Francis Browne ·Archibald Butt ·Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon ·Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon ·Dorothy Gibson ·Archibald Gracie ·Benjamin Guggenheim ·Wallace Hartley ·Charles Melville Hays ·J. Bruce Ismay ·Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes ·W.T. Stead ·Ida Straus ·Isidor Straus ·Jack Thayer

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    Australia Bandstand (Ballarat)

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    United States Straus Park (New York City) ·Titanic (New York City) ·Titanic (Washington, D.C.)

    Books, films etc. List of films about the RMS Titanic ·Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan (1898) ·A Night to Remember (book) ·Saved from the Titanic (1912) ·In Nacht und Eis (1912) ·Atlantic (1929) ·Titanic (1943) ·Titanic (1953) ·A Night to Remember (1958) ·The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) ·S.O.S. Titanic (1979) ·Raise the Titanic (1980) ·Titanic (1996) ·No Greater Love (1996) ·Titanic (1997) ·Titanic (musical,1997) ·The Legend of the Titanic (1999) ·Titanic: The Legend Goes On (2001) ·Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) ·Titanic II (2010) ·Titanic (2012) ·Titanic: Blood and Steel (2012)

    Museums, exhibitions SeaCity Museum (Southampton) ·Titanic Belfast ·Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (Halifax)

    Places Titanic (Canada) ·Titanic Quarter, Belfast ·Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia

    Related Encyclopedia Titanica ·Halomonas titanicae ·Women and children first ·My Heart Will Go On ·Secrets of the Titanic (documentary)

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    [show]v ·t ·eHistory of World War II by country

    Albania ·Argentina ·Australia ·Austria (Anschluss) ·Azerbaijan ·Belarus ·Belgium ·Brazil ·Bulgaria ·Burma ·Cambodia ·Canada ·Ceylon (Sri Lanka) ·Channel Islands ·China ·Czechoslovakia ·Denmark ·Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) ·Egypt ·Estonia ·Finland ·France ·Germany ·Gibraltar ·Greece ·Greenland ·Hong Kong ·Hungary ·Iceland ·India ·Iran ·Iraq ·Ireland ·Italy ·Japan ·Laos ·Latvia ·Lithuania ·Luxembourg ·Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak (Malaysia) ·Manchukuo ·Mexico ·Mongolia ·Nauru ·Nepal ·Netherlands ·New Zealand ·Newfoundland ·Norway ·Philippines ·Poland ·Portugal ·Puerto Rico ·Romania ·Singapore ·Slovakia ·Slovenia ·South Africa ·Soviet Union ·Spain ·Sweden ·Switzerland ·Thailand ·Turkey ·Ukraine ·United Kingdom ·United States ·Vatican City ·Vietnam ·Yugoslavia

    [show]v ·t ·eWorld War II

    Western Europe ·Eastern Europe ·Africa ·Mediterranean ·Asia and the Pacific ·AtlanticCasualties ·Military engagements ·Topics ·Conferences ·Commanders

    Participants Allies (Leaders) Australia ·Belgium ·Brazil ·Canada ·China ·Czechoslovakia ·Ethiopia ·Finland (1944-1945) ·France ·Greece ·India ·Luxembourg ·Mexico ·Netherlands ·New Zealand ·Norway ·Philippines ·Poland ·South Africa ·Soviet Union ·United Kingdom ·United States ·Yugoslavia

    Axis and
    (Leaders) Bulgaria ·Reorganized National Government of China ·Independent State of Croatia ·Finland ·Germany ·Hungary ·Iraq ·Italy ·Italian Social Republic ·Japan ·Manchukuo ·Romania ·Slovakia ·Thailand ·Vichy France

    Resistance Albania ·Austria ·Baltic States ·Belgium ·Czech lands ·Denmark ·Estonia ·Ethiopia ·France ·Germany ·Greece ·Hong Kong ·India ·Italy ·Jewish ·Korea ·Latvia ·Luxembourg ·Netherlands ·Norway ·Philippines ·Poland (Anti-communist) ·Romania ·Thailand ·Soviet Union ·Slovakia ·Western Ukraine ·Vietnam ·Yugoslavia

    Timeline Prelude Africa ·Asia ·Europe

    1939 Invasion of Poland ·Phoney War ·Winter War ·Atlantic ·Changsha (1939) ·China

    1940 Weserübung ·Netherlands ·Belgium ·France ·UK ·North Africa ·British Somaliland ·Baltic States ·Moldova ·Indochina ·Greece ·Compass

    1941 East Africa ·Invasion of Yugoslavia ·Yugoslav Front ·Greece ·Crete ·Soviet Union (Barbarossa) ·Finland ·Lithuania ·Middle East ·Kiev ·Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran ·Leningrad ·Moscow ·Sevastopol ·Pearl Harbor ·Hong Kong ·Philippines ·Changsha (1941) ·Malaya ·Borneo

    1942 Burma ·Changsha (1942) ·Coral Sea ·Gazala ·Midway ·Blue ·Stalingrad ·Dieppe ·El Alamein ·Guadalcanal ·Torch

    1943 End in Africa ·Kursk ·Smolensk ·Solomon Islands ·Sicily ·Lower Dnieper ·Italy ·Gilbert and Marshall ·Changde

    1944 Monte Cassino and Shingle ·Narva ·Cherkassy ·Tempest ·Ichi-Go ·Normandy ·Mariana and Palau ·Bagration ·Western Ukraine ·Tannenberg Line ·Warsaw ·Eastern Romania ·Belgrade Offensive ·Paris ·Gothic Line ·Market Garden ·Estonia ·Crossbow ·Pointblank ·Lapland ·Hungary ·Leyte ·Bulge ·Burma

    1945 Bodenplatte ·Vistula-Oder ·Iwo Jima ·Okinawa ·Surrender of Italy ·Berlin ·Czechoslovakia ·Budapest ·West Hunan ·Surrender of Germany ·Manchuria ·Philippines ·Borneo ·Atomic bombings ·Surrender of Japan

    Aspects General Air warfare of World War II ·Attacks on North America ·Blitzkrieg ·Comparative military ranks ·Cryptography ·Home front ·Manhattan Project ·Military awards ·Military equipment ·Military production ·Nazi plunder ·Technology ·Total war ·Strategic bombing ·Bengal famine of 1943

    Aftermath Effects ·Expulsion of Germans ·Operation Paperclip ·Operation Keelhaul ·Occupation of Germany ·Morgenthau Plan ·Territorial changes ·Soviet occupations (Romania, Poland, Hungary, Baltic States) ·Occupation of Japan ·First Indochina War ·Indonesian National Revolution ·Cold War ·Decolonization ·Popular culture

    War crimes Allied war crimes ·German and Wehrmacht war crimes ·The Holocaust ·Italian war crimes ·Croatian war crimes ·Japanese war crimes ·Soviet war crimes ·Unit 731 ·United States war crimes

    War rape German military brothels ·Camp brothels ·Rape during the occupation of Japan ·Comfort women ·Rape of Nanking ·Rape during the occupation of Germany

    Prisoners Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union ·German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union ·German prisoners of war in the United States ·Italian prisoners of war in the Soviet Union ·Japanese prisoners of war in the Soviet Union ·Japanese prisoners of war in World War II ·Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs ·Polish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union ·Romanian prisoners of war in the Soviet Union

    Category ·Portal definition · textbooks · quotes · source texts · media · news stories

    World War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated as WWII or WW2) , was a global war that was under way by 1939 and ended in 1945. It involved a vast majority of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people serving in military units. In a state of total war, the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it resulted in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities. These deaths make the war the deadliest conflict in human history.[1]

    Although Japan was already at war with China in 1937, [2] the world war is generally said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany, and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and most of the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth. Germany set out to establish a large empire in Europe. From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or subdued much of continental Europe; amid Nazi-Soviet agreements, the nominally neutral Soviet Union fully or partially invaded, occupied and annexed territories of its six European neighbours, including Poland. Britain and the Commonwealth remained the only major force continuing the fight against the Axis, with battles taking place in North Africa as well as the long-running Battle of the Atlantic. In June 1941, the European Axis launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, giving a start to the largest land theatre of war in history, which tied down the major part of the Axis' military forces. In December 1941, Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and joined the Axis, attacked the United States and European possessions in the Pacific Ocean, quickly conquering much of the West Pacific.

    The Axis advance was stopped in 1942, after Japan lost a series of naval battles and European Axis troops were defeated in North Africa and, decisively, at Stalingrad. In 1943, with a series of German defeats in Eastern Europe, the Allied invasion of Fascist Italy, and American victories in the Pacific, the Axis lost the initiative and undertook strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. The war in Europe ended with the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops and the subsequent German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. During 1944 and 1945 the United States defeated the Japanese Navy and captured key West Pacific islands, dropping atomic bombs on the country as the invasion of the Japanese Archipelago (Home Islands) became imminent. The war in Asia ended on 15 August 1945 when Japan agreed to surrender.

    The total victory of the Allies over the Axis in 1945 ended the conflict. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. The United Nations (UN) was established to foster international cooperation and prevent future conflicts. The great powers that were the victors of the war—the United States, Soviet Union, China, Britain, and France—became the permanent members of the UN's Security Council.[3] The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers started to decline, while the decolonisation of Asia and Africa began. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery. Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to stabilise postwar relations.

    Contents [hide]
    1 Chronology
    2 Background
    3 Pre-war events
    3.1 Invasion of Ethiopia
    3.2 Spanish Civil War
    3.3 Japanese invasion of China
    3.4 Japanese invasion of the Soviet Union and Mongolia
    3.5 European occupations and agreements
    4 Course of the war
    4.1 War breaks out in Europe
    4.2 Axis advances
    4.3 The war becomes global
    4.4 Axis advance stalls
    4.5 Allies gain momentum
    4.6 Allies close in
    4.7 Axis collapse, Allied victory
    5 Aftermath
    6 Impact
    6.1 Casualties and war crimes
    6.2 Concentration camps and slave work
    6.3 Home fronts and production
    6.4 Occupation
    6.5 Advances in technology and warfare
    7 See also
    8 Notes
    9 References
    10 External links

    ChronologySee also: Timeline of World War II
    The start of the war is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Other dates for the beginning of war include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937.[4][5]

    Others follow British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and the two wars merged in 1941. This article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935.[6]

    The exact date of the war's end is also not universally agreed upon. It has been suggested that the war ended at the armistice of 14 August 1945 (V-J Day) , rather than the formal surrender of Japan (2 September 1945): in some European histories, it ended on V-E Day (8 May 1945) . However, the Treaty of Peace with Japan was not signed until 1951, [7] and that with Germany not until 1990.[8]

    BackgroundMain article: Causes of World War II
    World War I radically altered the political map, with the defeat of the Central Powers, including Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire; and the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia. Meanwhile, existing victorious Allies such as France, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Romania gained territories, while new states were created out of the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Russian and Ottoman Empires.

    In the aftermath of the war, irredentist and revanchist nationalism became important in a number of European states. Irredentism and revanchism were strong in Germany because of the significant territorial, colonial, and financial losses incurred by the Treaty of Versailles. Under the treaty, Germany lost around 13 percent of its home territory and all of its overseas colonies, while German annexation of other states was prohibited, reparations were imposed, and limits were placed on the size and capability of the country's armed forces.[9] Meanwhile, the Russian Civil War had led to the creation of the Soviet Union.[10]

    The German Empire was dissolved in the German Revolution of 1918–1919, and a democratic government, later known as the Weimar Republic, was created. The interwar period saw strife between supporters of the new republic and hardline opponents on both the right and left. Although Italy as an Entente ally made some territorial gains, Italian nationalists were angered that the promises made by Britain and France to secure Italian entrance into the war were not fulfilled with the peace settlement. From 1922 to 1925, the Fascist movement led by Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy with a nationalist, totalitarian, and class collaborationist agenda that abolished representative democracy, repressed socialist, left wing and liberal forces, and pursued an aggressive foreign policy aimed at forcefully forging Italy as a world power—a New Roman Empire.[11] In Germany, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler sought to establish a fascist government in Germany. With the onset of the Great Depression, domestic support for the Nazis rose and, in 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. In the aftermath of the Reichstag fire, Hitler created a totalitarian single-party state led by the Nazis.[12]

    The Kuomintang (KMT) party in China launched a unification campaign against regional warlords and nominally unified China in the mid-1920s, but was soon embroiled in a civil war against its former Chinese communist allies.[13] In 1931, an increasingly militaristic Japanese Empire, which had long sought influence in China[14] as the first step of what its government saw as the country's right to rule Asia, used the Mukden Incident as a pretext to launch an invasion of Manchuria and establish the puppet state of Manchukuo.[15] Too weak to resist Japan, China appealed to the League of Nations for help. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations after being condemned for its incursion into Manchuria. The two nations then fought several battles, in Shanghai, Rehe and Hebei, until the Tanggu Truce was signed in 1933. Thereafter, Chinese volunteer forces continued the resistance to Japanese aggression in Manchuria, and Chahar and Suiyuan.[16]

    Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler (right) Adolf Hitler, after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government in 1923, became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933. He abolished democracy, espousing a radical, racially motivated revision of the world order, and soon began a massive rearmament campaign.[17] Meanwhile, France, to secure its alliance, allowed Italy a free hand in Ethiopia, which Italy desired as a colonial possession. The situation was aggravated in early 1935 when the Territory of the Saar Basin was legally reunited with Germany and Hitler repudiated the Treaty of Versailles, accelerated his rearmament programme and introduced conscription.[18]

    Hoping to contain Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy formed the Stresa Front. The Soviet Union, concerned due to Germany's goals of capturing vast areas of eastern Europe, wrote a treaty of mutual assistance with France. Before taking effect though, the Franco-Soviet pact was required to go through the bureaucracy of the League of Nations, which rendered it essentially toothless.[19][20] However, in June 1935, the United Kingdom made an independent naval agreement with Germany, easing prior restrictions. The United States, concerned with events in Europe and Asia, passed the Neutrality Act in August.[21] In October, Italy invaded Ethiopia, and Germany was the only major European nation to support the invasion. Italy subsequently dropped its objections to Germany's goal of absorbing Austria.[22]

    Hitler defied the Versailles and Locarno treaties by remilitarizing the Rhineland in March 1936. He received little response from other European powers.[23] When the Spanish Civil War broke out in July, Hitler and Mussolini supported the fascist and authoritarian Nationalist forces in their civil war against the Soviet-supported Spanish Republic. Both sides used the conflict to test new weapons and methods of warfare, [24] with the Nationalists winning the war in early 1939. In October 1936, Germany and Italy formed the Rome-Berlin Axis. A month later, Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, which Italy would join in the following year. In China, after the Xi'an Incident the Kuomintang and communist forces agreed on a ceasefire in order to present a united front to oppose Japan.[25]

    Pre-war eventsInvasion of EthiopiaMain article: Second Italo-Abyssinian War
    The Second Italo–Abyssinian War was a brief colonial war that began in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy (Regno d'Italia) and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire (also known as Abyssinia) . The war resulted in the military occupation of Ethiopia and its annexation into the newly created colony of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI): in addition, it exposed the weakness of the League of Nations as a force to preserve peace. Both Italy and Ethiopia were member nations, but the League did nothing when the former clearly violated the League's own Article X.[26]

    Spanish Civil WarMain article: Spanish Civil War

    The ruins of Guernica after the bombing.Germany and Italy lent support to the Nationalist insurrection led by general Francisco Franco in Spain. The Soviet Union supported the existing government, the Spanish Republic, which showed leftist tendencies. Both Germany and the USSR used this proxy war as an opportunity to test improved weapons and tactics. The deliberate Bombing of Guernica by the German Condor Legion in April 1937 contributed to widespread concerns that the next major war would include extensive terror bombing attacks on civilians.[27][28]

    Japanese invasion of ChinaMain article: Second Sino-Japanese War

    A Chinese machine gun nest in the Battle of Shanghai,1937.In July 1937, Japan captured the former Chinese imperial capital of Beijing after instigating the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which culminated in the Japanese campaign to invade all of China.[29] The Soviets quickly signed a non-aggression pact with China to lend materiel support, effectively ending China's prior cooperation with Germany. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek deployed his best army to defend Shanghai, but after three months of fighting, Shanghai fell. The Japanese continued to push the Chinese forces back, capturing the capital Nanking in December 1937 and committed the Nanking Massacre.

    In June 1938, Chinese forces stalled the Japanese advance by flooding the Yellow River; this manoeuvre bought time for the Chinese to prepare their defenses at Wuhan, but the city was taken by October.[30] Japanese military victories did not bring about the collapse of Chinese resistance that Japan had hoped to achieve, instead the Chinese government relocated inland to Chongqing and continued the war.[31]

    Japanese invasion of the Soviet Union and MongoliaSee also: Nanshin-ron and Soviet–Japanese border conflicts

    Soviet troops fought the Japanese during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia,1939.On 29 July 1938, the Japanese invaded the USSR and were checked at the Battle of Lake Khasan. Although the battle was a Soviet victory, the Japanese dismissed it as an inconclusive draw, and on 11 May 1939 decided to move the Japanese-Mongolian border up to the Khalkhin Gol River by force. After initial successes the Japanese assault on Mongolia was checked by the Red Army that inflicted the first major defeat on the Japanese Kwantung Army.[32][33]

    These clashes convinced some factions in the Japanese government that they should focus on conciliating the Soviet government to avoid interference in the war against China and instead turn their military attention southward, towards the US and European holdings in the Pacific, and also prevented the sacking of experienced Soviet military leaders such as Georgy Zhukov, who would later play a vital role in the defence of Moscow.[34]

    European occupations and agreementsFurther information: Anschluss, Appeasement, Munich Agreement, German occupation of Czechoslovakia, and Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

    From left to right (front) : Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano pictured before signing the Munich Agreement.In Europe, Germany and Italy were becoming bolder. In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria, again provoking little response from other European powers.[35] Encouraged, Hitler began pressing German claims on the Sudetenland, an area of Czechoslovakia with a predominantly ethnic German population; and soon France and Britain conceded this territory to Germany in the Munich Agreement, which was made against the wishes of the Czechoslovak government, in exchange for a promise of no further territorial demands.[36] Soon after that, however, Germany and Italy forced Czechoslovakia to cede additional territory to Hungary and Poland.[37] In March 1939, Germany invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia and subsequently split it into the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the pro-German client state, the Slovak Republic.[38]

    Alarmed, and with Hitler making further demands on Danzig, France and Britain guaranteed their support for Polish independence; when Italy conquered Albania in April 1939, the same guarantee was extended to Romania and Greece.[39] Shortly after the Franco-British pledge to Poland, Germany and Italy formalised their own alliance with the Pact of Steel.[40]

    In August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, [41] a non-aggression treaty with a secret protocol. The parties gave each other rights, in the event of a territorial and political rearrangement, to spheres of influence (western Poland and Lithuania for Germany, and eastern Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Bessarabia for the USSR) . It also raised the question of continuing Polish independence.[42]

    Course of the warWar breaks out in Europe
    Common parade of German Wehrmacht and Soviet Red Army on 23 September 1939 in Brest, Eastern Poland at the end of the Invasion of Poland. At centre is Major General Heinz Guderian and at right is Brigadier Semyon Krivoshein.On 1 September 1939, Germany and Slovakia—a client state in 1939—attacked Poland.[43] On 3 September France and Britain, followed by the countries of the Commonwealth, [44] declared war on Germany but provided little support to Poland other than a small French attack into the Saarland.[45] Britain and France also began a naval blockade of Germany on 3 September which aimed to damage the country's economy and war effort.[46][47] On 17 September, after signing a cease-fire with Japan, the Soviets also invaded Poland.[48] Poland's territory was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union, with Lithuania and Slovakia also receiving small shares. The Poles did not surrender; they established a Polish Underground State and an underground Home Army, and continued to fight with the Allies on all fronts outside Poland.[49] About 100,000 Polish military personnel were evacuated to Romania and the Baltic countries; many of these soldiers later fought against the Germans in other theaters of the war.[50] Poland's Enigma codebreakers were also evacuated to France.[51] During this time, Japan launched its first attack against Changsha, a strategically important Chinese city, but was repulsed by late September.[52]

    Following the invasion of Poland and a German-Soviet treaty governing Lithuania, the Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries under pacts of mutual assistance.[53][54][55] Finland rejected territorial demands and was invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939.[56] The resulting conflict ended in March 1940 with Finnish concessions.[57] France and the United Kingdom, treating the Soviet attack on Finland as tantamount to entering the war on the side of the Germans, responded to the Soviet invasion by supporting the USSR's expulsion from the League of Nations.[55]

    German troops by the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, after the 1940 fall of France.In Western Europe, British troops deployed to the Continent, but in a phase nicknamed the Phoney War by the British and Sitzkrieg (sitting war) by the Germans, neither side launched major operations against the other until April 1940.[58] The Soviet Union and Germany entered a trade pact in February 1940, pursuant to which the Soviets received German military and industrial equipment in exchange for supplying raw materials to Germany to help circumvent the Allied blockade.[59]

    In April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway to secure shipments of iron ore from Sweden, which the Allies were about to disrupt.[60] Denmark immediately capitulated, and despite Allied support, Norway was conquered within two months.[61] In May 1940 Britain invaded Iceland to preempt a possible German invasion of the island.[62] British discontent over the Norwegian campaign led to the replacement of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain with Winston Churchill on 10 May 1940.[63]

    Axis advancesGermany invaded France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg on 10 May 1940.[64] The Netherlands and Belgium were overrun using blitzkrieg tactics in a few days and weeks, respectively.[65] The French fortified Maginot Line and the Allied forces in Belgium were circumvented by a flanking movement through the thickly wooded Ardennes region, [66] mistakenly perceived by French planners as an impenetrable natural barrier against armoured vehicles.[67] British troops were forced to evacuate the continent at Dunkirk, abandoning their heavy equipment by early June.[68] On 10 June, Italy invaded France, declaring war on both France and the United Kingdom; [69] twelve days later France surrendered and was soon divided into German and Italian occupation zones, [70] and an unoccupied rump state under the Vichy Regime. On 3 July, the British attacked the French fleet in Algeria to prevent its possible seizure by Germany.[71]

    In June, during the last days of the Battle of France, the Soviet Union forcibly annexed Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, [54] and then annexed the disputed Romanian region of Bessarabia. Meanwhile, Nazi-Soviet political rapprochement and economic cooperation[72][73] gradually stalled, [74][75] and both states began preparations for war.[76]

    With France neutralized, Germany began an air superiority campaign over Britain (the Battle of Britain) to prepare for an invasion.[77] The campaign failed, and the invasion plans were canceled by September.[77] Using newly captured French ports, the German Navy enjoyed success against an over-extended Royal Navy, using U-boats against British shipping in the Atlantic.[78] Italy began operations in the Mediterranean, initiating a siege of Malta in June, conquering British Somaliland in August, and making an incursion into British-held Egypt in September 1940. Japan increased its blockade of China in September by seizing several bases in the northern part of the now-isolated French Indochina.[79]

    The Battle of Britain ended the German advance in Western Europe.Throughout this period, the neutral United States took measures to assist China and the Western Allies. In November 1939, the American Neutrality Act was amended to allow cash and carry purchases by the Allies.[80] In 1940, following the German capture of Paris, the size of the United States Navy was significantly increased and, after the Japanese incursion into Indochina, the United States embargoed iron, steel and mechanical parts against Japan.[81] In September, the United States further agreed to a trade of American destroyers for British bases.[82] Still, a large majority of the American public continued to oppose any direct military intervention into the conflict well into 1941.[83]

    At the end of September 1940, the Tripartite Pact united Japan, Italy and Germany to formalize the Axis Powers.[84] The Tripartite Pact stipulated that any country, with the exception of the Soviet Union, not in the war which attacked any Axis Power would be forced to go to war against all three.[85] During this time, the United States continued to support the United Kingdom and China by introducing the Lend-Lease policy authorizing the provision of materiel and other items[86] and creating a security zone spanning roughly half of the Atlantic Ocean where the United States Navy protected British convoys.[87] As a result, Germany and the United States found themselves engaged in sustained naval warfare in the North and Central Atlantic by October 1941, even though the United States remained officially neutral.[88][89]

    The Axis expanded in November 1940 when Hungary, Slovakia and Romania joined the Tripartite Pact.[90] In October 1940, Italy invaded Greece but within days was repulsed and pushed back into Albania, where a stalemate soon occurred.[91] In December 1940, British Commonwealth forces began counter-offensives against Italian forces in Egypt and Italian East Africa.[92] By early 1941, with Italian forces having been pushed back into Libya by the Commonwealth, Churchill ordered a dispatch of troops from Africa to bolster the Greeks.[93] The Italian Navy also suffered significant defeats, with the Royal Navy putting three Italian battleships out of commission by a carrier attack at Taranto, and neutralising several more warships at the Battle of Cape Matapan.[94]

    German paratroopers invading the Greek island of Crete, May 1941.The Germans soon intervened to assist Italy. Hitler sent German forces to Libya in February, and by the end of March they had launched an offensive against the diminished Commonwealth forces.[95] In under a month, Commonwealth forces were pushed back into Egypt with the exception of the besieged port of Tobruk.[96] The Commonwealth attempted to dislodge Axis forces in May and again in June, but failed on both occasions.[97] In early April, following Bulgaria's signing of the Tripartite Pact, the Germans intervened in the Balkans by invading Greece and Yugoslavia following a coup; here too they made rapid progress, eventually forcing the Allies to evacuate after Germany conquered the Greek island of Crete by the end of May.[98]

    The Allies did have some successes during this time. In the Middle East, Commonwealth forces first quashed a coup in Iraq which had been supported by German aircraft from bases within Vichy-controlled Syria, [99] then, with the assistance of the Free French, invaded Syria and Lebanon to prevent further such occurrences.[100] In the Atlantic, the British scored a much-needed public morale boost by sinking the German flagship Bismarck.[101] Perhaps most importantly, during the Battle of Britain the Royal Air Force had successfully resisted the Luftwaffe's assault, and the German bombing campaign largely ended in May 1941.[102]

    In Asia, despite several offensives by both sides, the war between China and Japan was stalemated by 1940. In order to increase pressure on China by blocking supply routes, and to better position Japanese forces in the event of a war with the Western powers, Japan had seized military control of southern Indochina[103] In August of that year, Chinese communists launched an offensive in Central China; in retaliation, Japan instituted harsh measures (the Three Alls Policy) in occupied areas to reduce human and material resources for the communists.[104] Continued antipathy between Chinese communist and nationalist forces culminated in armed clashes in January 1941, effectively ending their co-operation.[105] With the situation in Europe and Asia relatively stable, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union made preparations. With the Soviets wary of mounting tensions with Germany and the Japanese planning to take advantage of the European War by seizing resource-rich European possessions in Southeast Asia, the two powers signed the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1941.[106] By contrast, the Germans were steadily making preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union, amassing forces on the Soviet border.[107]

    The war becomes global
    German infantry and armoured vehicles battle the Soviet defenders on the streets of Kharkov, October 1941.On 22 June 1941, Germany, along with other European Axis members and Finland, invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. The primary targets of this surprise offensive[108] were the Baltic region, Moscow and Ukraine, with an ultimate goal of ending the 1941 campaign near the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line, connecting the Caspian and White Seas. Hitler's objectives were to eliminate the Soviet Union as a military power, exterminate Communism, generate Lebensraum (living space) [109] by dispossessing the native population[110] and guarantee access to the strategic resources needed to defeat Germany's remaining rivals.[111]

    Although the Red Army was preparing for strategic counter-offensives before the war, [112] Barbarossa forced the Soviet supreme command to adopt a strategic defence. During the summer, the Axis made significant gains into Soviet territory, inflicting immense losses in both personnel and materiel. By the middle of August, however, the German Army High Command decided to suspend the offensive of a considerably depleted Army Group Centre, and to divert the 2nd Panzer Group to reinforce troops advancing towards central Ukraine and Leningrad.[113] The Kiev offensive was overwhelmingly successful, resulting in encirclement and elimination of four Soviet armies, and made further advance into Crimea and industrially developed Eastern Ukraine (the First Battle of Kharkov) possible.[114]

    Soviet counter-attack during the battle of Moscow, December,1941.The diversion of three quarters of the Axis troops and the majority of their air forces from France and the central Mediterranean to the Eastern Front[115] prompted Britain to reconsider its grand strategy.[116] In July, the UK and the Soviet Union formed a military alliance against Germany[117] The British and Soviets invaded Iran to secure the Persian Corridor and Iran's oil fields.[118] In August, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly issued the Atlantic Charter.[119]

    Romania made the largest contribution to recapture territory ceded to the USSR and pursue its leader Ion Antonescu's desire to combat communism.[120] By October, when Axis operational objectives in Ukraine and the Baltic region were achieved, with only the sieges of Leningrad[121] and Sevastopol continuing, [122] a major offensive against Moscow had been renewed. After two months of fierce battles, the German army almost reached the outer suburbs of Moscow, where the exhausted troops[123] were forced to suspend their offensive.[124] Large territorial gains were made by Axis forces, but their campaign had failed to achieve its main objectives: two key cities remained in Soviet hands, the Soviet capability to resist was not broken, and the Soviet Union retained a considerable part of its military potential. The blitzkrieg phase of the war in Europe had ended.[125]

    The Axis-controlled territory in Europe at the time of its maximal expansion (1941–42) .By early December, freshly mobilised reserves[126] allowed the Soviets to achieve numerical parity with Axis troops.[127] This, as well as intelligence data that established a minimal number of Soviet troops in the East sufficient to prevent any attack by the Japanese Kwantung Army, [128] allowed the Soviets to begin a massive counter-offensive that started on 5 December along a 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) front and pushed German troops 100–250 kilometres (62–160 mi) west.[129]

    German successes in Europe encouraged Japan to increase pressure on European governments in south-east Asia. The Dutch government agreed to provide Japan oil supplies from the Dutch East Indies, while refusing to hand over political control of the colonies. Vichy France, by contrast, agreed to a Japanese occupation of French Indochina.[130] The United States, United Kingdom and other Western governments reacted to the seizure of Indochina with a freeze on Japanese assets, while the United States (which supplied 80 percent of Japan's oil[131]) responded by placing a complete oil embargo.[132] That meant Japan was essentially forced to choose between abandoning its ambitions in Asia and the prosecution of the war against China, or seizing the natural resources it needed by force; the Japanese military did not consider the former an option, and many officers considered the oil embargo an unspoken declaration of war.[133]

    Japan planned to rapidly seize European colonies in Asia to create a large defensive perimeter stretching into the Central Pacific; the Japanese would then be free to exploit the resources of Southeast Asia while exhausting the over-stretched Allies by fighting a defensive war.[134] To prevent American intervention while securing the perimeter it was further planned to neutralise the United States Pacific Fleet from the outset.[135] On 7 December (8 December in Asian time zones) ,1941, Japan attacked British and American holdings with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific.[136] These included an attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, landings in Thailand and Malaya[136] and the battle of Hong Kong.

    The February 1942 Fall of Singapore saw 80,000 Allied soldiers captured and enslaved by the Japanese.These attacks led the U.S., Britain, Australia and other Allies to formally declare war on Japan. Germany and the other members of the Tripartite Pact responded by declaring war on the United States. In January, the United States, Britain, Soviet Union, China, and 22 smaller or exiled governments issued the Declaration by United Nations, which affirmed the Atlantic Charter.[137] The Soviet Union did not adhere to the declaration; it maintained a neutrality agreement with Japan, [138][139] and exempted itself from the principle of self-determination.[119] From 1941, Stalin persistently asked Churchill, and then Roosevelt, to open a 'second front' in France.[140] The Eastern front became the major theatre of war in Europe and the many millions of Soviet casualties dwarfed the few hundred thousand of the Western Allies; Churchill and Roosevelt said they needed more preparation time, leading to claims they stalled to save Western lives at the expense of Soviet lives.[141]

    Meanwhile, by the end of April 1942, Japan and its ally Thailand had almost fully conquered Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, [142] and Rabaul, inflicting severe losses on Allied troops and taking a large number of prisoners. Despite a stubborn resistance in Corregidor, the Philippines was eventually captured in May 1942, forcing the government of the Philippine Commonwealth into exile.[143] Japanese forces also achieved naval victories in the South China Sea, Java Sea and Indian Ocean, [144] and bombed the Allied naval base at Darwin, Australia. The only real Allied success against Japan was a Chinese victory at Changsha in early January 1942.[145] These easy victories over unprepared opponents left Japan overconfident, as well as overextended.[146]

    Germany retained the initiative as well. Exploiting dubious American naval command decisions, the German navy ravaged Allied shipping off the American Atlantic coast.[147] Despite considerable losses, European Axis members stopped a major Soviet offensive in Central and Southern Russia, keeping most territorial gains they achieved during the previous year.[148] In North Africa, the Germans launched an offensive in January, pushing the British back to positions at the Gazala Line by early February, [149] followed by a temporary lull in combat which Germany used to prepare for their upcoming offensives.[150]

    Axis advance stalls
    American dive bombers engage the Mikuma at the Battle of Midway, June 1942.In early May 1942, Japan initiated operations to capture Port Moresby by amphibious assault and thus sever communications and supply lines between the United States and Australia. The Allies, however, prevented the invasion by intercepting and defeating the Japanese naval forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea.[151] Japan's next plan, motivated by the earlier Doolittle Raid, was to seize Midway Atoll and lure American carriers into battle to be eliminated; as a diversion, Japan would also send forces to occupy the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.[152] In early June, Japan put its operations into action but the Americans, having broken Japanese naval codes in late May, were fully aware of the plans and force dispositions and used this knowledge to achieve a decisive victory at Midway over the Imperial Japanese Navy.[153]

    With its capacity for aggressive action greatly diminished as a result of the Midway battle, Japan chose to focus on a belated attempt to capture Port Moresby by an overland campaign in the Territory of Papua.[154] The Americans planned a counter-attack against Japanese positions in the southern Solomon Islands, primarily Guadalcanal, as a first step towards capturing Rabaul, the main Japanese base in Southeast Asia.[155]

    Both plans started in July, but by mid-September, the Battle for Guadalcanal took priority for the Japanese, and troops in New Guinea were ordered to withdraw from the Port Moresby area to the northern part of the island, where they faced Australian and United States troops in the Battle of Buna-Gona.[156] Guadalcanal soon became a focal point for both sides with heavy commitments of troops and ships in the battle for Guadalcanal. By the start of 1943, the Japanese were defeated on the island and withdrew their troops.[157] In Burma, Commonwealth forces mounted two operations. The first, an offensive into the Arakan region in late 1942, went disastrously, forcing a retreat back to India by May 1943.[158] The second was the insertion of irregular forces behind Japanese front-lines in February which, by the end of April, had achieved dubious results.[159]

    Soviet soldiers attack a house during the Battle of Stalingrad,1943.On Germany's eastern front, the Axis defeated Soviet offensives in the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkov, [160] and then launched their main summer offensive against southern Russia in June 1942, to seize the oil fields of the Caucasus and occupy Kuban steppe, while maintaining positions on the northern and central areas of the front. The Germans split the Army Group South into two groups: Army Group A struck lower Don River while Army Group B struck south-east to the Caucasus, towards Volga River.[161] The Soviets decided to make their stand at Stalingrad, which was in the path of the advancing German armies.

    By mid-November the Germans had nearly taken Stalingrad in bitter street fighting when the Soviets began their second winter counter-offensive, starting with an encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad[162] and an assault on the Rzhev salient near Moscow, though the latter failed disastrously.[163] By early February 1943, the German Army had taken tremendous losses; German troops at Stalingrad had been forced to surrender[164] and the front-line had been pushed back beyond its position before the summer offensive. In mid-February, after the Soviet push had tapered off, the Germans launched another attack on Kharkov, creating a salient in their front line around the Russian city of Kursk.[165]

    British Crusader tanks moving to forward positions during the North African Campaign.By November 1941, Commonwealth forces had launched a counter-offensive, Operation Crusader, in North Africa, and reclaimed all the gains the Germans and Italians had made.[166] In the West, concerns the Japanese might utilize bases in Vichy-held Madagascar caused the British to invade the island in early May 1942.[167] This success was offset soon after by an Axis offensive in Libya which pushed the Allies back into Egypt until Axis forces were stopped at El Alamein.[168] On the Continent, raids of Allied commandos on strategic targets, culminating in the disastrous Dieppe Raid, [169] demonstrated the Western Allies' inability to launch an invasion of continental Europe without much better preparation, equipment, and operational security.[170]

    In August 1942, the Allies succeeded in repelling a second attack against El Alamein[171] and, at a high cost, managed to deliver desperately needed supplies to the besieged Malta.[172] A few months later, the Allies commenced an attack of their own in Egypt, dislodging the Axis forces and beginning a drive west across Libya.[173] This attack was followed up shortly after by an Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa, which resulted in the region joining the Allies.[174] Hitler responded to the French colony's defection by ordering the occupation of Vichy France; [174] although Vichy forces did not resist this violation of the armistice, they managed to scuttle their fleet to prevent its capture by German forces.[175] The now pincered Axis forces in Africa withdrew into Tunisia, which was conquered by the Allies in May 1943.[176]

    Allies gain momentum

    A contemporary video showing bombing of Hamburg by the Allies.
    Soviet Il-2 planes attacking a Wehrmacht column during the Battle of Kursk,1 July 1943.Following the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific. In May 1943, Allied forces were sent to eliminate Japanese forces from the Aleutians, [177] and soon after began major operations to isolate Rabaul by capturing surrounding islands, and to breach the Japanese Central Pacific perimeter at the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.[178] By the end of March 1944, the Allies had completed both of these objectives, and additionally neutralised the major Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline Islands. In April, the Allies then launched an operation to retake Western New Guinea.[179]

    In the Soviet Union, both the Germans and the Soviets spent the spring and early summer of 1943 making preparations for large offensives in Central Russia. On 4 July 1943, Germany attacked Soviet forces around the Kursk Bulge. Within a week, German forces had exhausted themselves against the Soviets' deeply echeloned and well-constructed defences[180][181] and, for the first time in the war, Hitler cancelled the operation before it had achieved tactical or operational success.[182] This decision was partially affected by the Western Allies' invasion of Sicily launched on 9 July which, combined with previous Italian failures, resulted in the ousting and arrest of Mussolini later that month.[183]

    On 12 July 1943, the Soviets launched their own counter-offensives, thereby dispelling any hopes of the German Army for victory or even stalemate in the east. The Soviet victory at Kursk heralded the downfall of German superiority, [184] giving the Soviet Union the initiative on the Eastern Front.[185][186] The Germans attempted to stabilise their eastern front along the hastily fortified Panther-Wotan line, however, the Soviets broke through it at Smolensk and by the Lower Dnieper Offensives.[187]

    In early September 1943, the Western Allies invaded the Italian mainland, following an Italian armistice with the Allies.[188] Germany responded by disarming Italian forces, seizing military control of Italian areas, [189] and creating a series of defensive lines.[190] German special forces then rescued Mussolini, who then soon established a new client state in German occupied Italy named the Italian Social Republic.[191] The Western Allies fought through several lines until reaching the main German defensive line in mid-November.[192]

    German operations in the Atlantic also suffered. By May 1943, as Allied counter-measures became increasingly effective, the resulting sizable German submarine losses forced a temporary halt of the German Atlantic naval campaign.[193] In November 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo[194] and then with Joseph Stalin in Tehran.[195] The former conference determined the post-war return of Japanese territory, [194] while the latter included agreement that the Western Allies would invade Europe in 1944 and that the Soviet Union would declare war on Japan within three months of Germany's defeat.[195]

    British troops firing a mortar during the Battle of Imphal, North East India,1944.From November 1943, during the seven-week Battle of Changde, the Chinese forced Japan to fight a costly war of attrition, while awaiting Allied relief.[196][197] In January 1944, the Allies launched a series of attacks in Italy against the line at Monte Cassino and attempted to outflank it with landings at Anzio.[198] By the end of January, a major Soviet offensive expelled German forces from the Leningrad region, [199] ending the longest and most lethal siege in history. The following Soviet offensive was halted on the pre-war Estonian border by the German Army Group North aided by Estonians hoping to re-establish national independence. This delay slowed subsequent Soviet operations in the Baltic Sea region.[200] By late May 1944, the Soviets had liberated Crimea, largely expelled Axis forces from Ukraine, and made incursions into Romania, which were repulsed by the Axis troops.[201] The Allied offensives in Italy had succeeded and, at the expense of allowing several German divisions to retreat, on 4 June Rome was captured.[202]

    The Allies experienced mixed fortunes in mainland Asia. In March 1944, the Japanese launched the first of two invasions, an operation against British positions in Assam, India, [203] and soon besieged Commonwealth positions at Imphal and Kohima.[204] In May 1944, British forces mounted a counter-offensive that drove Japanese troops back to Burma, [204] and Chinese forces that had invaded northern Burma in late 1943 besieged Japanese troops in Myitkyina.[205] The second Japanese invasion attempted to destroy China's main fighting forces, secure railways between Japanese-held territory and capture Allied airfields.[206] By June, the Japanese had conquered the province of Henan and begun a renewed attack against Changsha in the Hunan province.[207]

    Allies close in
    Allied Invasion of Normandy,6 June 1944
    Red Army personnel and equipment crossing a river during the northern Summer of 1944On 6 June 1944 (known as D-Day) , after three years of Soviet pressure, [208] the Western Allies invaded northern France. After reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, they also attacked southern France.[209] These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German Army units in France. Paris was liberated by the local resistance assisted by the Free French Forces on 25 August[210] and the Western Allies continued to push back German forces in Western Europe during the latter part of the year. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spear-headed by a major airborne operation in the Netherlands ended with a failure.[211] After that, the Western Allies slowly pushed into Germany, unsuccessfully trying to cross the Rur river in a large offensive. In Italy the Allied advance also slowed down, when they ran into the last major German defensive line.

