Russian Population Pyramid

Population Pyramid of Russia 2009

Population Pyramid of Russia 2009The chart below demonstrates the distortion in the population balance in men and women as a result of the deaths caused during World War II from 1941 to 1945 in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, now known as Russia.

The impact of the death of 30,000,000 Russians, including its western border nations, from 1937 to 1945 is clearly illustrated in this chart.  The point on which to focus is in the 65 to 90 year old age category and the loss of males compared to females and its impact on Soviet life in the last third of the 20th century.

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Interview Q&A’s From Second Book

The European Theater Anthology of World War II

Unique, Unknown and Interesting Information for Those Familiar With the Second World War

Copyright © 2013 Ostfront Publications, LLC

By Ken Weiler

 

QUESTIONS:
Click on a question to reveal Ken’s Answers:

This is an unusual book, why did you write it?
Who will want to read such a book?
What you wrote about could be pretty dry stuff, was it?
Why is the book important to have?

 

Question: This is an unusual book, why did you write it?

Ken’s Answer: I have been studying and researching the Second World War since I was in high school, a long time ago.  After my first book, Why Normandy Was Won, Operation Bagration and the War in the East 1941 – 1945 was published in 2010, I had a wealth of material that never made into that book for various reasons; did not fit the subject area, too esoteric, too obscure for the general readership.  However, there was a lot of, to me and I’m certain other World War II scholars, material that was fascinating as well as pertinent to fully understanding the back story of the war, the rest of the story, as such it became its own book and not an appendix to my earlier work.

Question: Who will want to read such a book?

Ken’s Answer: With writing the text completed in late 2012, I set about pulling out all the already understood and common knowledge of the war and began to shape it into the book it is today, namely, an advanced look at the European Theater from a perspective less taken; logistics, intelligence, supply, inter-Allied cooperation, supreme command politics and the like.  I wanted a read that was a 500 level course and not a 100 level account of the prosecution of the conflict and I think I have succeeded with Anthology.

Question: What you wrote about could be pretty dry stuff, was it?

Ken’s Answer: I’ll be the first to admit pouring over endless charts and tables of convoy shipping movements, fright loadings, hospital admissions and the gallons of POL delivered was not the most exciting work I’ve ever done.  What I’ve done differently is to put this vital data in context as to how it was important to the front line soldier, airman and sailor, how it affected the movement of whole armies and how it affected command decisions that shaped the final outcome of World War II in Europe.  For example, I compiled the deaths of all U.S. Army soldiers, by rank, from general to private, and the results were not what one would expect.  Another was the vast number of horses the German army needed to conduct its war of movement, called the blitzkrieg, something one would not connect with the lightning fast war they became known for.

Question: Why is the book important to have?

Ken’s Answer: For the established military historian of the European Theater, this is work will provide the underpinnings for everything else that happened on the battlefields, in the conference rooms and on the bridges of ships. This is the book that will fill in the blanks and empty corners and answer the many questions of how and why the war was fought and why decisions were taken and who made them. This book will also assume the reader is familiar with the basic storyline of the war in Europe and as such many fundamental explanations and definitions have been omitted. However, the last third of the book is one vast reference work for what I hope will be the source of endless consultation and research, seeking answers to questions that I devoted years to discovering.

Interview Q&A’s From First Book

Why Normandy Was Won, Operation Bagration and the War In the East 1941 – 1945

How Stalin and the Russian Army Contributed to the Allied Success at Normandy

Copyright © 2010 Ostfront Publications, LLC

By Ken Weiler

 

QUESTIONS:
Click on a question to reveal Ken’s Answers:

Why did you write the book?
What’s it all about?
If this was such an import battle why haven’t we heard about this before?
Who is it written for? Is it technical? Filled with facts and figures?
Why should I read this book? Why should I buy it?

 

 

Question: Why did you write the book?

Ken’s Answer: Over the many years of reading about World War II I became interested in the European Eastern theater, in particular its Russian Front as it is more popularly known in military circles. During the 1970’s when board war games or their more formal title, conflict simulation games, were growing in popularity I became aware of how vast and important the war between Germany and its Axis allies and the Soviet Union was. However, I was unable to find much to read about it in book stores and libraries.   It was frustrating and in the pre-Internet days quick and easy access to knowledge about this part of the war was difficult. As time went on and the amount of published material on this theater continued to be slim, I was also astonished at how few American’s were aware of the war in Russia, especially the under 30 population. At about this time I also was examining the relationship between the Allied landings in Normandy and the German combat units in Russia. I knew the order of battle of the Wehrmacht, the name of the German armed forces during World War II, and the number of infantry and panzer divisions, Germany’s tank divisions, in June 1944, but of the hundreds available, why were only a fraction of them in France? Where were the rest? It was this question that triggered the writing of my book.

