72 years ago today, on June 22, 1941, Hitler’s Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The footage here is rare, real-life color film taken of the early days of the invasion. The folks at the Romano Archive put this up, and it’s terrific stuff. It may have been taken actually on June 22, as several color camera crews accompanied the German troops into battle along the colossal line that would eventually become the Eastern Front.

The war between Germany and the USSR was the ferocious heart of the Second World War. This was the front that killed (by far) the most people and caused the most misery and destruction. Operation Barbarossa, which was Hitler’s code name for the invasion, was one of the great mistakes in history. It also changed the course of the history of the world in extremely profound ways.

Thanks again to Romano Archive for displaying these wonderful historical films, unedited and without modern “documentary” spin. Sometimes you just have to see the pictures for yourself.