Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Kiev, Ukraine
While the conflict between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front during World War II were part of the larger narrative of the war, they also took on a singular identity as a private war unto themselves. The tellingly-named Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Ukraine tells the story of this portion of the war via hundreds of thousands of exhibits and an undeniably Soviet sense of design.
One of the Ukraine’s largest museums, commemorating a patriotic perspective of World War II between the Soviet Union and Germany. The museum – containing more than 300,000 exhibits – and related memorials cover approximately 25 acres on a hill overlooking the Dnieper River near the heart of Kiev.
The cool, quiet halls are a somber testament to the gravity of the conflict, with a plethora of armaments (both Russian and German), equipment, artwork, models, and propaganda. A bewildering promenade of sculptures surrounding the museum depict the defense of the Soviet border from the 1941 German invasion, resulting occupation, resistance, and the epic 1943 Battle of the Dnieper and Battle of Kiev, one of the war’s largest operations involving more than four million combatants. Nearby is the iconic, 62-meter tall Motherland statue, one of the best recognized landmarks of Kiev.
The world is has no shortage of museums devoted to the military actions of the second World War, but rarely has such a collection so singularly told the story of their fighting men.