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HomeworkHistory → Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa was the German attack on Russia during the Second World War. German made the attack for a number of different reasons. The Russians were allied to France and Great Britain, and therefore they may be helping each other. By taking out Russia Hitler hoped to destroy British morale and hinder its trade.

Germany wanted to conquer Russia in order to get “Lebensraum” for the German people, extra land and resources for Germany and to expand the power of Germany. Hitler completely underestimated the Russians which is shown as he said: “You have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down."

Hitler also wanted to follow in the steps of his ancestors, Charles 12th in 1708 and Napoleon in 1812, who had also made attempts at conquering the East. He failed to learn from their mistakes and this was another of the reasons he failed to capture the East. The ‘Scorched Earth’ policy made it much harder for German troops to be fed. Had Hitler not been so overconfident about finishing the war against Russia by Winter he would have been luckier. As it was the soldiers were definitely not equipped for the weather they had to face.

Because they were hoping to finish the war quickly they had to press forward and the supply lines became very long. The Russian winter moved in and many died because of it. The carts froze, the tank fuel froze, the heavy weapons stopped working. The Germans were left without weapons and aid. The Russians also moved more than 1500 factories using more than 1.5 million railway wagons and a total of 10 million workers.

Hitler had to face other problems such as illness, the paths he was travelling by turning to mud, frostbite and a cold winter wind. Hitler used the Blitzkrieg tactic whereby the German army encircled their target and forced it to surrender. In the Minsk pocket almost 300000 Russian troops and 2500 tanks were captured, however this delayed the Germans because of all the POWs.

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