Georgy Zhukov: General Of The Red Army And Hero Of The Soviet Union

Georgy Zhukov: General Of The Red Army And Hero Of The Soviet Union


Georgy Zhukov was born into extreme poverty,
but ended up as the commanding general in charge of the entire red army during World
War II — today, he is still considered by many in Russia to be the greatest military
mind in their entire history. He Came From Humble Beginnings, Born To A
Poor Family Georgy Zhukov was born in 1896 to an incredibly
poor peasant family in the Kaluga Province, roughly 80 miles from Moscow. His family had a small house in the relatively
poor town of Strelkovka, which Zhukov was quoted once as saying “looked the worst
in the village”. His family was rather tough when it came to
discipline, and floggings with a belt by his father Konstantin, were quite common in order
to whip his boy into the shape he wanted. However, young Georgy was not one to complain
about things. He felt that a hard life at a young age, was
one of the best teachers possible — and a hard life he certainly had. He had one older sister, named Maria, but
almost grew up with a younger brother as well. Unfortunately, his brother Alexei did not
live past a year, and his mother Ustin’ya, was absolutely heartbroken. Then, at the tender age of nine, his life
changed drastically. In order to provide for his future, and probably
also to have one less mouth to feed, his family sent him off to work for his uncle Mikhail
in Moscow as an apprentice furrier. While it was still a pretty harsh life, and
beatings were common if he didn’t do what he was supposed to, he was still in a much
better position relatively than he had been in before. He wasn’t quite as poor, he was exposed
to Moscow society, and had a lot more education than he would have had otherwise. In the year 1920, Zhukov had his first marriage,
to a woman named Alexandra Dievna Zuikova, who he would eventually have two daughters
with, named Era and Ella. However, Zhukov was not entirely faithful
to his wife. During his first marriage, in the early years,
he had an affair with a young woman named Maria Volkhova, who he had met while laid
up in the hospital, while in the army during World War I. They had an illegitimate child together named
Margarita, but this didn’t seem to have any real effect on Zhukov’s reputation at
the time, or at any point in his career. In fact, later on in life, he divorced and
remarried to a woman named Galina Alexandrovna Semyonova, who had a daughter with him that
they named Maria — his fourth and last child. Georgy Zhukov was actually doing quite well
as a young man recently into adulthood working as a furrier with a few young men under him,
but then World War I broke out, and Russia needed able bodied men to come to the defense
of their country. Georgy Zhukov was conscripted into the army
— although no account says he had any complaints about being drafted — and quickly found
himself in an advanced training program. Likely because he was a little bit more educated
than most, he got to start out training as cavalry and quickly rose up the ranks to corporal. During World War I, he managed to earn The
Cross of St. George twice — a Russian military honor awarded for bravery from lower ranking
or noncommissioned officers. One award was for his capture of a German
soldier, and another was for taking a grenade explosion that left him in the hospital for
most of the rest of the war. Because he was in fact taken out of the war
so early due to injury, he never really felt that his part in it was very significant. Georgy Zhukov, after going through so much
poverty in his early life, had never been a fan of the tsars or the old political system,
so when things started shaking up in Russia, he found himself fighting the old system. When the tsar Nicholas II abdicated, things
were in chaos and a provisional government took over. Georgy and the soldiers working with him decided
to refuse to obey this new government, and were soon branded as deserters and ended up
on the run. However, once the Bolsheviks seized power,
Zhukov was once again able to leave the shadows and join up with them as a soldier. After several years of participating in mopping
up actions against various rebel factions, he decided to join the communist party in
order to further his career. His steady hand as a commander, as well as
his background of poverty, made him a great asset for the new regime and his star continued
to rise. As he rose up the ranks in the military, he
became more well known, but his most decisive early action was a situation people aren’t
as aware of about World War II, in which two years before the Germans actually declared
war on the Soviet Union, the Russians had already had their hands full with the Japanese. The Japanese had been adventuring into Russian
territory for some decades, and the Russians had been struggling to push them back out
— the Japanese even reached so close they could almost disrupt the crucial Trans-Siberian
