The Great Patriotic War: German advance - Operation Barbarossa

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Operation Barbarossa (June 1941)

  • This was the German attack on the USSR
  • Hitler wanted a military victory, to seize control of the Russian economy and to eradicate communism; he believed that many Russians would welcome the German invaders as 'liberators'
  • On June 22nd 1941,  150 divisions of the German army, supported by 5000 aircraft, invaded Russia
  • Hitler employed blitzkrieg tactics (rapid advance of armoured divisions, supported by an air attack, followed by the slower moving infantry) and focused on Moscow and Stalingrad

Stalin was unprepared for the German invasion and German forces proceeded without resistance for 3 hours

  • Stalin appeared to have a panic attack, believing that the Party and people would blame him
  • He retreated to his dacha (country house) and when members of the Politburo came to find him, he responded in a way

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