The human cost of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II

The Soviet Union spanned from the Pacific across Eastern Europe. After World War II ended, they kept moving, swallowing smaller Easter European states from Poland to Albania. Nearly 17 million of its citizens, around 15%, died in the war. Although they came out winners, saving their country from the German invasion, emotional scars ran very deep.

by David Stone

for Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

grayscale photo of man holding rifle
Photo by asim alnamat on

Motivated by that fear of another invasion, they annexed a buffer zone of smaller companies, bracing against an attack from the west and setting up “The Iron Curtain.” The block lasted for decades, but in the end, it failed, nearly bankrupting the Soviet Union and causing its collapse.

The fall of the Soviet Union was a significant event in world history. It opened up new opportunities for Eastern European countries, most becoming democracies, and for the countries in the former Soviet Union that established their independent governments.

But it also brought about new challenges, such as the rise of Russian nationalism and the conflict in Ukraine. As seen in current events, the fall of the Soviet Union still has a significant impact on world politics today.

How did the Soviet Union take control of Eastern Europe?

The Soviet Union took control of Eastern Europe after World War II ended, to protect themselves from another invasion. They annexed a buffer zone of smaller countries, including Poland, Hungary, and Romania, in an attempt to create a line of defense against the West. Trust in the West has never been fully established.

Why did the Soviet Union collapse?

The Soviet Union collapsed due to several factors, including the power struggle between Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, the high cost of maintaining the empire and the rise of nationalism in the smaller countries. However, the power struggle between Gorbachev and Yeltsin eventually led to the collapse.

Yeltsin was successful in rallying the people against the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union fell apart relatively fast. This was a major event in world history, and it had a significant, ending the Cold War and seeding democracy in Russia.

Was the annexation of small countries successful?

The annexation of small countries was partially successful, but it also caused problems for the Soviet Union. The main reason for annexing these smaller companies was to protect themselves from another invasion, but this didn’t work.

Instead, it caused a power struggle within the Soviet Union that led to its collapse. Additionally, annexing these smaller countries was very expensive and threw the Soviet Union deep into debt. Overall, the annexation of small countries was a mixed success.

How did the Soviet Union fare after annexing these smaller countries?

The Soviet Union did not fare well after annexing these smaller countries. The power struggle failed as it forced them to maintain a large military presence in these countries, draining resources and adding to the country’s economic problems. Finally, the addition of these new countries increased ethnic and religious tensions within the Soviet Union, also contributing to its downfall.

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Czech countryside, once behind the Soviet’s Iron Curtain. Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on

What was the “Iron Curtain”?

The “Iron Curtain” was a term used to describe the boundary that separated the Soviet Union from the rest of Europe. This boundary was heavily militarized and guarded by the Soviet military, making it difficult to cross. The Iron Curtain served as a physical and symbolic barrier between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world, and it helped to isolate the Soviet Union from the rest of Europe.

How did the Iron Curtain countries finally get free?

The Iron Curtain countries finally got free with the fall of the Soviet Union. This collapse was largely due to the country’s economic problems, which were partly caused by the high cost of maintaining the Iron Curtain. Local opposition gradually forced out the Soviets.

What happened to the Soviet Union after it and the Iron Curtain Countries broke away?

The Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 created several new republics, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. These were, at root, separate countries sharing a common history and culture. The collapse also led to the breakup of the Soviet Union’s military and economic alliances, including the Warsaw Pact and Comecon.

This led to some military conflicts, such as the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008. Economic conditions were also difficult after the Soviet Union’s collapse, as many industries were nationalized, and there was a transition to a market economy. But by the early 2000s, the Russian economy had begun to grow again.

Are there similarities between the Soviet Union’s taking over Eastern Europe and the Ukraine Conflict?

Some commentators have drawn parallels between the Soviet Union’s actions in Eastern Europe after World War II and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Both cases involved the seizure of territory by a larger country from a smaller, weaker neighbor.


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