Hitler was in a hurry to start the war against the USSR and decided to attack the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940.
Our opponents – zealots of the “true” story – are trying, following Hitler and Goebbels, to prove that Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union was a response to the aggressive aspirations of the USSR (from the address of the Fuehrer, read by Goebbels on June 22, 1941 at 5.30 on Berlin radio: “Today at our border has 160 Russian divisions. In recent weeks, there have been continuous violations of this border … But now the hour has come when it is necessary to oppose this conspiracy … “).
Only facts can be the answer here. Facts of irrefutable nature, facts indicating that the Nazi leadership began preparations for a march to the East at least a year before June 22, 1941.
In June 1940, after the defeat of the Anglo-French coalition on the continent, the German leadership faced the issue of landing on the British Isles. However, the preparation of Operation Sea Lion from the very first days showed that it would hardly be possible to carry it out: the Germans did not have supremacy either at sea or in the air, and without this, the landing of troops was impossible.
Under these conditions, the leadership of Nazi Germany decided to seize natural resources and the territory of the USSR, in order to then defeat Britain and then the United States.
On July 3, 1940, the Chief of Staff of the Wehrmacht Ground Forces (OKH), General F. Halder, noted that among the operational issues that the General Staff had to deal with, the “eastern problem” came to the fore. At a meeting of the military-political leadership of Germany on July 21, 1940, the Fuehrer, when analyzing the current strategic situation, said that one of the most important reasons why Great Britain is still continuing the war is “hope for Russia.” Therefore, it is extremely important, Hitler said, to start the war in the East as early as possible and end it as quickly as possible. “To defeat Russia, – noted in the military diary of the headquarters of the German Armed Forces (OKW), – the problem of time is of particular importance “… Hitler was in a hurry to start the war against the USSR.
On July 22, F. Halder wrote down in his diary the instructions given by Hitler at the meeting: “The Russian problem will be solved by an offensive. You should think over the plan for the upcoming operation.
a) Deployment will take 4-6 weeks. The Fuehrer was informed.
b) Smash the Russian ground army, or at least occupy such territory that it was possible to secure Berlin and the Silesian industrial region from Russian air raids. It is desirable to move deep into Russia so that our aviation could destroy its most important centers.
c) Political goals: the Ukrainian state, the federation of the Baltic states, Belarus, Finland; The Baltic is a splinter in the body.
d) 80-100 divisions are required. Russia has 50-75 good divisions. If we attack Russia this fall, England will get relief (aviation). America will supply England and Russia. “
At a meeting of the leadership of the German Armed Forces on July 31, it was decided to undertake a five-month campaign of the Wehrmacht in the spring of the following 1941 with the aim of destroying the Soviet Union. This marked the turn of Germany’s strategic efforts from west to east. As for Operation Sea Lion, at a meeting on July 31, a proposal was made to use it as the most important factor in disguising the prepared attack on the Soviet Union.
The defeat of Russia opened the way for the advance of the Wehrmacht to the Middle East and further to Central Asia and India. As an option, they considered moving through the Caucasus to Iran, then to India.
The further fate of the USSR, according to Hitler, was decided by the division of its territory: the northern part of the European territory of Russia was supposed to be given to Finland; the Baltic states were included in the Reich with the preservation of local self-government; the fate of Belarus, Ukraine and the Don was determined ambiguously; these obviously included the idea of creating “republics free of communism”, and Galicia (Western Ukraine) was to be included in the “general government” of the part of Poland occupied by the Germans. For Great Russia, it was envisaged to establish a regime of “cruel terror”. The Caucasus was transferred to Turkey on the condition that Germany would use its resources.
For propaganda purposes, steps were taken to give the concept of future aggression the appearance of “just retaliation” or, moreover, necessary defense. The Soviet Union was accused of a double-dealing attitude towards Germany, which, according to Hitler, was expressed in inciting England to continue resistance and refuse peace negotiations. In F. Halder’s notes, Hitler’s thoughts were expressed more frankly: “If Russia is defeated … then Germany will dominate Europe. In accordance with this reasoning, Russia should be liquidated “…
Several versions of the plan for the eastern campaign were developed. In one of them, the following idea of the offensive was formulated: “With a direct blow to Moscow, smash and destroy the forces of the Russian northern group … Then, having captured Moscow and Northern Russia, turn the front to the south, in order to, in cooperation with the German southern group, occupy Ukraine and, ultimately, reach the Rostov-Gorky line – Arkhangelsk”… The offensive on Leningrad was seen as a task for a special group of troops covering the northern flank of the main operation.
This version continued to be refined and refined. The most advantageous direction of the main attack was considered to be the area north of the Pinsk swamps, which provided the best conditions for reaching Moscow and Leningrad. The main attack was supposed to be carried out by the forces of two army groups in cooperation with a group of forces advancing from Finland. The main task of the central army group was to defeat the Soviet troops in the Minsk region with the further development of the offensive against Moscow. It also envisaged the possibility of turning part of the forces of this grouping to the north in order to cut off Soviet troops in the Baltic in cooperation with the left-flank (northern) army group.
The southern army group (one third of the total number of forces) struck from southern Poland to the east and southeast, and its strong left (northern) flank was supposed to rely on the Pripyat swamps, and then on the river. Dnieper. Part of the forces of this army group was intended to strike from Romania to the north in order to cut off the escape routes of Soviet troops from Western Ukraine to the east, to the Dnieper. The ultimate goal of the campaign was to designate access to the line: Arkhangelsk – Gorky – Volga (to Stalingrad) – Don (to Rostov).
Further work on the fundamental document was concentrated in the headquarters of the OKW operational leadership. On December 17, the plan was reported to Hitler, who made his comments. They were drawn up in a separate document certified by his signature. They emphasized the importance of encircling the Red Army groupings in the Baltics and Ukraine by turning the advancing troops to the north and south, respectively, after breaking through on both sides of the Pripyat swamps, as well as the need for the priority seizure of the Baltic Sea region (in order to ensure unhindered delivery of iron ore from Sweden) … The decision of the question of an attack on Moscow was made dependent on the success of the operations of the first stage of the campaign. An assumption was made about the possibility of an unexpectedly rapid disintegration of the Russian armed forces and the implementation, in this case, of the option of simultaneously turning part of the forces of Army Group Center to the north and conducting a non-stop offensive against Moscow. All the problems of the war in Europe were supposed to be solved in 1941 in order to forestall the entry of the United States into the war, which, according to Hitler, was possible after 1942.
On December 18, 1940, after making adjustments to the draft prepared by the OKW, Hitler signed a directive of the Supreme High Command No. 21, which received the code name “Variant Barbarossa”. It became the main guiding document of the war plan against the USSR. Like Hitler’s decision of July 31, 1940, this directive was permeated through and through with the ideas of a lightning campaign.
The ultimate goal of the campaign was determined “Creation of a protective barrier against Asian Russia along the Volga-Arkhangelsk line.” The Air Force was entrusted with the task “To paralyze the last industrial area left by the Russians in the Urals”…
Thus, the Barbarossa plan was based on the idea of defeating and destroying the Red Army troops at the first stage of the campaign – in the battles in the Baltic States, Belarus and the Right-Bank Ukraine. In the future, the resumption of her resistance was not expected. Literally Hitler’s directive demanded “… to defeat Soviet Russia in a short campaign even before the war against England is over.”… The deadline for completing the preparation of the campaign was set on May 15, 1941.
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