Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 21 June 1941 (Eve of Barbarossa): British forces successfully ended German influence in Iraq (Anglo-Iraqi War) and Syria (Operation Exporter), but narrowly failed to defeat a German airborne invasion of Crete (Battle of Crete). For Hitler (Adolf Hitler) though, this was all a sideshow—his focus was now on his 3-million-man military build-up for the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa).