Ivan Konev Biography

(One of the Outstanding Soviet Generals in World War II)

Birthday: December 28, 1897 (Capricorn)

Born In: Lodeyno, Russia

Ivan Konev was one of the most celebrated military generals of the former Soviet Union, officially known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). His exploits during World War II are legendary. Before World War II, he also participated in World War I and the Russian Civil War. After World War II, he led the violent suppression of the Hungarian Revolution. He was a master in the craft of “maskirovka,” a form of Russian military deception. He commanded various fronts of the Soviet army to victory at several battles during World War II. He rose through the ranks of the army and was named the marshal of the Soviet Union. He also became the first deputy minister of defense. He was honored with the title of the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ twice.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Ivan Stepanovich Konev, Ivan Konev

Died At Age: 75


Spouse/Ex-: Antonina Vasilyeva

father: Stepan Konev

children: Geliy Konev, Maya Koneva, Natalya Koneva

Born Country: Russia

Military Leaders Russian Men

Died on: May 21, 1973

place of death: Moscow, Russia

Notable Alumni: M.V. Frunze Military Academy, Frunze Military Academy

Cause of Death: Cancer

More Facts

education: Frunze Military Academy, M.V. Frunze Military Academy

Childhood & Early Life
Ivan Stepanovich Konev was born on December 28, 1897, in Lodeyno, a village in Kirov Oblast, Russia.
He graduated from a parish school in the village of Yakovlevskaya Gora. He later studied at the ‘Nikolo-Pushemsky Zemstvo School’ in the neighboring village of Schetkino, eventually graduating in 1912.
At 15, he started working as a forester and lumberjack at Podosinovets (in Kirov Oblast) and Arkhangelsk (a city in Oblast, Russia).
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He was drafted into the ‘Imperial Russian Army’ in 1916 and was sent to Moscow, the capital of Russia, to join the ‘2nd Heavy Artillery Brigade.’ There, he successfully completed several artillery training courses.
In 1917, as a junior sergeant, he joined the ‘2nd Separate Heavy Artillery Battalion’ on the ‘Southwestern Front’ and participated in the Kerensky Offensive. The same year, he was demobilized, although the Russian Revolution broke out at the same time.
In 1918, he became a member of the ‘Bolshevik Party’ and enlisted as an artilleryman in the ‘Red Army.’ He was sent to the Russian Far Eastern Republic during the Russian Civil War.
In 1921, he actively took part in the violent suppression of the Kronstadt Rebellion.
He went to the ‘M.V. Frunze Military Academy’ and completed several advanced officer training courses in 1926.
In 1934, he became a commander and political commissar of the ‘37th Rifle Division.’
On August 16, 1936, he was honored with the ‘Order of the Red Star.’
He was made the deputy of the ‘Supreme Soviet’ in 1937. In July the following year, he became the commander of the ‘2nd Red Banner Army.’
On February 22, 1938, he was bestowed with the ‘Jubilee Medal “XX Years of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army”’ and the ‘Order of the Red Banner.’
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In 1939, he was made a candidate member of the ‘Party Central Committee.’ The following year, he was appointed as the head of the ‘Transbaikal Military District.’ In 1941, he was transferred to the ‘North Caucasus Military District,’ as its head.
In June 1941, Konev commanded the ‘19th Army’ in the Vitebsk region. He also fought the German offensive during the Second World War.
Between October 1941 and August 1942, he led the ‘Kalinin Front.’ He was also actively involved in the winter campaign of 1941–1942, a Soviet counter-offensive to defend Moscow.
Ivan was promoted to the rank of colonel-general by Joseph Stalin, the premier of the Soviet Union, as a recognition for his efforts in holding off the Germans from invading Moscow.
In the Battle of Rzhev in the summer of 1942, he commanded the ‘Kalinin Front.’ He also commanded the ‘Western Front’ until February 1943.
Between February and July 1943, he headed the ‘North-Western Front.’ From July 1943, he took charge of the ‘2nd Ukrainian Front,’ formerly known as the ‘Steppe Front,’ and continued to lead it until May 1945.
As a commander of the ‘2nd Ukrainian Front,’ he was instrumental in ensuring the strategic victory for the Soviets at the Battle of Kursk in July and August 1943. His expertise in “maskirovka,” the Russian military deception technique, played a significant role in this achievement.
After the victory at Kursk, his forces recaptured Belgorod, the administrative center of Belgorod Oblast in Russia, and the Ukrainian cities of Odessa, Kharkiv, and Kiev.
In 1943, he received the ‘Order of Kutuzov 1st Class’ twice: the first time, on April 9, 1943, and the second time, on July 28, 1943. On August 27 that year, he received the ‘Order of Suvorov’ for the first time.
