As Hitler's war with Yugoslavia changed the course of the great Patriotic

History 18/01/20 As Hitler’s war with Yugoslavia changed the course of the great Patriotic

Some researchers argue that if Hitler had not started the war with Yugoslavia, it would affect the results of the war with the Soviet Union.

a Similar opinion is expressed, for example, G. A. Medvedev, R. A. Medvedev in the 6th issue of the journal “Questions of history” for 2002 in the article “the Plan “Barbarossa”. They write:

“the Operation in Yugoslavia forced the German military and political leadership to postpone a war with the Soviet Union. On 30 April 1941 date of commencement of operation Barbarossa was postponed from may 15, 1941 June 22, 1941.”

But here things are not so simple.

Yugoslavia or Greece?

Germany’s Attack on Yugoslavia in April 1941, usually treated separately, in isolation from the attack on Greece.

At a closer look it becomes apparent that all the issues with dates, planning and timing of the attack on the Soviet Union, should be considered in connection with military operations against Greece.

In late October 1940 Italy without the consent of Germany show your ultimatum to Greece and invaded its territory. This has led to very serious consequences, expanding a war zone on the Balkan Peninsula. And it’s not even that the Greek army defeated the Italians, and they were forced to ask for help Germany. Much more important was what started the deployment of the British forces in Greece. First and foremost, aircraft that threatened the oilfields in Romania.

as a result of 4 November 1940 began planning the operation to capture Greece. 13 December, Hitler signed the Directive No20 — “Operation Marita”. “Twentieth” number in the list of directives of the German high command little known, but well-known Directive No21 — “Operation Barbarossa”, signed on 18 December. The decision to attack the USSR was adopted five days later after the Directive on attacks againstresearch Institute in Greece.

if Hitler Bore the date of commencement of the invasion?

In the overwhelming number of works devoted to the Second World war says that initially the attack on the Soviet Union it was planned on 15th may 1941.

However, not everyone agrees. Foremost among the dissenters is… Adolf Hitler. Indeed, in a signed 18 December Directive says:

“the Order of the strategic deployment of the armed forces against the Soviet Union I will give, if necessary, eight weeks before the intended start of operations. Cooking, which requires more time, if they have not already begun, should start now and finish by 15.5.41”.

From this document, which is fundamental, makes it clear that 15th may is not the date of a possible attack on the USSR. Preparatory work for large strategic aircraft includes many aspects. First, the global. For example, creation of necessary stocks of weapons and ammunition, construction of roads, and much more. Secondly, it is the issues related to the immediate deployment of troops. And may 15 was used as a reference point for all issues globally strategic nature.

as for the date of the attack, the decision on it was accepted on 30th April, just eight weeks before the 22nd of June. In full compliance with the plan, and, importantly in this context, after the war with Yugoslavia.

the War against Yugoslavia, as is known, took only eleven days. To say that the fighting against the Yugoslav army somehow affected the timing of the operation against Greece is impossible. On the contrary, we know the opinion of the German General staff that victory over Greece was achieved even faster and with less effort than expected.

That is, it appears that in the spring of 1941 all were in full accordance with the plans of the German leadership, and the April war against Yugoslavia fundamentally nothing has changed.

And if Mussolini had not attacked Greece?

As you can see from visiskasx, the question should be put just about Mussolini. If not for his decision to attack Greece, the situation in the Balkans could become quite different. In case of preservation of Greece’s neutrality, Germany would not be reason for operation “Marita”. Of course, the question of Yugoslavia remains open. And in case, if the events were similar, the attack on Yugoslavia demanded that the German leadership of the change plans. Because in reality, especially to prepare for war with Yugoslavia, the Wehrmacht didn’t have all fit in preparation for war with Greece.

However, modeling such a situation is extremely difficult, because a huge number of circumstances and factors stop to build a plausible picture.

But can be more accurately talk about a possible postponement of the attack on the USSR. If you take the version that the war in the Balkans somehow delayed the German attack on the Soviet Union, it is possible to try to consider the possible scenarios with an earlier date of implementation of the plan “Barbarossa”.

let’s Start with the fact that the date of 15th may is not suitable for the invasion, according to climate and geographical reasons. The German leadership believed that to start fighting on Soviet territory have not before June, when the road is dry. This aspect is not so important how well the Germans represented the condition of our roads is important, what they thought and what decisions on this basis were adopted.

Therefore, in any case, the German attack could only happen in June.

If the beginning of “operation Barbarossa” was moved to the first day of the month that could change the course of future events. Breakthrough by German armored spearheads to Smolensk for two to three weeks earlier than in reality would lead to different consequences. Five Soviet armies (16th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd), which in early July could be transferred to the Smolensk area, in mid-June were in a completely different state and in other locations. In the case of transfer of these troops, they could be in the path of the 2nd and 3rd tank groups of Wehrmacht at best at Vyazma, and, most likely, on the approaches to Moscow. The consequences of such developments is difficult to predict. I can say only one thing: in July 1941, appeared on the path of the Wehrmacht to Moscow, the Soviet troops being moved mainly in the South-Western front, destroyed the whole plan “Barbarossa”. Therefore, any events in which occurred the battle of Smolensk would have led to more serious outcome for the Soviet Union.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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