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Stalingrad: February 1943 – The German Defeat Sources Questions

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Introduction

Stalingrad: February 1943 - The German Defeat Sources Questions Does Source A explain the reasons for the German surrender at Stalingrad? Explain your answer using Source A and your own knowledge I think that A explains the reasons for the German defeat reasonably well, as there is no reason why Paulus should now lie, as he knew that he was facing defeat. However, I cannot be sure as to whether or not he was still loyal to Hitler. Paulus would have had first hand knowledge as to what was going on, and I know that the stated reasons for defeat were in fact occurring. This was because Hitler was not sending enough reinforcements, and those that he did send did not make it through. The results were that the troops starved, and that the German lines collapsed. This would comply with what Paulus is saying, and that fact that he is requesting immediate surrender shows the desperation of the situation. Therefore, I would say that he is telling the truth and that the basis for the defeat is given, although it is not in very much detail. It is possible that Paulus wanted to glorify his defeat by showing that he went down in the best way possible, although he clearly had not wanted to fight to the end, still showing that the source is reasonably unbiased, as Paulus can be said to have been loyal, at the end, to his own troops only. ...read more.

Middle

Source E is from a German broadcast of 1943. Source F is from a Soviet school textbook. Why are these interpretations about the end of the Battle of Stalingrad so different? Explain using Sources E and F and your own knowledge. Firstly, I think that the two sources are so different because of their different target audiences. The broadcast, most likely aimed at those related to the 6th Army, and the German public, would have wanted to boost morale and possibly to comfort the loved ones of the dead. They would also want to show that they did not die in vain, and that their efforts were not lost - so this would mean that they would need to give a very biased report, and show that they did their best, but that the Russians were unstoppable. The source would have been written to show the Germans in the best light possible, as well as saying that they had done good, etc. F, however, shows almost the opposite view - from the point of view of the Russians - that the Germans were defiant, despite their offers of surrender. It then goes on to show figures for the captures, etc. of the Germans, and these would seem to be reasonably reliable from my external knowledge. ...read more.

Conclusion

As B shows, it was important that Russia won to improve the morale of the public, and to prove that Russia was again strong. Sources such as C could suggest that Germany never really stood much chance when it was surrounded, as the Russians used powerful tactics. This would suggest that the Germans were not morally strong enough, and perhaps that the Russians fought harder for the defeat, as it was on their homeland. C also shows the realisation in the soldiers that Hitler was not the great tactician that everybody though he was - they had been deceived by Hitler. The German announcement of their defeat would seem not to care too much for the loss of the actual city and the chances to win the oilfields, but beneath this the Germans knew that without this oil, they could not hold out against the Allies for much longer without these much needed supplies. Also is the view that without the Russian defeat, much more work would have been needed to be done by the Western Allies, which is probably why the Western cartoonist thought well of the Russian attack. It was probably also important for the Russians to win in order that they could spread the ideas of Communism much further, through a badly weakened East. ...read more.

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