Q:

How many Russians died in World War II?

A:

Quick Answer

The number of Russians who died in World War II is undetermined, but estimates range from 20 million to 26 million. Even the low end of the range represents more deaths than the combined numbers suffered by Germany and Japan.

Know More

Full Answer

Stalin's Leadership

Stalin's strategic missteps and political ruthlessness were the main causes of Russia's heavy military casualties. His political purges eliminated the army's best generals, and he positioned his troops along the Polish border instead of garrisoning them in their fortifications inside Russia. Stalin ignored warnings about the advancing Germans and refused to mobilize his army. When Hitler attacked, the Russian army was defenseless with incompetent leaders in place. Stalin was also insensitive to Russian casualties. He deliberately sacrificed units designated as "punishment battalions" and pressured his generals into achieving symbolic victories at the expense of their troops.

Scale of Warfare

The sheer scale of the fighting was also a critical factor. The battles on the Eastern Front were the largest battles waged in military history. Hitler's invasion force consisted of more than 3 million soldiers, 3,500 tanks, 1,800 planes, and 7,000 cannons. More than 1 million Axis soldiers fought in Stalingrad, and more than 5,000 aircraft and 8,000 Russian and German tanks waged war in the Battle of Kursk.

Hitler's Genocide

The final factor was Hitler's genocidal war policies. Hitler considered Slavic Russians to be sub-human, and he ordered the Einsatzgruppen to exterminate them. Estimates indicate the Nazis executed 7 million to 14 million Russian civilians during the war.

Learn more about World War 2

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How many Germans died in World War II?

    A:

    The National World War II museum estimates between 6 to 8 million total military and civilian German casualties in the second World War. Estimates of World War II casualties vary based on which casualties are included, what sources are used and how the figures are calculated.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who won World War II?

    A:

    World War II was won by the Allies, which consisted of the United States, Britain, Australia, France, China, the Soviet Union and Canada. There were other countries involved in the defeat of the Axis alliance, however, the Allies played the most important role.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What caused World War II?

    A:

    Many factors lead to World War II, and many of them were either directly or indirectly linked to World War I, including dissatisfaction over the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of Fascism and Hitler's rise to power and his eventual aggression, using his Nazi party to fulfill a mission to unite all German-speaking people.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did women do in World War II?

    A:

    Women did many things and took on many roles during World War II, chief among which was as workers and laborers. Up until this point, most jobs were reserved for men, but with the entrance of the United States into the war, men entered the military and created a shortage of labor that had to be filled.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore