Chuikov served in the Soviet invasions of Poland (1939) and Finland (1939–1940), commanding Fourth and Ninth Armies, respectively. He was promoted to lieutenant general in June 1940 and returned to China for a third tour, serving as a military attaché beginning in December 1940. But he was recalled in March 1942 to become deputy commander and then commander of the newly formed Sixty-Fourth Army (22 July 1942). A protégé of Georgii Zhukov, Chuikov then took command of Sixty-Second Army on the west bank of the Volga at Stalingrad, which he defended at tremendous cost. His determination was a major factor in enabling the Soviets to hold until they could mount a counteroffensive.
Assigned to the Southwestern Front in March 1943, the Sixty-Second Army was redesignated the Eighth Guards Army. Chuikov led his troops in spearheading the liberation of Ukraine and Belorussia from German forces and was promoted to colonel general in October 1943. In mid-1944, Eighth Guards Army was transferred to Konstantin Rokossovsky's 1st Belorussian Front. The unit then distinguished itself in operations in eastern Poland, taking Lublin and Lodz. The Vistula-Oder operation between January and February 1945 opened the way to Berlin, and Chuikov's tanks spearheaded the final assault on Berlin in a front-wide night attack; on 2 May 1945, Chuikov's headquarters took the surrender of the German Berlin garrison on behalf of the Red Army High Command.
Chuikov was promoted to General of the Army after V-E Day and served as deputy commander and then commander of Soviet occupation forces in eastern Germany (1946–1953). Promoted to marshal of the Soviet Union in 1955, he served as commander of the Kiev Military District (1953–1960) and as commander of Soviet Ground Forces (1960–1964). He was chief of civil defense from 1961 to 1972, after which he served in the general inspectorate of the Ministry of Defense. Chuikov died in Moscow on 18 March 1982.
Claude R. Sasso
Chuikov, V. I. The End of the Third Reich. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1978.; Chuikov, V. I., and V. Ryabov. The Great Patriotic War. Moscow: Planeta Publishers, 1985.; Sasso, Claude R. "Soviet Night Operations in World War II." Leavenworth Papers, no. 6. Fort Leavenworth, KS, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1982.; Woff, Richard. "Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov." In Harold Shukman, ed., Stalin's Generals, 67–74. New York: Grove Press, 1993.; Zhukov, Georgii K. Reminiscences and Reflections. 2 vols. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1974.