    On 22 June, the Soviets launched a strategic offensive in Belarus (known as Operation Bagration) that resulted in the almost complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre.[212] Soon after that, another Soviet strategic offensive forced German troops from Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland. The successful advance of Soviet troops prompted resistance forces in Poland to initiate several uprisings, though the largest of these, in Warsaw, as well as a Slovak Uprising in the south, were not assisted by the Soviets and were put down by German forces.[213] The Red Army's strategic offensive in eastern Romania cut off and destroyed the considerable German troops there and triggered a successful coup d'état in Romania and in Bulgaria, followed by those countries' shift to the Allied side.[214]

    Polish insurgents during the Warsaw Uprising.In September 1944, Soviet Red Army troops advanced into Yugoslavia and forced the rapid withdrawal of the German Army Groups E and F in Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia to rescue them from being cut off.[215] By this point, the Communist-led Partisans under Marshal Josip Broz Tito, who had led an increasingly successful guerrilla campaign against the occupation since 1941, controlled much of the territory of Yugoslavia and were engaged in delaying efforts against the German forces further south. In northern Serbia, the Red Army, with limited support from Bulgarian forces, assisted the Partisans in a joint liberation of the capital city of Belgrade on 20 October. A few days later, the Soviets launched a massive assault against German-occupied Hungary that lasted until the fall of Budapest in February 1945.[216] In contrast with impressive Soviet victories in the Balkans, the bitter Finnish resistance to the Soviet offensive in the Karelian Isthmus denied the Soviets occupation of Finland and led to the signing of Soviet-Finnish armistice on relatively mild conditions, [217][218] with a subsequent shift to the Allied side by Finland.

    By the start of July, Commonwealth forces in Southeast Asia had repelled the Japanese sieges in Assam, pushing the Japanese back to the Chindwin River[219] while the Chinese captured Myitkyina. In China, the Japanese were having greater successes, having finally captured Changsha in mid-June and the city of Hengyang by early August.[220] Soon after, they further invaded the province of Guangxi, winning major engagements against Chinese forces at Guilin and Liuzhou by the end of November[221] and successfully linking up their forces in China and Indochina by the middle of December.[222]

    In the Pacific, American forces continued to press back the Japanese perimeter. In mid-June 1944 they began their offensive against the Mariana and Palau islands, and decisively defeated Japanese forces in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. These defeats led to the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Tojo and provided the United States with air bases to launch intensive heavy bomber attacks on the Japanese home islands. In late October, American forces invaded the Filipino island of Leyte; soon after, Allied naval forces scored another large victory during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history.[223]

    Axis collapse, Allied victory
    American and Soviet troops meet in April 1945, east of the Elbe River.On 16 December 1944, Germany attempted its last desperate measure for success on the Western Front by using most of its remaining reserves to launch a massive counter-offensive in the Ardennes to attempt to split the Western Allies, encircle large portions of Western Allied troops and capture their primary supply port at Antwerp in order to prompt a political settlement.[224] By January, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled.[224] In Italy, the Western Allies remained stalemated at the German defensive line. In mid-January 1945, the Soviets attacked in Poland, pushing from the Vistula to the Oder river in Germany, and overran East Prussia.[225] On 4 February, U.S., British, and Soviet leaders met for the Yalta Conference. They agreed on the occupation of post-war Germany, [226] and when the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan.[227]

    In February, the Soviets invaded Silesia and Pomerania, while Western Allies invaded Western Germany and closed to the Rhine river. By March, the Western Allies crossed the Rhine north and south of the Ruhr, encircling the German Army Group B, [228] while the Soviets advanced to Vienna. In early April, the Western Allies finally pushed forward in Italy and swept across Western Germany, while Soviet forces stormed Berlin in late April; the two forces linked up on Elbe river on 25 April. On 30 April 1945, the Reichstag was captured, signalling the military defeat of Third Reich.[229]

    A devastated Berlin street in the city centre post Battle of Berlin, taken 3 July 1945.Several changes in leadership occurred during this period. On 12 April, U.S. President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Benito Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on 28 April.[230] Two days later, Hitler committed suicide, and was succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz.[231]

    German forces surrendered in Italy on 29 April. The German instrument of surrender was signed on 7 May in Rheims, [232] and ratified on 8 May in Berlin.[233] German Army Group Centre resisted in Prague until 11 May.[234]

    In the Pacific theatre, American forces accompanied by the forces of the Philippine Commonwealth advanced in the Philippines, clearing Leyte by the end of April 1945. They landed on Luzon in January 1945 and captured Manila in March following a battle which reduced the city to ruins. Fighting continued on Luzon, Mindanao and other islands of the Philippines until the end of the war.[235]

    Atomic explosion at Nagasaki,9 August 1945.In May 1945, Australian troops landed in Borneo, overrunning the oilfields there. British, American and Chinese forces defeated the Japanese in northern Burma in March, and the British pushed on to reach Rangoon by 3 May.[236] Chinese forces started to counterattack in Battle of West Hunan that occurred between 6 April and 7 June 1945. American forces also moved towards Japan, taking Iwo Jima by March, and Okinawa by the end of June.[237] American bombers destroyed Japanese cities, and American submarines cut off Japanese imports.[238]

    On 11 July, the Allied leaders met in Potsdam, Germany. They confirmed earlier agreements about Germany, [239] and reiterated the demand for unconditional surrender of all Japanese forces by Japan, specifically stating that the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.[240] During this conference the United Kingdom held its general election, and Clement Attlee replaced Churchill as Prime Minister.[241] When Japan continued to ignore the Potsdam terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August. Between the two bombs, the Soviets, pursuant to the Yalta agreement, invaded Japanese-held Manchuria, and quickly defeated the Kwantung Army, which was the largest Japanese fighting force.[242][243] The Red Army also captured Sakhalin Island and the Kuril Islands. On 15 August 1945 Japan surrendered, with the surrender documents finally signed aboard the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on 2 September 1945, ending the war.[232]

    AftermathMain article: Aftermath of World War II

    The Supreme Commanders on 5 June 1945 in Berlin: Bernard Montgomery, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Georgy Zhukov and Jean de Lattre de TassignyThe Allies established occupation administrations in Austria and Germany. The former became a neutral state, non-aligned with any political bloc. The latter was divided onto western and eastern occupation zones controlled by the Western Allies and the USSR, accordingly. A denazification program in Germany led to the prosecution of Nazi war criminals and the removal of ex-Nazis from power, although this policy moved towards amnesty and re-integration of ex-Nazis into West German society.[244] Germany lost a quarter of its pre-war (1937) territory, the eastern territories: Silesia, Neumark and most of Pomerania were taken over by Poland; East Prussia was divided between Poland and the USSR, followed by the expulsion of the 9 million Germans from these provinces, as well as of 3 million Germans from the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, to Germany. By the 1950s, every fifth West German was a refugee from the east. The USSR also took over the Polish provinces east of the Curzon line (from which 2 million Poles were expelled) , [245] Eastern Romania, [246][247] and part of eastern Finland[248] and three Baltic states.[249][250]

    Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives the Victory sign to crowds in London on Victory in Europe Day.In an effort to maintain peace, [251] the Allies formed the United Nations, which officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, [252] and adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as a common standard for all member nations.[253] The great powers that were the victors of the war—the United States, Soviet Union, China, Britain, and France—formed the permanent members of the UN's Security Council.[254] The five permanent members remain so to the present, although there have been two seat changes, between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China in 1971, and between the Soviet Union and its successor state, the Russian Federation, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had begun to deteriorate even before the war was over, [255] Germany had been de facto divided, and two independent states, Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic[256] were created within the borders of Allied and Soviet occupation zones, accordingly. The rest of Europe was also divided onto Western and Soviet spheres of influence.[257] Most eastern and central European countries fell into the Soviet sphere, which led to establishment of Communist led regimes, with full or partial support of the Soviet occupation authorities. As a result, Poland, Hungary, [258] Czechoslovakia, [259] Romania, Albania, [260] and East Germany became Soviet Satellite states. Communist Yugoslavia conducted a fully independent policy causing tension with the USSR.[261]

    Post-war division of the world was formalised by two international military alliances, the United States-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact; [262] the long period of political tensions and military competition between them, the Cold War, would be accompanied by unprecedented arms race and proxy wars.[263]

    World map of colonization at the end of the Second World War in 1945. With the end of the war, the wars of national liberation ensued, leading to the creation of Israel, the often bloody decolonization of Asia and (somewhat later) of Africa.In Asia, the United States led the occupation of Japan and administrated Japan's former islands in the Western Pacific, while the Soviets annexed Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.[264] Korea, formerly under Japanese rule, was divided and occupied by the US in the South and the Soviet Union in the North between 1945 and 1948. Separate republics emerged on both sides of the 38th parallel in 1948, each claiming to be the legitimate government for all of Korea, which led ultimately to the Korean War.[265] In China, nationalist and communist forces resumed the civil war in June 1946. Communist forces were victorious and established the People's Republic of China on the mainland, while nationalist forces retreated to Taiwan in 1949.[266] In the Middle East, the Arab rejection of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine and the creation of Israel marked the escalation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. While European colonial powers attempted to retain some or all of their colonial empires, their losses of prestige and resources during the war rendered this unsuccessful, leading to decolonisation.[267][268]

    The global economy suffered heavily from the war, although participating nations were affected differently. The US emerged much richer than any other nation; it had a baby boom and by 1950 its gross domestic product per person was much higher than that of any of the other powers and it dominated the world economy.[269][270] The UK and US pursued a policy of industrial disarmament in Western Germany in the years 1945–1948.[271] Due to international trade interdependencies this led to European economic stagnation and delayed European recovery for several years.[272][273] Recovery began with the mid 1948 currency reform in Western Germany, and was sped up by the liberalization of European economic policy that the Marshall plan (1948–1951) both directly and indirectly caused.[274][275] The post 1948 West German recovery has been called the German economic miracle.[276] Also the Italian[277][278] and French economies rebounded.[279] By contrast, the United Kingdom was in a state of economic ruin, [280] and continued relative economic decline for decades.[281] The Soviet Union, despite enormous human and material losses, also experienced rapid increase in production in the immediate post-war era.[282] Japan experienced incredibly rapid economic growth, becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world by the 1980s.[283] China returned to its pre-war industrial production by 1952.[284]

    ImpactCasualties and war crimesMain articles: World War II casualties and War crimes during World War II

    World War II deathsEstimates for the total casualties of the war vary, because many deaths went unrecorded. Most suggest that some 60 million people died in the war, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.[285][286][287] Many civilians died because of disease, starvation, massacres, bombing and deliberate genocide. The Soviet Union lost around 27 million people during the war, [288] including 8.7 million military and 19 million civilian deaths. The largest portion of military dead were ethnic Russians (5,756,000) , followed by ethnic Ukrainians (1,377,400) .[289] One of every four Soviet citizens was killed or wounded in that war.[290] Germany sustained 5.3 million military losses, mostly on the Eastern Front and during the final battles in Germany.[291]

    Of the total deaths in World War II approximately 85 percent—mostly Soviet and Chinese—were on the Allied side and 15 percent on the Axis side. Many of these deaths were caused by war crimes committed by German and Japanese forces in occupied territories. An estimated 11[292] to 17[293] million civilians died as a direct or indirect result of Nazi ideological policies, including the systematic genocide of around six million Jews during The Holocaust along with a further five million Roma, homosexuals as well as Slavs and other ethnic and minority groups.[294] Roughly 7.5 million civilians died in China under Japanese occupation, [295] and hundreds of thousands (varying estimates) of ethnic Serbs, along with gypsies and Jews, were murdered by the Axis-aligned Croatian Ustaše in what would become Yugoslavia, with retribution-related killings of Croatian civilians later in the war.[296]

    Chinese civilians to be buried alive by Japanese soldiers.The best-known Japanese atrocity was the Nanking Massacre, in which several hundred thousand Chinese civilians were raped and murdered.[297] Between 3 million to more than 10 million civilians, mostly Chinese, were killed by the Japanese occupation forces.[298] Mitsuyoshi Himeta reported 2.7 million casualties occurred during the Sanko Sakusen. General Yasuji Okamura implemented the policy in Heipei and Shantung.[299]

    The Axis forces employed limited biological and chemical weapons. The Italians used mustard gas during their conquest of Abyssinia, [300] while the Imperial Japanese Army used a variety of such weapons during their invasion and occupation of China (see Unit 731) [301][302] and in early conflicts against the Soviets.[303] Both the Germans and Japanese tested such weapons against civilians[304] and, in some cases, on prisoners of war.[305]

    While many of the Axis's acts were brought to trial in the world's first international tribunals, [306] incidents caused by the Allies were not. Examples of such Allied actions include population transfers in the Soviet Union and Japanese American internment in the United States; the Operation Keelhaul, [307] expulsion of Germans after World War II, rape during the occupation of Germany; the Soviet Union's Katyn massacre, for which Germans faced counter-accusations of responsibility. Large numbers of famine deaths can also be partially attributed to the war, such as the Bengal famine of 1943 and the Vietnamese famine of 1944–45.[308]

    It has been suggested by some historians[who? ] that the mass-bombing of civilian areas in enemy territory, including Tokyo and most notably the German cities of Dresden, Hamburg and Cologne by Western Allies, which resulted in the destruction of more than 160 cities and the deaths of more than 600,000 German civilians be considered as war crimes.[309]

    Concentration camps and slave workFurther information: The Holocaust, Consequences of Nazism, Japanese war crimes, and Allied war crimes during World War II
    The Nazis were responsible for The Holocaust, the killing of approximately six million Jews (overwhelmingly Ashkenazim) , as well as two million ethnic Poles and four million others who were deemed unworthy of life (including the disabled and mentally ill, Soviet POWs, homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Romani) as part of a programme of deliberate extermination. About 12 million, most of whom were Eastern Europeans, were employed in the German war economy as forced labourers.[310]

    Dead bodies in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp after liberation, possibly political prisoners or Soviet POWsIn addition to Nazi concentration camps, the Soviet gulags (labour camps) led to the death of citizens of occupied countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as German prisoners of war (POWs) and even Soviet citizens who had been or were thought to be supporters of the Nazis.[311] Sixty percent of Soviet POWs of the Germans died during the war.[312] Richard Overy gives the number of 5.7 million Soviet POWs. Of those,57 percent died or were killed, a total of 3.6 million.[313] Soviet ex-POWs and repatriated civilians were treated with great suspicion as potential Nazi collaborators, and some of them were sent to the GULAG upon being checked by the NKVD.[314]

    Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, many of which were used as labour camps, also had high death rates. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East found the death rate of Western prisoners was 27.1 percent (for American POWs,37 percent) , [315] seven times that of POWs under the Germans and Italians.[316] While 37,583 prisoners from the UK,28,500 from the Netherlands, and 14,473 from United States were released after the surrender of Japan, the number for the Chinese was only 56.[317]

    According to historian Zhifen Ju, at least five million Chinese civilians from northern China and Manchukuo were enslaved between 1935 and 1941 by the East Asia Development Board, or Koain, for work in mines and war industries. After 1942, the number reached 10 million.[318] The U.S. Library of Congress estimates that in Java, between 4 and 10 million romusha (Japanese: manual laborers) , were forced to work by the Japanese military. About 270,000 of these Javanese laborers were sent to other Japanese-held areas in South East Asia, and only 52,000 were repatriated to Java.[319]

    Mistreated and starved prisoners in the Mauthausen camp, Austria,1945On 19 February 1942, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, interning thousands of Japanese, Italians, German Americans, and some emigrants from Hawaii who fled after the bombing of Pearl Harbor for the duration of the war. The U.S. and Canadian governments interned 150,000 Japanese-Americans, [320][321] In addition,14,000 German and Italian residents of the U.S. who had been assessed as being security risks were also interned.[322]

    In accordance with the Allied agreement made at the Yalta Conference millions of POWs and civilians were used as forced labor by the Soviet Union.[323] In Hungary's case, Hungarians were forced to work for the Soviet Union until 1955.[324]

    Home fronts and productionMain articles: Military production during World War II and Home front during World War II

    Allied to Axis GDP ratio
    The Soviet T-34, the most-produced tank of the war, going to the front. Over 57,000 T-34s had been built in the USSR by 1945.In Europe, before the outbreak of the war, the Allies had significant advantages in both population and economics. In 1938, the Western Allies (United Kingdom, France, Poland and British Dominions) had a 30 percent larger population and a 30 percent higher gross domestic product than the European Axis (Germany and Italy): if colonies are included, it then gives the Allies more than a 5: 1 advantage in population and nearly 2: 1 advantage in GDP.[325] In Asia at the same time, China had roughly six times the population of Japan, but only an 89 percent higher GDP; this is reduced to three times the population and only a 38 percent higher GDP if Japanese colonies are included.[325]

    Though the Allies' economic and population advantages were largely mitigated during the initial rapid blitzkrieg attacks of Germany and Japan, they became the decisive factor by 1942, after the United States and Soviet Union joined the Allies, as the war largely settled into one of attrition.[326] While the Allies' ability to out-produce the Axis is often attributed to the Allies having more access to natural resources, other factors, such as Germany and Japan's reluctance to employ women in the labour force, [327][328] Allied strategic bombing, [329][330] and Germany's late shift to a war economy[331] contributed significantly. Additionally, neither Germany nor Japan planned to fight a protracted war, and were not equipped to do so.[332][333] To improve their production, Germany and Japan used millions of slave labourers; [334] Germany used about 12 million people, mostly from Eastern Europe, [310] while Japan pressed more than 18 million people in Far East Asia.[318][319]

    OccupationMain articles: Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II, Resistance during World War II, and German-occupied Europe
    In Europe, occupation came under two very different forms. In Western, Northern and Central Europe (France, Norway, Denmark, the Low Countries, and the annexed portions of Czechoslovakia) Germany established economic policies through which it collected roughly 69.5 billion reichmarks (27.8 billion US Dollars) by the end of the war; this figure does not include the sizable plunder of industrial products, military equipment, raw materials and other goods.[335] Thus, the income from occupied nations was over 40 percent of the income Germany collected from taxation, a figure which increased to nearly 40 percent of total German income as the war went on.[336]

    Soviet partisans hanged by German forces in January 1943In the East, the much hoped for bounties of Lebensraum were never attained as fluctuating front-lines and Soviet scorched earth policies denied resources to the German invaders.[337] Unlike in the West, the Nazi racial policy encouraged excessive brutality against what it considered to be the inferior people of Slavic descent; most German advances were thus followed by mass executions.[338] Although resistance groups did form in most occupied territories, they did not significantly hamper German operations in either the East[339] or the West[340] until late 1943.