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Between December 1943 and April 1944, his front was actively involved in the successful ‘Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive,’ especially at the Battle of Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket.
In February 1944, Stalin made him the marshal of the Soviet Union, as a recognition of his successful campaigns in Ukraine.
Later that year, his men moved from Ukraine and Belarus to liberate Poland and Czechoslovakia.
His campaign in the Balkans in May 1944 was not in his favor. In May 1994, he was appointed as the commander of the ‘1st Ukrainian Front.’ On May 1, 1944, he was awarded the ‘Medal “For the Defence of Moscow.”’ On May 17 that year, he received the ‘Order of Suvorov’ for the second time.
On July 29, 1944, he received the ‘Gold Star’ for the first time. He also received the title of the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and the ‘Order of Lenin.’
In September 1944, his men helped the rebels in Slovakia to overthrow the German occupants.
He was honored with the ‘Order of the Red Banner’ for the second time on November 3, 1944.
Konev’s forces liberated large parts of Poland from the Germans, including the cities of Krakow and Silesia, in January 1945.
On February 21, 1945, he was honored with the ‘Order of Lenin’ for the second time, and on March 3, 1945, he received the ‘Order of Victory.’
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In April 1945, Konev’s troops, along with Marshal Zhukov’s ‘1st Belorussian Front,’ laid siege to Berlin. Zhukov’s troops captured Berlin, as ordered by Stalin. Shortly, Konev’s front recaptured Prague.
On June 1, 1945, he received the ‘Gold Star’ and the title of the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union.’ Later, on June 9, 1945, he was awarded the ‘Medal “For the Liberation of Prague”’ and the ‘Medal “For the Capture of Berlin.”’ The same year, he was honored with the ‘Medal “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945.”’
As the war ended, Konev was made the head of the Soviet forces that occupied Eastern Germany. He was also made the ‘Allied’ high commissioner for Austria.
Between 1946 and 1950, he served as the commander of the Soviet ground forces and the first deputy minister of defense of the Soviet Union. During this period, he was bestowed with a lot of honors, such as the ‘Order of Lenin’ (for the third time) on December 27, 1947, the ‘Jubilee Medal for “30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy”’ on February 22, 1948, and the ‘Order of the Red Banner’ (for the third time), on June 20, 1949.
In 1950, he became the commander of the ‘Carpathian Military District.’
After Stalin died in 1953, Ivan’s fame soared. He became close to the new party leader, Nikita Khrushchev. He was put in charge of the trial of Lavrenty Beria, the minister of the internal affairs of the Soviet Union.
From 1953 and 1956, he again served as the commander of the Soviet ground forces and the first deputy minister of defense of the Soviet Union.
In 1956, he became the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the ‘Warsaw Pact’ and immediately subdued the Hungarian Revolution violently. He served in this role until he retired in 1960.
During this period, he was honored with the ‘Order of Lenin,’ for the fourth and fifth time, on December 18, 1956, and on December 27, 1957, respectively, and the ‘Jubilee Medal “40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR.”’
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Though he retired in 1960, he was requested again to take command of the Soviet forces in 1961. During this time, he issued a decree for closing West Berlin to East Berlin.
On December 27, 1967, he was honored with the ‘Order of Lenin’ for the sixth time. Two months later, on February 22, 1968, he received two more honors: the ‘Order of the October Revolution’ and an ‘Honorary Weapon’ (a sword inscribed with the golden national emblem of the Soviet Union). The same year, he was awarded the ‘Jubilee Medal “50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR.”’
He represented the U.S.S.R. at Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965.
In May 1968, he led a team of delegates to Czechoslovakia to attend the anniversary celebrations of the Soviet victory in World War II.
In 1969, the ministry of defense of the U.S.S.R. published Ivan’s war memoir, ‘Forty-Five.’ The book has been translated into Spanish, English, and French.
Family, Personal Life, & Death
Ivan had married twice and had fathered three children.
He passed away on May 21, 1973, at the age of 75.
He remains buried in the ‘Kremlin Wall Necropolis,’ Moscow, among other revered leaders of Russia.
A lot of monuments have been erected in Ivan’s honor, not only in Russia but also in other countries.
Many of the countries that he liberated from the Germans have awarded him with their highest honors.

See the events in life of Ivan Konev in Chronological Order

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