In the German war plan Barbarossa, Leningrad was identified as one the main strategic objectives. Moscow was to be taken only after Leningrad was overrun. The city was to be leveled. The German General Halder, in the July 8, 1941, entry of his diary wrote: “It is the unshakable decision of the Führer to level Moscow and Leningrad, in order to completely annihilate the populations of these cities.”

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