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Compare the Attacks of Operation Barbarossa & Pearl Harbor

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A ‘battle’ is defined here as an event occurring in a particular place and over a relatively short time-span; the shortest of these battles lasted 90 minutes, the longest three months

Indeed, the ‘battle of the Atlantic’ was extremely significant, but it was not a battle: instead, it was a six-year series of battles, none of which was – in itself – decisive. The same is true of the five-year Allied bomber offensive. Looking at the war in terms of ‘battles’ tends to increase the apparent importance of the Russians; they fought more battles, and destroyed most of German army. For me the European war was inherently more significant in military and strategic terms than the Asia-Pacific war (this was also the view of the British, American and Soviet war leaders).

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The Battle of Britain in many ways changed the course of the War. An invasion of Britain was impossible without air superiority. Hitler, fearing a cross-Channel invasion, decided that the only way to force the British to seek terms was to destroy the Soviet Union

He began shifting the Wehrmacht eastward to face the enemy that he had longed to fight from the onset--Soviet Russia. The nature of the War changed decisevely in the second half of 1941. The Germans invaded Russia in June 1941, launching the most collosal military campaign in all of history. It is estimated that on the eve of battle, 6.25 million men faced each other in the East. The Soviets were surprised and devestated. Stalin ignored warnings from the British who as a result of Ultra had details on the German preparations. Stalin was convinced that they were trying to draw him into the War and until the actual attack could not believe that Hitler would attack him. The German attack was an enormous tactical success. The Soviets were surprised and devestated. The Soviet Air Force was destoyed, largely on the ground in the irst week. The Germans captured 3.8 million Soviet soldiers in the first few months of the campaign. No not knowing the true size of the Red Army, they thought they had essentally won the War. German columns seized the major cities of western Russia and drove toward Leningrad and Moscow. But there the Soviets held. The Japanese decission to strike America, allowed the Sovierts to shift Siberian reserves and in December 1941 launch a winter offensive stopping the Whermacht at the gates of Moscow--inflicting irreplaceable losses. The army that invaded the Soviet Union had by January 1942 lost a quarter of its strength. Hitler on December 11 declared war on America--the only country he ever formally declared war on. In an impassioned speech, he complained of a long list of violations of neutality and actual acts of war. [Domarus, pp. 1804-08.] The list was actually fairly accurate. His conclusion, however, that actual American entry into the War would make little difference proved to a diasterous miscalculation. The Germans who months before had faced only a battered, but unbowed Britain now was locked into mortal combat with the two most powerful nations of the world. The British now had the allies that made a German and Japanese victory virtually impossible. After the Russian offensive of December 1941 and apauling German losses--skeptics began to appear and were give the derisory term " Gröfaz ". The Battle of Britain in many ways changed the course of the War. An invasion of Britain was impossible without air superiority. Hitler, fearing a cross-Channel invasion, decided that the only way to force the British to seek terms was to destroy the Soviet Union. He began shifting the Wehrmacht eastward to face the enemy that he had longed to fight from the onset--Soviet Russia. Stalin beginning May 1937 began a drastic purge targetting all potential political opponents. The Army because of its potential power was a priority target. Stalin's purge decimated the officer corps and greatly impaired the morale and efficiency of the Red Army. So confident was Hitler of success in the Battle of Britain that on July 21, 1940 he told his top military commanders in great secrecy that he planned to invade the Soviet Union, perhaps motivated by Stalin's annexation of the three Baltic Repyblics on that day. He ordered General Enrich Marcks the next day to prepare the attack paln. World War I had shown the Germans that they lacked the resources for a long drawn out campaign. The Royal Navy's command of the seas allowed them to import resources from America and its overseas Dominions. The NAZI conquest of Western resources had provided Hitler with substantial new resources and industrial capacity, but it was only in the East (Russia) that Germany could obtain the resources to fight a protracted war. Economic factors were also involved. Not only were the resources of the East needed by the German war machine, but it was extremely costly to maintain Germany's immense army. After the fall of France and te expulsion of Briatin from the Continent, this army had sat largely iddle. An army of this size was a huge drag on the economy of the Reich. Mussolini attacked Greece October 28, 1940 through Albania. Although often ommitted in studies of the World War II, this was to prove perhaps the greatest blunder of the War by the AXIS. Mussolini's 1940 invasion of Greece had two serious consequences. First it complicated the time table for Barbarossa. Second it resulyed in tieing down substantial AXIS forces in the Balkans, estimates run as high as 1 million men, that could have been employed in Barbarossa. The nature of the War changed decisevely in the second half of 1941. The Germans invaded Russia in June 1941, launching the most sweeping military campaign in history.

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The winter weather conditions in Russia were not favorable for war which was a big mistake by Hitler just as Napoleon had attacked Russia towards the end of year. The German troops were given twenty days after the first period of the war to relax and gather other supplies before going for the final episode. This gave the Russians the chance to come together and strategize their tactics as well as increasing their very advanced resources which made them stronger to attack and defend their country (Kirchubel, 2008, p. 1). Basically, Hitler’s miscalculation led to the defeat of the Germans by the Russians. His ignorance could be associated with his lack of knowledge and education since he had not gone outside the country and he certainly could not estimate the capacity of Russia’s resources for war (Flemming, 2004, p. 1). From this incidence, it is clear that miscalculation of defense capabilities of another country is a very serious matter. If German were to invade other country, it would be wise to first get hold of information on the country’s defense mechanisms so that it can prepare enough for the longest time possible.Hitler had expected that the war would last for not more than three months but to his surprise, the war became a long one and since his army troops were not prepared for a long war, he found himself in trouble as the Soviet Union did not collapse as he had expected. The operation simply had many goals and high expectations of securing Moscow, Ukraine and Leningrad within only twelve weeks (Ruzza, 2006, p

1). The plan for the operation was difficult to realize as it was planned for a short war as Germans expected that the war would be finished before Russia could organize its advanced troops and other resources. However, Russia did get ready for the war immediately and due to the inadequate resources by the Germans, they had to lose the war to Russians. Hitler’s plan to invade Greece and Yugoslavia at the same time that he had planned on infesting Moscow did not seem to be a wise decision because it made him lack enough time to hit Moscow (Vale, 2009, p. 1).

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To summarize, which leaves us to answer the vital question—what would have happened if Stalin had boarded that train on October 16, 1941, and had made a run for it? Well, having looked at the documents and met many veterans who fought in the defense of Moscow, I am convinced that if Stalin had left Moscow, the Soviet capital would have fallen. Stalin would have been disgraced, his authority fatally damaged. As a consequence, the Soviets would have then made peace with the Germans. There was, after all, a precedent for this

In March 1918 the fledgling Soviet Communist government had signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which had given away to the Germans huge amounts of territory, including Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States. That’s why October 16, 1941, gets my vote as the turning point of the war—probably the turning point of the 20th century, because if the Soviets had left the war in the autumn of 1941 it’s hard to see how the Nazis could ever have been dislodged from Europe without nuclear weapons.

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Flemming, P. (2004). Operation Barbarossa. Web.

Kirchubel, R. (2008). Operation Barbarossa 1941. Web.

Murphy, D. (2007). What Stain Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa. Web.

Ruzza, M. (2006). The Failure of Operation Barbarossa. Web.

Spencer, H. (2010). The History and Lessons of Intelligence Failure. Web.

Vale, B. (2009). The Failure of Operation Barbarossa. Web.

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