Hitler Oversaw A Crucial Lesson From History – Angel Ortiz
Adolf Hitler was pronounced chancellor of Germany on the 28th of October, 1933. As the leader (or führer) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi party), Hitler commenced a nationwide military campaign to annex former colonies back into Germany’s control. This political campaign, however, quickly swirled into a much darker and sinister agenda Hitler was hiding up his sleeve. The führer was planning to take over the world.
The signing of the Nonaggression Pact (or the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) on the 23rd of August, 1939, between Germany and Soviet Russia, took everyone by surprise. Within this pact, there laid a secret protocol that stated that both Germany and the USSR would divide the occupation of Poland and other former Russian territories. But, as history shows, this indirect alliance between both nations would be ephemeral.
The defeat of Germany in World War II by the Soviet Union proved the world once more how important it is to understand the history of things and to not overlook the lessons taught by the past. Hitler failed to understand this and his decisions lead to his ultimate deathly fate. There is one particular lesson that the Führer should have given greater consideration.
The Great Patriotic War Of 1941.
By 1941, Germany had control over a vast region of Europe. Britain’s main ally (France) had been defeated and British forces were forced to stand their ground within the British islands until a new effective strategy could be devised. Moreover, German submarines were blocking allied supplies to Britain, in order to weaken them by starvation.
Even though Europe was practically in the domain of the Nazi’s power, Hitler’s ambition did not end there. He knew that with the production and military resources of the Soviet neighbour under his control, he could continue his pursuit of world domination. Germany began plotting the assault on the Soviet Union, and on the 22nd of June, 1941, German troops broke the Nonaggression Pact and initiated Operation Barbarossa.
The mighty Red Army was unprepared for war when Hitler’s army first struck. Despite its size and the great economic and technological advancements left behind by Nicholas II’s regime, Stalin’s purges throughout the 1930s left the army in a state of low morale and efficiency. On the other hand, Germany showed military superiority in almost every aspect: their Panzer tanks proved dominance over all opponent infantry and vehicle forces and the Luftwaffe had total control of the air. Their technological power was unparalleled.
Germany’s blitzkrieg resulted in a swift push into Smolensk (a town 200 miles away from the USSR’s capital, Moscow) in just under a week, but further advancements into Moscow were delayed by the supreme commander’s orders. This delay would become the first of a series of fatal mistakes from the German high command, and the decisive factor in the defeat of the Nazis.
The constant assault delays from the German army allowed Soviet troops to rearm, regroup, and call in millions of reserve units and reinforcements from Siberia to the west. Moreover, Stalin’s forces were given enough time to mass-produce better equipment and vehicles, such as the T-34 tanks and the BM-24–12 artillery trucks. Most importantly, this holdup gave enough time for the Russian Winter to settle—the biggest enemy of all invasive forces Russia has encountered throughout its history.
The appaling weather, together with the size of the regrouped Soviet army became striking obstacles for the advancements of German troops into Moscow. The Germans, expecting to capture the capital by the end of summer, were unequipped for the winter. Many suffered severe frostbites and most of their equipment froze by the time Russian forces began counterattacking.
On December the 5th, German troops were pushed back to the west — the first of many retreats the Nazis would make. Hundreds of thousands of casualties stacked up as hordes of Soviet units ambushed them during the Winter War. The massive Soviet push along the frontier eventually lead to the seizure of Berlin on the 2nd of May, 1945, and to the victory of the allied forces in one of the biggest wars in human history: World War II. It seems Hitler did not learn from the Patriotic War of 1812.
The Patriotic War Of 1812.
The French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte’s command had seized control of almost all of Europe by the beginning of 1812, with Britain being the last remaining opposing force of the region. The supreme commander of the Grande Armée formulated a strategy to force Britain to make peace or surrender: he planned to cut Britain’s supply lines. However, this meant cutting trade between the United Kingdom and the former Russian Empire. Napoleon thus saw the need to invade Russia.
Poland was once again the central subject of political disputes and invasions. The 1809 Austrian war treaty stipulated that Western Galicia would be removed from Austria and annexed by the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. This conflicted with Russian interests and rumours began spreading of a possible invasion by the Russian Empire. Napoleon saw this as the perfect justification to invade Russia.
The Grand Duchy of Warsaw was one of France’s closest allies. Napoleon took this opportunity to widespread mass political propaganda and gain support from the Polish people. He declared the start of the Second Polish War and promised Poland liberation from Russia, as well as the reinstitution of territories that once belonged to the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Russian forces adopted the Scorched Earth Policy — a tactic where anything useful to the enemy is destroyed, including crops, food, refuge, and more, while retreating. This proved to be disastrous for the French Grande Armée as they advanced deeper into the Russian territory and in the midst of the Battle of Borodino(a town 70 miles away from Moscow), Russian forces still remained mostly intact.
When the French army reached Moscow, they discovered an abandoned and scorched city. There, they waited for a month for the response of Alexander I to a petition to surrender, but no answer ever came. Napoleon’s forces were forced to make a massive retreat through the Russian Winter. Famine, plague, frostbite, and the constant attacks lead by Russian army annihilated the remaining foreign forces. Only 20,000 troops out of the 500,000 returned home.
Russia’s victory over Europe’s most dreaded foe triggered the formation of the Sixth Coalition. France’s former allies, Prussia and Austria, soon switched sides and by the end of the War of the Sixth Coalition, Paris fell and Napoleon was sent into exile to the Island of Elba.
Hitler Should Have Picked Up A History Book.
The Nazi invasion of Russia was not the first attempt to invade the country. Napoleon Bonaparte tried a millennia before and the Swedish Empire tried it two times before. Each and every just as much of a failure as the last one. The only forces to have successfully conquered Russia were the Mongols in 1242 A.D. when Russia was engulfed in a bloody civil war.
If Hitler would have revised history one more time before deciding to betray Russia, he may have gotten away with his world-conquering agenda. Russia’s formidable army and its greatest ally, the Russian Winter, have proven to be impenetrable throughout history. Hitler should have learned this one simple lesson: never invade Russia, especially during the winter.
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