• 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

    * Even some villages were connected to the electricity supply so they too could receive radio broadcasts and be kept in touch with what the Party wanted them to do and think. All media was totally controlled by the State.

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

    The Communist industrial work ethic was highlighted by the reported "true" story of Alexei Stakhanov. It was reported in national newspapers (controlled by the Government) that Stakhanov had shifted 102 tons of coal in one shift, apparently 14 times that a regular man would move.

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

    Conscious of the isolation of her country, the new Czar sought to avoid any estrangement with any power, readily consented to renew the League and maintain the friendship with Germany. Though the Bulgarian crisis led to the breakdown of the second Dreikaiserbund for Germany supported Austria to against Russia in

  2. Hitlers Germany

    The totalitarian system in the period of modern technical development can dispense with them; the means of communication alone make it possible to mechanize the lower leadership. As a result of this there arises the new type of the uncritical recipient of orders.

  1. Vietnam war

    Poor communication especially lead to the bombing of protected villages. ARVN lost motivation in the realisation that the war was an American war, and they were tools of US military. In turn, the US military mistrusted and mistreated the ARVN, after realisation of NLF infiltration.

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

    Stavka was formed to direct strategic and military operations. The GKO ?Had all power and authority of the State behind it?. It took responsibility for the defence of Moscow. It helped make battle plans for Division withdrawals and spread them from the black sea to Leningrad.

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

    The party stepped up its propaganda against the kulaks, making them seem like a danger to society. There was already class-war in the countryside before collectivisation. Stalin thought that collectivisation would go hand in hand with industrialisation and this would then make the USSR a great economic power.

  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