Operation Barbarossa - World War II Eastern Front.
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8 Things You Should Know About WWII`s Eastern Front
(1) Joseph Stalin disregarded early warnings of the German attack. Germany`s invasion of Russia was the largest surprise attack in military history, but according to most sources, it shouldn`t have come as a surprise at all. In the months before the German advance, Stalin brushed off dozens of reports from Soviet spies warning that an invasion was imminent. He also accepted Hitler`s cover story that the sudden presence of German troops on the Soviet border was just a move to keep them out of range of British bomb strikes, and even ordered his troops to not fire on German spy planes despite numerous invasions of Soviet airspace.
Deathride shatters some of the Stalin-Hitler myths and Operation Barbarossa
We think we understand the great German-Russian conflict of the WWII Eastern Front. We think it was the great grudge match of the tyrants, Stalin and Hitler. We think Stalin panicked in June 1941 when the Third Reich launched Operation Barbarossa. We think Hitler was beaten by the same Russian winter that defeated Napoleon. We think Stalin was steadfast in refusing to consider surrender. We think the Soviets prevailed in the greatest tank battle ever, at Kursk. Maybe not. At least that is what the historian John Mosier is telling us in "Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin — The Eastern Front, 1941-1945."
Conflicts: Eastern Front strategy game offers huge map plus supply and logistic decisions
"Conflicts: Eastern Front" - a new Android strategy game in the Conflicts-Series - challenges players with a huge map, especially compared to the previous highly rated WWII eastern front game in the series, Operation Barbarossa. In addition the game takes on a new dimension with economic, supply & logistic decisions, such as building railway networks to efficiently transport your units on the huge Russian front, and deciding how to your industrial resources.
WWII Eastern Front in 45 photographs
World war II Eastern Front in 45 photographs.
Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany`s WWII offensive against Russia, 70 years later
June 22 marks the 60th anniversary of the start of Germany`s offensive against the Soviet Union in World War II. Wolfram Wette, a professor of history at the University of Freiburg, examines the historical significance of Operation Barbarossa.
"The objective was to conquer the Soviet Union, to decimate its population, to exploit the land - in order to colonize the country with Germans in the distant future. So it was a war for the capture of Lebensraum (living space) in the East. They wanted to colonize the Soviet Union up to the Ural Mountains in order to create an self-sufficient, strongly protected Greater German Reich from the Atlantic to the Urals."
History professor David Stone: Soviet Union fought WWII better than what Americans had thought
What Americans learned in history class about the Soviet side of WWII is not accurate, explains history professor David Stone, author of "The Soviet Union at War: 1941 to 1945". People just do not comprehend the scale of the war in eastern front, to get some perspective consider this: The U.S. lost 58,000 in the Vietnam War, but the Soviet Union lost that many soldiers in 3 days during WWII. And in a pocket near Kiev, more Red Army soldiers were captured than there are soldiers in the entire U.S. Army today.
Stone states it was the fall, not the winter, that really saved the Russians. The fall rains made it so muddy that it stopped all troop movement and gave the Russians time to regroup, move war industry to Siberia, and learn how to fight a modern tank warfare.
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (WWII book review)
Belarus saw more WWII mass killings and displacements of population than any other country. "By the end of the war half the population of Belarus had either been killed or moved," says history professor Timothy Snyder. Most of the executed partisans were unarmed civilians. One Wehrmacht report talks about the shooting of 10,143 partisans from whom only 90 guns were seized, while Soviet partisans executed tens of thousands of civilians considered class enemies. People in lands occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939 "died in higher proportions than almost anywhere in Soviet Russia... killed ... by the Soviet invader".
Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin - The Eastern Front, 1941-1945 by John Mosier (WWII book review)
One of the big WWII myths has Josef Stalin motivating the Soviet Red army to hold a unstoppable German army at bay for years and prevailing in spite of the refusal of his Western allies to open a second front. Rapeating Stalin`s propaganda, many historians credit the "heroic Soviet soldier" with keeping the Germans at bay, shedding their blood to stop Hitler, and then driving the Wehrmacht back to Berlin. Stalin`s version was set forth in a series of speeches incorporated into a 1945 book, "The Great Patriotic War." Mosier crushes these myths and more in a groundbreaking book about the Eastern front.
