• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why was Nazi Germany so successful in the initial phase (1941-42) of its war against soviet Russia?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why was Nazi Germany so successful in the initial phase (1941-42) of its war against soviet Russia? When in 1940 Adolf Hitler decided to eliminate the Soviet Union as a political and military factor in Europe, he intended to destroy the USSR in a ten-week summer campaign. This campaign became one of the bloodiest and most pitiless of wars in modern times, developing rapidly from a European to a World War. Rarely can a war have been waged among civilised peoples with such savageness and such barbarous inhumanity. The Russo-German war lasted for four years, but initially Germany was successful, allowing us to ask why exactly was Germany so successful in the initial stages of operation Barbarossa? Numerous reasons arise when answering such a question. Hitler was determined not merely to annihilate the Soviet Union and the Bolshevist system but also to destroy the coherence of any Russian State, the Russians being reduced to the level of slaves. In his speech to his generals on 30th March, Hitler's intention was to prepare his commanders psychologically for the new pattern of the radical ideological war. It can easily be argued that Hitler had indeed been correct in his judgements in previous campaigns, resulting in commanders trusting Hitler for his risk taking and thus a high morale was implanted into the soldier's psyche. ...read more.

Middle

The whole organisation of the German army was of 1st class standard, with the added advantage of radio communications compared to the USSR's obsolete radio communications centres. Added to the disorganisation of the Red Army was that many fortifications on the Russian border was not even finished; there were 2,300 fortifications, but only less than 1000 were manned or equipped. This allowed German troops to bypass many key areas of Russia where they could easily have been challenged if the Red Army was fully mobilised. Not only this, but the attack came as a complete surprise to the leader of the Soviet Union - Joseph Stalin. Despite repeated intelligence warnings, which included the precise day and hour of Germany's incipient assault, Stalin remained convinced that Hitler would not risk an eastern war as long as the British Empire remained undefeated. It has been argued that Stalin in fact planned a pre-emptive attack on Germany for the early summer of 1941, and was then thrown off balance by the German invasion. The government at that time, although theoretically collective in form, was entirely subordinate to the will of the dictator. Stalin, cautious and doubtful, continued to appraise the situation coolly and logically. Stalin himself went into hiding - evidently he was not at all expecting an offensive from his so called 'ally'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Germany had the rigorously trained SS troops and were capable of fulfilling demanding operations. In contrast, the Russian army was much bigger yet didn't consist of as highly trained troops. This was evident from the huge losses of 2 million men within the initial stages of the battle. In conclusion, I believe that the successes made by Germany in 1941-42 were due to a culmination of the reasons mentioned above. Stalin was seen as a problem by many of the Russian commanders who believed in the intelligence of an imminent attack from Nazi Germany, yet they were too afraid to go against Stalin's wishes and mobilise the army. Added with this was the swift movement of German artillery and troops, which gave the German army a considerable gain in Western Russia. It could just be that Soviet Russia was simply not ready for war, hence the huge number of losses in the Red Army. However, the Red Army was fortunate that in 1942, Stalin finally decided to play a less prominent role in defence planning and discovered in a young Russian general, Zhukov, a remarkable deputy whose brusque, no-nonsense style of command, and intuitive operational sense, we indispensable in making the Red Army a better battlefield force. By 1943, the whole situation had changed - Hitler was commander - in - chief against the less dogmatic Zhukov. Soviet Russia may have started off slow, but once it transformed itself to a total war economy, defeat of the Nazi Germany was inevitable. HISTORY 1 Hashim Talbot 13B ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Stalins Russia, 1924-53 revision guide

    What was the Cult of Personality? * Stalin created the impression that he was a genius at everything. He was described as the 'wisest man of the twentieth century', the 'genius of the age'. The Soviet people were told that he was never wrong. This protected Stalin from any further challenges.

  2. "Stalin transformed the Soviet Union from a backward country into a strong modern state ...

    This example of heroism and Stakhanov's subsequent use as a guiding light to all Russian workers is just an example of what the Government aimed to get out of the workers at the end of the first Five Year Plan.

  1. Hitlers Germany

    Throughout his career Hitler showed himself prepared to seize any advantage that was to be gained by lying, cunning, treachery, and unscrupulousness. He demanded the sacrifice of millions of German lives for the sacred cause of Germany, but in the last year of the war was ready to destroy Germany rather than surrender his power or admit defeat.

  2. Vietnam war

    The DRV was prepared to prolong the war for fifteen to twenty years and to lose ten men for every one American. The Vietcong (communist Guerillas) * Devised strategies and strategies to neutralise American firepower * Adaptability enabled them to use whatever resources were available.

  1. Trace and explain the relations between Germany and Russia during 1871-1914

    Britain did not like her colonial rival [Russia] to be supported by a strong power. On October 7, 1879, Bismarck made the Dual Alliance with Austria. After the signal of the Dual Alliance of 1879, Russia felt that she was betrayed.

  2. 'Stalin's leadership was the most significant reason for Soviet victory over Germany in the ...

    It was an inexhaustible supply. The USSR even used Penal Armies with berserkers, who the Nazis were terrified of, and even People?s Militias were used. The USSR had superior tanks, the T-34, and superior planes, the MIG?s. The USSR were also well organised and had better tactics.

  1. The Impact of Stalins Leadership in the USSR, 1924 1941. Extensive notes

    2,582 2,678 Woollen fabrics (million linear meters) 105 101 Grain (value in million roubles) 4,566 3,641 Livestock (value in million roubles) 6,221 5,901 Stalin?s motives for rapid economic change: 1. The country could not move into a Socialist future without the economy changing. NEP propaganda: The regime needed to mould the population into feeling a certain way,

  2. Why, despite the disasters of 1941, was the USSR able to defeat Germany by ...

    In the early part of the Second World War, Germany looked unstoppable ? but as Hitler?s self-confidence grew, his ability to guide the war effectively proved to inadequate. First, launching a war against Russia whilst fighting Britain was over ambitious.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work