New York: Frank Cass Publishers, 2004. — 321 p.The territory of Belorussia has been a theater of military operations many times in past wars (for example, in 1812, 1915–17, and 1918–20). It was also an arena of active operations from 1941–43 during the Great Patriotic War. Red Army operations on the Belorussian strategic axis in the summer of 1944, however, surpassed all previous operations in terms of scope, tempos, and in the quantity of participating forces and combat equipment. The Red Army’s decisive success in 1944 and the expulsion of the enemy from the confines of the Soviet Union were conditioned by a number of shattering blows delivered by the Red Army against the German-fascist forces and the forces of the vassals of Hitler’s Germany. One of the most important was the fifth blow executed by the Red Army in Belorussia in the summer of 1944. Here, Soviet forces won an outstanding victory of great strategic import: German Army Group Center, consisting of three armies, was defeated, and it became possible for our forces to advance to a great depth. In a speech dated 6 November 19 44, Comrade Stalin defined the significance of this outstanding operation as follows: The fifth blow was inflicted on the Germans in June-July of this year, when the Red Army utterly defeated German forces at Vitebsk, Bobruisk, and Mogilev, and completed this blow with the encirclement of 30 German divisions at Minsk. As a result of this blow, our forces completely liberated the Belorussian Soviet Republic; reached the Vistula and liberated a considerable portion of Poland, our ally; reached the Neman and liberated a large part of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic; and forced the Neman and reached the German border.
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