PensFanInDC wrote:Any military that embarks on a land war with Russia during the winter is automatically off the list IMO. That said I have no idea if the Mongols did the same thing.
Hitler had written about invading Russia in Mein Kampf
, as a key component of his interpretation of 'Lebensraum'.
Put in the context of the day, I don't think the decision was nearly as stupid as it ended up being. In other words, given the information at their disposal, I don't question the decision to invade Russia. They saw how incompetently the Soviets fought against the Finns in the winter of '39-'40, coupled with some seriously bad intelligence on the state of the Soviet war machine, and the hot-knife-through-butter efficiency with which the Nazis had steamrolled western Europe...... they thought they'd be in and done by Christmas. Shoot, they had accomplished so much by July '41 (just a month after commencing Operation: Barbossa), the Nazi high command were openly discussing post-surrender plans for visiting Ukraine! But just a few weeks later, the Russians began organizing their first counter attacks, and the rest is history.
Where I question the military wisdom (with my 20-20 goggles strapped to my face) was the decision to forego a direct assault on Moscow in the summer of '41 in favor of sticking to the original Barbossa plan, which called for Leningrad to be taken first. That - unsurprisingly - was entirely Hitler's decision, and I think that's what ultimately caused the operation to fail. If they had gone straight through to Moscow and taken out the capital, I think that might have worked.