Zhukov, Georgi Konstantinovich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Zhukov, Georgi Konstantinovich

Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov (gēôr´gē kənstəntyē´nəvĬch zhōō´kôf), 1896–1974, Soviet marshal. He fought in the October Revolution (1917) and in the civil war (1918–20), which brought the Bolsheviks to power, and saw action against the Japanese on the Manchurian border (1938–39) and in the Finnish-Russian War. Promoted to full general in 1940, he was briefly (1941) chief of the general staff. In Oct., 1941, he replaced Semyon Timoshenko as commander of the central front and conducted the defense of Moscow. Made commander (1942) on the southwestern front, Zhukov defeated the Germans at Stalingrad (1943) and, with Marshal Voroshilov, lifted the siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg). He led the offensive of 1944 and the final assault on Germany in 1945, capturing Berlin (April) and becoming commander of the Soviet occupation zone in Germany. In 1946 Zhukov received command of the Soviet ground forces, but in 1947 he was demoted to command the Odessa military district. After Stalin's death, Zhukov became deputy defense minister (1953) and defense minister (1955). He supported Nikita Khrushchev against the "antiparty faction" that tried to oust him in 1957, and was named (June, 1957) a full member of the central committee of the Communist party. In Oct.,1957, he was relieved of his ministry and dropped from the central committee by Khrushchev. After Khrushchev was deposed (1964) Zhukov appeared in public again.

See his memoirs (tr. 1971); biographies by O. P. Chaney, Jr. (1971) and G. Roberts (2012); J. Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad (1975) and The Road to Berlin (1983); D. M. Glantz, Zhukov's Greatest Defeat (1999).

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