Causes Of Operation Barbarossa

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Background
Adolf Hitler’s deep hatred of the Jews and communism, and his desire to unite the German people and showcase the superiority of the Aryan race drove him to subjugate most of Europe in order to gain “Lebensraum” or living space for the German, cleanse mankind of inferior species, and attain his vision of a Thousand Year Reich. His grand plan of conquering the whole of Europe was initially to focus German expansion in the western part before dealing with the Soviets in the east. Hence, as a matter of convenience, Germany initiated a Nonaggression Pact with Russia in 1939 to keep the Soviets in check while their military efforts are still focused in Western Europe (History in an Hour, n.d.).
Following the Soviet occupation of the Baltic
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Simultaneously 3,277 Luftwaffe combat aircraft launched a record-breaking aerial attack targeting the Soviet air force on the ground. Columns of tanks followed by motorized and regular infantry that are supported by continuing air assault also punched holes through the Red Army defenses (Mental Floss, n.d.). The lightning attack, or blitzkrieg, caught the Soviet leadership and Red Army completely by surprise.
On the first day alone, the Army Group Center’s panzer tanks penetrated 50 miles beyond the frontier. By 27 June, these tanks were already at Minsk which is 200 miles beyond the front. By mid-July the Germans had advanced more than 400 miles and were now only 200 miles from Moscow (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014). Similarly, Army Group North’s advance through the Baltic States toward Leningrad only faced weak resistance. By mid-July, its panzer divisions spearheading the attack has already reached the Luga River which is 60 miles away from Leningrad. However, Army Group South and their Romanian allies’ advance were slowed down as they faced better-equipped Soviet forces whose commanders were more aggressive in launching
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If the operation was initiated as planned on mid-May, the invading German forces could have already been much closer to their objectives when the early rainy season came. So while the muddy terrain of Russia affects movement of forces and logistics, the critical 5-weeks delay could have served as buffer if only the operation started as planned. The advance was further slowed down by the inaction during the month August, and subsequent diversion of troops in the month of September. The time wasted means further deterioration of the ground condition which secured time for the defending forces to re-organize and consolidate, and unduly exhausted the German forces and equipment. This two-month delay directly sealed the failure of the offensive due to the coming of Russian winter which froze and rendered the German weapons and equipment useless, and accounted for more than a hundred thousand German troop casualties due to frostbites. It also facilitated the Russians, who were appropriately clothed and equipped for winter fighting, to launch their counter-offensive and repel the German advance. Looking at the overall conduct of Operation Barbarossa, it was highly probable that the Germans could have succeeded in invading the Soviet Union if the operation was started in late April or mid-May as planned, and if no further changes
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