Interesting Facts About Invasion of the Soviet Union:

In the whole of history, there has never been a war like it. In its scale of destruction, the war on the Eastern Front was unique; from Leningrad to the Crimea, from Kiev to Stalingrad, the Soviet Union was devastated – at least 25 million Soviet citizens died. In the end, what did the German aggressors have to show for it?
A broken, divided country, which had lost much of its territory, and a people burdened with the knowledge that they had launched a racist war of annihilation and, in the process, spawned the cancer of the Holocaust.
However, at the time of the attack there were many people – and not just Germans – who thought that the decision to invade the Soviet Union was a rational act in pursuit of German self-interest and, moreover, that this was a war the Germans would win.
In the summer of 1940 Adolf Hitler, despite his swift and dramatic victory over France, faced a major military and political problem. The British would not do what seemed logical and what the Führer expected – they would not make peace.
Yet Hitler was frustrated by geography – in the shape of the English Channel – from following his immediate instincts and swiftly crushing the British just as he had the French.
Below are some interesting facts about the Invasion of the Soviet Union:
1. The invasion of the Soviet Union was the most ambitious campaign of the Second World War, and yet Hitler believed that it could be won within three months with a fast, powerful blitzkrieg strike.
2. Stalin and Hitler were together responsible for the leitmotiv of ruthless brutality that prevailed throughout the hostilities between Russia and Germany. During the Battle of Moscow, in which 8,000 Soviet citizens were executed for perceived cowardice, the Russian armies were forced to stand their ground, despite perishingly cold conditions of 43 degrees below freezing.
To prevent his soldiers deserting the front line around the capital, Stalin ordered special ‘blocking detachments’ to shoot all deserters. The Soviet leadership also instructed Soviet partisans operating in the countryside to kill anyone whom they believed was disloyal. This resulted in an effective carte blanche for partisans to abuse their power and extract whatever they wanted from helpless villagers.
3. The German army, faced with an ever growing partisan threat, became increasingly comprehensive in their view about what constituted a partisan. One army document lists 1,900 partisans and their ‘helpers’, killed by the Germans in one action. But only 30 rifles and a handful of other weapons were found with them – more than 90% of those killed by the Germans had no guns.
4. In the USSR, meantime, Stalin’s ruthless approach to punishing ethnic collaborators in the Soviet Union meant that whole ethnic nations were forcibly exiled to Siberia as punishment for the small number of collaborators in their midst.
One of the ethnic groups who suffered most were the Kalmyks from the steppe south of Stalingrad. Stalin ordered every ethnic Kalmyk, including women and children, to be ‘relocated’ to even more remote regions of the Soviet Union.
5. Final victory came for Russia when Soviet soldiers hoisted the red flag over the Berlin Reichstag in April 1945. The occupying troops celebrated, some indulging in the rape and murder of German citizens. When Stalin was told how some of the Red Army soldiers were treating German refugees, he is reported to say: ‘We lecture our soldiers too much; let them have some initiative.’

Leave a Reply, No Login Necessary.