Beyond Barbarossa:

The first English-language podcast to focus on the history of the eastern front of the Second World War.

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Episodes

22 hours ago

On 25 April 1945, 700 bombers and fighters of the U.S. 15th Air Force raided Linz, Germany, the town where Adolf Hitler grew up. Although neither the air crews nor the people of Linz could know it, it would be the last major Allied air raid of the Second World War. And one of the costliest in terms of U.S. casualties.
Mike Croissant's uncle Ellsworth Croissant was one of the bombardiers on that air raid.  That connection led the retired CIA analyst to write a book about it: Bombing Hitler's Hometown: The Untold Story of the Last Mass Bomber Raid of World War II in Europe.
It's a very personal story that brings the reader onto the airplanes. Author Mike Croissant tells us about the raid, its aftermath, the people there, and how he came to write it.
You can read my review of the book on my blog, https://writtenword.ca/2024/04/the-last-major-air-raid-of-world-war-ii/.
You can get the book in electronic and hardcover formats from Kensington Books.  

Sunday Apr 07, 2024

Mussolini was not happy about being in the Axis by 1943. And Stalin refused to attend the Casablanca Conference with Churchill and Roosevelt. Meetings of the summit and other senior leaders of the Axis and Allied powers through the war show the evolution of each side's war aims between 1939 and 1945.
Map: The Kursk salient, spring 1943
 
 
Image 1: Roosevelt and Churchill aboard the HMS Prince of Wales at the Argentia Conference, August 1941.
 
Seated: President Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Standing directly behind them: Admiral Ernest J. King, USN; General George C. Marshall, U.S. Army; General Sir John Dill, British Army; Admiral Harold R. Stark, USN; and Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, RN. At rear: Harry Hopkins talking with W. Averell Harriman. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Image 2: The Second Moscow Conference, August 1942 
 
Left to right: UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, USSR Premier Josef Stalin, and W. Averrell Harriman, representing President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Office of War Information Photograph (Wikimedia Commons).
Sources:
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London, UK: Little, Brown and Co., 2012.
Evan Mawdsley, Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet War 1941–1945. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.
Sean McMeekin, Stalin's War. New York: Basic Books, 2021.
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin’s War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017
Wikipedia: various pages. 
Sound effects by Zapsplat. 
 

Sunday Mar 24, 2024

In April 1943, Jewish people forced into the grossly overcrowded ghetto in Warsaw rose up against the nazis, killing hundreds of SS soldiers. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising failed, but its memory lives on. 
 
SS members force Jewish people out of shelters for deportation to death camps, spring, 1943. Source: Wikimedia Commons. 
 
A map of the Warsaw Ghetto, the area nazi oppressors forced Jewish people to remain in. 
 
SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop (center), commanded of the SS brigade that destroyed the Warsaw Ghetto. 
 
In April and May, the SS systematically destroyed every building in the Warsaw Ghetto.  
 
SS soldiers continuing to destroy the Warsaw Ghetto, May 1943. Image source: Wikimedia Commons. 
"Waves of stone, crushed bricks, a sea of brick. There isn’t a single wall intact — the beast’s anger was terrible." — Soviet journalist Vasily Grossman, Warsaw, 1945.

Sunday Mar 10, 2024

After their stunning, bloody defeat at Stalingrad, the Germans withdrew west to the Donets River in Ukraine, and the Red Army swept ahead as much as 800 km. But the Germans were still a potent force, and in March 1943, were ready to retake Kharkiv. 
Map 1: The counter-attack in the Donbas
Map 2: The advances on Kharkiv 
Map 3: Withdrawal from the Rzhev salient
Maps 4 and 5: The front in March 1943

Sunday Feb 25, 2024

After the 6th Army's surrender at Stalingrad, rapid, far-ranging mobility returns to the war on the Eastern Front, as German and Soviet forces advance and retreat hundreds of kilometres.
Map 1: The Kuban Bridgehead
 
Map 2: Operation Star 
 
Map 3: Von Manstein's counter-offensive 
 
A Tiger tank near Kharkiv, 1943
 
Source: Pinterest.

Sunday Feb 11, 2024

The Red Army finally scores two major victories in January 1943 — in the two cities where it mattered most. 
The surrender of the Sixth Army: 
https://stalingrad.net/german-hq/surrender/surrender.htm 
Map 1: End of the battle of Stalingrad
 
Map 2: Operation Iskra 
  Source: Wikipedia
Photos: The surrender at Stalingrad 
 
Left to right: Field Marshal F. Paulus, C-in-C, 6th Army; Gen. W. Schmidt, Chief of Staff; Col. Adam, Paulus' adjutant. 
 