railway. The Japanese wanted more land, and more oil,
and at the time, they saw expansion into Russia as the best option to achieve their goals. The Japanese had been having border clashes
at Russian allied territory — basically trying to sneak through their weakest point — for
almost a year, when Zhukov, who had been given command of Soviet forces, finally readied
for his full on offensive where the Japanese had amassed at the Khalkhin Gol River. He amassed over 200 artillery pieces, over
500 planes and almost 500 tanks. He had the greatest armored offensive in known
human history, and in one big push, started barraging the Japanese position first with
bombers, then artillery barrage and then tanks, finally encircling the enemy to the point
that almost none escaped. This secured Georgy Zhukov’s reputation
as a great leader, able to move incredible amounts of new armored units effectively and
earned him special attention from Soviet high command. Career In World War II — His Elevation To
The Highest Of Command Positions There are some people who argue that Zhukov
exaggerated his role in the battle of Khalkhin Gol and other battles as well, in order to
aggrandize himself, and that he got away with it because the Soviet Union wanted a standard
bearer, and because he managed to get along well with Stalin. One researcher named Suvorov, who has written
critically of Zhukov, claims that the real credit for the strategy at the battle of Khalkhin
Gol should have gone to his chief of staff, a brigade commander named M.A Bogdanov, who
was often considered to be the greatest leader that the Soviet Union had at the time. He also laments that most of the first officers
or other lesser leaders involved, seemed to still be classified, as if the Soviet Union
wanted all credit to go to Zhukov. However, apart from the fact that M.A. Bogdanov
was a great leader at the time, there is no reason to believe Zhukov didn’t plan or
make his own decisions in the battle — he was the acting commander, after all. Despite criticisms and claims of proper credit,
he became Stalin’s favorite general, and despite occasional disagreements, he quickly
became Stalin’s quasi-official second in command for the rest of the war. Now, there were of course some major faults
that Zhukov had as a military leader. Mainly, he could often be seen getting very
angry, using lots of foul language and being abusive with people. However, this was not entirely uncommon for
a lot of military leaders of the day, and there is reason to believe that his men respected
him, because he actually valued their lives. One thing many people like to talk about in
the Soviet Union is the casual disregard they had for the lives of their soldiers — such
as throwing massed infantry at fortified positions with no proper strategy and as commander of
Soviet forces, he gets a lot of the blame for this. However, at one point, he criticized these
tactics and called them criminal, to throw lives away in such a way, and in another writing,
he was a bit less critical sounding, but pointed out that skill and tactics would win wars,
not throwing the “people’s meat” at the enemy. General Zhukov became very close to Joseph
Stalin over the course of World War II — at least as close as you can get to a brutal
dictator — and he gained a certain respect for him. While Zhukov may have been more critical of
Stalin’s influence and style of leadership in his later life and memoirs, at the time,
he had nothing but good things to say, and seem to be at least mostly enamored by Stalin’s
growing cult of personality. Over the course of roughly 120 in person meetings,
he got to know the man and felt that he had a good measure of him. Some people thought that Stalin could be too
angry, or moody, but Zhukov seemed to prefer this. He felt that Stalin’s show of anger, frustration,
or other emotions were just an example of him being exactly the straight shooter that
Zhukov wanted to work with. He also felt that when not moody, Stalin was
very analytical, and was always willing to listen to all viewpoints, or hear an argument
against his own ideas in order to better understand the situation. In fact, Zhukov knew Stalin so well, that
he was said to be able to gauge his moods, and thus how to react, by how Stalin handled
his smoking pipe. If Stalin was slowly taking long, luxurious
drags from his pipe, it usually meant he was in a particularly good mood. However, if he didn’t refill his pipe and
get it going again quickly when it was out, it could mean he was about to get very, very
angry. Zhukov used these signs to help him know how
to talk to Stalin, even when he was in a very bad mood. At the battle for Berlin, General Zhukov was
in charge of the 1st Belorussian front, and urged his men to exact a terrible vengeance
on the Germans. They were entirely successful both in finally
defeating the Germans, but also in terms of vengeance. As the Russian front moved into Germany from
the East, they brought terror upon civilians wherever they went, with looting and rapes
