Operation Barbarossa, Summer 1941

Operation Barbarossa, the race war for 'living room' in the east, foretold by Hitler in Mein Kampf, began in June 1941, taking by surprise the Red Army, recently purged by Stalin. At Oxford Gorbals boy Ralph Glasser took hope that Hitler was emulating the folly of Napoleon, for the war was still not going well for the Allies. The tide of battle was to take the Wehrmacht to the gates of Moscow and from Leningrad on the Baltic to the Crimea on the Black Sea. A million Soviet combattants died blunting the German thrust at Stalingrad on the Volga and providing the platform for the Russian counteroffensive in November 1942. Glasser was to be proved right, but the war was to cost the Red Army and the civilians of the Soviet Union 27 million dead. Internee Francesco Fantin was to be cheered by news from the Russian front in late 1942.

Photo from Various Authors `Ernst Thalmann'