Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa
Essential Question: What were the motives for the initial Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941 and Why did Operation Barbarossa eventually fail.

The motives for the initial Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941 can first be traced back to 1925. That was the year Mein Kampf was published. Hitler suggested in Mein Kampf that he would invade the Soviet Union, asserting that the German people needed lebensraum, or living space and raw materials, and that these should be sought in the east. Mein Kampf also stated that it was Germany‚Äôs destiny to turn to the east as it did six hundred years ago.   Another possible motive was the significant Jewish population in Russia. In addition to this at the time Russia was not thought to be a first rate military power, especially after the Winter War with Finland where the red army lost significant personnel compared to the Finns.
Operation Barbarossa eventually ended up as a failure because of several reasons. First of all, the Nazi high command could not decide where to focus their strengths. Instead of focusing on one target they instead decided to spread their forces out and attack Stalingrad, Moscow and Ukraine. Although each had its own strategic importance attacking all 3 weakened the overall German force. For example during the attack on Stalingrad because of the lack of supplies as a result of the sheer size of Russia, the red army was able to penetrate through the German lines and encircle the city, effectively trapping the German 6th army inside.
Another very important reason was the Russian Winter, which the Germans were not prepared for at all. Hitler and the German high command thought that the invasion would only take a number of months and that soviet military would collapse.   As a result most army uniforms were made for medium weather warfare with no extremity in cold or heat. This proved to be very detrimental to the German army, morale decreased and many German soldiers froze to death. The...