The Retreat: Hitler`s First Defeat by Michael Jones (WWII book covering the Operation Barbarossa reviewed)
The 1941 German invasion of Russia ran into an opponent that was cold as hell. In this wrenching military history, Michael Jones covers the brutal campaign - both sides had hate-filled ideologies - that led to the first defeat of the "unstoppable" Nazi blitzkrieg. Many historians consider Adolf Hitler`s Operation Barbarossa (the Russian campaign) as the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. Jones makes expert use of eyewitness accounts in letters, diaries and military communications - giving a close view of the increasingly desperate Wehrmacht, dispelled by stiffening Russian resistance.
Finland marks 70th anniversary of Winter War against Stalin`s Soviet Union
Finns marked the 70th anniversary of the Winter War, a conflict that saw this tiny country hold back Red Army for 105 days. Finland`s resistance against the huge Soviet war machine stunned Moscow - which had planned to occupy Finland within a few weeks. Temperatures dropped to minus 49 degrees Fahrenheit (-45 C), causing frostbite and hallucinations. "The Russians came straight at us in open areas... I saw how the Russians motivated their fighters... withdrawing soldiers were coldly shot," recalls Viljo Kontio. The Winter War began with the "Mainila shots" - fired by the Red Army as Russian historians admitted after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Rzhev: Marshal Zhukov`s Unknown Battle - WW2 documentary film upsets Russians
"Rzhev: Marshal Zhukov`s Unknown Battle" is the sort of film that would have been praised in the West. But not in Russia, where its presenter Alexei Pivovarov is a traitor. 1.5 million people died during the Rzhev campaign 1942-1943, mostly Russians. This huge death toll was result of Josef Stalin`s disregard for his own men and of the screwups of Soviet generals. But Russians know little of the Rzhev battles because they have been airbrushed from history. Even Georgy Zhukov, who led the Rzhev campaigns, scarcely talks about them in his memoirs. In the film one German veteran expressed his horror at how the Soviet soldiers were treated as "cannon fodder".
Eastern Front - The main front of World War II
The approaching Victory Day raises quarrels about the bloodiest war in human history. One of the issues is the sides` relative contribution to victory in the European theatre. After the Allied landing in Normandy in 1944, they had 200,000 officers and men in Operation Cobra in July, the strength of the facing German troops was about the same. In the meantime, the Soviet Union started Operation Bagration with over 2.3 million officers and men against a 800,000-strong German force. Total Soviet losses in this operation were 765,000 officers and men, and German losses were over 400,000.
Eastern Front: Scorched earth - Absolute War by Chris Bellamy
Absolute War splits "the biggest and worst war in history" into 4 stages. First there was the Nazi and Soviet occupation of Poland, from 1939 to the German invasion on June 22, 1941. Next came the Nazi offensive encircling huge numbers of Soviet troops. Then came the period from the stabilization of the front in the winter of 1941-1942 to the encirclement of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus’ Sixth Army in Stalingrad. On 1941-1942 "the very survival of Soviet Russia hung in the balance." The rivalries between the generals (Timoshenko, Zhukov, Rokossovsky, Konev) increase as time goes on. "Beneath a veneer of politeness... the generals all seem to have hated one another."
Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War by Chris Bellamy
World War II, the Great Patriotic War, plays a key role in Russians` understanding of who they are and what place they hold in the history of the world. Victory over the Nazis remains a source of enormous pride among Russians. Aged veterans, decorated with medals and poorly fitting old uniforms, proudly march on Victory Day. The war on the Eastern Front was the decisive theater, and the defeat of the Third Reich was due more to the Soviet war effort than to the other Allies` military efforts combined. Yet Americans celebrate a history of the war that focuses mainly on General George Patton and D-Day. "The War" by Ken Burns really should be called "Americans at War."
2500 WWII photos by German soldiers on the Russian Front online
Original world war II photographs by German soldiers on the eastern front 1941-1945. Over 2500 WWII pictures of Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS, POWs, battle tanks...
