Molotov Reaction to Nazi German Invasion of 1941’ Article Review


Analyze Modern History Sourcebook: Molotov: Reaction to German Invasion of 1941. Similarly, the assignment should analyze in-depth ONE historical document. Items to include in the analysis (the proportion of the analysis dedicated to each of the aspects listed here depends on the particular document selected for discussion; you do not need to address all of […]

Analysis of Nazi German Invasion of the Soviet Union

On June 22, 1941, Hitler led Germany to invade the Soviet Union in a surprise attack, Operation Barbarossa, which was part of the Nazi’s quest to conquer Europe. Hitler’s invasion came despite a Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact that the two nations had signed on August 23, 1939. However, Hitler had stood firm in the decision to expand Germany’s territory east towards Russia since the 1920s leading to the ironical expectation of a surprise attack. When the invasion finally came, Germany and its allies assembled more than a million troops in a military operation to conquer the Soviet Union (O’Brien 100). The Soviet’s Union, Vyacheslav Molotov, broadcasted to his citizens in reaction to the Nazi invasion. Molotov’s message expressed the Soviet’s position at a time of uncertainty, explaining the nation’s way forward and reassuring them of Russia’s military might and ability to withstand Hitler’s attacks.

Discussion of who produced the document and the intended audience for the document.

What does the document tell us about the author and audience?

The broadcast came from the then-acting Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, Vyacheslav Molotov, towards the nation’s citizens and portrayed the author’s authority and the people’s ignorance of the situation. Molotov spoke on behalf of the government of the U.S.S.R. to express the country’s stand at a time of confusion on the same day the Nazis launched the attack pointing to his authoritative and trusted position in the Soviet nation. For instance, Molotov explained the provocation of the Nazis despite the peace treaty to assure peace between the citizens of the two countries (“Internet History Sourcebooks”). The author stood as a reliable spokesman for the government when the Soviet people must have been confused by their former ally’s invasion of their land. War necessitates clear and informative communication from leaders to their citizens to decrease the chance of panic and unite their citizens in the chosen way forward.

Analysis of the document’s purpose, when it was produced, and how the document was subsequently used.

Following Nazi Germany’s invasion, Molotov’s broadcast came to inform the country of the ambush and point out the nation’s reaction to the surprise attack while ensuring the nation remained united and calm. Through the document’s broadcast, the government called for the nation’s peasants, workers, intellectuals, men, and women to stay convicted in performing their duties to the state (“Internet History Sourcebooks”). Additionally, Molotov reminded the people to remain steadfast since the Soviet’s Red Army, Navy, and Air Force success against the Nazis required their discipline, organization, and self-denial as true Soviet Patriots (Sella 575). For example, the Soviet defence forces needed personnel and supplies from the civilian population to launch their defensive and assault strategies against the massive German forces. Molotov’s document enabled the nation to mobilize its forces and people against the war with Germany. Efficient communication is essential to effectively gather resources for war while strengthening a nation’s battle strategy.

In the face of the impending war, Molotov’s document purposed to build the ethical justification for the Soviets to engage in battle with the Nazis, consequently increasing the troops’ and citizens’ morale to win. According to the broadcast, the Soviets participated in a righteous cause to defend their lands since the Germans were the ignorant aggressors who broke the peace treaty with the soviets (Shore 203). As an illustration, the document explained the Red Army would wage victorious war for the fatherland, for the country, and for honour, to induce a positive and winning attitude in the nation (“Internet History Sourcebooks”). The Nazis had launched their most extensive military campaign against their previous ally, the Soviets, calling for the leaders of the Soviet Union to counter back by raising the people’s hopes in the face of fear and calamity. As illustrated, meeting an enemy’s strategies with high expectations and morale is crucial to offer troops the highest chances of victory in war.

Evaluation of the context in which the document was produced, the influence of that context on the document, and what the document tells us about the context.