    In Asia, Japan termed nations under its occupation as being part of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, essentially a Japanese hegemony which it claimed was for purposes of liberating colonised peoples.[341] Although Japanese forces were originally welcomed as liberators from European domination in many territories, their excessive brutality turned local public opinions against them within weeks.[342] During Japan's initial conquest it captured 4,000,000 barrels (640,000 m³) of oil (~5.5×105 tonnes) left behind by retreating Allied forces, and by 1943 was able to get production in the Dutch East Indies up to 50 million barrels (~6.8×10^6 t) ,76 percent of its 1940 output rate.[342]

    Advances in technology and warfareMain article: Technology during World War II
    Aircraft were used for reconnaissance, as fighters, bombers and ground-support, and each role was advanced considerably. Innovation included airlift (the capability to quickly move limited high-priority supplies, equipment and personnel): [343] and of strategic bombing (the bombing of civilian areas to destroy industry and morale) .[344] Anti-aircraft weaponry also advanced, including defences such as radar and surface-to-air artillery, such as the German 88 mm gun. The use of the jet aircraft was pioneered, and though late introduction meant it had little impact, it led to jets becoming standard in worldwide air forces.[345]

    U-995 Type VIIC at the German navy memorial at Laboe. Between 1939 and 1945,3,500 Allied merchant ships were sunk at a cost of 783 German U-boats.Advances were made in nearly every aspect of naval warfare, most notably with aircraft carriers and submarines. Although at the start of the war aeronautical warfare had relatively little success, actions at Taranto, Pearl Harbor, the South China Sea and the Coral Sea established the carrier as the dominant capital ship in place of the battleship.[346][347][348] In the Atlantic, escort carriers proved to be a vital part of Allied convoys, increasing the effective protection radius and helping to close the Mid-Atlantic gap.[349] Carriers were also more economical than battleships due to the relatively low cost of aircraft[350] and their not requiring to be as heavily armoured.[351] Submarines, which had proved to be an effective weapon during the First World War[352] were anticipated by all sides to be important in the second. The British focused development on anti-submarine weaponry and tactics, such as sonar and convoys, while Germany focused on improving its offensive capability, with designs such as the Type VII submarine and wolfpack tactics.[353] Gradually, improving Allied technologies such as the Leigh light, hedgehog, squid, and homing torpedoes proved victorious.

    Land warfare changed from the static front lines of World War I to increased mobility and combined arms. The tank, which had been used predominantly for infantry support in the First World War, had evolved into the primary weapon.[354] In the late 1930s, tank design was considerably more advanced than it had been during World War I, [355] and advances continued throughout the war in increasing speed, armour and firepower.

    Boeing B-17E in flight. The Allies had lost 160,000 airmen and 33,700 planes during the air war over Europe.[356]At the start of the war, most commanders thought enemy tanks should be met by tanks with superior specifications.[357] This idea was challenged by the poor performance of the relatively light early tank guns against armour, and German doctrine of avoiding tank-versus-tank combat. This, along with Germany's use of combined arms, were among the key elements of their highly successful blitzkrieg tactics across Poland and France.[354] Many means of destroying tanks, including indirect artillery, anti-tank guns (both towed and self-propelled) , mines, short-ranged infantry antitank weapons, and other tanks were utilised.[357] Even with large-scale mechanisation, infantry remained the backbone of all forces, [358] and throughout the war, most infantry were equipped similarly to World War I.[359]

    The portable machine gun spread, a notable example being the German MG42, and various submachine guns which were suited to close combat in urban and jungle settings.[359] The assault rifle, a late war development incorporating many features of the rifle and submachine gun, became the standard postwar infantry weapon for most armed forces.[360][361]

    Most major belligerents attempted to solve the problems of complexity and security presented by using large codebooks for cryptography with the use of ciphering machines, the most well known being the German Enigma machine.[362] SIGINT (signals intelligence) was the countering process of decryption, with the notable examples being the Allied breaking of Japanese naval codes[363] and British Ultra, which was derived from methodology given to Britain by the Polish Cipher Bureau, which had been decoding Enigma for seven years before the war.[364] Another aspect of military intelligence was the use of deception, which the Allies used to great effect, such as in operations Mincemeat and Bodyguard.[363][365] Other technological and engineering feats achieved during, or as a result of, the war include the world's first programmable computers (Z3, Colossus, and ENIAC) , guided missiles and modern rockets, the Manhattan Project's development of nuclear weapons and the development of artificial harbours and oil pipelines under the English Channel.[366]

    See also World War II portal
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    Apocalypse: The Second World War (2009) , a six-part French documentary by Daniel Costelle and Isabelle Clarke about World War II
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    BBC History of World War II, a television series, initially issued from 1989 to 2005.
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    1.^ 23 August 1939, the USSR and Germany sign non-aggression pact, secretly dividing Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. USSR armistice with Japan 16 September 1939; invades Poland 17 September 1939; attacks Finland 30 September 1939; forcibly incorporates Baltic States June 1940; takes eastern Romania 4 July 1940.22 June 1941, USSR is invaded by European Axis; USSR aligns with countries fighting Axis.
    2.^ After the fall of the Third Republic in 1940, the de facto government was the Vichy Regime. It conducted pro-Axis policies until November 1942 while remaining formally neutral. The Free French Forces, based out of London, were recognized by all Allies as the official government in September 1944.
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    324.^ Stark, Tamás. Malenki Robot – Hungarian Forced Labourers in the Soviet Union (1944–1955) (PDF) . Minorities Research. http: //www.epa.hu/00400/00463/00007/pdf/155_stark.pdf. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
    325.^ a b Harrison, Mark (2000) . The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison. Cambridge University Press. p.3. ISBN 0-521-78503-0.
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    327.^ Hughes, Matthew; Mann, Chris (2000) . Inside Hitler's Germany: Life Under the Third Reich. Potomac Books Inc. p.148. ISBN 1-57488-281-3.
    328.^ Bernstein, Gail Lee (1991) . Recreating Japanese Women,1600–1945. University of California Press. p.267. ISBN 978-0-520-07017-2.
    329.^ Hughes, Matthew; Mann, Chris (2000) . Inside Hitler's Germany: Life Under the Third Reich. Potomac Books Inc. p.151. ISBN 1-57488-281-3.
    330.^ Griffith, Charles (1999) . The Quest: Haywood Hansell and American Strategic Bombing in World War II. DIANE Publishing. p.203. ISBN 1-58566-069-8.
    331.^ Overy, R.J (1995) . War and Economy in the Third Reich. Oxford University Press, USA. p.26. ISBN 0-19-820599-6.
    332.^ Lindberg, Michael; Daniel, Todd (2001) . Brown-, Green- and Blue-Water Fleets: the Influence of Geography on Naval Warfare,1861 to the Present. Praeger. p.126. ISBN 0-275-96486-8.
    333.^ Cox, Sebastian (1998) . The Strategic Air War Against Germany,1939–1945. Frank Cass Publishers. p.84. ISBN 0-7146-4722-5.
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    335.^ Liberman, Peter (1998) . Does Conquest Pay? : The Exploitation of Occupied Industrial Societies. Princeton University Press. p.42. ISBN 0-691-00242-8.
    336.^ Milward, Alan S (1979) . War, Economy, and Society,1939–1945. University of California Press. p.138. ISBN 0-520-03942-4.
    337.^ Milward, Alan S (1979) . War, Economy, and Society,1939–1945. University of California Press. p.148. ISBN 0-520-03942-4.
    338.^ Perrie, Maureen; Lieven, D. C. B; Suny, Ronald Grigor (2007) . The Cambridge History of Russia. Cambridge University Press. p.232. ISBN 0-521-86194-2.
    339.^ Hill, Alexander (2005) . The War Behind The Eastern Front: The Soviet Partisan Movement In North-West Russia 1941–1944. Routledge. p.5. ISBN 0-7146-5711-5.
    340.^ Christofferson, Thomas R; Christofferson, Michael S (2006) . France During World War II: From Defeat to Liberation. Fordham University Press. p.156. ISBN 978-0-8232-2563-7.
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    342.^ a b Boog, Horst; Rahn, Werner; Stumpf, Reinhard; Wegner, Bernd (2001) . Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt Germany and the Second World War—Volume VI: The Global War. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p.266. ISBN 0-19-822888-0.
    343.^ Tucker, Spencer C.; Roberts, Priscilla Mary Roberts (2004) . Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History. Sanata Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p.76. ISBN 1-57607-999-6.
    344.^ Levine, Alan J. (1992) . The Strategic Bombing of Germany,1940–1945. Greenwood Press. p.217. ISBN 0-275-94319-4.
    345.^ Sauvain, Philip (2005) . Key Themes of the Twentieth Century: Teacher's Guide. Wiley-Blackwell. p.128. ISBN 1-4051-3218-3.
    346.^ Tucker, Spencer C.; Roberts, Priscilla Mary Roberts (2004) . Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p.163. ISBN 1-57607-999-6.
    347.^ Bishop, Chris; Chant, Chris (2004) . Aircraft Carriers: The World's Greatest Naval Vessels and Their Aircraft. Wigston, Leics: Silverdale Books. p.7. ISBN 1-84509-079-9.
    348.^ Chenoweth, H. Avery; Nihart, Brooke (2005) . Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines. New York: Main Street. p.180. ISBN 1-4027-3099-3.
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    351.^ Gardiner, Robert; Brown, David K (2004) . The Eclipse of the Big Gun: The Warship 1906–1945. London: Conway Maritime. p.52. ISBN 0-85177-953-0.
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    354.^ a b Tucker, Spencer C.; Roberts, Priscilla Mary Roberts (2004) . Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p.125. ISBN 1-57607-999-6.
    355.^ Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt (1982) . The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare. Jane's Information Group. p.231. ISBN 0-7106-0123-9.
    356.^ Kenneth K. Hatfield (2003) . Heartland heroes: remembering World War II.. University of Missouri Press. p.91. ISBN 0-8262-1460-6
    357.^ a b Tucker, Spencer C.; Roberts, Priscilla Mary (2004) . Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p.108. ISBN 1-57607-999-6.
    358.^ Tucker, Spencer C.; Roberts, Priscilla Mary Roberts (2004) . Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p.734. ISBN 1-57607-999-6.
    359.^ a b Cowley, Robert; Parker, Geoffrey (2001) . The Reader's Companion to Military History. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p.221. ISBN 0-618-12742-9.
    360.^ Infantry Weapons Of World War 2. Grey Falcon (Black Sun) . http: //greyfalcon.us/Infantry%20Weapons%20Of%20World%20War%202.htm. Retrieved 14 November 2009. These all-purpose guns were developed and used by the German army in the 2nd half of World War 2 as a result of studies which showed that the ordinary rifle's long range is much longer than needed, since the soldiers almost always fired at enemies closer than half of its effective range. The assault rifle is a balanced compromise between the rifle and the sub-machine gun, having sufficient range and accuracy to be used as a rifle, combined with the rapid-rate automatic firepower of the sub machine gun. Thanks to these combined advantages, assault rifles such as the American M-16 and the Russian AK-47 are the basic weapon of the modern soldier
    361.^ Sprague, Oliver; Griffiths, Hugh (2006) . The AK-47: the worlds favourite killing machine (PDF) . controlarms.org. p.1. http: //www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ACT30/011/2006/en/11079910-d422-11dd-8743-d305bea2b2c7/act300112006en.pdf. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
    362.^ Ratcliff, Rebecca Ann (2006) . Delusions of Intelligence: Enigma, Ultra and the End of Secure Ciphers. Cambridge University Press. p.11. ISBN 0-521-85522-5.
    363.^ a b Schoenherr, Steven (2007) . Code Breaking in World War II. History Department at the University of San Diego. http: //history.sandiego.edu/gen/ww2timeline/espionage.html. Retrieved 15 November 2009. [dead link]
    364.^ Macintyre, Ben (10 December 2010) . Bravery of thousands of Poles was vital in securing victory. The Times (London) : p.27.
    365.^ Rowe, Neil C.; Rothstein, Hy. Deception for Defense of Information Systems: Analogies from Conventional Warfare. Departments of Computer Science and Defense Analysis U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Air University. http: //www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/nps/mildec.htm. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
    366.^ Konrad Zuse (1910–1995) . Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sull'Intelligenza Artificiale. http: //www.idsia.ch/~juergen/zuse.html. Retrieved 14 November 2009. Konrad Zuse builds Z1, world's first programme-controlled computer. Despite mechanical engineering problems it had all the basic ingredients of modern machines, using the binary system and today's standard separation of storage and control. Zuse's 1936 patent application (Z23139/GMD Nr.005/021) also suggests a von Neumann architecture (re-invented in 1945) with programme and data modifiable in storage
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    Bullock, A. (1962) . Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-013564-2
    Busky, Donald F (2002) . Communism in History and Theory: Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-97733-1.
    Davies, Norman (2008) . No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe,1939–1945. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 0-14-311409-3
    Glantz, David M. (2001) . The Soviet-German War 1941–45 Myths and Realities: A Survey Essay. http: //www.strom.clemson.edu/publications/sg-war41-45.pdf [dead link]
    Graham, Helen (2005) . The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280377-8.
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  • Yacov Mitchenko (12/30/2009 7:01:00 AM)

    I wouldn't think Death needs Millay's help anyway. Well said, though.

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  • Codie Shafer (7/21/2008 9:40:00 AM)

    Robert 'Bob' Nesta Marley OM (February 6,1945 – May 11,1981) was a Jamaican musician, singer-songwriter and Rastafarian. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands: The Wailers (1964 – 1974) and Bob Marley & the Wailers (1974 – 1981) . Marley died nearly thirty years ago, but remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread Jamaican music to the worldwide audience.[1]

    Marley's best known hits include 'I Shot the Sheriff', 'No Woman, No Cry', 'Exodus', 'Could You Be Loved', 'Stir It Up', 'Jamming', 'Redemption Song', 'One Love' and, together with The Wailers, ''Three Little Birds', [2] as well as the posthumous releases 'Buffalo Soldier' and 'Iron Lion Zion'. The compilation album, Legend, released in 1984, three years after his death, is the best-selling reggae album ever (10 times platinum[3]) , with sales of more than 12 million copies.[2]

    Contents [hide]
    1 Early life and career
    2 Musical career
    2.1 The Wailers
    2.2 Bob Marley & The Wailers
    3 Later years
    3.1 Cancer diagnosis
    3.2 Collapse and treatment
    3.3 Death and posthumous reputation
    4 Religion
    5 Wife and children
    6 Discography
    7 Tours
    8 Awards and honors
    9 Film adaptation
    10 Sound samples
    11 See also
    12 Notes
    13 Further reading
    14 External links

    Early life and career
    Bob Marley was born in the small village of Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica as Nesta Robert Marley.[4] A Jamaican passport official would later swap his first and middle names.[5] His father Norval Sinclair Marley was a white Jamaican of English descent. Norval was a Marine officer and captain, as well as a plantation overseer, when he married Cedella Booker, a black Jamaican then eighteen years old.[6] Norval provided financial support for his wife and child, but seldom saw them, as he was often away on trips. In 1955, when Marley was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack at age 60.[7] Marley suffered racial prejudice as a youth, because of his mixed racial origins and faced questions about his own racial identity throughout his life. He once reflected:

    I don't have prejudice against himself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don't dip on nobody's side. Me don't dip on the black man's side nor the white man's side. Me dip on God's side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white.


    Marley became friends with Neville 'Bunny' Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer) , with whom he started to play music. He left school at the age of 14 to make music with Joe Higgs, a local singer and devout Rastafari. It was at a jam session with Higgs and Livingston that Marley met Peter McIntosh (later known as Peter Tosh) , who had similar musical ambitions.[9]

    In 1962, Marley recorded his first two singles, 'Judge Not' and 'One Cup of Coffee', with local music producer Leslie Kong. These songs, released on the Beverley's label under the pseudonym of Bobby Martell, [10] attracted little attention. The songs were later re-released on the box set, Songs of Freedom, a posthumous collection of Marley's work.

    Musical career

    The Wailers
    Main article: The Wailers (reggae band)
    Wikinews has related news:
    Vivien Goldman: An interview with Bob Marley's biographerIn 1963, Bob Marley, Bunny Livingston, Peter McIntosh, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith formed a ska and rocksteady group, calling themselves 'The Teenagers'. They later changed their name to 'The Wailing Rudeboys', then to 'The Wailing Wailers', at which point they were discovered by record producer Coxsone Dodd, and finally to 'The Wailers'. By 1966, Braithwaite, Kelso, and Smith had left The Wailers, leaving the core trio of Marley, Livingston, and McIntosh.

    In 1966, Marley married Rita Anderson, and moved near his mother's residence in Wilmington, Delaware in the United States for a short time, during which he worked as a DuPont lab assistant and on the assembly line at a Chrysler plant, under the alias Donald Marley.[11] Upon returning to Jamaica, Marley became a member of the Rastafari movement, and started to wear his trademark dreadlocks (see the religion section for more on Marley's religious views) .

    After a conflict with Dodd, Marley and his band teamed up with Lee 'Scratch' Perry and his studio band, The Upsetters. Although the alliance lasted less than a year, they recorded what many consider The Wailers' finest work. Marley and Perry split after a dispute regarding the assignment of recording rights, but they would remain friends and work together again.

    Between 1968 and 1972, Bob and Rita Marley, Peter McIntosh and Bunny Livingston re-cut some old tracks with JAD Records in Kingston and London in an attempt to commercialize The Wailers' sound. Livingston later asserted that these songs 'should never be released on an album … they were just demos for record companies to listen to.'

    The Wailers' first album, Catch a Fire, was released worldwide in 1973, and sold well. It was followed a year later by Burnin', which included the songs 'Get Up, Stand Up' and 'I Shot The Sheriff'. Eric Clapton made a hit cover of 'I Shot the Sheriff' in 1974, raising Marley's international profile.

    The Wailers broke up in 1974 with each of the three main members going on to pursue solo careers. The reason for the breakup is shrouded in conjecture; some believe that there were disagreements amongst Livingston, McIntosh, and Marley concerning performances, while others claim that Livingston and McIntosh simply preferred solo work. McIntosh began recording under the name Peter Tosh, and Livingston continued as Bunny Wailer.

    Bob Marley & The Wailers
    Main article: Bob Marley & The Wailers‎
    Despite the breakup, Marley continued recording as 'Bob Marley & The Wailers'. His new backing band included brothers Carlton and Aston 'Family Man' Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl 'Wya' Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin 'Seeco' Patterson on percussion. The 'I Threes', consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley's wife, Rita, provided backing vocals.

    In 1975, Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside Jamaica, 'No Woman, No Cry, ' from the Natty Dread album. This was followed by his breakthrough album in the US, Rastaman Vibration (1976) , which spent four weeks on the Billboard charts Top Ten.

    In December 1976, two days before 'Smile Jamaica', a free concert organized by the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley in an attempt to ease tension between two warring political groups, Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside Marley's home. Taylor and Marley's wife sustained serious injuries, but later made full recoveries. Bob Marley received minor wounds in the chest and arm. The shooting was thought to have been politically motivated, as many felt the concert was really a support rally for Manley. Nonetheless, the concert proceeded, and an injured Marley performed as scheduled.

    Bob Marley Live a painting by Steve Brogdon 1992Marley left Jamaica at the end of 1976 for England, where he recorded his Exodus and Kaya albums. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for 56 consecutive weeks. It included four UK hit singles: 'Exodus', 'Waiting In Vain', 'Jamming', 'One Love', and a rendition of Curtis Mayfield's hit, 'People Get Ready'. It was here that he was arrested and received a conviction for possession of a small quantity of cannabis while traveling in London.

    In 1978, Marley performed at another political concert in Jamaica, the One Love Peace Concert, again in an effort to calm warring parties. Near the end of the performance, by Marley's request, Manley and his political rival, Edward Seaga, joined each other on stage and shook hands.

    Babylon by Bus, a double live album with 13 tracks, was released in 1978 to critical acclaim. This album, and specifically the final track 'Jammin'' with the audience in a frenzy, captured the intensity of Marley's live performances.

    Survival, a defiant and politically charged album, was released in 1979. Tracks such as 'Zimbabwe', 'Africa Unite', 'Wake Up and Live', and 'Survival' reflected Marley's support for the struggles of Africans. His appearance at the Amandla Festival in Boston in July 1979 showed his strong opposition to South African apartheid, which he already had shown in his song 'War' in 1976. In early 1980, he was invited to perform at the April 17 celebration of Zimbabwe's Independence Day.

