no edit summary
[[File:Stalingrad two.jpg|thumbnail|350px|left|German soldier at Stalingrad]]
The German invasion had been facilitated by the indecisiveness of Stalin who was taken aback by Hitler’s betrayal. He initially refused to believe the reports of a German invasion. The supreme leader of the Soviets possibly suffered a nervous breakdown in the early stages of the
Nazi invasion. However, after a period of time, he helped direct the Soviet counter-attack. By the autumn of 1941, it appeared that Germany’s ''blitzkrieg'' tactics would lead to the defeat of the Red army. However, winter arrived early that year and this slowed down the German advance. Russians spoke of ‘General Winter’- who would help them to win the war. <ref>Bellamy, p. 67</ref> The Soviet people were well aware that the severe Russian winters would slow if not halt the German advance, just as it had stopped Napoleon and Charles XII of Sweden, during previous invasions. By December 1941, the German’s vanguard was ‘some fifty miles from Moscow.’<ref>Antill, p. 45</ref>
However, the weather was cold and German soldiers had begun to suffer in the harsh conditions. The Soviet’s used the weather to their advantage. The Soviets stationed huge forces in the east in to defend Siberia from a Japanese invasion. He withdrew them and under General George Zhukov. They were then organized into a strike force aimed at repelling the German advance on Moscow. On December 12th, Zhukov’s army launched a surprise attack on the German frontline and pushed them back with heavy losses some one hundred miles from Moscow.<ref> MacDonald, John. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0785830979/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0785830979&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=ff12114d460899b1d3d40f8245e19df5 Great Battles of World War II]'' (London, Michael Joseph books, 1986), p. 245</ref> The Soviet Capital had been saved. However, despite the setback, the Germans had a secure hold over much of western Soviet Union and had laid siege to the city of Leningrad.