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The Eastern Front was a theater of war between Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their allies. It lasted more than four years and was considered the largest military confrontation in history. Its outcome became the determining factor to the defeat of the Axis powers, particularly Germany.
See the fact file below for more information on the Eastern Front or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Eastern Front worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
GERMANY AND SOVIET UNION RELATIONSHIP
- The loss in World War I had been hard for the Soviet Union and Germany. The Soviet Union lost major territories as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk where Bolsheviks gave central powers, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria, the control of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and other areas.
- After eight months, Germany surrendered to The Allies, giving the former Soviet Union territories independence under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.
- The Soviet Union was under civil war, and the Allies does not recognize the Bolshevik government, making them unrepresented in the Paris Peace Conference.
- As the western nations entirely distrusted Germany and the Soviet Union, it did bring Moscow and Berlin closer together.
- During the 1920s, Germany and the Soviet Union supported each other politically and economically.
- They were dependent on each other’s resources. The Soviet Union exported raw materials to Germany while Germany helped the Soviet Union modernize and assist in establishing tank production facilities.
- In 1926, the Treaty of Berlin was created, declaring the Soviet Union and Germany’s neutrality for five years in case of an attack on the other by a third party.
- The two nations also entered into an economic treaty in August 1939, the “German-Soviet Commercial Agreement.” It entailed the Soviet Union’s obligation to deliver 180 million Reichsmarks in raw materials in response to German orders. At the same time, Germany would allow the Soviets to order 120 million Reichsmarks for German industrial goods.
- In the same month, they also signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression pact that served to continue the adherence to the Treaty of Berlin.
- This pact included additional protocols, including Eastern Europe being divided into Germany and the Soviet Union’s zones of influence.
- As part of the pact, Germany started invading Poland on September 1, 1939, which started World War II. The Soviet Union followed and entered Poland from the east on September 17.
- They continued to invade European countries according to their pact.
- They expanded their existing agreements and created new ones to support each other.
- However, Germany broke its pact when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.
BATTLES IN THE EASTERN FRONT
- Operation Barbarossa (June 22, 1941 – May 9, 1945) German troops started to invade the Soviet Union, completely disregarding the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. It took the Soviet leadership by surprise and the Red Army unprepared. Different battles occurred in Germany’s attempt to acquire new territories in Russia for their “master race,” the Germans.
- The Battle of Smolens (July 10 to September 10, 1941.) It was considered as one of the first victories of the Germans against the Soviets. However, the resistance of the Soviet troops showed that they were still fighting and not yet defeated.
- Siege of Leningrad (September 8, 1941 – January 27, 1944) It lasted for three years and was also called the 900-day prolonged siege. It took 1 million Red Army and civilian lives.
- Battle of Moscow (October 1941 to January 1942) The severe Russian winter took a toll on the German troops, halting their offensive and demoralizing their troops.
- Battle of Stalingrad (August 23, 1942 – February 2, 1943) One of the bloodiest and brutal warfares in history where 2 million casualties were recorded. However, it was the turning point toward The Allied force’s victory. It was also the first war Hitler admitted to having lost.
- Operation Bagration (June 23 to August 19, 1944) The Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation of the Soviet Union to attack the German Group Center placed in Byelorussia and Ukraine.
- Operation Spring Awakening (March 6 – 16, 1945) The last major offensive campaign of Germany to either destroy the Soviet’s oil facilities or recapture the oil-producing areas in the Lake Balaton region. The Soviet Union crushed Nazi Germany in this battle.
- Operation Silver Fox (June 29 to November 17, 1941) It was a German-Finnish campaign against the Soviet Union to cut off and capture the Port Murmansk.
- Battle of Berlin (January to February of 1945) Also known as the Fall of Berlin, it was a strategic offensive operation of the Soviet Union. It sealed the Soviet Union’s victory against Germany and marked the end of Hitler’s regime.
HOW DID IT START?
- Hitler had an ideology that the Germans were the “master race,” and the Russians were sub-humans.
- He was advocating that the Germanic race must inhabit Eastern Europe. while the current occupants in the Soviet Union and central Europe would be partially deported to West Siberia and later be exterminated. He also planned to wipe out the Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Historians have a consensus that Stalin should have known Hitler was planning to attack the Soviet Union. Hitler’s view of Soviets as an inferior race and the German troops on the Soviet border should have clued him.
- Stalin believed Hitler’s cover story that his troops’ presence was to keep him out of range of British bomb strikes. He even ordered not to shoot any German spy planes despite multiple invasions on the Russian airspace.
HOW DID THE SOVIET UNION WIN?
- The Soviet Union practiced equal gender treatment during the communism era. Almost one million women signed up and served in World War II as anti-aircraft gunners, snipers, partisan guerrillas, and fighter pilots.
- In the first week of Operation Barbarossa, Germany had managed to kill or wound 150,000 soldiers and destroyed 2,000 Soviet planes. However, the Soviet Union seemed to have an unlimited supply of resources and troops. The Soviet troops also adhered to Stalin’s order to fight to the last man.
- The Soviets blocked road centers long after the German tide had swept past them. They burned crops, evacuated factories, and destroyed bridges and railroad cars, making the advancement of German troops much more difficult.
- A series of rainstorms turned the Russian roads into clogging mud, which also slowed down the German tanks and transport.
- The severe Russian winter dampened Germany’s offensive strategy as their soldiers suffered from frostbite and their pieces of machinery malfunctioned.
Eastern Front Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Eastern Front across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Eastern Front worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Eastern Front which was a theater of war between Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their allies. It lasted more than four years and was considered the largest military confrontation in history. Its outcome became the determining factor to the defeat of the Axis powers, particularly Germany.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- WWII: Eastern Front Facts
- The Eastern Front Leaders
- Gentlemen’s Agreements
- After the War
- Events in the East
- Name the Battles
- Before World War II
- The Two Eastern Front
- A Dictator’s Wisdom
- Hitler’s Ideology
- The Horrors of War
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Link will appear as Eastern Front Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 28, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.