A Battle for Stalin Himself

Probably one of the most influential points of the war for the Soviets was the Battle of Stalingrad. It is important to note that not only was it was a military victory but it also made a statement to the country about the successes of the Soviet system. I choose the Battle of Stalingrad not just because it was by far one of the most published events on the eastern front but also the cities namesake of Stalin himself. For this reason the battle was immensely personally to Stalin since the city was a beckon of little to show off the accomplishments of the Soviet economy. For this reason Stalin enacted the Order No. 227 which was termed the “Not One Step Back” policy in which officers were to shoot there retreating forces as a hope to prevent mass retreats. Later on “not one Step back became a rallying cry for the Soviets as a way to show pride in the Great Patriotic war.

Soviet stamp quoting"Not One Step Back" Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_No._227

Soviet stamp quoting”Not One Step Back” Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_No._227

Over the course of the battle the city of Stalingrad was completely turn to rubble by both sides bombing  and using artillery on each other’s positions throughout the city. Over the course of the battle the entire city was demolished with full blocks being leveled. A great video to show this can be found on this page:


That video then goes on to show the other stages of the Battle of Stalingrad. Once the Germans did engage in fighting in Stalingrad the German offensive became bogged down by the fact that the rubble from the city did not allow them to utilize their heavy tanks and blitzkrieg tactics. From here the Soviet war machine took over and through their use of superior numbers as well as and manufacturing prowess thanks to the Soviet system the Russians bled the German Army. The Russian Army was also able to encircle the Germans in the city cutting off there supply lines causing terrible low amounts of supplies which combined with the onset of winter caused miserable conditions for the Germans within Stalingrad. An unknown German said:

“My hands are done for, and have been ever since the beginning of December. The little finger of my left hand is missing and – what’s even  worse – the three middle fingers of my right one are frozen. I can only hold my mug with my thumb and little finger. I’m pretty helpless; only when a man has lost any fingers does he see how much he needs then for the smallest jobs. The best thing I can do with the little finger is to shoot with it. My hands are finished.” –Anonymous German soldier 


As one can see the Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle in World War II it does not show it in the scale of the importance it was as a part of morale for the Soviet,After all it was the City of the Soviet leader’s namesake. For one up to this point in the war the Soviets were getting beaten back by the German’s Blitzkrieg tactics as they flashed across the steppes of Russia. The halt of German forces by soviet troops proved to the Soviet people that they could fight and win against the well equipped Germans. The loss of over 850,000 German troops caused a lack of troops that the Germans could not recover from for the rest of the war and therefore is one of the major turning points of the Second World War.






Order No. 227: Stalinist Methods and Victory on the Eastern Front

6 thoughts on “A Battle for Stalin Himself”

  1. I like how you remind us that the city’s symbolic importance was as critical as its strategic importance. Thanks also for highlighting the significance of Order 227 — that’s a terrific source you found about it (on the “Not Even Past” website). It’s interesting how the psychological spin on that order changed over course of the war and in different contexts.

  2. I thought your post was very informative on the Battle of Stalingrad and I like the emphasis you made on Stalin’s “bias” towards it, as it was his city that needed its’ reputation protected. I did not know much information about this battle, and the quote you included was very compelling and added an emotional depth to your post.

  3. Good post, I particularly like the fact that you explain how the Soviets used urban terrain to their advantage. While seen as powerful in open maneuver combined arms battle, urban battles such as Stalingrad revealed a weakness in the Wehrmacht’s infantry forces.

  4. Some historians believe that the Battle of Stalingrad was SO important to the fortunes of both sides in WW2, that after the German defeat, there was zero chance of a complete takeover of the USSR. What do you think?

  5. Very interesting post. I knew Stalingrad was an important battle in the greater scheme of the War but i had no idea of the importance to Stalin himself. Great job of bringing that to light.

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