Military history

Stalingrad: The City that Defeated the Third Reich

Stalingrad: The City that Defeated the Third Reich

The turning point of World War II came at Stalingrad. Hitler's soldiers stormed the city in September 1942 in a bid to complete the conquest of Europe. Yet Stalingrad never fell. After months of bitter fighting, 100,000 surviving Germans, huddled in the ruined city, surrendered to Soviet troops.

During the battle and shortly after its conclusion, scores of Red Army commanders and soldiers, party officials and workers spoke with a team of historians who visited from Moscow to record their conversations. The tapestry of their voices provides groundbreaking insights into the thoughts and feelings of Soviet citizens during wartime.

Legendary sniper Vasily Zaytsev recounted the horrors he witnessed at Stalingrad: “You see young girls, children hanging from trees in the park.[...] That has a tremendous impact.” Nurse Vera Gurova attended hundreds of wounded soldiers in a makeshift hospital every day, but she couldn't forget one young amputee who begged her to avenge his suffering. “Every soldier and officer in Stalingrad was itching to kill as many Germans as possible,” said Major Nikolai Aksyonov.

CHAPTER 1: THE FATEFUL BATTLE

A City Under Siege

Interpretations of the Battle

Revolutionary Army

Stalin’s City

Prewar Era

Army and Party in War

Commanders and Commissars

Politics, Up Close

The Hero Strategy

Good and Bad Soldiers

Forms of Combat

People in War

Historians of the Avant-Garde

The Commission in Stalingrad

The Transcripts

Editorial Principles

CHAPTER 2: A CHORUS OF SOLDIERS

The Fate of the City and Its Residents

Agrafena Pozdnyakova

Gurtyev’s Rifle Division in Battle

Vasily Grossman’s “In the Line of the Main Drive”

The Landing at Latoshinka

The Capture of Field Marshal Paulus

CHAPTER 3: NINE ACCOUNTS OF THE WAR

General Vasily Chuikov

Guards Division General Alexander Rodimtsev

Nurse Vera Gurova

A Lieutenant from Odessa: Alexander Averbukh

Regimental Commander Alexander Gerasimov

The History Instructor: Captain Nikolai Aksyonov

Sniper Vasily Zaytsev

A Simple Soldier: Alexander Parkhomenko

Captain Pyotr Zayonchkovsky

CHAPTER 4: THE GERMANS SPEAK

German Prisoners in February 1943

A German Diary from the Kessel

CHAPTER 5: WAR AND PEACE

NOTES