The Road to Barbarossa

By Joseph Miranda

On 22 June 1941, Adolf Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to attack eastwards into the Soviet Union, launching Operation Barbarossa. Hitler’s goal was the conquest of the Soviet Union and with that accomplished, create a greater Germanic Reich. But what were the reasons behind the invasion?

War and Geopolitics

Adolf Hitler was greatly influenced by the geopoliticians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Karl Haushofer, Nicholas Spykman and Halford Mckinder. Broadly, they viewed the geographical position of a country as being a primary determinant of its ability to conduct foreign and military policy. Britain was an oceanic power, exploiting sea power to create a global empire. Russia was a continental power, dominating the great landmass of Eurasia from Eastern Europe to the Pacific and Central Asia. Th e United States was a combined power, with a dominant continental position in the Western Hemisphere and an oceanic empire stretching from the Philippines to the Caribbean; control of the Panama Canal gave the US a vital link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Japan was catching up, establishing its own empire in Korea, Formosa, Manchuria and then eastern China as well as moving into Pacific islands.

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  • Manchukuo-Menjiang War: the Japanese-Chinese Conflict 1931–37: From 1931–1937, an undeclared war was fought in northern China as Japan expanded onto the East. ThAsian mainlandis was a largely unknown war but set the stage for the open Japanese invasion of China in July 1937.

  • The Guns of Pointe-du-Hoc:  The top-secret mission of the US Army Rangers to fi nd and destroy the deadly gun battery of Pointe-du-Hoc on 6 June 1944 must surely rank as one of the most audacious special operations of WWII. Here is how they did it.

  • The Road to Barbarossa: Hitler’s goal was the conquest of the Soviet Union and, with that goal accomplished, to create a greater Germanic Reich. What were the reasons behind the invasion?Ferdinand Schörner: Hitler’s Ideal General: General Schörner died in 1973, the last remaining Field Marshal of Germany. A die-hard Nazi, he always followed orders and was a severe disciplinarian who sacrificed his troops to his ambitions.

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