Hitler and Operation Barbarossa. The geostrategic error that sealed the fate of National Socialism

A question that is still much debated today (since it was full of epochal geopolitical consequences) is why Hitler decided, way back in June 1941, to invade the Soviet Union, thus betraying the agreements made with the leadership. Russian on the occasion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939. And decreeing, at the same time, the end of National Socialism as well as, de facto, the “finis Germaniae” as an autonomous and independent geopolitical reality in the global geopolitical context. The issue has never been completely clarified. Even less so from traditional historiography whose bias has given rise, in the vast majority of cases, to at least questionable interpretations. The purpose of this article, with a profoundly historical profile, is precisely to outline the reasons, causes and consequences that this undertaking had not only for Germany and the USSR (which experienced it “firsthand”) but also for the European and global geopolitical context. And why the Anglo-Saxon empire decided to eliminate a significant geopolitical player in continental Europe in which it had invested heavily as a “counterweight” to the role of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe (in contravention of the geopolitical doctrine “of weights and counterweights” for which the geopolitical actor that, from time to time, attempted to dominate the European continent had to be defeated and reduced in size but not eliminated and destroyed completely so as to favor a new hegemonic attempt by another continental power). We will try to explain it comprehensively in the following lines.


World War I saw the failure of Germany’s first attempt at hegemonic power. The Germany of William II, after having become the first European economy in terms of GDP and after the colonial expansion that took shape in the last twenty years of the 19th century, felt able to launch the challenge for world power against the Anglo-Saxon empire which, as per tradition, formed a very broad coalition in order to counter German hegemonic claims and the role that the newly formed German military fleet claimed to exercise on the seas of the world (countering English thalassocracy). The role of the Anglo-German clash was by far the most important within the collage of geopolitical motivations and claims that contributed to the outbreak of hostilities and the formation of the alliances that took shape (the Franco-German rivalry for the annexation of Alsace -Lorraine by Bismark, the clash between Austria and Russia for the control of the Balkans and those between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in the same region also for the control of the Bosphorus). England’s aim was to “bring the newly formed German superpower back to order” so that it could not threaten the geopolitical structure that existed at the time. Things did not go exactly as planned “ab origine” since in Eastern Europe the phenomenon of the Bolshevik communist revolution matured which, in addition to bringing a communist regime to Russia, in fact, took the latter out of the conflict allowing a rapid occupation of Ukraine and other large territories of Soviet Russia by the Germans during 1918.The Russian collapse was not enough for the German empire to achieve victory. Indeed, with the occupation of the Russian territories in Eastern Europe, the German army leaned further and further east at the very moment in which US troops began to land massively on the European continent (in support of the Anglo-French ones). . The rest is history. The European geopolitical structure that matured after the First World War saw open hostility from the West towards the Soviet Union (USA, France, England and Japan even attempted a joint invasion of Soviet territory in 1919-21 to take advantage of the chaos following the revolution and occupy Russian territory) whose communist economic model was seen as completely incompatible with the Western capitalist one. Germany was territorially resized and subjected to partial military occupation aimed at controlling the industrial and mining areas of the country (Ruhr and Saar) to guarantee enormous war reparations that Parisians and London had demanded at Versailles. Germany, in the Anglo-Saxon geopolitical vision, had to have a role as a bulwark against the “socialist” developments that were taking shape in Eastern Europe and which could have threatened the social and geopolitical structures of the capitalist states. It was for this reason that, after the bursting of the financial bubble of 1929 and the situation of