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USSR 101: Operation Barbarossa


The USSR 101 articles intend to deepen the reader’s knowledge of the history of the USSR during the 20th century. The fundamental purpose of this series is to rebuild, from a historical point of view, the steps that have led to the creation of one of the main international actors during the 1900s, the relations with other countries and the factors that have determined its collapse.

USSR 101 will be mainly divided into the following chapters:

  1. USSR 101: The Fall of the Tsarist and the Raise of Bolshevism

  2. USSR 101: The New Russia in Europe After the World War I

  3. USSR 101: From Enemy to Ally of Nazi German

  4. USSR 101: Operation Barbarossa

  5. USSR 101: The Building of the Eastern Block

  6. USSR 101: The Age of Khrushchev and the Riots

  7. USSR 101: From Competitive Coexistence to Détente with the US

  8. USSR 101: From Gorbachev to Yeltsin: the Fall of the USSR

USSR 101: Operation Barbarossa: The Turning Point of the World War II

The USSR felt safe from the Nazi menace after signing the Molotov - Ribbentrop Treaty, and was confident that it could spread its power to the West without difficulty.

Figure 1. Hitler versus Stalin: from collaboration to enmity [Image] - ArtStation
Figure 1. Hitler versus Stalin: from collaboration to enmity [Image]. ArtStation

Hitler's initiation of hostilities was aided by the Soviet agreement, and the invasion of Poland began on September 1, 1939. After that, the war was proclaimed, and the system of alliances was enacted. In September, the USSR advanced against Poland in accordance with the secret articles of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Protocol was changed after the Soviet intervention: the German sphere's border in Poland was increased, giving the USSR power over Lithuania. In essence, all of Poland west of the Curzon Line was occupied by the Germans (Suny, 1998). As a result, Stalin was able to reclaim the regions that Poland had acquired from Bolshevik Russia in 1920-1921, territories that were home to Ukrainians and Belarusians. As a result, Stalin enlarged the Soviet Union's territory, beginning to draw a security line that separated it from Nazi Germany. Stalin thus combined Belarusian and Ukrainian areas under the Soviet banner in 1939 (Ibidem).