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NEW DATE. Operation Barbarossa: The turning point of WWII- a talk by Dr John Barber with Q&As

Friday 18 September, 2020, 19:00 - 20:30

Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation put into action Nazi Germany’s ideological goal of conquering the western Soviet Union so as to repopulate it with Germans. The German Master Plan for the East (Generalplan Ost, GPO) aimed to use some of the conquered as slave labour for the Axis war effort, to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories, and eventually to annihilate the Slavic peoples and create Lebensraum, geopolitical goal for Germany.

The Generalplan Ost, or Master Plan for the East, was the Nazi German government’s plan for the genocide and ethnic cleansing on a vast scale, and colonization of Central and Eastern Europe by Germans. It was to be undertaken in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. The plan was attempted during the war, resulting indirectly and directly in millions of deaths of ethnic Slavs by shootings, starvation, disease, or extermination through labor. But its full implementation was not considered practicable during the major military operations, and was prevented by Germany’s defeat.

The program operational guidelines were based on the policy of Lebensraum designed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in fulfillment of the Drang nach Osten (drive to the East) ideology of German expansionism. As such, it was intended to be a part of the New Order in Europe.

The Siege of Leningrad and the Battle of Moscow began in Sept/Oct 1941 because the Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg, has failed. The real turning point is December 1941 when the Germans were defeated at Moscow, Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and Hitler declared war on the USA. From that time it really was a world war: GB, USSR & USA vs Germany, Italy and Japan.

WHEN: Friday, 18 September 2020 at 19:00
WHERE: Zoom meeting Meeting ID: 829 2665 3849


TICKETS: free*

Dr John Barber

Dr John Barber

Dr John Barber is a historian of Russia in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods at King’s College, Cambridge. His main interests are in social and political history. The USSR in World War II has been the main focus of John’s research in recent years, particularly the siege of Leningrad. John speaks Russian and shares a strong interest in Russian language and culture.

John Barber is an Honorary Adviser to the Board of Trustees and has been an active supporter of CamRuSS from its very beginning, while helping with organising events and promoting CamRuSS activities among academic circles. John co-organised the series of talks accompanying “Elena Marttila: Art and Endurance in the Siege of Leningrad” in 2017.

Please find a link to John’s article about Stalin as a Soviet War Leader in 1941: Myths and Realities.


* While there is no charge for this lecture we would welcome any donation you would like to make towards support of our efforts in bringing more speakers and lectures online during the lock down and social distancing time. Suggested donation £5.

You can send your donation by a direct bank transfer (BACS) to the following account:
Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society
NATWEST Bank, Sort code: 60-11-30
Account: 18120466

Please email camruss@camruss.com if you have any questions.

How to join the meeting. Please register IN ADVANCE for this meeting by following this link.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Friday 18 September, 2020
19:00 - 20:30
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