4. Raising the Flag of Victory
The Race to Berlin was clearly a controversial one from within the Soviet armies. Koniev and Zhukov’s forces were supposed to be pitted against each other to establish a clear victor between them. Yet Stalin retained the top command and decided when individual groups would make their advances. This made the whole idea of competition much less objective, as it turned out during the time of raising the flag.
Despite recognizing the main objective as having been to defeat the enemy, making any viable sacrifice worth taking, the competition between the Koniev and Zhukov continued even after the Soviets had won the race.
Stalin, however, ordered Koniev to stop his men, giving the honor of raising the Red Flag over the Reichstag to Zhukov instead. Koniev had to abide by this order even though he must have felt more deserving of the honor, having come from behind his competitor Zhukov to take the lead in the race. He was later promoted by Stalin though, while Zhukov was banished by the Soviet dictator seeing him as a political threat. Zhukov had gained so much popularity and reputation across the region.