The World War II Battle of Stalingrad!
One of the largest battles in history!

Hitler told General Friedrich Von Paulus,
"With your Sixth Army, you could storm the heavens themselves".

A couple of months later,
the Germans referred to Stalingrad as Hell on Earth.

The Battle of Stalingrad lasted for almost 200 days.
When it was over, Hitler and Germany knew the truth... they were losing the war.

 This is a painting of Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, 
German General Paulus and Russian General Chuikov. The painting also shows a battle scene from the fighting.

The German Sixth Army was lost at Stalingrad because Hitler refused to listen to his Generals.

Most historians believe that was the beginning of the end for the German war effort.

This is a photo of the 
'Motherland Calling' monument. It is a woman holding an upraised sword.

Motherland Calling.

In the modern day city of Volgograd,
overlooking the huge Volga River,
she stands on Mamayev Kurgan hill.

This is where some of the heaviest fighting
of the battle of Stalingrad took place.

From her base to the top of her stainless steel sword,
the gigantic monument is 270 feet.

Construction was completed in 1967.

Former Russian leader, Nikita Khrushchev
(who was at Stalingrad),
was in attendance during the opening ceremonies.

The Sixth Army was doomed

when Hitler asked Luftwaffe Commander, Hermann Goering, if the 300,000 man army could be supplied by air.

Goering, wanting to impress Hitler
(trying to make up for his failure to protect German cities from being bombed),
said 'yes, it can be done'.
Goering then told some subordinates to take care of it, and then he left for a shopping trip in Paris!

By the way, the British Secret Service
thought Goering was a pompous buffoon.

August, September and October, 1942

The entire city of Stalingrad has been destroyed. The German air force drops many thousands of bombs.
It has been estimated that an average of 4000 bombs fell on every square kilometer (.6 mile).
The entire city burns. The Sixth Army invades the city.

The battle for Stalingrad is a nightmare, for both sides.
Desperate men and women viciously fight for every square foot of the city.
They fight in the bombed and burned buildings; they fight in the sewers.

The tallest hill, Mamaev Kurgan, (where the Motherland Monument now stands),
is inundated with soldiers and explosions.
Possession of it changes a number of times.

Russian General Vasily Chuikov throws away the book on how to fight battles.
He instructs his men to stay as close to the German lines as possible;
this prevents the Germans from using their air force and artillery, for fear of hitting their own soldiers.

Hitler is angry that the city hasn't been taken. Sixth Army Commander Paulus is frustrated.
The Luftwaffe continues to bomb the city and the factory district.
German officers are privately complaining that Hitler has become obsessed with Stalingrad.
"He wants to make piles of rubble into bigger piles of rubble."

November, 1942

Stalin and his Generals devise the plan that would begin the downfall of the German army in Russia,
and indeed, would help win the war.
The plan was to surround the Sixth Army and destroy it.
Tanks, planes and soldiers would be sent to the Stalingrad front, but would not be done openly.
Troops and weapons would be moved at night, and camouflaged during the daytime.
This really didn't fool the Germans. They were constantly patrolling the air and taking photos.

A top German officer briefed General Friedrich Paulus and his top officers.
"We have photos and intelligence that the Russians are planning a major counter offensive.
This is an attack army; armed to the teeth."

The German officer is stunned when Paulus seems somewhat unconcerned.

An interesting note.
The sniper battle between Ace Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev and
a top German sniper... was Russian propaganda.
It's a great story, but not true.

November 19, 1942

At 6:30 AM thirty-five hundred Russian guns began firing.
The Rumanian Third Army (a puppet army protecting the flanks of the Sixth Army), is destroyed.
The Germans are stunned to find Russian tanks among them.
From that point forward, the German army was now fighting for its life.

November 23, 1942

Photo of the monument at Kalach

The Russians complete their encirclement of the Sixth Army.
About fifty miles from modern day Volgograd, there is a huge monument at the area called Kalach.
This was the first point to report a linkup with other soldiers.

We've all seen the film clips of Russian soldiers running through the snow,
meeting with their compatriots and hugging.
Most people don't know that the linkup came sooner than the Russians expected;
the scenes of hugging soldiers were reenacted days later for the 16MM cameras.

December, 1942

The airlift has completely failed.
Never did the German air force succeed in delivering the absolute minimum requirement of 300 tons every day.
It wasn't that they didn't try. Over a five week period, 300 transports were shot down.

A relief army, led by the very well respected General Erich Von Mannstein, failed.
The Sixth Army was doomed.
The extremely cold winter (the Volga River froze, which rarely happens), had decimated the Germans.
German soldiers were freezing and starving to death.
On Christmas Day, even though there was a one day truce, 1280 German soldiers died.
At the end of December, German soldiers were killing themselves.

January, 1943

The final German airfield was lost. During the last week of January, General Paulus gave it all up
and moved his command post to the basement of the bombed and burned out Univermag department store.

There were now more than one-hundred thousand German soldiers in the basements of Stalingrad.
These were the ones that chose not to kill themselves.

On January 30th, Hitler promoted Paulus to Field Marshal, because no Field Marshal had ever surrendered.
The idea was that Paulus would do his duty and kill himself.
The very next day, Paulus surrendered.

Friedrich Paulus was taken to a farmhouse for the official surrender.

He received promises that his soldiers would be treated well.
However, this was a bad war and it never happened. Of the more than 105,000 Germans taken into captivity,
less than five thousand survived to return home to Germany, many years later.

In his memoirs, Nikita Khrushchev wrote what had never before been admitted,
that many of the German prisoners had been executed by their Russian guards.

We've all see film of the long lines of German soldiers being led off to captivity.
However, many of them remained in Stalingrad to help repair the damage.
In March, an outbreak of typhus killed most of them.
South of the city, the Russians dug a big trench and dumped forty thousand German bodies into it.

But things were not better for the half million other German, Italian, Hungarian and Rumanian prisoners.
During the months of February, March and April, more than four hundred thousand of them died.

Friedrich Paulus and his top officers were taken to Moscow, where they survived the war in relative comfort.
For the rest of his life, he would defend his actions at Stalingrad.

Adolph Hitler would later admit that he, himself,
bore the ultimate blame for the destruction and loss of the Sixth Army.
Hitler had failed to listen to his top officers.

After Stalingrad, most of the attempts on Hitler's life began.

Winston Churchill later wrote that
the Russians at Stalingrad tore the guts out of the German war machine.

At least 750,000 Russians (possibly as many as a million), died in the battle.

In conclusion, it doesn't matter that this battle took place seventy years ago.
It doesn't matter that it changed the course of World War II.
What does matter is that so many people died... died in a battle... for one city.

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His aviation successes, Vegas casinos,
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