Given Germany’s military situation in 1941, was Hitler’s decision to invade the Soviet Union based on sound strategic judgment?
History tends to discolor events based on the outcome of a decision or battle. Examining Germany's (Hitler’s) decision to invade the Soviet Union can easily be critiqued by the flaws that resulted in his defeat, but is this an accurate way of looking at Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. Wars are won and lost by the decisions made and the decision to proceed with the attack named 'Operation Barbarossa' in the early summer of 1941 was not based on sound strategic judgment.
Beginning early on in his life and exemplified in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler had a hatred of Russia and her people.
We terminate the endless German drive to the south and the west of Europe, and direct our gaze towards the lands in the east…If we talk about new soil and territory in Europe today, we can think primarily only of Russia and its vassal border states.
With his mind already set on exterminating the Slavs and Jews long before becoming the fuehrer of Germany, his rise to power gave him a reason to carry out his plan. Hitler foresaw Barbarossa as the key to accomplish many of his vital strategic objectives. Due to bad strategic decisions, limited resources, no intelligence and clouded vision, Germany should not have invaded Russia (Operation Barbarossa).
The invasion on the Soviet Union was not a good strategic decision. While Hitler had secured quick and decisive victories against France, Czechoslovakia, Holland and Belgium, he did not take into account the importance of the British and never believed the United States would play a role in the war. These two serious underestimations lead to Hitler’s defeat in the Soviet Union and eventually the WWII.
The initial mistake during Operation Barbarossa was the delaying the invasion of Moscow by five weeks. Hitler’s strategy called for three legs (armies) to attack different targets. The North Army would secure the Baltic, the south would acquire the much-needed coal and oil lands of the Ukraine and the center would head towards Moscow. Prior to his invasion of Moscow, the North Army attacked the Balkans. The battle was taking more effort than planned and caused the diversion of the south army to assist. Another diversion was the indication of British bombers and troops (who he thought he had crippled) were attempting to attack German supply lines and trying to take Yugoslavia. Hitler wasn’t going to let this happen so he took several troops and conquered both Yugoslavia and Greece further expanding his ideal that he was unstoppable. This was key due to each diversion of troops weakened the Barbarossa force and delayed the attack on Moscow.
After his conquest, he needed to build up his forces to be able to fulfill the attack on Moscow. The delay caused the war to continue into the winter for which the German troops were not equipped or...