WWII inquiries: how critical was Stalingrad? and how powerful was Germany?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Aki, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. Aki

    Aki
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    it was just yesterday that i "attentively" watched the movie "Enemy at the Gates". in its introduction it stated/implied that during WWII, the fate of the world is decided on Stalingrad.

    so how critical was Stalingrad? and to add, how powerful was Germany then? are they the most powerful at that time (during WWII)?
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    IF Stalingrad had fallen immediately, the Russian nation would have effectively been cut in two. Hitler, et al, would have had access to the oil fields of Persia. And his armies and esp the Luftwaffe would have had a field day in Moscow and Leningrad.

    I think Russia would have sued for peace (like WWI) and then the 12 million Germans/Axis soldiers in Russia would have been free for Africa or even England. D'Day would have been delayed for years. Might even have led to an armistice BEFORE the US entered the war - remember this was all 6 months BEFORE Pearl Harbor.

    I would most definitely put S'grad as the single most pivotal battle in Europe in WWII.
     
  3. The Galatian

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    As Churchill remarked, Stalingrad tore the guts out of the Nazi war machine. They never recovered from that debacle.
     
  4. Matt Black

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    From 23rd November 1942, when the Russians surrounded the German 6th and 4th Pz Armies in Stalingrad, until 2nd February 1943 when they surrendered, the Germans lost 278,000 men, not counting the casualties they had already sustained from August 1942 trying to take the place.

    That's a staggering loss by any stretch

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  5. Jim1999

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    There is no question that Stalingrad saved England. We would not have survived a German assault on Great Britain at that time, and it is certain that Mr. Hitler would have concentrated everything on Britain had Stalingrad not been attacked.

    The strongest army in Europe at the time was deemed to be France, but the fact that the German army took France in three days tells the story.

    The German military was under a rebuild from the early 30's, oddly enough, assisted by Russia. They had a power air force, navy and ground force....and a will to win at all costs.

    In England, we were still geared toward peace, a pact signed under the League of Nations..It took us time to prepare for war, both mentally and physically.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. Dan Todd

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    We certainly can be thankful that Hitler fought the war his way - instead of the way his trained generals wanted to fight it.

    Hitler started his march to conquer in 1938 or 39. The war ended in 1945 - and it took Germany being hopelessly outnumbered to end that war.

    Had Germany been ruled by a military genius, instead of a self-deluded madman - we might all be speaking German today.

    Dan
     
  7. Major B

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    First, the Caucasus offensive (Plan Blue) took place in 1942, after we entered the war.

    Bob, you are right. Had Hitler not tried to take the Caucasus and had invested Stalingrad rather than trying to take it, the Russian would have had no oil in short order (hence their armor and aircraft would have been useless), and Hitler could have rolled up their lines from the South to the North. He was not interested in a negotiated settlement--he wanted to exterminate Russia.

    Stalingrad, as a campaign, including the Russian counterattack, involved more soldiers and far more casualties than our entire invasion from D-Day until the end.

    The Book "Enemy at the Gates" from which the movie took its name and the brief story (of the snipers) that they made into an entire movie, is an excellent short history of the battle. I highly recommend it.

    The Eastern Front was the war in Europe. Our effort in France and Germany was a sideshow by comarison.
     
  8. Jeff Weaver

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    I absolutely agree, Stalingrad was a pivotal battle in World War II. The discussion heretofore, however, leads to a thought and a question. Would have a democratically elected leader had the fortitude to stick it out? Did it take one mad-man (Stalin) to stop the other (Hitler).?

    I will forgo my opinion for the moment on those questions.
     
  9. Major B

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    A couple of names come to mind: Churchill, FDR, in another day at a similarly tough time, Lincoln.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    Jeff, we had a democratically elected leader in England and he stuck it out all during the Bltiz, a year of day in and day out bombing of London and other major cities.

    Little known abroad is the fact that East Londoners had a march on Downing Street to plead with Churchill to surrender. We had had enough of the bombs, death and destruction in our area...220,000 houses bombed in that year in East London alone..where I lived.

    Churchill refused to give in and he threatend those Londoners that "he would shoot the lot of you."

    Yes, I think a democratically elected leader would have the fortitude to stick it out.

    Secondly, I think Mr. Hitler defeated himself, rather than Stalin defeating anyone.

    Again, Churchill wanted to drive the German Army back through Russia and wipe out the "true enemy". England had had enough and as you know, Churchill was voted out of office...He was strictly a wartime Prime Minister.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    Agreed, Jim. Think Patton (a fighting general) had the same idea to re-arm the Wehrmach and wipe out the commies.

    Whole different world if we play the "what if" game on that one! [​IMG]
     

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