Promoted to major general in May 1938 and to lieutenant general in June 1940, Sokolovsky was deputy chief of the General Staff in February 1941. In midsummer 1941 he became chief of staff of the Western Front, which was responsible for the defense of Moscow. Promoted to colonel general in June 1942, he commanded the Western Front in February 1943. He fought in the Battle of Kursk of July 1943 and was promoted to general of the army in August. As chief of staff of Marshal Georgii Zhukov's First Ukrainian Front beginning in April 1944, he alternated between duties in the field and in Moscow. In the last month of the war, Sokolovsky was deputy commander of the 1st Belorussian Front in the capture of Berlin.
After the war, Sokolovsky was deputy to Zhukov as commander of the Soviet occupation forces in Germany and governor of the Soviet zone of Berlin. Promoted to marshal in 1946, he commanded Soviet occupation forces in Germany from 1946 to 1949. He then became first deputy minister of war and then chief of the General Staff from 1952 to 1960. His final assignment was as general inspector and head of a group working to formulate Soviet nuclear war strategy, published as Soviet Military Strategy in 1962. Sokolovsky died in Moscow on 10 May 1968.
Spencer C. Tucker
Glantz, David M., and Jonathan M. House. The Battle of Kursk. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999.; Seaton, Albert, and Joan Seaton. The Soviet Army: 1918 to the Present. New York: New American Library, 1987.; Sokolovsky, Vasily Danilovich. Military Strategy: Soviet Doctrine and Concepts. New York: Praeger, 1963.; Werth, Alexander. Russia at War, 1941–1945. New York: Dutton, 1964.