Invasion of Soviet Union (AKA Operation Barbarossa) By: Group 2

Why did Hitler invade the USSR?

Hitler decided to invade the USSR because he thought that the only reason Britain stayed in the war was that they were expecting Soviet help. He hoped that a defeat of the USSR would also end his problems dealing with Great Britain.

What "stalled" his plans for an earlier attack?

Hitler’s invasion was behind schedule because he had to deal with problems caused by Mussolini’s failed attack on Greece, which exposed the German’s southern flank to British air bases. Hitler then had to send troops to the Balkans to take Yugoslavia and Greece, but this delayed his attack on the Soviets.

How large was this invading force? Where did Hitler's "three prong invasion" attack/focus on? Why?

Approximately 4 million axis soldiers invaded the Soviet Union at the time. Hitler’s three pronged attack focused on invading to the north, center, and south of Soviet Union. This was the largest German military operation of WW2. The attacks were aimed to weaken Russia. There were attacks on Stalingrad, Leningrad and Moscow. Hitler stabbed Stalin in the back by invading Russia. He had said that it was a defensive attack to justify his battle but it was clearly offensive. Hitler invaded Russia primarily because of his belief that the Slavs were weak, inferior people that deserved to be subjugated(under complete control of Hitler).

Why did Stalin not think Hitler would attack the USSR?

Stalin did not think Hitler would attack the USSR because of the Non-Aggression Pact that was previously established. This was established so that Hitler could focus all his power on the western front.

Why did Hitler fail in successfully defeating the USSR?

Nazi Germany launched an attack on the Soviet Union, and it consisted of of 180 divisions, including 20 panzer divisions, 8,000 tanks, and 3,200 airplanes. German troops were stretched out along an 1,800-mile front. The Soviets had 160 infantry divisions but were able to mobilize another 300 divisions out of reserves within half a year. Hitler miscalculated the power of the Soviets. Due to an early winter and some Soviet resistance, the German army came to a standstill. Even though the temperature was 30 degrees below zero, Hitler refused to retreat. Many soldiers deserted the army and others started to disobey many direct orders. By December 1941, Hitler decide to declare war on the United States which probably made his defeat inevitable and turned the European conflict into a global one.

Soldiers facing frigid temperatures

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