Legendary Military Battles: Operation Barbarossa, WWII – German Leaders Realize Defeat

Operation Barbarossa

During the Nuremberg Trials, German Leaders summed up the point they lost the war in one word, “Moscow.” While Hilter had many successful battles throughout Western Europe, his venture to the east proved his greatest miscalculation.

Operation Barbarossa

In June 1941, the Nazis made a plan to head into Moscow as fast as possible. They wanted to take the city before the first snow.

They would use a blitzkrieg run just like they had in France, Belgium, and other countries to speed up the process. However, the USSR’s invasion would have to be much larger.

The Germans felt that if they could overpower the massive number of Russian troops, they could move through the east quickly. If they hit hard and fast with tanks and aerial assault, they had a chance at toppling the Soviet resistance.

The Nazis believed that if they made it to Moscow, they would be able to make it through the harsh winter. From there, they would be able to take the Soviet’s industrial centers, effectively crushing the resistance.

Large Miscalculation

While it was a good plan, it did not work out that way. Instead of the Soviets rolling over when the Germans came through, they actually put up a fight.

As more Russians learned of the horrible things the Third Reich was doing to the prisoners of war and Soviet civilians, they joined the war effort. However, instead of meeting less resistance, the Germans faced citizens who were willing to destroy roads, railways, and bridges in order to slow them down.

It took them much longer than planned to reach Moscow, and by the time they arrived in October 1941, the Russians had fortified the city with rings. The battlefront was spread out over 370 miles, and the Red Army had built a massive number of reserves. As a result, the Germans were also worn out when they reached the Moscow Oblast.

Soldiers were wounded and cold. The Soviet Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov was able to stave off the German troops and blitzkrieg. Wehrmacht was only able to get within 12 miles of the city.

The city was untouchable. The Germans fell back in January 1942, infuriating Hilter. He took over as head of the army after firing the previous man. The Soviets were able to push the Nazis back, and the operation became a total loss under Hilter.

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