Strategic Analysis of Some Geographical Research Proposal

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Instead he had run into a trap, and had faced a triple defeat -- in Kharkov, in the Crimea, and in Leningrad -- that allowed the Germans to attack again, this time across the great plains of southern Russia" (115).

Following the defeat of the Germans at the hands of the Russians, though, the Soviet army planned its counterattack but the same enormous land mass that adversely affected Hitler's ability to successfully prosecute a long war against Soviet Russia also affected the Russians' efforts to invade Germany because of the enormous land mass involved in the process. As Beevor emphasizes, "Even as the German army was clearly on the run, the Soviets feared it. German soldiers remained formidable to the end, and as the Ardennes offensive had shown, they were quite capable of pulling surprises" (114).

Indeed, there was legitimate cause for concern on the part of the Russians because the entire route from Soviet Russia to Berlin was still wild with German troops and these pockets of desperate men could still deal the Red Army some serious setbacks. As a result, Stalin ordered his military leaders to overcome the distance problem involved by approaching the problem in typical Russian fashion: by throwing men at it. As Beevor points out, "Much better, if Stalin did not want to risk a similar humiliation, to concentrate on reducing the pockets one by one. And so into early April the Red Army was kept busy with a kind of grinding, inch-by-inch frontal attack on fortified lines -- an attack that no Western general, mindful of the need to keep casualties down, could possibly have ordered" (Beevor 116). Even with this step-by-step approach, though, the enormity of the distances involved crated supply line problems for the Red Army that adversely affected the Soviet's ability to continue their march completely into Berlin in one fell swoop.
By January 27, 1945, Beevor reports that, "The Red Army had outrun its supply lines and needed to refit its tanks, [but] it stood at the River Oder, at most fifty miles from Berlin" (115).

Conclusion

It may in fact be a long way to Tipperary, but it is even a longer way from Paris and Berlin to Moscow. The research clearly showed that although Russia has been invaded several times in its eventful history, the military campaigns waged by Napoleon and Hitler failed due in large part because of the enormous land mass that exists between Europe and the heartland of Russia. The costs associated with these military campaigns were also enormous, with Russian casualties running into the millions, but the aggressors also experienced some terrible consequences as a result of their aborted attempts to conquer the unconquerable. History is replete with examples such as these wherein tyrants, emperors and kings come to believe that they alone are capable of succeeding where others have failed, but it would seem reasonable to conclude that in Hitler's case especially, this overblown sense of self contributed to his downfall as well as contributing to the deaths of millions of Russians and Germans in the process. In fact, Hitler might have been able to win the war in Europe if he had simply left Russia to its own devices, at least for the time being, but his decision to invade and attempt to conquer Russia ignored the example set by Napoleon years before and these rulers met an ignoble end as a direct result of this strategic geographic feature that keeps Russia unassailable by land even today.

Works Cited

Beevor, Antony. Fall of Berlin 1945. The Atlantic Monthly 289(6): 114-18.

Carter, Steven. 1999. "Alexander's Bitter Tears." Journal of European Studies 29(4): 343.

Markham, Felix. Napoleon......

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