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1944

Soviet General Konev establishes a new western border for the USSR

On this day in 1944, General Ivan Konev, one of the Soviet Union’s most outstanding officers, pursues an offensive against 40,000 German soldiers to capture the East Galician city of Lvov. When the battle was over, 30,000 Germans were dead, and the USSR had a new western border.

Joseph Stalin had declared that he wanted the western border of the Soviet Union to be pushed back across the River Bug, territory that was part of prewar Poland, but was now occupied German territory. General Konev, who had led the first offensive against the Germans when they invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 (and who had created the “Konev ambush,” a strategy by which troops retreat from the center of a battle area, only to allow troops from the flanks to close into the breach, used to defeat German General Heinz Guderian’s tank offensive against Moscow), led the Red Army’s new attack westward. He encircled 40,000 German soldiers in the town of Brody. After seven days, 30,000 German soldiers were dead, and Lvov was Soviet-occupied territory and would remain a part of the new postwar Soviet map.

General Konev would go on to cross Poland into Germany and, meeting up with U.S. and other Soviet forces, enter Berlin to see the final downfall of the Axis power.

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