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

Monday Apr 24, 2023

It's the spring of 1942. As the German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe rebuild, the high command plans a new offensive in the east. Meanwhile, the Soviets strike back in Crimea and Kharkiv. 
Map 1: The Crimean peninsula
Map 2: Kerch peninsula
 
Map 3: The Second Battle of Kharkiv
Sources
Antony Beevor, The Second World War. London, UK: Little, Brown and Co., 2012. 
Ray Harris, The History of World War II podcast. https://worldwariipodcast.net 
David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2011
David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
David Stahel, Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 
 
 

Sunday Apr 09, 2023

David Stahel reveals the real reason that Operation Barbarossa failed, a conclusion he reached after the deepest research into wehrmacht records. 
Author of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East, as well as several other books on the Second World War in the east, he's a Senior Lecturer in European History at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia. He joins Beyond Barbarossa for an eye-opening conversation. 
David Stahel's books:
Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 
Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 
Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 
The Battle for Moscow. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 
Retreat from Moscow: A new history of Germany's winter campaign, 1941–1942. New York: Picador, 2019.
Hitler's Panzer Generals: Guderian, Hoepner, Reinhardt and Schmidt Unguarded. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, coming May 2023.
As editor:
With Alex J. Kay and Jeff Rutherford: Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941: Total War, Genocide, and Radicalization. University of Rochester Press, 2012. 
Joining Hitler's Crusade: European Nations and the Invasion of the Soviet Union, 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 
With Alex J. Kay: Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2018.
With Craig W.H. Luther and R. L. DiNardo: Soldiers of Barbarossa: Combat, Genocide and Everyday Experiences on the Eastern Front, June–December 1941.Lanham, MD USA: Stackpole Books, 2020. 

Sunday Apr 02, 2023

David Stahel offers a fresh perspective on the Eastern Front, one that turns the common conception of the war upside-down. 
Author of The Battle for Moscow and several other books on the Second World War in the east, he's a Senior Lecturer in European History at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia. He joins Beyond Barbarossa for an eye-opening conversation. 
David Stahel's books:
Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 
Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 
Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 
The Battle for Moscow. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 
Retreat from Moscow: A new history of Germany's winter campaign, 1941–1942. New York: Picador, 2019.
Hitler's Panzer Generals: Guderian, Hoepner, Reinhardt and Schmidt Unguarded. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, coming May 2023.
As editor:
With Alex J. Kay and Jeff Rutherford: Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941: Total War, Genocide, and Radicalization. University of Rochester Press, 2012. 
Joining Hitler's Crusade: European Nations and the Invasion of the Soviet Union, 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 
With Alex J. Kay: Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2018.
With Craig W.H. Luther and R. L. DiNardo: Soldiers of Barbarossa: Combat, Genocide and Everyday Experiences on the Eastern Front, June–December 1941. Lanham, MD USA: Stackpole Books, 2020. 
Books about the Nazi occupation of Norway mentioned in the episode: 
J.L. Oakley, The Jossing Affair. J.L. Oakley, publisher, 2016.
— The Quisling Factor. J.L. Oakley, publisher, 2020. 

Sunday Mar 19, 2023

Stalin orders a general counter-offensive designed to drive the Germans back to Berlin by the end of 1942. Does it work?
Map 1: The Soviet counter-offensive, Winter 1941–1942
Map 2: The Rzhev salient
Map 3: The Lozovoya-Toropets offensive
Sources: 
David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia, 1941. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2011. 
Walter Kerr, The Russian Army: Its Men, Its Leaders and Its Battles. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1944.
David Stahel, Retreat from Moscow: A New History of Germany's Winter Campaign, 1941_1942. New York, USA: Picador, 2020.
—, Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin's War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017.
Maps: Wikipedia. 
Sound effects: Zapsplat. 

