Why did Guadalcanal and Stalingrad become “battlefields”? The turning point of the war situation considered by historians (part 2) | JBpress (JBpress)

The Turning Point of the War as Seen by Historians (Part 2)

The ruins of the city of Stalingrad and the Barmaley Fountain

(History author: Sosei Nishimata)

– The turning point of the war situation considered by historians (Part 1)

Stalingrad turned into a fierce battlefield

Let me cite the Battle of Stalingrad as another example of how an unexpected place turned into a fierce battlefield due to the course of events.

Stalingrad, an industrial city on the west bank of the Volga River, is now called Volgograd (currently, there seems to be a movement in Volgograd to change the city’s name back to Stalingrad).

The city is an important transport hub in the Volga region. However, when Hitler’s German army launched its invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, no one could have predicted that Stalingrad would turn the tide of the battle. This is because the German army had a strategy of massing forces and capturing Moscow in a short period of time.

However, Hitler, who failed in the short-term capture of Moscow, changed his strategy to occupy the resource zone in the direction of Ukraine. Although the evaluation of this decision is divided even now, Hitler made the decision to prioritize the war economy in anticipation of a long-term war.

The Germans intended to occupy the area roughly up to the Volga River. At this point, Stalingrad is just one of many cities to conquer. However, in this city there was a ferry terminal that crossed the wide Volga River.

Collapsing before the powerful German forces, the Soviet forces retreated towards Stalingrad in an attempt to cross the Volga and escape to the east. As a result, the German attacks were also converging on Stalingrad, and the city was surrounded by German forces.

The Soviet military leaders who saw the situation became impatient. If Stalingrad fell to the enemy, the counter-offensive on the west bank of the Volga would lose its foothold. Therefore, we decided to send reinforcements one after the other to Stalingrad by transporting a piston on a ferry.

Many of the Soviet troops sent at this time were conscripts who were poorly trained and equipped. In the end, the Soviet army only had an area about the size of the shopping street in front of the station, but they managed to survive the German attack by continuing their human wave tactics.

And in the war situation, the two dictators, Hitler and Stalin, began to demand the name of the city. Eventually the name Stalingrad = “city of Stalin” took on a symbolic meaning, and that was the end of the age of soldiers.

In the end, the Germans were exhausted, exhausted, and helpless. In technical terms, this is the “offensive limit”. On the other hand, the Soviet side continued to mobilize troops and increase weapons production during this period, and was preparing for a counteroffensive.

In November 1942, the Soviet army finally launched a full-scale counterattack, and the German army that had surrounded Stalingrad was surrounded by the Soviet army. Attempts to break through the Soviet encirclement failed, and the German forces in the direction of Stalingrad finally surrendered to the Soviet forces. The number is said to be between 200,000 and 380,000. The German army could not recover from this blow, and thereafter it became a defensive battle.

By the way, the German (West) side has a strong tendency to consider the Battle of Stalingrad as the turning point in the German-Soviet war, but the Soviet side seems to attach great importance to the Battle of Kursk, which happened later. . What do you see as the turning point in that war? It is interesting that the losing side and the winning side are evaluated differently.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.