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Operation Barbarossa- Nazi blitzkreig against the Soviet Union

Barry Kennedy

on 23 April 2012

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Transcript of Barbarossa

Double click anywhere & add an idea Prelude: 1940-1941

•Few expected the non-aggresion Treaty of 1939 to last long.
•Hitler had always planned to destroy the USSR [Russia] and Colonize it with Germans.
•He called this ‘lebensarum’ or living space in his book ‘mein kampf’

•On September 17 '40, Hitler signed Directive Number 21, better known as Operation Barbarossa .
• "The German armed forces must be ready by May 1941 to defeat the Soviet Union by means of blitzkreig.“ Hitler’s 1st Mistake
•In Hitler’s decision to invade the USSR before defeating Britain….
he is making the same error as Kaiser Wilhem II [in wwi]- opening a war on 2 Fronts. Operation Barbarossa

•Hitler began planning Operation Barbarossa—a 6 week campaign to defeat Russia.
• He prepared the largest military force ever seen. The 117 ground divisions held a 1000 mile front. The Luftwaffe (Air Force) sent four of its five air fleets. The Strategy

•The Nazi plan sent 3 Armies- ‘North’ to Leningrad ,‘South’ to Stalingrad & the Soviets food and oil, and ‘Center’ to Moscow- the Soviet capital city. The Attack- Blitzkreig phase 1 – Stuka attack

•The violence of the German assault succeeded beyond all expectations…
•The Red Airforce was obliterated on the ground by the sneak ‘Stuka’ attacks.
• 2000 [out of 7 700] Soviet planes were destroyed in the first day of the invasion. Blitzkreig phase 2- Panzer attack

•The ‘Panzer divsions ripped through the Soviet forward lines and
destroyed entire Red Army groups, hundreds of miles into Russia
•The USSR had an astounding 6000 tanks in 1941
•They lost 4 500 . Blitzkreig phase 3- Infantry attack

•The German infantry collected over 2 million prisoners by July ,1941.
•Germany assumed it had won [in 2 weeks!]
• Stalin disappeared for this period. Some contend he suffered a nervous breakdown. He emerged and addressed the nation on July 3, 1941. Hitler’s 2nd Mistake- Changing the Plan

•With nothing to stop Germany from taking Moscow, Hitler chose to stop this army by sending its Panzers to assist the South army.
•When the panzers returned and the push to Moscow resumed it was September.
•The Centre Army still had time to take Moscow unless. ... winter came early which it did.
•The German Army was not equipped to fight a winter war.
•By December 6, the Germans were in the Moscow suburbs when Soviet forces from Siberia counter-attacked with a fresh, winter army and forced the Germans to retreat 100 miles. Hitler issued a 'no retreat' order and both sides dug in for the winter. 1942 Stalingrad

•When winter ended, Hitler decided to win the war by taking Stalingrad [in the south] and cut off the Soviet oil supply.
•This would be the sight of the turning point of WW2.

•By August ’42 Germany’s best army - the 6th Army- had blitzed into Stalingrad where it bogged down in bitter streetfighting •The fighting was house to house- fighting that the German army was not designed for
•By October the Germans were in control of 90 per cent of the city when..
•The Soviets launched a surprise counter attack which encircled the entire 6th Army.
•Trapped in Stalingrad Hitler ordered von Paulus to fight to the death.

The Surrender June 22nd, 1941: Beginning of OPERATION BARBAROSSA, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. At 3:15 a.m. CET, German, Rumanian and Finnish forces comprising 183 divisions (3,500,000 men), 3,350 tanks, 7,184 guns and 1,945 aircraft launch the biggest military operation in history on an 1,800-mile front from 'Finland to the Black Sea' (title of the German Army campaign song). Three army groups supported by powerful Panzer armies and Luftwaffe bomber fleets, Heeresgruppe Süd (von Rundstedt) with Panzergruppe 1 (von Kleist), Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) with Panzergruppen 2 (Guderian) and 3 (Hoth), and Heeresgruppe Nord (von Leeb) with Panzergruppe 4 (Hoepner) go into action against 132 Soviet divisions (2,500,000 men), 20,000 tanks and 7,700 aircraft. The overall objective of the campaign is to destroy the Soviet forces in western Russia by fall and to occupy the European part of the Soviet Union up to the line Archangelsk - Urals - Volga - Astrachan. In the first few hours of the attack, the Luftwaffe destroys 1,500 Soviet aircraft on the ground at 60 airfields and 300 in the air. The Red Army forces along the border seem unprepared for the assault and offer only limited resistance. At London, Winston Churchill announces Britain's support for the Soviet Union, thus making the Bolshevik state her much-needed ally. The Surrender

