I think everybody is familiar with the Battle of Stalingrad. It remains to be one of the most popular battles of history. In addition, it’s one of the most significant. In this article we will talk about this battle and I’ll provide you with everything you need to know about it including its significance. You’ll know how this war changed the world.
About the Battle of Stalingrad
It was a relatively short battle that happened from July 17 of 1942 to February 2 of 1943 during World War II. It was a defensive battle as the Soviet defense held on to defend Stalingrad city which is now known as Volgograd.
It was a very intense battle. It was so intense that civilians weren’t spared as air raids done by the Nazi Germany constantly assaulted the city. Troops engaged in close quarter combats. It was so intense that there were a lot of lives lost from both sides. In fact, it’s widely-regarded as the bloodiest battle of all time. Casualties are estimated to be anywhere from 1,250,000 to 1,798,619.
Majority of the casualties were on the German side. It showed how strategy can win a battle even if you’re on the defensive side. The Germans actually started on the right track. Using its 6th Army that’s supported by the 4th Panzer Army, they took advantage of the fact that the bombs dropped via air raids turned majority of the city into rubble’s. The battle then turned into ground battles with the two sides pouring in troops into the city.
The Germans were on their way to victory as they were able to push the defenders back. But then, the defenders were able to turn things around when the Red Army put Operation Uranus into play in November of 1942. The two-pronged strategy was able to weaken the attackers as Operation Uranus focused on the weaker forces of Romania and Hungary that protected the flanks of the 6th Army. The defenders then became the aggressors and they were able to overrun the flanks and surround the 6th Army.
Adolf Hitler didn’t want to wave the white flag. Instead of pulling out the troops, he supplied more troops as they tried to break the surrounding forces from the outside. This led to two months of intense battles. After two months in February of 1943, the Axis forces ran out of ammo and food. After a little more than 5 months of battle, they finally surrendered.
What Makes the Battle of Stalingrad Significant?
War historians are crediting the Battle of Stalingrad as the turning point that led to the victory of the Allies. For starters, it stopped the advancement of Germany into Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe. Germany was well in its way of advancing before they were stopped in this battle.
In addition, this marked the first major loss on the Germans’ side in World War II. It was so major that after their loss in Stalingrad, they failed to advance any further into Eastern Europe. With the Soviets’ victory in this battle, they gained momentum, confidence and strength while the Germans lost theirs. This allowed the army of the Soviet to regain whatever the Germans have gotten before the Battle of Stalingrad. They were able to regain so much momentum that they gained so much more than they lost as Germany also started losing their territories.
Even the major players in the war acknowledged the battle’s significance. It was so significant that Adolf Hitler himself tried to hide the news from the rest of Germany because he was concerned that the news of the loss would affect Germany’s efforts in warfare. He considered the loss to be a massive embarrassment. It even led to his distrust of his generals. For his part, Joseph Stalin became more confident and went from defensive to offensive the rest of World War II.
According to Georgi Zhukov, Germany lost because it underestimated the forces of the Soviet. It was also because Germany’s strategies and schemes failed. This loss started a domino effect against the Germans which is also another proof of the Stalingrad battle’s significance. After this loss, the morale of the Germans badly took a hit. In addition, they took significant losses in their resources. In addition to losses in troops, they also lost a lot of their other resources needed to win a war.
For starters, their gas rations were significantly affected. The rations were so affected that they had to carefully manage them while in battle. They were expecting to get more resources after winning the battle, but unfortunately for them, they lost. This is why they ended up with fewer resources than when they started the battle.
With these after-effects, the Allies grew in strength while the Germans became weaker. This made it easier for the Allies to win in the World War. With the Germans unable to travel far because of low resources, the Allies were able to take advantage.
Germany acknowledged before the battle that it’s a very important battle that they should win. If they were able to get the victory, it would have made it easier to advance further and assault the Caucasus. The Russians also acknowledged that it’s important that they defend it as it’s their center for transportation and industries. There’s also a symbolic importance that both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin wanted to get and preserve.
Celebrating the Victory even Today
Ask the Russians and most, if not all of them, will tell you that it’s a significant part of their history. Stalingrad is the greatest battle of the Russian Great Patriotic War. War historians will also tell you that it’s the greatest battle in the entire WW2. It really turned the tide over to the Allies.
The Russians hail the battle as a “contemporary Cannae”. On the other hand, Germany condemns the battle as a Rat War. That alone shows the significance of the Battle of Stalingrad.