During the Second World War, the front passed the whole of the Ukrainian territory twice. Through Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country, the front passed by four times.
During the Second World War, Ukraine lost more people than the combined losses of Great Britain, Canada, Poland, the USA and France. The total Ukrainian losses during the war are an estimated 8.1 million lives. The number of Ukrainian victims can be compared to the modern population of Austria.
The Ukrainians in the western Carpathian regions were the first during the interwar period, who in March 1939 did not wait for the annexation of their region by foreign powers but stood up with arms for their freedom against the aggression of foreign countries.
From 1 September 1939 onwards, the German Luftwaffe bombed Galicia and Volyn.
Ukrainians became cannon fodder for two dictators – Hitler and Stalin. Every third man in the Red Army was lost (compared to every 20th in the British army). The reason for this terrible situation was simple – Stalin did not count the losses because, as he said: “Women can give birth to more children!”
The victims of this clash of two totalitarianisms were both the military and civilian Ukrainians, the area between the Carpathians and the Don River became known as the “Bloodlands.” That was the price Ukrainians paid for a lack of their own independent state.
The Ukrainians fought against Hitler and his allies in the Polish, Soviet, Canadian and French armies along with those of the American and Czechoslovakian and in the European, African and Asian theatres of war and on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Ukrainian Alexei Berest was one of those who put the Soviet flag on the Reichstag in Berlin, Ukrainian Michael Strank – was one of the American Marines who raised the American flag at Iwo Jima. But only one army formation fought under the Ukrainian flag during the war – the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
Second World War Losses according to the United Nations:
USSR - 26 600 000
Russian Federation - 14 000 000
Ukraine 8 000 000 – 10 000 000
Others - 4 600 000
China – 15 000 000
Poland – 6 000 000
Yugoslavia - 1 100 000
France – 550 000
Great Britain – 450 000
USA – 420 000
Czechoslovakia - 325 000
Netherlands - 300 000
Canada – 45 000