Battle of Stalingrad Facts
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The Battle of Stalingrad was the turning point of the Eastern Front of World War II. Having lost great amounts of territory to the advancing Nazi forces, the Soviet army and citizens made a last stand at the city of Stalingrad, named for their Communist leader. This battle would prove to be the military and ideological turning point of the conflict; because the Soviets were able to stand against the Nazis for such an extended period of time, they were able to wear down the enemy’s forces, ultimately outnumbering and outsupplying them, and forcing them into submission. The battle was also a morale issue for the Soviets; if they had lost the city of their leader’s namesake, they would be ideologically decimated, and the whole of the Soviet territory would have likely fallen to Nazi control.
This battle raged through the winter season of 1942-1943; the Nazis were ill-equipped for the harsh Soviet winter, a lesson that Hitler did not learn from his predecessors. Stalingrad was the communications center of the Soviet Union; it was also a critical manufacturing city. While it appeared as though the Germans were likely to win in the beginning, the war of attrition that soon followed would be their demise. Battles for control of individual streets broke down to basic hand-to-hand combat; snipers were a common element on both sides of the battle. Hitler, however, was as resilient as Stalin; both ordered their men to fight until the last bullet and life had been lost. Ultimately, there were simply too many Soviets and the German supply lines were stretched too thin. The Nazis surrendered various parts of the city at the end of January and beginning of February, an action that signaled the end of their eastern expansion, and, subsequently, their regime as a whole.