• 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

    * All films were state-made, so fully reflected the views and wishes of the Party, plying a vital role in propaganda as well as entertainment. * The press and the radio were given great emphasis by the party. Most towns and cities had loudspeakers set up in prominent places so people could hear Government pronouncements.

  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. Russia 1905 - 1941

    In the early years of his life Lenin was exiled to Siberia from 1900 and returned to Russia in April of 1917, after the Bolshevik revolution. During the civil war Lenin introduced a policy of war communism. This policy meant that the government took control of the economy.

  2. Life in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945

    However, fulfilling the ideology was perhaps not the main aim of the Nazi regime, with the main aims becoming increasing Germany's population and helping the war effort, even if the ideology was broken. The consequences of these policies were very varied.

  1. Hitlers Germany

    . . Another result was the far-reaching supervision of the citizens of the State and the maintenance of a high degree of secrecy for criminal acts. The nightmare of many a man that one day nations could be dominated by technical means was all but realized in Hitler's totalitarian system.

  2. Vietnam war

    million children were born with dioxin-related deformities, and that the birth defects in South Vietnam were fourfold those in the North. The use of Agent Orange may have been contrary to international rules of war at the time. It is also noteworthy that the most likely victims of such an assault would be small children.

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

    Their replacements would show less initiative out of fear for the same as their predecessors. This is why Zhukov was brought back and was tough enough to withstand the torture given to him to force a confession. From the Purges there were only two Field Marshalls left: He removed three

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

    However, instead of being enthusiastic, workers became increasingly disillusioned with the bid to become a Socialist country. Workers boycotted factory committee elections and trade unions, and unemployed workers protested ï many arrests. However, the authorities would not admit that they were to blame, as that would be saying Stalin was wrong.

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