The beginning of the Second World War: the reasons. Start date of WWII
This year, Russia is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory. Unfortunately, the preparations for the celebrations dedicated to this anniversary, occur in an environment where in some states they are trying to minimize the role of the Soviet people in the destruction of fascism. Therefore, today is the time to study those events in order to convincingly fight against attempts to rewrite history and even to represent our country as an aggressor who carried out the “invasion of Germany”. In particular, it is worth knowing why the beginning of the Second World War was for the USSR a time of catastrophic losses. And as our country still managed not only to expel the invaders from its territory, but also to end the war by hoisting the Victory banner over the Reichstag.
First of all, let's deal with what is meant by the Second World War. The fact is that such a name is present only in Soviet sources, and for the whole world the events that took place between the end of June 1941 and May 1945 are only part of the military operations of the Second World War, localized in the Eastern European region of the planet.The term Great Patriotic War first appeared on the pages of the newspaper Pravda the day after the start of the invasion of the Third Reich troops into the USSR. As for German historiography, the expressions "Eastern campaign" and "Russian campaign" are used instead.
About his desire to conquer Russia and the "marginal states that are subordinate to it," Adolf Hitler said back in 1925. Eight years later, after becoming Chancellor of the Reichs, he began to pursue a policy aimed at preparing for war in order to expand "the living space for the German people." At the same time, the “Führer of the German Nation” constantly and quite successfully played diplomatic multi-pass combinations with the goal of putting down the vigilance of supposed opponents and even more embroil the USSR and the countries of the West.
Military operations in Europe preceding the Second World War
In 1936, Germany sent its troops into the Rhineland, which was a kind of protective barrier for France, to which no serious reaction from the international community followed. One and a half years later, as a result of the plebiscite, the German government annexed Austria to Germany, and then occupied the Sudetenland, populated by the Germans, but owned by Czechoslovakia.Feeling intoxicated by these almost bloodless victories, Hitler ordered to invade Poland, and then walked a "blitzkrieg" across Western Europe, almost never encountering serious resistance. The only country that in the year of the beginning of the Second World War continued to resist the forces of the Third Reich was Great Britain. However, the ground forces were not involved in this war with any of the conflicting parties, so the Wehrmacht was able to concentrate all its main forces near the borders with the USSR.
Accession to the USSR Bessarabia, the Baltic countries and Northern Bukovina
Talking about the beginning of the Great Patriotic War briefly, one cannot but mention the accession of the Baltic states that preceded this event, in which in 1940, with the support of Moscow, government coups took place. In addition, the USSR demanded the return of Bessarabia and the transfer of Northern Bukovina to Romania, and as a result of the war with Finland, a part of the Karelian Isthmus, controlled by the Soviet Union, was added. Thus, the country's borders were moved to the west, but its territory included territories, part of whose population did not accept the loss of independence of their states and was hostile to the new authorities.
USSR at the beginning of the Second World War
Despite the popular belief that the Soviet Union was not preparing for war, preparation, and very serious, was nevertheless conducted. In particular, since the beginning of 1940, considerable funds have been directed to the development of the economic sector, focused on the production of military equipment and serving the needs of the Red Army. As a result, at the time of the German attack on the USSR, the Red Army had more than 59,700 guns and mortars, 12,782 tanks and 10,743 aircraft.
At the same time, according to historians, the beginning of the Second World War could have been quite different if the repressions of the second half of the 1930s had not deprived the country's armed forces of thousands of experienced military personnel, who simply could not be replaced. But anyway, back in 1939, it was decided to increase the terms for citizens to take active service in the army and reduce the draft age, which allowed us to have more than 3.2 million soldiers and officers at the time of the beginning of the war.
BOB: reasons for the beginning
As already mentioned, among the priorities of the Nazis was originally present the desire to seize "lands in the East." Moreover, Hitler even directly pointed out that the main mistake of the German foreign policy over the preceding 6 centuries was the desire to go south and west, instead of looking to the east.In addition, in one of his speeches at a meeting with the High Command of the Wehrmacht, Hitler said that if Russia was defeated, Britain would be forced to capitulate, and Germany would become “the sovereign of Europe and the Balkans.”
The Second World War, and more specifically, the Second World War, also had an ideological background, since Hitler and his closest associates fanatically hated the Communists and considered representatives of the peoples inhabiting the USSR, subhumans, who should become “fertilizer” in the field of prosperity of the German nation.
When did the Second World War begin?
The disputes of historians regarding why it was on June 22, 1941 that Germany chose to attack the Soviet Union did not subside.
Although there are quite a few who are trying to find a mystical rationale for this, most likely, the German command proceeded from the fact that the day of the summer solstice is the shortest night of the year. This meant that around 4 o'clock in the morning, when most of the inhabitants of the European part of the USSR would sleep, it would be dusk outside, and in an hour it would be completely light. In addition, this date fell on a Sunday, which means that many officers could be absent in units, having gone to visit their relatives on Saturday morning.The Germans were also aware of the “Russian” habit of allowing themselves a fair amount of strong alcohol over the weekend.
As you can see, the start date of the Second World War was not chosen by chance, and pedantic Germans provided for almost everything. Moreover, they managed to keep their intentions secret, and the Soviet command found out about their plans only a few hours before the attack on the USSR from a defector. The corresponding directive was immediately sent to the troops, but it was too late.
Directive number 1
Half an hour before June 22, an order was received in 5 border districts of the USSR to put them on alert. However, the same directive attributed not to succumb to provocations and contained not entirely clear wording. The result was that the field commanders began to send requests to Moscow with a request to specify the order instead of taking decisive action. So precious minutes were lost, and the warning of an impending attack played no role.
The events of the first days of the war
At 4.00 in Berlin, the German Foreign Minister delivered a note to the Soviet ambassador by which the imperial government declared war on the USSR.At the same time, after aviation and artillery preparation, the troops of the Third Reich crossed the border of the Soviet Union. On the same day, at noon, Molotov spoke on the radio, and many citizens of the USSR heard from him about the beginning of the war. The Second World War in the first days after the invasion of the German troops was perceived by the Soviet people as an adventure by the Germans, as they were confident in the defense capability of their country and believed in a quick victory over the enemy. However, the leadership of the USSR understood the seriousness of the situation and did not share the optimism of the people. In this connection, on June 23, the State Defense Committee and the Supreme Command Headquarters were formed.
Since Finnish airfields were actively used by the German Luftwaffe, on June 25, Soviet aircraft made an airstrike designed to destroy them. Helsinki and Turku were also bombed. As a result, the beginning of the Second World War was also marked by the thawing of the conflict with Finland, which also declared war on the USSR and in a few days regained all the territories lost during the Winter Company of 1939-1940.
The reaction of England and the United States
The beginning of the Second World War was perceived by the government circles of the United States and England as a gift of providence.The fact is that they hoped to prepare for the defense of the British Isles, while “Hitler will free his legs from the Russian swamp”. However, on June 24, President Roosevelt announced that his country would assist the USSR, since it believes that the main threat to the world comes from the Nazis. Unfortunately, at that time it was just words that did not mean that the United States was ready to open a second front, since this country benefited from the start of the war (WWII). As for Britain, on the eve of the invasion, Prime Minister Churchill declared that his goal was to destroy Hitler, and he was ready to provide assistance to the USSR, since “having finished Russia” the Germans would invade the British Isles.
Now you know what the history of the beginning of the Second World War was, ending with the victory of the Soviet people.