Background Information- Operation Barbarossa was the name for the German invasionof the Soviet Union during World War II.- Germany wanted to invade the Soviet Union because theyneeded more raw materials, and there was growing tensionbetween Germany and the Soviets because of a potentialcollision between Hitler and Stalin over the Balkan region.- The operation was named after Emperor FrederickBarbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire, who led the thirdcrusade in the 12th century.- It was the largest military attack of World War II.
Preparations for the Invasion- Hitler referenced an attack on the Soviet Union in MeinKampf, which worried Stalin of a possible German invasion- Stalin wanted to postpone the war with Germany so theycould prepare by building a bigger and stronger army withheavy artillery.- Hitler began placing troops near the Soviet border well beforethe attack.- Hitler ordered aerial surveillance of Russia before the attackto spy on the Russian army preparing for war.- Hitler read about Napoleons invasion of Russia and began tomake a strategy to avoid the same mistakes Napoleon made.
The Attack- Hitler attacked Leningrad and Moscow in the north, and Ukraine and to thewest of Kiev in the south, and eventually on to Stalingrad.- The attack began on June 22, 1941 with the Axis powers bombing Soviet troopsin occupied Poland.- After that, the Axis powers began the campaign on the eastern front with 3.2million German troops and hundreds of thousands of other Axis troops joiningthem in the attack against the Soviets. - The Luftwaffe spied on Soviet troop positions and they were supposed tocounter the Soviet air force.- As the Soviets retreated, they would burn down everything (factories, farms,etc.) that could help the Axis powers.- Although the Axis powers celebrated early victories, they underestimated theSoviets, and the Soviets came back with a huge counterattack, which pushedHitler out of Moscow and back 200 miles.- The best weapon that let the Soviets defeat the Axis was the harsh Russianwinter, which had forced hundreds of thousands of Axis troops to stay in Russiaduring the winter months and wait it out, which was very valuable to theSoviets.- Operation Barbarossa eventually failed and was one of the bloodiest battles inhistory.
StatisticsAxis Powers Soviet Union- 3.9 million troops - 3.2 million troops (initial)- 3,600 tanks - then 5 million more troops- 4,389 airplanes - 12-15,000 tanks- 46,000 artillery - 35-40,000 airplanes- 250,000 killed - 800,000 documented lost- 500,000 wounded troops, later estimated at 7- 25,000 missing million- 2,093 airplanes destroyed - 3 million wounded- 2,758 tanks lost - 3,300,000 captured - 21,200 airplanes lost - 20,500 tanks lost - 20 million civilians lost
Importance in WWIIOperation Barbarossa played a big role in the play-out of WWII. Thisattack on the Soviets brought them into the war on the side of theAllies. It also gave Hitler his first major blow of the war when he couldnot capture Moscow. After that, Hitler never regained his strength andultimately led to his demise. All in all, this event was very important tothe way the rest of the war played out.