Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Military History

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Robert Young


This study examines the reasons why the German plan to invade the Soviet Union would have succeeded had they invaded in 1940 rather than 1941. It examines the historical background prior to the invasion and that by 1941, the Red Army was (or would be soon) more than twice the size the Germans anticipated, making a decisive, quick victory much more difficult. For most of the previous year, Stalin had decided to greatly expand the Red Army. This was in reaction to the surprise of the total, rapid and complete German victory over France in 1940. In 1941, the Germans were overconfident and ignored the Soviet buildup. As a result, they violated many of the Principles of War and were too ambitious in their objectives. Had they limited their objectives to those assigned to Army Groups’ Center and South they could have more easily secured their objectives.



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