•Von Paulus instead surrendered to General Chuikov on Februray 3, 1943.
•250 000 Germans died in Stalingrad.
250 000 became POW’s in Soviet ‘gulags’ [slave labor camps].
• only 5 000 men returned after the war. "...If new territory were to be acquired in Europe it must have been mainly at Russia's cost, and once again the new German Empire should have set out on its march along the same road as was formerly trodden by the Teutonic Knights, this time to acquire soil for the German plough by means of the German sword and thus provide the nation with its daily bread.
For such a policy, however, there was only one possible ally in Europe. That was England.
Only by alliance with England was it possible to safeguard the rear of the new German crusade."

Adolf Hitler, 'Mein Kampf Therefore we National Socialists have purposely drawn a line through the line of conduct followed by pre-War Germany in foreign policy. We put an end to the perpetual Germanic march towards the South and West of Europe and turn our eyes towards the lands of the East. We finally put a stop to the colonial and trade policy of pre-War times and pass over to the territorial policy of the future.
But when we speak of new territory in Europe to-day we must principally think of Russia and the border States subject to her.
Destiny itself seems to wish to point out the way for us here. In delivering Russia over to Bolshevism, Fate robbed the Russian people of that intellectual class which had once created the Russian State and were the guarantee of its existence. For the Russian State was not organized by the constructive political talent of the Slav element in Russia, but was much more a marvellous exemplification of the capacity for State-building possessed by the Germanic element in a race of inferior worth. July 3, 1941

[Soviet Russia Today, August, 1941]

Comrades! Citizens! Brothers and sisters! Men of our army and navy! I am addressing you, my friends!

The perfidious military attack on our Fatherland, begun on June 22nd by Hitler Germany, is continuing.

In spite of the heroic resistance of the Red Army, and although the enemy's finest divisions and finest airforce units have already been smashed and have met their doom on the field of battle, the enemy continues to push forward, hurling fresh forces into the attack.

Hitler's troops have succeeded in capturing Lithuania, a considerable part of Latvia, the western part of Byelo-Russia, part of Western Ukraine. The fascist airforce is extending the range of operations of its bombers, and is bombing Murmansk, Orsha, Mogilev, Smolensk, Kiev, Odessa and Sebastopol.

A grave danger hangs over our country.

How could it have happened that our glorious Red Army surrendered a number of our cities and districts to fascist armies? Is it really true that German fascist troops are invincible, as is ceaselessly trumpeted by the boastful fascist propagandists? Of course not!

History shows that there are no invincible armies and never have been. Napoleon's army was considered invincible but it was beaten successively by Russian, English and German armies. Kaiser Wilhelm's German Army in the period of the first imperialist war was also considered invincible, but it was beaten several times by the Russian and Anglo-French forces and was finally smashed by the Anglo-French forces.

The same must be said of Hitler's German fascist army today. This army had not yet met with serious resistance on the continent of Europe. Only on our territory has it met serious resistance. And if, as a result of this resistance, the finest divisions of Hitler's German fascist army have been defeated by our Red Army, it means that this army too can be smashed and will be smashed as were the armies of Napoleon and Wilhelm.

As to part of our territory having nevertheless been seized by Germany fascist troops, this is chiefly due to the fact that the war of fascist Germany on the USSR began under conditions favorable for the German forces and unfavorable for Soviet forces. The fact of the matter is that the troops of Germany, as a country at war, were already fully mobilized, and the 170 divisions hurled by Germany against the USSR and brought up to the Soviet frontiers, were in a state of complete readiness, only awaiting the signal to move into action, whereas Soviet troops had still to effect mobilization and move up to the frontier.

It may be asked how could the Soviet Government have consented to conclude a Non-Aggression Pact with such treacherous fiends as Hitler and Ribbentrop? Was this not an error on the part of the Soviet Government? Of course not. Non-Aggression Pacts are pacts of peace between states. It was such a pact that Germany proposed to us in 1939.

Could the Soviet Government have declined such a proposal? I think that not a single peace-loving state could decline a peace treaty with a neighboring state, even though the latter was headed by such fiends and cannibals as Hitler and Ribbentrop. Of course only on one indispensable condition, namely, that this peace treaty does not infringe either directly or indirectly on the territorial integrity, independence and honor of the peace-loving state. As is well known, the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the USSR is precisely such a pact.

What did we gain by concluding the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany? We secured our country peace for a year and a half, and the opportunity of preparing its forces to repulse fascist Germany should she risk an attack on our country despite the Pact This was a definite advantage for us and a disadvantage for fascist Germany.

What has fascist Germany gained and what has she lost by treacherously tearing up the pact and attacking the USSR?

There can be no doubt that this short-lived military gain for Germany is only an episode, while the tremendous political gain of the USSR is a serious lasting factor that is bound to form the basis for development of decisive military successes of the Red Army in the war with fascist Germany.
She has gained a certain advantageous position for her troops for a short period, but she has lost politically by exposing herself in the eyes of the entire world as a blood-thirsty aggressor.

That is why our whole valiant Red Army, our whole valiant Navy, all our falcons of the air, all the peoples of our country, all the finest men and women of Europe, America and Asia, finally all the finest men and women of Germany--condemn the treacherous acts of German fascists and sympathize with the Soviet Government, approve the conduct of the Soviet Government, and see that ours is a just cause, that the enemy will be defeated, that we are bound to win.

By virtue of this war which has been forced upon us, our country has come to death-grips with its most malicious and most perfidious enemy--German fascism. Our troops are fighting heroically against an enemy armed to the teeth with tanks and aircraft.

Overcoming innumerable difficulties, the Red Army and Red Navy are self-sacrificingly disputing every inch of Soviet soil. The main forces of the Red Army are coming into action armed with thousands of tanks and airplanes. The men of the Red Army are displaying unexampled valor. Our resistance to the enemy is growing in strength and power.

Side by side with the Red Army, the entire Soviet people are rising in defense of our native land.

What is required to put an end to the danger hovering over our country, and what measures must be taken to smash the enemy?

Above all, it is essential that our people, the Soviet people, should understand the full immensity of the danger that threatens our country and should abandon all complacency, all heedlessness, all those moods of peaceful constructive work which were so natural before the war, but which are fatal today when war has fundamentally changed everything.

The enemy is cruel and implacable. He is out to seize our lands, watered with our sweat, to seize our grain and oil secured by our labor. He is out to restore the rule of landlords, to restore Tsarism, to destroy national culture and the national state existence of the Russians, Ukrainians, Byelo-Russians, Lithuanians, Letts, Esthonians, Uzbeks, Tatars, Moldavians, Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaidzhanians and the other free people of the Soviet Union, to Germanize them, to convert them into the slaves of German princes and barons.

Thus the issue is one of life or death for the Soviet State, for the peoples of the USSR; the issue is whether the peoples of the Soviet Union shall remain free or fall into slavery.

The Soviet people must realize this and abandon all heedlessness, they must mobilize themselves and reorganize all their work on new, wartime bases, when there can be no mercy to the enemy.

Further, there must be no room in our ranks for whimperers and cowards, for panic-mongers and deserters. Our people must know no fear in fight and must selflessly join our patriotic war of liberation, our war against the fascist enslavers.

Lenin, the great founder of our State, used to say that the chief virtue of the Bolshevik must be courage, valor, fearlessness in struggle, readiness to fight, together with the people, against the enemies of our country.

This splendid virtue of the Bolshevik must become the virtue of the millions of the Red Army, of the Red Navy, of all peoples of the Soviet Union.

All our work must be immediately reconstructed on a war footing, everything must be subordinated to the interests of the front and the task of organizing the demolition of the enemy.

The people of the Soviet Union now see that there is no taming of German fascism in its savage fury and hatred of our country which has ensured all working people labor in freedom and prosperity.