No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe 1939-1945 by Norman Davies
Norman Davies holds passionate views about the Second World War, and in "No Simple Victory" he seeks to correct misconceptions and myths about that "good war." Davies advances 2 claims about the way the history of WWII should be remembered. First, historians should focus less on the Western front and more on the Eastern front, where the heaviest fighting and the greatest destruction and suffering happened. Second, historians have been far too lenient toward Stalin, overlooking his career as a mass murderer and emphasizing only Hitler’s crimes. The invasion of Poland in 1939 was the work not only of the Nazis but also of the Soviets.
Stalin came closer than most realize to defeat - The battle for Moscow
By Oct 1941, most in Moscow were convinced that city was about to be overrun by the Germans. The NKVD had prepared pamphlets: "Comrades! We left Moscow due to the continuous attacks of the Germans. But it`s not the right time for us to weep." This admission of defeat was buried in archives. Boris Vidensky recounted that Georgy Zhukov ordered his deputy to calculate the losses near Moscow. After seeing the number, Zhukov barked: "Hide it and don`t show it to anybody!" Ilya Druzhnikov recalled that there was 1 rifle available for every 10 men in his unit. On Oct 16 an Air Force officer saw Stalin sitting at his desk asking himself "What shall we do? What shall we do?"
Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War
Between late 1941 and 1944 D-Day, the British saw how little their own armies were doing to defeat Nazism. They admired Russian heroism. But British might have been less impressed had they known that Stalin’s forces were impelled not only by love for Mother Russia, but also by the knowledge that if they flinched they would be shot by their own leaders, as were at least 200,000 Red Army soldiers. Westerners have wasted lot of sympathy on the fate of the Cossacks whom Britain shipped back to their deaths at Stalin’s hands in 1945, after they had fought for Adolf Hitler. What about all the Russian POWs who had fought for the allied cause - also sent home to die?
800 Days on the Eastern Front - A Red Army Memoir of World War II
It is June 1944, and the Red Army is pressing its offensive against the Wehrmacht in Belarus. In the late afternoon of June 29, a Russian assault battalion reaches the outskirts of Bobruisk, where thousands of German defenders have been caught in a Red Army noose. The only escape route for the Germans is across a large field of rye overlooked by Soviet machine-gun emplacements. One such emplacement is manned by Nikolai Litvin, a Russian soldier who recounts the experience in "800 Days on the Eastern Front." His memoir is a vivid reminder, for those transfixed by D-Day, of the brutal fighting that was taking place on the other side of Europe.
Historical Events - Nazi Germany launches Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa: Over 3 million men, 19 Panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks and 2,500 aircraft enter the Soviet Union on a 3 pronged attack. Army Group North moved on Leningrad. Army Group Center’s aim was Moscow and Army Group South moved on the oil fields of Baku. Stalin had purged his military, in essence having all his skilled generals shot, or sent to Siberian gulags. This left the Red Army without leaders, which became obvious when the German Panzer divisions advanced so quickly that they had to wait for the infantry. First, as they had done to Napoleon, the Russians applied a scorched-earth policy, burning all they left behind.
June 22,1941 - Operation Barbarossa
When Adolf Hitler founded his Third Reich, most Germans believed they had found their man of destiny. In 1933 their strong country was reduced to chaos, but by 1939 the discipline of the Germans had created a powerful nation with an awesome military machine. Led by its able general staff, which many considered a "corps d’elite", wehrmacht was the best fighting machine in the world at the time. The German officer class were "men of outstanding intellectual ability and physical stamina, governed by a code of ascetic self-discipline." The Soviet Union, with the biggest army at the time, was shrouded in mystery, but it was obvious that it was poor and primitive.
British Historian’s Battle of Kursk, or Nazism that Came from the West
Until recently, the US and British scholars focused on the Western Front. This created the false impression that Nazi Germany was defeated by the US and Great Britain (some students in UK/US were found to believe that Russia had been Nazi Germany’s ally). The first attempts to assess the respective roles of the Eastern and Western Fronts were made in the West 30 years after the end of WWII. John Erickson was among the first, in "The Road to Stalingrad" (1975) and "The Road to Berlin" (1983), he showed the magnitude of the Eastern Front. Next, US military historian David M. Glantz published 16 works, like "When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler".
