80 percent of all German military casualties occurred on the Eastern Front. Germany lost 5.5 million soldiers and 1.8 million civilians. The percentage of its population that perished was 10.77%. 10 million soldiers of the 17 million who fought returned after the war.
Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa) also known as the German invasion of the Soviet Union was the code name for the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany and some of its Axis allies, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation put into action Nazi Germany’s ideological goal of conquering the western Soviet Union so as to repopulate it with Germans. The German Generalplan Ost aimed to use some of the conquered people as slave labour for the Axis war effort while acquiring the oil reserves of the Caucasus as well as the agricultural resources of various Soviet territories. Their ultimate goal included the eventual extermination, enslavement, Germanization and mass deportation to Siberia of the Slavic peoples, and to create more Lebensraum (living space) for Germany.
Clockwise from top left:German soldiers advance through northern Russia German flamethrower team Soviet Ilyushin Il-2s over German positions near Moscow Soviet POWs on the way to prison camps Soviet soldiers fire artillery