Launched with an immense invasion force of three million men, Germany's surprise attack against Russia in 1941 was planned by Hitler to crush the Soviets within eight weeks. Instead, hampered by major strategic errors, fanatical Soviet resistance, and the severity of Russian winters, "Operation Barbarossa" lingered on until, in 1943 the German fighting machine finally broke down at Stalingrad in one of the most shattering defeats of the century. The author, basing his story on official military records, the memoirs of commanders in both German and Russian armies, and extensive conversations with survivors of all ranks, has drawn a vivid picture of a struggle which, in the size of the forces involved and the ferocity of the fighting, was unparalleled in the history of the war. Along "the greatest front in world history" three armored spearheads advanced simultaneously in a Blitzkrieg aimed at the vital centers of Russia. Their superior direction of operations, the daring mobility of the Panzer Corps, and the toughness of the troops swept the Germans to within 60 miles of Moscow. But in 1942, while his generals were urging a direct attack upon the capital, Hitler ordered them to concentrate upon a drive south into the Ukraine and towards the oil of the Caucasus. The Germans rapidly penetrated as far as Stalingrad on the River Volga, and Hitler became obsessed with the necessity of capturing the city. By September his troops were fighting in its streets. But the Russians resisted heroically, and after breaking out from the city, encircled and captured a number of German divisions and high-ranking officers. It was this sudden collapse at Stalingrad which turned the tide of the war in Russia. The author demonstrates clearly in this definitive account the strategic issues of the campaign, its origins and significance, Hitler's tactical blunders and his generals' achievements in spite of them.