On 2 February 1943 the battle of Stalingrad was universally declared to be over, following the German surrender in the city the previous day. This magnificent victory by the Soviet forces was celebrated by anti-fascists across the world and it heralded the gearing up of the Red Army to push the fascist invaders all the way back to Berlin.
Here in the year of the 75th anniversary of that truly awe-inspiring and epoch-altering event, rated as the most important battle of WW2, we wish to salute the heroism and outstanding tenacity of the Soviet peoples, soldiers, sailors, workers, elderly, mothers and children who lived, fought and died or survived under a six-month relentless barrage of steel, fire and homicidal hatred. Shelter, by the end of the battle, mostly consisted of blasted factories and civic buildings, which were in a state of semi-rubble or altogether bombed out, and cellars open to the elements where housing had once stood. And yet Stalingrad successfully resisted the cream of the German fascist forces and held out until fresh Soviet troops in sufficient number could be brought in for a masterful encirclement of the city followed by the crushing of all Nazi resistance in the massive part of the city (some 90%) that the Nazis occupied but could never totally rule.
In June 1942 a German offensive into southern Russia had been launched with the express aim of reaching Baku on the other side of the Caucasus and the rich oilfields that supplied 80% of Soviet fuel. This would have been a crippling blow to the Soviet resistance to German fascism.
The capture of Stalingrad was vital in this drive to Baku in order to be able to strengthen the German defensive line along the Don and Volga. Of course, western historians concentrate only on the fact that Hitler wanted to occupy, then totally destroy, the city that carried the name of his nemesis. It is certainly true that this was one facet of the assault, but the military need for the Nazis to take Stalingrad is undeniable to anyone with any knowledge of the Soviet Union. The positioning of Soviet forces within Stalingrad made it impossible safely to bypass the city, contrary to what some of these charlatan historians profess. It is for this reason that in October 1942 General Friedrich Paulus’s 6th Army occupied all but 10% of Stalingrad and seemed poised to obliterate all opposition, and yet those hard-pressed Soviet defenders, as they waited for the relief that they knew would come, clung to their positions on the western banks of the Volga, making the Germans pay heavily for every inch that they tried to take.
A start to the reversal of positions in Stalingrad came in November 1942 when the Red Army launched a massive counter-offensive that broke through the Germans’ flanks and trapped Paulus’s 6th Army in the city. It only took three months after that for Paulus and his elite troops to surrender. As the guns stopped and the smoke settled over Stalingrad, 170,000 Germans lay dead in the ruins or buried underneath them, while 100,000 more were now prisoners of the mighty Soviet Union. To the human cost that the fascist forces suffered must be added the not inconsiderable loss of 3,500 tanks, 12,000 guns and 3,000 aeroplanes in Stalingrad.
Those who try to lessen the magnitude of the Soviet victory will point to the fact that one million (i.e., more than the combined British and Americans losses during the whole war) Soviet citizens also died in the battle, but in fact many of these were civilians who were rounded up and transported as slave labour to die elsewhere or murdered in retaliation for German officer deaths at the hands of Soviet snipers and commando units in the Nazi occupied parts of the city, while others died during fascist aerial and artillery bombardments. Of course, many of these Soviet civilians did fight alongside their troops and others supported them as much as possible, but whatever the number or occupation of the Soviet fallen in Stalingrad, in the end, we remember their collective courage and the fact that they never gave in!
So much rubbish has been written about Stalingrad and comrade Stalin by western ‘historians’ that, were we to give their anti-Soviet, anti-Stalin diatribes any credibility at all, we would be left wondering just how the mighty (and it was indeed mighty) fascist army was ever resisted, let alone totally defeated. Could a people who were totally oppressed and who would each have had to know at least one or two of the many millions that the western pseudo-historians fraudulently claim were put to death by Stalin in the early thirties, really have fought so tenaciously to defend their land and, more importantly, their social system? No! Rather, it was their belief in and love of socialism, the Soviet Communist Party and the man that they considered their political father, Joseph Stalin, that inspired them and lent such great strength and fortitude to their resolute defence.
The western imperialist powers, who had helped bring the Nazis to power in Germany and tried to push them towards fighting the Soviet Union (what else was the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia if not a bribe to the German war machine to move closer to the USSR?), have since the moment that the war ended tried to belittle and make light of the Soviet role, but the truth will always out in the end. It may have been forgotten by many that even Winston Churchill, the virulently anti-communist British wartime leader and imperialist butcher, had to admit that it was the Soviet forces that “tore the guts out of the German war machine”. Around 90% of German losses were on the eastern front leaving just 10% to be claimed by the 8th Army in Africa and the British and US forces in Europe.