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The Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line,or A-A line for short, was the military goal of Operation Barbarossa. It is also known as the Volga-Arkhangelsk line, as well as (more rarely) the Volga-Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line. It was first mentioned on 18 December 1940 in Führer Directive 21 (Fall Barbarossa) which enunciated the set goals and conditions of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, describing the attainment of the "general line Volga-Archangelsk" as its overall military objective.
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 stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans, to use Slavs as a slave-labour force for the Axis war effort, and to seize the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.
Adolf Hitler made many hundreds of directives, orders and decrees while Führer of Nazi Germany, many of them related to military policy, and the treatment of civilians in occupied countries. Many of them are direct evidence of the commission of war crimes such as the notorious Commando Order. Other orders provide evidence of crimes against humanity, such as the Hitler order establishing forced euthanasia of disabled people in 1939 under Action T4, and the Nacht und Nebel order for eliminating civilian resisters in occupied countries.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The line had its origins in an earlier military study carried out by Erich Marcks called the Operation Draft East.This report advocated the occupation of 'Russia' (as it insisted on calling the Soviet Union) up to the line "Arkhangelsk-Gorky-Rostov" in order to prevent it from being a threat to Germany in the future and "protect it against enemy bombers". Marcks envisioned that the campaign, including the capture of Moscow and beyond, would require between nine and seventeen weeks to complete.
Erich Marcks was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He authored the first draft of the operational plan, Operation Draft East, for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, advocating what was later known as A-A line as the goal for the Wehrmacht to achieve, within nine to seventeen weeks.
Nizhny Novgorod, colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is a city in Russia and the administrative center (capital) of Volga Federal District and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. From 1932 to 1990, it was known as Gorky, after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there.
Rostov-on-Don is a port city and the administrative center of Rostov Oblast and the Southern Federal District of Russia. It lies in the southeastern part of the East European Plain on the Don River, 32 kilometers (20 mi) from the Sea of Azov. The southwestern suburbs of the city abut the Don River delta. The population is over one million people (1,125,000).
The hypothetical A-A line was to stretch from the port city of Arkhangelsk on the White Sea in northern Russia along the confluence of the Volga river to the port city of Astrakhan at the mouth of the Volga on the Caspian Sea. Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union failed to secure any of these objectives.
Arkhangelsk, also known in English as Archangel and Archangelsk, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, in the north of European Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea. The city spreads for over 40 kilometers (25 mi) along the banks of the river and numerous islands of its delta. Arkhangelsk was the chief seaport of medieval and early modern Russia until 1703. A 1,133-kilometer-long (704 mi) railway runs from Arkhangelsk to Moscow via Vologda and Yaroslavl, and air travel is served by the Talagi Airport and a smaller Vaskovo Airport. As of the 2010 Census, the city's population was 348,783, down from 356,051 recorded in the 2002 Census, and further down from 415,921 recorded in the 1989 Census.
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of the internal waters of Russia. Administratively, it is divided between Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Oblasts and the Republic of Karelia.
Astrakhan is a city in southern Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on two banks of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 28 meters (92 ft) below sea level. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 520,339; up from 504,501 recorded in the 2002 Census and 509,210 recorded in the 1989 Census.
The plan was for the Red Army to the west of the line to be defeated in a quick military campaign in 1941 before the onset of winter.The German Wehrmacht assumed that the majority of the Soviet military supplies and the main part of the food and population potential of the Soviet Union existed in the lands that lay to the west of the proposed A-A line. If the line were reached, the Soviet Union would also be deprived of around 86% of its petroleum assets (oil territories in the Caucasus).
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991.
Blitzkrieg is a method of warfare whereby an attacking force, spearheaded by a dense concentration of armoured and motorised or mechanised infantry formations with close air support, breaks through the opponent's line of defence by short, fast, powerful attacks and then dislocates the defenders, using speed and surprise to encircle them with the help of air superiority. Through the employment of combined arms in manoeuvre warfare, blitzkrieg attempts to unbalance the enemy by making it difficult for it to respond to the continuously changing front, then defeat it in a decisive Vernichtungsschlacht.
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe. The designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the previously used term Reichswehr, and was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.
The A-A line as the end-goal of military hostilities was chosen because an occupation of the entire Soviet Union in a single military campaign was considered impossible in view of its geographic dimensions. The remaining Soviet industrial centers further eastward were planned to be destroyed by aerial bombardment, for which an entire Luftflotte ("air fleet"; equivalent in status to an army group) was to be assigned.
The Ural bomber was the initial aircraft design program/competition to develop a long-range bomber for the Luftwaffe, created and led by General Walther Wever in the early 1930s. Wever died in an air crash on June 3, 1936, and the program ended almost immediately. Albert Kesselring took over his position in the Luftwaffe, abandoning most of his designs and turning others into tactical bombers.
The Ural Mountains played a prominent role in Nazi planning. Adolf Hitler and the rest of the Nazi German leadership made many references to them as a strategic objective of the Third Reich to follow a decisive victory on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union.
The European theatre of World War II, also known as the Second European War, was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe, from Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 until the end of the war with the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe along with the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts as well as in a massive air war and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.
Army Group South was the name of two German Army Groups during World War II. It was first used in the 1939 September Campaign, along with Army Group North to invade Poland. In the invasion of Poland Army Group South was led by Gerd von Rundstedt and his chief of staff Erich von Manstein. Two years later, Army Group South became one of three army groups into which Germany organised their forces for Operation Barbarossa. Army Group South's principal objective was to capture Soviet Ukraine and its capital Kiev.
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.
