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An introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany

He became acutely suspicious of the intentions of the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalinand he began to feel that he could not afford to wait to complete the subjugation of western Europe, as he had originally planned, before dealing with the Soviet Union. Hitler and his generals had an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany scheduled the invasion of the U. Nevertheless, Hitler and the heads of the Oberkommando des Heeres OKH, or German Army High Command —namely, the army commander in chief, Walther von Brauchitschand the army general staff chief, Franz Halder—were convinced that the Red Army could be defeated in two or three months and that by the end of October the Germans would have conquered the whole European part of Russia and Ukraine west of a line stretching from Arkhangelsk Archangel an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany Astrakhan.

The invasion of the Soviet Union was originally given the code name Operation Fritz, but as preparations began, Hitler renamed it Operation Barbarossa, after Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa reigned 1152—90who sought to establish German predominance in Europe.

For the campaign against the Soviet Union, the Germans allotted almost 150 divisions containing a total of about three million men. Among those units were 19 panzer divisions, and in total the Barbarossa force had about 3,000 tanks, 7,000 artillery pieces, and 2,500 aircraft.

It was in effect the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history. The Soviet Union had twice or perhaps three times the number of both tanks and aircraft as the Germans had, but their aircraft were mostly obsolete.

The Soviet-German War 1941 - 1945

The Soviet tanks were about equal to those of the Germans, however. The Germans correctly estimated that there were about 150 divisions in the western parts of the U. But the Soviets actually brought up more than 200 fresh an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany by the middle of Augustmaking a total of 360. The consequence was that, though the Germans succeeded in shattering the original Soviet armies by superior technique, they then found their path blocked by fresh ones.

The effects of the an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany were increased because much of August was wasted while Hitler and his advisers were having long arguments as to what course they should follow after their initial victories. Initial offensive On June 22, 1941, the German offensive was launched by three army groups under the same commanders as in the invasion of France in 1940.

On the left northan army group under Gen. On the right southanother army group, under Gen. Gerd von Rundstedtwith an armoured group under Gen. Paul Ludwig von Kleistadvanced from southern Poland into Ukraine against Kiev, whence it was to wheel southeastward to the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Last, in the centre, north of the Pripet Marshesthe main blow was delivered by Gen.

Heinz Guderian and another under Gen.

Operation Barbarossa

Hermann Hoth, thrusting northeastward at Smolensk and Moscow. Newsreel about the mobilization of the Soviet people upon invasion by Germany, 1941. Stock footage courtesy The WPA Film Library The invasion along a 1,800-mile 2,900-km front took the Soviet leadership completely by surprise and caught the Red Army in an unprepared and partially demobilized state. The Soviet armies were clumsily handled and frittered their tank strength away in piecemeal action like that of the An introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany in 1940.

But the isolated Soviet troops fought with a stubbornness that the French had not shown, and their resistance imposed a brake by continuing to block road centres long after the German tide had swept past them.

By mid-July, moreover, a series of rainstorms were turning the sandy Russian roads into clogging mud, over which the wheeled vehicles of the German transport behind the tanks could make only very slow progress. The Germans also began to be hampered by the scorched-earth policy adopted by the retreating Soviets.

The Soviet troops burned crops, destroyed bridges, and evacuated factories in the face of the German advance. Entire steel and munitions plants in the westernmost portions of the U.

The Soviets also destroyed or evacuated most of their rolling stock railroad cars an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany, thus depriving the Germans of the use of the Soviet rail system, since Soviet railroad track was of a gauge different an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany that of German track and German rolling stock was consequently useless on it.

In June 1941, German armoured divisions roll deep into the Soviet Union, but by winter they find their supply lines stretched thin and the Soviets determined to fight. From The Second World War: Nevertheless, by mid-July the Germans had advanced more than 400 miles 640 km and were only 200 miles 320 km from Moscow. They still had ample time to make decisive gains before the onset of winter, but they lost the opportunity, primarily because of arguments throughout August between Hitler and the OKH about the destination of the next thrusts thence.

German tanks in the Soviet Union preparing for an attack as part of Operation Barbarossa, July 21, 1941. AP In Ukraine, meanwhile, Rundstedt and Kleist had made short work of the foremost Soviet defenses, stronger though the latter had been. Kleist was then ordered to wheel northward from central Ukraine and Guderian southward from Smolensk for a pincer movement around the Soviet forces behind Kiev; by the end of September the claws of the encircling movement had caught 520,000 men. These gigantic encirclements were partly the fault of inept Soviet high commanders and partly the fault of Stalin, who as an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany in chief stubbornly overrode the advice of his generals and ordered his armies to stand and fight instead of allowing them to retreat eastward and regroup in preparation for a counteroffensive.

He ordered Rundstedt and Kleist, however, to press on from the Dnieper toward the Don and the Caucasus. Bock, meanwhile, was to resume the advance on Moscow. That left the Germans momentarily with an almost clear path to Moscow. Some of the German generals wanted to break off the offensive and to take up a suitable an introduction to the history of operation barbarossa in germany line. But Bock wanted to press on, believing that the Soviets were on the verge of collapse, while Brauchitsch and Halder tended to agree with his view.

The temptation of Moscow, now so close in front of their eyes, was too great for any of the topmost leaders to resist. On December 2 a further effort was launched, and some German detachments penetrated into the suburbs of Moscow; however, the advance as a whole was held up in the forests covering the capital.

The stemming of this last phase of the great German offensive was partly due to the effects of the Russian winter, the subzero temperatures of which were the most severe in several decades. The Soviets, by contrast, were well clad and tended to fight more effectively in winter than did the Germans. By this time German casualties had mounted to levels that were unheard of in the campaigns against France and the Balkans; by November the Germans had suffered about 730,000 casualties.

Stalin addressing Soviet troopsSoviet leader Joseph Stalin addressing troops in Red Square, in Moscow, on November 7, 1941, urging them to fight heroically to liberate land taken by the German army. Rundstedt, seeing the place to be untenablewanted to evacuate it but was overruled by Hitler.

A Soviet counteroffensive recaptured Rostov on November 28, and Rundstedt was relieved of his command four days later. Levies of Siberian troops, who were extremely effective fighters in cold weather, were used for these offensives. There followed a blow at the German left, in the Velikiye Luki sector, and the counteroffensive, which soon took the form of a triple convergence toward Smolensk, was sustained throughout the winter of 1941—42.

Operation Barbarossa had begun to miscarry in August 1941, and its failure was patent when the Soviet counteroffensive started. Although the Red Army experienced greater losses than the Germans during the campaign, the inability of German forces to defeat the Soviet Union marked a significant setback for the German military effort.