Stalingrad (Never Again)

I originally was planning on skipping this blogpost, but I could not refuse writing about Russia and World War Two. The Russian role in World War Two has always been of interest, Russia acting as “the enemy of my enemy” quite possibly shifting the entire course of the war.

If there was a dictionary definition for the quote about those not knowing history being doomed to repeat it, the Battle of Stalingrad would appear next to the definition. If Hitler had thought back to the numerous tries and failures of armies invading Russia, He could of made a much more informed decision. The decision he made to invade Russia, more specifically all the way to Stalingrad proved to be a costly mistake. Had he succeeded in what Siegelbaum referred to as “The main object of the Nazi offensive in the summer of 1942 were the oil fields of Baku, the seizure of which would have deprived the Red Army — and the rest of the Soviet Union — of its principal fuel supply.” (The Nazi Tide Stops, Siegelbaum) he could have inflicted a huge wound in Soviet supplies, as well as “the symbolism of capturing the city that bore the Soviet leader’s name…” (Siegelbaum) to hurt soviet morale. Diverting these troops just for a morale blow in hindsight clearly was not worth the loss of human life, Stalingrad being one of the deadliest battles in the history of warfare.

The Battle of Stalingrad represents a turning point of sorts in the war not just on the eastern front, but of the entire conflict as a whole. Stalingrad is a “household name” of battles in World War Two, perhaps to the vast majority of people the only one not involving American/British troops they know much about. This unfortunate notoriety is most likely a result of how deadly this battle was for both sides. World War Two being so violent, and Stalingrad being the deadliest battle of the war, hopefully people educate themselves on this battle so something of its magnitude never has to happen again. The battle is so scarily fascinating because of the intense, close quarters urban combat. I cannot imagine the conditions these troops fought in, and the trauma they suffered after being in combat in such close quarters. To me, it represents an unfortunate pinnacle of human horror.

This picture from Stalingrad forced me to do a double take. Thinking of the themes from my last blogpost, I questioned if it was doctored or not. Also, at first I thought this was a group of live children, but upon a closer look it became clear it depicts a statue that survived the Battle of Stalingrad. Unfortunately, the statue was probably one of the few things that survived this battle, living and non-living.

 

Statue in the center of Stalingrad after Nazi air strikes, 1942.jpg

https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/statue-center-stalingrad-1942/

( Emmanuil Yevzerikhin, Rare Historical Photos)

Works Citied:

Lewis Siegelbaum, “The Nazi Tide Stops”

(Rare Historical Photos, Emmaniul Yevzerikhin)

8 thoughts on “Stalingrad (Never Again)”

  1. Ethan, great depiction of the horrific nature of Stalingrad. That picture is absolutely terrifying – I’ve never seen that before! An exploration of what Stalingrad can tell us about the broader Soviet experience in World War II might enrich this post, but overall, good job!

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  2. I like this post. I like how you put in context what this battle meant for the Russians at the time compared to how we think about it just as a name today.

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  3. Great post, I really like how you contextualized this Battled not only with regards to the Eastern front but within the whole war, and highlighted its importance even thought Britain and the US weren’t involved

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  4. Ethan, I really like how you included the last photo of the statue to elaborate on just how devastating the battle of Stalingrad was. I cannot imagine what these Russian soldiers went through and what the survivors dealt with after the war.

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  5. Good post, Ethan! I liked how passionate you were about this topic and how you were so motivated to write about this topic. I thought you did a really good job in capturing the true horror of the Battle of Stalingrad and the picture you chose to talk about was so haunting, but so interesting to see.

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  6. I really enjoyed your post! I also talked about the Eastern Front of WWII in my blog post. I think that it’s really hard to comprehend the human cost of this battle. The battle itself cause nearly two million casualties, and is the deadliest battle in human history.

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  7. The Battle of Stalingrad really was horrific, and I don’t think that people can really contextualize the loss of life and goods that it resulted in. Great post, and I feel like you really highlighted how important this battle was, not just culturally for the Soviet Union, but strategically for the war effort.

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  8. Thanks for reminding us how key the Battle of Stalingrad was to the overall trajectory of the war. You are right that it was indeed the turning point — although it isn’t until after the B. of Kursk a few months later that the realization sinks in that Soviet victory is a matter of when not if.

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