Sunday Mar 05, 2023

After stopping Operation Barbarossa, at the opening of 1942, the Red Army launches a series of offensives to drive the Germans back to Berlin. A series of offensives that became a series of bloody failures. 
Map 1: The Soviet Winter Offensives, December 1941 – May 1942
 
Map 2: The Crimean Peninsula 
 
Map 3: The Kerch Peninsula
The Red Army and Navy land on the eastern extremity of Crimea
Map 4:  The Lyuban Offensive, or the Battle of Volkhov 
Map 5: The Demyansk Pocket 
 
Sources:
Clayton Donnell, The Defence of Sevastopol, 1941–1942: The Soviet Perspective. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2016
David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2011
David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013 
David Stahel, Retreat from Moscow: A New History of Germany's Winter Campaign, 1941–1942. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019 
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin's War 1941–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2017

Monday Feb 27, 2023

A crucial prelude to Operation Barbarossa and the war on the Eastern Front of World War II: the Winter War between the USSR and Finland. 
Spoiler alert: The Soviet Union gets its ass kicked by a force less than half the size.
This episode is the first part in a three-part series on the Winter War; parts 2 and 3 will be for supporters and members only. 
Map 1: The Mannerheim Line of Finnish defences across the Karelian Isthmus.
Map 2: The USSR's four main attacks on Finland, 30 November 1939 
Map 3: Soviet advances in the Karelian Isthmus, December 1939
Map 4: Ladogo Karelia, north of Lake Ladoga
 
Sources:
Philip Jowett and Brent Snodgrass, Finland at War 1939–45. New York, NY: Osprey Publishing, 2006.
Wikipedia: Timeline of World War II (1939)
—: The Winter War
The Winter War. Captivating History, 2020.
Vesa Nenye, Peter Munter, Toni Wirtanen and Chris Birks, Finland at War: The Winter War, 1939–40. New York, NY: Osprey Publishing, 2018.
Sound effects obtained from Zapsplat.
 

Sunday Feb 19, 2023

A very special guest joins the podcast this week: the one and only Daniele Bolelli of the History on Fire podcast.
Sources: 
The History on Fire podcast
http://historyonfirepodcast.com/ 

Sunday Feb 05, 2023

In December 1941, the German army meets its match: General Winter arrives. So do huge Soviet reinforcements, and the Wehrmacht's advance on Moscow halts and has to back up. 
Map 1: The Moscow Counter-Offensive, December 1941
 
Map 2: Tikhvin and Leningrad, Nobember 1941 
Sources:
David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2011
David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
David Stahel, Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 
Anthony Tucker-Jones, Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin's War 1941-1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2017.
Wikipedia, Timeline of World War II (1941). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1941) 

Sunday Jan 22, 2023

Ray Harris, 'caster of the History of World War II Podcast, joins me to talk about the significance of the Eastern Front of the Second World War, and some of the surprises he found in his work.
https://worldwariipodcast.net/all-podcasts/ 
Interested in World War II history? Check out Ray's podcast! 
 
 

Sunday Jan 08, 2023

What was life like for the people living in the lands occupied by nazi German in the East? We take a close look. 
Link
Remembering the Holodomor: Ukraine Without Hype podcast
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-35-remembering-the-holodomor/id1537219548?i=1000587845635
Sources: 
Paul Robert Magosci, A History of Ukraine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996. 
Shevchenko Scientific Society, Volodymyr Kubijovyc, editor, Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopedia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963.
Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. 
Wikipedia: The Eastern Front of World War II.
- Generalgouvernement
- Reichskommissariat Ostland
- Reichskommissariat Ukraine

Sunday Dec 18, 2022

One of my favourite podcasters, Sebastian Major of Our Fake History, joins me for a talk about historical myths about the Eastern Front of World War II. 
It's one of the best podcasts out there about history. Listen to it on your preferred podcasting app, and find it at OurFakeHistory.com. 
 
 
 

Sunday Nov 20, 2022

The battle for Crimea is almost a microcosm of the entire war on the Eastern Front of World War II. 
Satellite photo of southern Crimea: Severnaya Bay is the long, narrow bay curving upward into the land. Sevastopol is located on the smaller bay at right angles. 
 
This image was taken by the Nasa Expedition 20 crew. - NASA Earth Observatory. Source: Wikimedia Commons. 
 
Map source: Nations Online Project. https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/Crimea-map.htm 
Other sources:
Clayton Donnell, The Defence of Sevastopol, 1941–1942: The Soviet Perspective. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2016.
David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2011.
 
David Stahel, Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
 

Tuesday Nov 01, 2022

A conversation with Larysa Zariczniak, host and producer of the Wandering the Edge podcast on Ukrainian culture and history, with a spot of travel—when Ukraine isn't being invaded. 
We spoke about Ukrainian culture, history, parallels between 1941 and 2022, and what the experiences of those two periods can tell us about the Ukrainian cultural identity.
Wandering the Edge is available on all podcasting platforms. Visit the website at WanderingTheEdge.net.