being especially common. After the Battle of Berlin, General Zhukov
was given the honor of presiding over the Soviet Victory Parade in Moscow in 1945, which
he happily took part in, before being sent back to preside as the commander in charge
of Soviet occupied Germany. Zhukov was quickly using his post as military
governor to become good friends with other world leaders like Eisenhower, and increase
his influence abroad by doing a really good job of taking care of civilians in the aftermath
of World War II in Germany. Stalin quickly became paranoid that Zhukov
could become a political or military threat to him, and removed him from his post, bring
him back home to face charges of disloyalty. Stalin was a military commander himself, but
from a day before mechanized warfare. Even though Zhukov was no real threat, as
he never had the political chops of Stalin, he was seen as a threat, because he had an
understanding of mechanized warfare, and a certain popularity with the military, that
Stalin would always be jealous of. His Career After The War Was Fraught With
Greater Peril Than Guns And Blades When Stalin started to fear General Zhukov
at the end of the war, he decided to make an example of him, but not too big of one. Considering his popularity, Stalin did not
think it wise to kill, arrest or punish him too harshly, but he wanted to put him firmly
in his place. Upon his return to Moscow, he was raked over
the coals and privately accused of disloyalty to the party. In order to take away his ability to potentially
take over the government, his position as commander in chief of military forces was
taken away, and he was sent off to a secondary position in Odessa, a much smaller command
far from Moscow, where he suffered his first heart attack. Not long after he found himself back in Moscow
for a time, but Lavrenty Beria, Stalin’s radically loyal security chief, was trying
to find a way to destroy him. Beria never trusted a man with so much military
power, and believed he could be a dangerous threat to the cult of Stalin. Beria finally searched Zhukov’s apartment
in 1948 and found a huge trove of treasures that Zhukov had taken back from Soviet occupied
Germany without telling anyone. Despite his popularity, it was a big hit to
his reputation, and Zhukov was forced to publicly apologize, before finding himself being sent
to an even more insulting, and pathetic position, in the Urals District. While Zhukov’s life may have taken quite
a bad turn after the war, it could have been worse. Beria likely would have had him arrested or
executed if he could, but Stalin was not really interested in going that far against Zhukov,
whether for personal, or politically pragmatic reasons. Lavrenty Beria was one of Stalin’s most
radical followers, so when Stalin died in 1953, many of the top leaders of the Soviet
Union were struggling to decide who would be the one in power, and a small group of
conspirators worked together to overthrow the last of Stalin’s main influence. In order to destroy Beria, Malenkov, Molotov
and Kruschev met with Zhukov and hatched a plan to arrest him. There would be a major party meeting with
many high profile members, and at the right moment, Zhukov would come in with a few military
officers and arrest Beria. The arrest went off without any hitch at all,
and Beria was taken away to be accused formally of terrorism and counter revolutionary activities,
judged officially and shot for his crimes. Zhukov likely placed a large portion, if not
all of the blame, for the horrible positions he had been increasingly relegated to after
Stalin’s death, as well as the horrific embarrassment of the trophy affair, on the
shoulders of Beria. While Zhukov did like to think he was getting
rid of the influence of the cult of Stalin, and likely told himself that was part of his
justification, he must have certainly got a lot of personal satisfaction out of the
man’s destruction — he even once said arresting Beria was the greatest thing he had done in
his life. While all his looting from the trophy affair
wasn’t exactly a great thing to do, it is understandable for him to harbor resentment
at having his loot taken away and being forced to apologize for it, as that kind of looting
was quite common among the Soviet leadership after World War II. After the death of Stalin and the arrest of
Beria, leading to the end of Stalin’s cult of personality, Zhukov soon found himself
appointed as Minister of Defense under Nikolai Bulganin. During these years, he tried to foster peace
between the United States, the Soviet Union and the rest of the world, being reluctant
to take military action unless absolutely necessary. This partly stemmed from long conversations
that he had had with Dwight D. Eisenhower, with whom he had struck up a friendship years
previously. At the end of World War II, Zhukov took Eisenhower
on a tour of the Soviet Union, and Eisenhower even invited Zhukov to America — although
