A casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that there were two Red Armies in the Second World War. By the end of September 1941, the Red Army had effectively lost Ukraine, eastern Poland, Byelorussia, the Baltic States, much of European Russia and about half of the five-million-strong force with which it began the war three months earlier. It was seemingly powerless in the face of the Nazi invasion. The Red Army of 1943-45 reconquered all of this territory, albeit at the cost of millions of lives, and drove the Nazis back to Berlin achieving total victory in May 1945.
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