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Ot:Hitler and Russia

 
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Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 1:58:20 AM   
ilovestrategy


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This is something I have read about and wondered for years. Why did Hitler attack Russia? Well, U.S.S.R. but you know what I mean. Hitler attacking the Western powers and Japan attacking in the Pacific was clear cut but Hitler deciding to attack the Ruskies just makes no sense.

From what I understand, Stalin had no plans for invading Germany. I know they didn't think highly of each other but still.....

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 2:34:24 AM   
Footslogger

 

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There are many reasons. One was that the reich needed resources like oil in particular. Another is after liquidating the bulk of the Russian top officers, hitler was told the red army was in disary and now was the time for Germany to attack Russia. I'm sure these are only a few reasons and different interpretations.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 3:15:50 AM   
wdolson

 

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Hitler was a staunch anti-communist.  The anti-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany came as a huge surprise because of it.

Attacking Russia did have a lot of ideology behind it.  Germany was buying lots of oil from the USSR, it fueled most of the early war for Germany, but Hitler thought he could just take the oil as well as all the other resources in the USSR.  The Ukraine is a huge grain growing region.

Germany then, as it is now is a very densely populated country.  The Germans looked east and saw a lot of sparsely populated land they could use for their large population to grow extra food and just have more room to spread out.

With the Red Army in such chaos, Hitler thought they could take the USSR and they came close to doing it.  There are a lot of plausible "what if" scenarios where Hitler takes Moscow and captures Stalin in 1941 and the USSR collapses soon after.  The Germans did capture millions of Soviet troops in 1941 and made just about all the gains in the north they made in the entire war in only a few months.

Looking back on history, it was a monumental blunder.  Though the Red Army was rebuilding and it was possible that the western Allies would bring the USSR in on their side.  If that happened without Germany attacking first, the Russians would be starting from inside the 1939 Polish border.  As history proved, it's tough to stop a determined army that wants to march across the plains of eastern Europe.

Bill


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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 3:36:17 AM   
herwin

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ilovestrategy

This is something I have read about and wondered for years. Why did Hitler attack Russia? Well, U.S.S.R. but you know what I mean. Hitler attacking the Western powers and Japan attacking in the Pacific was clear cut but Hitler deciding to attack the Ruskies just makes no sense.

From what I understand, Stalin had no plans for invading Germany. I know they didn't think highly of each other but still.....


Hitler attacked the Soviet Union because he saw it like the Japanese saw northern China--a place with resources that if owned would make his country rich. And Stalin was planning to do the same to Western Europe. Some people tick that way.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 4:23:26 AM   
Shellshock


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One of Hitler's overriding goals for the Reich was Lebensraum, or Living-room. His obsession was with autarky. Autarky can be said to be the policy of a state or other entity when it seeks to be self-sufficient as a whole. Remembering how Germany had been brought to her knees by blockade in World War One, Hitler wanted a Germany that depended on no other nations for raw materials or food. Obviously the best candidate for this was the vast land to the East, much of which had been briefly in German hands after the 1918 Treaty of Brest-Livotsk. This policy was sharpened further by the fact that this land was occupied by such racial "inferiors" such as Slavs, Poles, Jews, etc. Add in Hitler's deep-seated hatred of Bolshevism, and the fact that there was nowhere else for the German Army left standing by the English Channel to go by 1941 and it was inevitable.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 4:54:09 AM   
ilovestrategy


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Thanks for the answers everyone! 

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 6:32:49 AM   
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Just one thing to add to the answers above.

