Background to Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the German invasion of Russia in June of 1941. This informative documentary examines the diplomacy and events leading up to the biggest and bloodiest front in World War II. Topics presented include Stalin's Red Army purges, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the carving up of Poland, the Russo-Finnish War of 1939-1940, and the rapid gains made by the German army in the initial stages of Operation Barbarossa. We learn that the purges of the Russian army in the 1930s weakened the army and stifled initiative. This, in turn, enabled the German army to advance quickly into Russian territory in the summer of 1941; the heavy Russian casualties in the Russo-Finnish War also weakened the psyche of the Soviet army. Commentary from Albert Speer (a close associate of Adolf Hitler and minister of Armaments and War Production in World War II) and Walter Warlimont (a high ranking German leader) are included in the narrative. The video also includes archival footage from both German and Russian sources. In sum, this is a concise and informative documentary about one of the most significant events in both World War II and world history.