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On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies began a massive invasion of the Soviet Union named Operation Barbarossa -- some 4.5 million troops launched a surprise attack deployed from German-controlled Poland, Finland, and Romania. Hitler had his eyes on Soviet resources even after Germany and the USSR signed a non-aggression pact in 1939. Both sides had long been suspicious of one another and the agreement merely gave them more time to prepare for a probable war. The Soviets were unprepared for the sudden blitzkreig attacks across a border that spanned nearly 2,900 km (1,800 mi), and suffered horrible losses. Within a single week, German forces advanced 200 miles into Soviet territory, destroyed nearly 4,000 aircraft, and killed, captured, or wounded some 600,000 Red Army troops. By December of 1941, Germany had advanced to within sight of Moscow, and laid siege to the city, but the notorious Russian winter set in (nicknamed "General Winter"), and German advances came to a halt. At the end of this, one of the largest, deadliest military operations in history, Germany had suffered some 775,000 casualties, more than 800,000 Soviets had been killed, and an additional 6 million Soviet soldiers were wounded or captured. The operation was also a failure for Germany -- despite massive advances, Hitler's plan to conquer the Soviet Union before winter had failed, at great cost, which would prove to be a turning point in the war. German infantrymen in heavy winter gear march next to horse-drawn vehicles as they pass through a district near Moscow, in November 1941. Winter conditions strained an already thin supply line, and forced Germany to halt its advance - leaving soldiers exposed to the elements and Soviet counterattacks, resulting in heavy casualties and a serious loss of momentum in the war. Red Army soldiers examine war trophies captured in battles with invading Germans, somewhere in Russia, on September 19, 1941. Heinrich Himmler (left, in glasses), head of the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS, inspects a prisoner-of-war camp in this from 1940-41 in Russia.

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view World War II: Operation Barbarossa as presented by: The Atlantic


Michael Karkoc, 94, told American authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during World War II, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, the AP reports. In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990. Karkoc, a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit, is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. In this picture taken May 10, 2013, a monument pays tribute to civilians who were burned alive during WWII in Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. The monument reads: 'To our parents, wives, children, who were murdered by the German occupants on December 3, 1943 in Pidhaitsi. 21 people, including 9 children.' Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre. The photo taken June 3, 2013 in Chicago shows the header of Michael Karkoc's petition for naturalization obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Illinois. The petition was granted. Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II.

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view Former Nazi SS commander Michael Karkoc as presented by: Minnesota Public Radio


Photographers of all levels submitted their best image series that captured the essence of “community.” Winners will see their work on the 1000ft long photographic installation displayed in Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City and, new this year, in a special curated version of THE FENCE displayed along the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. THE FENCE is an annual summer-long outdoor photo exhibition thanks to United Photo Industries, Photo District News (PDN), Brooklyn Bridge Park and Flash Forward Festival. The unveiling of THE FENCE 2013 happens tonight, Tuesday, June 18, at 6pm. The event is free and open to the public.

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view Don’t Fence Me In as presented by: Photo District News



If you are scared of creepy crawlies you might want to look away now. These are the remarkable close-up photographs of flies composed by stitching together up to 687 separate images taken through a microscope. Tomas Rak photographs a tiny area of the fly under a microscope before moving it a mere five hundredth of a millimetre and taking another snap. It can take a staggering 687 movements and 'micro-photographs' to capture every part of the fly in such stunning detail. Astonishing colours gleam on the head of a dung beetle, Anoplotrupes Stercorosus. Its entire body is only 10mm long. The whiskery head of a Vespula Vulgaris, the common wasp. The photographs are the result of an ingenious photography technique using a microscope. The shimmering and exquisite head of a wasp, measuring just 2mm. Even the hairs on its antennae are clear.

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view Photographer Captures Flies In Exquisite Detail as presented by: Daily Mail Online


Egypt's military deployed on the streets of Cairo to enforce a nighttime curfew as the sun set Friday on a day of rioting and chaos that amounted to the biggest challenge ever to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year regime. Flames rose up across a number of cities from burning tires and police cars. Even the ruling party headquarters in Cairo was ablaze in the outpouring of rage, bitterness and utter frustration with a regime seen as corrupt, heavy-handed and neglectful of grinding poverty that afflicts nearly half of the 80 million Egyptians. After nightfall, some of the protesters defied the curfew and were praying on the streets of Cairo. In one of many astonishing scenes Friday, thousands of anti-government protesters wielding rocks, glass and sticks chased hundreds of riot police away from the main square in downtown Cairo and several of the policemen stripped off their uniforms and badges and joined the demonstrators. Protestors attempt to get into Tahrir Square. Egyptian anti-riot policemen use water canons against protesters in Cairo. Riot police face protestors on the Kasr Al Nile Bridge.

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view Rioting And Chaos Engulfs Egypt's Capital as presented by: Sacramento Bee


Several wildfires are burning across Colorado amid record heat and high winds. The Big Meadows fire is burning on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Royal Gorge fire is burning in Royal Gorge Park while the Black Forest fire is burning in El Paso County. Aerial photo of the Black Forest Fire outside Colorado Springs, Colorado on June 12, 2013. A structure off of Herring Road burns out of control in the midst of the Black Forest Fire in Colorado Springs, CO on June 11, 2013. Many homes have already been lost to the raging fire that continues to burn out of control. A DC-10 slurry bomber fights the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs, CO.

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view Photos: Colorado Wildfires 2013 as presented by: Denver Post


Today, British civil aviation authorities ordered the country's airspace closed as of noon, due to a cloud of ash drifting from the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. The volcano has erupted for the second time in less than a month, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air and forcing hundreds of people to flee rising floodwaters. The volcanic ash has forced the cancellation of many flights and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe, stranding thousands of passengers. Collected here are photos of the most recent eruption, and of last month's eruptions, which were from the same volcano, just several miles further east. Smoke billows from an erupting volcano which seems to be close to the top of the Eyjafjalla glacier on April 14, 2010 near Reykjavik. All London flights, including those from Heathrow, will be suspended from noon (1100 GMT) today due to volcanic ash from Iceland that has already caused almost 300 cancellations here, officials said.

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view Iceland's Disruptive Volcano as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Los Angeles city firefighters battle a massive fire at a seven-story downtown apartment complex under construction in Los Angeles, California December 8, 2014. Over 250 firefighters battled the early morning blaze. The fire shutdown two major freeways, according to The Los Angeles Fire Department and California Highway Patrol. Because the building was under construction, no injuries were reported. The intense heat of the blaze melted nearby highway signs and burst windows of surrounding buildings, the Los Angeles Times reported. Flames could be seen for miles from the fire that started about 1:20 a.m.The fire was extinguished, but firefighters were still on the scene monitoring hot spots.

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view Massive fire in downtown Los Angeles as presented by: Boston Big Picture



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