Today in history: January 27, 1944 – In a decisive moment of World War 2, Soviet forces break the nearly three-year Nazi siege of Leningrad, finally driving them back from their stranglehold on the city.
The Nazi siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most destructive in history and caused the greatest destruction and the largest loss of life ever known in a modern city. The nearly 900 days of the siege caused unparalleled famine in the Leningrad region through disruption of utilities, water, energy and food supplies. The siege resulted in the deaths of up to 1,500,000 soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, many of whom died during evacuation due to starvation and bombardment. 3200 residential buildings, 9000 wooden houses, 840 factories and plants were destroyed in and around Leningrad. Economic destruction and human losses in Leningrad exceeded those of the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Moscow, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite the massive hardship and destruction, the people of Leningrad didn’t surrender and continued heroically resisting the Nazis.
The capture and destruction of Leningrad was one of three strategic goals in the Nazis’ Operation Barbarossa, in which over 4 million soldiers invaded the USSR along a 1,800 mile front, the largest invasion in the history of warfare. The focus on Leningrad was motivated by its political status as the former capital of Russia and the symbolic capital of the Russian Revolution, its military importance and industrial importance, including numerous arms factories. The Nazi encirclement was broken in the wake of the Operation Iskra offensive. After fierce battles the Red Army units overcame the powerful German fortifications and on January 27, 1944 the Soviet forces expelled German forces from the southern outskirts of the city, breaking the siege.
The German invasion of the Soviet Union ultimately resulted in 95% of all German Army casualties from 1941 to 1944 and 65% of all Allied military casualties accumulated throughout the war. It was in Leningrad and Stalingrad that the incalculable sacrifice and heroic resistance of the Soviet people broke the back of the Nazis and ensured the defeat of fascism in World War 2.
See photos from besieged Leningrad here: http://read.bi/qWPqs3
Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)