A brief summary
In 1939, Joseph Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler. Taking advantage of this, Hitler invaded Poland. Fearing Germany's growing strength and increasing aggression, Stalin focused on building up his own Soviet army. On June 22, 1941, The Axis nations, led by Germany, launched Operation Barbarossa, which had over four million soldiers invade the Soviet Union over a 2 900 km front. Although successful in capturing some important areas in the Ukraine, Operation Barbarossa was not a complete success. Heavy rains in November caused the advancing German war machine to get stuck in the mud, giving Stalin time to import troops from Siberia. The Red Army managed to defend Moscow, and both sides became trapped in a horrible war of attrition. Believing that the Red Army was on the verge of collapse, Hitler launched a new offensive, called Operation Blue. As Hitler amassed his troops in preparation for Operation Blue, Stalin launched a failed two-pronged attack, in which he tried to encircle the Germans, but ended up losing about 500 000 troops. The Germans launched Operation Blue on June 28, 1942. The German Army Group South was divided into two forces, A and B. The initial plan was for Army Group A to take the oil fields in Caucusus after Army Group B had secured the Volga River. Sensing victory, Hitler modified Operation Blue by sending Army Group A, north to attack Leningrad, and Army Group B, was divided into two forces, one of which (the German 6th Army) was to take Stalingrad, while the other, was tasked with capturing the nearby Caucasus oil fields. The overwhelmed Red Army collapsed in the face of the advancing German Army, right into the city of Stalingrad, where a last ditch effort was made to save the city, named for the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin.