The great prize for the Soviet Union in defeating the Germans at Kursk was the gaining of the strategic initiative. After Kursk there were no further German offensives in the East. From the launching of the counter offensives that eliminated the limited gains the Germans had made in the salient by the end of July, the Soviets sustained an advance against the Wehrmacht that did not end until the Red Flag was hoisted over the Reichstag, in Berlin, in May 1945. There can he no doubting the fact that the German Army inflicted very heavy losses on the Red Army during “Citadel” Soviet tank strength after the battle was down by 50 per cent. Set against the balance sheet of strategic gains and losses, they were the price that Stalin and Zhukov were prepared and expected to pay for the destruction of the German armoured forces. Soviet estimates of German losses were far higher than those given by German sources. While this was not surprising, given that each side had its own axe to grind, the Germans did acknowledge the fact that their losses at Kursk had a decisive impact on the outcome of the war in the East. As the war in the East was the decisive theatre of operations in the European War as a whole, it follows that at Kursk the Germans sustained the defeat that lost them the war. Since the battle there has been a tendency for Kursk to be explained away as a German defeat rather than a Soviet victory. While this view can be accounted for partly by the manner in which `cold war' perceptions have influenced historical judgements, it is nevertheless a demeaning and false analysis. In all the factors that determined the outcome of the battle, the Soviets held the upper hand. It was they who dictated the battlefield and the nature and form of the battle. While it is true that mistakes were made during the course of the battle they admitted as much themselves in post-war accounts the Red Army were nevertheless moving very quickly up the learning curve. In the end, the most pertinent observation concerning the outcome of “die Blutmuhle von Belgorod” was that made by Hoth to von Manstein: 'The Russians have learnt a lot since 1941. They are no longer peasants with simple minds. They have learnt the art of war from us.