Operation Barbarossa

Essay by bAdbOy_muhammadA+, May 2004

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Hitler began planning an attack on the Soviet Union in mid-1940 and signed the directive for Operation Barbarossa in December. Stalin, refusing to believe the worst, disregarded abundant messages from his intelligence services about an impending aggression. When Germany finally invaded, on June 22, 1941, it came as a tactical surprise and caught the Red Army, already weakened by Stalin's purges, at a terrible disadvantage.

Why did Hitler invade the USSR?

Hitler was arrogant. He had signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Stalin, which meant that Germany could invade Poland safely in 1939. So why did he invade the USSR? Well, one likely reason was that he failed to win the Battle of Britain, so decided to turn his attention elsewhere. Also, two of Hitler's central aims were to defeat Communism and to use the land in the USSR as living space for the Germans. Hitler had also believed that the Soviet people would welcome him with open arms as he would be liberating them from Communism.

He had thought that he would win because most of the Soviet equipment was believed to be out of date and thought that it would be over very swiftly.

What were the Dangers he faced?

The dangers that Hitler faced were that if the USSR held out and showed resistance Germany could face war on two war fronts and he definitely did not want that. He had also known that there was a danger of the Soviet armies retreating deep into Russia and forcing the German armies to follow. This would make it almost impossible to get supplies to the German army. This had previously happened to the French Emperor Napoleon in 1812, and his army was wiped out by the freezing Russia. To avoid this he planned to surround the Soviet armies...