You say Hitler attacking the Western powers was clear cut but remember, had Hitler got his way, he would never have needed to attack in the west. As picked up above, Hitler wanted Lebensraum in the East. In his pathetic mind, he thought that Britain and France would allow him to do that in return for leaving them and their empires alone. Because, after Hitler tore through the Munich agreement, the Western Allies decided enough was enough, Hitler had to extinguish the threat in the west first. Attacking in the west was a means to an end; i.e. Lebensraum, not the end in itself.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 2:25:34 PM   
Shark7


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If I'm not mistaken, Stalin was actually building up the Red Army on the Western border as well. It is possible he was considering striking first, hence why Hitler launched Barbarossa at the worst possible time to do so.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 5:20:39 PM   
LST Express


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We had a little ol terrier when I was a kid and it was pretty feisty. There was another little bulldog type mutt that lived across the street and whenever they got together, they would fight. The mutt would actually climb our chain link fence like a cat to get to our dog! I figure Hitler and Stalin were the same as those two damned ol mutts.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 6:01:46 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ilovestrategy

This is something I have read about and wondered for years. Why did Hitler attack Russia? Well, U.S.S.R. but you know what I mean. Hitler attacking the Western powers and Japan attacking in the Pacific was clear cut but Hitler deciding to attack the Ruskies just makes no sense.

From what I understand, Stalin had no plans for invading Germany. I know they didn't think highly of each other but still.....


The most common reason given was that Hitler always viewed the USSR as where the new German Reich would obtain it's Lebensraum or living space. However recent literatures have also strongly suggested that Hitler was well aware that the USSR was both retooling it's military (after the purges had so weakened it) and that there was suspicison that Stalin was contemplating a strike first option and that plans had been drafted. Both Dictactors wern't stupid....they knew sooner or later there would be a showdown. The timing issue was also a major factor in Japan's decision to go to war when it did. Time waits for noone so to speak.


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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 6:04:46 PM   
herwin

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7

If I'm not mistaken, Stalin was actually building up the Red Army on the Western border as well. It is possible he was considering striking first, hence why Hitler launched Barbarossa at the worst possible time to do so.


'Victor Suvorov' claimed that, but the Red Army was hardly ready for offensive operations in the summer of 1941. Glantz has commented on the theory.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 8:42:07 PM   
mullk

 

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I've seen and heard stuff that Stalin was preparing for an attack on Germany.  Also remember that the USSR was a party to the attack on Poland.  Also the Finnish winter war and the seizing of the Baltic states.  Stalin wasn't exactly with out an expansionest view.  It's possible that Hitler attacked with a first strike before the blow from Stalin could fall  (at least in the mind of Hitler).

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 9:01:00 PM   
warspite1


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I too have no doubt that Stalin would have taken the opportunity to crush Germany if the chance arose, although there is no way they were ready in 1941.

Hitler no doubt knew this to be the case (after the purges, the Soviet performance against the Finns and the fact the Germans underestimated the Soviet strength anyway). I suspect the timing of Barbarossa (as was the case with the attack in the west) was driven by Hitler's realisation that Germany's military advantage was but temporary and that Germany's war production was being overtaken by both the Soviets and the British (and French prior to Case Yellow).

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/15/2011 9:11:59 PM   
Schanilec

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mullk

I've seen and heard stuff that Stalin was preparing for an attack on Germany.  Also remember that the USSR was a party to the attack on Poland.  Also the Finnish winter war and the seizing of the Baltic states.  Stalin wasn't exactly with out an expansionest view.  It's possible that Hitler attacked with a first strike before the blow from Stalin could fall  (at least in the mind of Hitler).



Don't forget Bessarabia. Part of Rumania.

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RE: Ot:Hitler and Russia - 7/16/2011 3:47:42 AM   
Pascal


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7

If I'm not mistaken, Stalin was actually building up the Red Army on the Western border as well. It is possible he was considering striking first, hence why Hitler launched Barbarossa at the worst possible time to do so.


A number of historians have come to the conclusion that Stalin was going to attack at one point in any case. See the works of Albert Weeks and Victor Suvorov. As a counterpoint see the work of David Glantz.

On WWII grand strategy, one of the best one volume works is "A World at Arms" by Gerhard Weinberg. He is a specialist of German/Nazi foreign policy and goes at length into the reasons why Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941.

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