Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e
Siege of Odessa (1941)
The Siege of Odessa, known to the Soviets as the Defence of Odessa, lasted from 8 August until 16 October 1941, during the early phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. Odessa was a port on the Black Sea in the Ukrainian SSR. On 22 June 1941, the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union. In August, Odessa became elements of the German 11th Army. Due to the heavy resistance of the Soviet 9th Independent Army and the formed Separate Coastal Army, supported by the Black Sea Fleet, it took the Axis forces 73 days of siege and four assaults to take the city. Romanian forces suffered 93,000 casualties, against Red Army casualties estimated to be between 41,000 and 60,000. On 27 July 1941, Hitler sent a letter to General Ion Antonescu in which he recognised the Romanian administration of the territory between the Dniester and the Bug rivers; the Romanian Third Army had crossed the Dniester on 17 July. Lieutenant-general Nicolae Ciupercă's Fourth Army advanced over the river on 3 August, with the 5th Corps, comprising the 15th Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Brigade, joined by the 1st Armored Division.
On 8 August, the Romanian General Staff issued the Operative Directive No. 31 instructing the 4th Army to occupy Odessa off the march. It was thought that the city garrison, outnumbered, would surrender quickly. Odessa was fortified by three defensive lines and, thanks to the presence of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, could not be surrounded; the first line was 80 km long and situated 25–30 km from the city. The second and main line of defense was about 30 km long; the third and last line of defense was organized inside the city itself. The forces that manned the fortifications were made up of the 25th and 95th Rifle Divisions, the 2nd Cavalry Division, the 421st Rifle Division, the 54th Rifle Regiment and an NKVD Regiment; the Red Army had 240 artillery pieces in the area. Air support was provided by the 69th Fighter Aviation Regiment, two seaplane squadrons and one bomber squadron. Other fighters joined the defenders, as did an Il-2 squadron; the defense of Odessa lasted 73 days from 5 August to 16 October 1941.
On 10 August, in the sector of the 3rd Corps, the bulk of the 7th Infantry Division reached Elssas, while the 1st Guard Division arrived on the alignment Strassburg – Petra Evdokievka. In the sector of the 5th Corps, the 1st Armored Division broke through Odessa's first line of defense; that evening, the Romanian division reached the second line of defense. The 1st Cavalry Brigade joined the 1st Armored Division. At the same time, the 10th Dorobanţi Regiment overran the Soviet forces at Lozovaya; the 4th Army closed the circle around Odessa, but the offensive was temporarily stopped by Antonescu on 13 August to strengthen the line west of the Hadjibey bank. The offensive resumed on 16 August, as Romanian troops attacked along the entire line, capturing Odessa's water reservoirs on 17 August; the Soviet forces put up a stubborn resistance, launching repeated counter-attacks and taking heavy casualties. The Royal Romanian Air Force supported the ground troops, disrupting Soviet naval traffic to and from Odessa, destroying an armored train on 20 August.
By 24 August, despite constant attacks, the Romanians were bogged down in front of the Soviets' main line of defense. The 4th Army had suffered 27,307 casualties, including 5,329 killed in action; the Soviets were weakened, thanks to the capture of Kubanka, Romanian heavy artillery now threatened the port of Odessa. Over the next three days, there was a lull in the fighting. On 28 August, the Romanians resumed their offensive, reinforced by a German assault battalion and ten heavy artillery battalions; the 4th, 11th and 1st Army Corps advanced towards Gnileakovo and Vakarzhany, only to be pushed back in some areas by a strong Soviet counterattack the following day. On 30 August the Romanians retook the initiative, but gained little ground. Hitler and the German High Command noted that'Antonescu using at Odessa the tactics of the First World War,' crudely depending upon infantry to make unsupported frontal attacks against Soviet trench line defenses; the Soviets temporarily were driven back by nightfall.
Soviet troops in Vakarzhany were encircled and continued to fight until 3 September, when combined German and Romanian infantry stormed the village. On 3 September, General Ciupercă submitted a memoir to by-now Marshal Antonescu, highlighting the poor condition of the front-line divisions, which were exhausted after nearly a month of continuous fighting, he proposed a reorganization of six divisions, which would be split into 2 corps and supported by 8 heavy artillery battalions. These units would attack in a single area to break through the Soviet line; the memoir however, was rejected by both Antonescu and Brigadier-General Alexandru Ioaniţiu, chief of the Romanian General Staff, who argued that an attack in a single direction would leave the rest of the Romanian line too exposed. Marshal Antonescu subsequently issued a new directive calling for attacks between Tatarka and Dalnik, Gniliavko and Dalnik, to be made by the 11th and 3rd Corps, respectively. Ioaniţiu forwarded a note to Major-General Arthur Hauffe, chief of the German military mission to Romania, informing him of the situation at Odessa and requesting assistance in the form of aircraft and several pioneer battalions.
