Barbarossa: Hitler Attacks Russia (LARGE IMAGES)

German infantrymen watch enemy movements from their trenches shortly before an advance inside Soviet territory, on July 10, 1941. (AP Photo)

Operation Barbarossa began on June 22, 1941. German troops crossed the Russian border. The wily Stalin was caught unawares. He did not expect Hitler to attack so early. Stalin had disregarded intelligence inputs and advice from many Russian officers to be wary of Germany.

Hitler had expected Communist Russia to collapse like a pack of cards. For the first six months it seemed he was right as the German juggernaut rolled on into the Soviet Union.

The turning point came as the Germans reached the outskirts of Moscow. Nature stepped in. The harsh winter set in. The Greece adventure in May 1941 had delayed Barbarossa's start. The stretched German supplies wore thin. And Stalin showed his true nature. The Russian spine stiffened. Mother Russia's call was answered. 

Fresh troops from eastern Russia were sent in and the German advance stalled. Barbarossa had failed. Russia did not surrender.

Here are some images of Operation Barbarossa.

A German infantryman walks toward the body of a killed Soviet soldier and a burning BT-7 light tank in the southern Soviet Union in in 1941, during the early days of Operation Barbarossa. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv/German Federal Archive)

This is how the New York Times reported on June 22, 

This war is not an ordinary war. It is the war of the entire Russian people. Not only to eliminate the danger hanging over our heads, but to aid all people groaning under the yoke of Fascism .
Josef Stalin - 22nd June 1941

Operation Barbarossa: Invasion of Russia. June 22, 2012 to August 25, 1941. CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP

German tanks on the Soviet border on June 21, 1941. Ready to move in.(AP Photo)

Invasion of Russia in map. August 26 to December 5, 1941 CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP (Image:

Stuka Dive Bombers (Ju 87) fly over Russia. November 7, 1941. (AP Photo)

The Russian colossus...has been underestimated by us...whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen. General Franz Halder - Army Chief of Staff - August 1941

August 1941. A German peers through a peep hole as he sits in a tank (Deutsches Bundesarchiv/German Federal Archive)

 German soldiers cross the Don river in a sturmboat

Germans in October 1941, near Salla on Kola Peninsula, a Soviet-occupied region in northeast Finland. (AP Photo)

A German soldier stands guard  as a bridge over River Dneiper burns in Kiev, Ukraine

Germans crouching in position are about to attack the city of Kiev. 1941

Russian soldiers wait for the German attack (LOC)
Scorched earth policy by the Russians. Burn everything as you retreat. Leave nothing for the enemy. A Leningrad suburb. October 21, 1941. Russian inhabitants try to save anything they can. (AP Photo)

July 2, 1941. Russian POW walk back to the German lines as German assault troops march to the front. (AP)

Heinrich Himmler visits a camp for Soviet POW (National Archives)

Millions of Soviet soldiers surrendered during the early stages of invasion of Russia. They were cruelly treated and left to starve. (AP Photo)

Hitler with von Brauchitsch (Commander -in-chief of the German Army) and General Halder (Chief of Staff) pore over the maps on August 7, 1941 to see how the Ostfront was doing.

June 26, 1941. German soldiers move through a Russian village as it burns

Russian civilians about to be hanged by the Germans. September 1941. Smolensk region.

General Heinz Guderian with his men in Russia. September 1941. If only Hitler had listened to Guderian and Manstein more......

German soldiers move through a Leningrad suburb as it burns. November 1941. Hitler lost interest in Leningrad (he was looking at Moscow) and made a siege of the city. If the Germans had made a full blooded attack, Leningrad would have fallen

 Frost-bitten and weary German soldiers near Moscow. November 1941

 November 22, 1941. Germans enter Rostov after some very bloody fighting.

 Germans interrogate a downcast Russian soldier. October 1941

 Germans with Russian POW August 1941. Russian POW were very brutally treated and starved.

 Russian POW sent to Germany in freight trains for forced labor.. October 1941

 Germans round out Russian snipers. August 1941

 August 1941. German soldiers enter the burning city of Smolensk.

November 21, 1941. Germans enter Stariza which was torched by the retreating Russians

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito