February 2nd 1943: Battle of Stalingrad ends

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Soviet soldier waving Red Banner in February 1943

On this day in 1943, German troops surrendered to the Soviet Red Army in Stalingrad, thus ending the 5 months of fighting. The Battle of Stalingrad is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with nearly 2 million casualties. The Germans had attempted to invade Russia and capture Stalingrad, but the Russians fought back and cut off and surrounded the German army. The Russian winter soon set in, with sub-zero temperatures weakening the German forces.

 

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Aftermath of the Battle of Stalingrad

Eventually, the remaining army surrendered, and 91,000 were taken prisoner (including 22 generals). The German failure at Stalingrad was a key turning point in the Second World War, as the army never recovered from their defeat. The Nazi invasion of Russia has become symbolic of the disorder at the upper echelons of the Nazi machine. It was a shocking miscalculation which perhaps cost Germany the war. It is often compared to Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812; both France and Germany had been doing well in the war until the disastrous attempt to invade Russia during winter. In these occasions, the motherland defended herself.

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