Germany and the Soviet Union
As we have already discovered in class, Hitler did whatever he could to gain power, including using people for his benefit. Hitler did the same thing with the Soviet Union. Hitler signed a nonaggression pact with the Society Union on August 23, 1939 (Sax & Kuntz 351). In this pact, Hitler agreed that Germany would “refrain from any act of force, any aggressive act, and any attacks against each other undertaken either singly or in conjunction with any other powers” (Sax & Kuntz 351). While this pact benefited Germany in being aware that they would not be attacked from the East, it seems to have meant little regarding their ability to pursue war in the East.
In mid-1941, Hitler believed his army could take on the Russian army swiftly and without many casualties with Operation Barbarossa. He sent them on their way without any winter wear, a lesson he could have learned by reading history. Soldiers’ letters from the beginning of winter in Russia showed that the situations were truly unpleasant (Sax & Kuntz 353). One soldier says, “as leader of my unit I have a great concern: how am I to bring these valiant men through the Russian winter?” (Sax & Kuntz 352). The winter was brutal and due to Hitler’s belief in victory or collapse, his men were being impacted. The troops desired to go home or at least have warm clothing. As we can see, the nonaggression pact meant little for Hitler’s dedication to not start war, however, once in the war, he also neglected to take care of the soldiers fighting for his sake.
Sax, Benjamin, and Dieter Kuntz. Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich. D.C. Heath and Company, 1992. 351-353.
Bundesarchiv, Bild. German soldiers (Flamthrower team) in the Soviet Union. June 1941. Wikipedia. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.