Operation Barbarossa:
Reasons for Invasion


   

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This page will attempt to lay out some of the reasons for the German Invasion of the Soviet Union. First we will look at why they did it at all, and then why they did it when they did, instead of perhaps waiting for a year or two (which in the long run may have been a better option).

To understand why Germany invaded the Soviet Union, you have to understand the mind of the German dictator, Adolf Hitler. If you read his book "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle), which we wrote from prison before he came to power, you will see that Hitler has a deep fear and hatred of Communism (esp. Bolshevist Communism, such as that found in the Soviet Union). He sees Communism as a cancer upon all of mankind, and he fears it's spread. He feels that it is Germany's sacred duty to rid the world of this evil (especially since Karl Marx was German), and of course the only way to do that is to destroy it's source.

Additionally, in his racial philosophy, he writes that he feels that the Slavic peoples, of which russians are one, are "untermenschen" (lesser men). Of course he believes the German Aryan to be the "Ubermenschen" (super men). He feels it is the right of aryan Germans to rule over these lesser slavic peoples, and that the land they occupy isn't really theirs, but a "Lebensraum" (living space) for the German people to colonise. The slavs, then, are to be moved further eastward into Asia and Siberia.

So as you can see, Hitler's reasoning for invading the Soviet Union was not so much a tactical or strategic decision so much as what he saw as the sacred duty, and birthright of his nation and it's superior human species. Exactly where he came up with that idea I don't know, but nonetheless that was what he felt. In fact, you could definitely argue that the destruction of the Soviet Union was the primary goal of the Third Reich from it's very inception, and the evidence was there even at the time, for those willing to look.

The rest of the war, from Hitler's perspective at least, was a lead up to the attack on the Soviets. He had to attack Poland to get to the USSR, so he made a deal to split it with them. He didn't want to fight a 2 front war like Germany was forced to do in the 1st World War, so he destroyed the French and subdued the British. To be honest, he would have preferred to not fight the British at all, and made peace offers to them after the fall of France. He fought in Norway because he had to protect his supply of Iron from Sweden. He fought in Greece and North Africa only because he felt that he needed to help his ally Mussolini in Italy, when time after time he got himself in a predicament with a war he started, but couldn't win, due to the fact that his army was very poorly trained, equipped, and led. All of these things were little more than lead-ups to the invasion of the Soviet Union, again from the perspective of Hitler at least. Only after all of these practical and tactical battles were won, could he concentrate on his idealogical crusade.

Unfortunately for him, and the rest of the German people, they were not altogether won. One of his bigger mistakes was underestimating the British people and their ability to fight back. He assumed that with France beaten he could more or less turn his back on the West and face Eastward. Just harass Britain from the air with bombs, and leave a sizeable garrison on the Atlantic Wall and all was safe. We will discuss later how the German failure to remove the British from the war before moving on to attack Russia was one of the main reasons the war was eventually lost.