Konstantin Konstantinovich (Xaverevich) Rokossovsky was a Soviet and Polish officer who became Marshal of the Soviet Union, Marshal of Poland and served as Poland's Defence Minister from 1949 until his removal in 1956 during the Polish October. He was among the most prominent Red Army commanders of World War II, especially renowned for his planning and executing of Operation Bagration, one of the most decisive Red Army successes of the Second World War.
The First Battle of Smolensk was a battle during the second phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, in World War II. It was fought around the city of Smolensk between 10 July and 10 September 1941, about 400 km (250 mi) west of Moscow. The Wehrmacht had advanced 500 km (310 mi) into the USSR in the 18 days after the invasion on 22 June 1941. The German army encountered unexpected resistance during the battle, leading to a two-month delay in their advance on Moscow.
Case Blue was the German Armed Forces' name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942, during World War II.
Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations 1932–1945: The Chronicle of a Dictatorship is a 3,400-page book series edited by Max Domarus. It presents the day-to-day activities of Adolf Hitler, between 1932 and 1945, with the text of significant speeches.
Reichskommissariat Moskowien, literally "Reich Commissariat of Muscovy ", was the civilian occupation regime that Nazi Germany intended to create in central and northern European Russia during World War II, one of several similar Reichskommissariat. It was also known initially as the Reichskommissariat Russland. Siegfried Kasche was the projected Reichskomissar, but due to the German failure to occupy the territories intended to form the Reichskommissariat, it remained on paper only.
The Reichskommissariat Kaukasus, was the theoretical political division and planned civilian occupation regime of Germany in the conquered territories of the Caucasus during World War II. Unlike the other four planned Reichskommissariats, within the borders of the proposed Caucasus Reichskommissariat experiments were to be conducted for various forms of autonomy for "indigenous groups".
In the Nuremberg Trials there was a document referred to as the "Green Folder" of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. This was the master policy directive for the economic exploitation of the conquered Soviet Union. The implications of this document were the deaths by starvation of millions of Slavic people, something that partially came to pass in the Holocaust, the neglect of Soviet soldiers captured by the Nazis which led to huge mortality rates, and the general expropriation of food in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. It is also referred to as Document of the Soviet Prosecution, Exhibit USSR 10.
Operation Braunschweig (Brunswick), named after Braunschweig, was the German summer offensive that began on 28 June 1942. The operation was initially named Fall Blau, which is the common name used for the whole offensive. The name was changed from Blau to Braunschweig on 30 June. The plans following the original Case Blue were renamed to Operation Clausewitz and Operation Dampfhammer. Clausewitz detailed the beginning of the operations of Army Group A in July 1942, Dampfhammer the follow-up operations in July 1942.
In October and November 1940, German–Soviet Axis talks occurred concerning the Soviet Union's potential entry as a fourth Axis Power in World War II. The negotiations, which occurred during the era of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, included a two-day Berlin conference between Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, Adolf Hitler and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, followed by both countries trading written proposed agreements. After two days of negotiations from 12 to 14 November 1940, Germany presented the Soviets with a draft written Axis pact agreement defining the world spheres of influence of the four proposed Axis powers. Hitler, Ribbentrop and Molotov tried to set German and Soviet spheres of influence; Hitler encouraged Molotov to look south to Iran and eventually India while preserving German access to Finland's resources, and to remove Soviet influence in the Balkans. Molotov remained firm, seeking to remove German troops from Finland and gain a warm water port in the Balkans. Soviet foreign policy calculations were predicated by the idea that the war would be a long-term struggle and therefore German claims that Britain would be defeated swiftly were treated with scepticism. In addition, Stalin sought to remain influential in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. These factors resulted in Molotov taking a firm line. According to a Columbia University academical source, on 25 November 1940, the Soviets presented a Stalin-drafted written counterproposal where they would accept the four power pact, but it included Soviet rights to Bulgaria and a world sphere of influence centered on the area around Iraq and Iran. Germany did not respond, leaving the negotiations unresolved. Regarding the counterproposal, Hitler remarked to his top military chiefs that Stalin "demands more and more", "he's a cold-blooded blackmailer" and that "a German victory has become unbearable for Russia" so that "she must be brought to her knees as soon as possible." Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in June 1941 by invading the Soviet Union.
The Soviet offensive plans controversy is the debate among historians about whether Soviet leader Joseph Stalin planned to attack Axis forces in Eastern Europe prior to Operation Barbarossa.
Operation Otto was the code name for two independent plans by Nazi Germany. The 1938 plan was to occupy Austria; the second envisaged an attack on the Soviet Union and was developed from late July 1940.
Evacuation in the Soviet Union was the mass migration of western Soviet citizens and its industries eastward as a result of Operation Barbarossa, the German military invasion of June 1941. Nearly sixteen million Soviet civilians and over 1,500 large factories were moved to areas in the middle or eastern part of the country by the end of 1941. Along with the eastern exodus of civilians and industries, other unintended consequences of the German advances saw the execution of previously held western state civilians by Soviet NKVD units, the removal of Lenin's body from Moscow to Tyumen, and the relocation of the Hermitage Museum collection to Sverdlovsk, Kuybyshev, the alternative capital of the Soviet Union 1941-1943. Soviet towns and cities inland or in the east received the bulk of the new refugees and high priority war factories, as locations such as the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, received more than 140,000 refugees and many factories due to its location away from the front lines. Despite early German successes in seizing control of large swaths of the western USSR throughout 1943, and semi-prepared contingency plans by the Soviets in their mobilization plans to the east, Soviet industries would eventually outpace the Germans in arms production, culminating in 73,000 tanks, 82,000 aircraft and nearly 324,000 artillery pieces being dispersed throughout the Red Army in their fight against the Axis Powers by 1945.