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Stalingrad: The Battle And How I Believe It Was The Most Important Battle Of World War Ii

1569 words - 7 pages

Stalingrad: The Most Crucial Battle of World War IIWorld War II was the bloodiest war ever fought in the history of the world. Countless men lost their lives and countries were almost obliterated. One could only imagine what would have become of the human race had the Nazi war machine defeated all of Europe and then made its way into America. While Germany was expanding its territory all over Europe, they made it as far as Russia, and a battle ensued that became one of the greatest victories in war history. The Germans were met by the Red Army at Stalingrad, a city where the fate of the world was decided. The Battle of Stalingrad was perhaps the bloodiest conflict in history. The Soviets ...view middle of the document...

The resistance was enough to stop the Germans at Moscow and let the Russians prepare for the next round (Roberts "Stalingrad" 36). After the failure of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler faced a friction in his ranks, and to cure this, he needed oil and on the way to get the oil, he would seize Stalingrad because of its strategic location on the Volga River. Capture of the city would provide the Germans with protection against counter-attack and also allow them to block oil supplies to northern Russia (Roberts "Stalingrad" 36).First off, the onslaught of the city began with air raids that killed thousands of civilians and left the city in ruin. The German troops moved in and advanced through the city towards the Volga, aimed at taking control of the Volga River and cutting off supplies to the defending Soviets (Roberts "Stalingrad" 36). The German 6th Army, commanded by General Fredrich Paulus, was expected to take the city quickly and easily, the Germans outnumbered their enemy two-to-one in men and equipment. Defending Stalingrad was the 62nd Soviet Army led by General Vasilii Chuikov. Chuikov and his men (and many women, too) defended the ruins of the city with great valor. Diaries of German soldiers referred to the Soviet defenders as "devils," not men. The Russians fought the Germans both on land, and at sea. One of the key figures of the Volga battles was Sergei G. Gorshkov, commander of the Azov Flotilla when the Germans began their advance on Stalingrad. Gorshkov and many like him operated on the Volga in support of the Russian forces in and around the city (Pellas 62).Next, on April 5, 1942, Hitler ordered Army Group A and B to seize control of Russia's oil supply and cut the Volga at Stalingrad. This was called Operation Blue (Novakovsky). By November, the Germans controlled 90 percent of Stalingrad, but the Soviet forces were entrenched in a 16-mile strip adjacent to the Volga. From this position, they could still be resupplied and still continue to be a threat (Roberts "Stalingrad" 36). While defending the city, the Russian army suffered an astounding 75 percent casualty rate. One division of 10,000 Soviet soldiers emerged from a battle with only 320 survivors (Roberts "Stalingrad" 36). The Russian defenders were fighting not only for their country, but their culture and their way of life. Had the Red Army's discipline, determination, and desperation not been so high, the Germans would surely have won. By mid-to-late November, the Germans' push towards the Caucasus had been almost halted. The Soviets were now ready to launch their counter-offensive (Roberts "Stalingrad" 36).As the fighting in the city went on through the autumn, the Soviet general Georgy Zhukov, who was the strategic planner of the Stalingrad area, concentrated massive amounts of Soviet forces in the northern and southern sectors of the city. His plan was to keep pinning the Germans down in the city, then to push through the weak flanks and surround the enemy within the...

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