economic depression that followed, Anglo-Saxon capital willingly saw the rise of the German National Socialist Party in Germany and actively favored it (funding it massively ). In the same way as a decade earlier he had favored the rise of fascism in Italy precisely as an anti-socialist and anti-communist function. Obviously the English and American magnates could not foresee that, once it had taken hold, the National Socialist regime would have no intention of playing a mere instrumental role within an Anglo-Saxon-led world. Already in 1936-1937 it was clear that Hitler, just like Wilhelm II in the First World War, had hegemonic claims that transcended the geopolitical structures of the time and at the same time conflicted with them in an irreducible way. Which would have led directly to a second world war. That is, to a second German hegemonic attempt. Meanwhile, in the newly formed Soviet Union, the strengthening of the communist state was taking shape which imposed the forced collectivization of agricultural and industrial production as well as decisive economic development thanks also to the enormous expansion of Soviet heavy industry. In the mid-1930s, the Uralvagonzavod was completed in the Ural region. Originally a tractor and railway carriage factory, it became, during the Second World War, the largest tank factory in the world (capable of producing over 1000 T34s per month) and played a central role in the defeat of the German armies who invaded the USSR in 1941. The whole world (and Hitler himself) was unaware of the existence of this facility (which was beyond the reach of enemy aviation) which was essential for the Soviet war effort and victory final of the allies in the Second World War. But it was not the Uralvagonzavod that brought National Socialist Germany and the Soviet Union diplomatically closer in the late 1930s. It was a question of geopolitical opportunism and more. Germany wanted to avoid the nightmare of a war on two fronts in the event of hostility with France and England, while in Moscow an agreement with Berlin served to break the international isolation (which had in fact lasted since 1917) and to ensure further consolidate the communist regime in the USSR and further strengthen its Soviet industrial potential. This was how the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was reached in 1939. Which represented a true diplomatic masterpiece of the National Socialist regime and a real setback for the Anglo-Saxon empire. Which found itself faced with an alliance between German industrial potential and the immense Russian mining potential. That is, an alliance capable of subverting the Anglo-Saxon-led world order in a decisive and resolute way and, in the face of which, neither Washington nor London would have been able to implement effective solutions.The non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany was seen in London as a real “geopolitical nightmare” and if Hitler had not arbitrarily “dissolved” it with the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 the Anglo-Saxon empire would have found itself faced with an alliance against which he could do little. It was a priceless gift that the German Fuhrer gave to Great Britain (while at the same time condemning his own nation to defeat in the global confrontation with Washington and London). An almost inconceivable geopolitical move even considering Germany’s economic weight in the world (equivalent to around 10% of world wealth before the outbreak of hostilities and just over 15% after the conquest of continental Europe) and the enormous effort economic that a war against the USSR would have required (while remaining in conflict, at the same time, also against the English empire). Germany’s invasion of the USSR remains a real geopolitical enigma. A move desired by Hitler himself and which had to do with the German statesman’s personal beliefs. Which, if they do not strictly ignore geopolitics, are at least questionable at the level of analysis of existing power relations. As powerful and apparently invincible as the Wermacht was, it did not have sufficient resources to fight a war with the largest (and impervious) nation in the world (the USSR), the largest industrial and economic power in the world (the USA) and the largest empire in the world (the English empire, with an extension of approximately 33,000,000 square kilometres). These are objective data that should have been taken into consideration by the German establishment but, evidently, the military successes obtained from 1939 to 1941 intoxicated the National Socialist leadership to the point of completely losing contact with reality.


