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WHY ARE STALINGRAD AND LENINGRAD SO SIGNIFICANT?

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Introduction

WHY ARE STALINGRAD AND LENINGRAD SO SIGNIFICANT? Stalingrad and Leningrad were two vital cities in Russia in1942. They were very important as they were rich in resources and were good supply lines for reinforcements and for food supplies to the troops and the Russian public. Hitler knew that if both cities came under control of the German forces it would be his final offensive in the East. Although he had signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact with Stalin in 1939 he always planned to invade Russia. Hitler wanted:- * Lebensraum for the German people * To destroy communism * Resources such as wheat in the Ukraine and oil in the Caucasus Hitler knew that if he could take Leningrad and Stalingrad, then he could control nearly all of Europe as well as using the rich oil and mineral resources that Russia had. Also, most importantly he knew that he could appear even more of a threat to the Allies than before due to the vast amount of territory he had. ...read more.

Middle

In the spring of 1942 the Germans advanced again but were held up by stubborn Russian resistance at Stalingrad. The ferocity of the fighting at Stalingrad shocked the Germans, who were used to the relative ease of their Blitzkrieg tactics. Suddenly they were faced with hand-to-hand combat, often only yards away from the enemy. Soviet Veteran Suren Mirzoyan remembers the blood lust of the time. "I was like a beast. I wanted only one thing - to kill. You know how it looks when you squeeze a tomato and juice comes out? Well it looked like that when I stabbed them. Blood everywhere. Every step in Stalingrad meant death. Death was in our pockets. Death was walking with us." Then the Germans were again hit by the winter. In January 1943, the German army at Stalingrad (100,000 men) surrendered. The Russians began to push the Germans back and in June 1944 all German armies had been driven from Russia. The Russian resistance was crucial to the outcome of the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, he made a big mistake by moving 3/4 of the German army into Russia which cost him the war. The Allies could now prepare a major offensive in the West (D-Day). Furthermore, the cold severe weather meant that the Russians could now drive all German forces out of Eastern Europe. For the Russians, Stalingrad and Leningrad I think were important for mainly supply lines and for keeping the Germans away. The two cities were great forts in reassuring Russia's future. I think that if the fall of the two cities had happened, then the Russians would have had no chance in keeping the Germans out of Soviet Russia and possibly not even weakening the Germans - even if D-Day still took place. This is because the Russian resistance that were stopping the Germans from advancing would have run out of supplies of weapons such as tanks, guns, etc and would have had no fight to put up. I think the significance of the Battle for Stalingrad and Leningrad can easily be seen by just looking at the death count - 20 million Russians (soldiers and civilians). That surely shows the significance of the two cities. ...read more.

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