Although the Royal Romanian Air Force enjoyed some success against the Soviets ground and air forces, it was ill-equipped for anti-shipping raids, the Sov
Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level. Complicating factors in urban warfare include the presence of civilians and the complexity of the urban terrain. Urban combat operations may be conducted in order to capitalize on the strategic or tactical advantages with which possession or control of a particular urban area gives or to deny these advantages to the enemy. Fighting in urban areas negates the advantages that one side may have over the other in armour, heavy artillery, or air support. Ambushes laid down by small groups of soldiers with handheld anti-tank weapons can destroy entire columns of modern armour, while artillery and air support can be reduced if the'superior' party wants to limit civilian casualties as much as possible, but the defending party does not; some civilians may be difficult to distinguish from combatants such as armed militias and gangs, individuals who are trying to protect their homes from attackers.
Tactics are complicated by a three-dimensional environment, limited fields of view and fire because of buildings, enhanced concealment and cover for defenders, below-ground infrastructure, the ease of placement of booby traps and snipers. The United States Armed Forces term for urban warfare is an abbreviation for urban operations; the used U. S. military term MOUT, an abbreviation for military operations in urban terrain, has been replaced by UO, although the term MOUT Site is still in use. The British armed forces terms are OBUA, FIBUA, or sometimes FISH, or FISH and CHIPS; the term FOFO refers to clearing enemy personnel from narrow and entrenched places like bunkers and strongholds. Israel Defense Forces calls urban warfare לש "a Hebrew acronym for warfare on urban terrain. LASHAB in the IDF includes CQB training for fighting forces. IDF's LASHAB was developed in recent decades, after the 1982 Lebanon War included urban warfare in Beirut and Lebanese villages, was further developed during the Second Intifada in which IDF soldiers entered and fought in Palestinian cities and refugee camps.
The IDF has a special advanced facility for training soldiers and units in urban warfare. Urban military operations in World War II relied on large quantities of artillery bombardment and air support varying from ground attack fighters to heavy bombers. In some vicious urban warfare operations such as Stalingrad and Warsaw, all weapons were used irrespective of their consequences. However, when liberating occupied territory some restraint was applied in urban settings. For example, Canadian operations in both Ortona and Groningen avoided the use of artillery altogether to spare civilians and buildings, during the Battle of Manila in 1945, General MacArthur placed a ban on artillery and air strikes to save civilian lives. Military forces are bound by the laws of war governing military necessity to the amount of force which can be applied when attacking an area where there are known to be civilians; until the 1970s, this was covered by the 1907 Hague Convention IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land which includes articles 25–27.
This has since been supplemented by the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, relating to the Protection of Victims of International and Non-International Armed Conflicts. Sometimes distinction and proportionality, as in the case of the Canadians in Ortona, causes the attacking force to restrain from using all the force they could when attacking a city. In other cases, such as the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Berlin, both military forces considered evacuating civilians only to find it impractical; when Russian forces attacked Grozny in 1999, large amounts of artillery fire were used. The Russian Army handled the issue of civilian casualties by warning the inhabitants that they were going to launch an all-out assault on Grozny and requested that all civilians leave the city before the start of the artillery bombardment. Fighting in an urban environment can offer some advantages to a weaker defending force or to guerrilla fighters through ambush-induced attrition losses.
The attacking army must account for three dimensions more and expend greater amounts of manpower in order to secure a myriad of structures, mountains of rubble. Ferroconcrete structures will be ruined by heavy bombardment, but it is difficult to demolish such a building when it is well defended. Soviet forces had to fight room by room, it is difficult to destroy underground or fortified structures such as bunkers and utility tunnels. The characteristics of an average city include tall buildings, narrow alleys, sewage tunnels and a subway system
Balkans Campaign (World War II)
The Balkans Campaign of World War II began with the Italian invasion of Greece on 28 October 1940. In the early months of 1941, Italy's offensive had stalled and a Greek counter-offensive pushed into Albania. Germany sought to aid Italy by deploying troops to Romania and Bulgaria and attacking Greece from the east. Meanwhile, the British landed troops and aircraft to shore up Greek defences. A coup d'état in Yugoslavia on 27 March caused Adolf Hitler to order the conquest of that country; the invasion of Yugoslavia by Germany and Italy began on 6 April with the new Battle of Greece. By 17 April the Yugoslavs had signed an armistice, by 30 April all of mainland Greece was under German or Italian control. On 20 May Germany invaded Crete by air, by 1 June all remaining Greek and British forces on the island had surrendered. Although it had not participated in the attacks in April, Bulgaria occupied parts of both Yugoslavia and Greece shortly thereafter for the remainder of the war in the Balkans.
