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Essay: WWII History and How Determination Changed the Course: The Battle of Stalingrad

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  • Published: 1 April 2019*
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  • Tags: World War II

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Determination- a strong feeling or firmness or purpose. In the 1942, the fighting on the eastern front had reached its climax. The invasion of Russia was the start of the climax. Within the invasion of Russian came the Battle of Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad changed the course of World War Two by heavily damaging the Axis forces, greatly helping the Allies efforts to win the war, and intensely showing that Hitler could be defeated in the East.

Damaging the Axis played an immensely large part in changing the course of WWII. Two-hundred Thousand five-hundred Axis corpses were found in the proximity of Stalingrad. Fighters from the Axis were considered to be killed, lost, or imprisoned. Ninety-one thousand men surrendered to the Red Army. However, only about five-thousand to six-thousand people traveled back to their homes (History.com). Stalingrad’s outcome came with a Russian counteroffensive. Its codename was Operation Uranus. Because the German soldiers underestimated the Soviets, the Germans were not ready when the attack had begun. Due to the result of the attack, Hitler resorted to using one of the most strategic German armies. Hitler decided to stop Paulus’s attempt to fight westward. Because of Hitler’s choice, many of Germans ended up dying due to how they lacked the power to break out of the encirclement (Roberts). Before the battle, the German objection was to achieve larger supplies of oil. Baku, a Russian city, contained large supplies of oil. Stalingrad was on the path towards Baku. Stalingrad’s beneficial placing would allow the city to be a threat to the Axis. As a result, the Germans started an assault on the city (Roberts). The German high command tried its best to tell Hitler to let Paulus leave the circle. Hitler did not let Paulus do so because he wanted Paulus to stand his ground against the Russians in Stalingrad. As winter went by, Paulus and his troops started to die. Hitler stated that the troops would obtain more supplies, but supplying methods failed. Hitler knew that attacking the Russian city of Stalingrad may be his final opportunity to achieve a victory in the East.  Because of Hitler’s disposition, Stalingrad carried the most importance for the war. At the end of Stalingrad, an Ally victory was confirmed (Roberts). Ultimately, Hitler’s command was to take over Stalingrad due to its possible propaganda cause. A propaganda cause was apparent because Stalingrad was named after Joseph Stalin, Hitler’s greatest enemy. Hitler possibly thought that taking over the city would ruin Stalin’s name and make people think that Stalin was weaker than Hitler. When Stalin obtained knowledge of Hitler’s upcoming attack, he commanded that all able Russians bare arms and attempt to defend the city (History.com). In June 1942, the German army advanced into the USSR. The Germans though minimal effort would be required. However, the Germans failed to anticipate the strength of the Russian resistance (Roberts). Russian generals knew that the German forces would not be ready for the very cold winter. Red army troops started to reinforce the strength of their positions to block off the Germans. Due to nearby Russian victories, the Axis was stretched narrowly. Russian forces broke through the Axis lines because of the Axis’s stretched divisions. (History.com). At the end of August, the 4th Army’s push into Stalingrad mixed with the push of the 6th Army. Both armies were full of Germany’s most powerful troops. Russians from the Red Army, however, attempted to employ defensive maneuvers. On August 23, Stalingrad’s wooden buildings were burned to the ground by incendiary bombs. The weather in Stalingrad along with hasty decisions by Hitler, caused the Axis forces to ultimately lose during the battle of Stalingrad. Operation Uranus ended up being the final blow to the Axis troops (Limbach). Although the Axis losses in Stalingrad helped to alter the course of WWII, the support for the Allies also changed the course of WWII.

