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Operation Barbarossa was the leading military operation in World War II, yet it failed in its aim to overthrow the Soviet Union, and led to the rout of the Axis powers. The plan of this investigation is to clarify the extent to which the wars outcome d

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Introduction

Plan of Investigation Operation Barbarossa was the leading military operation in World War II, yet it failed in its aim to overthrow the Soviet Union, and led to the rout of the Axis powers. The plan of this investigation is to clarify the extent to which the war's outcome drove Hitler to inaugurate his assault of the Soviet Union. The reasons for the invasion's breakdown will not be assessed. Mein Kampf will be used as a primary source for examining Hitler's philosophy and diplomacy for acquiring Lebensraum. Theories of historians such as Woodruff D. Smith and Norman Rich will be evaluated for their views as to what the motivating factors in launching the operation were. Summary of Evidence Operation Barbarossa began a year and a half after the Winter War of 1939-1940, where Russia achieved only an unfinished trounce over the undersized Finnish army of 160,0001. Even though the Russians had 460,000 soldiers, with additional in set aside in Moscow, their endeavor of capturing the country in 20 days was thwarted.2 Russia won about 10% of Finland's land, far from their objective of capturing the entire motherland. The state of the Soviet armed forces before the Winter War had been dreadful, and worsened throughout it. Stalin's Territorial Army purges had reduced commander numbers by 80%, parting his associates in senior positions (who were not always renowned for their military talents)3. ...read more.

Middle

As the Russians hadn't achieved a absolute defeat over a minor army, Hitler had excellent reason to trust that his army of 3 million men would crush Russian forces.17 News of the Russian failure with defensive gains assured Hitler that if he couldn't triumph over all of Russia, he would at least obtain something. It is debatable whether Hitler would have invaded Russia solely because the Winter War had weakened them. Russia's large army and the area to be dominated would have presented extensive obstacles. The second reason is more persuasive. According to Mein Kampf, Hitler determined before 1939 that Russia would be the purpose of his colonial plans. His chatter of establishing colonies in Russia was a consequence of his belief that Bolshevism offered a danger to the safety of the Third Reich. Woodruff D. Smith bickered that Germany "deliberately went to war in the East to achieve an end, Lebensraum".18 This observation is shared and long-drawn-out by Geoffrey Stoakes, who believes Lebensraum would have finished Germany the "master" of Europe. These ideological differences predestined that a war was to be anticipated as long as attitudes towards each one of other remained hostile (regardless of the outcome of other wars, such as the Winter War). The opinionated connotation of the war and supremacy over Europe are stronger motives for incursion than mere weakness on the branch of the Russians. ...read more.

Conclusion

Almanac of World War II: The Complete and Comprehensive Documentary of World War II (USA: Bison Books, 1981), 109-11 8 Klaus Hilderbrand, "Hitler's War Aims", The Journal of Moden History Vol. 48 No. 3 (1976): 529 9 A. M. Nikolaieff, "The Red Army in the Second World War", Russian Review Vol. 7 No. 1 (1947): 52 10 "Operation Barbarossa", Spartacus Educational, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSbarbarossa.htm 11 Jeremy Noakes, "Hitler and 'Lebensraum' in the East", BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/hitler_lebensraum_05.shtml 12 Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, "The Third Reich, 1933-1945: A Sketch," in Contemporary Germany: Politics and Culture, ed. Charles Burdick, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, and Winfried Kudszus (Boulder: Westview Press, 1984), 36 13 Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", ed. James Vincent Murphy (London: Hurst and Blackett Ltd, 1939), http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200601.txt 14 P. M. H. Bell, Untitled Review, The Historical Journal, Vol. 32 No. 3 (1999) 15 Barnes and Noble, http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Origins-of-the-Second-World-War-in-Europe/Bell-PMH- Bell-PMH/e/9780582304703/?itm=2 16 Spartacus Educational, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSbarbarossa.htm 17 "Operation Barbarossa", Olive-Drab, http://www.olive- drab.com/od_history_ww2_ops_battles_1941barbarossa.php 18 Philip M. H. Bell, Untitled Review, The Historical Journal, Vol. 32 No. 3 (1999): 742-743 19 John Erickson, Untitled Review, review of Germany and the Second World War Vol. IV: The Attack on the Soviet Union, by Horst Boog, Jurgen Forster, Joachim Hoffmann, Ernst Klink, Rolf-Dieter Muller and Gerd R. Ueberschar, The English Historical Review, Vol. 115 No. 460 (2000): 167 20 Klaus Hilderbrand, "Hitler's War Aims", The Journal of Moden History Vol. 48 No. 3 (1976): 529 ...read more.

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