Stalingrad was a key city in Russia s defenses and Germany s aspirations of conquering eastern Europe. As a port city on the Volga, Stalingrad s location proved to be important during World War II. Its heavy industry gave Germany a strong motive for invading the city. Stalingrad also was well known as an important center of communication. For these reasons, Hitler made the city the focus of his country s 1942 offensive. Stalingrad was located in the heart of Russia. It was surrounded by two rivers, the Volga and the Don, which made it a hard city to penetrate. The battle of Stalingrad began on August 23, 1942 and lasted till February 2, 1943.
The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the most important and crucial battles during World War II. For Germany, it was Stalingrad s location, in the center of Russia and in between Europe and Asia, that made it important. Hitler thought that if he could take Stalingrad, then he would be able to split Russia in two and make them surrender. To Russia, Stalingrad was of equal importance. It provided an excellent center for communication and supply. Since the city was located on a river, it allowed Russia to transport weapons and supplies to other units located in the country. Stalingrad could also be used later on in the war to strike at exposed German forces.
The strategies of the opposing forces differed greatly. Germany had more of an offensive strategy while Russia s was more of a defensive strategy. Hitler decided to split the armies in to two groups, Army Group A and Army Group B. Army Group A would go and try to take the oil fields of Baku while Army Group B would plow straight through Russia to Stalingrad. The two group were then suppose to rendevue at Stalingrad. When the armies were to get to the city, they had the orders to destroy all factories and manufacturing buildings. Russia thought they key to winning the battle would be who would make it through the winter. Since Russians were better equipped for these cold times, Russia wanted to prolong the battle through the winter. In Russia s counteroffensive, the Russian armies fought the Germans from the backside. The rear Nazi flank was controlled by the weak and poorly armed Romanians. This left a huge hole in the Nazi s army.
Many say that the outcome of the Battle of Stalingrad helped the Allies win World War II. For one, it stopped the fast moving Nazi army. It also forced Germany to give up land in parts of Stalingrad and surrender to Russian armies. The most important outcome of the battle was that it increased the morale of the Russian soldiers and gave them something to fight for.