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The War in Ukraine — Ukraine and the Second World War (1939-1945)

A guide to better understanding the current crisis


Ukraine was one of the most devastated areas in Europe during the Second World War. It was a principal battleground on the Eastern Front and endured years of occupation, privation, and death. While it is difficult to determine accurate totals, Michael Haynes has estimated that the total number of deaths in the Soviet Union during the Second World War range from a staggering 26.6 million to 42.7 million (1). With Ukraine landing in the middle of the fighting, the number of casualties are well into the multiple millions, with over 1.5 million coming from the Jewish population murdered in the Holocaust by the Nazis and their allies and collaborators (2).  

For brief account of Ukraine during the Second World War, navigate to the section on "History of Ukraine," beginning on page 189 and ending on page 190, from:

Kubijovyč, Volodymyr, ed. “H.” In Encyclopedia of Ukraine: Volume II: G-K, 108–293. University of Toronto Press, 1988.

And navigate to the section on "World wars," beginning on page 724 and ending on page 728, from: 

Struk, Danylo Husar, ed. “W.” In Encyclopedia of Ukraine: Volume V: St-Z, 677–732. University of Toronto Press, 1993.

For the Holocaust in Ukraine, see:

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Online Exhibition: The Holocaust in Ukraine.” Accessed March 15, 2022.


(1) Michael Haynes, “Counting Soviet Deaths in the Great Patriotic War: A Note,” Europe-Asia Studies 55, no. 2 (March 2003): 303–9,

(2) “The ‘Holocaust by Bullets’ in Ukraine,” The National WWII Museum | New Orleans, accessed March 15, 2022,