Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky
(; 23 November 1898 — 31 March 1967) was a Soviet
military commander in World War II
and Defense Minister of the Soviet Union
in the late 1950s and 1960s. He contributed to the major defeat of Nazi Germany
at the Battle of Stalingrad
and the Battle of Budapest
. During the post-war era he made a pivotal contribution to the strengthening of the Soviet Union as a military superpower
Before and during World War I
Born in Odessa
, some historians believe that Malinovsky's father was of Crimean Karaite
descent. In search for a livelihood, after his father was killed, his Catholic mother left the city for the rural areas of Ukraine
, and married. Her husband, a poverty-stricken Ukrainian
peasant, refused to adopt her son and expelled him when Malinovsky was only 13 years old. The homeless boy survived by working as a farm-hand, and eventually received shelter from his aunt's family in Odessa, where he worked as an errand boy in a general store. He was known to have brilliant courage and resiliency.
After the start of the World War I
in July 1914, Malinovsky, who was only 15 years old at the time (too young for military service), hid on the military train heading for the German......