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The Batle of Stalingrad

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The Battle of Stalingrad Question 1 What was the Soviet reaction to the German invasion? The Soviet reaction to the German invasion was mixed. At first, many of the people of the Western Soviet Union welcomed the Germans as they believed the Germans would grant them their desire for independence. The Ukrainians in particular welcomed the Germans, as did the Baltic States, which had only been occupied by the USSR for two years. The Baltic States also had some German people living there who would have been keen to be German citizens again. In addition, the Soviet government had caused a severe famine in the Ukraine had caused a severe famine in the Ukraine, called Holodomor, in the early 1930s, which had resulted in around five million deaths. This famine was probably engineered by the Soviets to destroy the Ukrainian morale. The Soviet government made atheism the official stance on religion which made many citizens furious, and around one third of the population practiced religion against the Soviet wishes. There was a widespread hatred of Communism throughout the people of the Western Soviet Union as many felt it was forced upon them and they did not believe in the ideals of Communism. The Germans made huge advances through the so-called buffer states because of the reasons above and at first the Soviet army was taken by surprise as they believed they were safe for the time being because of the Nazi-Soviet pact. The USSR was also shocked at the sheer number of axis troops. The demoralised Soviet army had no answer to the German tactics. Stalin's leadership also had no solution to the crisis. The German offensive was halted just outside Moscow. In the spring of 1942 the Germans found that the Soviet resistance was much stronger than in the previous year. This was because the idea of the Germans as liberators had been quickly shown to be wrong. ...read more.


As he was so high up in the army perhaps he wouldn't have had a clear picture of what everyday life was like. However it does give us clear figures about how many units were destroyed so it helps to build an image of life during the battle. "The Ordeal of Total War 1939-45" by G Wright, gives us a sense of destruction as we can see the "acres of ruins" and the "bombed-out building". We also get an image of how cold it was there as we can see the snow covering everything so this helps give us a picture of how miserable it was there. However, Source G cannot give us a full / accurate picture of life in Stalingrad during the battle as we cannot see outside the shot so there could be a completely different scene from the one we are shown out of our view. In addition, with the technology available it very easy to doctor images to show what you want them to show. Also, questions need to be asked about who took the photograph. It could be taken to try and make a case to pull the troops out of the city so scenes could be staged to make things look worse than they are. On the plus side, most images give us an immediate idea of what is happening so they could help to give us a full and accurate picture of what is happening during the battle. Furthermore, Pavel Ivanovich Doronin - a Communist propagandist attached to the Red Army units fighting at Stalingrad helps to describe some aspects of life in Stalingrad as it talks about people living in "cellars, trenches and shelters". It also tells us about the "military activity" in the area. What's more it talks about street fighting which would have made life very tough if you were living there during the battle. ...read more.


On the military side, we are told that the 'period of German victories had come to an end; from now on, it was the Allies who were on the attack.' This is a very blatant turning point as the Allies launched a counter-offensive which didn't stop until the end of the war. Again, this source is open to criticism as he would not of had first hand experience of the battles and that fifty years on some details my have been distorted. Also, we are not told the nationality of the author which changes the point of view of the source. The newspaper source from the Daily Mail, Source F, offers a physiological effect as Hitler was made to look ridiculous as he was boasting about how easily it would be to take over Stalingrad as he says 'Stalingrad will be taken, you can be sure of that.' He also 'added that once the city was conquered the Germans would never be dislodged.' He failed to complete his first quote and thus could not complete the second quote. Source F has added credibility being a newspaper and that Hitler is quoted. Lt Gilbert Geisendorfer's account of the battle of Stalingrad focuses on the psychological turning points as he talks about the severe conditions of the German soldiers such as how they were 'exhausted and expressionless.' We are also told how 'pus and blood seeped through the torn rags of bindings' which suggests unsanitary conditions. Added to this we are told 'they were shivering in their scanty uniforms' which lowers morale a great deal. All this information suggests thoroughly miserable conditions. Lt Gilbert Geisendorfer's word could be criticised because he wasn't on the ground much being a pilot and we do not know who he was writing to which can make a big difference to the exaggeration of the information. To conclude, the Sources do appear to support the view that 'Hitler's defeat at Stalingrad can be seen as the turning point of the struggle against Russia.' ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

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