Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The History of Stalingrad Essay -- Stalingrad War Battles European His

The History of Stalingrad â€Å"Stalingrad is the scene of the costliest and most stubborn battle in this war. The battle fought there to its desperate finish may turn out to be among the decisive battles in the long history of war†¦In the scale of its intensity, its destructiveness, and its horror, Stalingrad has no parallel. It engaged the full strength of the two biggest armies in Europe and could fit into no lesser framework than that of a life-and death conflict which encompasses the earth† New York Times, February 4, 1943 The battle fought between the Soviet Red Army and the Nazi Wehrmacht over the â€Å"city of Stalin† for four long months in the fall and winter of 1942-3 stands as not only the most important battle of the Eastern front during World War II, but as the greatest battle ever fought. Germany’s defeat at Stalingrad ended three years of almost uninterrupted victory and signaled the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. In this way, Stalingrad’s significance was projected beyond the two main combatants, extending to all corners of the world. This paper is not meant to be a military history of the battle; I am not qualified to offer such an account. It is also not an examination of why Russia won (and Germany lost). The goal of this paper is to explain why this particular conflict, fought at this particular point in time, and in this particular place became the defining moment of World War II. During the late summer of 1942, Germany’s position in the Soviet Union appeared to be dominant. The Russian winter offensive in front of Moscow had succeeded in relieving the pressure on the capital but had failed to make any substantial gains beyond a few miles of breathing space. The Germans had managed to stabilize the situation, inflicting severe casualties on the Russians before opening their own offensive in southern Russia in the spring and summer of 1942. This offensive, like the initial attack on the Soviet Union, caught the Russians (who expected a second assault on Moscow) completely off guard. Germany’s success was immense, and by the end of July the Wehrmacht had reached the Caucasus Mountains and the Volga River, with the oil-rich cities of Astrakhan, Grozny, and Baku in its sights. The first fourteen months of the war had been a debacle of monumental proportions for the Russians. During this time, the Germans had occupied more than a... ... the regime began to make concrete plans to overthrow it. Stalingrad was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  World War II was filled with turning points, including Midway, El Alamein, and Moscow. Stalingrad, however, was not simply a turning point. It was the decisive battle of the most violent and destructive war ever fought. It is a fitting testament to the importance of Stalingrad that General Chuikov, the tough-as-nails commander of the 62nd Army that defended the city, would later lead his men in the final battle of the European war, the assault on Berlin. Works Cited Baldwin, Hanson. Battles Lost and Won. New York: Smithmark Publishers, 1966. Craig, William. Enemy at the Gates. New York: Readers Digest Press, 1973. Elting, Mary and Robert T. Weaver, Battles: How They Are Won. Garden City: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1944. Overy, Richard. Russia’s War. New York: Penguin Books, 1997. Roberts, Geoffrey. Victory at Stalingrad: The Battle that Changed History. London: Pearson Education, 2002. Stalingrad, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1943. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World At Arms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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