Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
Battle of Stalingrad
Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses, the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble, the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, the Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out, attempts were made to supply the army by air.
Heavy fighting continued for two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition, the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days, the war had been progressing well, the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not particularly threatening, neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been particularly hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again, with the initial operations being very successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the capacity of the city.
The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia and its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler personally rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign, both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union. The expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germanys failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence, the Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war, Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there
Siege of Odessa (1941)
Odessa was a port on the Black Sea in the Ukrainian SSR. On 22 June 1941, the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union, in August, Odessa became a target of the Romanian 4th Army and elements of the German 11th Army. Romanian forces suffered 93,000 casualties, against Red Army casualties estimated to be between 41,000 and 60,000. On 27 July 1941, Hitler sent a letter to General Ion Antonescu in which he recognised the Romanian administration of the territory between the Dniester and the Bug rivers, the Romanian Third Army had already crossed the Dniester on 17 July. On 8 August, the Romanian General Staff issued the Operative Directive No.31 instructing the 4th Army to occupy Odessa off the march and it was thought that the city garrison, which was heavily outnumbered, would surrender quickly. Odessa was heavily fortified by three lines and, thanks to the presence of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, could not be completely surrounded. The first line was 80 km long and situated 25–30 km from the city, the second and main line of defense was situated 6–8 km from the city and was about 30 km long.
The third and last line of defense was organized inside the city itself, the Red Army had 34,500 men and 240 artillery pieces in the area. Air support was provided by the 69 IAP, two squadrons and one bomber squadron. Later, other fighters joined the defenders, as did an Il-2 squadron, the defense of Odessa lasted 73 days from 5 August to 16 October 1941. On 10 August, in the sector of the 3rd Corps, in the sector of the 5th Corps, the 1st Armored Division broke through Odessas first line of defense. That evening, the Romanian division reached the line of defense. The 1st Cavalry Brigade took Severinovka and joined the 1st Armored Division, at the same time, the 10th Dorobanţi Regiment overran the Soviet forces at Lozovaya. The 4th Army gradually closed the circle around Odessa, but the offensive was stopped by Antonescu on 13 August to strengthen the line west of the Hadjibey bank. The offensive resumed on 16 August, as Romanian troops attacked along the entire line, the Soviet forces put up a stubborn resistance, launching repeated counter-attacks and taking heavy casualties.
The Royal Romanian Air Force actively supported the troops, disrupting Soviet naval traffic to and from Odessa. In support of the offensive, the Romanian Navy dispatched motor torpedo boats to the recently occupied port of Ochakiv. During the night of 18 August, the torpedo boats NMS Viscolul and NMS Vijelia attacked a Soviet supply convoy South of Odessa
The Continuation War consisted of hostilities between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944. The Continuation War began shortly after the end of the Winter War, in the Soviet Union, the war was considered part of the Great Patriotic War. Germany regarded its operations in the region as part of its war efforts on the Eastern Front. Acts of war between the Soviet Union and Finland recommenced on 22 June 1941, the day Germany launched its invasion of the Soviet Union, open warfare began with a Soviet air offensive on 25 June. Subsequent Finnish operations undid its post-Winter War concessions to the Soviet Union on the Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga Karelia, on the Karelian Isthmus, the Finns halted their offensive 30 km from Leningrad, at the pre-World War II border between the Soviet Union and Finland. Finnish forces did not participate in the siege of Leningrad directly, in 1944, Soviet air forces conducted air raids on Helsinki and other major Finnish cities. A ceasefire ended hostilities on 5 September and was followed by the Moscow Armistice on 19 September, the 1947 Paris peace treaty concluded the war formally.
Finland ceded Pechengsky District to the Soviets, leased Porkkala peninsula to them, shortly afterward, Germany invaded Poland and as a result the United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany. The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland on 17 September, Moscow demanded that the Baltic states allow the establishment of Soviet military bases and the stationing of troops on their soil. The Baltic governments accepted these ultimatums, signing corresponding agreements in September and October 1939, the Finnish government refused, and the Red Army attacked Finland on 30 November 1939. Condemnation of the Soviets by the League of Nations and by all over the world had no effect on Soviet policy. International help for Finland was planned, but very little actual help materialized, the Moscow Peace Treaty, which was signed on 12 March 1940, ended the Winter War. By the terms of the treaty, Finland lost one eleventh of its national territory, Finland had avoided having the Soviet Union annex the whole country.
