1 December 1896, Strelkovka, Kaluga Governorate, Russian Empire [now Zhukov, Kaluga Oblast, Russia]
Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov
Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov was born on December 1, 1896, in the village of Strelkovka, Kaluga region, Russia. His parents were peasants. He served during the First World War in the Russian army under Tsar Nicholas II. He was awarded the Cross of St. George twice and promoted for his bravery in battle. He joined the Communist party after the Russ...
Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov was born on December 1, 1896, in the village of Strelkovka, Kaluga region, Russia. His parents were peasants. He served during the First World War in the Russian army under Tsar Nicholas II. He was awarded the Cross of St. George twice and promoted for his bravery in battle. He joined the Communist party after the Russian Revolution of 1917, and served in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1921, receiving his first Order of the Battle Red Banner for brutal extermination of non-Communist peasants.Zhukov was not affected by the "Great Terror" and extermination of intellectuals by Joseph Stalin. His star rose quickly after the executions of much of the Red Army leadership by Stalin in 1937-1939. In 1939 Zhukov defeated Japan's Kwantung Army at the Battle of Halhin Gol. His victory became possible due to his detailed planning and skillful use of motorized artillery against the Japanese forces. For that achievement Zhukov was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and promoted to full general. During the Second World War Zhukov was appointed Chief of the Red Army General Staff for six months until July 1941.Zhukov was the only top general who had a major disagreement with Stalin on how to resist the advancing Nazi armies. He attempted to convince Stalin that the city of Kiev could not be held and all troops should be evacuated. Stalin reprimanded Zhukov and dismissed him. Zhukov's fears were proven right wen Kiev was in fact taken by the Germans and 500,000 Russian soldiers were captured and shipped off to Nazi POW camps (many never returned). Stalin was not ashamed and sent Zhukov to organize the defense of Moscow. The Germans were stopped at Moscow not brilliant tactics or planning but by reinforcements rushed in from from Siberia and by the courage of simple soldiers and selfless support from the population. Stalin then sent Zhukov to defend Leningrad. There he organized an impenetrable defense of the city of 3.5 million. Unable to overcome the city's defenses, the Germans laid siege to it in hopes of starving the defenders out. The siege lasted more than 900 days and resulted in the destruction of the German forces that tried to take it, although the city itself lost many of its residents and the soldiers defending it.Zhukov was assigned by Stalin to several important engagements during the course of the war. In 1942 he was assisted, albeit indirectly, in the defense of Stalingrad by diverting part of the besieging German forces by attacking Rzhev and Vyazma. In 1943 he was fully involved in the strategic planning of the final stages of the Battle of Stalingrad. There he focused on attacking the Romanian and Hungarian units of the German forces, which were more ill-equipped than German units. Stalingrad was won after each side lost under a million people. In July 1943 Zhukov orchestrated the Battle of Kursk, which became the largest tank operation in history. After that victory he went back to besieged Leningrad. There Zhukov led the offensive Operation Bagration in January 1944, which liberated the survivors of Leningrad from long and exhausting siege.In 1945 Zhukov led the final assault on the Nazi Germany. He was the chief strategic planner for the Battle of Berlin. Under his command the city of Berlin was captured in April 1945, leading to capitulation of the Nazi Germany. He was appointed the first commander of the Soviet occupation zone in Germany, which later became East Germany. Zhukov led the Soviet Victory Parade at the Red Square in Moscow, where he inspected the troops and saluted to Stalin. He was awarded four times the Hero of the Soviet Union. After the victory Zhukov invited the Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower and the two toured the Soviet Union together in the summer of 1945.Stalin's jealousy led to quick removal of Zhukov from Berlin to a smaller post in Odessa. Humiliated Zhukov supported Nikita Khrushchev. After the death of Stalin, he arrested the main Khrushchev's rival Lavrenti Beria and was appointed the Defence Minister in 1955. Zhukov urged Nikita Khrushchev to send the Red Army troops to suppress the Hungarian revolution in 1956. In 1957 he again supported Khrushchev against the neo-Stalinist hard liners, and was made a full member of the Presidium (Politburo) of the Communist Party. However, when Khrushchev initiated downsizing of the Red Army, Zhukov disputed and was expelled by Khrushchev under suspicion of a planned coup.In 1964 Khrushchev was dismissed by Leonid Brezhnev who restored Zhukov to favor, though not to power. In 1965, at the important 20th anniversary of Victory gathering in Moscow, Zhukov received a much greater acclaim than Brezhnev. During the Cold War Brezhnev made himself four times Hero of the Soviet Union in an effort to match Zhukov's medal count. Zhukov remained a highly reputable, though controversial and enigmatic figure in the Soviet Union. He died on June 18, 1974, and was buried in Moscow.
Georgi Zhukov's FILMOGRAPHY
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