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Called the “Great Patriotic War” in Russia
The bloodiest war ever fought in Europe
A war fought between races and ideologies rather
than by states
The Soviet Union lost around 12 million civilians
and 10 million soldiers in the war
Nazi Germany lost around 5 million soldiers and
suffered 1.5 million civilian casualties (including
from allied strategic bombing)
14% of its population
10% its population
The population of Canada was 11 million in 1939
Germany’s invasion of Russia
appears to be one of Hitler’s
biggest mistakes
He felt compelled to invade due
to his racial ideology and the
perceived need of lebensraum
“We’ll take away its character of
an Asiatic steppe, we’ll
Europeanize it… There’s only one
duty: to Germanize this country
by the immigration of Germans
and to look upon the natives as
Redskins” – Adolf Hitler
The Soviet Union’s military
appeared weak during their 3.5
month war with Finland
On June 22nd 1941, Germany
caught the Soviet Union
completely off guard when
Operation Barbarossa
Stalin, who did not think
Germany would invade,
suffered a nervous breakdown
Soviet armies collapsed, with
over 4 million soldiers being
taken prisoner (POW)
Many people in the western
USSR welcomed the Germans
as liberators
Germany was helped by Axis
friends Romania, Hungary,
Finland, Slovakia, Croatia and
The German blitzkrieg
was so successful that
they gained 200 miles in
one month
The Soviets practiced
“scorched earth,” where
they burned farms and
destroyed factories,
mines and roads as they
The soviets managed to
relocate many of their
factories to Siberia
The Germans reached the
outskirts of Moscow on
October 10th 1941
However, Hitler did not
equip his soldiers for winter
and his soldiers and
equipment started freezing
Marshall Zhukov managed
to successfully defend the
Soviet capital and start
This marks the failure of
Operation Barbarossa
The battle on the Eastern Front
was a war of extermination
The Germans used brigades
called Einsatzgruppen to find
and kill Jews and communist
party members
Local collaborators would often
help the Nazis find and kill Jews
The Slavic inhabitants of the
western USSR were deprived of
health care, education and basic
services to reduce their numbers
in preparation for German
60% of Soviet POWs were
died in German POW
camps or gas chambers
7 million Soviet civilians
were victims of
Blond haired blue eyed
Belorussian and
Ukranians were spared
for future use as slaves
Many civilians became to
Partisans to fight Nazi
One of the decisive battles
of World War Two
Started in late August 1942
Represented the farthest
extent of German
Hitler was obsessed with
taking Stalingrad
Stalin was obsessed with
defending it
Each threw everything
their respective countries
had into the battle, even
though the city had only
moderate strategic value
There was a battle for
every house
At one point, Germany
controlled 90% of the
The Soviets managed to
break the Hungarian
and Romanian flanks
and surrounded the city
The Germans lasted
until February, when
they surrendered, with
300,000 casualties
The largest tank battle in
In the spring of 1943,
Germany made its last major
offensive against the Soviets
The Germans wanted to
encircle a Soviet army,
however Soviet intelligence
learned of this
The Soviets used defense in
depth and defeated the
By 1944, the Germans were
pushed out of Soviet territory
and Romania, Bulgaria and
Hungary had all surrendered