Stalin`s Folly: The tragic first ten Days of WWII on the Eastern Front
Most people`s image of Joseph Stalin is that of an arrogant, power-hungry, all-powerful dictator who ruled the Soviet Union with an iron first. This book paints a much different portrait. During the weeks before, and in the first 10 days after wave upon wave of Nazi Panzer tanks and troops swept into the USSR in the early summer of 1941, we see a paranoid, shaky, indecisive, incompetent leader, running a govt full of inexperienced sycophantic yes-men. Constantine Pleshakov had access to classified documents, and the result is a riveting tale of gross negligence and stupidity on a tragically massive scale.
Did Uncle Joe Win the War - the Russo-German War of 1941-1945
The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union sparked the bloodiest campaign in history, and Benjamin Schwarz agrees with the latest crop of books that dismiss the Anglo-American WWII effort as a sideshow. He credits Josef Stalin for saving the Soviet Union from collapse, and allowing his generals like Georgy Zhukov to lead the Red Army to victory. Nevermind that Stalin`s dogged insistence allowed the invaders to encircle the Red Army`s corps until they reached the gates of Moscow. Stalin`s urge to immediately counterattack, while saving the Soviet capital, also led to another Red Army tank corps being cut off and chewed up by the Wehrmacht in the spring of 1942.
The Failed Red Army Invasion of Romania in 1944
David Glantz was one of the first westerners to gain access to the Soviet military archives. Since then he has turned out a number of books on the eastern front about the Red Army’s operations. Now he covers an attempt by the Red Army to overrun Romania in 1944. The 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts made attempts through April and May 1944 to gain bridgeheads across the Dnestr River. These attacks were fended off by series of armored attacks mounted by the German Sixth and Eighth Armies. The Soviets overreached in their effort and suffered a reverse at the hands of the German Wehrmacht, still a dangerous opponent even at this stage of the war.
Russia beat the Third Reich, Britain contributed only 5% and the United States under 20%
The attack on the Third Reich was a joint effort, but the lion`s share of victory in Europe can be awarded only to Stalin`s Red Army and it is a fantasy to think that he was fighting for democracy - in the first 22 months when the Wehrmacht occupied 8 countries, the Red Army occupied 5. Separating the facts from the WW2 myths and the propaganda is not easy. 75%-80% of German losses occurred on the eastern front, the western allies accounted for only 20%-25%. Since the British Army had only 28 divisions, and the American army 99 divisions, the British contribution to victory must have been in the region of 5%-6%.
USSR: 26 million people died to save the world from Nazism
Flags fly at half-mast in Russia nationwide and the country celebrates the Mourning and Memory Day. Nazi Germany attacked the USSR on June 22 1941, which became the start of the Great Patriotic War. Fascists bombed Soviet air bases, railway communications, naval bases, military headquarters and many cities. The USSR suffered the largest losses in WWII. Over 26 million Soviet people died during the terrible war against Third Reich, which continued for 1,418 days and nights. The losses of the Soviet armed forces, the Red Army, made up about 16 million people. Western researchers say that the USSR won the war owing to allies’ help.
1941: Hitler invades the Soviet Union
German forces have invaded the Soviet Union. Initial reports suggest that the German troops have made rapid progress. Germany is thought to have committed a massive force of more than three million men, supported by more than 3,000 tanks, 7,000 guns and nearly 3,000 aircraft. They are nonetheless vastly outnumbered by the Red Army which has about nine million men under arms. The Nazi Minister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, went on radio to read a proclamation by Adolf Hitler promising that the mobilisation of the German army would be the "greatest the world has ever seen".
Horrors of Russian Front - World War II as Red Army soldiers (Article no longer available from the original source)
Memorial Day is a somber time for a group of Minnesotans who saw WWII as Red Army soldiers. They can`t help but think about Red Army soldiers who weren`t lucky enough to avoid the staggering death tolls of the Eastern Front. Now US citizens, Geykhman and Grichener don`t diminish the sacrifices of the 300,000 American troops killed. But for every US soldier killed more than 30 Russians died. Grichener was forced into the Red army as a teenager. "An infantry soldier was worth nothing, not a penny. Stalin treated us like slabs of meat and pushed us in front of the enemy until they ran out of lead."