Wednesday Oct 19, 2022

The 900 Days of Leningrad's siege saw the greatest destruction in modern history, and the larges loss of life in a modern city. It dwarfed urban campaigns elsewhere in the Second World War by a factor of magnitude. 
This episode links this immense struggle with the rest of the war in the East. 
Map 1: Finnish and Soviet forces on the eve of Barbarossa, 1941 
Map 2: Finnish offensive operations in Karelia, summer and autumn, 1941
 
Map 3: The siege of Leningrad 

Tuesday Oct 04, 2022

The German 36th Mountain Corps moves through Lapland to cut the vital Murmansk Railroad to Leningrad. But under the midnight sun, it meets a foe even more difficult than the Red Army.
Map 1: Finland 1940-41
The red area around Salla is the target for the 36th Mountain Corps. 
Figure 1: Finnish soldiers moving through the Arctic forest on their way to the Murmansk railroad
 
Sources:
David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2011.
David Stahel, Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Operation Silver Fox: The History of Nazi Germany's Arctic Invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. Charles River Editors, 2016.
Timeline of World War II (1941). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1941) 

Foxes in the north: Episode 10

Tuesday Sep 27, 2022

Tuesday Sep 27, 2022

Operation Silver Fox in the farthest northern reaches of continental Europe had a direct impact on the war in the Eastern Front.
Map 1: Finland from 1920 to 1938
Map 2: The Winter War, 1939-1940
Map 3: Areas Finland ceded to the USSR after the Winter War
 
Sources: 
Operation Silver Fox: The History of Nazi Germany's Arctic Invasion of the Soviet Union During World War IIPublished by Charles River Editors, 2016
Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East, by David Stahel. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2009.

Tuesday Sep 20, 2022

My apologies. It will be another week for the full episode 10 on Operation Silver Fox. BUT there is a bonus episode available for supporters. 

Operation Typhoon: Episode 9

Tuesday Sep 06, 2022

Tuesday Sep 06, 2022

German's final, final assault on the capital of the USSR in November 1941. 
Map 1: The Battle of Moscow, November 1941.
Map 20: The bigger picture. 
Source: U.S. Army archives. 
Soviets fighting back during "offensive weather":
Rasputitsa: 
Defense of Moscow: 
Women militia training in Moscow, fall 1941:
New T-34 tanks roll off the assembly line, 1941
Soviet air power: 
The Yakovlev Yak fighter
Ilyushin Il-2 in flight near Moscow, December 1941
Winter 
Abandoned German vehicles in the snow, on the highway from Volokolamsk to Moscow, December 1941:
Wrecked Panzer III, December 1941:

Tuesday Aug 23, 2022

The Wehrmacht assembles its biggest concentrated force for the largest single campaign of Operation Barbarossa. 
 
Image 1: German half-track, deep in the mud of rasputitsa. 
Image 2: Pulling vehicles through the mud of Russia in fall. 
Image 3: Eventually, the Germans had to resort to horses to haul even their field guns during rasputitsa. 
Map: The push toward Moscow in the fall of 1941. 
If you enjoyed this podcast, consider leaving a five-star rating on your preferred podcaster.
You can also support the podcast through Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/BeyondBarbarossa
Sources: 
David M. Glantz: Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941. Stroud, Gloucesgershire, UK, The History Press, 2013. 
Peter G. Tsouras, editor: Fighting in Hell: The German Ordeal on the Eastern Front. New York, NY: Ivy Books, 1995.
David Stahel: Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 
David Stahel: Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 

Tuesday Aug 09, 2022

Sponsor: The Eastern Front Trilogy by Scott Bury
The true story of a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in World War II. 
https://scottburyauthor.com/books/the-eastern-front-trilogy/
As the Germans strangle Leningrad and sweep across Ukraine, we can see just how complicated the Eastern Front is, and how connected to events and decisions a world away. 
Map 1: Closing on Leningrad.
Photos: Rasputitsa
Horses sank up to their bellies in mud in Ukraine during rasputitsa. 
Even tracked vehicles became mired in the deep mud. 
 

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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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