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Operation Barbarossa

Battle location: Eastern Europe
Country affected: Soviet Union
Battle duration: 22 June 1941 - 5 December 1941

Battle outcome: Soviet Victory

    Total Allied casualties

    • Killed: 566.852
    • Wounded: 235.339
    • Captured: 2.335.482
    • Total: ± 4.973.820

    Total Axis casualties

    • Killed: 186.452
    • Wounded: 655.179
    • Captured: 40.157
    • Total: ± 1.000.000

    Please keep in mind that 100% accurate figures about the number of casualties cannot be given with complete certainty.

    "No one foot of our land will be given to the enemy."
    Joseph Stalin, July 3, 1941

    History and facts about Operation Barbarossa

    Operation Barbarossa was the invasion of the Soviet Union by German troops and its allies during World War 2, started on Sunday, 22 June 1941. The operation was named after Frederick Barbarossa (Red Beard) a 12th-century Holy Roman emperor and German king. The goal was implement the Nazi racial ideology by conquering the western Soviet Union and to repopulate it with German people. The German Generalplan Ost aimed to use some of the conquered people as forced labour for the Axis war effort while acquiring the oil reserves of the Caucasus as well as the agricultural resources of various Soviet territories. But the Nazis considered the people of the Soviet Union as 'untermenschen' in English subhumans or 'inferior people' and millions would be murdered following this ideology. Their ultimate goal was to create more Lebensraum (living space) for Germany and the extermination of the indigenous Slavic people by mass relocations by deportation, enslavement and genocide was therfore necessary. The 'Einsatzgruppen' would also become active in the areas behind the advancing troops of the Wehrmacht.

    In the two years leading up to the invasion, Germany and the Soviet Union signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes. Also known a 'Non-Aggresion Pact'  called the The Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them was drawn up. The pact was signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. A non-aggression pact is a treaty between two or more states/countries that includes a promise not to engage in military action against each other. The Pact lasted until June 2, 1941.

    Following the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940 (under the codename Operation Otto). Over the course of the operation, a force of over 3.8 million men - the largest invasion force ever in the history of warfare - invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2.900-kilometer (1.800 mi) front, with 600.000 motor vehicles and over 600.000 horses for non-combat operations. The offensive marked a massive escalation of World War II, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition including the Soviet Union.

    Insignia of the defeated forces