Tuesday, June 23, 2020

79 years ago, Hitler picked a fight that may have cost him World War II

June 23, 2020 (businessinsider.com) Just after 3 a.m. on June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in the history of warfare. Over 3.5 million Axis troops, along with more than 3,400 tanks and 2,700 aircraft, blitzed across the 1,800-mile border separating the Axis powers from the Soviet Union. Believing the Red Army to be weak because of its failures in Poland and Finland and because Josef Stalin's purges had largely rid it of competent leaders, Adolf Hitler reportedly told his generals, "We only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.
German troops with an infantry support gun crossing the Soviet border during Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. Foto Johannes Hähle

The Germans divided their forces into three Army Groups. The immediate objectives were for Army Group North to drive through the Baltic and take Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), while Army Group South would attack into Ukraine and take Kyiv and the Donets Basin. Army Group Center, the largest of the three, would push through Minsk and Smolensk to take Moscow....
German troops in the Soviet Union in 1941. US National Archives