War Lasted 1418 Days
The Great Patriotic War began on June 22, 1941. It lasted 3 years 10 months and 18 days or 1418 days and nights. And the longest battle of the Great Patriotic War – the battle for Leningrad – lasted 1126 days. Of these, 871 days were spent on the blockade of the city.
More than 7 million people participated in the battle for Moscow
A record number of people – 7 million participated in the Battle of Moscow (September 30, 1941 – April 20, 1942). For comparison: 4 million people participated in the Berlin operation, which is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest battle of the war.
26.6 million people lost their lives
After the war, Stalin stated that the “official” number of those killed during the hostilities is 7 million people. Real estimates of the deceased population began only in the late 1980s, but so far the question of the actual number of deceased remains open. According to modern data from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, during the Great Patriotic War, the total human losses of the USSR amounted to about 26.6 million people, of which about 12 million were military personnel. Moreover, in unofficial sources, the death toll during the war reaches 43 million people
Over 2.5 trillion rubles of material loss
According to official statistics, the material damage to the USSR from the war amounted to more than 2.5 trillion rubles in pre-war prices. This is about 30% of the national wealth of the USSR, and in the regions subjected to occupation, about 65%. During the years of World War II, 1710 cities and about 70 thousand villages were completely destroyed.
More than 1 million people received the medal “For the capture of Berlin”
Among them are Marshals of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov and Ivan Konev. Most of the awards were presented in the first three years after the end of the war, and a soldier could get it both in his military unit and after demobilization at the military commissariat at the place of residence.
57 600 German prisoners of war marched in Moscow
On July 17, 1944, about 57 thousand German soldiers and officers marched on the streets of Moscow. The march of German prisoners was called the “Parade of the vanquished.” The prisoners were divided into ranks: at the head of the column were two dozen of Wehrmacht generals, followed by officers from the colonel and below, then non-commissioned officers and, finally, ordinary soldiers.
Victory Day was not celebrated for 17 years
The first celebration of Victory Day, held May 9, 1945, was large-scale, but not comparable with the current. The Victory Parade, which has become traditional, was held on Red Square only on June 24, 1945. Until 1947, May 9 was a day off and was accompanied by concerts and salutes. However, after this celebration, Victory Day was canceled, and for as many as 17 years this day became an ordinary working day.
10 years of “war” after the Victory
For a decade after the Victory, the Soviet Union was formally at state of war with Germany. The fact is that, having accepted the surrender of the German command, the USSR decided not to sign peace with the enemy and thus remained at war with Germany. Only on January 25, 1955 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued a decree “On ending the state of war between the Soviet Union and Germany.”
250 thousand German marks for Levitan
The famous announcer Yuri Levitan became one of the symbols of the Great Patriotic War. His voice raised the morale of the Soviet people, which categorically did not suit the Nazi elite, and so much so that a reward of 250 thousand marks was promised for the announcer’s head (according to other sources, 100 thousand marks). The Soviet authorities actively guarded Levitan.
22 tanks in 30 minutes
The unique record of the Great Patriotic War was set by the crew of Senior Lieutenant Zinovy Kolobanov on the KV tank from the 1st Division. The division of Lieutenant Kolobanov, consisting of 5 tanks, was supposed to block three roads to Leningrad, which came from Luga, Volosovo and Kingisepp. Already 30 minutes after the battle started, the Germans lost 43 tanks, and 22 of them were destroyed personally by Kolobanov’s tank. This was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the most successful and effective tank battle in the history of wars.
80 thousand officers were women
The role of women on the battlefield in World War II was colossal. During the war years, between 600,000 to 1 million women fought with weapons in their hands at the front, 80,000 of them were officers. From female volunteers aviation regiments, rifle and reconnaissance brigades, and a female divisions of sailors were formed. During the war, 87 women received the Hero of the Soviet Union award.
Children also fought for their homeland. For military merits, tens of thousands of children were awarded orders and medals, of which five received the Hero of the Soviet Union award: 14-year-old Lenya Golikov and Sasha Chekalin, as well as 15-year-old Marat Kazei, Valya Kotik and Zina Portnova. Since the children were mainly reconnaissance partisans, their fate was tragic: many young participants in the war died in battle or were executed by the Germans, and therefore were awarded posthumously.
60 thousand dogs served in the army
Animals also played an important role in the Great Patriotic War. Over the course of the war, more than 60 thousand dogs served on different fronts. They destroyed enemy trains, blew up more than 300 enemy armored vehicles and brought more than 200 reports. Sapper dogs helped to clear more than 300 mines settlements. In addition, the dogs helped to quickly deliver the wounded from the battlefield to the hospital. The dog named Dzhulbars became the only dog awarded the military award: medals “For military merits” (within the period of military service he found 7468 mines and more than 150 shells). The wounded dog even participated in the Victory Parade in Moscow on June 24, 1945.
350 military camels
The 28-reserve Soviet army, formed in Astrakhan during the battles near Stalingrad, fought with with camels, which helped to transport guns and food. Soviet soldiers had to catch and tame wild animals because of an acute shortage of automotive equipment and horses. The most famous camels, Mishka and Mashka, came with soldiers to Berlin and after the Victory remained there at the local zoo.
4 railway carriage with cats were brought to Leningrad from Yaroslavl
Cats during the war lived in trenches to catch rats and mice. But they played a special role in the history of the besieged Leningrad. In 1943, after breaking of the blockade, along with food and necessary things, 4 wagons of tabby cats were brought to the city from Yaroslavl. After the hungry years, Leningrad was flooded with rats, which people could not cope with, but it turned out to be possible with cats. In 1945, about 5 thousand cats were brought to the city
Translated from Mail.ru
Senior Researcher (PhD)
International Relations and Political Science