Operation Barbarossa


The Operation Barbarossa was the military offensive which start on the orders of Hitler , which wanted to gain control of the territories of the USSR.

  • When was it:  From 06/22/1941 to 12/05/1941
  • Where was it:   Eastern Europe and Western Russia

What was Operation Barbarossa?

Operation Barbarossa was a move made by Adolf Hitler for the invasion of Russia during World War II . It was a procedure that began on June 21 with the arrival of Axis troops in Russia. It ended in December with the withdrawal of German troops due to the arrival of winter and the Soviet counteroffensive . It is known as one of the hardest blows the USSR received in its more than fifty years of history.


What was Operation Barbarossa?

During World War II , Adolf Hitler found in many countries objects of conquest and territories towards which to expand his power. The expansionist idea of ​​National Socialism was one of the main causes that moved Germany to become the scourge of the continent. One of Hitler’s targets was, apart from Poland, France and so on, it was Russia.


The Barbarossa Operation consisted of the offensive initiated by Hitler to take possession of several territories of the USSR . It began in June 1941, to the surprise of the Soviet axis ( Stalin counted on Germany to respect the signed non-aggression treaties), causing the USSR to suffer significant casualties and lose territories.

The Operation Barbarossa met his end with the arrival of winter in Russia and the counteroffensive Soviet , forcing German forces to retreat. Here are some details about this historical event.


What things can we characterize from Operation Barbarossa ? Here are some of its features:

  • ” Operation Barbarossa “ was the code name used by the Germans to refer to the invasion that Hitler planned against the USSR .
  • It was a multi-focus operation. In other words, it focused on different fronts and objectives of conquest.
  • Several countries (not just Germany ) participated in the operation. Here it is necessary to limit the performance of Italy, Finland, Romania, among others.
  • The forces were divided into several teams, each heading to Leningrad, Moscow, and Ukraine.
  • Due to the winter, the invading forces were forced to retreat.


Prior to the invasion itself, the German Fuhrer intended to expand into Eastern Europe . In this intention there was, of course, an ideological undercurrent of anti-Slavism and Aryan supremacy. Around that time, Hitler and Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty that prohibited any altercation between the parties in exchange for some land. This treaty, however, was disregarded by Germany in 1941.

Summary of Operation Barbarossa

According to the records of the event, Operation Barbarossa began early in June, with three large armies marching towards Leningrad, Moscow and Ukraine . The operation caught Soviet forces off guard , who were forced to retreat and lose territory. Such expeditions were cut short that same year by the coalition of different elements. On the one hand, the climatic conditions made any attempt to advance by the invading army unfeasible. On the other, the involvement of Siberian forces and others led the Nazis to back down.


The events that would later be grouped under the name of ” Operation Barbarroja “ were organized as follows:

  • June 1941: the beginning of the German invasion of Soviet lands .
  • August 1941: the Nazi army gains possession of several Soviet territories .
  • September 1941: progress began to be cut short by adverse weather conditions.
  • December 1941: the operation suffers a predictable outcome due to unfavorable weather conditions.

Prominent figures

Among the most notable protagonists of this historical event, we can, without a doubt, name:

  • Adolf Hitler : leader of the Third Reich and the German military forces.
  • Iosif Stalin : leader of the USSR and main commander of the Soviet forces .
  • Benito Mussolini : leader of fascist Italy, and member of the Axis forces.
  • Ion Antonesco : Romanian leader and collaborator of the Axis forces.
  • Georgy Zhukov : one of the most important commanders of the Soviet forces in World War II .

Objectives of Operation Barbarossa

Although a more in-depth reading of the facts would reveal new elements, it is known that the main purpose of Operation Barbarossa was none other than obedience to an expansionist policy in Nazi Germany . Hitler saw Russia as an object of conquest, just like many other countries that fell under his yoke during World War II .


Among which we could mention:

  • Hitler’s territorial expansion interests .
  • Stalin’s inability to respond to the signals that his intelligence service offered regarding this operation.
  • The fragility of the non-aggression pact signed between the German and Soviet factions .

Consequences of Operation Barbarossa

The story usually remember this as one of the most heinous military procedures with consequences for both sides of the conflict. Its consequences could be measured, mainly, through the following figures:

  • Low German : 839,355 German soldiers.
  • Soviet casualties : 4,473,820 Russian soldiers.

Although Operation Barbarossa ended in failure for the Germans and a profoundly serious injury to the Russian state and people, such events resulted in catalyzing the Russian involvement in the war that was then brewing in Europe. Russia joins the Allied forces during World War II .


As a historical event, Operation Barbarossa had a significant impact on the stability of the Soviet Union at the time. Although the Germans, as already mentioned, suffered their losses, the worst part of the war was suffered by the Russian side.

However, it is necessary that this event catapulted the initiative of the USSR to get involved in the war. Before that, Stalin had been reluctant to join the ranks in any way, just as he was reluctant to acknowledge the very fact of the invasion . The role of the Soviet Union during the war was unquestionable, and the predictions that Europe could have had without its action against Germany are unknown.

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