Zhukov, Georgi Konstantinovich (1896–1974), a Russian army officer. With overall command of the Soviet army during World War II, he played a major role in the defeat of Germany. Zhukov was in direct command of the forces that repelled the German attacks on Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Moscow, and Stalingrad (Volgograd) and that captured Berlin. He was a harsh commander who demanded absolute obedience to his orders.
Zhukov served in the czar's army in World War I and was decorated for bravery. In the civil war that followed the Russian Revolution in 1917, he served in the Bolsheviks' Red Army. He advanced rapidly in rank during the 1930's, becoming chief of staff in 1941 and marshal of the Soviet Union in 1943.
Zhukov fell out of favor with Stalin after the war, and was given only minor commands. In 1953, following Stalin's death, he was restored to favor and was named deputy defense minister. In 1955 he became defense minister. In 1957 Premier Khrushchev, distrustful of Zhukov's growing power, forced him into retirement.
Zhukov presented an unfavorable view of Stalin in Marshal Zhukov's Greatest Battles (1969), but Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov (1971) was less critical.