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Vasiliy Ivanovich Chuikov

marshal , military

Vasiliy Chuikov was a USSR Marshal of the Soviet Union since 1955. First Deputy Minister of Defense, and Commander in Chief, Ground Forces, since 1960; Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, since 1961. four Order of Lenin, four Red Stars, three Order of Suvorov, Class I; other orders; medals; Hero of Soviet Union. Member, Communist Party, since 1919.

Background

Vasiliy Chuikov was born in 1900 in village Serebryanye Prudy, now Moscow Oblast.

Education

At the age of 12, he left school and his family home to earn his living in a factory in Saint Petersburg, turning out spurs for cavalry officers. Chuikov and all his brothers became soldiers and fought in the Russian Civil War.

He graduated from the M.V. Frunze Military Academy in 1925, took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland (1939) and in the Russo-Finnish War (1939–40), and had just finished serving as military attaché in China when he was called to Stalingrad to command that city’s defense.

Career

In August 1942 the Germans launched a direct attack against Stalingrad, committing up to 22 divisions with more than 700 planes, 500 tanks, 1,000 mortars, and 1,200 guns. Chuikov, in response, allegedly declared, “We shall hold the city or die here.” Much of the fighting in the city and on its perimeters was at close quarters, with bayonets and hand grenades. About 300,000 Germans were killed or captured in the course of the campaign; Soviet casualties totaled more than 400,000. In November the Soviet forces began to counterattack and by the end of the year were on the offensive. General Chuikov subsequently led his forces into the Donets Basin and then into Crimea and north to Belorussia before spearheading the Soviet drive to Berlin. Chuikov personally accepted the German surrender of Berlin on May 1, 1945.

After the war he served with the Soviet occupation forces in Germany (1945–53), commanding those forces from 1949. He headed the Kiev military district from 1953 to 1960 and thereafter held a variety of military assignments in Moscow. He was a candidate member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee from 1952 to 1961 and a full member from 1961 until he died.

Politics

Member, Communist Party, since 1919.

Membership

Member, Communist Party, since 1919.