General Konstantin Rokossovsky, commander of the Don Front that captured the 6th Army in Stalingrad. 
 
The aftermath in Stalingrad. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
 

Sunday Jan 28, 2024

The Germans in the Stalingrad cauldron reject the Soviets' final offer of surrender. The Red Army responds by crushing the cauldron. 
Map 1: The end of the Kessel
Source: Military History Now 
The ultimatum to Stalingrad: 
https://www.stalingrad.net/russian-hq/the-russian-ultimatum/rusultimatum.html 
Images:
 
3-engine German transport plane lands at Pitomnik airfield.
 
Red Army soldiers attack in the ruins of Stalingrad.
Sources:
Antony Beevor, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942–1943. Penguin Books, 1998.
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London, UK: Little, Brown and Co., 2012.
William Craig, Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad. Old Saybrook, CT, USA: Konecky & Konecky, 1973.
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin’s War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017
Sound effects by Zapsplat. 
 
 

Monday Dec 18, 2023

For the Germans of the 6th Army, Christmas 1942 was a hungry Yule in the  freezing Cauldron.
Map 1: Operation Uranus, November and December 1942 
 
Map 2: Operation Winter Storm: The German relief attempt 
 
Map 3: Operation Winter Storm stalled 
 
Failure: Luftwaffe supplies the trapped 6th Army in the Kessel
 
Failure: Operation Winter Storm 
 
German soldiers in the Kessel/Cauldron
 
Red Army soldier writes home, December 1942 
 
By December, the Red Army soldiers' morale was very different from the Germans'.

Monday Dec 04, 2023

Warfare usually slows down in winter. Not so in Russia in 1942. The Germans launch another huge attack to relieve the 6th Army in Stalingrad. But the Red Army has its own ideas. 
Map 1: The long, long German lines to Stalingrad
 
Map 2: Operation Uranus
Source: Awesome stories
Map 3a: Operation Winter Storm
Source: https://alchetron.com/cdn/operation-winter-storm-ee2a434c-cf0a-4ef4-a3c3-e87d2e84c08-resize-750.jpeg 
Map 3b: Operation Winter Storm fails
Source: WWIIincolor.com 
Historical pictures
 
A Panzer III on the steppe in southern Russia, December 1942 
Source: Wikimedia Commons 
Soviet forces in southern Russia, winter 1942.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 
Sources:
Antony Beevor, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942–1943. Penguin Books, 1998.
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London, UK: Little, Brown and Co., 2012.
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin’s War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017
Sound effects by Zapsplat. 
 

Monday Nov 20, 2023

As three Red Army Fronts move on the German flanks west and south of Stalingrad, two more attack the Rzhev-Vyazma salient west of Moscow. Is it a diversion, or is Mars the twin of Uranus?
Map 1: The Rzhev-Vyazma salient
Map 2: Operation Mars
 
Historical images
Workers from Moscow suburbs handing over new tanks to Soviet servicemen. Source: Commons:RIA Novosti
Sources
Antony Beevor, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942–1943. Penguin Books, 1998.
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London, UK: Little, Brown and Co., 2012.
Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin's General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov. London, UK: Icon Books, 2012.
David Glantz, Zhukov's Greatest Defeat: The Red Army's Epic Disaster in Operation Mars, 1942. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 1999.
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin’s War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017
Sound effects by Zapsplat. 
 

Monday Nov 06, 2023

The Soviet high command's strategy to defeat the Germans at Stalingrad took the invaders by surprise. 
Map 1: The German flanks
 
Map 2: Operation Uranus in action
 
Red Army soldiers in winter camouflage charge across the steppe
 
The T-34 in action in Uranus 
 
Northern and southern pincers meet 
 
Red Army commanders from the 5th Tank Army and the 4th Mechanized Corps meet on the steppe near Kalach, 23 November 1942. The end of the beginning. 
 

Monday Oct 23, 2023

The third installment describing the biggest single battle in history: the siege of Stalingrad. 
By November 1942, the casualties for attackers and defenders was unsustainable for both sides. The Soviet high command, Stavka, makes a new plan. 
Pavlov's House
Map 1: The city of Stalingrad
Map 2: The plan for Operation Uranus
Sources
Antony Beevor, The Second World War.
Antony Beevor, Stalingrad: the Fateful Siege 1942–1943. .
William Craig, Enemy at the Gates.
Anthony Tucker Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin’s War 1941–1945.

