Joined the Red Army, 1918. Took part in the Civil War. Commander of a cavalry regiment, 1923.
Became widely known as the commander of the Soviet forces which fought the Japanese at Khalkin Gol, 1939. Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defence, January-July 1941. When, at the start of World War II, the Soviet stars of the Civil War, Voroshilov, Budennyi and Timoshenko, demonstrated their complete incompetence, he became the most prominent of the younger generation who were put in charge of the army by Stalin.
Appointed Commander of the Leningrad front and the Western Forces. In command at the time of the first serious German setback during the winter of 1941-1942 before Moscow. Coordinated most of the Soviet Union’s successful operations (the Battle of Stalingrad, the breaking of the Leningrad blockade, the Battle of Kursk, and the Battle of the Dnepr).
Commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, May-March 1944. Commander of the 1st Belorussian front, November 1944. Led the Soviet advance on Berlin, 1945.
Became the best-known and most popular Soviet commander of World War II, despite his ruthless methods (such as clearing minefields by ordering his infantry through them). Soviet representative at the capitulation ceremony of the German armed forces, and 1st Commander of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany, 1945. Commander of Ground Forces and Deputy Minister of Defence, 1946.
Soon after World War II, his personal archive was confiscated by the NKVD and Beria tried to get confessions from arrested Red Army officers implicating Zhukov in order to arrest him. Stalin, jealous of his popularity, transferred him to obscure posts as military district commander, 1946-1953. After Stalin’s death, again Deputy Minister of Defence, 1953.
Instrumental in using the influence of the army to prevent Beria taking power. Rewarded by his appointment to the post of Minister of Defence, and with membership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1953-1957. Helped Krushchev to defeat Molotov, Malenkov and Kaganovich in the struggle for power, but soon thereafter, while on a trip to Yugoslavia, suddenly dismissed by Khrushchev, who was afraid of his influence, and who accused him of 'Bonapartist tendencies’, 1957.
Received many Soviet and foreign honours and decorations (4 times Hero of the Soviet Union). Wrote memoirs of World War II, showing his great personal respect for Stalin as Supreme Commander, and his complete approval of Stalinist methods of leadership.