80 years ago, a victory changed World War II

Battle of Stalingrad: 80 years ago, a victory that changed World War II

Russian servicemen march to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.


The Battle of Stalingrad, which changed the course of World War II 80 years ago when German forces surrendered to the Red Army, remains a powerful symbol of patriotism in Russia as it waged its war in Ukraine. .

One of the biggest battles in history, fighting raged for over six months in 1942 and 1943 before the Russians defeated Nazi soldiers trapped in the ruined city in the middle of winter. deep.

By the time it ended, on February 2, 1943, about one to two million people had died.

The first Nazi surrender was celebrated in Russia as the rescue of Europe from Adolf Hitler and the city was hailed as the “City of Heroes”.

award venue

Located about 900 kilometers (559 mi) southeast of Moscow, before the war, Stalingrad was the smelter of Soviet industry with factories in the city of 600,000 producing military hardware.

Stalingrad also serves as a gateway to oil fields in the Caucasus as well as Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.

For Hitler, who withdrew from the non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union in June 1941, its name alone made it a tantalizing target and worthy of an epic battle. In turn, Stalin was determined to keep it at any cost.

200 days and nights

The battle began in July 1942 and lasted for 200 days with aerial bombardment and house-to-house fighting between German troops on the one hand and Soviet soldiers and civilians on the other.

The Soviets were given strict orders from Stalin to stand their ground. “Don’t take a step back,” he ordered, warning that any retreating troops would be shot.

German General Friedrich Paulus’s Sixth Army gained control of 90% of the city.

But in November, the Red Army staged a powerful counter-offensive, overcoming enemy troops trapped and starved in the Soviet winter.

In January 1943, the Soviets launched a final offensive, recapturing each district of the ruined city until the last Germans surrendered on February 2, 1943.

From Stalingrad to Volgograd

Founded in the late 16th century on the banks of the mighty Volga River, the city was originally called Tsaritsyn.

It was renamed Stalingrad in 1925 in honor of the then Soviet leader, and in 1961 was renamed again to Volgograd in the wake of the Kremlin following Stalin’s death to remove the cult of personality of the Soviet Union. dictatorship.

In 2013, city legislators voted to restore the name Stalingrad for ceremonial purposes six days a year, including February 2, commemorating the surrender of Nazi Germany, and September 9. 5, to mark the Soviet Union’s final victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

On Wednesday, a bust of Stalin was unveiled in the city ahead of the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Battle of Stalingrad.

glorious battle

The city has many Soviet relics, promoting a thriving historical tourism business.

Looming over the city is a hilltop battle memorial that includes an 85-meter (279-foot) high sculpture of a woman with a raised sword, known as “The Call to the Fatherland.” “.

“The defenders of Stalingrad have passed on to us a great legacy: love of the Fatherland, readiness to defend its interests and independence, steadfastness in the face of any challenge,” Putin said. 2018 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the surrender.

Movies and video games

The battle has been the inspiration for several films, from German director Joseph Vilsmaier’s “Stalingrad,” a devastating depiction of battle witnessed by German troops, to the Russian director’s 2013 film Fyodor Bondarchuk took the Soviet experience.

In literature, it inspired Vasily Grossman’s famous 1960 masterpiece “Life and Fate,” which was banned in the Soviet Union for more than a quarter of a century for drawing the line between Stalinism and nationalist.

In popular culture, Sergeant Yakov Pavlov, one of the heroes of the battle, appeared in the hit video game “Call of Duty”.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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