Term Paper: Battle of Stalingrad

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The Russians began a concerted campaign to "reeducate" German soldiers. The Nazi administration, including Hitler, had used brainwashing techniques to gain control of Germany and its army. The Russians used similar tactics to reeducate the Nazi soldiers, and their crushing defeat at Stalingrad helped degrade them enough to listen, especially when their commanders were involved.

Later, these POWs would return to Germany and spread another form of brainwashing, their conversion to Communism, which was drilled into them at the reeducation schools in Russia.

In fact, many were instrumental in breaking up Berlin into two separate areas, one Communist, one free.


Much of the defeat at Stalingrad can be blamed directly on Hitler and his obsession with control. When his initial strike into Russia failed in 1941, he removed many of his high-ranking generals, and took over the role of commander-in-chief of his army. He replaced his more seasoned generals with a group of "yes-men" who where more compliant to his wishes.

In fact, when Hitler dismissed General Halder, a resistance movement that hoped to assassinate the Fuehrer grew and gained momentum. " Hitler's inability to take Stalingrad bolstered the morale of the Russian Army while creating a sense of doom in the German Army. It also began to undermine Hitler's power and domination of his own men and might. Many accounts of the battle were censored in the German press, and the German people did not get the full truth of what happened at Stalingrad until after the war was over, and uncensored reports began to be published in Germany.

Hitler was a cruel and despotic man whose quest for domination clouded his judgment. Stalingrad brought out the worst in the man and the leader, and showed his underbelly to the world, and to his own staff. Many of the German fighters captured as POWs turned against him during their stay in Russia, and many of his own people began to turn against him, too. Historians agree Stalingrad was the turning point against Germany in the war, but even more, it was a turning point for the German people, too. Hitler's popularity would never rise to what it was when Germany was victorious, and ultimately, unable to face another defeat, Hitler would commit suicide - unable to face the eventual defeat of his country and his ideals.


The Battle of Stalingrad was so important because it illustrated the German Army's weaknesses, and proved the "invincible" Panzers could indeed be beaten and broken. It also illustrated Hitler's weakness as a military leader.

Perhaps if he would have entrusted leadership to his generals, the battle might have taken a different turn, and the war might have ultimately ended differently. Historians agree that Stalingrad indicated the full brutality and irrationality of Hitler and his obsession with world domination. It showed the world how little he cared for human life, even the lives of his own troops. One historian states, "The catastrophe of Stalingrad exposed for all to see the inhumanity and irresponsibility of the Nazi regime toward its own people in the pursuit of its megalomaniacal and criminal aims."

Hitler saw the battle as another in the continuing trend of German victories in Europe, and it seemed almost inconceivable to him that his vast divisions could be wiped out by the Red Army. The morale in Germany fell dramatically after the defeat, and the government officially decreed three full days of mourning for those lost in the battle.

However, perhaps the most important affect of the loss was the beginning of a questioning of Hitler's motives inside his own country. Some of his staff began to wonder about his stability, and the German people faced defeat in their minds for the first time.

The Nazi regime lost some of its' sparkle with the defeat of Stalingrad, and Hitler's refusal to accept defeat or to remove the troops before the worst of the winter. Stalingrad was a decisive victory for the Russians and a crushing and demoralizing defeat for the Germans, and ultimately for Hitler's despotic regime.


When the fighting was over, most of Stalingrad lay in total ruin. As one historian states, "Not much was now left of this city which had once housed nearly half a million people."

Today, the city formerly known as Stalingrad is called Volgograd. It is a teeming industrial port city, with nearly 1 million people.

After the war, it was one of the first cities Russia began to rebuild. It is still remembered as a significant turning point in the tide of World War II. In 1967, the Soviet government constructed a massive statute outside the city to commemorate the bravery of the Russian fighters who repulsed the Germans. Built atop Mamayev Mound, which was a key point throughout the battle, the 72-meter high monument depicts a Soviet woman clutching a sword and uttering a battle cry for freedom. Even today, millions of Soviets visit the monument each year to pay tribute to the Russian Red Army fighters and their ultimate sacrifice.

The Mound monument has evolved into a complex called "Mamayev Kurgan," with several buildings and monuments commemorating the battle for Stalingrad.

The Russian people have not forgotten the sacrifice their relatives made to save their country from fascism, and they visit the monument today to remember and say "thank you." Volgograd residents are especially proud that their monument to Mother Russia is the tallest freestanding monument in the world.

In conclusion, Stalingrad was a turning point for many reasons. When the Russian Red Army repulsed the Germans, Hitler refused to admit defeat, and the course of the war changed forever. The world began to see Hitler for what he really was, and many of his own people began to realize just what a despot he was. When Hitler committed troops to Stalingrad, and began his series of miscalculations with his fighting forces, he signed his own death warrant, and the death warrant of Germany, too. Stalingrad was a deadly battle, but a decisive one, and Europe's history could have been far different if the Germans had taken the city.


Author not Available. 2004. Battle for Stalingrad. Stalingrad.com. http://www.stalingrad.com.ru/history/history.htm (Accessed June 15, 2004).

Cassidy, Henry C. Moscow Dateline, 1941-1943, by Henry C. Cassidy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1943.

Editors. 2004. Volgograd. VisitRussia.com. http://www.visitrussia.com/citiesguide/volgograd.htm (Accessed June 15, 2004).

Hughes, H. Stuart. Contemporary Europe: A History. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1961.

Maehl, William Harvey. Germany in Western Civilization. University, AL: University of Alabama, 1979.

Muller, Rolf-Dieter, and Gerd R. Ueberscher. Hitler's War in the East, 1941-1945: A Critical Assessment. Translated by Little, Bruce D. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1997.

Poroskov, Nikolai. "Stalingrad: The Battle That Broke Hitler's Back." Russian Life, November/December 2002, 34+. http://www.questia.com/.

Smith, Arthur L. The War for the German Mind: Re-Educating Hitler's Soldiers. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1996.

Author not Available. 2004. Battle for Stalingrad. Stalingrad.com. http://www.stalingrad.com.ru/history/history.htm (Accessed June 15, 2004).

Henry C. Cassidy, Moscow Dateline, 1941-1943, by Henry C. Cassidy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1943), 327.

H. Stuart Hughes, Contemporary Europe: A History (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1961), 338.

Nikolai Poroskov, "Stalingrad: The Battle That Broke Hitler's Back," Russian Life, November/December 2002.

Author not Available. 2004. Battle for Stalingrad. Stalingrad.com. http://www.stalingrad.com.ru/history/history.htm (Accessed June 15, 2004).

Nikolai Poroskov.

H. Stuart Hughes, 338.

Nikolai Poroskov.

Battle of Stalingrad.

Nikolai Poroskov.

Arthur L. Smith, The War for the German Mind: Re-Educating Hitler's Soldiers (Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1996), 38.

H. Stuart Hughes, 337.

William Harvey Maehl, Germany in Western Civilization (University, AL: University of Alabama, 1979), 668.

Rolf-Dieter Muller, and Gerd R. Uebersch r, Hitler's War in the East, 1941-1945: A Critical Assessment trans. Bruce D. Little, (Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1997), 118.


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