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

Operation Barbarossa

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

OPERATION BARBAROSSA 'Explain the early success and ultimate failure of Operation Barbarossa to the end of 1941.' Operation Barbarossa had many major and some more minor factors which led to the early success and eventually the ultimate failure of the invasion. The Germans initial quick invasion using their Blitzkrieg tactics and the element of surprise against the Russians allowed them to get very close to Moscow. However the most important reason for the early success of Operation Barbarossa was Stalin's inaccurate leadership and policies which caused disarray among the Russians. Although, had it not been for the diversion in Yugoslavia and Greece before the invasion had even started and then during Barbarossa, the change in tactics from Hitler which diverted German troops south and furthermore 'General Winter', it is possible that the Germans would have succeeded in their invasion of Barbarossa. As it was, Hitler's mistakes caused the ultimate failure of the operation as they also contributed towards many other factors such as German incompetence on the home front and the decision to regroup instead of attacking an unready Moscow. It is clear that Operation Barbarossa was very successful at first as the Germans met little resistance from the Red Army due to Stalin's policies in appeasing the Germans. The most important reason for early success was Stalin's bad policies and ignorance. Stalin's policies led to hardly any decent army officials and leaders being left after the Purges leaving the army lacking in good advice and intelligence from high ranking officials in the major cities, which left the defences totally unprepared for an invasion. Stalin was also stubborn and ignorant of any threat from the Germans even though he had been informed by some of his own spies and foreign intelligence agencies warning of Hitler's aggressive intentions. He was ignorant because he was preoccupied with an invasion by the Japanese on the Eastern borders of Russia and he had seen the German action in the Balkans indicating that they were more interested in invading these areas. ...read more.

Middle

I believe that had Hitler not meddled in the army affairs and ignored the advice of his generals then the ultimate failures and mistakes that were made would have been unlikely to come back and haunt Germany. The Germans quick advance into Russia forced a great demand upon supplies and relied on overall cooperation. The evidence of Germany's ultimate failures in Operation Barbarossa was that 200 out of 900 men in one division were unable to continue fighting within just two weeks of the Russian winter, mostly because they didn't have the clothing to keep them warm and cope with these conditions which was due to German incompetence and Hitler's previous mistakes that had allowed the invasion to continue into the winter. In only the opening few weeks of Barbarossa, the Germans had lost 100,000 men, which was equal to the amount lost in all their previous campaigns in World War II. German production was not as good as the Russians- by 1941, Russia had between 20,000 and 25,000 tanks compared to Germany's 18,000. Finally, Hitler's intervention in the Operation was clear because in a month and a half Hitler had ordered 3 different directives, one of which focused on the crucial decision to not capture Moscow. Hitler had not controlled the invasion well and his arrogance eventually led him astray and to become too involved in the offensive and to ignore the other Generals. The 'General Winter' weather scenario contributed to the ultimate failures of Germany that helped Russia to win Barbarossa. The Russian winter caused many of the roads to become frozen and when that melted it became wet and muddy. -40 Celsius temperatures meant that the Germans couldn't advance as the oil froze in the vehicles and the machinery wouldn't fire because it was jammed. This caused the Germans to lose morale and when illness or frostbite started to go through the German army groups many started to die. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that this point is important because had Hitler gone into Barbarossa with more reasonable targets and more preparation had have gone ahead then he might not have made the same mistakes. Another point that can be attributed to Hitler and then the ultimate failure of Barbarossa was his flawed political judgements. In the winter of 1941-42, he turned against the peasants, who had at the start been allied with him, by sending SS guards to Russia to begin killing the peasants in the areas that were rebelling because Hitler felt that they were racially inferior. These errors by Hitler caused the cutting off of supply lines and German troop's morale was lowered even more. In conclusion, it is clear that there are 2 very different sides to Operation Barbarossa. Firstly, the Germans made huge advances and seemed to be on their way to certain victory but then the Russians seemed to claw their way back into Barbarossa and eventually drive the Germans back. Therefore I think the most important point that led to the early success was that Stalin appeased Hitler right up until Barbarossa began by continuing trade supplies to Germany and not positioning his troops on the border. He hoped that this would prevent Germany from 'feeling the need' to attack Russia but even though he was looking for peace, it backfired on him because the Red Army was disorganised and lacking in clear orders as to what to do when they came under attack which meant that many troops and machines were lost early on. However, ultimately, Barbarossa failed because of Hitler through his errors and mistakes. I think that the most important point that led to the ultimate failure of Barbarossa was the fact that Hitler stopped his troops marching on Moscow which gave the Russian people time to regroup and set up defences under Zhukov. That with the help of 'General Winter' caused the Germans to be pushed back and the Russians to take the lead. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects 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 GCSE History Projects essays

  1. How Were The Roman Army Superior In Weaponry, Armour And Tactics To The Celts?

    This meant that although the Celts could run around freely they had little protection once their shields were destroyed by Pilums and were easy pickings for the skilled Romans and their deadly weapons. In comparison the Roman armour was far superior because most of their bodies were covered without making

  2. My main question is : How did Mussolini rise to power in ...

    How could such a party without a comprehensible program and peoples trust become a dictatorship ten years later ? This was the moment where fascism was created, Italy was a very unstable country in 1920. Fascism supported nationalist sentiments such as a strong unity, regardless of class, in the hopes

  1. Adolf Hitler

    The First World War In 1913, Hitler who was still very poor moved to Munich. When the First World War started in 1914, he volunteered his services to the Germany Army, and was accepted into the 16th Baravarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, which is a very highly skilled platoon.

  2. Why did the Germans lose in Russia?

    These people became known as Partisans. The Partisans well actually quite well armed and so would often attack the Germans from behind as well as controlling the areas that they had already conquered. Hitler had not planned for this to happen and had actually planned for this not to happen by attacking France, conquering it and then moving to the east.

  1. Nazi Germany

    The Ghettos Once Hitler came into power, he began to move Jews into ghettos. Ghettos were usually established in the poor sections of a city, where most of the Jews from the city and surrounding areas were forced to live in.

  2. What was the contribution of tanks towards winning the war for Britain?

    With 6-12mm of steel, caterpillar tracks for wheels and a rhomboid shape (see Fig. 2+3), this was not hard to achieve. "Sinister, formidable, and industrious, these novel machines pushed boldly into No Man's Land, astonishing our soldiers no less than they frightened the enemy."- This is what Percival Phillips reported

  1. Explain the reasons for the construction of the Madinat-al-Zahra and Document the measures of ...

    It is said that 1,200 loaves of bread per day were needed just to feed the fish in the ornamental ponds - the individual costs of the different aspects of the city, help illustrate exactly why the city took so much money to build and maintain.

  2. How Did Hong Kong Fall so Quickly to the Japanese in WWII

    These spies spread false rumors and sent plans of the gin drinkers line to the Japanese.

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