WWII in real time

German armies surging east have trapped 100,000s of Red Army soldiers in a vast "kessel" (cauldron) of tanks & troops to the west of Minsk, cutting off Soviet retreat. https://t.co/AWOz0VqV6Y RealTimeWWII photo

German "Blitzkrieg" relies on swift & decisive victory, before USSR can bring man- & industrial power to bear; Hitler: "We need only kick in the door & the whole rotten structure will come crashing down."

Germans continuing breakneck charge deep into USSR- New York Times map shows invaders' route- but underestimates their speed: https://t.co/QtgIpJ9ws0 RealTimeWWII photo

Panicked NKVD, Soviet secret police, are arresting 1000s of suspected "saboteurs, spies & traitors"; 700 imprisoned today in Moscow alone.

Latvian nationalists have captured 3 towns, declared independence, & radioed advancing German troops begging help against Soviet occupiers.

London's Daily Mail newspaper cartoon on German invasion of USSR: "Forgive me comrade, but it seemed such a good opportunity!" https://t.co/XYeviBWApP RealTimeWWII photo

Stalin has created a "Stavka"- old Tsarist word for supreme army command- & demands Russians "fight for the Motherland". https://t.co/pHnxWODgXs RealTimeWWII photo

A German NCO is SS Das Reich division writes home: "My conviction is that the destruction of Russia will take no longer than that of France, & I assume I will still get my leave in August."

One Russian soldier suggests to his commander: "We should let the Germans get close & explain to them how they should embrace Communism & overthrow Hitler."

Many Germans shocked by news of invasion of Russia: propaganda minister Goebbels notes in his diary: "We must win quickly; the nation wants peace & every new adventure brings worry."

German General Reinhard: “One of our panzers got stuck in mud; without hesitation, a KV-1, the black monster, just rolled forward, crushing the tank.”

Red Army not helpless in the face of German invasion: Wehrmacht have been stopped at Dubissa river by massive KV1 heavy tanks, nicknamed “Russian colossus” & "steel beasts": https://t.co/NMxKOdBjqc RealTimeWWII photo

Only two of Pavlov's messengers, carrying vital orders to Red Army officers, have reached their destination on the front line - & are summarily shot by NKVD as "German spies".

Red Army communications severed. Front commander Pavlov must send orders via messengers in obsolete U2 biplanes- no match for Luftwaffe fighters: https://t.co/0Jf04yIFcb RealTimeWWII photo

Italy has declared war on the USSR; Mussolini, upset he wasn't warned of Operation Barbarossa more than a day in advance, privately hopes "Germany will lose many feathers in this adventure".

Estonians fleeing into the wilds to escape German invaders & await destruction of Soviets; anti-Communist partisan Juhan Jaik: "Estonia’s forest & bog are now more populated than farm & field."

Nationalist guerrillas in Estonia, Latvia, & Lithuania have risen against their Soviet occupiers- welcoming German "liberation" of Baltic states.

Politburo have ordered immediate counter-attacks by all Red Army troops close to border. Impossible: most units destroyed or fleeing, few are receiving orders from Moscow.

Vichy French have fled Damascus, leaving a deserted city- & graffiti: "Wait, dirty English bastards, 'til the Germans come- then you'll run."

Allies are victorious in Syria: Damascus, capital of Vichy French colony, falls to an army of Australian, Indian, & Free French troops: https://t.co/UkCPK1zaDs RealTimeWWII photo

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