The Great Commanders: Georgi Zhukov | PBS America

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The Great Commanders: Georgi Zhukov - premieres 9pm, Wednesday 4 June on PBS America (Sky 534 & Virgin Media 243)

Narrated by Brian Cox, Phil Grabsky's documentary series concludes with the story of Georgi Zhukov, who is acknowledged as one of the greatest commanders of the twentieth century.

Born in 1896, Zhukov served as an officer in the Russian Imperial Army during World War One. Following the October Revolution of 1917, Zhukov joined the Bolshevik Red Army, later serving with distinction in the undeclared war between Russia and the Japanese-controlled state of Manchukuo. After the outbreak of World War Two, Zhukov, now promoted to Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army, correctly foresaw that Hitler would break the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact. After the German invasion of Russia began in June 1941, Zhukov was instrumental in turning the tide, halting the Nazis' advance short of Moscow and inflicting a decisive defeat on the enemy at Stalingrad. As the Germans were forced to retreat, Zhukov's armies spearheaded the advance across Poland and into Germany, culminating in the Battle for Berlin of April 1945 which saw Russian troops take control of the city, albeit with much loss of life on both sides. Feted across the country as a man who never lost a battle, Zhukov was both literally and metaphorically a Hero Of The Soviet Union.