Adolf Hitler`s invasion of the Soviet Union - June 1941 by John Lukacs (Article no longer available from the original source)
In June 1941 John Lukacs tackles Adolf Hitler`s invasion of the Soviet Union, one of the genuinely decisive moments in history. The real turning point in geopolitical terms came later that year, in December, when the Wehrmacht was halted before Moscow and Hitler took the crazy step of declaring war on the US, but there can be no doubt that the invasion itself was almost certainly the most momentous event in the history of the world. Operation Barbarossa was already the most ambitious invasion ever known, yet Hitler proceeded to increase the odds against himself - He cut back on military output.
Stalin`s shame wiped WWII`s greatest battle from history (Article no longer available from the original source)
Few Westerners have heard of the greatest battle of WWII, fought on a scale never matched in western Europe. The Russians wrote the battle of Moscow out of their history books after their suicidal bravery smashed the myth of German invincibility. More than 7 million combatants took part, compared with the 4 million at Stalingrad and the 2 million at Kursk. The Soviet Union lost 926,000 soldiers killed, more than the British lost in all of WWI. Initially, the blitzkrieg attack left the Russians in disarray. The Red air force lost 1200 aircraft on the first morning. Stalin retreated to his country house for 36 hours until his commanders demanded his return.
Correspondence of Franklin D Roosevelt and Joseph V Stalin
Joseph Stalin did not like to travel, a trip to his dacha outside Moscow, was about as far as he was willing to venture. But, in his wartime letters to Franklin D Roosevelt, Stalin gave the impression that he was constantly on the move. "I have frequently to go to the different parts of the front," he wrote in August 1943, fully two years after his last such expedition. There could be no clearer indicator of the failure of the industrialisation of the Soviet Union than its inability to produce even the basic requirements for war. By winter 1941 lacked even the leather for the soles of its boots.
What Russia`s soldiers suffered
Fresh research shapes a fascinating yet also devastating portrait of Russian infantrymen in World War II. Josef Stalin and his successors made sure the story of Soviet history in the war was crafted and protected in a way that served their political purposes. Great monuments were built, but documents were sealed. Pensioned soldiers and their families were honored as "heroes," but they were kept from telling of experiences that might have deviated from the official line - especially anything traumatic. Historians, Russian and foreign, were prevented from working independently.
No proof of soviet teenage suicide bombers` WWII camp - FSB (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Federal Security Service`s archives contain no documents suggesting that orphaned children were trained as suicide bombers at a Russian secret police special camp in the Alatau Mountains outside Almaty during WWII. Veterans` organizations inquired about this after a film with the same name was released in Russia. However, "The FSB has materials describing a German school which trained teenage saboteurs, organized by Abwehrkommand-203 in Hemfurth near Kassel, Germany, in July 1943. The children were taken from orphanages in Orsh and Smolensk, in occupied Russian territory."
Woman who executed 1,500 people in WWII
Many years after WWII, the Soviet Interior Ministry and the KGB were still disclosing war crimes and exposed those who assisted the Fascist army. In 1978, the KGB found traces of a Soviet woman who executed partisans and their families by shooting by order of Fascist commanders. Within 1941-1943, Antonina Makarova worked as a machine gunner on the occupied Soviet territory. At that time she was just 20, too young and wishing to stay alive, so she chose to work for Nazis and carried out death sentences, instead of dying when defending the motherland from enemies.
Battle for Budapest - One hundred days of solitude (Article no longer available from the original source)
The WWII battle for Budapest took 108 days. The Soviet Army lost 80,026 killed and 240,056 wounded. Estimated Hungarian and German casualties were 48,000 dead, 26,000 wounded. By comparison, the Leningrad siege lasted 900 days, but the fighting was not in the city, as it was in Budapest. Among capital cities, only Warsaw had a more tragic time than Budapest. Budapest was not prepared. Despite its bloodiness, the Budapest siege was virtually unnoticed in western Allied nations.
