Operation Barbarossa Research Paper

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On June 22nd, 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union under the codename, “Operation Barbarossa”. Operation Barbarossa is the second largest military conflict in the military history. In 1939, Hitler signed a nonaggression pact with Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union’s dictator, in which they would have no military action for the next ten years. However not even two years later, Hitler ordered to invade the Soviet Union. This invasion was only suppose to last three to six months; instead it lasted for about three years. It was one of the most prudent choices Hitler has made in World War II. Operation Barbarossa was suppose to be in action on May of 1941. However, one of the German allies, Italy, decided to invade Greece and was losing badly.…show more content…
Hitler’s plan was to invade the Russian territory before the winter sets in. The commander in chief thought “that the Red Army could be defeated in two or three months” time, and by the end of October, they would have conquered the European regions of Russia (Royde-Smith). They never thought that the war would last for another three years and did not prepare for the winter that had yet to come. The ‘German planners had failed to equip their troops for winter warfare … sufficient food and medicines… [and] outran their supply lines” (Invasion of Soviet Union). By December of 1941, the Red Army had recovered a bit from the millions that was lost on the first few days of war. The Russians were trained to fight in the cold; however the Germans were not as fortunate. Approximately “100,000 cases [of frostbites] were reported by end of 1941, resulting in the amputation of nearly 15,000 limbs” for the Germans (Andrews). The harsh weather did not only cause problems to the German soldiers but also to their weapons. “Tanks and jeeps refused to start, and guns and artillery often froze and failed to fire” (Andrews). This gave the Red Army an advantage, because they were prepared to fight in the winter. The Soviet Union’s army was trained to fight through the “General Winter”, a name to describe the Russia’s coldness. Stalin also issued an order in which every soldier in the Red Army have to fight till the end. There were “special units who were positioned behind their own lines and charged with shooting any soldier who tried to flee” (Andrews). Any soldier who tried to leave was called a traitor and will be executed if they ever returned to Russia. Hitler thought the Russians were weak based off of the attempt of the invasion of Finland. Joseph Stalin, however, was a cruel dictator. On December 6th, 1941, the Russians set a major counterattack on the Germans, forcing them to move back from

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