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Adolf Hitler And The Soviet Union

1376 words - 6 pages

On June 22, 1941, the Adolf Hitler launched a ruthless attack on his so-called ally, the Soviet Union. In December 1941, after a short five months, Operation Barbarossa, induced by the Nazi’s, failed. The Nazi Party ultimately fell to its demise, through the fail of Operation Barbarossa, from a combination of Hitler’s arrogance towards the Soviets as well as the Soviet response, but most importantly, Hitler’s greatest mistake: spreading his troops too wide across a colossal Russia.
Hitler wrote, in his book Mein Kampf, that he would liquidate the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles, along with many other things, stated that Germany could only have six battleships, only 100,000 ...view middle of the document...

The Nazi’s thought communism was poison because of their view on private property. Communists thought that owning land or private property was theft, and strongly opposed capitalism. These views helped Hitler gain many followers including businessmen and landowners. Hitler also thought the Soviet Union stood no chance because of the devastation the purges caused to the Red Army and the Soviet Union as a whole. Author Alan Clark of multiple well known World War II books, says, “Hitler dismissed the latent strength of such an organization. He believed that the Soviet military machine was so riddled with Communism, insecurity, suspicion, and informers, and so demoralized by the purges that it could not function properly” (Clark 43). The Red Army was not crushed, but still very capable of fighting in a war. Hitler’s sense of pride did not only cause him to underestimate Russian power, shown when Alan Clark says, “But whatever his reasoning, he had, in his estimate of the Russian potential, overlooked one very important factor. The Wehrmacht was not confronted by an opponent of a completely different kind from the soft nations of the West” (Clark 43), but also overestimate his own. He had the element of surprise when he made his attack on June 22, and even with that advantage, “The Wehrmacht could not smash the bulk of soviet forces in a planned six week battle of annihilation” (Mawdsley 151).
Despite the many Nazi mistakes that contributed to the Soviet victory, the Soviet Union was surprisingly competent. William Shirer, Author of the popular book The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich, wrote that Russian Forces were, “ well-fed, warmly clad and fresh, fully equipped for winter fighting.” Shirer (862).
The Soviets had many tactical advantages in Operation Barbarossa. The battle seemed as if the Germans had won until the Soviet counterattack of December 1941 and, “Only 5% of the pre-invasion strength of Red Army aviation in western Europe remained intact” (Clark). Hitler had pushed his army all the way past Leningrad, and came exceedingly close to the capture of Moscow, but the Red Army was not defeated. The Soviet Union had reinforcement troops on the Eastern Front, located there in case of a possible attack from Japan. The Red Army brought extra troops in from Siberia, and as a result pushed the German army back 100 miles from Moscow. These counterattacks began in early December, and by late December, “a force of 65,000 troops had been assembled to defend the city of Moscow proper.” (Clark). Professor Ian Kershaw says, “As a consequence of all this, Professor Sir Ian Kershaw believes that the events of December 1941 – collectively – constitute the turning point of the entire war: ‘In December 1941, the Germans encounter their first major setback with the onset of the Soviet counteroffensive in front of Moscow; the first major setback which means that war is going to be prolonged indefinitely” (Kershaw). The Soviets had...

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