Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Operation Barbarossa – 22nd June 1941

It’s hard to imagine what it must have felt like being on the Russian Front 70 years ago; it was the beginning of the worst catastrophe in the history of mankind. And when you think of all the horrendous acts we humans have carried out over the years; that is saying something.

On June 22 at around 4am, thousands of German attack bombers, thousands of German tanks and over four million men began Operation Barbarossa. I’ve written about the Russian Front before, because I don’t feel it is a part of the Second World War that gets enough media coverage. Out of the 35 to 40 million people who died in the European part of WWII, the majority probably around 85% died on the Eastern front. It was the Great Patriotic War as the Russians called it; the war of annihilation, as the German’s saw it. It was bloody awful, dreadful beyond compare; you could say nothing really comes close to matching the violence and brutality caused; because of two insane ideologies.

Since I have discussed this before I am not going to discuss it again, I just wanted to make a note of it, because I feel it was the most significant war in the history of mankind, far more so than the western side of WWII. As it says in the excellent documentary series being shown on Military history this week, Soviet Storm, which shows the war from a Russian perspective. When General Keitel was asked at Nuremberg, when he realised the war was lost, he replied after Moscow.  Which just shows the lunacy of humanity, and how easily we can delude ourselves. The battle of Moscow was concluded in December 1941, only six months after the emphatic beginning. Yet by December the German army had been literally wiped out, with only reserves left to try and continue Hitler’s madness.

The rules of engagement were thrown out of the window, and the violence and senseless destruction and brutality of people, lives, humanity and basic civilisation was forgotten about for four terrible years.

Everyone should know what happened on the Russian Front, everyone single human alive should know the horror and barbarism caused, in the hope it will never happen again.

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