he was not allowed to go on such a tour. The two of them talked a lot, and even corresponded
through letters for years later. After meeting with Zhukov and getting to know
him so well, Eisenhower actually believed that true and lasting peace with the Soviet
Union was entirely possible and he hoped that his relationship with Zhukov, and Zhukov’s
influence in government and with the Russian people, would help make that happen. Unfortunately, Zhukov was such a reformist,
and continued to take power to himself in such a way, that those in charge became increasingly
worried of him. When Zhukov wrote extremely critically of
the cult of Stalin, denouncing the way government used to be run under the old dictator, wily
old Kruschev used Zhukov’s statements and popularity to institute real reforms with
himself as the head, but he became even more worried about Zhukov. The former general, and now Minister of Defense,
was asking soldiers to go to him first before any of the politicians, and Khrushchev had
him removed as Minister of Defense in 1958, for fear of him being a bonapartist. After how badly Napoleon had thrashed them
relatively recently in their history, the Russians feared a leader who would take over
from within the military, and run the country by military dictate. Politicians like Khrushchev believed that
Zhukov was loyal, and loved to use the popularity that he had with the people, but they found
those same traits dangerous to their continued political rule of the country. End Of Life and Legacy Unfortunately, Georgy Zhukov had a history
of being used by politicians to achieve their own ends, and then thrown aside later. It is hard to say if this kept happening simply
because Zhukov was hoping to gain more political power, but simply did not have the political
skills, or whether he knew he was unlikely to gain any real power, but simply did what
he thought was best for the country at the time. Regardless, it would likely be quite a different
world if Zhukov had the political skills to truly advance in the power structure that
emerged in the Soviet Union after World War II. If he were to have taken control, his relationship
with Eisenhower might have helped bridge the divide among the two countries, and history
might have turned out very, very differently. However, things were not all bad with Khrushchev
in control. Until the end of his premiership in 1964,
Khrushchev was a tireless reformer, who got rid of a lot of the repressive Stalinist policies
and tried to bring more art and creativity back to the country again. When Leonid Brezhnev came to power in 1964,
he saw Zhukov, as so many had before him, as someone he could use. While Zhukov had been largely ignored under
Khrushchev, it was under the premiership of Brezhnev that he was allowed to publish his
memoirs — after properly groveling to the latest leader of the country — and had his
public image greatly rehabilitated by Brezhnev, in order to shore up his own popularity. While Brezhnev used Zhukov for his popularity,
he did not trust him in politics after all the accusations of Bonapartism over the years,
and apart from writing his memoirs, Zhukov would remain retired for the rest of his remaining
years. When Georgy Zhukov retired, his thoughts went
to writing his memoirs and he started working on Reminiscences and Reflections. He also spent a lot of time just relaxing,
hunting, and socializing with people he used to know. As he wrote his memoirs, however, his health
continued to steadily decline. His bouts with heart disease earlier in life
were a sign of things to come, and in 1967, Zhukov had another heart attack that hit him
so hard, it took away the use of the left side of his body for his remaining years. During his struggle with heart disease, his
wife Galina was attending to him and trying to help him get his memoirs finished. Finally, in 1969, they were completed, passed
the censors and published, becoming the most popular account of the war from the Soviet
perspective, and selling millions of copies around the world. Fan letters and suggestions poured into Zhukov’s
mailbox, in the tens of thousands, wishing him well and praising him for all of his loyal
life’s work. Unfortunately for Zhukov, this resurgence
of his old popularity was not to be enjoyed for long. In 1973, his second wife Galina passed away,
and Zhukov was left entirely alone. His memoirs were published, his life’s work
was done. His children were accounted for and his wife
was gone. Without her physical and emotional support,
and with years of heart disease building up, he didn’t outlast her by long. In 1974, a final heart attack took him and
the Soviet Union lost their greatest military hero of the age. When Zhukov died, he was given a state funeral
led by Leonid Brezhnev, who had his ashes laid to rest in honor at the Kremlin Wall. Zhukov’s legacy will always enjoy some controversy,
but there is no doubt that he was one of the greatest military minds of World War II, and
one of the greatest men of the Soviet Union.