Joachin Von Ribbentrop, meeting the Russian ambassador who was abandoning Berlin immediately after the German declaration of war, said: “Tell Moscow that I am firmly against this initiative, this war will be a disaster for Germany, I have searched everyone ways to convince Hitler not to venture into this enterprise but he didn’t want to listen to me.” We do not know to what extent these words of the German Foreign Minister were sincere but they reveal how different views there were within the German establishment regarding Operation Barbarossa. Stalin himself, despite repeated intelligence information, had refused to believe, until the end, that Germany was on the verge of attacking the Soviet Union. The geopolitical analysis of the times required Hitler to keep the pact alive, at least until peace with Great Britain came. But no such prospect appeared on the horizon and also the daring adventure of Rudolf Hess (who flew to England in the spring of 1941 to start secret negotiations with the Anglo-Saxon establishment in order to obtain an end to the hostilities with London and to find support for the already decided Barbarossa operation) ended in nothing.The mission made Hitler’s real geopolitical intentions and the enormous trap the German leader was about to walk into known to the Anglo-Saxon political leadership. The British repeatedly informed Moscow of Hitler’s intentions but Stalin did not even give weight to these warnings, convinced that Hitler would never have risked such an undertaking (since it would have represented a real “geopolitical suicide”). The Soviet leader did not consider that Hitler was moved more by “feeling” than by geopolitical analysis proper and that he would not have hesitated to implement what he declared in Mein Kampf years ago. Not that the Russian campaign did not have a specific geopolitical purpose. He had it and how! Since he aimed to take possession of the enormous resource potential of the Soviet space to put it under the direct control (and at the disposal) of German industry. Which would have made Germany a true world superpower against which not even the Anglo-Saxon empire could have done much. The point is that, however, Germany did not have sufficient resources, human and material, to win such a clash. Is it possible that Hitler didn’t realize it? Probably not. He tries to implement the geopolitics of “living space” at all costs without realizing that, in the way he pursued it, it represented nothing more than a mere utopia. Ribbentrop on several occasions proposed to the German leader to remain faithful to the Russian-German pact of 1939 and to start a division of the world with the Soviet Union. But Hitler always rejected the geopolitical and geostrategic vision of the German Foreign Minister, remaining faithful to the need for a “living space” for the German nation which he identified with Soviet territory. The problem is that the Fuhrer, as he himself liked to say, was not exactly a politician, but “an artist lent to politics”. His geopolitical and geostrategic vision was the one already revealed during the years of detention in the Landsberg fortress, following the Munich putsch. And, however geopolitically motivated, he did not understand a correct analysis of Germany’s real economic strength, much inferior to that of all geopolitical adversaries combined. It was obvious that this “deficiency” would have led to the failure of a battle for world power against all the major powers of the time and having given life to this initiative (Operation Barbarossa) was the greatest gift that German statesman could do to his bitter geopolitical rival: Great Britain. And, to this day, it remains a mystery how Hitler could conceive of such a geostrategic absurdity. So great as to allow the destruction of the German nation and its subjugation to the geopolitical will of the occupying powers.


Contrary to what is commonly believed, the fate of the Second World War was not decided by the German military reverses from 1943 onwards (starting from the battle of Stalingrad). Or rather, the fate of the conflict was not obvious from those events. This is because scientific research in Germany had reached cutting-edge levels which put Berlin in a position to produce technological jewels in the war industry. This is not only true for missiles (thanks to the creation of the first ballistic missiles against which the weapons of the time could do nothing) but also for aeronautics (with the creation of the first jet planes in history) and the navy (with the design and construction of a fleet of continuously submerged submarines that would have relaunched the assault on the US and British fleets and on the maritime connections between the two sides of the Atlantic). It was a ruthless war until the end. And it was for this reason that the war against National Socialism was waged until the total defeat of Germany and with relative enormous concessions to the USSR in Eastern Europe (thus contravening the traditional policy of “checks and balances ” which had characterized English geopolitics from the 16th century onwards). German technological know-how represented too great a threat to the Anglo-Saxon empire and the fact that Berlin was far ahead in key sectors such as missiles (from which the space programs of the USA and the USSR would later come to life) says a lot about the threat deadly that would have represented the “survival” of National Socialism in Germany. Furthermore, on the part of the Anglo-Saxon elite there was a desperate need to seize the results of German scientific research (which would have allowed a technological advantage over all future geopolitical rivals) and for this purpose German soil had to be occupied militarily. This was the reason why Germany (and National Socialism) could not be kept alive as an autonomous geopolitical reality. And it was for this reason that all of Eastern Europe (including a good portion of the German nation) was left in the hands of Moscow. It was the price that the Anglo-Saxon empire had to pay to completely and definitively subdue that political monster that it had contributed to creating but which it had not been able to direct and govern (based on its own interests).

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