How the Soviet Union helped save the world from Hitler during World War II | The Independent
Unfairly or not, the current tensions obscure the scale of what’s being commemorated: Starting in 1941, the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the Nazi war machine and played perhaps the most important role in the Allies’ defeat of Hitler. By one calculation, for every single American soldier killed fighting the Germans, 80 Soviet soldiers died doing the same.
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Of course, the start of the war had been shaped by a Nazi-Soviet pact to carve up the lands in between their borders. Then Hitler turned against the U.S.S.R.
The Red Army was “the main engine of Nazism’s destruction,” writes British historian and journalist Max Hastings in “Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945.” The Soviet Union paid the harshest price: though the numbers are not exact, an estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died during World War II, including as many as 11 million soldiers. At the same time, the Germans suffered three-quarters of their wartime losses fighting the Red Army.