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Stalingrad, Wwii: Turning Point Of Hitler’s Third Reich

2359 words - 9 pages

It was nearly unimaginable to the world when Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered his German forces to the Soviet Union on February 2, 1943. The Battle of Stalingrad, a major Second World War battle began with the German’s offensive on July 17, 1942 and ended with the German surrender on February 2, 1943. It was on August 5, 1942 that Adolf Hitler ordered an attack on the city of Stalingrad. This battle went down as one of the bloodiest battles in history, taking large tolls on both sides and most importantly marking the turning point for Hitler in the Second World War. The “master race” had taken its first major blow, proving to the world that they were not invincible. And in fact, Germany would not rise again after this truly devastating event. This was due to devastating losses from the battle, mistakes in propaganda and low morale.
Codenamed Operation Blue, Hitler split his forces into two, one to capture the oil fields in Caucasus and the other to capture Stalingrad. On August 23, 1942 Axis tanks raced to Stalingrad with little resistance as German planes bombarded the city of Stalingrad. The Germans had heavy machinery while the Soviets did not even have Anti-air machines, making it seem all though the Germans were unstoppable. For within the first few months, German forces would have occupied ninety percent of the city. However, as the weather changed into a freezing Soviet winter, the Soviets would start gaining the upper hand. It was the Red Army’s cue to launch Operation Uranus in November, for they had just received supplies and the weather was in their favor. As the operation proved a success, the Soviet forces now encircled the German forces just as the Soviet winter began to demonstrate its full power. From then on, without supplies and with freezing temperatures, the German forces had lost. Operation Uranus had caused the Axis Powers defeat. Referring to the Battle of Stalingrad, one soldier wrote, “But what is death in reality here? Here they croak, starve to death, freeze to death-it's nothing but a biological fact like eating and drinking. They drop like flies; nobody cares and nobody buries them,” (Schneider 344) making sense of the severe conditions and its effect on German soldiers in Stalingrad.
One may wonder why Stalingrad was so important to Hitler. Well, Stalingrad was the capital of the Soviet Union, the heart of their industry and their largest city. As an industrial city, Stalingrad contained numerous factories that provided tanks, guns and ammunition for the Soviet war effort. Without the war supplies and the oil fields in Caucasus, nothing would be supporting the Soviet forces. And more importantly, a World War Two database describes Stalingrad as a “city [that] bore the name of Hitler’s nemesis, Joseph Stalin, [which] would make the city’s capture an ideological and propaganda coup” ( As both Hitler and Stalin recognized, taking Stalingrad would prove essential to their country’s...

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