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2-14-11 - WWII eastern front 4 periods 1 Jun Dec 41...

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2/14/11 – WWII eastern front 4 periods: 1. Jun – Dec ’41: Operation Barbarossa a. Fails 2. Jan – Nov ’42: Operation Blau a. A German offensive 3. ’43: Shift in strategic initiative from Germans to Soviets a. By late ’43, it’s clear the Russians will win 4. Dec ’43 – May ‘45 a. Soviet steamroller through eastern Europe to Berlin (battle of Berlin ends the war) Period 1 90% German casualties before western Allies land in France are on the eastern front 1 st 6 months of Barbarossa: > 3 mil Soviet casualties Industrial might: for each vehicle Japan produced, US produced 6 Beginning of ’41: UK is on the “good side” against Germany, Italy, Japan, and Romania o UK the only country fighting Germany at this time Previous German offensives: Poland, Scandinavia, France, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Greece o Soviets have invaded Finland and lost Germans predicted USSR military might was poor Stalin made 2 mistakes: o 1. Underestimated speed of German conquest of France and Poland (thinks it will take 4 years) Thinks he’ll have until ’43 to fight the Germans. He knows he’ll have to fight them sometime though. o 2. Overestimated the ability of the Russians to fight the Finnish. Idea of the winter war was to strengthen their northern front but also display military prowess Logic behind Hitler’s decision to invade: France is gone. UK is unwilling to compromise (proposes peace in ’40, UK rejects). The reason is that it’s convinced the US will come in its support. o Key: sever the link b/w US and Britain to make the UK fall o If he knocks Russia out of the game, he will unleash Japan in the Pacific and SE Asia US will have to focus on that, thereby making clear to the UK that US won’t help it Hitler wanted to resettle the fertile lands of Ukraine w/ Germans o Orders the generals to attack USSR in ’41 o
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