Operation Barbarossa 22 June 1941

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Operation Barbarossa was named after Frederick Barbarossa, the medieval Holy Roman Emperor. The invasion was authorized by Hitler on 18 December 1940 (Directive No. 21) for a start date of 15 May 1941, but thiswould not be met, and instead the invasion began on 22 June 1941. Tactically, the Germans won resounding victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union, mainly in Ukraine. Despite thesesuccesses, the German offensive stalled on the outskirts of Moscow and was then pushed back by a Soviet counter offensive without ever having taken the city. The Germans could never again mount a simultaneous offensive alongthe entire strategic Soviet–German front. The Red Army repelled the Wehrmacht's strongest blow, and Adolf Hitler did not achieve the expected victory, but the Soviet Union's situation remained dire.Operation Barbarossa's failure led to Hitler's demands for further operations inside the USSR, all of which eventuallyfailed, such as continuing the Siege of Leningrad, Operation Nordlicht, and Operation Blue, among other battles on occupied Soviet territory. Operation Barbarossa was the largest military operation in history in both manpower and casualties. Its failure was a turning point in the Third Reich's fortunes. Most importantly, Operation Barbarossa opened up the Eastern Front, to which more forces were committed than in any other theater of warin world history. Regions covered by the operation became the site of some of the largest battles, deadliest atrocities, highest casualties, and most horrific conditions for Soviets and Germans alike—all of which influencedthe course of both World War II and 20th-century history. The German forces captured over three million Soviet POWs in 1941, who were not granted the protection stipulated in the Geneva Conventions. Most of them never returnedalive. Germany deliberately starved the prisoners to death as part of its "Hunger Plan", i.e., the program to reduce the Eastern European population.

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