East Prussia: as a native German lands became Russian

History 05/01/20 East Prussia: as a native German lands became the Russian

throughout its history Kaliningrad belonged to the German people and German history. The fortress of Koenigsberg was founded by Teutonic knights in 1255 and became a theatre of war in the conflicts of the Teutons, Prussians and Russians. Despite the active promotion of the Eastern Slavs to the West in modern times (in the Baltic States and Eastern Prussia), Konigsberg until the twentieth century, only once was under Russian rule during the Seven years ‘ war he was occupied in 1758-1762. In 1914 the Russian Imperial army again came to the city, but the Germans knocked the Russians out of East Prussia by the beginning of September – from that bitter defeat has begun crucial for Russia the First world war.

If in 1918 the Eastern front collapsed due to the outbreak of the Russian revolution, and Konigsberg remained a German town during world war II it was different. After the battle of Stalingrad and battle of Kursk, the Red army was advancing inexorably westwards. The Wehrmacht was preparing for the defence of this important point. By the time the Red army approached the stronghold, the city was already half destroyed by British aircraft (in the raids on the city on August 26-27, 1944, was attended by 800 aircraft). The fire killed 4200 people, another 200 thousand lost their homes, many beautiful centuries-old buildings (castle, Cathedral, University, city hall, Church) turned into Smoking ruins.

As the historian Fritz gauze (“Konigsberg in Prussia…”, 1987), fortifications, however, remained whole, produced by the British destruction has not simplified the challenge faced by the Soviet troops. At the end of January 1945 the Red army approached königsberg and began shelling. The city was defended by scattered pieces, of which the Germans made a garrison – the remnants of a defeated groups quickly create new parts, Volkssturm and a few experienced combat troops – only about 35 thousand soldiers.

Although the city in late January you can take almost immediately, the Marshal Chernyakhovsky decided to carefully prepare for the storm and thus give time to prepare the enemy for almost 9 weeks. The city was surrounded, and on 6 April the assault began. Despite the advantages of defense chance the Germans had neither a sufficient quantity of ammunition or weapons, artillery, and aircraft, or soldiers. Everyone knew what the outcome of senseless resistance.

Fierce fighting continued three days, gradually the Red army squeezed the ring around Koenigsberg, as the German attempts to break through to Pillau failed. On April 9 the Germans resisted only in a separate fortifications, and the fortress ‘ commandant, General Otto Lasch surrendered. On the morning of 10 April, the surviving soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht were captured. Enraged by the defeat, Hitler ordered the execution of Lasha. But what’s the point – now of Konigsberg was lost for the Germans.

At the Potsdam conference the allies (1945) it was decided that the German province of East Prussia, including, of course, the capital – Koenigsberg – will be annexed to the Soviet Union as compensation for losses incurred by the Soviet Union in the war. 20 thousand remaining German residents (from the previous 370 thousand) were deported to Germany by 1947. On July 4, 1946 died “all-Union elder” and an old revolutionary Mikhail Kalinin, and königsberg became Kaliningrad. The Soviet period of history of this city.

the City was quickly rebuilt (not restored) and was populated by Soviet citizens – by 1956, the number of Kaliningraders has reached 188 thousand, and then grown today the population is already 482 thousand Here all the time there were a lot of workers and military, as East Prussia still had (and has still) the strategic importance on the Western borders of Russia – and the Western area SSCP in General (and now Russia), and a comfortable base on the coast of the Baltic sea.

Today the Kaliningrad oblast is a large enclave of Russia, but until 1991 they were not. The region was part of the RSFSR, but belonged to Lithuania and was a natural part of the entire USSR, there are no boundaries in the East, it was not. However, since in 1991 the Union dissolved and the borders of the former republics became state borders of new sovereign powers, the Kaliningrad oblast has been separated in the East Russian-Lithuanian border. Now to bypass Lithuania and Poland to reach Kaliningrad by land from Russia is impossible; however, the enclave is easily reachable by air and sea. This fragment of the former German Empire already has almost no traces of its German past of Kaliningrad, although “detached” from the Russian events of 1991, in 1945, it became and remains a Russian city.

Konstantin Dmitriev

© Russian Seven

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