100 Comments on "Georgy Zhukov: General Of The Red Army And Hero Of The Soviet Union"


  1. If Zuhkov built a village and named it after his illigetamete love child, it could be called Margaritaville. Just saying.

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  2. Zhukov owes a great deal of his success to the success of the British and US air forces who wiped out the German air power prior to the Red Army moving west.

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  3. Жуков the first letter is sh…was in no way concerned about how many soldiers gets killed under his command for example the race between Konev and Shukov who of the two marshals is first in Berlin costed half a million needles deaths other example is the fact that he did not defend any of the Generals like Popov who were in command at the very beginning of the German attack. He know that they couldn’t have done anything else because of the speed of the German advance, the week status of the red army and the orders from Stalin that wer the same as the orders from Hitler out of his bunker in April 1945; he did nothing to save them

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  4. Zhukov was probably more responsible for the allied victory in WW2 then any other individual. It's a shame he's so little known today.

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  5. You'r videos are great. But please, stop the weird pausing in the middle of sentences 🙂

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  6. Pathetically distorted and incomplete. How about his experiment with nuclear bomb effects on troop ability to fight. How about asking his troops in battle of Berlin to run through minefield to clear way for tanks? Etc etc …

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  7. Zhukov valued Russian lives
    ,, Zhukov''
    If there is a minefield our infantry attacks like there isn't one

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  8. If Zhukov had ever gained real power inthe USSR post war history would have been extremely different.

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  9. Zhukov has won the war against military giant Nazy Germany,greatest war machine ever,so it deserves respect

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  10. Ike learned that he was an avid fisherman. He gave him a tackle box as a gift. His wife Galina said he used it the rest of his life and it was one of his most prized possessions.

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  11. This commentator makes many mistakes. Before speaking he should read the greatest biography ever written on Jukov : Jean Lopez (specialist of the Eastern front) : Jukov. It shows the complexity , the real origins ( not poor) the mistakes, the constant fear and the extra human force of Jukov. He is without a doubt a man with no equivalent in military courage as he has to fight the Germans, the incredible inconstancies of the Red Army, Stalin ( he was the only one who did not fear Stalin) the NKVD ! He was far stronger and intelligent than all the German generals together ! Von Manstein was a baby compared to him !!

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  12. Wait, you skipped a whole two decades of this man's life. Zhukov was in the Red Army, "mopping up rebellions," as you said. That's in 1919-1922 or so. Then you skip all the way to the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, which took place in 1939. How the fuck did Zhukov survive the Stalinist purges in the mid-1930s? How did he go up the army ranks to command battalions during the 1939 battle with the Japanese? How did he survive Lenin's death and Stalin's ascent to power? So many questions…

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  13. any chance of a biographic on Vazely Zeitsev? the real story not the Enemy at the Gates version?

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  14. Can we just cut through the requisite time line of meaningless if not trivial events and get to the part where he was used as a party sheel and facilitated the mass rape of Soldiers and all German speaking Civillians in the Baltic, Poland, Hungary, and of course Germany. This was of course, after that criminal had participated in the extermination of the white army and many of thier families, followed by surviving the military purges of his own comrades (the ones who turned on each other first and made the most accusations surviving).
    One must wander what Ike saw!?! General Z goes on the long list of military leaders who presided over mass Human rights abuses along with being a grauveling pawn of Stalin. There is soo much white washing of the red Army's problematic origin and history, few bother to point out the trivial matter of a few purges, after all, it was only the death of a few million people?what?

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  15. Fun/weird fact but he wanted lots coca cola without the brown color gone it was like fussy water bet u Westerners didn't know that

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  16. that is an obscene and ridiculous amount of medals….I mean seriously, Bolsheviks dog America for it's excesses but they put that many medals on one soldier's jacket? ghastly…

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  17. Thanks for ur support great Marshall. I will help sunder the stars and stripes for the memory of the great ones of war

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  18. wut ? he value his soldiers life ? "if we come to a minefield , our infantry attacks exactly as it were not there " dude i realy love you but he was asshole .

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  19. O boy what a lie. Entire army comintern agent in berlin risk a life to pas military info to moskow so they can preper and strike back. He was good but no genius.

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  20. Zhukov: saves the Soviet Union, marches to Berlin and ends war, then continues to reach for peace with the U.S

    Stalin: wait that’s illegal

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  21. So Zhukov had nothing but good things to say about Stalin while Stalin was alive? Imagine that.

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  22. All the People i knew who was involved in the WWII call him – Merciless Butcher.

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  23. In the west, Zhukov would have been fired from his job, shamed and ostracized, or how we say it today, cancelled, then the western country would proceed to lose all his potential.

