Barbarosa
On the night of June 22, 1941, more than 3 million German soldiers, 600 000
vehicles and 3350 tanks were amassed along a 2000km front stretching from the

Baltic to the Black Sea. Their sites were all trained on Russia. This force was
part of \'Operation Barbarossa\', the eastern front of the greatest military
machine ever assembled. This machine was Adolf Hitler\'s German army. For Hitler,
the inevitable assault on Russia was to be the culmination of a long standing
obsession. He had always wanted Russia\'s industries and agricultural lands as
part of his Lebensraum or \'living space\' for Germany and their Thousand Year

Reich. Russia had been on Hitler\'s agenda since he wrote Mein Kampf some 17
years earlier where he stated: \'We terminate the endless German drive to the
south and the west of Europe, and direct our gaze towards the lands in the
east...If we talk about new soil and territory in Europe today, we can think
primarily only of Russia and its vassal border states\'. Hitler wanted to
exterminate and enslave the \'degenerate\' Slavs and he wanted to obliterate their

\'Jewish Bolshevist\' government before it could turn on him. His 1939 pact with

Stalin was only meant to give Germany time to prepare for war. As soon as Hitler
controlled France, he looked east. Insisting that Britain was as good as
defeated, he wanted to finish off the Soviet Union as soon as possible, before
it could significantly fortify and arm itself. \'We only have to kick in the
front door and the whole rotten edifice will come tumbling down\'ii he told his
officers. His generals warned him of the danger of fighting a war on two fronts
and of the difficulty of invading an area as vast as Russia but, Hitler simply
overruled them. He then placed troops in Finland and Romania and created his
eastern front. In December 1940, Hitler made his final battle plan. He gave this
huge operation a suitable name. He termed it \'Operation Barbarossa\' or \'Redbeard\'
which was the nickname of the crusading 12th century Holy Roman emperor,

Frederick I. The campaign consisted of three groups: Army Group North which
would secure the Baltic; Army Group South which would take the coal and oil rich
lands of the Ukraine and Caucasus; and Army Group Centre which would drive
towards Moscow. Prior to deploying this massive force, military events in the

Balkans delayed \'Barbarossa\' by five weeks. It is now widely agreed that this
delay proved fatal to Hitler\'s conquest plans of Russia but, at the time it did
not seem important. In mid-June the build-up was complete and the German Army
stood poised for battle. Hitler\'s drive for Russia failed however, and the
defeat of his army would prove to be a major downward turning point for Germany
and the Axis counterparts. There are many factors and events which contributed
to the failure of Operation Barbarossa right from the preparatory stages of the
attack to the final cold wintry days when the Germans had no choice but to
concede. Several scholars and historians are in basic agreement with the factors
which led to Germany\'s failure however, many of them stress different aspects of
the operation as the crucial turning point. One such scholar is the historian,

Kenneth Macksey. His view on Operation Barbarossa is plainly evident just by the
title of his book termed, \'Military errors Of World War Two. Macksey details the
fact that the invasion of Russia was doomed to fail from the beginning due to
the fact that the Germans were unprepared and extremely overconfident for a
reasonable advancement towards Moscow. Macksey\'s first reason for the failure
was the simply that Germany should not have broken its agreement with Russia and
invaded its lands due to the fact that the British were not defeated on the
western front, and this in turn plunged Hitler into a war on two fronts. The

Germans, and Hitler in particular were stretching their forces too thin and were
overconfident that the Russians would be defeated in a very short time. Adolf

Hitler\'s overconfidence justifiably stemmed from the crushing defeats which his
army had administered in Poland, France, Norway, Holland, Belgium and almost
certainly Great Britain had the English Channel not stood in his way.iv Another
important point that Macksey describes is the lack of hard intelligence that the

Germans possessed about the Russian army and their equipment, deployment
tactics, economic situation and communication networks. They had not invested
much time and intelligence agents in collecting information from a country which
was inherently secretive by nature and kept extremely