    Uprising (1980) was Bob Marley's final studio album, and is one of his most religious productions, including 'Redemption Song' and 'Forever Loving Jah'. It was in 'Redemption Song' that Marley sang the famous lyric,

    “ Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
    None but ourselves can free our minds… ”

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  • Codie Shafer (7/21/2008 9:39:00 AM)

    Joseph Stalin (Russian: И о с и ф В и с с а р и о ́ н о в и ч С т а л и н , Iosif Stalin Georgian: ი ო ს ე ბ ს ტ ა ლ ი ნ ი ;) , born as Iosef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili[note 1] December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878 – March 5,1953) was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953.[note 2][1][2] During that time he established the regime now known as Stalinism. He gradually consolidated power and became the de facto party leader and dictator of the Soviet Union.[3]

    Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Stalin prevailed in a power struggle over Leon Trotsky, who was expelled from the Communist Party and deported from the Soviet Union. Stalin launched a command economy in the Soviet Union replacing the New Economic Policy of the 1920s with Five-Year Plans in 1928 and at roughly the same time, forced rapid industrialization of the largely rural country and collective farming by confiscating the lands of farmers. He derogatorily referred to farmers who refused his reforms as 'kulaks', a class of rich peasant which had in actual fact been wiped out by World War One; millions were killed, exiled to Siberia, or died of starvation after their land, homes, meager possessions, and ability to earn an existence from the land were taken to fulfill Stalin's vision of massive 'factory farms'[4]. While the Soviet Union transformed from an agrarian economy to a major industrial powerhouse in a short span of time, millions of people died from hardships and famine that occurred as a result of the severe economic upheaval and party policies.[5][6][7]

    At the end of 1930s, Stalin launched the Great Purge, a major campaign of political repression. During his continued repressions, millions of people who were a threat to the Soviet politics or suspected of being such a threat were executed or exiled to Gulag labor camps in remote areas of Siberia or Central Asia, where many more died of disease, malnutrition and exposure. A number of ethnic groups in Russia were forcibly resettled for political reasons. Stalin's rule, reinforced by a cult of personality, fought real and alleged opponents mainly through the security apparatus, such as the NKVD. In the 1950s Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's eventual successor, denounced Stalin's rule and the cult of personality, thus initiating the process of 'de-Stalinization'.

    Bearing the brunt of the Nazis' attacks, the Soviet Union under Stalin made the largest and most decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II (1939–1945) . Some historians believe Stalin contributed to starting World War II because of his secret agreement with Nazi Germany to carve up the nation of Poland, as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. This led to the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland from the east later that same year, following Nazi Germany's invasion of western Poland. Under Stalin's leadership after the war, the Soviet Union went on to achieve recognition as one of just two superpowers in the world. That status lasted for nearly four decades after his death until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Stalin's rule had long-lasting effects on the features that characterized the Soviet state from the era of his rule to its collapse in 1991.
    Joseph Stalin was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in Gori, Georgia to Vissarion Dzhugashvili and Ekaterina Geladze. Stalin's mother was born a serf. His father was a cobbler and owned his own workshop. He was their third child; their two previous sons died in infancy. The second and third toes of his left foot were webbed.[8]

    Initially, the Dzhugashvilis' lives were prosperous and happy, but Stalin's father became an alcoholic, [9] which gradually led to his business failing and his becoming violently abusive to his wife and child. As their financial situation grew worse, Stalin's family moved homes frequently; at least nine times in Stalin's first ten years of life.[10]

    The town where Stalin grew up was a violent and lawless place. It had only a small police force and a culture of violence that included gang-warfare, organized street brawls and wrestling tournaments (some of these were traditions inherited from Georgia's war-torn past) .[10] Stalin took part in streetfighting as a child; he was not afraid to challenge opponents who were much stronger than he, and he was severely beaten on numerous occasions.[10]

    At the age of 7, Stalin fell ill with smallpox and his face was badly scarred by the disease. He later had photographs retouched to make his pockmarks less apparent. Stalin's native tongue was Georgian. He started learning Russian only when he was eight or nine years old, and he never lost his strong Georgian accent.

    At the age of 10, Stalin began his education at the Gori Church School. His peers were mostly the sons of affluent priests, officials, and merchants. He and most of his classmates at Gori were Georgians and spoke mostly Georgian. However, at school they were forced to speak Russian (this was the policy of Tsar Alexander III) . Their Russian teachers mocked the accents of their Georgian students, and regarded their language and culture as inferior. Nevertheless, Stalin earned the respect and admiration of his teachers by being the best student in the class, earning top marks across the board. He developed a passion for learning that stayed with him for the rest of his life. He became a very good choir singer and was often hired to sing at weddings. He also began to write poetry, something he would develop in later years.[10]

    Stalin's father, who had always wanted his son to be trained as a cobbler rather than be educated, was infuriated when the boy was accepted into the school. In his anger he smashed the windows of the local tavern, and later attacked the town police chief. Out of compassion for Stalin's mother, the police chief did not arrest Vissarion, but ordered him to leave town. He moved to Tiflis where he found work in a shoe factory and left his family behind in GoriAbout the time Stalin began school, he was struck by a horse-drawn carriage. The accident permanently damaged his left arm; this injury would later exempt him from military service in World War I. At the age of 12, Stalin was struck again by a horse-drawn carriage and injured badly. He was taken to hospital in Tiflis where he spent months in care. After he recovered, his father seized the opportunity to kidnap the boy and enroll him as an apprentice cobbler at the shoe factory where he worked. When his mother, through the aid of contacts in the clergy and school staff, recovered the boy, his father cut off all financial support to his wife and son, leaving them to fend for themselves. Stalin returned to his school in Gori where he continued to excel.[10]

    He graduated first in his class and in 1894, at the age of 16, he enrolled at the Georgian Orthodox Seminary of Tiflis, to which he had been awarded a scholarship. The teachers at Tiflis Seminary were also determined to impose Russian language and culture on the Georgian students.[10] Like many of his comrades, young Stalin reacted by being drawn to Georgian patriotism. During this time he gained fame as a poet; his poems were published in several local newspapers. However, his interest for poetry began to fade as he was drawn to rebellion and revolution.

    During his time at the seminary, Stalin and numerous other students read forbidden literature that included Victor Hugo novels and revolutionary (including Marxist) literature. He was caught and punished numerous times for this. One teacher in particular - Father Abashidze, whom Stalin nicknamed 'the Black Spot' - harassed the rebel students through student informers, nightly patrols and surprise dormitory raids. This personal experience of 'surveillance, spying, invasion of inner life, violation of feelings', in Stalin's own words, influenced the design of his future terror state.[10] He became an atheist in his first year.[10] He insisted his peers call him 'Koba', after the Robin Hood-like protagonist of the novel The Patricide by Alexander Kazbegi; he would continue to use this pseudonym as a revolutionary. In August 1898, he joined the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (from which the Bolsheviks would later form) .

    Shortly before the final exams, the Seminary abruptly raised school fees. Unable to pay, Stalin quit the seminary in 1899 and missed his exams, for which he was officially expelled.[10] Twenty of his fellow-classmates were expelled for revolutionary activities in 1899, and forty more were expelled in 1901.[11] Shortly after leaving school, Stalin discovered the writings of Vladimir Lenin and decided to become a revolutionary.
    After abandoning his priestly education, Stalin took a job as a weatherman at the Tiflis Meteorological Observatory. Although the pay was relatively low (20 roubles a month) , his workload was light, giving him plenty of time for revolutionary activities. He would organise strikes, lead demonstrations and give speeches. He soon caught the attention of the Tsar's secret police, the Okhrana. During this time he met and charmed Simon Ter-Petrossian, a violent psychopath who became his long-time henchman and enforcer.[12]

    Stalin in 1902On the night of April 3 1901 the Okhrana arrested a number of SD Party leaders in Tiflis, but Stalin spotted their agents waiting in ambush at the Observatory and avoided capture. He went underground, becoming a full-time revolutionary, living off donations from friends, sympathizers and his Party. He began writing revolutionary articles for the Baku-based radical newspaper Brdzola ('Struggle') .[10]

    In October, Stalin fled to Batumi and got work at an oil refinery owned by the Rothschild family. Organizing the workers there, Stalin was almost certainly involved in a 1902 fire at the refinery designed to trick the management into giving the workers a bonus for putting out the fire. However, the manager suspected arson and refused to pay. This led to a series of strikes, all organized by Stalin, which in turn led to arrests and clashes with the Cossacks in the streets. In one attempt to break their comrades out of prison, thirteen strikers were killed when Cossacks intervened. Stalin distributed incendiary pamphlets portraying the dead as martyrs. On April 18 1902, the authorities finally arrested Stalin at one of his secret meetings. At his trial, Stalin was acquitted of leading the riots due to lack of evidence, but was kept in custody whilst the authorities investigated his activities in Tiflis. In 1903, the authorities decided to exile Stalin to Siberia for three years.[10]

    Stalin ended up in the Siberian town of Novaya Uda on December 9 1903. During this time, he heard that two rival factions within the Social-Democrats had formed: the Bolsheviks under Lenin and the Mensheviks under Julius Martov. Stalin, already an admirer, decided to become a Leninist. Stalin managed to obtain false papers and, on January 17 1904, escaped Siberia by train, arriving back in Tiflis ten days later.[10]

    With no income, Stalin lived off his circle of friends. One of them introduced him to Lev Kamenev (then known as Lev Rosenfeld) , his future co-ruler of the USSR after Lenin's death. At this time, Stalin favored a Georgian Social-Democratic party, which caused a rift with the majority who favored international Marxism. Threatened with expulsion, he was forced to write Credo, a paper renouncing his views (because this paper distanced himself from Lenin, when Stalin became ruler of the USSR, he tried to destroy all copies of this Credo, and many of those who had read it were shot) .[10]

    In February 1904, the Russo-Japanese War broke out between Japan and Russia. The war, which would eventually end in Russia's defeat, severely strained the Russian economy and caused a great deal of restlessness in Georgia. Stalin travelled across Georgia conducting political activity for his party. He also worked to undermine the Mensheviks through a campaign of slander and intrigue; his efforts brought him to Lenin's attention for the first time.

    On January 22 1905, Stalin was in Baku when Cossacks attacked a mass demonstration of workers, killing two hundred. This sparked off the Russian Revolution of 1905. Riots, peasant uprisings and ethnic massacres swept the Russian Empire. In February, ethnic Azeris and Armenians were slaughtering each other in the streets of Baku. Commanding a squad of armed Bolsheviks, Stalin ran protection rackets to raise Party funds and stole printing equipment. Afterwards, he headed west, where continued to campaign against the Mensheviks, who enjoyed overwhelming support in Georgia. In the mining town of Chiatura, both Stalin and the Mensheviks competed for the support of the miners; they chose Stalin, being more swayed by his plain and concise manner of speaking than the flamboyant oratory of the Menshevik speaker.[10] From Chiatura, Stalin organized and armed Bolshevik militias across Georgia. With them, he ran protection rackets among the wealthy and waged guerilla warfare on Cossacks, policemen and the Okhrana.[10] Later that year in Tiflis, he met Ekaterina Svanidze, who would become his first wife.

    In December 1905, Stalin and two other were elected to represent the Caucusus at the next Bolshevik conference, which took place in Tammerfors, Finland. There, on January 7 1906, Stalin met Lenin in person for the first time. Although Stalin was impressed by Lenin's personality and intellect, he was not afraid to contradict him.[10] He objected to Lenin's proposal that they take part in elections to the recently-formed Duma; Lenin conceded to Stalin. At the conference he also met Emelian Yaroslavsky, his future propaganda chief, and Solomon Lozovsky, his future Deputy Foreign Commissar.

    After the conference, Stalin returned to Georgia, where Cossack armies were brutally working to reconquer the rebellious region for the Tsar. In Tiflis, Stalin and the Mensheviks plotted the assassination of General Fyodo Griiazanov, which was carried out on March 1 1906. Stalin continued to raise money for the Bolsheviks through extortion, bank robberies and hold-ups.

    In April 1906, Stalin attended the Fourth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. At the conference, he met Klimenti Voroshilov, his future Defence Commissar and First Marshal; Felix Dzerzhinsky, future founder of the Cheka; and Grigory Zinoviev, with whom he would share power after Lenin's death. The Congress - in which the Bolsheviks were outnumbered - voted to ban bank robberies. This upset Lenin, who needed the bank robberies to raise money.[10]

    Stalin married Ekaterina Svanidze on the night of July 28 1906. On March 31 1907, she gave birth to Stalin's first child, Yakov.

    Stalin and Lenin both attended the Fifth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in London in 1907.[13] This Congress consolidated the supremacy of Lenin's Bolshevik faction and debated strategy for communist revolution in Russia. Here, Stalin first met Leon Trotsky in person; Stalin immediately came to hate him, calling him 'pretty but useless'.[10] After the conference, Stalin began switching his focus away from Georgia, which was rife with feuding and dominated by the Mensheviks, to Russia; he began writing in Russian.

    Upon his return to Tiflis, Stalin readied himself for a major bank robbery. Through contacts in the banking business, he had learned a major shipment of money was due to be delivered in June to the Imperial Bank at the centre of town. Because his party banned bank robberies, Stalin temporarily resigned. On June 26 1907, Stalin's gang ambushed the armed convoy when it entered Yerevan Square with gunfire and homemade bombs. Around forty people were killed, but all of Stalin's gang managed to escape alive with 250,000 roubles (around US$3.4 million in today's terms) .[10] Stalin and his family left Tiflis two days later. His henchman Kamo delivered the money to Lenin in Finland, who then fled with it to Geneva. The Mensheviks, who had banned bank robberies (and didn't get to share in the loot) , were outraged and investigated the suspects. Stalin escaped expulsion, though the affair would cause him trouble for years to come.

    Stalin's family moved to Baku. Whilst Stalin continued his revolutionary activities, his wife fell ill from Baku's pollution, heat, stress and malnourishment. She eventually contracted typhus (though many historians believe it to have been tuberculosis) and died on December 5 1907. Stalin was overcome with grief and retreated into mourning for several months. The loss also hardened him; he told a friend: 'with her died my last warm feelings for humanity'.[10] He abandoned his son, Yakov, who was raised by his deceased wife's family.

    When Stalin resumed his activities, he organized more strikes and agitation, this time focusing on the Muslim Azeri and Persian workers in Baku. He helped found a Muslim Bolshevik group called Himmat, and also supported Persian Constitutional Revolution with manpower and weapons, and even visited Persia to organize partisans. Stalin ordered the murders of many Black Hundreds (right-wing supporters of the Tsar) , and conducted protection rackets and ransom kidnappings against the oil tycoons of Baku. He also operated counterfeiting operations, robberies and protection rackets. He befriend the criminal gangs, and used them to obstruct Mensheviks. Stalin's gangsterism upset the Bolshevik intelligentsia, but he was too influential and indsipensable to oppose.[10]

    The Okhrana tracked down and arrested Stalin on April 7 1908. After seven months in prison, he was sentenced to two years exile in Siberia. He arrived in the village of Solvychegodsk in early March 1909. After seven months in exile, he disguised himself as a woman and escaped on a train to St Petersburg. He returned to Baku in late July.[10]

    The Bolsheviks were on the verge of collapse due to Okhrana oppression within the Empire and infighting among the intelligentsia abroad. In desperation, he advocated a reconciliation with the Mensheviks (which Lenin opposed) . He demanded the creation of a Russian Bureau to run the Social-Democratic Party from within the Empire, to which he was appointed.

    Stalin soon realised the Bolsheviks had been heavily infiltrated by Tsarist spies. He initiated a witch-hunt for traitors, however, he failed to root out any real traitors - as revealed by Okhrana records - and his efforts caused much disarray in the Party.[10]

    On April 5 1910 Stalin was yet again arrested by the Okhrana. He was banned from the Caucasus for five years and sentenced to complete his previous exile in Solvychegodsk. He was deported back there in September. He briefly escaped in early 1911, but another exile who was supposed to pass much-needed money to him instead ran off with it (Stalin would have him shot for this in 1937) , and he was forced to return to Solvychegodsk. During his exile, he fell in love with a local girl, Maria Kuzakova, with whom he fathered a child. He was released on July 9 1911. Stalin moved to Vologda in late July, where he had been ordered to reside for two months.
    In the wake of the February Revolution of 1917 (the first phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917) , Stalin was released from exile. On March 25 he returned to Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) and, together with Lev Kamenev and Matvei Muranov, ousted Vyacheslav Molotov and Alexander Shlyapnikov as editors of Pravda, the official Bolshevik newspaper, while Lenin and much of the Bolshevik leadership were still in exile. Stalin and the new editorial board took a position in favor of supporting Alexander Kerensky's provisional government (Molotov and Shlyapnikov had wanted to overthrow it) and went to the extent of declining to publish Lenin's articles arguing for the provisional government to be overthrown. However, after Lenin prevailed at the April Party conference, Stalin and the rest of the Pravda staff came on board with Lenin's view and called for overthrowing the provisional government. At this April 1917 Party conference, Stalin was elected to the Bolshevik Central Committee with the third highest total votes in the party.

    In mid-July, armed mobs led by Bolshevik militants took to the streets of Petrograd, killing army officers and bourgeois civilians. They demanded the overthrow of the government, but neither the Bolshevik leadership nor the Petrograd Soviet were willing to take power, having been totally surprised by this unplanned revolt. After the disappointed mobs dispersed, Kerensky's government struck back at the Bolsheviks. Loyalist troops raided Pravda and surrounded the Bolshevik headquarters. Stalin helped Lenin evade capture and, to avoid a bloodbath, ordered the besieged Bolsheviks to surrender.[10]

    Convinced Lenin would be killed if caught, Stalin smuggled Lenin to Finland. In Lenin's absence, Stalin assumed leadership of the Bolsheviks. At the Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik party, held secretly in Petrograd, Stalin was chosen to be the chief editor of the Party press and a member of the Constituent Assembly, and was re-elected to the Central Committee.[10]

    In September 1917, Kerensky suspected his newly-appointed Commander-in-Chief, General Lavr Kornilov, of planning a coup and dismissed him. Believing Kerensky was being controlled by the Bolsheviks, Kornilov decided to march his army on Petrograd. In desperation, Kerensky turned to the Petrograd Soviet for help and released the Bolsheviks, who together raised a small army to defend the capital. In the end, Kerensky convinced Kornilov's army to stand down and disband without violence. However, the Bolsheviks were now free, rearmed and swelling with new recruits and under Stalin's firm control, whilst Kerensky had few troops loyal to him in the capital. Lenin decided the time for a coup had arrived. Kamenev and Zinoniev proposed a coalition with the Mensheviks, but Stalin and Trotsky backed Lenin's wish for an exclusively Bolshevik government. Lenin returned to Petrograd in October. On October 29, the Central Committee voted 10-2 in favor of an insurrection; Kamenev and Zinoniev voted in opposition.[10]

    On the morning of November 6, Kerensky's troops raided Stalin's press headquarters and smashed his printing presses. Whilst he worked to restore his presses, he missed a Central Committee meeting where assignments for the coup were being issued. Stalin instead spent the afternoon briefing Bolshevik delegates and passing communications to and from Lenin, who was in hiding.[10]

    Early the next day, Stalin went to the Smolny Institute from where he, Lenin and the rest of the Central Committee coordinated the coup. Kerensky left the capital to rally the Imperial troops at the German front. By November 8, the Winter Palace had been stormed and Kerensky's Cabinet had been arrested.

    Rise to power,1917–1927
    See also: Stalin in the Russian Civil War
    Communist Party
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    Party History

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    After seizing Petrograd, civil war broke out in Russia, pitting Lenin's Red Army against the White Army, a loose alliance of anti-Bolshevik forces. Lenin formed a five-member Politburo which included Stalin and Trotsky. During this time, only Stalin and Trotsky were allowed to see Lenin without an appointment.

    In April 1918, Lenin dispatched Stalin to the city of Tsaritsyn. Situated on the Lower Volga, it was a key supply route to the oil and grain of the North Caucasus, and it was in danger of falling to the White Army. Stalin ordered the executions of any suspected counter-revolutionaries. Here, he first met and befriended Kliment Voroshilov and Semyon Budyonny, both of whom would become two of Stalin's key supporters in the military. As the military situation grew worse, Stalin effectively took control of the Red Army. When Trotsky had formed the Red Army, he recruited many former Tsarist officers for their expertise, but Stalin distrusted them and had many of them killed, much to Trotsky's anger.[5]

    On his return to Moscow in 1919, Stalin married Nadezhda Alliluyeva, his second wife.

    In 1922, with the aid of Lenin and Kamenev, Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee. This post gave him the power to appoint his supporters to key positions within the government and the Party. It also brought the secret police under his control.

