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RUSSIAN WINTERS OF 1941 AND 1942



THE RUSSIAN WINTERS OF 41 AND 42, THE HARSHEST IN HISTORY


Following the death of Lenin, a man named Stalin manipulated his way to power in the Soviet Union. He causes great reforms in the country and the death of millions of his own people. At this time, Germany was beginning to expand its territory, but Hitler did not want the Soviet Union interfering with his plans for expansion. So, Hitler asked Stalin to sign a Non-Aggression pact to prevent the two countries from fighting. Stalin signed the treaty and the two countries secretly divided up the country of Poland, Hitlerís next target for expansion.

Germany attacked Poland and the two countries did divide the Poland between themselves. The Soviets went on to conquer most of the Baltic States and had no more contacts with Germany until 1941. Stalin distrusted Hitler and so he began to obtain more naval and air bases to strengthen the Soviet Border. Then on June 22, 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarosa in which they invaded the Soviet Union. This took the Soviets by complete surprise. The Soviets and Germans had signed the Non-Aggression Pact which was beginning to get broken. The Germans used this surprise to their advantage and killed or captured a large portion of the Soviets in the first few months of fighting.

The Germans continued to push their way into Soviet territory, but during the fall heavy rains slowed the German artillery in the muck. They still continued their march, until the winter of 1941. During the winter temperatures (-90 degrees C). The German troops lacked the proper clothing and equipment, so they suffered from frostbite. The German tanks also would not start and so the German invasion was halted the winter, a mere 18 miles outside of the Soviet capital, Moscow.

The Allies saw a chance to keep Hitlerís troops spread thin by keeping them on the eastern front, so they sent Stalin reinforcements. It was an uncommonly cold winter in 1941, but by 1943 the Soviets began making headway against the German Army. They managed to force German troops all the way back to Stalingrad. Hitler did not want to lose Stalingradís because after that city fell, the Soviets would have free access to Europe. He told his troops to fight until the last man, but after almost a month of the fiercest fighting in the war, the Sovietís took Stalingrad. Over 200,000 German troops died in Stalingrad alone.

The Soviets continued to fight with the allies and eventually the axis powers, and Hitler, were defeated. Many Russians had died for their country.

By Brian "The Chipmunk" Bos

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