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My WWII History Lesson: 75th Anniversary of Victory in Stalingrad and Why It Was So Important

THE MOTHERLAND CALLS FROM VOLGOGRAD

MOTHER RUSSIA, aka, The Motherland Calls (RussianРодина-мать зовёт!tr. Rodina-mat’ zavyot!). Mamayev Kurgan war memorial, Stalingrad (Volgograd).

**Attempts to re-write history and reverse Russian victory in WWII are intensifying. These re-writing attempts are coming from all kinds of countries, including Ukraine, Poland, Romania, the Baltics, US, Germany, etc. And even some of the young people in Russia are beginning to forget the truth. Humans are funny and their memory is short. This amnesia always results in a self-fulfilling prophecy otherwise known as ‘karma.’ This is why memory is so important. After all, ‘those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it.’

So we don’t forget, and can remind others — here’s a short, but important lesson from me:

75th Anniversary of the Victory in Stalingrad

Why was Stalingrad so important, why is it studied in all military colleges around the world and why is it arguably the most famous battle ever fought?

The city formerly known as Stalingrad is now called Volgograd (which means: the City on Volga River). A major commemorative parade took place today, Feb 2, 2018, in Volgograd (Stalingrad).

On June 22, 1941, at 4am, when people slept, Hitler’s Germany and their allies attacked the USSR simultaneously on all fronts. The Great Patriotic War began. Hitler’s troops moved relentlessly and to quickly through the territories of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.

They were stopped only near Moscow and Leningrad, but at a huge cost. The German advancement meanwhile continued elsewhere, as town after town and city after city fell, despite the troops’ and population’s heroic defense. In 1942 Hitler was advancing on most fronts and Germans were reporting that they could already see Volga ahead of them. If they crossed the major water artery of Russia, the Volga River, this would mean a nearly unencumbered access to the following major prize: The industrial Russian hub of the Urals. And from the Urals, they could advance to Siberia, with its oil and natural resource riches, and that would be the end of Russia and the USSR.

That’s why Stalingrad was the last and final stand. The phrase that made it into all history books was: “There is no land for us beyond Volga.” This is what officers told their troops. There is no land for us beyond this point. Germans cannot be allowed to cross Volga at any cost. It was a fight of the magnitude never before known by the world. It was the most devastating war humanity ever experienced, and the cost to both Russian/Soviet civilians and troops was obsene and staggering. The amount of self-sacrifice and heroism was out-of-this-world. There was no choice: if Germans crossed Volga, it would be the end. They had to be stopped.

The outcome of that battle and entire WWII, the Russian/Soviet victory in it saved the entire world — and that means you, You and YOU, by the way. All at the expense of MILLIONS of RUSSIAN and SOVIET LIVES!

While General Friedrich Paulus, the commander of the 6th German Army was preparing to toast the victory of Stalingrad, Russian generals were preparing their counter-attack plan. Rumor has it that Hitler was so confident in Paulus’ success that he promoted him to field marshal just before the day Paulus surrendered together with his army to the Russian Army.

More hilarious details from Wikipedia:

Paulus surrendered in Stalingrad on 31 January 1943, the same day on which he was informed of his promotion to field marshal by Adolf HitlerHitler expected Paulus to commit suicide, repeating to his staff that there was no precedent of a German field marshal ever being captured alive. While in Soviet captivity during the war, Paulus became a vocal critic of the Nazi regime and joined the Soviet-sponsored National Committee for a Free Germany. He moved to East Germany in 1953.

Might this be a lesson for new aggressors?

The unexpected by both Germany/Axis allies and US/UK Allies Soviet victory in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43 not only shocked the world, but it completely turned around the fates of WWII and Nazi Germany. The beginning of Hitler’s demise took place in Stalingrad. In the Great Stalingrad Cauldron, Russians surrounded and took prisoner over a hundred thousand of German troops.

But what very few people know is that the actual brilliant Soviet Stalingrad counter-attack plan was initially much grander and it included several broad fronts, down to Caucasus. If the whole plan succeeded, most German troops would have been surrounded and WWII could have ended a year or two earlier. The plan succeeded only partially, and after Stalingrad there was a number of other giant battles on the Soviet territory, plus hundreds and hundreds of smaller ones. In these battles the two titan armies clashed: one in order to conquer and enslave, and another to protect and liberate the Motherland.

The largest tank battle of WWII was the Battle of Kursk, July-August 1943, when Germans gathered all the resources they could in order to regain advantage. They failed miserably.

The Battle of Kursk, also known as the Arch of Kursk (Russian: Kurskaya Duga), had its own legendary ‘aha’ moment, when the well-oiled German war machine suddenly came to a screeching halt as thousands of state-of-the-art, awe-inspiring and menacing German tanks stopped, as if turned off by God’s invisible hand. For 20 minutes they helplessly watched as Russian tanks were quickly catching up to them in the giant battlefield, which would eventually become the Germans’ grave. This mysterious event took place in the stretch of the core central Russian steppes known as ‘the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly.’ The mystical mass sabotage of the German hardware during the Kursk Battle helped ensure another crucial victory for the USSR and another devastating defeat for Nazi Germany, from which it never recovered.

But the advancement of the German army was first stopped in Stalingrad. And with every next battle, inch by inch Russian / Soviet people liberated their land from the brown plague of the German fascism and their allies.

Stalingrad was rebuilt from the complete ruins after the war ended, and the Battle of Stalingrad memorial complex was built on Mamayev Kurgan, on the banks of Volga. It consists of a number of monuments and mass graves of those who perished defending Russia.

The main monument is the towering statue, MOTHER RUSSIA, or The Motherland Calls (RussianРодина-мать зовёт!tr. Rodina-mat’ zavyot!). She is the reminder of the truth that can never be forgotten. (See the image on top.)

Parade preview with Eng subs

75th Anniversary of the Stalingrad Victory Parade video, Volgograd

 

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