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01 Soviet Storm - Operation Barbarossa
A documentary about the German invasion of the Soviet Union made for Russian television. The German invasion was codenamed "Operation Barbarossa".
Prior to Operation Barbarossa, Hitler has successfully annexed or conquered Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Luxemborg, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland. All of these wars were over in a few weeks and involved minimal casualties on both sides. Hitler believed that he could win a similarly easy victory over the Soviet Union and end communism in Europe but that he had to act quickly, before Stalin brought the Red Army up to modern standards. Many other European powers including Hungary, Romania and Finland formed an alliance with the Germans with this goal in mind.
During the invasion, Germany had three primary strategic objectives: (i) Leningrad (St. Petersburg); (ii) Moscow; and (iii) Stalingrad (Volgograd) and the Caucasus oil fields. The German forces in the East were divided into three independent groups (with separate command structures), Army Group North, Center and South corresponding to these three objectives.
As the invasion developed, an opportunity arose for the Germans to encircle a large number of Soviet infantry near Kiev. It was here that Hitler made his first major strategic mistake of the war. Hitler took the opportunity, diverted the armour in Army Group Center southwards and successfully took 665,000 soviet infantry prisoner. But, the delay threw the Army Group Center off schedule. By the time they reached Moscow later that year the weather had already turned against them, the vehicles in the German spearhead got bogged down in the mud, and they failed to capture Moscow.