    Later, in 1924, Stalin himself created a myth around a so-called 'Party Centre' which 'directed' all practical work pertaining to the uprising, consisting of himself, Sverdlov, Dzerzhinsky, Uritsky, and Bubnov. No evidence was ever shown for the activity of this 'centre', which would, in any case, have been subordinate to the Military Revolutionary Council, headed by Trotsky.

    Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Mikhail Kalinin meeting in 1919. All three of them were 'Old Bolsheviks'; members of the Bolshevik party before the Russian Revolution of 1917.During the Russian Civil War and Polish-Soviet War Stalin was a political commissar in the Red Army at various fronts. Stalin's first government position was as People's Commissar of Nationalities Affairs (1917–1923) . In that position he traveled to Finland in late 1917, and promised the socialists there that the RSFSR would aid their revolution. However, this aid was never given and the revolution in Finland was defeated.

    He was also People's Commissar of the Workers and Peasants Inspection (1919–1922) , a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the republic (1920–1923) and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets (from 1917) .

    Stalin played a decisive role in engineering the 1921 Red Army invasion of Georgia following which he adopted particularly hardline, centralist policies towards Soviet Georgia, which included severe repression of all opposition within the local Communist party (e.g., the Georgian Affair of 1922) , not to mention any manifestations of anti-Sovietism (the August Uprising of 1924) .[14] It was in the Georgian affairs that Stalin first began to play his own hand.[15]

    Campaign against the left and right opposition
    On April 3,1922, Stalin was made general secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) , a post that he subsequently built up into the most powerful in the country. It has been claimed that he initially attempted to decline accepting the post, but was refused. This position was seen to be a minor one within the party (Stalin was sometimes referred to as 'Comrade Card-Index' by fellow party members) but, when combined with personal leadership over the Orgburo and with an ally (Kaganovich) heading the organizational Registration and Distribution Department of the Central Committee, actually had potential as a power base as it allowed Stalin to fill the party with his allies.

    After Lenin's death in January 1924, Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev together governed the party, placing themselves ideologically between Trotsky (on the left wing of the party) and Bukharin (on the right) . During this period, Stalin abandoned the traditional Bolshevik emphasis on international revolution in favor of a policy of building 'Socialism in One Country', in contrast to Trotsky's theory of Permanent Revolution.

    In the struggle for leadership after Lenin's death one thing was evident; whoever ended up ruling the party had to demonstrate fealty to the memory of Lenin. Stalin did so by organizing the late leader's funeral, after which he made a speech professing an undying loyalty to Lenin that was almost religious in nature.

    Stalin's actual relationship with Lenin, which was far more complex than Stalin's speeches alluded, has been illuminated by a number of sources that were made available after the fall of the Soviet Union, including some from Lenin's sister.[16][17]

    Joseph Stalin, cartoon by Nikolai BukharinStalin first worked to undermine Trotsky, who was sick at the time, possibly by misleading him about the date of the funeral. Consequently, Trotsky, who was Lenin’s associate throughout the early days of the Soviet regime, lost considerable political support. Stalin made great deal of the fact that Trotsky had joined the Bolsheviks just before the revolution, and publicized Trotsky's pre-revolutionary disagreements with Lenin. Another event that helped Stalin's rise was the fact that Trotsky came out against publication of Lenin's Testament in which he pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of Stalin and Trotsky and the other main players, and suggested that he be succeeded by a small group of people.

    An important feature of Stalin’s rise to power is the way that he manipulated his opponents and played them off against each other. Stalin formed a 'troika' of himself, Zinoviev, and Kamenev against Trotsky. When Trotsky had been eliminated, Stalin then joined Bukharin and Rykov against Zinoviev and Kamenev, emphasising their vote against the insurrection in 1917. Zinoviev and Kamenev then turned to Lenin's widow, Krupskaya; they formed the 'United Opposition' in July 1926.

    In 1927 during the 15th Party Congress Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the party and Kamenev lost his seat on the Central Committee. Stalin soon turned against the 'Right Opposition', represented by his erstwhile allies, Bukharin and Rykov.

    Stalin gained popular appeal from his presentation as a 'man of the people' from the poorer classes. The Russian people were tired from the world war and the civil war, and Stalin's policy of concentrating in building 'Socialism in One Country' was seen as an optimistic antidote to war.

    Stalin took great advantage of the ban on factionalism which meant that no group could openly go against the policies of the leader of the party because that meant creation of an opposition. By 1928 (the first year of the Five-Year Plans) Stalin was supreme among the leadership, and the following year Trotsky was exiled because of his opposition. Having also outmaneuvered Bukharin's Right Opposition and now advocating collectivization and industrialization, Stalin can be said to have exercised control over the party and the country.

    However, as the popularity of other leaders such as Sergei Kirov and the so-called Ryutin Affair were to demonstrate, Stalin did not achieve absolute power until the Great Purge of 1936–1938.

    Soviet secret service and intelligence
    Main article: Chronology of Soviet secret police agencies
    Stalin vastly increased the scope and power of the state's secret police and intelligence agencies. Under his guiding hand, Soviet intelligence forces began to set up intelligence networks in most of the major nations of the world, including Germany (the famous Rote Kappelle spy ring) , Great Britain, France, Japan, and the United States. Stalin saw no difference between espionage, communist political propaganda actions, and state-sanctioned violence, and he began to integrate all of these activities within the NKVD. Stalin made considerable use of the Communist International movement in order to infiltrate agents and to ensure that foreign Communist parties remained pro-Soviet and pro-Stalin.

    One of the best examples of Stalin's ability to integrate secret police and foreign espionage came in 1940, when he gave approval to the secret police to have Leon Trotsky assassinated in Mexico.[18]

    Changes to Soviet society,1927–1939

    See also: Industrialisation of the Soviet Union

    A portrait of Stalin.The Russian Civil War and wartime communism had a devastating effect on the country's economy. Industrial output in 1922 was 13% of that in 1914. A recovery followed under the New Economic Policy, which allowed a degree of market flexibility within the context of socialism.

    Under Stalin's direction, this was replaced by a system of centrally ordained 'Five-Year Plans' in the late 1920s. These called for a highly ambitious program of state-guided crash industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture.

    With seed capital unavailable because of international reaction to Communist policies, little international trade, and virtually no modern infrastructure, Stalin's government financed industrialization both by restraining consumption on the part of ordinary Soviet citizens to ensure that capital went for re-investment into industry, and by ruthless extraction of wealth from the kulaks.

    In 1933 workers' real earnings sank to about one-tenth of the 1926 level. Common and political prisoners in labor camps were forced to do unpaid labor, and communists and Komsomol members were frequently 'mobilized' for various construction projects. The Soviet Union used foreign experts, e.g. British engineer Stephen Adams, to instruct their workers and improve their manufacturing processes.

    In spite of early breakdowns and failures, the first two Five-Year Plans achieved rapid industrialization from a very low economic base. While it is generally agreed that the Soviet Union achieved significant levels of economic growth under Stalin, the precise rate of growth is disputed. It is not disputed, however, that these gains were accomplished at the cost of millions of lives.

    Official Soviet estimates stated the annual rate of growth at 13.9%; Russian and Western estimates gave lower figures of 5.8% and even 2.9%. Indeed, one estimate is that Soviet growth became temporarily much higher after Stalin's death.[19]

    According to Robert Lewis the Five-Year Plan substantially helped to modernize the previously backward Soviet economy. New products were developed, and the scale and efficiency of existing production greatly increased. Some innovations were based on indigenous technical developments, others on imported foreign technology.[20]

    Main article: Collectivization in the USSR
    Stalin's regime moved to force collectivization of agriculture. This was intended to increase agricultural output from large-scale mechanized farms, to bring the peasantry under more direct political control, and to make tax collection more efficient. Collectivization meant drastic social changes, on a scale not seen since the abolition of serfdom in 1861, and alienation from control of the land and its produce. Collectivization also meant a drastic dropp in living standards for many peasants, and it faced violent reaction among the peasantry.

    In the first years of collectivization it was estimated that industrial production would rise by 200% and agricultural production by 50%, [21] but these estimates were not met. Stalin blamed this unanticipated failure on kulaks (rich peasants) , who resisted collectivization. (However, kulaks proper made up only 4% of the peasant population; the 'kulaks' that Stalin targeted included the slightly better-off peasants who took the brunt of violence from the OGPU and the Komsomol. These peasants were about 60% of the population) . Those officially defined as 'kulaks, ' 'kulak helpers, ' and later 'ex-kulaks' were to be shot, placed into Gulag labor camps, or deported to remote areas of the country, depending on the charge.

    The two-stage progress of collectivization—interrupted for a year by Stalin's famous editorial, 'Dizzy with success' (Pravda, March 2,1930) , and 'Reply to Collective Farm Comrades' (Pravda, April 3,1930) —is a prime example of his capacity for tactical political withdrawal followed by intensification of initial strategies.

    Many historians assert the disruption caused by collectivization was largely responsible for major famines.

    The 1932–1933 famine in Ukraine and the Kuban regions has been termed the Holodomor (Ukrainian: Г о л о д о м о р ;) .

    Entering Gulag (a leaf from Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya's notebook) According to Alan Bullock, 'the total Soviet grain crop was no worse than that of 1931 … it was not a crop failure but the excessive demands of the state, ruthlessly enforced, that cost the lives of as many as five million Ukrainian peasants.' Stalin refused to release large grain reserves that could have alleviated the famine, while continuing to export grain; he was convinced that the Ukrainian peasants had hidden grain away, and strictly enforced draconian new collective-farm theft laws in response.[22][23]

    Other historians hold it was largely the insufficient harvests of 1931 and 1932 caused by a variety of natural disasters that resulted in famine, with the successful harvest of 1933 ending the famine.[24]

    Famine affected other parts of the USSR. The death toll from famine in the Soviet Union at this time is estimated at between five and ten million people. The worst crop failure of late tsarist Russia, in 1892, had caused 375,000 to 400,000 deaths.[25][dead link]

    Soviet and other historians have argued that the rapid collectivization of agriculture was necessary in order to achieve an equally rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union and ultimately win World War II. This is disputed by other historians; Alec Nove claims that the Soviet Union industrialized in spite of, rather than because of, its collectivized agriculture.

    Main articles: Science and technology in the Soviet Union, Suppressed research in the Soviet Union, Lysenkoism
    Science in the Soviet Union was under strict ideological control by Stalin and his government, along with art and literature. There was significant progress in 'ideologically safe' domains, owing to the free Soviet education system and state-financed research. However, in several cases the consequences of ideological pressure were dramatic—the most notable examples being the 'bourgeois pseudosciences' genetics and cybernetics.

    In the late 40's, some areas of physics, especially quantum mechanics but also special and general relativity, were also criticized on grounds of 'idealism'. Soviet physicists, such as K. V. Nikolskij and D. Blokhintzev, developed a version of the statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics, which was seen as more adhering to the principles of dialectical materialism.[26][27] However, although initially planned, [28] this process did not go as far as defining an 'ideologically correct' version of physics and purging those scientists who refused to conform to it, because this was recognized as potentially too harmful to the Soviet nuclear program.

    Linguistics was the only area of Soviet academic thought to which Stalin personally and directly contributed. At the beginning of Stalin's rule, the dominant figure in Soviet linguistics was Nikolai Yakovlevich Marr, who argued that language is a class construction and that language structure is determined by the economic structure of society. Stalin, who had previously written about language policy as People's Commissar for Nationalities, read a letter by Arnold Chikobava criticizing the theory. He 'summoned Chikobava to a dinner that lasted from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. taking notes diligently.'[29] In this way he grasped enough of the underlying issues to coherently oppose this simplistic Marxist formalism, ending Marr's ideological dominance over Soviet linguistics. Stalin's principal work discussing linguistics is a small essay, 'Marxism and Linguistic Questions.'[30]

    Although no great theoretical contributions or insights came from it, neither were there any apparent errors in Stalin's understanding of linguistics; his influence arguably relieved Soviet linguistics from the sort of ideologically driven theory that dominated genetics.

    Scientific research was hindered by the fact that many scientists were sent to labor camps (including Lev Landau, later a Nobel Prize winner, who spent a year in prison in 1938–1939) or executed (e.g. Lev Shubnikov, shot in 1937) . They were persecuted for their dissident views, not for their research. Nevertheless, much progress was made under Stalin in some areas of science and technology. It laid the ground for the famous achievements of Soviet science in the 1950s, such as the development of the BESM-1 computer in 1953 and the launching of Sputnik in 1957.

    Indeed, many politicians in the United States expressed a fear, after the 'Sputnik crisis, ' that their country had been eclipsed by the Soviet Union in science and in public education.

    Social services
    Main article: Soviet democracy
    Under the Soviet government people benefited from some social liberalization. Girls were given an adequate, equal education and women had equal rights in employment, [5] improving lives for women and families. Stalinist development also contributed to advances in health care, which significantly increased the lifespan and quality of life of the typical Soviet citizen.[5] Stalin's policies granted the Soviet people universal access to healthcare and education, effectively creating the first generation free from the fear of typhus, cholera, and malaria.[31] The occurrences of these diseases dropped to record low numbers, increasing life spans by decades.[31]

    Soviet women under Stalin were the first generation of women able to give birth in the safety of a hospital, with access to prenatal care.[31] Education was also an example of an increase in standard of living after economic development. The generation born during Stalin's rule was the first near-universally literate generation. Millions benefitted from mass literacy campaigns in the 1930s, and from workers training schemes.[32] Engineers were sent abroad to learn industrial technology, and hundreds of foreign engineers were brought to Russia on contract.[31] Transport links were improved and many new railways built. Workers who exceeded their quotas, Stakhanovites, received many incentives for their work; [32] they could afford to buy the goods that were mass-produced by the rapidly expanding Soviet economy.

    The increase in demand due to industrialization and the decrease in the workforce due to World War II and repressions generated a major expansion in job opportunities for the survivors, especially for women.[32]

    Main article: Socialist Realism

    Stalin propaganda poster, reading: 'Beloved Stalin—a fortune of the nation! 'Although born in Georgia, Stalin became a Russian nationalist and significantly promoted Russian history, language, and Russian national heroes, particularly during the 1930s and 1940s. He held the Russians up as the elder brothers of the non-Russian minorities.[33]

    During Stalin's reign the official and long-lived style of Socialist Realism was established for painting, sculpture, music, drama and literature. Previously fashionable 'revolutionary' expressionism, abstract art, and avant-garde experimentation were discouraged or denounced as 'formalism'. Careers were made and broken, some more than once. Famous figures were repressed, and many persecuted, tortured and executed, both 'revolutionaries' (among them Isaac Babel, Vsevolod Meyerhold) and 'non-conformists' (for example, Osip Mandelstam) .

    A minority, both representing the 'Soviet man' (e.g. Arkady Gaidar) and remnants of the older pre-revolutionary Russia (e.g. Konstantin Stanislavski) , thrived. A number of émigrés returned to the Soviet Union, among them Alexei Tolstoi in 1925, Alexander Kuprin in 1936, and Alexander Vertinsky in 1943.

    Poet Anna Akhmatova was subjected to several cycles of suppression and rehabilitation, but was never herself arrested. Her first husband, poet Nikolai Gumilev, was shot in 1921, and her son, historian Lev Gumilev, spent two decades in a gulag.

    The degree of Stalin's personal involvement in general, and in specific instances, has been the subject of discussion. His name was as constantly invoked during his reign in discussions of culture as in just about everything else; in several famous cases his opinion was final.

    Stalin's occasional beneficence showed itself in strange ways. For example, Mikhail Bulgakov was driven to poverty and despair; yet, after a personal appeal to Stalin, he was allowed to continue working. His play, The Days of the Turbines, with its sympathetic treatment of an anti-Bolshevik family caught up in the Civil War, was finally staged, apparently also on Stalin's intervention, and began a decades-long uninterrupted run at the Moscow Arts Theater.

    Some insights into Stalin's political and esthetic thinking might perhaps be gleaned by reading his favorite novel, Pharaoh, by the Polish writer Bolesł aw Prus, a historical novel on mechanisms of political power. Similarities have been pointed out between this novel and Sergei Eisenstein's film, Ivan the Terrible, produced under Stalin's tutelage.

    In architecture, a Stalinist Empire Style (basically, updated neoclassicism on a very large scale, exemplified by the Seven Sisters of Moscow) replaced the constructivism of the 1920s.

    Stalin's rule had a largely disruptive effect on the many indigenous cultures within the Soviet Union. The politics of Korenizatsiya and forced development of 'Cultures National by Form, Socialist by their substance' was arguably beneficial to later generations of indigenous cultures in allowing them to integrate more easily into Russian society.

    The attempted unification of cultures in Stalin's later period was very harmful. Political repressions and purges were even more devastating to indigenous cultures than on urban ones as the cultural elites were smaller. The traditional lives of many peoples in the Siberian, Central Asian and Caucasian provinces was upset and large populations were displaced and scattered in order to prevent nationalist uprisings.

    The Hotel Moskva (Moscow) in Moscow was said to have been built with mismatched side wings because Stalin had mistakenly signed off both of the proposals submitted, and the architects had been too afraid to clarify the matter. (The hotel had actually been built by two independent teams of architects with differing ideas.)

    A caricature of 'Stalin a great friend of religion', when churches were allowed to be opened during World War II.
    Main article: Religion in the Soviet Union
    Stalin's role in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church is complex. Continuous persecution in the 1930s resulted in its near-extinction: by 1939, active parishes numbered in the low hundreds (down from 54,000 in 1917) , many churches had been leveled, and tens of thousands of priests, monks and nuns were persecuted and killed. Over 100,000 were shot during the purges of 1937–1938.[34] During World War II, the Church was allowed a revival as a patriotic organization, after the NKVD had recruited the new metropolitan, the first after the revolution, as a secret agent. Thousands of parishes were reactivated until a further round of suppression in Khrushchev's time.

    The Russian Orthodox Church Synod's recognition of the Soviet government and of Stalin personally led to a schism with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. An Act of Canonical Communion was signed on May 17,2007, followed immediately by a full restoration of communion with the Moscow Patriarchate; there remain some issues not fully healed to the present day.

    Just days before Stalin's death, certain religious sects were outlawed and persecuted.

    Many religions popular in the ethnic regions of the Soviet Union including the Roman Catholic Church, Uniats, Baptists, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc. underwent ordeals similar to the Orthodox churches in other parts: thousands of monks were persecuted, and hundreds of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, sacred monuments, monasteries and other religious buildings were razed.

    Purges and deportations

    The purges
    Main articles: Great Purge, Stalinist purges in Mongolia

    Stalin, as head of the Politburo, consolidated near-absolute power in the 1930s with a Great Purge of the party, justified as an attempt to expel 'opportunists' and 'counter-revolutionary infiltrators'. Those targeted by the purge were often expelled from the party, however more severe measures ranged from banishment to the Gulag labor camps, to execution after trials held by NKVD troikas.

    The purges commenced after the assassination of Sergei Kirov, the popular leader of the party in Leningrad. Kirov was very close to Stalin and his assassination sent chills through the Bolshevik party. Publicly Stalin merely reacted to this assassination by tightening security by seeking out alleged spies and counter-revolutionaries, but in effect he was removing those who might have threatened his leadership. This process then transformed itself into extensive purges.

    Left: Beria's January 1940 letter to Stalin, asking permission to execute 346 'enemies of the CPSU and of the Soviet authorities' who conducted 'counter-revolutionary, right-Trotskyite plotting and spying activities'
    Middle: Stalin's handwriting: 'з а ' (support) .
    Right: The Politburo's decision is signed by Secretary Stalin
    There are two different views on the background of Kirov's murder. According to the first, Stalin was not involved but, fearing that he might be next in line to be assassinated, reacted by deciding to initiate purges instead of passively wait. According to the second, Stalin saw Kirov as a dangerous potential competitor for the top spot in Soviet leadership, and ordered Kirov's killing himself.

    In the 1930s, Stalin apparently became increasingly worried about Kirov's growing popularity. At the 1934 Party Congress where the vote for the new Central Committee was held, Kirov received only three negative votes, the fewest of any candidate, while Stalin received 292 negative votes, the highest of any candidate. Kirov was a close friend with Sergo Ordzhonikidze, and together they formed a moderate bloc in the Politburo. Later in 1934, Stalin asked Kirov to work for him in Moscow. One theory suggests that Stalin did this in order to keep a closer eye on Kirov, this despite the supposed fact that Stalin entirely controlled the NKVD. Kirov refused, however, and according to the same theory he became a competitor in Stalin's eyes.

