world war ii: battle of stalingrad

I wanted to write you a long letter, but my thoughts constantly disintegrate like houses which collapse under shellfire. I still have ten hours, then this letter has to be turned in. Ten hours is a long time for people who are waiting, but short for those in love.
—  An excerpt from a letter from a German soldier during the Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43)
Unbroken and 10 More Great Movies About World War II

Based on the best-selling non-fiction book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand, Angelina Jolie’s acclaimed film “Unbroken” joins a long tradition of cinema’s interest in the intricate details of World War II.

Unlike many of the other films, however, “Unbroken" narrows its focus on the impact that one individual, USA Olympian and athlete Louis Zamperini, had on the hearts and minds of hundreds of other people in and around the war. For that reason, the film stands as an interesting look at one of the world’s most fascinating events and individuals.

With Unbroken available on Digital HD now, and arriving on Blu-ray, and DVD on March 24, we’ve put together a list of 10 moregreat movies about World War II that you need to check out.

Keep reading

Soviet sniper and a Hero of the Soviet Union Vasily Zaytsev, Stalingrad, 1942
Between 10 November 1942 and 17 December 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad, he killed 225 soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht and other Axis armies, including 11 enemy snipers.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasily_Zaytsev

Васи́лий Григо́рьевич За́йцев (1915-1991) — снайпер 62-й армии Сталинградского фронта, Герой Советского Союза. Во время Сталинградской битвы с 10 ноября по 17 декабря 1942 уничтожил 225 солдат и офицеров германской армии и их союзников, включая 11 снайперов.

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Stalingrad, a 3 episodes documentary by Pascale Lamche and Daniel Khamdamov, 2015, Roches Noires Prod., Fondation Aleksandr

Broadcast by the Belgian and French TV on March and May 2015, I highly recommend to watch this powerful, breathtaking, even lyrical documentary about the Battle of Stalingrad.

Exclusively made of original footage of the battle, with emotional first hand account by Vassili Grossman, Alexander Werth and common Russian and German soldiers, this is the most realistic and profound documentary I saw about war.

We have to make justice to the Soviet people and the Russians for the high price they paid in defeating Hitler. The Cold War almost made us forget that they were the ones who entered Berlin long before the Americans.

Former German soldier looks at the camera in despair after he was captured during Stalingrad battle. Many of young soldiers like him died during the Stalingrad battle from cold weather, because Germany Army was  simply unprepared for a long-term battle within Russian borders and did not get the winter clothing pretty much till late mid winter of 1941-42. Soldiers had to take away the clothes of civilians on occupied territories by any means necessary, including killing innocent farmers and families.

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Letters from the front written in classical Hebrew and Juhuri (Judeo Tat), the traditional language of Mountain Jews. 1941-42.

During World War II, Soviet soldiers sent home triangular letters because of the postcard and envelope shortage—the folded format was necessary since mail needed to be reviewed by censors and couldn’t be sealed. Most of the letters above were written by Yakov Lazirovich Ashurov, a 17 year old volunteer for the front from Baku, Azerbaijan, later killed in the battle of Stalingrad. The Hebrew letters were written by Iosif Haimishievich Abramov from Quba, Azerbaijan. One letter informs his family that the war will soon be over, that they needn’t worry about him and should continue pushing his younger brothers and sisters to study well. The second letter in Hebrew is the Shema prayer (image on the left, lower background). In September 1941, Iosif’s family received news that he was missing. His mother kept this notice and his letters, the last of which came from Latvia, for decades after the war. 

I’ve seen a lot of takes on Stalingrad and World War II but I think this is mathematically precisely the worst take you could possibly ever have about the Battle of Stalingrad.

Imagine misunderstanding the nature of bravery, patriotism and war to this degree that you think refusing to fight for the literal survival of your nation against foreign invasion is immoral because muh gulags.

If your position on the ethics of fighting in a total war is wishing for a kind of extended version of the fucking Christmas Truce then you’re a moral infant masquerading as a philosopher.

If it was my family on the line I’d probably belt out The Internationale too, and not just because the tune is good.

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There Was No Shortage of Condoms at Stalingrad,

During the first stages of the Battle of Stalingrad it seemed that he German Army would soundly defeat the Russians and overrun the city.  However on the 19th of November the Russians launched Operation Uranus, a massive counterattack in which the German’s themselves were surrounded and held under siege.  The situation in the German pocket, called The Kessel (the cauldron) was very desperate as the German’s quickly ran out of food, ammunition, and other essential supplies.  Worse yet, the Germans had little winter clothing, and were still wearing their regular summer uniforms.  Despite the situation, Hitler demanded the German 6th Army hold their ground and fight to the last man, rather than attempting to break out and escape.

To supply the beleaguered troops at Stalingrad, Luftwaffe (air force) head Herman Goring devised a plan in which supplies would be airlifted and airdropped to keep the 6th Army going.  Such an endeavor had been done before, only on a 1/10th scale.  In reality the airlift was not feasible as there were not enough large aircraft available to supply an entire army.  As a result, the 6th Army always suffered a terrible shortage of badly needed supplies.  Worse yet, the items that were shipped by airlift were not always the most necessary items.  Due to rivalry between the Luftwaffe and Heer (army), there was little to no cooperation on what supplies were needed in The Kessel.  Worse yet, the horrid disorganization of the Luftwaffe resulted in the shipment of the wrong items.  