Finlands foreign policy had been based on multilateral guarantees for support from the League of Nations, Finnish public opinion favored the reconquest of Finnish Karelia. Finlands government declared the countrys defense to be its first priority, Finland purchased and received donations of war material during and immediately after the Winter War. On Finlands southern frontier the Soviet Union had acquired a base in Hanko near the capital Helsinki. Finland had to resettle some 420,000 evacuees from the lost territories, to ensure the supply of food, it was necessary to clear new land for the evacuees to cultivate. This was facilitated by the Rapid Settlement Act, the Finnish leadership wanted to preserve the spirit of unanimity that was commonly felt throughout the country during the Winter War
Battle of Kiev (1941)
The First Battle of Kiev was the German name for the operation that resulted in a very large encirclement of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Kiev during World War II. This encirclement is considered the largest encirclement in the history of warfare, the operation ran from 7 August to 26 September 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. In Soviet military history, it is referred to as the Kiev Strategic Defensive Operation, kirponos was trapped behind German lines and killed while trying to break out. The battle was a defeat for the Red Army, exceeding even the Battle of Białystok–Minsk of June–July 1941. The encirclement trapped 452,700 soldiers,2,642 guns and mortars and 64 tanks, the Southwestern Front suffered 700,544 casualties, including 616,304 killed, captured or missing during the battle. The 5th, 37th, 26th, 21st and the 38th armies, consisting of 43 divisions, were almost annihilated, like the Western Front before it, the Southwestern Front had to be recreated almost from scratch.
After the rapid progress of Army Group Centre through the sector of the Eastern front. A substantial Soviet force, nearly the entire Southwestern Front, positioned in, on 3 August, Hitler temporarily cancelled the drive on Moscow in favor of driving south and attacking Kiev in Ukraine. However, on 12 August 1941, Supplement to Directive No, the three Panzer Groups, under the control of Army Group Center, will lead the advance on Moscow. On 18 August, OKH submitted a survey to Hitler regarding the continuation of operations in the East. The paper made the case for the drive to Moscow, arguing again that Army Groups North and South were strong enough to accomplish their objectives without any assistance from Army Group Center. Pointing out that there was enough time left before winter to conduct a single decisive operation against Moscow. On 20 August, Hitler rejected the proposal based on the idea that the most important objective was to deprive the Soviets of their industrial areas, on 21 August Jodl of OKW issued a directive, which summarized Hitlers instructions, to Brauchitsch commander of the Army.
The paper reiterated that the capture of Moscow before the onset of winter was not a primary objective, Hitler referred to the Soviet forces in the salient collectively as the Russian 5th Army. Engel in his diary for 21 August 1941, simply summarized it as, Halder offered his own resignation and advised Brauchitsch to do the same. However, Brauchitsch declined, stating Hitler would not accept the gesture, Halder withdrew his offer of resignation. On 23 August, Halder convened with Bock and Guderian in Borisov, during a meeting between Guderian and Hitler, with neither Halder nor Brauchitsch present, Hitler allowed Guderian to make the case for driving on to Moscow, and rejected his argument. In point of fact Hitler had already issued the orders for the shift of Guderians panzer group to the south, Guderian returned to his panzer group and began the southern thrust in an effort to encircle the Soviet forces in the salient
Battle of Rzhev, Summer 1942
The Battle of Rzhev in the Summer of 1942 was part of a series of battles that lasted 15 months in the center of the Eastern Front. It is known in Soviet history of World War II as the First Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation, however, it is widely documented that the fighting continued undiminished into September and did not finally cease until the beginning of October 1942. Rzhev lies 140 miles west of Moscow and was captured by the German Wehrmacht in Operation Typhoon in the autumn of 1941, when the Soviet counteroffensive drove them back, Rzhev became a cornerstone of the Germans defense. By the summer of 1942, the city stood at the apogee of a salient that protruded from the front lines, the attack would fall upon one of their main opponents of the winter battles, General Walter Models 9th Army, which occupied the majority of the Rzhev salient. The two-month struggle left an impression on the Soviet soldiers who took part. The Red Army suffered massive casualties for little gain during the fighting, earning the battle the sobriquet Rzhev meat grinder, although the offensive failed, Zhukov was given another chance to crush the Rzhev salient soon afterwards.
