|The Great Patriotic War
Wednesdays, 3:10-4:50 PM
Facilitator: Mark Albertson
37 Russell Street
Norwalk, CT 06855
You are about to embark on a sojourn into history that will focus on the greatest land war in history: The titanic clash between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Decision on the Eastern Front dictated which side was going to win the land war in World War II. In size and scope, there has been nothing like the Eastern Front, before or since. This was a conflict which pitted German against Russian; Nazi against Communist; Hitler against Stalin. And it is the last named which largely accounts for the bestiality with which the conflict was waged. At the conclusion of this course, you will have a better understanding of the Eastern Front; a savage, no-holds barred conflict that claimed upwards of 30 million lives. A war that changed the course of history.
March 20, Week 1: Road to War
Traces the course of events leading up to Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Includes an analysis of Stalin’s purges during the 1930’s: the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression pact of August 24, 1939, the dismemberment of Poland; the Winter War
March 27, Week 2: 1941: Barbarossa
June 22, 1941, Hitler hurls 139 divisions—3.3 million men—against the Soviet Union. This session traces the first year of conflict. Includes a comparison of the opposing forces; the importance of the tank on the Eastern Front; the battles of Minsk, Smolensk, Leningrad, Kiev, Vyazma, Bryansk and Moscow. Also, analyzes how the war in Europe became a global conflict.
April 17, Week 3: 1942: Year of Decision
The second year of the conflict. Hitler launches his second summer offense of the war. His objectives? The Soviet oil fields in the Caucasus; the industrial region of the Donbas; the city of Stalingrad; and destroy once and for all the Red Army. The resulting contest of attribution on the banks of the Volga is one of the turning points of World War II.
April 24, Week 4: The Siege: Leningrad
From September 8, 1941 to January 7, 1944, the city founded by Peter the great was cut off and besieged by Hitler’s armies. For almost 900 days, Leningraders endured the worst of the Nazis. This stirring epic of this heroic city stands as one of the greatest sagas of the 20th century. The price for this storied place in history cost the Soviet Union more lives than the combined war dead of Britain and the United States.
May 1, Week 5: 1943: Turning Point
On the heels of the great battle of Stalingrad, Hitler’s beleaguered forces are able to regroup and check the Red Army’s winter offensive. Thus the stage is set for the greatest land-air battle in history-Kursk. Attention will be focused on this pivotal battle and its decisive effect on the Second World War.
May 8, Week 6: 1944: Steamroller
Examination of the inexorable Soviet advance towards Eastern Europe. Highlights include Operation Bagration, the greatest defeat inflicted on the German Army in World War II; and, the Warsaw Uprising
May 15, Week 7: 1945: Gotterdammerung
The battle of Berlin and the fiery death of the Third Reich. Questions the effectiveness of Lend Lease. Evaluation of the strategic and historical significance of the Great Patriotic War.
Bio: I am an historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine. I have authored three books:1) USS Connecticut: Constitution State Battleship; 2) They’ll Have to Follow You! The Triumph of the Great White Fleet and 3) On History: A Treatise. In May 2005, I was presented with a General Assembly Citation by both houses of Congress in Hartford for my efforts in commemorating the centennial of battleship Connecticut.
For questions concerning this course, please do not hesitate to contact me. My points of contact are offered above.