Lest we forget: the Red Army defeated fascism in the Second World War

One of the gains about taking one’s time in east Germany is that we are reminded of a simple fact: the Soviet Red Army defeated fascism in the Second World War.

The background: over 400 divisions battled on a 1600 km front for four years, compared to 15 each for the Germans and allies on the western front at its most intense time. 88% of German military dead fell on the eastern front, and the battle that first broke the Wehrmacht was Kursk, in July and August of 1943. Here the Soviets showed everyone how to beat a blitzkrieg – with a meticulously planned, flexible and in-depth defence. This was followed by Operation Bagration in Byelorussia, in June-August 1944, when the Red Army inflicted on the Wehrmacht the greatest defeat in German military history. By comparison, the contribution on the western front was a sideshow.

How is at least some of this remembered in east Germany? Many towns have memorials to Red Army soldiers who fell. I have earlier provided some images from the extraordinary Treptower Park in Berlin, but the following come from Frankfurt (Oder), Eisenhüttenstadt and Gartz.