Germany's WWII offensive against Russia, 70 years later

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Germany's invasion of the USSR was the largest excess of violence in modern history. Millions of soldiers and civilians lost their lives, but it took decades for both countries to come to terms with the past.



June 22 marks the 70th anniversary of the start of Germany's offensive against the Soviet Union in World War II. To examine the historical significance of this, Deutsche Welle spoke with Wolfram Wette, a professor of history at the University of Freiburg.

DW: What was the objective of the military offensive "Operation Barbarossa," which began on June 22, 1941?

Wolfram Wette: The objective was to conquer the Soviet Union, to decimate its population, to exploit the land - in order to colonize the country with Germans in the distant future. So it was a war for the capture of "Lebensraum," or "living space," in the East. They wanted to colonize the Soviet Union up to the Ural Mountains in order to create an self-sufficient, strongly protected Greater German Reich from the Atlantic to the Urals....

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