Sunday, June 29, 2014

World War Two – 73 years ago!

Seventy-three years ago the insane leader of Germany sent armed forced into the Soviet Union in an attempt to take over that immense nation (or union of nations). It was a strategic mistake that would enable the world to conquer the Nazi maniac.
by Charlie Leck
In 1941, before I was a year old, German armed forces (das Wehrmacht) invaded Soviet Russia. The attack was awesome and carefully planned. The Germans captured large divisions of the Russian army. Many of those men were held as severe casualties and most would die before the end of that year. Nearly 3 million men died in captivity. The invasion that began on June 22 was called Operation Barbarossa. Hitler threw nearly 4 million soldiers against the USSR. The front was near 2,900 kilometers long. Are you grasping this?
It is amazing that this action in 1941 was to end up being one of the deciding factors of the Second World War. In fact, it probably decided the victor of this war. Get this: 95 percent of all German Army casualties that occurred between 1941 and 1944 occurred in this invasion.
Can you imagine what might have happened had Hitler left the Soviet Union alone and concentrated exclusively on conquering traditional Europe? There are many war historians who say America and Britain would have had no chance against the massive German forces that Hitler lost in Russia (and we would likely have gotten little assistance from Russian in such a war).
I read a history of Operation Barbarossa written from a German historian’s point of view. Remarkable! Hitler’s mistake is regarded as one of the most obvious and determinative errors in the history of modern warfare.
I think of this event in relation to my own history – my age at the time and where my life might have gone had Hitler achieved his idiotic and frightening goals.
No military operation in the history of the world, in terms of the size of the forces and the number of casualties, was larger than Operation Barbarossa. How Hitlerian!
I remain amazed that this extraordinary war, which finally ended in 1945, was decided in 1941.
German forces took nearly 3 million Soviet prisoners of war. They had no idea about how to contain, shelter and feed them. Certainly, the protections stipulated by the Geneva Conventions were not afforded these prisoners. Far more than half of them never returned to their homeland alive. Hitler’s forces purposefully starved most of these prisoners according to an arrangement that he called his “hunger Plan.”
Hitler had suggested as early as 1925, in Mein Kampf, that such an invasion would occur. The Germans, after all, need Lebensraum (living space or living room).
Who of us knows what incredible successes Hitler would have attained had he not attacked Moscow – had he left the eastern front alone! Nor do we know how different the world might be today had Germany been the victor in that war.
73 years ago! Oh, my!
How did Hitler happen?
A political party of crazed radicals far from the center on the political spectrum
became enamored with Adolf Hitler and allowed him to rise to power and then gave him free rein. When they realized how radical and how crazed was this leader, it was far too late to remove him from power.


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