Central and Eastern Europe

Operation Barbarossa and turning point

Hitler and Stalin attacked Poland in 1939. Two years later on June 22 1941 exactly 80 years ago Nazi army supported by allies started Operation Barbarossa – invasion of the Soviet Union. The failure of German forces to defeat Soviet troops in the campaign was a crucial turning point in the war. It was on this day that the myth of the Great Patriotic War against the “fascist invader” was born, and this day is considered in Russia to this day as the beginning of World War II.

It was the begin of mass terror for Polish people living on the territories incorporated by the communists.

For the Poles living in the lands incorporated into the Soviet Union, the new conflict meant another wave of terror. The NKVD hastily started to “empty prisons” in which tens of thousands of “enemies of the people” were held. Augustów, Lviv, Vilnius, Stanisławów, Czortków, Tarnopol, Złoczów and Sambor are just some of the cities where prison massacres took place. In Lviv alone, the Soviets murdered 4,000 Poles.

After the Soviet crimes, there were other ones – German ones. On the basis of the previously prepared proscription lists, the hunt for the local intelligentsia and conspirators began, which resulted in a crime against Lviv professors or a murder in Czarny Las near Stanisławów.

source: Institute of National Remembrance

Image: The geopolitical disposition of Europe in 1941, immediately before the start of Operation Barbarossa. The grey area represents Nazi Germany, its allies, and countries under its firm control. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa#/media/File:Europe_before_Operation_Barbarossa,1941(in_German).png

 The original uploader was MaGioZal at English Wikipedia.. Later version(s) were uploaded by DIREKTOR at en.wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.

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