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Lesson 13
WW II – Germany Turns East
Lesson Objectives
• Describe and analyze the German decision process to
attack the Soviet Union in June 1941.
• Describe and analyze the operational and logistic
implications of Operation Barbarossa.
• Understand and be able to discuss the impact of total war
within the Soviet Union.
• Understand how the initial successes of the German
invasion of the USSR turned into such a total disaster.
• Be able to describe the magnitude of the Soviet-German
War and its impact on the outcome of World War II.
Battle of Britain
Operation Sealion
September 17, 1940
Operation Sealion postponed indefinitely
Unable to gain air superiority
Approach of winter
Hitler Turns East
Germany, USSR signed nonaggression pact (August 23, 1939)
After German defeat of Poland, Germany and USSR divided Poland
USSR invaded Finland November 30, 1939 (“The Winter War”)
• 250,000 Finnish troops vs. 1,000,000 Soviets
• British, French considered support via Norway and Sweden
• By March 1940: 26,000 Finnish dead vs. 126,000 Soviets
• Soviet military weakness from 1930’s purges noted by Hitler
In July 1940 Hitler told his generals to prepare for war with USSR within a year
Hitler Turns East
Hitler regarded the Soviet Union and Bolshevism as the
greatest threat to Germany
He felt that the weakness of the Red Army created
the best possible opportunity to eliminate this threat
• Rejected (or ignored) the possibility of two-front war
Operation Barbarossa
German Invasion of the Soviet Union
The classic example of the cost of
not learning the lessons of history
The Impact of Logistics on War
Go To
Why Do We Study War?
History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.
Attributed to Samuel Clements (1835-1910)
Operation Barbarossa
June 22, 1941
Operation Barbarossa
Note conquered nation participation
Conquered Nation Support
Operation Barbarossa
Click for Video
Siege of Barbarossa
September 1941 - January 1944
872 days
Soviet Dead: Red Army: 330,000+
Civilian: 1,000,000+
October 1941 - January 1942
Germans: 1,000,000 men, 1,700 tanks
Soviets: 1,250,000 men, 1,000 tanks
August 1942 - February 1943
Battle of Stalingrad
August 1942 - February 1943
Battle of Stalingrad
German Grand Strategy-Russia,
N Africa & Oil-12.05
Video (8:24)
Battle of Stalingrad
August 1942 - February 1943
Fatal Distraction?
German Grand Strategy
German Grand Strategy
Battle of Kursk
July - August 1943
Eastern Front
December 1944
German-Soviet War
Until June 1944
• Soviet Union bore main thrust of German army
• Stalin pressed for Second Front
Soviet Losses
Soviet Losses
The Soviet war effort was so overwhelming that
impartial historians of the future are unlikely to rate
the British and American contribution to the European
theatre as much more than a sound supporting role.
Norman Davies
Europe at War, 1939-1945
Quoted by Benjamin Schwarz
“Stalin's Gift”
The Atlantic, May 2007
Lesson 14
WW II -- Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
and the Second Battle of the Atlantic
Lesson Objectives
• Understand the magnitude and significance of the Battle of the
Atlantic during World War II.
• Understand the degree of British dependence on maritime lines
of communication.
• Describe U.S. participation in the Battle of the Atlantic prior to
December 1941.
• Describe and analyze the tactics and technology used by both
sides in the Battle of the Atlantic.
• Understand the importance of code breaking in the Atlantic war.
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