Hitler Invades the ussr

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Hitler Invades the USSR

  • Operation Barbarossa

  • The Battle of Stalingrad

Why did Hitler attack the USSR?

  • Hitler was frustrated with the stalemate of the Battle of Britain.

  • Germany needed the resources of the Soviet Union to feed/fuel the German empire.

  • Hitler also wanted more ‘Lebensraum’ (living space) for the Germany

  • Hitler hated communism and Stalin and could care less about the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

  • Hitler believed that the Nazi ‘blitzkrieg’ would once again prove successful and the USSR would surrender in 6 weeks.

  • Hitler knew Stalin had rid his military of many of its best officers and that the Soviets were not ready for war.

Operation Barbarossa:

  • At 3:30 a.m. on June 22nd, 1941, Hitler instructed his troops to invade breaking the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

  • 3 million German soldiers, 600 000 motorized vehicles and 750 000 horses were used in the attack.

  • Germany advanced into Soviet territory – USSR’s oil-rich areas were first targeted


What happened?

  • The Soviets were unprepared, disorganized and used poor

tactics; they were easily over-run.

  • As the Nazis advanced the Soviets retreated using a ‘slash

& burnstrategy; they destroyed everything- crops,

livestock, machinery- so that the Nazis would have no

resources to use.

was taking a toll on the German forces.

  • Stalin took total control of the military and was ruthless; he

would not allow retreat or evacuation of civilians (300 died/day).

  • The Nazi attack was initially very successful as the Nazis

ultimately came within 39 km of the USSR’s capital, Moscow.
The Conditions:

  • A second foe to the Germans was the winter conditions – snow began to fall as early as October!

  • German soldiers on the front line had been active since June and few had warm winter clothing.

  • Hot food was rarely available as it quickly froze solid in transport.

  • Thousands of German soldiers froze to death and others needed to strip clothing off dead bodies to stay warm.

  • The Soviet winter of 1941-42 is regarded as one of the coldest winters ever recorded for the country


The Battle of Stalingrad:

  • Began in July 1942 and ended in Feb 1943

  • The capture of Stalingrad was important to Hitler for two primary reasons:

First, it was a major industrial city. The German capture of the city would break the transportation of resources and goods to the north.

Second, its capture would secure the oil-rich region– with the strategic goal of cutting off fuel to Stalin's war machine.

Third, Stalingrad was important site of German attack on Russia as it is a key point of transportation, communication, and industry.

  • The fact that the city was named after the leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin, would make its capture a success.

  • With sheer heart and determination, the Russians held off and eventually defeated the Germans. Germans surrendered their Russian front on Feb. 22,1943

  • The battle of Stalingrad is believed to have been responsible for approx. 2 million combined dead.

  • This is considered one of the major turning points of the war as Germany ultimately failed to succeed in Russia and by Jan. 1943 the Soviets began to push them back with counter offensives.


  1. List the 6 reasons Hitler wanted to invade the USSR:

Operation Barbarossa:

  1. When did Hitler begin his attack on the Soviet Union through Operation Barbarossa?

  1. List the military resources the German’s had when they went into the USSR:

  1. Were the Soviet’s prepared for the German attack? Why do you think they were unprepared? (Think of the Non-Aggression Pact).

  1. The Soviet’s used a ‘slash and burn’ technique to their advantage. Explain what that included.

  1. Explain how and why the winter in the USSR was a disadvantage for the German’s. Give details of what happened to their military.

The Battle of Stalingrad:

  1. When did this battle begin and when did it end?

  1. Give 3 reasons why the capture of Stalingrad was important to Hitler and his German empire.

  1. Were the German’s able to capture Stalingrad?

  1. When did the German’s surrender the Soviet front?

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