Soviet Union success during The Great Patriotic War can easily be associated with modifications within the military and political world: the improvement of military strategies and the extreme centralization which allowed the state to better mobilize its people and resources. While keeping in mind the improvements and corrections made by the Soviet Union one must also account for the failures of the German army. Operation Barbarossa, the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union by the Germans, was ultimately a disaster for the German regime. Time, resources, and soldiers were sacrificed for a cause that in the end would lead to German misfortune and Soviet Union achievement.
Countless military strategists and historians have examined the workings behind the mission and have identified multiple explanations for its failure:
First we find that the German intelligence of the USSR was often misleading or completely incorrect. The intelligence acquired allowed the German’s to completely underestimate the actual number of USSR soldiers and military equipment. Additionally, logistics were again often incorrect and did not prepare the German’s for unpaved roads and the railway conversion.
Secondly, the incorrect intelligence led to the German’s misjudgment of the duration of the invasion as well as a shortage of equipment brought. Operation Barbarossa was meant to be a swift, unproblematic mission and without failure but ultimately all of that became false hopes. Ammunition, vehicles and proper clothing was often scarce which would lead to countless defeats and a decrease in morale throughout the German ranks.
Lastly, we find that the Soviet Union defeated the Germans with the help of weather, an unforeseen ally. “Mud Season” or Rasputitsa is a period during the year in the USSR where heavy rains make it difficult to travel and for the Germans to advance. Additionally, the harsh in northern Asia reduced the German numbers greatly:
The ghastly cold of that winter had the strangest consequences. Thousands and thousands of soldiers had lost their limbs; thousands and thousands had their ears, their noses, their fingers and their sexual organs ripped off by the frost. Many had lost their hair… Many had lost their eyelids. Singed by the cold, the eyelid drops off like a piece of dead skin… Their future was only lunacy.
Though the Soviet Union worked diligently to preserve their Fatherland, the various errors made by the Germans was advantageous in the grand scheme. Victory over Germany provided the Soviet people with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction which ultimately increased the awareness of Soviet nationalism.
Colorized photo of Soviet soldiers using snow to their advantage: https://onsizzle.com/i/russian-soldiers-invading-german-trenches-in-the-heart-of-winter-4676025
Carter, Ian. “Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s Failure in the Soviet Union.” Imperial War Museums. January 9, 2018. Accessed March 24, 2018. https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/operation-barbarossa-and-germanys-failure-in-the-soviet-union.
Robert, Andrew. “Second World War: Frozen to Death by the Fuhrer.” The Telegraph. July 25, 2009. Accessed March 24, 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/britain-at-war/5907564/Second-World-War-Frozen-to-death-by-the-Fuhrer.html.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia A History. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2009), 383-392.