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UA / History / HY 362 / How did the soviets pull it off?

How did the soviets pull it off?

How did the soviets pull it off?


Week 7/8

How did the soviets pull it off?


The Great Patriotic War (WWII)

∙ Expecting War – June 1941

o Germans invade Russia

o Since 1917, Soviet leaders had been predicting a great confrontation  between the socialist and the capitalist worlds

 From 1934-38 Soviet diplomats sought “collective security” to  contain German expansion

∙ Trying desperately to get the US, Britain, and France to  

sign a defensive pact against Germany and Italy

o Response: Fuck off, Stalin

o Appeasement

 Munich

 Since this happened, we(the US) have used this as justification  for invading other countries

 Western countries didn’t trust the Communists

Why does the battle of kursk july-august 1943 matter?

 When this fails, the Soviet Union signs the Non-Aggression Pact  in 1939 with Germany to create a buffer of space and time

∙ We see it as a sell-out but…

∙ What did Russia get?

o Time: Stalin will be able to keep off war for a few  

years and maybe Russia could build itself up  

industrially and be able to defend better when the  

invasion does happen

o Buffer states: Poland!

∙ War Starts Don't forget about the age old question of What are the three main steps in rna processing?

o Even though people had already been dying for years (like in China) o The Anschluss and the Conquest of the Sudetenland

 Germany invades Austria and takes the Sudetenland which had  a majority German people

∙ Nobody declares war on Germany because they felt bad  

Why russia invades finland?

Don't forget about the age old question of Where in new mexico the atomic bomb was created?

about Versailles and weren’t ready to go to war yet after  


 Poland and Czechoslovakia

∙ The Polish Campaign

o France and England declare war on Germany

o Germans invent the Blitzkrieg and use it with lots of


o Spring 1940, Russia takes Baltic states and East  


 Then kill all the Polish officers

 Katyn Massacre, 22,000 people killed

 Germans discover this in 1941 and start a  

massive propaganda campaign

 The Soviets start their own propaganda  

campaign saying the Germans did it and the  

US believes the Soviets because they are our

ally by now

∙ The Winter War

o Russia invades Finland

o Russia has 20 units, the Finns have 3

 But they hold out for a while because they’re badasses

∙ War at Sea

o September 1941

∙ And in Italy and Africa

o Rommel creates chaos in North Africa

∙ Germany Invades: Operation Barbarossa

o When Nazis invade USSR, 2 years later, Soviet leadership, army, and  economy are shockingly unprepared Don't forget about the age old question of When does labor productivity changes?

 Stalin is catatonic and stares at a wall for a week

o Explanations?

 German perfidy and surprise

 The quality of the army, especially in leadership, sucked  

because of the purges

∙ Ordered not to do anything provocative

∙ Took 2 hours before soldiers could shoot back

o Feared Soviet leadership more than they feared the


∙ Had to rely on Molotov Cocktails

 Stalin (who had been warned)

∙ Was seriously convinced that Hitler’s hands were tied  

because of the Non-Aggression Pact

∙ US and Britain had the intelligence that Germany was  

about to invade but Stalin thought they were just trying to

provoke him into going to war

o Hitler’s mistakes

 Expected a short war

 But it was protracted with extended supply lines and bad  

weather (aka winter)

o About 1 million German soldiers launch 3 part invasion

 Leningrad

∙ Sept. 8, 1941-Jan. 7, 1944 Don't forget about the age old question of What are evolution and natural selection?

∙ Lasts 900 days

∙ 1.5 million people died (1/3rd of population)

∙ Somehow, they never handed over the city despite  

famine and chaos

∙ Hitler thought it was going to go quick and well and  

promises the Finns that he’ll wipe the city off the map

∙ Marshal Zukof Russian military hero

∙ Impossible to get food into the city

∙ Authorities didn’t tell the people how little food there was  in order to avoid starting a panic

 Battle of Moscow

∙ The Germans are defeated in the 1st week of December.  

Stalin orders a counter attack along the entire Eastern  


∙ Germans were told to literally kill everyone and burn the  

cities to the ground

o Moscow: the Beginning of the End

 Hitler gets pissed and takes control of the army

 Becomes a war of attrition Don't forget about the age old question of What is a nuclear family and how common is it today?

 Soviet victory tells the rest of the world that the Germans can be beaten

o Stalingrad Don't forget about the age old question of How do we know if animals who we only have fossils of could interbreed?

 Strategic because Nazi’s needed to maintain control of the oil  fields in the Caspian Sea

 Hand to hand combat

∙ City is in ruins

∙ 2 million Russian civilian and military casualties

o German surrender

 If they couldn’t take Stalingrad, they would lose that war front ∙ The Kursk Salient (January 1943)

o Biggest tank battle of all time (July 12)

 The Red Army launches offensives, creating a bulge near  

Voronezh called the Kursk Salient

o Battle of Kursk July-August 1943

 2/3 of Germans on the Russian front. Hitler says that Germany  needed to take out the Bulge

 Russian intel knew the German offensive so they set up a  counter-offensive

 6,100 tanks (that includes both Russian and German)

o Why does it matter?

 Last German offensive

 Turning point in WWII happened in Russia at Russian hands ∙ How did the Soviets pull it off?

o Improving military command

 Stalin fired them even if they were good friends

 Stalin allowed all the military generals to make the executive  commands

o Improvement in weaponry, ammo, planes, etc.

 Resources

o Industrialization of 1930s laid a foundation

 Irony – had Stalin not done all those bad things… could the  Russians actually had been able to beat Germany?

o Centralization of the economy

∙ Fight for the Motherland, not Communism

o Soviet Unity

 1943 – Soviet Union changes the national anthem o Encouraging popular support

 State reestablishes the Church

∙ The Nazis

o Turned potential allies into Soviet allies

∙ The War’s Legacy

o Raise expectations for after the War

o BUT Western Front soldiers sent to the Gulag

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