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February 2023: 80 years since the Victory at Stalingrad


In late 1942, it looked like a Nazi victory in World War II was inevitable. With France under occupation and Britain kept at bay, Hitler’s fearsome wehrmacht threw all its might at the Eastern Front and the Soviet Union.

Its advance was unstoppable. German forces cut off and lay siege to Leningrad, got dangerously close to Moscow and then launched an operation towards the oil-rich Caucasus in August 1942. But history was about to turn.

The Soviet Union massed to defend the crucial city of Stalingrad on the Volga river. Despite intense bombardments that turned Stalingrad to rubble, the Red Army and civilian fighters dug deep to defend their positions at all costs. Street by street, building by building, they ground the Nazi war machine to a halt despite huge sacrifices.

Then came the counteroffensive. Under the leadership of Zhukov, the Red Army launched the massive Operation Uranus with more than a million personnel, 900 tanks, 1,500 airplanes and 13,000 artillery pieces.

Soviet forces successfully overran the German flanks and cut off its mighty 6th Army. In two months of heavy fighting, the Soviets gained ground and stopped German resupply efforts, finally securing their enemies’ surrender on February 2, 1943.

The epic victory at Stalingrad turned the tide of the war. Now with the upper hand in the Eastern Front, the Read Army drove back Hitler’s forces in a string of decisive victories over the following months. The USSR and its partisan allies liberated a host of countries from Nazi occupation, and secured final victory in Berlin in May 1945.

Stalingrad is etched in history as the epitome of Soviet bravery and sacrifice to defeat fascism in Europe. No army, even one as mighty as Hitler’s, could match the Red Army’s and the Soviet people’s to fight, and die, to defend their homeland.

Text: Ricardo VazIllustration: Shenby.


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