Sunday Oct 08, 2023

In the autumn of 1942, the German 6th Army with Romanian, Hungarian and Italian armies in support, ground into Stalingrad—a hell of their own making. 
Map: Stalingrad city layout
 
Photos
 
Red Army soldier prepare to defend Stalingrad suburb
 
Stalingrad on fire after bombing, 2 October 1942 
The Red October Factory's ruins became hiding places for Red Army defenders
  
Loading a Katyusha rocket launcher
Katyusha from military museum
General Friedrich Paulus 
Second from left, Gen. Vasily Chuikov in his headquarters in Stalingrad, 1942.
Sources
Antony Beevor, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942–1943. Penguin Books, 1998.
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London, UK: Little, Brown and Co., 2012.
William Craig, Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad. Old Saybrook, CT, USA: Konecky & Konecky, 1973.
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin’s War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017
Sound effects by Zapsplat. 

Saturday Sep 23, 2023

A conversation with Romeo Kokriatski and Anthony Bartaway of the Ukraine Without Hype podcast. We talked about the Second World War in Ukraine, and the current war in Ukraine. 
Ukraine Without Hype   
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ukraine-without-hype/id1537219548
Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8zY2E5ZGNlYy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw 
Spotify: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/ukraine-without-hype 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqAUk2oJ9jvb-QcoOoPaiIw 
Twitter: @HypeUkraine 
PlayerFM: https://player.fm/series/ukraine-without-hype-3319360 

Sunday Sep 10, 2023

National resistance to German and Soviet occupation played a significant role in the war on the Eastern Front. This episode takes a closer look at the large, organized and powerful resistance armies in Poland and Ukraine. 
Map: Ukrainian border shifts between 1939 and 1945
Source: Paul Robert Magosci and Geoffrey J. Matthews, cartographer: Ukraine: A Historical Atlas. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985. Used with the gracious permission of the author. 
Photos 
"To Arms!" poster recruiting members to join the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Poster by Mieczysław Jurgielewicz and Edmunt Burke
A unit portrait from the Polish Home Army. Source: U.S. Holocaust Museum
UPA propaganda poster showing a UPA soldier standing on the banners of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Cyrillic text is official greeting of the OUN/UPA:  Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!. 
UPA soldiers in the forest, circa 1944. Source: Encyclopedia of Ukraine.

Sunday Aug 27, 2023

From Ukraine to Poland to Estonia, across the Eastern Front, partisans and guerrillas fought for the independence of their nations—from both nazi Germany and the communist USSR. 
And yes, I call communists and nazis "con artists," "fools" and "dupes."
Get your free books!
Leave a rating and/or a review on your podcatcher of choice. Send the link to it to contact@beyondbarbarossa.ca, and I will send you three e-books: Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War. I will also enter your name in a draw for a signed paperback copy of The Eastern Front Trilogy, which includes all three books! 
Facebook: Beyond Barbarossa https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100082862966326 
Map: Operation Barbarossa, 22 June 1941
You can see the Baltic States and key cities, including Tallinn, Narva, RIga, and Vilnius. 
Nazi Germany's war flag
Sources
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London: Little, Brown and Company, 2012.
Robert Magosci, A History of Ukraine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.
Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
Wikipedia:
Polish resistance movement in World War II
Belarusian resistance during World War II
Resistance in Lithuania during World War II
German occupation of Latvia during World War II
Estonian anti-German resistance movement 1941–1944
Larysa Zariczniak, "The Ukrainian Trial of the Century: Bilas and Danylyshyn," Wandering the Edge podcast, 15 August 2023. https://www.wanderingtheedge.net/podcast/episode/4bd50314/the-ukrainian-trial-of-the-century-bilas-and-danylyshyn 

Sunday Aug 13, 2023

Lend-Lease sent 17 million tonnes of ammunition, food, fuel, weapons, tanks, airplanes and even railroad locomotives to the USSR during the Second World War—most of it from the USA. This episode describes how the icon of capitalism saved the workers' and peasants' paradise from fascism. 
Map1: Lend-Lease routes
Map 2: Arctic convoy route
Map 3: Persian corridor
Map 4: Pacific route
Sources: 
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London: Little, Brown and Company, 2012.
Max Gethings,  "Britain Alone — Rethinking One of the Second World War’s Enduring Myths". Military History Now, 18 May 2023  https://militaryhistorynow.com/2023/05/18/britain-alone-rethinking-one-of-the-second-world-wars-enduring-myths/
Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Fireside Chat On the Arsenal of Democracy," December 29, 1940.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Franklin_D._Roosevelt_-_December_29,_1940_-_On_the_%22Arsenal_of_Democracy%22.ogg 
Wikipedia: Lend-Lease  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-Lease

Sunday Jul 30, 2023

The greatest siege in history begins as the German 6th Army and the Luftwaffe assault Stalingrad. 
Map 1: Fall Blau, Operation Blue. Note the positions of Voronezh, Stalingrad, the proximity of the great bends of the Don and Volga Rivers, and the Volga's route that leads from the Caspian Sea all the way to Moscow. 
 
Map 2: Stalingrad in 1942, showing the German advance
Places
The Children's Khorovod in front of Railway Station No. 1, after the air raids
People
 
Panzer General Friedrich Paulus, commander of the German 6th Army
 
Colonel-General Wolfram von RIchtofen, commander of the Luftflotte (air fleet) 4, 1942
Major-General Hans Hube, commander of the 16th Panzer Division
  
People's Commissar Nikita Khrushchev (left) and General Andrey Yeremenko (far right), commander of the South-Eastern Front (later renamed the Stalingrad Front), December 1942
 
General Vasily Chuikov (second from left), commander of the 62nd Red Army, December 1942
Sources
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London: Little, Brown and Company, 2012.
William Craig, Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad. Old Saybrook, CT, USA: KOnecky & Konecky, 1973. 
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin's War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017. 
Wikipedia: Battle of Stalingrad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad
—  Case Blue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_Blue 

Sunday Jul 16, 2023

Nazi Germany opens up its second summer of the war in the East with a campaign of eerie echoes with the previous summer, and the Soviets respond in the same way. History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes. 
Map 1: The Caucasus
 
 
Map 2: The plan for Case Blue
Map 3: Into the Caucasus 
 
Credit where credit is due
Anthony Beevor, The Second World War. London: Little, Brown and Company, 2012. 
William Craig, Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad. Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky & Konecky, 1972. 
Clayton Donnel, The Defense of Sevastopol, 1941–1942: The Soviet Perspective. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2016.
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin's War 1941–1945.  Stroud,  Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017. 
Wikipedia, Battle of the Caucasus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Caucasus 
 

Season 2 is coming 17 July

Friday Jul 07, 2023

Friday Jul 07, 2023

What's coming up in Season 2.
Thank you to all the Patreon supporters. https://www.patreon.com/BeyondBarbarossa 

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Bonus series: Georgy Zhukov

A series for Beyond Barbarossa patrons and supporters: a profile of Marshal Georgy Zhukov, the greatest general of the USSR in World War II. 

Join Beyond Barbarossa's Patreon patrons to listen

Episode 6: Germany ... triumphant?

We focus on the progress of German Army Group Centre to Smolensk in July 1941. 

This episode sponsored by The Eastern Front Trilogy, the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army in World War II. 

The Eastern Front Trilogy.

All proceeds from the sales of The Eastern Front Trilogy in paperback or its constituent e-books will go to helping Ukrainian refugees until all Ukrainians can return home safe from Russian military aggression. 

Contact the author by email to contact@writtenword.ca 

Support the podcast on Patreon.

Books cited in this episode: 

David Glantz: Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941. Stroud, Gloucetershire, UK, 2011.  

David Stahel: Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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Map 1: the situation in the summer of 1941. 

The pink area shows the depth of the invasion from June 22 to August 25. The dashed blue line through it shows the approximate position of the front line on July 16. 

Note the encirclements at Bialystock, west of Minsk, at Smolensk, and in Ukraine, around Uman. 

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Map 2: The Battle of Smolensk

Guderian's salient is the deepest German penetration pictured here. Diagram by Livedawg via Wikimedia Commons.

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PTRD-41 anti-tank gun

Source: RIA Novosti archive, image #4408 / N. Bode / CC-BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. 

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Stalin's organs: the Katyusha rocket launcher

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #303890 / Zelma / CC-BY-SA 3.0
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Thank you for your support

I want to express my deep appreciation to all who supported Beyond Barbarossa in the start-up phase. 

You can continue to support the costs of producing the podcast through Patreon

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Now available on Stitcher

In addition to the podcasting platforms across the header image, you can now also listen to Beyond Barbarossa on Stitcher

Visit https://www.stitcher.com/show/beyond-barbarossa-eastern-front-of-world-war-ii.

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From Blitzkrieg to Berlin

The eastern front was by far the largest part of the European theatre of World War Two. Yet compared to the Western Allies, there is little material available in English about the Soviets' fight. This podcast covers the history of the clash of two inimical tyrannies. 

Music by Nicolas Bury

Sound effects obtained from https://www.zapsplat.com

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Operation Barbarossa: The plan

The German General Staff, OKW, planned Operation Barbarossa meticulously. The Wehrmacht, with support of the Luftwaffe, attacked in three main thrusts: Army Group North through the Baltic SSRs, Army Group Centre in two axes from the Bialystok Salient, that bulge just north of Brest-Litovsk, and Army Group South, into Ukraine. 

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