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Operation Barbarossa : Hitler's Invasion Of Rus...



Hitler received the final military plans for the invasion on 5 December 1940, which the German High Command had been working on since July 1940 under the codename "Operation Otto". Upon reviewing the plans, Hitler formally committed Germany to the invasion when he issued Führer Directive 21 on 18 December 1940, where he outlined the precise manner in which the operation was to be carried out.[82] Hitler also renamed the operation to Barbarossa in honor of medieval Emperor Friedrich I of the Holy Roman Empire, a leader of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.[83] The Barbarossa Decree, issued by Hitler on 30 March 1941, supplemented the Directive by decreeing that the war against the Soviet Union would be one of annihilation and legally sanctioned the eradication of all Communist political leaders and intellectual elites in Eastern Europe.[84] The invasion was tentatively set for May 1941, but it was delayed for over a month to allow for further preparations and possibly better weather.[85]




Operation Barbarossa : Hitler's invasion of Rus...


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After the fall of France Hitler ordered plans to be drawn up for an invasion of the Soviet Union. He intended to destroy what he saw as Stalin's 'Jewish Bolshevist' regime and establish Nazi hegemony. The conquest and enslavement of the Soviet Union's racially 'inferior' Slavic populations would be part of a grand plan of 'Germanisation' and economic exploitation lasting well beyond the expected military victory. Regardless of recent economic and political co-operation, the Soviet Union was regarded as the natural enemy of Nazi Germany and a key strategic objective.


After a five week delay while operations in Greece and Yugoslavia were completed, Operation 'Barbarossa' - named after the all-conquering Medieval Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I - was launched on 22 June 1941. Over three and a half million German and other Axis troops attacked along a 1,800-mile front. A total of 148 divisions - 80 per cent of the German Army - were committed to the enterprise. Seventeen panzer divisions, formed into four Panzer Groups, formed the vanguard with 3,400 tanks. They were supported by 2,700 aircraft of the Luftwaffe. It was the largest invasion force to date.


Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union, which was code-named Operation Barbarossa, on June 22, 1941, deliberately breaking the nonaggression pact that the two countries had signed two years before. The invasion was the largest German military operation of World War II. Battle victories came quickly throughout the rest of 1941, as Germany conquered Soviet-controlled Poland, the Baltic states, and Ukraine. A month after the invasion began, Hitler described his vision for the lands Germany would conquer from the Soviet Union:


Even before the German victories in Yugoslavia and Greece had been fullyachieved, some of the units had to be redeployed to Germany to be refitted intime for Operation BARBAROSSA. Some of the corps headquarters, GHQ units, and,above all, the mechanized divisions committed in the Yugoslav campaign wereindispensable for the start of the invasion of Russia. In some instances unitswere stopped in mid-action and redeployed to the zone of interior. Because ofthe poor roads and defective railways in the Balkans, these movements interferedwith the smooth execution of the military operations.


The considerable losses suffered by the Luftwaffe during the seizure ofCrete, especially insofar as troop carrier planes were concerned, affected thestrength of the German air power available at the start of the Russian campaign.Moreover, since the German parachute troops had been decimated in Crete, thenumber of men qualified to carry out huge-scale airborne operations at thebeginning of the invasion was insufficient.


ranean. The airborne of Crete seemed to confirm the opinion that Hitler wasbells on taking Suez by a combined air, sea, and ground operation. While theRussians were far from pleased to see the Balkans under German domination, theymust have followed the diversion of German strength with Ore it interest. Thecomplete surprise achieved by the German invasion of Russia on 22 June may bepartly attributed to the fact that the Balkan operations drew attention from thepreparations that took place in Poland during April and May 1941.


To form an unbiased opinion of the true relationship between the campaignsin the Balkans and the invasion of Russia is far from easy. German militaryauthors state that the diversion in the Balkans had hardly any influence on thecourse of the subsequent campaign, since Germany's casualties were relativelylow and the expenditure of materiel and supplies insignificant. They agree thatthe invasion of Russia might have started three weeks earlier if there had beenno Balkan campaigns. This delay of three weeks might appear of decisiveimportance considering that the sudden start of severe winter weather turned thetide when the Germans stood in front of Moscow. To them the validity of thistheory seems at least doubtful considering the fact that the German offensive inRussia in 1941 collapsed because of the conflict over the strategic conceptsthat broke out between Hitler and the Army High Command in the summer of thatyear. That controversy over the strategy to be adopted after the initialsuccesses had been achieved cost the German Army several precious weeks.Additional time and a lot of manpower were wasted by Hitler's insistence onmaking Leningrad and the Ukraine his principal objectives until he finally Greedto a drive on Moscow before the outbreak of winter. The three creeks lost by theexecution of the Balkan operations therefore seem of minor significance.


Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, began the largest and most costly campaign in military history. Its failure was a key turning point of the Second World War. The operation was planned as a Blitzkrieg to win Germany its Lebensraum in the east, and the summer of 1941 is well-known for the German army's unprecedented victories and advances. David Stahel presents a new history of Germany's summer campaign from the perspective of the two largest and most powerful Panzer groups on the Eastern front. Stahel's research provides a fundamental reassessment of Germany's war against the Soviet Union, highlighting the prodigious internal problems of the vital Panzer forces and revealing that their demise in the earliest phase of the war undermined the whole German invasion.


Admittedly, this is neither a cheap book nor a light read (it has 1,364 pages), but it remains a landmark work that no serious scholar of Operation Barbarossa can afford to ignore. As volume 4 of the semi-official German history of the war it concerns mainly German plans, operations, and occupation policies, although some sections do deal with Soviet responses as well as the early contributions of German allies to the invasion. It is the work of six German historians with generally even quality throughout, although the military chapters by Klink and Hoffmann are now somewhat dated. Overall, a work of superb scholarship.


On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies began a massive invasion of the Soviet Union named Operation Barbarossa -- some 4.5 million troops launched a surprise attack deployed from German-controlled Poland, Finland, and Romania. Hitler had long had his eye on Soviet resources. Although Germany had signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR in 1939, both sides remained suspicious of one another, and the agreement merely gave them more time to prepare for a probable war. Even so, the Soviets were unprepared for the sudden blitzkreig attacks across a border that spanned nearly 2,900 km (1,800 mi), and they suffered horrible losses. Within a single week, German forces advanced 200 miles into Soviet territory, destroyed nearly 4,000 aircraft, and killed, captured, or wounded some 600,000 Red Army troops. By December of 1941, German troops were within sight of Moscow, and they laid siege to the city. But, when the notorious Russian winter (nicknamed "General Winter") set in, German advances came to a halt. By the end of this, one of the largest, deadliest military operations in history, Germany had suffered some 775,000 casualties. More than 800,000 Soviets had been killed, and an additional 6 million Soviet soldiers had been wounded or captured. Despite massive advances, Hitler's plan to conquer the Soviet Union before winter had failed, at great cost, and that failure would prove to be a turning point in the war. (This entry is Part 6 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)


Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of Russia in June of 1941, was one of the largest and most important military operations in history. It opened the Eastern Front of World War II, one of the most brutal battlefields in military history whose effects and outcome resonated for nearly half of century.


A SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER'The best single-volume account of the Barbarossa campaign to date' Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny'A page-turning descent into Hell and back . . . this fresh and compelling account of Hitler's failed invasion of the Soviet Union should be on everyone's reading list for 2021' Dr Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire_______________________________The largest military operation in history. The turning point of the Second World War. The most important year of the twentieth century.Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of Russia in June 1941, aimed at nothing less than a war of extermination to annihilate Soviet communism, liquidate the Jews and create Lebensraum for the German master race. But it led to the destruction of the Third Reich, and was cataclysmic for Germany with millions of men killed, wounded or registered as missing in action. It was this colossal mistake -- rather than any action in Western Europe -- that lost Hitler the Second World War.Drawing on hitherto unseen archival material, including previously untranslated Russian sources, Jonathan Dimbleby puts Barbarossa in its proper place in history for the first time. From its origins in the ashes of the First World War to its impact on post-war Europe, and covering the military, political and diplomatic story from all sides, he paints a full and vivid picture of this monumental campaign whose full nature and impact has remained unexplored.Written with authority and humanity, Barbarossa is a masterwork that transforms our understanding of the Second World War and of the twentieth century._______________________________'Superb. . . stays with you long after you have finished' Henry Hemming, bestselling author of Our Man in New York'A chilling account of war at its worst' Bear Grylls 041b061a72


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