the war of liberation fought by the peoples of the USSR against Nazi Germany and its European allies, and the most important part of World War II. The Great Patriotic War began on June 22, 1941, when German troops launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union, and ended on May 8, 1945, when Germany signed the act of surrender.
The main operations of the Great Patriotic War included the battle of Moscow, which ended in January 1942 with the enemy being forced into retreat from the capital of the country. A turning point in the Great Patriotic War and in World War II overall was the battle of Stalingrad, which began in July 1942 and ended on February 2, 1943 with a disastrous defeat of the Nazis which since 1943 after the Soviet victories in the battle of Kursk and the battle of the Dnieper were unable to launch any new offences. A number of military operations in 1944 fully liberated Belorussia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, forced Nazi Germany’s allies Romania and Hungary to surrender and enter the war against Germany, and freed northern Norway from Nazi occupation. Soviet troops went on to liberate Yugoslavia, Poland, part of Austria, and Czechoslovakia. The battle of Berlin ended on May 2, 1945, when the German capital surrendered.
According to official data from the Russian Defence Ministry, the Soviet Armed Forces lost more than 8.6 million people in the Great Patriotic War with the total Soviet Union losses (including civilians) reaching 26.6 million.