Great Patriotic War (1941-5)

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 09-04-19 16:38

Operation Barbarosso (1941)

German Force (invaded 22 July 1941):

- Nazis amassed 5,000 aircraft, 47,000 artillery + 5.5 million troops (resulting in the destruction of 1200 Russian aircraft within the first day)

- invasion executed in 3 parts (North, South & Centre - within 3 weeks the Panzers had covered 500 miles, only 60 miles from their Moscow objective by mid-July)


- Stalin retreated for 11 days to his dacha (leaving Molotov to address the Soviet people, finally making a rallying speech to the nation on 1 July 1941)

- he executed a constant offensive or 'stand fast' strategy (this proved an ineffective tactic in the face of Nazi Blitzkrieg as Stalin had little understanding of modern warfare)

    1. refused to allow troops to retreat in Kiev (resulting in the death of 500,000 troops)

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Stalin's Leadership (1941-53)


- Stalin had little understanding of modern warfare + instead used 'stand fast' policies (resulting in the death of 500,000 troops at Kiev when he refused to roder a retreat)

- terror & discipline proved ineffective (commanders executed for failure + the power of the Politburo was reduced in Autumn 1942)

Seeking of Glory:

- Stalin arguably evolved into a 'real military commander' (he played a pivotal role in the first of Stalin's 'crushing blows' in 1944, revealing his competative nature)                              1. he took control of central theare operations + feared other commanders taking the glory                                                                                                                                                        2. competing against Western Allies for Berlin (race between Zhukov & Konev made advances rushed + improvised)

- used the war to further his prestige (Marshal of Soviet Union in 1943 + Generalissimo post-war)

- By 1942, Stalin in desperation allowed newly appointed deputy Zhukov some flexibility (Zhukov saved Moscow + used Siberian forces to force Germans back 100 miles)

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War Economy (1941-53)

Though ineffective during peace-time, Stalin's centralised command economy matched the needs of total war (despite efforts foundations for aircraft industry had to start from scratch)


- manufacturing suffered heavily during war (electric power was at 52% + steel production at 45%) - largely due to the badly disrupted transport infrastructure

- however, by 1946 the USSR experienced a 'rebound effect' (by 1950, the 4th 5 Year Plan had ensured a considerable industrial recovery + many targets were equalled or exceeded)

- in order to protect industry, whole factories were packed up + relocated (20,000 trains were mobilised to shift them hunreds of miles east, beyond the German bombs)

Foreign Aid:

- A vast scale of foreign aid poured into Russia under the terms of Lend-Lease in 1945 (more than 300,000 trucks were provided by the US + war supplies proved indespensable during the winter of 1942-43)

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Weakness of German Army (1941-53)

The German's had no satisfactory long-term plan for the invasion...


- racial theory blinded Hitler + German occupiers (failed to enlist support of resentful Russian people in an anti-Stalin campaign)

- brutal occupation of Russian territory (persuaded national minorities to fight for Stalin as the 'lesser of two evils')

- From December, 1941, Germany had to fight a two-front war (In June 1942, Hitler sent more troops to Russia to siege Stalingrad rather than capturing Moscow)                            1. Hitler sacked some of his best generals and replaced them with yes-men


- the Russian population was 171 million in 1941 (the Germans underestimated the Russian 'cult of sacrifice' meaning fatalities could easily be replaced)

- compared to the vast natural resources in the USSR, the Germans lacked self-sufficiency (the Germans also damaged their initial military advantage being unprepared for the exceptionally bitter winters of 1941-42)

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