When Germany began its invasion of the Soviet Union with Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the Soviet command was caught off guard by the speed of the German advance. Key industrial and agricultural regions around Russia’s two major cities, Moscow and Leningrad, and in the Ukraine came under imminent threat of an invasion that could potentially cripple the Soviet Union’s war effort. A council for evacuation was set up to oversee the relocation of hundreds of factories to the inaccessible eastern areas of the Soviet Union. Factory equipment was removed and, along with industrial workers, packed onto trains which transported them east to remote destinations including the Ural Mountains and Siberia. This huge logistical undertaking, often carried out with minimal planning, meant that many factories were dismantled and delivered to destinations missing vital equipment. However, industrial output was largely unaffected as relocated factories were quickly re-assembled.
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