Stalingrad: Deadly Battle of WWII - SOVIET RESISTANCE

A few months before Hitler ordered a massive attack on Stalingrad, the Soviet Union published this poster. It depicts military men of the USSR and the UK working together to push back the Nazis-led regime (as they stand over the body of a swastikaed dragon). Translated into English (from Russian), the caption says: “Greetings to the heroic warriors of the Soviet Union from the British allies fighting with them.” Online via the UK’s National Archives (at Kew) and Wikimedia Commons.


Hitler launched a plan ("Operation Barbarossa") to conquer the Soviet Union and to control its vast oil deposits.  He thought he would be successful.  Indeed, his troops penetrated deeper into Russian territory than any other invader, including Napoleon.

But Hitler failed to consider the will of his opponent, Joseph Stalin.  A ruthless modern leader, Stalin ordered "show trials" which purged his former colleagues.  He ordered millions of forced laborers to industrialize the Soviet Union and ended the lives of farmers who opposed his plan for collectivized agriculture. 

To this day, people in the Ukraine remember the great famine of 1932-33.  Referred to as Holodomor ("death by starvation"), that Ukrainian catastrophe resulted in the deaths of millions of people.  Likened to the Great Hunger of Ireland, Holodomor has been condemned as a completely preventable event.  Some historians believe Stalin engineered it.

Beyond Stalin, Hitler also failed to consider the psychological impact of a German invasion.  He did not count on the will and skill of the Soviet people to resist him and his military might. He did not count on the misery of his own soldiers as they endured the brutal Russian winters.

Contemporary posters depict how much the Soviet people "hated" Hitler and his Third Reich.  Even without understanding a word of Russian, it's easy to grasp the message:

  • "Kill the German Beast"

  • "That's Enough, Fascist Beast!"

  • "Death to the Fascist Monster"

The battle for Stalin's city was originally code-named "Operation Blue" (when the initial plan was merely to capture the Soviet oil fields).  When the mission changed, and Stalingrad also became a specific target, German soldiers called the battle Rattenkrieg (War of the Rats).

Doing what they (and Hitler) never wanted, German troops were forced to fight man-to-man where rats lived: in the streets, in the cellars, in the ditches.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Jul 08, 2019

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"SOVIET RESISTANCE" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2007. Nov 20, 2019.
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