    On December 1,1934, Kirov was killed by Leonid Nikolaev (also seen spelled as Nikolayev) in the Smolny Institute Leningrad. Kirov had arrived at the Smolny to work in his office, and, apparently leaving his bodyguard downstairs, headed to the upper floors, where the officials had their rooms. Nikolayev emerged from a bathroom and followed Kirov towards his office, shooting him in the back of the neck. Officially Stalin claimed that Nikolayev was part of a larger conspiracy led by Leon Trotsky against the Soviet government. This resulted in the arrest and execution of Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev, and fourteen others in 1936. The death of Kirov ignited the great purge where supporters of Trotsky and other suspected enemies of the state were arrested. It has been speculated that Stalin was the man who ordered the murder of Kirov, and that the shooting was carried out with the help of the NKVD. However, although most historians believe that this second version of why and how Kirov was killed is more likely, it has so far not been unambiguously proven correct and it is still disputed by some.

    Several trials known as the Moscow Trials were held, but the procedures were replicated throughout the country. There were four key trials during this period: the Trial of the Sixteen (August 1936): Trial of the Seventeen (January 1937): the trial of Red Army generals, including Marshal Tukhachevsky (June 1937): and finally the Trial of the Twenty One (including Bukharin) in March 1938.

    Most notably in the case of alleged Nazi collaborator Tukhachevsky, many military leaders were convicted of treason. The large scale purging of the officers of the Red Army cost the Soviet Union dearly during the German invasion of 22 June 1941, and its aftermath.[note 3]

    The repression of so many formerly high-ranking revolutionaries and party members led Leon Trotsky to claim that a 'river of blood' separated Stalin's regime from that of Lenin. Solzhenitsyn alleges that Stalin drew inspiration from Lenin's regime with the presence of labor camps and the executions of political opponents that occurred during the Russian Civil War. Trotsky's August 1940 assassination in Mexico, where he had lived in exile since January 1937, eliminated the last of Stalin's opponents among the former Party leadership. Only three members of the 'Old Bolsheviks' (Lenin's Politburo) now remained—Stalin himself, 'the all-Union Chieftain' (в с е с о ю з н ы й с т а р о с т а ;) Mikhail Kalinin, and Chairman of Sovnarkom Vyacheslav Molotov.

    Nikolai Yezhov, the young man walking with Stalin in the top photo from the 1930s, was shot in 1940. Following his death, Yezhov was edited out by Soviet censors.[35] Such retouching was a common occurrence during Stalin's rule.
    No segment of society was left untouched during the purges. Article 58 of the legal code, listing prohibited 'anti-Soviet activities', was applied in the broadest manner. Initially, the execution lists for the enemies of the people were confirmed by the Politburo.

    Over time the procedure was greatly simplified and delegated down the line of command. People would inform on others arbitrarily, to attempt to redeem themselves, or to gain small retributions. The flimsiest pretexts were often enough to brand someone an 'enemy of the people, ' starting the cycle of public persecution and abuse, often proceeding to interrogation, torture and deportation, if not death. Nadezhda Mandelstam, the widow of the poet Osip Mandelstam and one of the key memoirists of the purges, recalls being shouted at by Akhmatova: 'Don't you understand? They are arresting people for nothing now? ' The Russian word troika gained a new meaning: a quick, simplified trial by a committee of three subordinated to NKVD.

    Towards the end of the purge, the Politburo relieved NKVD head Nikolai Yezhov, from his position for overzealousness. He was subsequently executed. Some historians such as Amy Knight and Robert Conquest postulate that Stalin had Yezhov and his predecessor, Genrikh Yagoda, removed in order to deflect blame from himself.

    In parallel with the purges, efforts were made to rewrite the history in Soviet textbooks and other propaganda materials. Notable people executed by NKVD were removed from the texts and photographs as though they never existed. Gradually, the history of revolution was transformed to a story about just two key characters: Lenin and Stalin.

    In light of revelations from the Soviet archives, historians now estimate that nearly 700,000 people were executed in the course of the terror, [36] with the great mass of victims being ordinary peasants and workers.[37]

    In addition, Stalin dispatched a contingent of NKVD operatives to Mongolia, had a Mongolian version of the troika established and unleashed a bloody purge in which tens of thousands were executed as 'Japanese Spies.' Mongolian ruler Khorloogiin Choibalsan closely followed Stalin's lead.[38]

    It is worth noting that 2007 tours of Stalin's Museum in Gori, Georgia reference the purges only in passing. 'Sure, during the process of collectivization, some mistakes were made' is the official line at the museum. No other references to mortalities are made during the tour, and when asked about actual fatalities, the estimate of 25,000 is given.

    Ukrainian famine
    Main article: Holodomor
    The Holodomor famine is sometimes referred to as the Ukrainian Genocide, implying that the Holodomor was engineered by the Soviet government, specifically targeting the Ukrainian people to destroy the Ukrainian nation as a political factor and social entity.[39][40][dead link][41][42][43] While historians continue to disagree whether the policies that led to Holodomor fall under the legal definition of genocide, twenty six countries have officially recognized the Holodomor as such. On 28 November 2006 the Ukrainian Parliament approved a bill, according to which the Soviet-era forced famine was an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.[44]

    Main article: Population transfer in the Soviet Union

    Meeting in a prison cellShortly before, during and immediately after World War II, Stalin conducted a series of deportations on a huge scale which profoundly affected the ethnic map of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that between 1941 and 1949 nearly 3.3 million[45] were deported to Siberia and the Central Asian republics. Separatism, resistance to Soviet rule and collaboration with the invading Germans were cited as the official reasons for the deportations, rightly or wrongly. Historian Allan Bullock explains:

    Many no doubt had collaborated with the occupying forces … but many had done so not out of disloyalty but from the instinct to survive when abandoned to their fate by the retreating Soviet armies. The individual circumstances were of no interest to Stalin … After the brief Nazi occupation of the Caucasus was over … the entire population of five of the small highland peoples of the North Caucasus, as well as the Crimean Tatars — more than a million souls — (were deported) without notice or any opportunity to take their possessions. There were certainly collaborators among these peoples, but most of those had fled with the Germans. The majority of those left were old folk, women, and children; their men were away fighting at the front, where the Chechens and Ingushes alone produced thirty-six Heroes of the Soviet Union.[46]

    During Stalin's rule the following ethnic groups were deported completely or partially: Ukrainians, Poles, Koreans, Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachays, Meskhetian Turks, Finns, Bulgarians, Greeks, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, and Jews. Large numbers of Kulaks, regardless of their nationality, were resettled to Siberia and Central Asia. Deportations took place in appalling conditions, often by cattle truck, and hundreds of thousands of deportees died en route.[47] Those who survived were forced to work without pay in the labour camps. Many of the deportees died of hunger or other conditions.

    In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninist principles, and reversed most of them, although it was not until as late as 1991 that the Tatars, Meskhs and Volga Germans were allowed to return en masse to their homelands. The deportations had a profound effect on the peoples of the Soviet Union. The memory of the deportations played a major part in the separatist movements in the Baltic States, Tatarstan and Chechnya, even today.

    Number of victims
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    Early researchers attempting to tally the number of people killed under Stalin's regime were forced to rely largely upon anecdotal evidence. Their estimates ranged from a low of 3 million to as high as 60 million.[48][49] After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, evidence from the Soviet archives became available. The archives record that about 800,000 prisoners were executed (for either political or criminal offences) under Stalin, while about 1.7 million died in the GULAG and some 389,000 perished during kulak forced resettlement — a total of about 3 million victims.

    Debate continues, however, [50] since some historians believe the archival figures to be unreliable.[51][52] For example, some argue that the many suspects tortured to death while in 'investigative custody' were likely not counted amongst the executed.[53][5] Also, there are certain categories of victim which it is generally agreed were carelessly recorded by the Soviets — such as the victims of ethnic deportations, or of German population transfer in the aftermath of WWII.

    Thus while some archival researchers have estimated the number of victims of Stalin's repressions to be no more than about 4 million in total, others believe the number to be considerably higher.[54] Russian writer Vadim Erlikman, for example, makes the following estimates: executions,1.5 million; gulags,5 million; deportations,1.7 million (out of 7.5 million deported): and POWs and German civilians,1 million — a total of about 9 million victims of repression.[55]

    Some historians have also included the 6 to 8 million victims of the 1932–1933 famine as victims of repression.[23][56][57] This categorization is controversial however, as historians differ as to whether the famine was a deliberate part of the campaign of repression against kulaks or simply an unintended consequence of the struggle over forced collectivization. (See also: Droughts and famines in Russia and the USSR) .

    Regardless, it appears that a minimum of around 10 million surplus deaths (4 million by repression and 6 million from famine) are attributable to the regime, with a number of recent books suggesting a likely total of around 20 million.[58][59][60] Adding 6–8 million famine victims to Erlikman's estimates above, for example, would yield a total of between 15 and 17 million victims. Pioneering researcher Robert Conquest, meanwhile, has revised his original estimate of up to 30 million victims down to 20 million.[61] Others, however, continue to maintain that their earlier much higher estimates are correct.[62]

    World War II,1939–1945

    Molotov and Stalin,1944.After the failure of Soviet and Franco-British talks on a mutual defense pact in Moscow, Stalin began to negotiate a non-aggression pact with Hitler's Nazi Germany. There is a version that in his speech on August 19,1939, Stalin prepared his comrades for the great turn in Soviet policy, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany. According to a controversial Russian author living in the UK, Viktor Suvorov, Stalin expressed in the speech an expectation that the war would be the best opportunity to weaken both the Western nations and Nazi Germany, and make Germany suitable for 'Sovietization'. Whether this speech was ever delivered to the public and what its content was is still debated.

    Officially a non-aggression treaty only, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact had a secret annex according to which Central Europe was divided into the two powers' respective spheres of influence. The USSR was promised an eastern part of Poland, primarily populated with Ukrainians and Belarusians in case of its dissolution, as long as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland were recognized as parts of the Soviet sphere of influence. Another clause of the treaty was that Bessarabia, then part of Romania, was to be joined to the Moldovan ASSR, and become the Moldovan SSR under control of Moscow.

    On September 1,1939, the German invasion of Poland started World War II, and on September 17 the Red Army invaded eastern Poland and occupied the territory assigned to it by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

    Stalin (in background to the right) looks on as Molotov signs the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, August 24,1939.In November 1939, Stalin sent troops over the Finnish border, provoking a war of aggression, and probably intended to annex Finland into the Soviet Union, as he had already done in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. But the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland proved to be far more difficult than Stalin and the Red Army were prepared for, and the Soviets sustained surprisingly high casualties. By some estimates, the Soviet Union lost as many as 391,800 lives in this four-month war against Finland alone, or more than the United States suffered in all of World War II against Germany and Japan (1941–1945) . The Soviets finally agreed on an interim peace in March,1940, but only succeeded in annexing the eastern region of Karelia (10% of Finnish territory) , a classic example of a Pyrrhic victory. Finland remains an independent country to the present day, but the Red Armies' serious problems had been revealed to the rest of the world, including Germany.

    On March 5,1940, the Soviet leadership approved an order of execution for more than 25,700 Polish 'nationalist, educators and counterrevolutionary' activists in the parts of the Ukraine and Belarus republics that had been annexed from Poland. This event has become known as the Katyn Massacre.[63]

    In June 1941, Hitler broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, thus beginning the Great Patriotic War. Although expecting war with Germany, Stalin may not have expected an invasion to come so soon—and the Soviet Union was relatively unprepared for this invasion. An alternative theory suggested by Viktor Suvorov claims that Stalin had made aggressive preparations from the late 1930s on and was about to invade Germany in summer 1941. Thus, he believes Hitler only managed to forestall Stalin and the German invasion was in essence a pre-emptive strike. This theory was supported by Igor Bunich, Mikhail Meltyukhov (see Stalin's Missed Chance) and Edvard Radzinsky (see Stalin: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives) . However, most western historians reject this thesis.

    In the diary of General Fedor von Boch, it is also mentioned that the Abwehr fully expected a Soviet attack against German forces in Poland no later than 1942. Such speculations are difficult to substantiate, however, as information on the Soviet Army from 1939 to 1941 remains classified, but it is known that the Soviets had received some warnings of the German invasion through their foreign intelligence agents, such as Richard Sorge.

    The Big Three: Stalin, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference, November 1943.Even though Stalin received intelligence warnings of a German attack, [64] he sought to avoid any obvious defensive preparation which might further provoke the Germans, in the hope of buying time to modernize and strengthen his military forces. In the initial hours after the German attack commenced, Stalin hesitated, wanting to ensure that the German attack was sanctioned by Hitler, rather than the unauthorized action of a rogue general.[5]

    The Germans initially made huge advances, capturing and killing millions of Soviet troops. The Soviet Red Army put up fierce resistance during the war's early stages. Even so, they were plagued by an ineffective defense doctrine against the well-trained and experienced German forces, despite quite modern equipment, such as first heavy tank in the world, the KV-1.

    Stalin feared that Hitler would use disgruntled Soviet citizens to fight his regime, particularly people imprisoned in the Gulags. He thus ordered the NKVD to take care of the situation. They responded by murdering around one hundred thousand political prisoners throughout the western parts of the Soviet Union, with methods that included bayoneting people to death and tossing grenades into crowded cells.[65] Many others were simply deported east.[66][67]

    Hitler's experts had expected eight weeks of war, and early indications appeared to support their predictions. However, the invading German forces were eventually driven back in December 1941 near Moscow.

    Stalin met in several conferences with Churchill and/or Roosevelt in Moscow, Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam to plan military strategy (Truman taking the place of the deceased Roosevelt) .

    The Big Three: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference, February 1945.In these conferences, his first appearances on the world stage, Stalin proved to be a formidable negotiator. Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary noted:

    'Marshal Stalin as a negotiator was the toughest proposition of all. Indeed, after something like thirty years' experience of international conferences of one kind and another, if I had to pick a team for going into a conference room, Stalin would be my first choice. Of course the man was ruthless and of course he knew his purpose. He never wasted a word. He never stormed, he was seldom even irritated.'[68]

    His shortcomings as strategist are frequently noted regarding massive Soviet loss of life and early Soviet defeats. An example of it is the summer offensive of 1942, which led to even more losses by the Red Army and recapture of initiative by the Germans. Stalin eventually recognized his lack of know-how and relied on his professional generals to conduct the war.

    Yet Stalin did rapidly move Soviet industrial production east of the Volga River, far from Luftwaffe-reach, to sustain the Red Army's war machine with astonishing success. Additionally, Stalin was well aware that other European armies had utterly disintegrated when faced with Nazi military efficacy and responded effectively by subjecting his army to galvanizing terror and unrevolutionary, nationalist appeals to patriotism. He also appealed to the Russian Orthodox church and images of national Russian heroes. On November 6,1941, Stalin addressed the whole nation of the Soviet Union for the second time (the first time was earlier that year on July 2) .

    Time magazine (1943-01-04) . Time had previously named Stalin Man of the Year for the year 1939.According to Stalin's Order No.227 of July 27,1942, any commander or commissar of a regiment, battalion or army, who allowed retreat without permission from above was subject to military tribunal. The Soviet soldiers who surrendered were declared traitors; however most of those who survived the brutality of German captivity were mobilized again as they were freed. Between 5% and 10% of them were sent to Gulag (As 'traitors of Homeland'. Soviet Criminal Code, §58, clause 1B: criminal conviction — 10 or later 25 years of labor camp plus 5 years without 'citizen rights') .

    In the war's opening stages, the retreating Red Army also sought to deny resources to the enemy through a scorched earth policy of destroying the infrastructure and food supplies of areas before the Germans could seize them. This, along with abuse by German troops, caused starvation and suffering among the civilian population that were left behind.

    According to recent figures, of an estimated four million POWs taken by the Russians, including Germans, Japanese, Hungarians, Romanians and others, some 580,000 never returned, presumably victims of privation or the Gulags, compared with 3.5 million Soviet POW that died in German camps out of the 5.6 million taken.[69]

    Returning Soviet soldiers who had surrendered were viewed with suspicion and some were killed. According to historian Alan Bullock:

    The huge number of Russian troops taken prisoner in the first eighteen months of the war convinced Stalin that many of them must have been traitors who had deserted at the first opportunity. Any soldier who had been a prisoner was henceforth suspect … All such, whether generals, officers, or ordinary soldiers, were sent to special concentration camps where the NKVD investigated them … 20% were sentenced to death or twenty-five years in camps; only 15 to 20% were allowed to return to their homes. The remainder were condemned to shorter sentences (five to ten years) , to exile in Siberia, and forced labor — or were killed or died on the way home.[70]

    Post-war era,1945–1953

    Stalin and Zhukov on the tribune of Lenin's MausoleumDomestically, Stalin was seen as a great wartime leader who had led the Soviets to victory against the Nazis. His early cooperation with Hitler was forgotten. That cooperation included helping the German Army violate the Treaty of Versailles limitations, with training in the Soviet Union, the notorious Molotov-von Ribbentrop treaty which partitioned Poland giving the Soviet Union what is now Belarus and granted the Soviet Union a free hand in Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, and Soviet trade with Hitler to counteract the expected French and British trade blockades.

    By the end of the 1940s, Russian patriotism increased due to successful propaganda efforts. For instance, some inventions and scientific discoveries were claimed by Russian propaganda. Examples include the boiler, reclaimed by father and son Cherepanovs; the electric bulb, by Yablochkov and Lodygin; the radio, by Popov; and the airplane, by Mozhaysky. Stalin's internal repressive policies continued (including in newly acquired territories) , but never reached the extremes of the 1930s, in part because the smarter party functionaries had learned caution.

    Internationally, Stalin viewed Soviet consolidation of power as a necessary step to protect the USSR by surrounding it with countries with friendly governments like the variety seen in Finland, to act as a cordon sanitaire (buffer) against possible invaders, while the 'West' sought a similar buffer against communist expansion. These competing policies led to an admirable stability, where successful Soviet aggression would depend on enthusiastic cooperation by the satellite nations.

    He had hoped that the American withdrawal and demobilization would lead to increased communist influence, especially in Europe. Each side might view the other's defensive actions as destabilizing provocations and these security dilemmas frayed relations between the Soviet Union and its former World War II western allies and led to a prolonged period of tension and distrust between East and West known as the Cold War (see also Iron curtain) .

    The Red Army ended World War II occupying much of the territory that had been formerly held by the Axis countries:

    In Asia, the Red Army had overrun Manchuria in the last month of the war and then also occupied Korea above the 38th parallel north. Mao Zedong's Communist Party of China, though receptive to minimal Soviet support, defeated the pro-Western and heavily American-assisted Chinese Nationalist Party in the Chinese Civil War.

    Stalin and Mao Zedong on Chinese Postage stampThe Communists controlled mainland China while the Nationalists held a rump state on the island of Formosa (now Taiwan) . The Soviet Union soon after recognized Mao's People's Republic of China, which it regarded as a new ally. The People's Republic claimed Taiwan, though it had never held authority there.

    Diplomatic relations reached a high point with the signing of the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance. Both countries provided military support to a new friendly state in North Korea. After various border conflicts, war broke out with U.S.-allied South Korea in 1950, starting the Korean War.

    In Europe, there were Soviet occupation zones in Germany and Austria. Hungary and Poland were under practical military occupation. From 1946–1948 coalition governments comprising communists were elected in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria and homegrown communist movements rose to power in Yugoslavia and Albania.

    These nations became known as the 'Communist Bloc.' Britain and the United States supported the anti-communists in the Greek Civil War and suspected the Soviets of supporting the Greek communists although Stalin refrained from getting involved in Greece, dismissing the movement as premature. Albania remained an ally of the Soviet Union, but Yugoslavia broke with the USSR in 1948. Greece, Italy and France received enormous support from the population, which were at the very least friendly towards Moscow.

    Both Superpowers viewed Germany as key. In retaliation to the Western formation of Trizonia, Stalin determined to take action.

    Armed with intelligence from the British agent Donald Duart Maclean and other British and American espionage agents, Stalin was well aware that the United States had not proceeded with mass production of atomic weapons, indeed, had not even assembled any after the last was used at Nagasaki. Large numbers would have been needed to destroy Soviet or Communist land forces either in Europe or the Far East. He therefore ordered a blockade of West Berlin, which was under British, French, and U.S. occupation, to test the Western powers.

