The Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov

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Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov[a] (Russian: Георгий Константинович Жуков; 1 December 1896 – 18 June 1974) was a Marshal of the Soviet Union. He also served as Chief of the General Staff, Minister of Defence, and was a member of the Presidium of the Communist Party (later Politburo). During World War II, Zhukov oversaw some of the Red Army's most decisive victories, after which he was appointed the military governor of the Soviet Occupation Zone in Germany.

Born to a poor peasant family from central Russia, Zhukov was conscripted into the Imperial Russian Army and fought in World War I. He served in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Gradually rising through the ranks, by 1939 Zhukov had been given command of an army group and won a decisive battle over Japanese forces at Khalkhin Gol, for which he won the first of his four Hero of the Soviet Union awards. In February 1941, Zhukov was appointed as chief of the Red Army's General Staff.

Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Zhukov lost his position as chief of the general staff. Subsequently, he organized the defences of Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad. He participated in planning several major offensives, including the Battle of Kursk, and Operation Bagration. In 1945, Zhukov commanded the 1st Belorussian Front; he took part in the Vistula–Oder Offensive, and the Battle of Berlin. In recognition of Zhukov's role in the war, he was chosen to accept the German Instrument of Surrender, and inspect the Moscow Victory Parade of 1945.

After the war, Zhukov's success and popularity caused Joseph Stalin to see him as a potential threat.[1] Stalin stripped him of his positions and relegated him to military commands of little strategic significance. After Stalin's death in 1953, Zhukov supported Nikita Khrushchev's bid for Soviet leadership. In 1955, he was appointed as Defence Minister and made a member of the Presidium. In 1957, Zhukov lost favour again and was forced to retire. He never returned to a position of influence and died in 1974. Zhukov is remembered as one of the greatest Russian and Soviet military leaders of all time, along with Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Barclay de Tolly, and Mikhail Kutuzov.[2]

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