After World War I, with the complete collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Albanians looked to the Kingdom of Italy for protection against its enemies. In 1919, Albania's territorial integrity was confirmed at the Paris Peace Conference after United States President Woodrow Wilson opposed a plan by the European powers to divide Albania amongst its neighbors. There were attempted backroom negotiations that failed. However, after 1925, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini sought to dominate Albania. In 1928, Albania became a kingdom under Zog I, a clan chief and former Prime Minister. Zog failed to stave off Italian ascendancy in Albanian internal affairs. On 7 April 1939, Mussolini's troops occupied Albania, overthrew Zog, annexed the country to the Italian Empire; the Italian invasion of Greece lasted from 28 October 1940 to 30 April 1941 and was part of World War II. Italian forces made limited gains, but soon the Greeks counter-attacked and the Italians were repulsed and driven back at the borders with Albania.
The Italians spent much of the winter stabilizing a line which left them in control of only about two-thirds of Albania. A much anticipated Italian offensive in March 1941 resulted in few territorial gains. Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, intervened in April and invaded Greece after a successful invasion of Yugoslavia; the invasion of Yugoslavia began on 6 April 1941 and ended with the unconditional surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army on 17 April. The invading Axis powers dismembered the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. By cobbling together Bosnia and Herzegovina, some parts of Croatia, Syrmia, the "Independent State of Croatia" was created by Germany and Italy. In some of the territory of the former Kingdom of Serbia and the Banat, the German-occupied Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia, the Germans appointed a puppet government, the Government of National Salvation led by Milan Nedić. Montenegro remained under Italian occupation, Bulgaria was permitted to annex eastern areas of Yugoslavia, including most of modern-day North Macedonia.
Hitler began planning to invade Greece in November 1940, after the British occupied Crete and Lemnos. He ordered the German Invasion of Greece—code-named Unternehmen Marita by Germany—on 13 December 1940 for execution in March 1941; the stated aim of the operation was to prevent the British from getting air bases within striking range of the Romanian oilfields. On 6 April 1941, the German Army invaded northern Greece, while other elements launched an attack against Yugoslavia. Breaking through the Yugoslav lines in southern Yugoslavia allowed Germany to send reinforcements to the battlefields of northern Greece; the German army out-flanked the Greek Metaxas Line fortifications and, despite the assistance provided by a British expeditionary corps, set out to capture the southern Greek cities. The Battle of Greece ended with the German entry into Athens and the capture of the Peloponnese, although about 40,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated to Crete, prompting one of the largest airborne attacks in the history of warfare: Operation Merkur, or the Battle of Crete.
On 20 May 1941, German paratroopers were dropped over the airfields of northern Crete to occupy the island. They were met by heavy resistance from Allied forces and the local Cretan population but the defenders were overwhelmed by the German forces; the British Government ordered an evacuation on 27 May and the remaining forces surrendered on 1 June. However, the heavy losses incurred by the paratroopers convinced the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht to abandon large-scale airborne operations for the remainder of the war. By 1 June 1941, all of Albania and Greece were under Axis control. Greece was placed under triple occupation, Yugoslavia was dissolved and occupied. Germany had gained a significant strategic advantage: direct access to the Mediterranean. On 6 April 1941, despite having joined the Axis Powers, the Bulgarian government did not participate in the invasion of Yugoslavia and the Battle of Greece. On 20 April, the Bulgarian Army occupied most of Western Thrace and the Greek province of Eastern Macedonia, conquered by Germany, with the goal of restoring its pre-World War I outlet to the Aegean Sea.
Bulgarian troops occupied much of eastern Serbia, where the so-called Vardar Banovina was divided between Bulgaria and the Italians. Throughout the remainder of the war, active Yugoslav and Albanian resistance movements forced Germany and its allies to garrison hundreds of thousands of soldiers permanently in the three countries, denying them to
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939, he was involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust. Hitler was raised near Linz, he moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I. In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party, the precursor of the NSDAP, was appointed leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he was imprisoned. In jail, he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf. After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda, he denounced international capitalism and communism as part of a Jewish conspiracy.