Question: What’s it all about?

Ken’s Answer:  In the early Spring of 1944 the western Allies had decided the preparations for the long planned landing in western Europe was nearing completion and the choice of northwestern France was made for the landing site. Even though the war for Germany had turned against them and their armies were being pushed back towards Germany, the Wehrmacht was still a very powerful and deadly force. At this same time the U.S. Marines were discovering in the Pacific, amphibious landing operations are fraught with uncertainty and risk; the smallest change in weather, location, the enemy and timing could spell tragedy. Even under ideal conditions these operations are risky. One of the more worrisome parts of the planning was how to minimize the defenses of the German defenders both on the beaches and inland. The Allies had very good knowledge of the physical defenses constructed by the Germans, the fortifications, what worried them most was the movement of defending combat units in France to the landing zones as well as the transfer of combat units, especially panzer divisions to Normandy from other parts of France, from Germany and especially the better equipped panzer units in Russia.   As most of these units were in Russia in May 1944, a means had to be found to keep them there and that’s where Operation Bagration and the Russians come into the picture.

Question: If this was such an import battle why haven’t we heard about this before?

Ken’s Answer: The battle and its consequences are pretty well understood by military historians, writers and the cognoscenti of the war in the east but even this has occurred only recently. The reasons for this are two-fold; 50 years of cold war between Russia and the West that began a few years after the war in Europe ended and the fact that very few Americans were involved in the war in the east. There was no uncle Joe or grandpa Bill that came home with stories for the grandkids of fighting in Poland or Ukraine, like they did from the Pacific or France, Italy or Germany after the war was over to make this a part of the American historical experience. Add to this the difficult post-war relations the U.S. had with Russia resulting in 50 years of adversarial cold war confrontation, an atmosphere not conducive to the exchange of historical information.

Question: Who is it written for? Is it technical? Filled with facts and figures?

Ken’s Answer: When I started out I wanted to bring to light the importance of the huge battle that was launched by the Russians on 22 June 1944 in Belorussia a few weeks after the Allied landings at Normandy on 6 June. This battle, Operation Bagration, was Stalin’s somewhat reluctant support to assist the Allied landings at Normandy, by preventing the Germans from transferring combat units from Russia to France to repel the western Allies, the reference in the subtitle of the book. Initially I was writing for the military specialist in eastern front operations, the group who was familiar with Operation Barbarossa, the code name of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, also launched on 22 June, in 1941, and the events that took place there from 1941 to 1944. It was technical, it has all sorts of minutiae that I and the specialists would be interested in and a lot of peripheral information and data that gives depth to the story. However, during the writing I decided to broaden the scope, contrary to all the advice I had received on focus, focus, focus and make it a primer on the war in Russia in general and a discussion of Operation Bagration in particular. This was my attempt to fill in the knowledge gap in the younger reading population of what went on there and why this battle was so important to the Allies and American’s in particular as well as address the conflict for the serious military historian.   Recently books have been written on specific, individual battles in Russia but none of them examine the entirety of the war in Russia, especially the connection with the Allied efforts in Normandy. I changed the style of the writing and put most of the technical and statistical information into footnotes, glossary, index, chronology and appendices that the reader could consult if and when he or she felt the need. The choice is theirs.

 
Question: Why should I read this book? Why should I buy it?

Ken’s Answer: This book is the companion work to all the books written about Operation Overlord, the code name for the Allied landings in Normandy. It is the missing link in the written history of World War II in Europe. It connects the two major fronts in Europe together and explains their importance and interdependence. However, I hasten to add that the importance of Operation Bagration and the Soviet efforts and sacrifices in no way diminishes the efforts and sacrifices made by the western Allies at Normandy, that’s stands on its own merits, this book is the rest of the military history story.

The book addresses a key component of the war in Europe during World War II, the Normandy/Russian connection. Heretofore many authors writing about the subject have written about specific battles or campaigns independent of the larger theater the battle was fought in. The two fronts have usually been addressed separately but their impact vis a vis each other is strongly linked.