The peoples of the Soviet Union must rise against the enemy and defend their rights and their land. The Red Army, Red Navy and all citizens of the Soviet Union must defend every inch of Soviet soil, must fight to the last drop of blood for our towns and villages, must display the daring initiative and intelligence that are inherent in our people.

We must organize all-round assistance for the Red Army, ensure powerful reinforcements for its ranks and the supply of everything it requires, we must organize the rapid transport of troops and military freight and extensive aid to the wounded.

We must strengthen the Red Army's rear, subordinating all our work to this cause. All our industries must be got to work with greater intensity to produce more rifles, machine-guns, artillery, bullets, shells, airplanes; we must organize the guarding of factories, power-stations, telephonic and telegraphic communications and arrange effective air raid precautions in all localities.

We must wage a ruthless fight against all disorganizers of the rear, deserters, panic-mongers, rumor-mongers; we must exterminate spies, diversionists and enemy parachutists, rendering rapid aid in all this to our destroyer battalions.

We must bear in mind that the enemy is crafty, unscrupulous, experienced in deception and the dissemination of false rumors We must reckon with all this and not fall victim to provocation.

All who by their panic-mongering and cowardice hinder the work of defence, no matter who they are, must be immediately haled before the military tribunal. In case of forced retreat of Red Army units, all rolling stock must be evacuated, the enemy must not be left a single engine, a single railway car, not a single pound of grain or a gallon of fuel.

The collective farmers must drive off all their cattle, and turn over their grain to the safe-keeping of State authorities for transportation to the rear. All valuable property, including non-ferrous metals, grain and fuel which cannot be withdrawn, must without fail be destroyed.

In areas occupied by the enemy, guerrilla units, mounted and on foot, must be formed, diversionist groups must be organized to combat the enemy troops, to foment guerrilla warfare everywhere, to blow up bridges and roads, damage telephone and telegraph lines, set fire to forests, stores, transports.

In the occupied regions conditions must be made unbearable for the enemy and all his accomplices. They must be hounded and annihilated at every step, and all their measures frustrated.

This war with fascist Germany cannot be considered an ordinary war. It is not only a war between two armies, it is also a great war of the entire Soviet people against the German fascist forces.

The aim of this national war in defense of our country against the fascist oppressors is not only elimination of the danger hanging over our country, but also aid to all European peoples groaning under the yoke of German fascism.

In this war of liberation we shall not be alone. In this great war we shall have loyal allies in the peoples of Europe and America, including the German people who are enslaved by the Hitlerite despots.

Our war for the freedom of our country will merge with the struggle of the peoples of Europe and America for their independence, for democratic liberties.

It will be a united front of peoples standing for freedom and against enslavement and threats of enslavement by Hitler's fascist armies.

In this connection the historic utterance of the British Prime Minister Churchill regarding aid to the Soviet Union and the declaration of the United States Government signifying its readiness to render aid to our country, which can only evoke a feeling of gratitude in the hearts of the peoples of the Soviet Union, are fully comprehensible and symptomatic.

Comrades, our forces are numberless. The overweening enemy will soon learn this to his cost. Side by side with the Red Army many thousands of workers, collective farmers, intellectuals are rising to fight the enemy aggressor. The masses of our people will rise up in their millions.

The working people of Moscow and Leningrad have already commenced to form vast popular levies in support of the Red Army. Such popular levies must be raised in every city which is in danger of enemy invasion, all working people must be roused to defend our freedom, our honor, our country--in our patriotic war against German Fascism.

In order to ensure the rapid mobilization of all forces of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and to repulse the enemy who treacherously attacked our country, a State Committee of Defense has been formed in whose hands the entire power of the State has been vested.

The State Committee of Defense has entered upon its functions and calls upon all people to rally around the Party of Lenin-Stalin and around the Soviet Government, so as to self-denyingly support the Red Army and Navy, demolish the enemy and secure victory.

All our forces for support of our heroic Red Army and our glorious Red Navy! All forces of the people--for the demolition of the enemy!
Of no little importance in this respect is the fact that fascist Germany suddenly and treacherously violated the Non-Aggression Pact she concluded in 1939 with the USSR, disregarding the fact that she would be regarded as the aggressor by the whole world.

Naturally, our peace-loving country, not wishing to take the initiative of breaking the pact, could not resort to perfidy. Forward, to our victory!
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