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Was The Battle At Stalingrad, The Beginning Of The End For Hitler And His Supporters?

2161 words - 9 pages

Many historians consider the battle of Stalingrad as the turning point of WWII, because it signalled “the time of German victories was over” , as Ferro states. This is due to the fact that Hitler believed that Leningrad and Stalingrad were the “Bolshevik breeding grounds” , and therefore was more important to defeat, then the capital of Russia, Moscow. Furthermore, Stalingrad was marked as the furthest advancement made by the Panzer forces, however they had outstretched their supply lines, limiting their force, and hence led to von Paulus to surrender. Except, not all historians believe that this great battle was the actual turning point in the war, for example, Milward believes that when ...view middle of the document...

Moreover, Gilbert, does regard this battle as a turning point in WWII, as “the German failure to take Stalingrad had brought hope to captive peoples everywhere” . This quote does not only confirm the importance of this battle, but also demonstrates Gilbert’s interest in victims of the holocaust and, therefore would be generally referring to this particular group of victims. The German historian, Dietrich emphasises that the battle was “a decisive moral change” , due to von Paulus defying Hitler, as this was an action that no one was strong enough to carryout. Hence, the battle has provided many historians a chance to create an opinion of their own version of history, whilst providing insight of the battle that brought the change in the great war.

Hitler presumed that Russia was “leaderless” , and their army being “mindless” , and this is what convinced him that he would no doubt capture the USSR. The mission was originally named Operation Fritz, but changed later to Barbarossa. Some of the reasons that persuaded Hitler to attack the city was because it was a vital transport route between the Caspian Sea and Northern Russia, the fact that it was an industrial city, and because the city was named after Stalin , therefore this made the city seem more ideological. This is demonstrated through the quote by Hitler, "I am happy that I am now going on this anguish” . This signifies that Führer was highly excited upon this campaign against the Russians. Furthermore, according to Joseph Goebbel’s dairy the 22nd June was symbolic as it was “exactly 129 years earlier, Grand Army of Napoleon marched into Russia” . This could perhaps also display Hitler’s desire to mock Napoleon, as a way of showing that Germany was better than France. However, his defeat was similar to Napoleon’s, as both were not prepared for the extreme winter climates . Therefore, the Führer under estimated the climate and Stalin, to which assisted in his failure of the battle.

The actions of Hitler and Stalin had great impact in the outcome of the campaign Barbarossa. For instance, Hitler desired world dominance, and hence sought for the Russian empire to be conquered through strategic planing, as a way of demonstrating the world his ability to overrun a nation. This is evident through Gilbert’s writing that, “Hegemony over Europe”, Hitler added, ‘will be decided in battle against Russia.’ It was the defeat of the Soviet Union which would help bring Britain to her knees.” This signifies that Hitler believed that his Third Reich was capable of defeating Russia and through that success would bring the world to his obedience. Furthermore, Keegan states that, ‘Stalin does indeed seem to have come close to breakdown in the first weeks of Barbarossa.” However, this cannot be completely true, as even though it demonstrates that Keegan believes that Stalin had trouble accepting that there would be war, Harris implies that Stalin was merely taking action in protecting his nation...

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