    In the east, private matters stay private, Zhukov isn't cancelled, and then proceeds to save basically the entire world.

    Long live cancel culture.. next stop, europestanic republic!

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  24. Zhokov's family asked for an Orthodox funeral, and the Soviet government did not allow it. And since he was not going to be given the honor of being interred behind Lenin, he was to be cremated and his ashes placed in the necropolis Nevertheless, recently an Orthodox funeral liturgy was held right in front of the niche holding Zhukov's ashes.

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  25. I’ve been to Moscow. There is a statue of Gen. Zhukov next to Red Square. He is still revered. Look for it if you are there.

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  26. Georgy Zhukov was definitely the greatest Russian General of WW II. Eisenhower definitely valued Zhukov as a great military leader.

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  27. Indeed he was.He came up wnit the plan for Germand French Britsh and Polish Italins And fashist and communists all to beant eachothers brains in before be unleashed a mammoth BlitBlitzkrieg aall pver europe

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  28. Could you please do video about António de Oliveira Salazar ?
    He was a Portuguese Dictator from 1932 to 1968.

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  29. When Zhukov is in charge of the Red Army and defeated Germany, but after the war Stalin get all the praises…

    Zhukov was like:
    "We stand here amidst my achievement, not yours…!"

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  30. Thanks for covering so much of history. Here in the US I didn't hear much about the different Nazi and Soviet leaders, which left many facts about WWII hidden because I wasn't getting the whole story about the different players. Keep up the good work.

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  31. Eisenhower's account in his memoirs of his few meetings with Zhukov after the war are so sad. A shadow of his former self, broken and afraid to ever speak freely.

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  32. When Zhukov met Eisenhower, he was introduced to America's soda Coca-Cola and Zhukov was hooked

    Unfortunately, it was seen as a symbol of American imperialism and was banned from the USSR. But Eisenhower has a cunning plan up his sleeve.

    Zhukov has struck a friendship with him, so he contacted Eisenhower for more of the drink, and he authorized the go-ahead to find a way to smuggle the sweet soda in. The boys at Coca-cola found a solution

    They simply exclude the coloring to hide the disguise cola and make it appear to be vodka. Complete with a red star on the cap. Zhukov was never caught with the smuggled drink and he enjoyed sipping the drink away unnoticed

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  33. There was no bear . . . There was just stalina stairs and drink. . . And it was the drink that kept him alive. . .

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  34. Battle of Khalkhiin Gol bordering Mongolia and China took place in 1939!! This video is really badly made.

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  35. The song used at 5:32, aswell as other points in the video (including the end) is "The Cossacks", by the Red Army Choir.

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  36. I’ve always admired Zhukovs tactics for combined arms warfare. The way that he utilized aircraft, artillery, armour and infantry was amazing at the time, and to me was even superior to the German Blitzkreig tactics.

    I mean, when the Russians utilized it, it was hard to counter. We saw it time and again, from Khalkhin Gol to Operation Uranus to the battle of Kursk to Berlin. Even today you can see the framework of Zhukovs tactical doctrine in Russia’s military today. Their faith in artillery and ground strike aircraft in conjunction with fast moving tanks and motorized infantry. He was a truly great tactician.

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  37. Thank you for another interesting war hero in history. I like his ability to pay attention to mannerisms, he would've made a great leader of the country with such insight. He was a true triple threat. Popping in blue, what's your favorite color? Your channel should be a college course 😁😂😂 🤣

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  38. I like to find a lot of great men in so many different countries. For the longest I’ve struggled to find a true Great Man in Russia but this man definitely makes the list. As an American I’m happy to say I finally found a good Commie. Rest In Peace.

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  39. Zhukov probably saved Moscow in October 1941. (Just like Hitler(!) did in July, when he diverted Guderian's armoured spearheads to deal with the harmless Kursk salient.)

    Stalin, against all evidence to the contrary over the previous four months, wanted to launch another insane offensive that would have gotten many more divisions destroyed than actually were at the last German victories in November, and left the capital utterly defenseless. Zhukov convinced him not to. Then Stalin asked him if the city could be held. Zhukov said yes. Stalin then went about turning it into the impenetrable fortress it became by late November.

    Reply

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