The closing stages of the Battle of Moscow saw the formation of the Rzhev salient, the Soviet counter-offensive had driven the Wehrmacht from the outskirts of Moscow back more than 100 miles, and had penetrated Army Group Centres front in numerous places. Rzhev, a crossroads and vital rail junction straddling the Volga. It was the town of note for many miles and gave the 9th Army something to hang on to, in what otherwise seemed a wilderness of forest. The salients existence was threatened at the moment of its creation. The Soviet counter-attack had run out of steam and the Germans recovered enough to mount several operations to clear up their rear area and he commanded 10th Army and Army Group C in Italy. General of Panzer Troops Walter Model had commanded 3rd Panzer division at the start of Operation Barbarossa and he had shown great resolve in the defensive winter battles, and was promoted to 9th Army commander on 12 January 1942. He proved to be a soldier and a defensive specialist. Respected by Hitler, his continued to rise, becoming a field marshal in March 1944.
He became a troubleshooter, commanding the Leningrad Front in the autumn, Zhukov remained in the central sector, and he argued in the spring of 1942 that the Moscow axis was the most critical and that Army Group Center posed the greatest threat to the Soviet Union. To him, the German forces at Rzhev represented a dagger pointed at Moscow, Zhukov convinced Stalin to give him the extra forces he needed. He commanded Western Fronts attacks until, in the part of August. Later, he continued to hold the highest commands in the Soviet Army, colonel-General Ivan Konev began the war against Germany commanding the 19th Army, which become encircled around Vitebsk in the first weeks of the conflict
Operation Iskra was a Soviet military operation during World War II, designed to break the German Wehrmachts Siege of Leningrad. Planning for the operation shortly after the failure of the Sinyavino Offensive. The German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad in late 1942 had weakened the German front, the operation was conducted by the Red Armys Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts, and the Baltic Fleet during January 12–30,1943 with the aim of creating a land connection to Leningrad. The Soviet forces linked up on January 18, and by January 22, the operation successfully opened a land corridor 8–10 kilometres wide to the city. The success led to a more ambitious offensive operation named Polyarnaya Zvezda less than two weeks later. That operation had the aim of decisively defeating Army Group North, lifting the siege altogether, Soviet forces made several other attempts in 1943 to renew their offensive and completely lift the siege, but made only modest gains in each one. The corridor remained in range of German artillery and the siege was only over on January 27,1944, the Siege of Leningrad started in early autumn 1941.
By September 8,1941 German and Finnish forces had surrounded the city, cutting off all routes to Leningrad. However, the drive on the city failed and the city was subjected to a siege. During 1942 several attempts were made to breach the blockade but all failed, the last such attempt was the Sinyavino Offensive. Despite the failures of earlier operations, lifting the siege of Leningrad was a high priority. In December, the plan was approved by the Stavka. The operation was due to begin in January 1943, by January 1943, the situation looked very good for the Soviet side. The German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad had weakened the German front, the Soviet forces were planning or conducting offensive operations across the entire front, especially in southwestern Russia. Amidst these conditions, Operation Iskra was to become the first of several operations aimed at inflicting a decisive defeat on the German Army Group North. The area south of Lake Ladoga is a forested area with many wetlands closer to the lake.
In addition the forest shielded both sides from visual observation, both of these factors greatly hindered the mobility of artillery and vehicles in the area, providing a considerable advantage to the defending forces. The Neva River and marshes were partially frozen in winter which allowed infantry to cross it, the Germans were well aware that breaking the blockade was very important for the Soviet side
Third Battle of Kharkov
Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod. As the German Sixth Army was encircled in Stalingrad, the Red Army undertook a series of attacks against the rest of Army Group South. The Soviet victories caused participating Soviet units to over-extend themselves, months of continuous operations, had taken a heavy toll on the Soviet forces and some divisions were reduced to 1, 000–2,000 combat effective soldiers. On 19 February, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein launched his Kharkov counterstrike, using the fresh II SS Panzer Corps, the Wehrmacht flanked and defeated the Red Armys armored spearheads south of Kharkov. This enabled Manstein to renew his offensive against the city of Kharkov proper on 7 March, despite orders to encircle Kharkov from the north the SS Panzer Corps instead decided to directly engage Kharkov on 11 March. This led to four days of fighting before Kharkov was recaptured by the 1st SS Panzer Division on 15 March.
