Eastern Front Battlefield: Relics from Russian Bunkers, Lakes & Forests

The Eastern Front war, known as the “Great Patriotic War” in Russia, was the site of the biggest military conflict in history. Overthe course of four years, more than 400 Red Army and German units engaged in a series of actions over a 1,000-mile front. During those years of savagery, 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians, as well as almost 4 million German forces, died along the Eastern Front.There was total and ferocious warfare, including the largest armored clash in history (Battle of Kursk) and the most expensive siege on a modern city (nearly 900 days in Leningrad), as well as scorched earth policies, the utter destruction of thousands of villages, mass deportations, mass executions, and countless atrocities committed by both sides.

The Eastern Front was a massive battleground, which explains the large number of antiquities lost and buried there. The photographs below are only a ‘few’ from The Ghosts of the Eastern Front’s Facebook page. The digging of battlefields is always a source of contention, and it will be so indefinitely. Collectors can purchase artifacts through their website, www.kurlandmilitaria.com.

Between June 1941 and May 1945, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union engaged in a cataclysmic struggle on World War II’s Eastern Front.
The resulting war was one of the largest and deadliest military duels in all of human history, and ultimately turned the tables on the Nazi conquest of Europe.

It was also a struggle distinguished by strategic mistakes, mass crimes, and unprecedented human misery.

Despite their ideological differences, both Germany and the Soviet Union despised the outcome of World War I.

The Soviet Union had lost significant territory in eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, in which it yielded to German demands and handed control of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Finland to the “Central Powers,” among others.

When Germany surrendered to the Allies and these regions were liberated under the conditions of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, Russia was in a state of civil conflict, and the Allies refused to recognize the Bolshevik government.

Because the Soviet Union would not be created for another four years, there was no Russian representation.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, made in August 1939, was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that included a secret protocol aimed at restoring pre-World War I Central Europe by splitting it between Germany and the Soviet Union.

Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania would be recaptured by the Soviet Union, but Poland and Romania would be split.

On 11 August 1939, Adolf Hitler stated his plan to attack the Soviet Union to Carl Jacob Burckhardt, League of Nations Commissioner, saying, “Everything I undertake is geared towards the Russians.”

If the West is too foolish and blind to see this, I will be forced to reach an arrangement with the Russians, destroy the West, and then turn on the Soviet Union with all my troops.

I need Ukraine so that they don’t starve us out as they did during the last conflict.

Germany’s invasion of Russia was the largest surprise attack in military history, but most experts believe it should not have come as a surprise at all.

While the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had signed a famous non-aggression pact in August 1939, many anticipated that Adolf Hitler had designs on attacking the Russians—whom he viewed as an inferior race—as soon as the time was right.

In 1939, the two powers invaded and partitioned Poland. After Finland refused the terms of a Soviet mutual assistance pact, the Soviet Union launched an attack on Finland on 30 November 1939, resulting in the Winter War – a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland retaining its independence but losing parts of eastern Karelia. The Soviet Union unlawfully conquered and annexed the three Baltic republics in June 1940, in violation of the Hague Accords (1899 and 1907) and various bi-lateral conventions and treaties signed between the Soviet Union and the Baltics. Most Western countries never accepted the annexations.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ostensibly provided security to the Soviets in their occupation of both the Baltics and the north and northeastern regions of Romania (Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia), though Hitler cited the Soviet annexations of Baltic and Romanian territory as violating Germany’s understanding of the Pact in announcing the invasion of the Soviet Union. The land taken from Romania was shared between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics.

He envisaged settling Germans there, as according to Nazi ideology the Germanic people constituted the “master race”, while exterminating or deporting most of the existing inhabitants to Siberia and using the remainder as slave labour.

Hitler referred to Russians as inferior as early as 1917, believing that the Bolshevik Revolution had placed Jews in power over the majority of Slavs, who, in Hitler’s opinion, were incapable of ruling themselves and were instead ruled by Jewish masters.

Hard-line Nazis in Berlin (including Himmler) saw the war against the Soviet Union as a clash of ideologies between Nazism and Jewish Bolshevism.

Wehrmacht leaders instructed their men to attack “Jewish Bolshevik subhumans,” “Mongol hordes,” “Asian deluge,” and the “red beast.”

The vast majority of German soldiers saw the war through Nazi eyes, seeing the Soviet enemy as subhuman.

Hitler referred to the war in novel terms, describing it as a “war of annihilation” that was both ideological and racial in nature.

The populations of occupied Central Europe and the Soviet Union were to be partially deported to West Siberia, enslaved, and eventually exterminated, according to Generalplan Ost; conquered territories were to be colonized by German or “Germanized” settlers.

Furthermore, as part of their program to exterminate all European Jews, the Nazis sought to exterminate the large Jewish population of (Central and) Eastern Europe.

Following Germany’s initial victory at the Battle of Kiev in 1941, Hitler perceived the Soviet Union as militarily weak and ripe for immediate conquest.

On October 3, 1941, he declared, “We only have to kick in the door and the entire rotten structure will come crashing down.”

As a result, Germany anticipated another brief Blitzkrieg and made no substantial preparations for extended combat.

However, with the decisive Soviet victory at Stalingrad in 1943 and the consequent terrible German military position, Hitler and his Nazi propaganda declared the war to be a German defense of Western civilization against the massive “Bolshevik hordes” flooding into Europe.

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