A principal figure during the Bolshevik Revolution and the establishment of communist rule in the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin served as general secretary of the central committee of the communist party for more than 30 years. He led the Soviet Union during World War II as the Red Army defended the country against the invasion by German forces that began on June 22, 1941. After initial setbacks, the Soviets assumed the offensive and drove the Germans westward hundreds of miles, capturing Berlin in 1945. Stalin ruled with an iron fist and was responsible for the deaths of millions. His ruthlessness was particularly evident during a bloody purge of the Soviet military leadership in the 1930s. He expanded communist rule into Eastern Europe following World War II and opposed his former Allies during the early days of the Cold War. He died of a stroke in 1953 at the age of 74.
Vyacheslav Molotov a founding member of Soviet Communism, confronted anti-Soviet figures from Hitler to Truman, and outlived his Kremlin colleagues. More »
The Soviet Union recognized the city of Tula for its role in defeating the Nazis during World War II. More »
That Winston Churchill tried to entice Turkey into the war is common knowledge. His secret motivation for doing so is much less well known. More »
A top secret meeting at the Old Germany Reich Chancellery in Berlin led directly to World War II, or did it? More »
The Soviet PTRD and PTRS antitank rifles were used by the Soviet Army throughout World War II. More »
The Red Army’s T-34 battle tank helped upset Hitler’s designs for conquest on the Eastern Front. More »
Following the fall of Poland, an amazed world watched tiny Finland, a nation of less than four million people, fight off 26 Russian divisions. More »
While the victorious Allies moved east from Normandy in the summer of 1944, they debated whether to divert forces to liberate Paris or drive straight for the German border. Adolf Hitler vowed that if he could not have the City of Light, no one could. More »
The Industrial Age combined with American ingenuity to form special units during the Civil War. Horse artillery, sharpshooters, sappers, and miners were used for specialized duties during the war.
Led by the impetuous General Nathaniel Lyon, Union forces pursued retreating Confederates across southwestern Missouri in the summer of 1861. At Wilson’s Creek, Lyon caught up with the enemy on aptly named Bloody Hill.