You think that American soldiers defeated the evil Nazis and brought democracy to Europe? Think again, says British historian Norman Davies: Militarily, the Allies contributed less than the Soviets to the defeat of Germany. About 80 percent of German forces were lost on the Eastern Front.
The Soviets won the war in Europe in terms of replacing political systems with their own. More at Dialog International.
The Soviets also had huge casualties, which still has an influence on Russian policies: David A. Bell, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, wrote in the Los Angeles Times (and discussed on the Atlantic Review post Responding to "Al-Qaeda's Revival"):
Imagine that on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that six hours after that, there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism.