Vasilievsky, Marshal Alexander, 1895-1977

Vasilievsky served as Chief of General Staff for most of the war, took part in all major planning conferences and was responsible for co-ordinating the operations of many different fronts and strategic flanks. In the 1930s he held a number of different posts in the Commissariat of Defense. From 1941-42 he was Deputy Chief of Operations Control and then Chief of General Staff, USSR Armed Forces. His masterpiece was probably his co-ordinating of the three different fronts which participated in the Stalingrad offensive of November 1942, which he planned with ZHUKHOV and VORONOV. At Kursk, in July 1943, Vasilievsky with Zhukov personally supervised the Red Army preparations and the building of the defensive fortifications at the Kursk salient. He also vetoed the suggestion of VATUTIN and KHRUSHCHEV that the Russians should take the first offensive. He claimed that the Germans should be made to attack first and wear themselves out.

Vasilievsky had a major role in the final Russian offensive against Germany. From 1944 he was in charge of co-ordinating the operations of the 2nd and 3rd Fronts in East Prussia and Belorussia and organized the final advance from Warsaw to Berlin. He was in constant contact with STALIN throughout this period, especially through his representative in Moscow, ANTONOV. In March 1945 when front Commander CHERNYAKHOVSKY was killed in action, Vasilievsky took over his command and led the East Prussian campaign himself. Vasilievsky also took Stalin’s place in Moscow when the latter was at the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

After the European war was over Vasilievsky was posted to the Far Eastern Front as Commander in Chief. He led his troops across the Manchurian border on the day the second atom bomb was dropped and led a vigorous and fast moving campaign.

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