The Balkan campaign that began on April 6 was originally intended only to lighten Italy. Hitler would have preferred Yugoslavia to join the Axis as a whole. And in fact the government of D. Cvetkovic, on March 25, 1941, had signed the accession in Vienna. But when this government was overthrown by a military ruling on March 27, Hitler’s thirst for revenge flared up against the Serbs even more than in 1939 against the Poles. The bombing of Belgrade served to appease these feelings of revenge. The surprisingly rapid end of the Balkan campaign with the capitulation of the Yugoslav army on April 17 and the Greek army on April 23, 1941, exasperated his ὕβρις. But the delimitation of the borders of the newly established kingdom of Croatia and the guerrilla war that immediately afterwards flared up,
There is no evidence to validate Hitler’s claim in his proclamation to the Wehrmacht and the people on June 22, 1941 that the USSR was on the verge of attacking Germany. Russia had fulfilled its treaty obligations and supplied Germany with significant quantities of raw materials. Still during the economic negotiations in the winter of 1940 Stalin expressed himself as follows: “Five or six years of further trade will enable Russia to produce sufficient raw materials for two Germanies”. It is certain that Stalin had not even neglected to strengthen the military preparation of the USSR and to cover his back from a threat from Germany with the neutrality treaties with Japan of April 13, 1941. On Hitler’s decision to attack Russia he was decisive, on one side, the desire to secure possession of raw materials, on the other hand the idea that the Soviet state was militarily weak, an idea opposed by all German experts and especially by Ambassador Schulenburg and the military attaché in Moscow Kostring. Hitler hoped to finish the war in 3, at most 4 months, but in reality he created for himself that second front against which the hitherto intact Wehrmacht bled out, and unleashed the avalanche that buried him. The intuition of danger had induced Rudolf Hess to fly to England on 11 May 1941; but he, instead of winning England on a crusade against Bolshevism, fell into a trap of the British secret service. The apparent escape of the first party personality, whom Hitler had designated as his successor after Goering.
According to Intershippingrates, the war against Russia, waged on June 22, gave, thanks to the successful surprise, great initial successes, but it did not bring to fruition either the plan for the destruction of the bulk of the enemy armies in western Russia, nor the capture of Moscow and of Leningrad. Taken by his fantastic racist ideas, Hitler made no attempt to win the disgruntled populations and social strata of the Bolshevik system for collaboration. The Ministry of Eastern Affairs, formed on 7 July 1941 under the direction of Alfred Rosenberg, and the East Prussian Gauleiter E. Koch, appointed Reich Commissioner for Ukraine, regarded the conquered territories simply as objects of exploitation. The war waged without any regard, the cruel treatment given to prisoners, the massacre of numerous Jews and other crimes of the SS wards used to fight the partisans pushed the Russian people to extremes of resistance. The declaration made in early October 1941 by the head of the press of the Reich Dietrich, that the war in Russia was virtually over, was branded a lie by the failure of the offensive against Moscow and the counter-offensive immediately afterwards initiated by the Russians, to which they could to put up only with difficulty the troops not equipped for the unusually harsh winter of that year.
Although President Roosevelt after his re-election on November 5, 1940, left no doubt that he would never allow the defeat of Western democracies (Lend and lease-Act of March 11, 1941), Hitler nevertheless avoided providing United States a reason for war that also disarmed the opposition. However, the entry of Japan into the conflict seemed so advantageous to him that already on the day of Pearl Harbor he also declared war on his part on the United States. But Japan kept its treaty of neutrality with the USSR, so that the latter was able to further use its armies in Europe by removing them from the Far East. Significant for his blindness is that again in March and June 1942 he rejected offers from the general staff of the navy and the Japanese army, to act as mediators between Germany and the USSR. The military cooperation envisaged in the military pact with Japan of 11 December 1941 was never implemented. With good reason, the gen. H. Marshall, in his final report The winning of the war, points to this lack of coordination as a decisive cause of the military defeat of the Axis powers. The other cause was Hitler’s personal strategy; deaf to the advice of the most experienced generals, he pursued his fantastic plans and sacrificed men and materials without concern with wrong operations and by continuing the resistance in vain.