    The Berlin Blockade failed due to the unexpected massive aerial resupply campaign carried out by the Western powers known as the Berlin Airlift. In 1949, Stalin conceded defeat and ended the blockade. After West Germany was formed by the union of the three Western occupation zones, the Soviets declared East Germany a separate country in 1949, ruled by the communists.

    Stalin originally supported the creation of Israel in 1948. The USSR was one of the first nations to recognize the new country.[71] Golda Meir came to Moscow as the first Israeli Ambassador to the USSR that year. But he later changed his mind and came out against Israel.

    Contrary to America's policy which restrained armament (limited equipment was provided for infantry and police forces) to South Korea, Stalin also extensively armed Kim Il Sung's North Korean army and air forces with military equipment (to include T-34/85 tanks) and 'advisors' far in excess of that required for defensive purposes) in order to facilitate Kim's (a former Soviet Officer) aim to conquer the rest of the Korean peninsula. Soviet pilots flew Soviet aircraft from Chinese bases against United Nations aircraft defending South Korea. Post cold war research in Soviet Archives reveal that the Korean War was begun by Kim Il-sung with the express permission of Stalin, though this is widely disputed by North Korea.

    In Stalin's last year of life, one of his last major foreign policy initiatives was the 1952 Stalin Note for German reunification and Superpower disengagement from Central Europe, but Britain, France, and the United States viewed this with suspicion and rejected the offer.

    Main article: Stalinism
    Stalin made few contributions to Communist (or, more specifically, Marxist-Leninist) theory. The contributions he made were accepted and upheld by all Soviet political scientists during his rule. Among Stalin's contributions were his 'Marxism and the National Question', a work praised by Lenin; his 'Trotskyism or Leninism', which was a factor in the 'liquidation of Trotskyism as an ideological trend' within the CPSU(B) .

    Stalin's Collected Works (in 13 volumes) was released in 1949. A subsequent 16 volume American Edition appeared, in which one volume consisted of the book 'History of the CPSU(B) Short Course', although when released in 1938 this book was credited to a commission of the Central Committee.

    In 1933, Stalin put forward the theory of aggravation of the class struggle along with the development of socialism, arguing that the further the country would move forward, the more acute forms of struggle will be used by the doomed remnants of exploiter classes in their last desperate efforts — and that, therefore, political repression was necessary.

    In 1936, Stalin announced that the society of the Soviet Union consisted of two non-antagonistic classes: workers and kolkhoz peasantry. These corresponded to the two different forms of property over the means of production that existed in the Soviet Union: state property (for the workers) and collective property (for the peasantry) . In addition to these, Stalin distinguished the stratum of intelligentsia. The concept of 'non-antagonistic classes' was entirely new to Leninist theory.

    Stalin and his supporters have highlighted the notion that socialism can be built and consolidated by a country as underdeveloped as Russia during the 1920s. Indeed this might be the only means in which it could be built in a hostile environment.[72]


    Stalin's body lying in state in the House of Trade Unions in MoscowOn March 1,1953, after an all-night dinner in his residence in Krylatskoye some 15 km west of Moscow centre with interior minister Lavrentiy Beria and future premiers Georgy Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin did not emerge from his room, having probably suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body.

    Although his guards thought that it was odd for him not to rise at his usual time, they were under orders not to disturb him. He was discovered lying on the floor of his room only at about 10 p.m. in the evening. Lavrentiy Beria was informed and arrived a few hours afterwards, and the doctors arrived only in the early morning of March,2nd. Stalin died four days later, on March 5,1953, at the age of 74, and was embalmed on March 9. His daughter Svetlana recalls the scene as she stood by his death bed: 'He suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance. Then something incomprehensible and awesome happened. He suddenly lifted his left hand as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse upon all of us. The next moment after a final effort the spirit wrenched itself free of the flesh.' Officially, the cause of death was listed as a cerebral hemorrhage. His body was preserved in Lenin's Mausoleum until October 31,1961, when his body was removed from the Mausoleum and buried next to the Kremlin walls as part of the process of de-Stalinization.

    Stalin's Grave by the Kremlin Wall NecropolisIt has been suggested that Stalin was assassinated. The ex-Communist exile Avtorkhanov argued this point as early as 1975. The political memoirs of Vyacheslav Molotov, published in 1993, claimed that Beria had boasted to Molotov that he poisoned Stalin: 'I took him out.'

    Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs that Beria had, immediately after the stroke, gone about 'spewing hatred against [Stalin] and mocking him', and then, when Stalin showed signs of consciousness, dropped to his knees and kissed his hand. When Stalin fell unconscious again, Beria immediately stood and spat.

    In 2003, a joint group of Russian and American historians announced their view that Stalin ingested warfarin, a powerful rat poison that inhibits coagulation of the blood and so predisposes the victim to hemorrhagic stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) . Since it is flavorless, warfarin is a plausible weapon of murder. The facts surrounding Stalin's death will probably never be known with certainty.[73]

    His demise arrived at a convenient time for Beria and others, who feared being swept away in yet another purge. It is believed that Stalin felt Beria's power was too great and threatened his own.[who? ] Whether or not Beria or another usurper was directly responsible for his death, it is true that the Politburo did not summon medical attention for Stalin for more than a day after he was found.[citation needed][note 4]

    Marriages and family

    Ekaterina 'Kato' Svanidze, Stalin's first wife.Stalin met his first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze, in late 1905 when he moved into the Tiflis townhouse where she lived. They were married on the night of July 28 1906. On March 31 1907, she gave birth to Stalin's first child, Yakov. In June 1907, after robbing the bank in Tiflis to fund the Bolshevik cause, Stalin and his family fled east to Baku. Stalin was frequently absent as he conducted revolutionary work across Georgia. Meanwhile, his Ekaterina suffered under the pollution and heat of Baku, which was an oil boomtown. She contracted typhus and died on December 5 1907. Stalin was devastated by her death; fearing he was suicidal, his friends took away his pistol.

    Stalin with his children: Vasiliy and Svetlana.His son finally shot himself because of Stalin's harshness toward him, but survived. After this, Stalin said 'He can't even shoot straight'. Yakov served in the Red Army during World War II and was captured by the Germans. They offered to exchange him for Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, who had surrendered after Stalingrad, but Stalin turned the offer down, allegedly saying 'A lieutenant is not worth a general'; others credit him with saying 'I have no son, ' to this offer. Afterwards, Yakov is said to have committed suicide, running into an electric fence[74] in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was being held.[75]

    Stalin had a son, Vasiliy, and a daughter, Svetlana, with his second wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva. She died in 1932, officially of illness. She may have committed suicide by shooting herself after a quarrel with Stalin, leaving a suicide note which according to their daughter was 'partly personal, partly political'.[76] According to A&E Biography, there is also a belief among some Russians that Stalin himself murdered his wife after the quarrel, which apparently took place at a dinner in which Stalin tauntingly flicked cigarettes across the table at her. Historians also claim that her death ultimately 'severed his [Stalin's] link from reality.'[77]

    Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva.Vasiliy rose through the ranks of the Soviet air force, officially dying of alcoholism in 1962; however, this is still in question. He distinguished himself in World War II as a capable airman. Svetlana emigrated to the United States in 1967.

    In his book The Wolf of the Kremlin Stuart Kahan claimed that Stalin was secretly married to a third wife named Rosa Kaganovich, allegedly the sister of Lazar Kaganovich, a Soviet politician. However, the claim is unproven and many have disputed it, including the Kaganovich family, who deny that 'Rosa' and Stalin ever met, and even state that Kaganovich's sister wasn't named Rosa. Kahan also claimed that both Lazar and Rosa were responsible for the death of Stalin (by poisoning) , however this (as well as most of the remainder of Kahan's assertions) were dismissed as fabrication by the Statement of the Kaganovich Family.

    In March 2001 Russian Independent Television NTV discovered a previously unknown grandson living in Novokuznetsk. Yuri Davydov told NTV that his father had told him of his lineage, but, because the campaign against Stalin's cult of personality was in full swing at the time, he was told to keep quiet. The Soviet dissident writer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, had mentioned a son being born to Stalin and his common-law wife Lida in 1918, during Stalin's exile in northern Siberia.

    Religious beliefs
    Stalin's beliefs are complicated and sometimes contradictory. He received his education at the Theological Seminary at Tbilisi, where his mother sent him to become a priest, but he became a closet atheist.[78]

    Regarding one famous claim about evolution, historians doubt one later Soviet claim that he read The Origin of Species at the age of thirteen while still at Gori, and told a fellow pupil that it proved the nonexistence of God. The story fails on several obvious accounts, including Stalin's remaining religious, even pious, for some years longer.[79] In fact Professor of Religion Hector Avalos noted, 'Stalin, in fact, had a complex relationship with religious institutions in the Soviet Union.'[80]

    Historian Edvard Radzinsky used recently discovered secret archives and noted a story that changed Stalin's attitude toward religion.[81] The story in which Ilya, Metropolitan of the Lebanon Mountains, claimed to receive a sign from heaven that 'The churches and monasteries must be reopened throughout the country. Priests must be brought back from imprisonment, Leningrad must not be surrendered, but the sacred icon of Our Lady of Kazan should be carried around the city boundary, taken on to Moscow, where a service should be held, and thence to Stalingrad Tsaritsyn.'[81] Shortly thereafter, Stalin's attitude changed and 'Whatever the reason, after his mysterious retreat, he began making his peace with God. Something happened which no historian has yet written about. On his orders many priests were brought back to the camps. In Leningrad, besieged by the Germans and gradually dying of hunger, the inhabitants were astounded, and uplifted, to see wonder-working icon Our Lady of Kazan brought out into the streets and borne in procession.'[81] Radzinsky asked, 'Had he seen the light? Had fear made him run to his Father? Had the Marxist God-Man simply decided to exploit belief in God? Or was it all of these things at once? .'[81]

    During the Second World War Stalin reopened the Churches. One reason could have been to motivate the majority of the population who had Christian beliefs. The reasoning behind this is that by changing the official policy of the party and the state towards religion, the Church and its clergymen could be to his disposal in mobilizing the war effort.

    Cult of personality
    Further information: Cult of Personality

    Roses for Stalin (1949) , painting by Boris Vladimirski.Stalin created a cult of personality in the Soviet Union around both himself and Lenin. The embalming of the Soviet founder in Lenin's Mausoleum was performed over the objection of Lenin's widow, Nadezhda Krupskaya. Stalin became the focus of massive adoration and even worship.

    Numerous towns, villages and cities were renamed after the Soviet leader (see List of places named after Stalin) and the Stalin Prize and Stalin Peace Prize were named in his honor. He accepted grandiloquent titles (e.g. 'Coryphaeus of Science, ' 'Father of Nations, ' 'Brilliant Genius of Humanity, ' 'Great Architect of Communism, ' 'Gardener of Human Happiness, ' and others) , and helped rewrite Soviet history to provide himself a more significant role in the revolution. At the same time, according to Khrushchev, he insisted that he be remembered for 'the extraordinary modesty characteristic of truly great people.'

    Many statues and monuments were erected to glorify Stalin but all of them distorted Stalin's true build. Going by these monuments and statues it would be easy to assume that Stalin was a tall and well built man not unlike Tsar Alexander III. This was not the case however; photographic evidence suggests he was between 5 ft 5 in and 5 ft 6 in (165–168 cm) .[82] His physical stature was exaggerated in all portraits and statues to avoid any image of weakness that could harm his cult of personality.

    Trotsky criticized the cult of personality built around Stalin as being against the values of socialism and Bolshevism, in that it exalted the individual above the party and class and it disallowed criticism of Stalin. The personality cult reached new levels during the Great Patriotic War, with Stalin's name even being included in the new Soviet national anthem. The reference was later removed during the process of De-Stalinization. Also the soldiers of the Red Army when they charged into battle, they would not only yell out 'FOR THE MOTHERLAND', but also most, if not all would also yell out 'FOR STALIN'. Also the Iosif Stalin tank class was named after Stalin.

    Stalin became the focus of a body of literature encompassing poetry as well as music, paintings and film. Artists and writers vied with each other in fawning devotion, crediting Stalin with almost god-like qualities, and suggesting he single-handedly won the Second World War.

    It is debatable as to how much Stalin relished the cult surrounding him. The Finnish communist Tuominen records a sarcastic toast proposed by Stalin at a New Year Party in 1935:

    Comrades! I want to propose a toast to our patriarch, life and sun, liberator of nations, architect of socialism [he rattled off all the appellations applied to him in those days] — Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, and I hope this is the first and last speech made to that genius this evening.[83]

    In recent years, support of Stalin has resurged. Millions of Russians, exasperated with the downfall of the economy and political instability after the breakup of the Soviet Union, want Stalin back. A recent controversial poll revealed that over thirty-five percent of Russians would vote for Stalin if he were still alive.[84] This is seen by some as a return of Stalin's cult. In Krasnoyarsk, it has been decided to rebuild a communist-era memorial complex dedicated to Josef Stalin.[85] Also, a new statue of Stalin is to be erected in Moscow, “returning his once-ubiquitous image to the streets after an absence of four decades, a top city official said yesterday”, as reported by The Scotsman.[86]

    A survey from late 2006 revealed that 47% of Russian respondents viewed Stalin as a positive figure, and only 29% as a negative one. Some controversy also ensued when a recently approved history textbook for Russia’s schoolchildren attempted to illustrate Stalin’s purges as a necessary evil in the process of state-building.[87] In July 2008, Stalin topped at the list of most popular figures of the Russian history and culture in the nationwide television project 'Name of Russia. Historical Choice 2008' in which 178,881 out of 1,453,390 voted for him.[88]

    Policies and accomplishments

    Grutas Park is home to a monument of Stalin, originally set up in Vilnius.
    Monument to Stalin in Gori, Georgia.Under Stalin's rule, the Soviet Union was transformed from an agricultural nation into a global superpower, although at the cost of an estimated 30 million lives. The USSR's industrialization was successful in that the country was able to defend against and defeat the Nazi invasion in World War II, though at an enormous cost in human life. In 1957, four years after Stalin's death, the nation put into orbit the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1.

    Libertarian historian Robert Conquest and some other Westerners[who? ] claim that the USSR was bound for industrialization, and that its speed along this course was not necessarily improved by the Bolsheviks.[citation needed] Other historians argue that Stalin was partly responsible for the initial military disasters and enormous human casualties during WWII, because he eliminated so many experienced military officers during the purges. He especially attacked the most senior officers and had rejected intelligence warning of the German attack.[89]

    While Stalin's social and economic policies laid the foundations for the USSR's emergence as a superpower, the harshness with which he conducted Soviet affairs was subsequently repudiated by his successors in the Communist Party leadership, notably in the denunciation of Stalinism by Nikita Khrushchev in February 1956. In his 'Secret Speech', On the Personality Cult and its Consequences, delivered to a closed session of the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev denounced Stalin for his cult of personality, and his regime for 'violation of Leninist norms of legality'.

    Stalin's immediate successors preserved major elements of his rule, including the political monopoly of the Communist Party's presiding over a command economy and a security service able to suppress dissent. The large-scale purges of Stalin's era were never repeated, but political repression continued, albeit on a lesser scale.

    Origin of name, nicknames and pseudonyms
    His first name is also transliterated as Iosif. His original surname, ჯ უ ღ ა შ ვ ი ლ ი , is also transliterated as Jugashvili or Jughashvili. The Russian transliteration is Д ж у г а ш в и л и , which is in turn transliterated into English as Dzhugashvili and Djugashvili; -შ ვ ი ლ ი (-shvili) is a Georgian suffix meaning 'child' or 'son'.

    There are several etymologies of the ჯ უ ღ ა (jugha) root. In one version, it is the Ossetian for 'rubbish'; the surname Jugayev is common among Ossetians, and before the revolution the names in South Ossetia were traditionally written with the Georgian suffix, especially among Christianized Ossetians. In a second version, the name derives from the village of Jugaani in Kakhetia, eastern Georgia.

    An article in the newspaper Pravda in 1988 claimed the word derives from the Old Georgian for 'steel' which might be the reason for his adoption of the name Stalin. С т а л и н (Stalin) is derived from combining the Russian с т а л ь (stal) , 'steel', with the possessive suffix -и н (-in) , a formula used by many other Bolsheviks, including Lenin.

    Like other Bolsheviks, he became commonly known by one of his revolutionary noms de guerre, of which Stalin was only the most prominent. During his education in Tiflis, he picked up the nickname Koba, a Robin Hood-like brigand and protagonist from the 1883 novel The Patricide by Alexander Kazbegi, this became his favorite nickname throughout his revolutionary life.[90] During conversations, Vladimir Lenin called Stalin 'Koba'. Among his friends he was sometimes known by his childhood nickname Soso or Sosso.

    Stalin is also reported to have used at least a dozen other names for the purpose of secret communications.[citation needed] Other nicknames, pseudonyms and aliases were Josef Besoshvili; Besov; Ivanov; A. Ivanovich; Soselo or Ryaboi Soselo (a youthful nickname) , David K. Kato; G. Nizharadze or G. Nijeradze; Chizhikov or Chizhnikov; Oranness; Vartanovich; Totomyans; Vassilyi and J.V. Stalin. Directly following World War II, as the Soviets were negotiating with the Allies, Stalin often sent directions to Molotov as Druzhkov.

    Stalin was nicknamed 'Uncle Joe' by the Western media.[91]

    Hypotheses, rumors, and misconceptions about Stalin
    For a long time the date of birth of Stalin was falsified.[1]

    There are a number of hypotheses and popular rumors about the 'real' father of Stalin; [citation needed] also see 'Death' section for hypotheses about the causes of Stalin's death.

    Suspected Tsarist connections
    Stalin has been suspected in the past and in the present of being a Tsarist double-agent during his revolutionary years. Some of this suspicion stems from his ability to evade Tsarists efforts to capture him. His 1909 efforts to root out traitors caused much strife within the party; some accused him of doing this deliberately on the orders of the Okhrana. The Menshevik Razhden Arsenidze said that Stalin was betraying comrades he didn't like to the Okhrana, but there is no proof of this. His ability to anticipate Okhrana actions may have come from moles within the organization. Another historian, Simon Sebag Montefiore, found that in all surviving Okhrana records Stalin is described as a revolutionary and never a spy.[10] In the 1956, the magazine Life published a letter by Colonel Ermin, head of the Tiflis Okhrana, that said Stalin was an agent, but it has since been shown to be a forgery.

    In his 1967 biography of Stalin, Edward Ellis Smith argued that Stalin was an Okhrana agent by citing his suspicious ability to escape from Okhrana dragnets, travel unimpeded, and rabble-rouse full time with no apparent source of income. One such example was the raid that occurred on the night of April 3 1901, when most everyone of importance in the Socialist-Democratic movement in Tiflis was arrested, except for Stalin, who was apparently 'enjoying the balmy spring air, and in one of his to-hell-with-the-revolution moods, [which] is too impossible for serious consideration.'[92]

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  • Codie Shafer (7/21/2008 9:36:00 AM)

    History of the Night

    Throughout the course of th generations
    men constructed the night.
    At first she was blindness;
    thorns raking bare feet,
    fear of wolves.
    We shall never know who forged the word
    for the interval of shadow
    dividing the two twilights;
    we shall never know in what age it came to mean
    the starry hours.
    Others created the myth.
    They made her the mother of the unruffled Fates
    that spin our destiny,
    thev sacrificed black ewes to her, and the cock
    who crows his own death.
    The Chaldeans assigned to her twelve houses;
    to Zeno, infinite words.
    She took shape from Latin hexameters
    and the terror of Pascal.
    Luis de Leon saw in her the homeland
    of his stricken soul.
    Now we feel her to be inexhuastible
    like an ancient wine
    and no one can gaze on her without vertigo
    and time has charged her with eternity.

    And to think that she wouldn't exist
    except for those fragile instruments, the eyes.

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  • Codie Shafer (7/21/2008 9:35:00 AM)

    im just ognna flood this with comments

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  • Codie Shafer (7/21/2008 9:35:00 AM)


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  • gone gone (4/14/2007 10:32:00 PM)

    True courage and loyalty......an oath to lfe and justice.....beautifully said

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  • Lamont Palmer (5/13/2005 2:03:00 PM)

    This is a great poem, and sums up beautifully man's spirit in the face of his mortality!

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