Minsk is the capital and largest city in Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers.
In its history, Minsk has been a provincial city within the principality of Polotsk, a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a city in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and a Russian city. From 1919–1991, Minsk was the capital of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union.
Minsk in The Hot War
Minsk was one of several cities in the Soviet sphere of influence the United States bombed with ordinary explosives on the night of 24 February 1951, during World War III. In early March, it suffered significant damage from an atomic bomb. Even after the war ended, Minsk remained a wreck.
In late April, Boris Gribkov flew his Tu-4 over Minsk as part of an indirect route to A-bomb Bordeaux. He was concerned that MiG-15s might attack him, confusing his aircraft for an American B-29 on another bombing run, but he passed over the city without harm or challenge.
Minsk in Southern Victory
Minsk in The War That Came Early
Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union. Given its location, it was a frequent target of aerial attacks early in the Second World War. In 1939, the Soviet government reported Polish bombers launched a successful raid on Minsk. It also claimed that German planes were observed during the attack. (Privately, Soviet pilot Sergei Yaroslavsky doubted that, as he and his squad were socked in due to the overcast conditions not far from Minsk; it would be impossible for observers on the ground to see much of anything. His train of thought continued until he wondered whether the attack had happened at all.)
By 1940, however, combined Polish and German forces had advanced to, and occupied, Minsk.