Stalingrad also changed the course of WWII by resulting in an important gain for the Allies. Operation Uranus ended up being a tactic that used a deep penetration method. Deep penetration meant to assault not the primary force of the Germans, but to assault the much more vulnerable sides of the German force. Over the course of a few days, two German armies were trapped in a circle (Limbach). The victory at Stalingrad was not swiftly completed. Red Army troops had to fight hard in order to the Nazi forces. At the end of the battle, the Nazi forces had exhausted approximately 50 divisions of troops. According to Germany this battle’s outcome was a disaster. For the Allies, the battle showed that the Allies could win the war in the Eastern Front (Roberts). The Soviets had taken Stalingrad back by February 1943. Approximately 100,000 Axis soldiers were imprisoned. Bits of resistance lasted in Stalingrad. Soldiers that were imprisoned passed away from illness or starvation (History.com). Before the battle, Stalin knew that the forces of Russia had the ability to slow the German pushes into Stalingrad. North of Stalingrad, Stalin lost approximately 200,000 fighters. These fighters, however, won because they accomplished their goal of blocking off the Germans. Having possessed knowledge of what Hitler wanted, the Soviets had prepared for an attack by evacuating stores of crops out of Stalingrad (The Battle of Stalingrad). Around 1,100,000 Red Army troops were lost during Stalingrad. Historians ponder that missing Red Army members were either hurt, dead, or imprisoned (The Battle of Stalingrad). The generals in Stalingrad knew that other ways to win would fail. As a result, the soldiers made a seemingly unbreakable defense. Stalin expected his troops to be strictly disciplined when it came to fighting (Roberts). Russian soldiers led by Chuikov implemented a defensive effort to protect Stalingrad from the Axis forces. Because of Chuikov’s leadership, Russian troops were able to protect nearly every single piece of Stalingrad. Vasilii Grossman, a Russian author, wrote that every trench, every pill box, every rifle pit, and every ruin, turned into a stronghold. Grossman wrote about Stalingrad because he knew about the Russians’ will to defend (Roberts). Because of the Russian effort, the Soviets won. Along with the tremendous effort came efficient preparation. Due to the prepared Russians, the outcome of Stalingrad played a large part in the Ally victory of WWII. Even though the Ally victory at Stalingrad helped the Allies ultimately win the war, proving that Hitler could be beaten was also an outcome of Stalingrad that helped change the course of the Second World War.

When Hitler lost, people around the world learned that Hitler could lose in the East.  The victory at Stalingrad was not swiftly completed. Red Army troops had to fight hardly in order to stop the Nazi forces. At the end of the battle, the Nazi forces had exhausted approximately 50 divisions of troops. According to Germany, Stalingrad’s outcome was a disaster. For the Allies, the battle showed that the Nazi forces could be defeated (Geoffrey). The historians that regard the Battle of Stalingrad as a military turning point of WWII regard it as a military turning point for a variety of different reasons. A man named Geoffrey Jukes sees Stalingrad as a military turning point primary due to the reason that Stalingrad showed the final advances of the Germans into Russian. After Stalingrad, the Germans did not advance further into the USSR. Also, when the Germans went into Stalingrad, the Russian troops had weapons that had caught up to the times as well as the operations that the Soviets were performing (Dingle 3). In the summer of 1942, the German objection was to achieve larger supplies of oil. Baku, a Russian city, contained large supplies of oil. Stalingrad was on the path to Baku. Stalingrad’s position would allow the city to be a threat to the Axis. As a result, the Germans started an assault on the city (Geoffrey). Showing that Hitler could be defeated was an impact that came from the result of Stalingrad. Historians confirmed that the Allies were in higher spirits due to the defeat of Hitler on the Eastern Front. Proving that Hitler could be bested in the East, damaging the Axis forces, and aiding the Allies efforts, were results that had come from the Battle of Stalingrad.

Because Stalingrad dealt a large blow to the Axis, aided the Allies campaign , and showed that Hitler could be defeated in the East, it was considered to be a turning point in WWII. The Battle of Stalingrad is still remembered. Memorials have been built in the city. Stalingrad is important for future generations to remember because the battle showed how the Russians handled their opponents back then.

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