On 21 July 1940 Hitler, now reaching the height of his influence after successful campaigns against Poland an in the West, turned his attention to ‘the Russian problem’. Though still facing an incomplete campaign against Britain, the destruction of the USSR would, if all else failed, remove Britain’s potential ally in the East at the same time as delivering vast agricultural and industrial resources into German hands. After an intense period of research and planning OKH (German Army High Command) presented as plan that focussed the main threat against Moscow north of the Pripet Marches. The hope was that Soviet forces, their officer corps now weakened by Stalin’s purges, would gather in front of Moscow, and would be destroyed there. This campaign was provisionally set for May 1941, however Hitler disagreed.
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