Today marks the 71st anniversary of an event that should live in infamy in world history, but is rarely mentioned outside Eastern Europe. The event resulted in the deaths of more people than any other event in the history of the world, excepting the Great Flood. Today is the anniversary of Operation Barbarossa.
Barbarossa was the code name for Adolf Hitler's plan to invade and conquer the Soviet Union. 3.9 million German soldiers faced 6 million Soviet troops; by the end of the operation in 1945 there would be between 20 million and 30 million dead, including civilians.
We don't think much about this in the West, but these events shaped the world as we know it, and today must bring painful memories back to millions of people. I watched a movie with my oldest boys night-before-last: Enemy at the Gates. This is a dramatization of a story within the story of the Battle of Stalingrad. It is about a Russian sniper, Vasily Zaitsev. It is a fascinating story with a good amount of historical accuracy in spite of being a dramatization. This movie is NOT suitable for small children...the level of violence is excessive. But for older teens it gives a good idea of what the war was like on the Eastern Front. For those who know little about this aspect of the Second World War, I recommend it.
Here is a trailer for the movie-