Hitler Didn’t Want to Take Leningrad in Eastern Front
Hitler did not want to capture besieged Leningrad during World War II, but intended to starve its citizens to death, a new book by a German historian says. Released in Germany this summer, the book “Das Belagerte Leningrad” by JÚrg Ganzenmßller challenges the Soviet view of the Siege of Leningrad that the city was not taken because of heroic resistance by citizens and the Red Army. That view still dominates in Russia today.
(St. Petersburg Times)
Celebrating Soviet heroism - 60th anniversary
Russia, which suffered the most in terms of human casualties in the Second World War, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism. More than 27 million Russians, about 14% of the country`s population, died fighting for their motherland. Britain lost only 0.6% of its population. U.S. casualties were even lower - about 0.3% of its population. The Soviet war dead account for 40 per cent of all those killed in the War. In all, 8,66,800 Red Army officers and soldiers were killed in action. A recent opinion poll showed that 60% of the Russian people attributed the victory to Stalin`s military genius.
Leningrad siege ends after 900 days
The Soviet Army has lifted the blockade of Leningrad that has been besieged since German forces cut the land link to the city on 8 July 1941. Soviet soldiers broke through the German line of defence and recaptured hundreds of towns and villages in the region. It is believed that hundreds of thousands of Leningrad`s population of 2.5 million have died of starvation, exposure or enemy action since 1 Sept 1941. The German army reached Leningrad soon after invading Russia on 22 June 1941 but stopped short of taking Russia`s second city after resistance and decided instead on a blockade.
Eastern Front Waffen-SS Veteran Ilmar Haaviste
I joined the German forces in 1944. There was a mobilisation, and also Estonian units on the Eastern Front were transferred to near Narva, where the 20th Estonian Division of the Waffen-SS was formed. I had heard from my schoolteacher father that in 1943 there was an Allied conference in Tehran where Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to a proposal from Stalin which in effect handed him Estonia... You have to remember the first year of Soviet power, in 1940-1941, in which it showed itself to be so appalling, we`d seen nothing like it. All the deportations, murders, destroying everything - all this turned the majority of Estonians against the communist regime.
Saving Private Ivan - Red army`s decisive role in defeating Nazi Germany
Operation Bagration began when a Soviet guerrilla army emerged from the forests of Belorussia to launch a surprise attack on the Wehrmacht`s rear. The partisan brigades planted 40,000 demolition charges, which devastated the rail lines. 3 days later, on June 22 1944, Marshal Zhukov started the main assault on German front lines. The screams of the Katyusha rockets were followed by the roar of 4,000 tanks and 1.6 million Soviet soldiers. This "great military earthquake" stopped near Warsaw as Hitler rushed elite reserves from western Europe to stem the Red Army. As a result, US and UK troops fighting in Normandy would not have to face the best Panzer divisions.
Fighting the Russians in Winter - Key problems (Article no longer available from the original source)
This Leavenworth Paper contains case studies about winter warfare: Mobility and logistical support are restricted. Roads and runways can only be kept open by plowing or compacting the snow. Cross-country transport - if possible at all - requires wide-tracked vehicles or sleds. Infantrymen moving through deep snow rapidly become exhausted. Without special lubricants firearms and motors may freeze up and become inoperative at subzero temperatures. Frostbite casualties may exceed battle losses unless troops wear proper clothing. Speedy removal of the wounded from the battlefield to shelter is essential to prevent even minor wounds from resulting in death from exposure.
Soviet Women in Combat
Number of Soviet women combat veterans reached nearly one million, a small portion of which were involved in combat. Eugenia Ustimchouk was one of the rare women pilots. She was admitted in Jan of 1942 in the same unit as her husband. "We had a women`s bomber pilot regiment who flew heavy planes called P-2. I remember one, Liuba Gubena, who studied with me and flew that plane. German planes were pursuing her and her plane caught on fire. She gave her crew the command to bail out, but her navigator`s parachute got caught. Liuba started to do all kinds of maneuvers to throw off the navigator, to save her. She perished herself in trying to save her navigator."