In June 1941, Operation Barbarossa began, setting off a bloodbath that was supposed to bring the Soviet Union to its knees. Yet when Adolf Hitler turned his attention away from Europe and towards the Soviet Union, the course of World War II changed dramatically. For four years, Operation Barbarossa tore through the Eastern Front – and though it began as the largest surprise attack in military history, it quickly became one of the world’s biggest and deadliest conflicts.
Despite Hitler’s hopes, the Soviet Union and its people refused to back down, altering the course of WWII and ultimately bringing Nazi Germany to defeat. The Russian path to victory wasn’t without great struggle, though; the Soviet Union was plagued with military losses, deaths, and even starvation of its people over the course of the operation.