Hitler played all kinds of little games with [Blondi]. He got her to beg, and ‘be a schoolgirl’, which meant getting up on her hind legs and putting both front paws on the arm of Hitler’s chair, like a good little school pupil. Her best turn was singing. Hitler would tell her, in his kindest, most coaxing voice, ‘Sing, Blondi!’ and then he struck up a long-drawn-out howl himself. She joined in the high notes, and the more Hitler praised her the louder she sang. Sometimes her voice rose too high, and then Hitler said, 'Sing lower, Blondi, sing like Zara Leander!’ Then she gave a long, low howl like the wolf who was certainly among her ancestors. She was given three little pieces of cake every evening, and when Hitler raised three fingers of his hand she knew at once that she was about to get her evening treat.
—  Hitler’s Last Secretary: a Firsthand Account with Hitler by Traudl Junge
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August 23rd 1942: Battle of Stalingrad begins

On this day in 1942, during the Second World War, the battle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union for control of Stalingrad began as the German 6th Army reached the city. The battle occurred during the Nazi invasion of Russia - codenamed Operation Barbarossa - and Adolf Hitler ordered an attack on the major city of Stalingrad. Stalingrad became a major playing field of the war, as Soviet leader Stalin was determined to save the city which bore his name. Under the leadership of General Paulus, German bombing destroyed much of the city and troops captured areas through hand-to-hand urban warfare. Despite initial victories, they struggled against the determination of the Soviet soldiers, and often saw areas they captured retaken by the Russians the following day. In November, Marshal Zhukov assembled six Russian armies to surround Stalingrad and trap the Germans in the city, barring provisions and troops from reaching them. Many German soldiers died of starvation and frostbite following the onset of the harsh Russian winter, with temperatures down to -30°C, but Hitler insisted they fight until the last man. After five months, the Russian Red Army claimed victory when the remaining German troops surrendered in February 1943, resulting in 91,000 Germans being taken prisoner, including twenty-two generals; this was all that remained of the 330,000 strong German force who arrived at Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad is among the bloodiest battles of the Second World War, causing nearly two million casualties. The disaster depleted the German army’s supply of men and equipment, allowing the Allies to gain the advantage, which enabled them to invade Germany and win the war. 

“The God of war has gone over to the other side”
- Adolf Hitler upon hearing of the German surrender at Stalingrad