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Crimean War

The Crimean War (1854 - 1856) was fought between the Imperial Russia on one side and an alliance of France, Great Britain, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire on the other. The majority of the conflict took place on the Crimean peninsula. The war is generally seen as the first modern conflict and introduced technical changes which affected the future course of warfare. The Crimean war introduced two new jobs - a war correspondent, once of whose was an Englishman Roger Fenton; and a nurse - Russian Dasha Sevastopolskaya and English Florence Nightingale. During the war anesthesia was introduced and widely used by famous Russian surgeon Pirogov. Leo Tolstoy wrote a few short sketches on the Siege of Sevastopol, collected in The Sevastopol Sketches. The main events of the Crimean war are as follows:
1854 - Allies bombed Odessa. September 1854 - French, British and Turkish troops landed near Evpatoria, won the battle on Alma River, seized Balaklava bay and most of the city of Sevastopol.
September 13, 1854 - August 27, 1855 heroic defense of Sevastopol. First the city was defended by sailors under the command of Admirals V. Kornilov, P. Nakhimov and V. Istomin. The Russian Command gave the order to scuttle part of the ships of the Black Sea Navy in the main Sevastopol Bay and make it impossible for the Allies' ships to enter the bay. The ships cannons were taken to the shore fortifications. The military engineer E. Totleben designed some land fortifications around Sevastopol which had no walls.
October 17, 1854 - first bombing of Sevastopol, during which Admiral Kornilov was deadly wounded on Malakhov Hill
October 25, 1854 - famous Balaklava battle also knows as Charge of the Light Brigade in which about 600 British cavalrymen were killed. It is near Sevastopol that the battle took place and a small town of Balaklava appeared on European maps. The battlefield in Balaklava received the historic name of the Death Valley and Balaklava is associated with deeds considered brave but doomed to failure. The battle ended inconclusively, with both sides retaining their guns and starting positions. The campaign at Balaclava led to the name transferring to the knitted woollen headgear-the Balaclava.
November 5, 1854 - Inkerman battle. This attempt to raise the siege of Sevastopol ended in failure.
April 10, 1855 - the second bombardment of Sevastopol.
July 10, 1855 - Admiral Nakhimov was mortally wounded on Malakhov Hill
August 16, 1855 - the Russian troops were defeated in the battle on the Chornaya River.
September 8, 1855 - the storm and the capture of Malakhov Hill, one of the main bastions of Sevastopol. Right after that it was decided to leave Sevastopol; the enemy did not follow the remains of Russian troops and occupied the ruins of the city. The peace Treaty was signed in March 1856 in Paris on rather hard conditions for Russia.

Ukraine in World War II

On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa began, the largest military invasion in history. Three German Army Groups, an Axis force of over four million men, advanced rapidly deep into the Soviet Union, destroying almost the entire western Red Army in huge battles of encirclement. Nevertheless, the Soviets dismantled as much industry as possible, moving it to areas east of the Ural Mountains for reassembly, and ultimately resupplying the Soviet armies and contributing mightily to the destruction of Germany. The German General Staff had underestimated the size of the Soviet army and its ability to draft new troops. German soldiers were ill-equipped for harsh weather and logistics were poor because of the distances. Most Ukrainians resisted the Nazi onslaught from its start and a partisan movement immediately spread over the occupied territory. The Nazi administrators of conquered Soviet territories made little attempt to exploit the population's possible dissatisfaction with Soviet political and economic policies. Instead, the Nazis preserved the collective-farm system, systematically carried out genocidal policies against Jews, and deported many Ukrainians to forced labour in Germany. Ukraine is only second to Israel in terms of the number of holy sites worshipped by the representatives of Hasidic movement. Annually by the end of September the Memorial Day for the victims of Babiy Yar in which in 1941 thirty-five thousand members of Kyiv Jewish community were executed by Nazis is held in Kyiv. In their active resistance to Nazi Germany, the Ukrainians comprised a significant share of the Red Army and its leadership as well as the underground and resistance movements. Total civilian losses during the war and German occupation in Ukraine are estimated between five and eight million. Of the estimated eleven million Soviet troops who fell in battle against the Nazis, about a quarter (2.7 million) were ethnic Ukrainians. Ukraine is distinguished as one of the first nations to fight the Axis powers and one that saw some of the greatest bloodshed during the war.

Yalta Conference

The Yalta Conference was the wartime meeting from February 4, 1945 to February 11, 1945 between the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. The conference was held in Yalta, a resort town on the Crimean Peninsula. The American delegation was housed in the Tsar's former palace, while President Roosevelt stayed at the Livadia Palace where the meetings took place. The British delegation was installed in Prince Vorontsov's castle of Alupka. Arguably, one of the most important goals was to ensure the Soviet Union's participation in the United Nations, which was achieved at the price of granting veto power to each permanent member of the Security Council. Another of the objectives was to bring the Soviet Union into the fight against Japan, as the effectiveness of the atomic bomb had yet to be proven. As a reward, Soviet Union was allowed to seize Sakhalin and Kuril Islands. The Red Army had already removed Nazi forces from most of Eastern Europe, so Stalin obtained his goals: a significant sphere of influence as a buffer zone.

Hero Cities of Ukraine

Hero City is an honorary title awarded for outstanding heroism during the Great Patriotic War (World War II) of 1941 to 1945. It was awarded to twelve cities of the Soviet Union. According to the statute, the hero city was issued the Order of Lenin, the Gold Star medal, and the certificate of the heroic deed. Also, the corresponding obelisk was installed in the city. In Ukraine there are three hero cities: Kiev, Odessa and Sevastopol. The capital of Ukraine became the site of the largest encirclement battle in the summer of 1941. When the Germans commenced their offensive on 7 July, Soviet forces concentrated in the Kiev area were ordered to stand fast, and a breakout was prohibited. Defence of the pocket was fierce. Thousands of civilians volunteered to help defend the city. Eventually Kiev was taken on 19 September. Over 600,000 Soviet troops were taken captive when the pocket was cleared. The prolonged resistance effectively disrupted the German plans of blitzkrieg. During the German occupation of Kiev, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed or deported for slave labour. Kiev again became a battlefield when advancing Soviet forces pushed the Germans back West, liberating the city on 6 November 1943. In early August 1941, the Black Sea port of Odessa was attacked and besieged by Romanian forces fighting alongside their German allies. The fierce battle in defence of the city lasted until 16 October, when the remaining Soviet troops, as well as 15,000 civilians were evacuated by sea. Partisan fighting continued, however, in the city's catacombs. The Black Sea port of Sevastopol was a heavily defended fortress on the Crimean peninsula. German and Romanian troops had advanced to the outskirts of the city from the North and launched their attack on 30 October 1941. Having failed to take the city, Axis forces began a siege and heavy bombardment. A second Axis offensive against the city, launched in December 1941, failed as well, as the Soviet army and navy forces continued to fight fiercely. Eventually the city was taken in June 1942. It was liberated in bloody fighting in May 1944.