As result, a saddening but hilarious array of items were airlifted to Stalingrad.  Such items included oddities such as fish food, ground pepper, schnapps, and vodka.  In one bungle up cellophane casings for grenades were delivered containing no grenades.  Winter clothing was a badly needed commodity, however the Luftwaffe delivered endless amounts of summer uniforms. In another bungle up, 20 tons of vodka and schnapps were delivered. On Christmas day, cases of wine were delivered to cheer the men up for the holidays.  The wine froze and the bottles exploded before delivery, resulting in a transport plane filled with red slush.  The most bizarre mistake occurred towards the end of the battle when the Luftwaffe para-dropped cases of condoms directly on the Kessel.  It must have a hot time in Stalingrad that night.

Without the vital supplies needed, the men of the 6th Army suffered from frostbite, hypothermia, malnutrition, disease, and ammo shortages.  Finally, on the 2nd of February, 1943 the most of the 6th Army surrendered.  Around 110,000 German soldiers were taken prisoner and marched of to Soviet labor camps in the east.  Only around 5,000 would ever return home.

Where's Waldo in World War II?

Is he on Crete, fighting German paratroopers?
Is he in a Higgins boat, landing at Omaha Beach?
Is he in a Spitfire, fighting the Germans during the Battle of Britain?
Is he in a B-17 Flying Fortress?
Is he helping the Polish take Monte Cassino?
Is he fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad?
Is he in the Maori Battalion at Second Alamein?
Or perhaps he’s on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier!
Where, oh where, could Waldo possibly be?

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Most youngest child soldier in WW2 - Sergey Aleshkov (born in 1936)

Was found walking in the forest by Soviet troops and got adopted by one of the officers. During battles helped soldier with bringing ammunition. Was later wounded during Stalingrad battle and sent to hospital and never went back to the fields of war. When he grew up, became a lawyer (which in Soviet Union was basically a very basic profession, not much what it was in the rest of the world). Died in 1990, one year before Soviet Union collapsed.

“Soviet infantrymen move across snow-covered hills around Stalingrad, on their advance to lift the German siege of the city in early 1943. The Red Army eventually encircled the German Sixth Army, trapping nearly 300,000 German and Romanian soldiers in a narrow pocket.”

(AP)

10 Bloodiest Battles of World War II

Battle of Monte Cassino, 17 January–18 May 1944: 185,000 casualties

Battle of the Bulge, 16 December 1944–25 January 1945: 186,369 casualties

Battle of Kursk, 5 July–23 August 1943: 257,125–388,000 casualties

Second Battle of Kharkov, 12 May–28 May 1942: 300,000 casualties

Battle of Luzon, 9 January–15 August 1945: 332,330–345,330 casualties

Battle of France, 10 May–25 June 1940: 469,000 casualties

Battle of Narva, 2 February–10 August 1944: 550,000 casualties

Battle of Moscow, 2 October 1941–7 January 1942: 1,000,000 casualties

Battle of Berlin, 16 April–2 May 1945: 1,298,745 casualties

Battle of Stalingrad, 23 August 1942–2 February 1943: 1,250,000–1,798,619 casualties

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Welcome to Pavlov’s House,

In the midst of the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II, the Russian soldier Sgt. Yakov Pavlov was given orders to hold a four story apartment building along the Volga River.  The building was of great strategic importance, as it overlooked a large open square which dominated a large portion of the city.  Sgt. Pavlov was the acting commander of an understrength 25 man platoon.  On the 27th of September, 1942 Pavlov was ordered to fortify the building, and hold it to the last man and the last bullet.

Nicknamed “Pavlov’s House”, Sgt. Pavlov had double lines of barbed wire and trenches constructed around the building.  Every window was outfitted with a machine gun and PTSR-41 Anti-Tank rifles were placed on the roof.  Several times a day for the next two months the Germans would attack Pavlov’s house while the Soviets fired from the windows, basement and roof.  Hundreds upon hundreds of German soldiers were mowed down.  The anti-tank rifles were useless against the German tanks head on, however Pavlov and his men found that if they let the tanks come to within 25 meters, from the 4th floor the rifles could get a shot at the tanks thin top armor.  After several days of constant siege, Pavlov and his men found that they would have to take time during lulls of the battle, they would have to clean up the square, as the Germans would use blown up tanks and piles of bodies for cover.

Day after day the Germans attacked, and day after day Pavlov and his men held out.  They even survived artillery bombardments and air strikes.  At one point, the Germans even managed to enter the building, with both sides fighting over levels of the building and even individual rooms over several days.  Regardless, Pavlov and his men held.

By the time Pavlov and his men were relieved on the 25th of November, Pavlov’s house was nothing more than a smoking ruin and Pavlov’s platoon was reduced to only 12 men.  Pavlov himself was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, Order of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, and Two Orders of the Red Star.  Pavlov’s house came to came to symbolize the overall resistance of the Soviet people, who continued to fight no matter how bad things got, and who would take a hard punch only to return with an even harder blow.  Welcome to Pavlov’s house, and fuck you.

Georgy Zhukov

Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov (December 1, 1896 - June 18 1974),, political, military and Marshal of the Soviet Union, considered one of the most prominent commanders of World War II.

He is known for defeating the Japanese in 1939 during the battles of khalkhin gol and during World War II for his victories against the Germans in the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk, in Operation Bagration and the capture of Berlin.