The German forces recaptured Belgorod two days later, creating the salient which in July 1943 would lead to the Battle of Kursk, the German offensive cost the Red Army an estimated 90,000 casualties. The house-to-house fighting in Kharkov was particularly bloody for the German SS Panzer Corps, at the start of 1943, the German Wehrmacht faced a crisis as Soviet forces encircled and reduced the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and expanded their Winter Campaign towards the Don River. On 2 February 1943 the Sixth Armys commanding officers surrendered, total German losses at the Battle of Stalingrad, excluding prisoners, were between 120,000 and 150,000. Throughout 1942 German casualties totaled around 1.9 million personnel, on 2 February, the Red Army launched Operation Star, threatening to recapture the cities of Belgorod and Kursk. A Soviet drive, spearheaded by four tank corps organized under Lieutenant-General Markian Popov, pierced the German front by crossing the Donets River, despite Hitlers orders to hold the city, Kharkov was abandoned by German forces and the city was recaptured by the Red Army on 16 February.
Hitler immediately flew to Mansteins headquarters at Zaporizhia, on 19 February Soviet armored units broke through the German lines and approached the city. In view of the situation, Hitler gave Manstein operational freedom. When Hitler departed, the Soviet forces were only some 30 kilometers away from the airfield, by this time Stavka believed it could decide the war in the southwest Russian SFSR and eastern Ukrainian SSR, expecting total victory. The surrender of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad freed six Soviet armies, under the command of Konstantin Rokossovsky, which were refitted and reinforced by the 2nd Tank Army and these forces were repositioned between the junction of German Army Groups Center and South. Originally planned to begin between 12–15 February, deployment problems forced Stavka to push the date back to 25 February. Meanwhile, the Soviet 60th Army pushed the German Second Armys 4th Panzer Division away from Kursk and this opened a 60 kilometers breach between these two German forces, shortly to be exploited by Rokossovskys offensive.
However, unexpected German resistance began to slow the operation considerably, offering Rokossovsky only limited gains on the flank of his attack
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Nazi Germanys invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II, which was launched on Sunday 22 June 1941. In the two leading up to the invasion, the two countries signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes. Nevertheless, the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, over the course of the operation, about four million Axis personnel invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2, 900-kilometer front, the largest invasion force in the history of warfare. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht employed some 600,000 motor vehicles, the offensive marked an escalation of the war, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Despite their successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow and was pushed back by the Soviet winter counteroffensive. The Red Army repelled the Wehrmachts strongest blows and forced the unprepared Germans into a war of attrition, the Wehrmacht would never again mount a simultaneous offensive along the entire strategic Soviet–Axis front.
The failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most importantly, the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Soviet prisoners of war who were not granted protections stipulated in the Geneva Conventions, a majority of them never returned alive. The Nazis deliberately starved 3.1 million of the prisoners to death as part of a Hunger Plan that aimed to reduce the population of Eastern Europe, over a million Soviet Jews were murdered by Einsatzgruppen death squads and gassing as part of the Holocaust. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his commanders that the next war would be purely a war of Weltanschauungen. Totally a peoples war, a racial war, on 23 November, once World War II had already started, Hitler declared that racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, and with it, the world.
The racial policy of Nazi Germany viewed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germanys destiny was to turn to the East as it did six hundred years ago. Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the Mongolian race threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood, German army commanders cast the Jews as the major cause behind the partisan struggle. The main guideline policy for German troops was Where theres a partisan, theres a Jew, many German troops viewed the war in Nazi terms and regarded their Soviet enemies as sub-human
Defense of Brest Fortress
The defence of Brest Fortress took place 22–29 June 1941. The Brest Fortress, defended by the Red Army against the Wehrmacht, held out longer than expected and, after the Second World War had finished, in 1965 the fortress received the title of Hero Fortress for the 1941 defense. The area around the nineteenth-century Brest Fortress was the site of the 1939 Battle of Brześć Litewski, according to the terms of the 1939 German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact the territory around Brest as well as 52% of the Poland was assigned to the Soviet Union. Thus, in the summer of 1941, the Germans had to capture the fortress yet again - this time from the Soviets, the Germans planned to seize Brest and the Brest Fortress which was located in the path of Army Group Centre during the first day of Operation Barbarossa. The fortress and the city controlled the crossings over the Bug River, the garrison in the fortress comprised approximately 9,000 Soviet soldiers, including regular soldiers, border guards and NKVD operatives.
