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Why was the battle of Stalingrad a turning point in the conflict of WW2?
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Why was the battle of Stalingrad a turning point in the conflict of WW2?

How and why was the battle of Stalingrad a turning point in the conflict of WW2?

I need some reasons as to how it was a turning point and why capturing the city of Stalingrad was so important to Germany and defending it for the Soviet Union


It was a big defeat and the Germans lost a lot of men; killed, injured or captured. The Germans did not have enough winter clothing - the German military machine really messed up there! They were not so efficient after all!

Germany started running out of men. There comes a point where you just don't have enough men, especially men with experience. Germany had to start asking old men and boys to die for the Nazi cause. Germany still had most of its industrial capacity and had excellent technology. They had plenty of slaves working in the factories. After Stalingrad, Germany simply did not have enough men in its army whereas Russia had millions!

seeker of wisdom and truth
One simple word, the same as Iraq, oil. Had the Germans won Stalingrad the oilfields would be open to them denying the Russians this vital commodity.

It is when the German Army began to lose the war.

The destruction of the German 6th Army and the loss of over a quarter million irreplaceable men stopped the German advance into southern Russia. After this the German Army was never able to launch a large scale offensive ceding the balance of power to the Soviets. Stalingrad was not so much a strategic target but a political or psychological one as Hitler wanted to capture the city named in honor of Josef Stalin.

♦♦♦ Liebestod ♦♦♦
The Battle of Stalingrad was a turning point in the war in the Eastern Front, as well as in WW2, because von Paulus' 6th Army was the first German Army to surrender. After this titanic battle, the German forces had to retreat. The delay of the Sixth Army's surrender plus its delaying action in the ruins of the city ensured that von Kleist's army a chance to escape from the Caucasus.
The battle was among the bloodiest in the history of warfare, with the upper estimates of combined casualties coming to nearly two million. The battle involved more participants than any other, and was marked by brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties by both sides.
Furthermore, Stalingrad showed what the Red Army could achieve when operations are properly planned, with coordination from the vast forces of the Soviet Union. They Soviets still had a long way to go when it comes to coordinated movements, but never approached the timing and coordination when it comes to movements of big land forces the Germans deployed in previous European battles in WW2.

This battle was the turning point of WW2 because it displayed the capabilities of the Red Army even though they could never match the Germans in a set-piece battle. The city of Stalin became the symbol of a communist state battling it out against the forces of Nazism, and coming out, finally victorious. It was important to Hitler annd to Stalin because here in this ruined city, lies the symbolism and the hope of a symbol of victory against opposing ideologies.

Matthew M
Why it was a turning point: Entire German Army encircled and captured. German forces in retreat and Soviets advances after this battle (also demoralizing loss for Wehrmacht)

Important to Germany: Hitler wanted to capture the name-sake city of Joseph Stalin, the leader of Soviet Russia. Hitler hated communists and thought Russians/Slavs to be an inferior race and this would be personally gratifying to him. There were stragetic purposes for taking the city but these paled in comparision to the personal motivation.

Important to Soviet Union: Same as above but reversed, didn't want to lose Stalin's name-sake. Also was a sort of "line in the sand" the Soviet Union drew. German forces were nearing Moscow and the USSR committed all available resources towards a victory at Stalingrad. If they lost the battle WWII probably would have had a different outcome, almost certainly on the Eastern Front.

It was important to Hitler, not to Germany. Hitler wanted the Caucausus mountains, but the German advance south was turned back by Soviet mountain troops. Otherwise, Hitler might have forgot all about the Volga.

But Hitler decided he wanted control of the Volga river and all its traffic. There was a famous speech recorded where he went over all his reasons for attacking Stalingrad and why he thought having the Volga was so important, instead of redoubling efforts to get the southern oilfields. You can probably find the speech online, it's in the German movie "Stalingrad" also.

So the Germans figured they would just roll right in to Stalingrad. The war wasn't so easy for them in Russia anymore, they'd been stopped short of Moscow and Leningrad, and lost some major battles. But Stalingrad was a sitting duck and after a vicious Luftwaffe bombing turned it to rubble the Germans figured it would be easy to capture.

At first they didn't meet much resistance but then the Russians counterattacked and fought fiercely, and it turned out the city being reduced to rubble made it easier to defend. The Germans still captured most of it, the Russians were left with a small strip of land by the river and one tiny pocket of land completely surrounded, but they kept sending reinforcements across the river and wouldn't give up even though they were mostly being killed.

Over time Hitler started getting obsessed with the battle, taking Stalingrad was like beating Stalin. Stalin seemed to realize this so he sent just enough reinforcements for the Russians to hold on to their tiny pieces of land by the river. German morale started to plummet because they were attacking well-fortified positions and dying a lot. One position called Pavlov's house was an apartment building that a single Soviet platoon was ordered to defend without retreat or surrender. They fortified it so well that the Germans attacked several times a day for two months, including with tanks, and couldn't take the position.

While the Germans were being encourage to waste their time attacking things like Pavlov's House, the Red Army was preparing a massive counterattack. With a pincer movement, the Soviets somehow caught the Germans by surprise and encircled the Stalingrad district including the Sixth Army that was attacking it. Cut off from supplies, the Sixth Army was doomed. Hermann Goering tried to supply them from the air, but ended up wasting many planes and never got near enough supplies there to do any good. The Germans tried to break through to rescue their trapped army, but they couldn't. Eventually the Sixth Army surrendered.

What Hitler wanted for propaganda value - to beat Stalin in "Stalin"grad - turned into a great morale-booster for the Soviets instead. Not only did they almost miraculously win the battle, they also got a huge number of German prisoners, and they completely ruined the German southern campaign, denying them both the oil and the Volga, and pushing them back across the Don river.

The battle of Stalingrad was also so vicious and deadly, it was probably at about the upper limit of what people can tolerate in a war in terms of starving, fighting, dying, snipers, tanks, bombing, and so forth. Maybe the toughest battle in history. To fight in a battle like that and win is great, and to lose a battle like that is devastating. Hitler expected the 6th Army's General Paulus to kill himself gloriously, by promoting him to Field Marshal via radio. But Paulus had had enough of the 3rd Reich and famously said "I have no intention of committing suicide for that Austrian corporal," and after surrendering he even turned coats and helped the Soviets.

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