The Fuehrer directed the operation from the Wolfsschanze (The Wolf’s Lair), situated near Rastenburg in East Prussia. The Germans had assembled their enormous force without the Russians recognizing the danger. They were caught completely by surprise. By noon, the Luftwaffe had destroyed 1,200 Russian aircraft, mostly on the ground.
That evening, Winston Churchill declared Britain’s willingness to aid the Soviet Union. Britain had acquired a new and powerful ally. With Hitler focused on the East, defeat for the island nation no longer seemed inevitable.
Meanwhile, on the same day that Barbarossa got under way, General Wavell, one of Britain’s most competent commanders, was relieved as Commander-in-Chief of British Middle Eastern Forces; he was reassigned to India.