Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa

The German invasion was divided into 3 army groups;
1. Army Group North; went to Leningrad and surrounded it for 900 days. The people of Leningrad suffered terribly from the cold and hunger. Over one million of them died during the siege but they held out and in the end the Germans gave up.
2. Army Group Centre; reached Moscow in December 1941. the Germans were not prepared for the winter and when the cold set in many German soldiers died from frostbite.
3. Army Group South- was set to capture Russian oilfields near the black sea but the city of Stalingrad stood in the way.

Why Hitler wanted to invade Russia

Hitler broke the Nazi-Soviet Pact (1939) when he invaded Russia because; 1. Germany needed vital oil supplies to keep its war machine going. The Soviet Union had a large supply of oil. 2. Hitler had always wanted to extend Germanys border eastward to create Lebensraum for his German master race. 3. Hitler hated Communism and made no secret of his wish to destroy the worlds only Communist Country, Russia. Stalin believed Hitler would not break the Nazi-Soviet Pact  and ignored warnings of Hitler’s plans. On 22nd of June 1941 3 million German soldiers invaded Russia. The Red Army (Russian Army) actually outnumbered the Germans but they were very disorganised and were poorly led. The Germans were very successful and captured millions of Soviet soldiers.

Attack on the USSR-Operation Barbarossa

After his failure to capture Britain, Hitler turned his attention to the USSR. He saw the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact as temporary measure (as did Stalin). He dreamed of an empire in the east populated by German settlers. He had not lost his hatred of communism and felt the time was right for the destruction of the Soviet Union. When the USSR attacked Finland in the Winter of  1939, the Red Army had preformed poorly, convincing Hitler and most of his generals that an invasion would be successful. The attack, codenamed Operation Barbarossa was intended for the spring of 1941 but was delayed by the German invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia. On the 22 of June 1941 over 3 million soldiers supported by 3,500 tanks  and 2,500 planes unleashed blitzkrieg warfare on the soviets. Although warned by numerous sources, Stalin refused to believe that the Germans would invade and the Russians were caught by surprise.