Eastern Front

The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, Norway and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Central and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It was known by many different names depending on the nation, notably the Great Patriotic War (Russian: Великая Отечественная Война) in the former Soviet Union, while known in Germany as the Eastern Front (German: die Ostfront), the Eastern Campaign (German: der Ostfeldzug) or the Russian Campaign (German: der Rußlandfeldzug).

Soviet Il-2 ground attack aircraft in Berlin sky; German Tiger I tanks during the Battle of Kursk; German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Front, winter 1943–1944; Killings of Jews by German Einsatzgruppen in Ukraine; Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender; Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad.
Soviet Il-2 ground attack aircraft in Berlin sky; German Tiger I tanks during the Battle of Kursk; German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Front, winter 1943–1944; Killings of Jews by German Einsatzgruppen in Ukraine; Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender; Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad.

The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life variously due to combat, starvation, exposure, disease, and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilians, died on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for Germany’s defeat. It resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower.

1941 German propaganda poster for the Russian Front.
1941 German propaganda poster for the Russian Front.

The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom and the United States both provided substantial material aid to the Soviet Union, though they failed to meet the specific quotas that had been agreed on. The Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. In addition, the joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are also considered part of the Eastern Front.

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German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History