There were 300 families of the servicemen inside the fortress as well, the 45th Infantry Division had the task to take the fortress during the first day. For the first five minutes of the shelling it was supported by parts of the artillery of the 31st, the fortress had no warning when the Axis invaded on 22 June 1941, and became the site of the first major fighting between Soviet forces and the Wehrmacht. The attack started with a 29-minute shelling with artillery and Nebelwerfers by the German Wehrmacht, the initial artillery fire took the unprepared fortress by surprise, inflicting heavy material and personnel casualties. Some managed to escape the fortress, most were trapped inside by the encircling German forces, heavy fighting continued two more days. In the evening of June 24,1941, some 368 Germans were dead, on June 25 and June 26,1941, local fighting continued mainly in the citadel. Till the evening of June 26,1941, most of the northern Kobrin fortification, the Germans deployed various powerful guns, rocket mortars 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 and resorted to flame throwers.
The civilians inside the fortress tended the wounded, reloaded the machine-gun discs and belts with cartridges, children brought ammunition and food supplies from half-destroyed supply depots, scavenged weapons and watched enemy movements. On 26 June small Soviet forces tried to break out from the siege but were unsuccessful, the same day Zubachyov and Fomin were captured. Zubachyov was sent to a POW camp in Hammelburg where he died along with about 3.2 million of his countrymen, Yefim Fomin was executed on spot for being a commissar and a Jew. R. Gschöpf wrote, The total German losses in the battle for the Brest fortress were about 629 killed, the Soviet losses numbered about 6,800 POWs and about 2,000 dead. The magnitude of losses can be weighed by the fact that total German losses on the Eastern Front up to 30 June 1941 amounted to 8,886 killed. The fighting at Brest therefore accounted for over 5 percent of all German fatalities, after eight days of fierce fighting the Germans had captured the whole fortress.
Because of the high German losses the German High Command demanded General Fritz Schlieper to present a report regarding combat at Brest 22–29 June 1941
First Battle of Kharkov
The Soviet 38th Army was ordered to defend the city while its factories were dismantled for relocation farther east. The German 6th Army needed to take the city in order to close the gap between the 4th Panzer Group and the 17th Army. By 20 October the Germans had reached the edge of the city. In that time, most of Kharkovs industrial equipment had been evacuated or rendered useless by the Soviet authorities, in the autumn of 1941, Kharkov was considered one of the Soviets most important strategic bases for railroad and airline connections. It not only connected the east-west and north-south parts of Ukraine, but several regions of the USSR including the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Dnieper region. Kharkov was one of the largest industrial centers of the Soviet Union, one of its greatest contributions was the Soviet T-34 tank that was both designed and developed at the Kharkov Tractor Factory. It was considered to be the most powerful tank plant in the country, other factories that were located in the city included the Kharkov Aircraft Plant, Kharkov Plant of the NKVD, and the Kharkov Turbine Plant.
Military products that were in Kharkov before the battle started included, tanks, Su-2, artillery tractors,82 mm mortars, sub-machine guns and other military equipment. The main objective for the German troops was to capture the railroad and military plants, adolf Hitler himself stressed the importance of those military plants stating, … The second in importance is south of Russia, particularly the Donets Basin, ranging from the Kharkov region. It was rated at 901,000 people on 1 May 1941, in September 1941 the population skyrocketed to 1.5 million people, due to numerous evacuees from other cities. After multiple attacks and many deaths, the population of Kharkov decreased to 180 –190,000, Kharkov was one of the most important Soviet centers for the fleeing Jewish population. According to records, Kharkov had 10,271 people of Jewish ethnicity living in the city, 75% of whom were women, after the battle, many of them were either transferred to concentration camps or executed. After the Battle of Kiev, Army Group Center was ordered to redeploy its forces for the attack on Moscow, Army Group South, and in particular Walther von Reichenaus 6th Army and Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagels 17th Army took the place of the Panzer Divisions.
Meanwhile, needed to stabilize its southern flank and poured reinforcements into the area between Kursk and Rostov, at the expense of its forces in front of Moscow. The Southwestern Front, which had completely destroyed during the battle of Kiev, was re-established under the command of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko. The 6th, 21st, 38th and 40th Armies were reconstituted almost from scratch, with the Battle of Moscow under way, the Germans had to protect their flanks, and on 6 October von Reichenau advanced through Sumy and Okhtyrka in the direction of Belgorod and Kharkov. On the same day, the 17th Army commenced its offensive from Poltava towards Lozova, the Southwestern Fronts 6th Army and 38th Army failed to conduct a coordinated defense and were beaten back. In the lead up to the Battle of Moscow, the Red Army suffered a defeat at Vyazma and Bryansk