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World War II in photos: Nazis & USSR clashed on Eastern Front 75 years ago

Sehar Qazi | Updated on: 22 June 2016, 20:40 IST

It was on 22 June, 1941, 75 years ago, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union began a cataclysmic struggle on Eastern Front during World War ΙI. It nearly for 4 years, till 9 May 1945.

Some 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians and nearly 4 million German troops lost their lives along the Eastern Front during the Second World War. The warfare was ferocious. It encompassed the largest armored clash in history - Battle of Kursk - and the most costly siege on a modern city, nearly 900 days in Leningrad. It brought utter devastation on thousands of villages, mass deportations, mass executions and countless atrocities that were attributed to both sides.

The war on the Eastern Front, known to Russians as the "Great Patriotic War", was the scene of the largest military confrontation in history.

Fighting in central, eastern and northern Europe often took place during torrential downpours, blinding snow, and deep freezes. Ultimately, it was those harsh conditions that helped Soviet forces (with Allied support) defeat Germany, triggering the fall of Nazi power in Europe and leading to the end of World War II. Russia's victories on the Eastern Front also cemented it as a superpower and the beginning of the Cold War.

The vast scale of the warfare is nearly unimaginable and nearly impossible to capture, so here are mere glimpses of the horrors of the Eastern Front.

Russia, March 1943: Major General Emilio Esteban Infantes talking with with Marshall Wilhelm Keitel in front of the operations table in the Headquarters of the 'Division Azul' in the Lake Ilmen sector. (Photo: Heinrich Hoffmann/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Stalingrad, September 1942: Soviet soldiers gathering in a transit camp in Stalingrad, today Volgograd. (Photo: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
World war 2, Ukrainian Jewish civilians, including women and children, being forced by the Nazis to dig their own common grave prior to their execution in July 1941. (Photo: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
Exhausted German troops surrendering to winter clad Russians outside of Moscow. The effect of harsh winter on German fighting capabilities. (Photo: Time Life Pictures/Pictures Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
World War II. Russian front. Russian prisoners. June 1942. (Photo: LAPI/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)
Red army soldiers raising the soviet flag over the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, April 30, 1945. (Photo: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
Poltava, 9th May 1942: Adolf Hitler and officers of the General Staff working out the offensive against Stalingrad. (Photo: Heinrich Hoffmann/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
World war 2, German gestapo officers executing russian peasants, September 1943, the photo was taken by a German soldier captured by the red army. (Photo: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
3rd Moscow Conference, seated, left to right: Molotov, Harriman, Winston Churchill, Stalin, Anthony Eden. Standing: Berezhkov, Sir Archibald Kerr, Pavlov, Birse, Gusev, October 18, 1943. (Photo: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
German civilians fleeing Berlin under the red army attack, World War 2, city in ruins, 1945. (Photo: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
First published: 22 June 2016, 20:40 IST