By July 1932 the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, but did not have a majority, no party was able to form a majority parliamentary coalition in support of a candidate for chancellor. Former chancellor Franz von Papen and other conservative leaders persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism. Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France, his first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, the annexation of territories inhabited by millions of ethnic Germans, which gave him significant popular support.
Hitler sought Lebensraum for the German people in Eastern Europe, his aggressive foreign policy is considered the primary cause of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and, on 1 September 1939, invaded Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In December 1941, shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hitler declared war on the United States, bringing it directly into the conflict. Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun. Less than two days on 30 April 1945, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army. Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims who he and his followers deemed Untermenschen or undesirable.
Hitler and the Nazi regime were responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre. The number of civilians killed during World War II was unprecedented in warfare, the casualties constitute the deadliest conflict in history. Hitler's father Alois; the baptismal register did not show the name of his father, Alois bore his mother's surname Schicklgruber. In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Alois's mother Maria Anna. Alois was brought up in the family of Johann Nepomuk Hiedler. In 1876, Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Alois's father. Alois assumed the surname "Hitler" spelled Hiedler, Hüttler, or Huettler; the name is based on "one who lives in a hut". Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Alois's mother had been employed as a housekeeper by a Jewish family in Graz, that the family's 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois.
No Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, no record has been produced of Leopold Frankenberger's existence, so historians dismiss the claim that Alois's father was Jewish. Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary, close to the border with the German Empire, he was christened as "Adolphus Hitler". He was the fourth of six children born to his third wife, Klara Pölzl. Three of Hitler's siblings—Gustav and Otto—died in infancy. Living in the household were Alois's children from his second marriage: Alois Jr. and Angela. When Hitler was three, the family moved to Germany. There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian German, which marked his speech throughout his life; the family returned to Austria and settled in Leonding in 1894, in June 1895 Alois retired to Hafeld, near Lambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended Volksschule (a state-owned primary schoo
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe, Southeast Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties; the battles on the Eastern Front of the Second World War constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres; the Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70-85 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, the majority of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front.
The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations. The two principal belligerent powers were Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United States and the United Kingdom both provided substantial material aid in the form of the Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union; the joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front. In addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. Germany and the Soviet Union remained unsatisfied with the outcome of World War I. Soviet Russia had lost substantial territory in Eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where the Bolsheviks in Petrograd conceded to German demands and ceded control of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and other areas, to the Central Powers.
Subsequently, when Germany in its turn surrendered to the Allies and these territories were liberated under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 at Versailles, Soviet Russia was in the midst of a civil war and the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government, so no Soviet Russian representation attended. Adolf Hitler had declared his intention to invade the Soviet Union on 11 August 1939 to Carl Jacob Burckhardt, League of Nations Commissioner, by saying: Everything I undertake is directed against the Russians. If the West is too stupid and blind to grasp this I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West and after their defeat turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces. I need the Ukraine as happened in the last war; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was a non-aggression agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Finland, Estonia and Lithuania would return to the Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. The Eastern Front was made possible by the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement in which the Soviet Union gave Germany the resources necessary to launch military operations in Eastern Europe. On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. On 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Eastern Poland, and, as a result, Poland was partitioned among Germany, the Soviet Union and Lithuania. Soon after that, the Soviet Union demanded significant territorial concessions from Finland, after Finland rejected Soviet demands, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 in what became known as the Winter War – a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland maintaining its independence but losing its eastern parts in Karelia. In June 1940 the Soviet Union illegally annexed the three Baltic states; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ostensibly provided security to the Soviets in the occupation both of the Baltics and of the north and northeastern regions of Romania, although Hitler, in announcing the invasion of the Soviet Union, cited the Soviet annexations of Baltic and Romanian territory as having violated Germany's understanding of the Pact.
Moscow partitioned the annexed Romanian territory between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum: acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, in particular in Russia, he envisaged settling Germans there, as according to Nazi ideology the Germanic people constituted the "master race", while exterminating or deporting most of the existing inhabitants to Siberia and using the remainder as slave labour. Hitler as early as 1917 had referred to the Russians as inferior, believing that the Bolshevik Revolution had put the Jews in power over the mass of Slavs, who were, in Hitler's opinion, incapable of ruling themselves but instead being ruled by Jewish masters; the Nazi leadership, saw the war against the Soviet Union as a struggle between the ideologies of Nazism and Jewish Bolshevism, ensuring territorial expansion for the Germanic Übermensch, who according to Nazi ideology were the Aryan Herrenvolk, at the expense of