Causes and Consequences of Operation Barbarossa
On June 22nd 1941, German forces crossed the Russian frontier and
began to fight their way into Soviet territory. Operation Barbarossa,
Hitler's codename for the attack on Russia, had begun. In this essay I
am going to describe the causes, events and consequences of Operation
Barbarossa. What happened when the 'unbeatable' Hitler and Germany met
the sheer determination and patriotism of Stalin and the USSR?
There were many reasons that contributed to Hitler's invasion of the
Hitler had always harboured a hatred for the Slavs, he thought they
were inferior, impure people who were only fit to be used as slaves.
This was a racist attitude that had been with Hitler for many years
before he became 'Fuhrer.'
There was always bound to be conflict between Germany and the USSR, as
they were neighbours. This meant they were both easy to invade; hardly
any transporting of troops would be required. Hitler resented being so
close to the 'untermensch'; he did not want to be associated with
Hitler was an ex-soldier of World War I. This made him very bitter
about what happened, he felt defeat was unjust and was devastated by
the peace treaties. All the land Germany gained from Russia from the
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was lost, and Hitler felt this was a disgrace;
the Germans should never have signed the armistice.
Hitler believed the German people needed 'Lebensraum' - living space.
He felt it was needed for the natural progression of the German race.
Hitler had a policy called 'drang nach osten' - drive to the east - so
he had planned to move Germany's borders into the USSR all along.
In the 1930s the Nazis had made the struggle against Bolshevism 'a
central theme in domestic and foreign policy,' thus a war against
Bolshevik Russia was merely the logical outcome of this belief. They
had signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936 with Japan, a treaty that
specifically opposed communism, and therefore Stalin's Russia. This
showed Hitler was clearly opposed to Stalin and his principles, which
is why entire world was shocked when news of the Nazi-Soviet Pact
reached them. In 1939 Hitler and Stalin signed an agreement that meant
they formed a temporary alliance. This non-aggression pact could not
last; the leaders simply aimed to protect themselves from attack.
Hitler and Stalin were complete political opposites; at one end of the
scale was Communism, and at the other end was Fascism. Hitler and
Stalin represented the two political extremes. It was obvious to the
world that this treaty of 'peace' would not last for long.
Western Europe had been safely conquered, except for Britain, which
was so weak it would not be able to attack for several years. As
Germany was still at war with Britain when Operation Barbarossa was