32 Photographs of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa

Encyclopedia Britannica

Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, starting June 22, 1941. The Nazi’s plan was to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be populated by Germans, use Slavs as slave labor, seize the oil from the Caucus region, and utilize the Soviet agricultural resources.

Operation Barbarossa was the largest invasion in the history of warfare. Four million Nazis invaded the Soviet Union along an 1,800-mile front. The Nazis utilized 600,000 motor vehicles, and between 600,000-700,000 horses.

The Nazi operation had initial success, occupying most of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Nazis were halted by the Battle of Moscow and the Soviet winter counteroffensive effectively pushed the front line west. The failure of Operation Barbarossa forced Hitler to narrow his scope of attempted Soviet invasion into Case Blue and Operation Citadel in 1943.

Case Blue (German: Fall Blau) was the Nazi summer offensive in 1942 aimed to cross the Caucasus Mountains and reach the Baku oil fields as well as gaining control of the Volga River. Eventually the Nazis were defeated in Stalingrad and had to retreat from the Caucus region. Operation Citadel was the second half of the summer offensive. This offensive, near Kursk (280 miles southwest of Moscow), lead to the largest battle utilizing armored vehicles in history, the Battle of Prokhorovka. It was the final strategic attack the Nazis would be able to muster in the Soviet Union.

The failure of Operation Barbarossa was a major turning point in World War II. The Eastern Front produced the highest casualties for both the Nazis and the Soviets. The Nazis captured 5,000,000 Soviet troops. The Nazis deliberately starved, or otherwise killed, 3.3 million Soviet POW as well as a huge number of civilians. The Hunger Plan was an engineered famine created by seizing Soviet food to feed the Nazi soldiers. The Hunger Plan and the military operation anticipated 20 to 30 million Soviet casualties.

1st Panzer Group after the Battle of Brody. June 30 1941. paradoxplaza
A road overcrowded with Nazis, 1941. Tumblr
Army Group North enter pine grove near Leningrad. October 194. Gebauer
The invasion, 1941. Pinterest
German armored fighting vehicle Sd.Kfz.251 in a city in Latvia. June 1941. warhistoryonline
German Cavalry in village burning village, near Mohylev, 16th July 1941. warhistoryonline
German soldiers man an MG 34. Pinterest
Russian men and women rescue their humble belongings from their burning homes. The Atlantic
German Soldiers inspecting the so-called ‘Stalin Line’, which was a line of fortifications on Polish-Soviet border. Tumblr
German soldiers shoot the Soviet positions on the other side of Dniepr River with anti-tank gun PaK 36. 20th September 194. Wikipedia
Latvians welcoming Wehrmacht soldiers in Riga. 7 July 1941. Wikipedia
This is a nice reproduction of an original photograph showing German troops and armor on the Russian front. Pinterest
Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union (‘Operation Barbarossa’)- German soldier is guarding captured Soviet soldiers after the Battle of Uman : Ukraine- August : September 1941- photographer- Arthur Grimm. Getty
Stuck in the mire. Napoleon faced the same challenges when invading Russia. warhistoryonline
Nazi truck stuck in the mud. ok.ru
Wehrmacht builds floating bridge in Kiev. September 1941. warhistoryonline
Wehrmacht crossing the border of the USSR at the beginning of the Operation Barbarossa. warhistoryonline
German Panzer PzKpfw IVs 424 and 431 wait further instructions Operation Barbarossa. Asisbiz
12. Panzer Division enters Minsk. June 1941. Tumblr