Molotov’s document came at a time of great despair in Europe as Hitler seemingly succeeded in his unjustified destruction of the Jews across Europe and conquered several nations along the way. In the broadcast to the people of Russia, the foreign minister expressed how Nazi Germany had attacked their cities unprovoked and without any declaration of war or justifiable actions (“Internet History Sourcebooks”). In this case, the Germans claimed that the Red Army had assembled their troops in the eastern German frontier, contrary to the peace agreement between the nations (Shore 203). However, the document points out that the German Nazis failed to seek a peaceful solution to their dispute, acting inexcusably to attack the U.S.S.R. Molotov’s broadcast reveals the tense and conflict-ridden context of the twentieth century in Europe. As a result, we see the negative impact of the lack of international communication between two nations to resolve disputes that cost the lives of civilians and troops.

Additionally, Molotov’s broadcast to the people of the U.S.S.R. existed when hope was brewing among the Soviets despite the odds stacked against their favour, with the leaders urging the nation to be hopeful. The document expresses the willingness of the Soviet administration to put up a spirited fight against the fascist German aggression, calling for the citizens to support the nation’s honourable course, thus influencing the context. For instance, the surprise attack by the Nazis forced the Soviet troops to adopt a strategic defence strategy at first, yet they were able to hold on and put on a successive offensive attack later in 1941(Wilt 190). Molotov’s document came at a time of initial loss in the Soviet war to inspire the nation to put on a spirited battle and influence the success of the Offensive attack (Wilt 190). In times of war, the leaders can encourage and inspire a nation to look past previous defeats and advance in the battle to victory.

Assessment of what the document contains (including arguments put forward) and how the document’s content is expressed.

Molotov’s document argued that the German Nazis unjustifiably invaded the Soviet Union in one of the most extensive military operations of the twentieth century and stated assertively that the Nazis would face defeat despite their initial progress into the U.S.S.R. In the broadcast to the Soviet citizens, the government encouraged citizens and troops by citing previous historical military victories to assure them that triumph would come at the war’s end (O’Brien 91). For example, Molotov pointed out the success of the Soviet Union against the French emperor Napoleon in the nineteenth century and expressed this in affirmation of the nation’s prospects of victory against the Nazis. The Nazis had claimed thousands of Soviet casualties in their invasion of Russia and conquered most of Europe. Still, the document presented a persuasive argument for victory to the Soviet citizens (“Internet History Sourcebooks”). Molotov’s move illustrates the influence that leaders have to set the perspective of their followers despite the facts on the ground and, consequently, on the outcome of their mission.

Consideration of the questions on politics and power in world history that the document helps us to answer and how it helps us answer them

Concerning politics and power, this document highlights the justification nations seek to wage war against each other and the danger that authoritative regimes such as Nazi Germany posed to international peace and stability. Nazi Germany attacked the Soviets in June 1941 despite their peace agreement due to an issue that would have been resolved rationally, according to Molotov’s address to the nation. The Soviets claimed that Hitler used blatant lies to justify his attack on the U.S.S.R. even though the citizens of both countries preferred peace in existence (“Internet History Sourcebooks”). Therefore, Hitler’s authoritarian government caused the loss of several civilian and military lives by overlooking the procedure to settle international disputes. Establishing procedural methods to solve conflicts through international relations is essential to peace and stability in a region.

Molotov’s document stated the Soviet Union’s position in the face of uncertainty, explaining the nation’s way forward while asserting Russia’s military might and ability to withstand Hitler’s attacks. Hitler’s regime should have resolved the case rationally by presenting their case to the foreign ministry in the U.S.S.R. instead of engaging in their surprise invasion of Russia. The historical war emphasizes the importance of establishing a procedure to handle disputes in international relations to maintain peace and stability worldwide.

Work Cited

“Internet History Sourcebooks”. Sourcebooks.Fordham.Edu, 2019, Accessed 30 Oct 2019.

O’Brien, Phillips P. “East Versus West in The Defeat of Nazi Germany”. Journal of Strategic Studies, vol 23, no. 2, 2000, pp. 89-113. Informa U.K. Limited, doi:10.1080/01402390008437792.

Sella, Amnon. “‘Barbarossa'”. Journal of Contemporary History, vol 13, no. 3, 1978, pp. 555-583. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/002200947801300308.

Shore, Zachary. What Hitler Knew. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Wilt, Alan F. “Hitler’s Late Summer Pause In 1941”. Military Affairs, vol 45, no. 4, 1981, p. 187. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/1987464.

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