July 13, 1943 – Largest tank battle in history ends

July 13, 1943 – Largest tank battle in history ends

The Battle of Kursk, involving some 6,000 tanks, two million men, and 5,000 aircraft, ends with the German offensive repulsed by the Soviets at heavy cost.

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June 16, 1958 – Leader of Hungarian uprising executed

June 16, 1958 – Leader of Hungarian uprising executed

Imre Nagy, a former Hungarian premier and symbol of the nation’s 1956 uprising against Soviet rule, is hanged for treason by his country’s communist authorities.

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May 17, 1990 – Gorbachev meets with Lithuanian prime minister

May 17, 1990 – Gorbachev meets with Lithuanian prime minister

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meets with Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene in an effort to settle differences arising from Lithuania’s recent proclamation of independence from the Soviet Union.

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December 31, 1944 – Hungary declares war on Germany

December 31, 1944 – Hungary declares war on Germany

On this day, the provisional government of Hungary officially declares war on Germany, bringing an end to Hungary’s cooperation—sometimes free, sometimes coerced—with the Axis power.

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December 25, 1991 – Gorbachev resigns as president of the USSR

December 25, 1991 – Gorbachev resigns as president of the USSR

In truth, there was not much of a Soviet Union from which to resign–just four days earlier, 11 of the former Soviet republics had established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), effectively dismembering the USSR.

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December 24, 1979 – Soviet tanks roll into Afghanistan

Resistance fighters, called mujahidin, saw the Christian or atheist Soviets controlling Afghanistan as a defilement of Islam as well as of their traditional culture. Proclaiming a “jihad” (holy war), they gained the support of the Islamic world.

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