The battle that determined the course of history

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On November 19, 1942, the counteroffensive of the Soviet troops at Stalingrad began, which marked the turning point in the war conducted by the Soviet people against the German invaders

In every war there are certain milestones – battles that determine not only the course of the war itself, but in many respects the entire world history. It was the truly epic Battle of Stalingrad, that became a turning point in the Great Patriotic War predetermining the victory over fascism.

Fierce fighting continued for 200 days and nights – from July 17, 1942 to February 2, 1943. Severe fights reached their peak in the autumn of 1942: on November 19, the counteroffensive of the Soviet troops began, which marked the turning point in the war conducted by the Soviet people against the German invaders.

Many prominent politicians, militarians, historians, public figures and writers highly appreciated the historical significance of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Winston Churchill,

Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1940‑1945 and 1951‑1955:

“Stalingrad itself became a symbol of courage, the steadfastness of the Russian people and at the same time a symbol of the greatest human suffering. This symbol will be preserved in the centuries. It is necessary that future generations can see and feel with their own eyes all the greatness of the victory won by the Volga and all the horrors of the destructive war raging there. It would be nice to leave untouched the terrible ruins of this legendary city, and next to build a new, modern city. The ruins of Stalingrad, like the ruins of Carthage, would forever remain a kind of monument of human fortitude and suffering. They would attract pilgrims from all parts of the world and serve as a warning to future generations…”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

32nd President of the United States:

“In the name of the people of the United States of America, I present this scroll to the City of Stalingrad to commemorate our admiration for its gallant defenders whose courage, fortitude and devotion… will inspire forever the hearts of all free people. Their glorious victory stemmed the tide of invasion and marked the turning point in the war of the Allied Nations against the forces of aggression.”

Charles de Gaulle

President of France (1959–1969):

“There is no single honest Frenchman who would not welcome the victory of Russia. While the power of Germany, its prestige are shaken, the sun of Russian glory is rising to its zenith.”

Mao Zedong,

1st Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party:

“The Red Army’s defence of Stalingrad in these forty-eight days has a certain similarity to the defence of Moscow last year. That is to say, Hitler’s plan for this year has been foiled just as was his plan for last year… once its offensive stops its very life stops too… Napoleon’s political life ended at Waterloo, but the decisive turning point was his defeat at Moscow. Hitler today is treading Napoleon’s road, and it is the Battle of Stalingrad that has sealed his doom… All those who take a pessimistic view of the world situation should change their point of view.”

Georgy Zhukov,

Marshal of the Soviet Union:

“The victory of our troops at Stalingrad marked the beginning of a turning point in the war in favour of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the expulsion of enemy troops from our territory. It was a long-awaited and joyful victory, not only for the troops directly carrying out the defeat of the enemy, but also for the entire Soviet people, who worked hard day and night to provide the army with everything necessary.”

Andrei Eremenko

Marshal of the Soviet Union:

“The Battle of Stalingrad was the greatest event in the history of the last war, which marked the turning point in the course of the Great Patriotic War and the entire Second World War. As a result, the final seizure of the strategic initiative and the turning point in the war occurred as a result of our victory at Stalingrad, and later it was strengthened in the Battle of Kursk and on the Dnieper.”

Aleksander Vasilevsky,

Marshal of the Soviet Union:

“The Battle of Stalingrad is rightfully defined as the largest military and political event of the entire Second World War. It was the victory at Stalingrad that predetermined the beginning of the collapse of the fascist bloc, increased the scope of the liberation movement in countries that fell under the yoke of Nazi occupation.”

Leonid Brezhnev,

Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1977–1982):

“The victory at Stalingrad was not just a victory, it was a historical feat. Stones live longer than people. But it is people, only people who attach immortality to everything that their feat touches. The feat of heroes made the stones of Mamayev Kurgan immortal. Years and decades will pass. New generations of people will replace us. But grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the heroes will come here, to the foot of the majestic Victory Monument. They will bring flowers and guide their children. Here, thinking about the past and dreaming about the future, people will remember those who died defending the eternal flame of life.”

Geoffrey Barraclough,

British historian:

“It was the Russian victory at Stalingrad in 1943 that made a total revision of European history imperative… If we needed the shock of Stalingrad to understand the narrowness of our Western historiography, it was only because the political prejudices underlying our Western historical science blinded us regarding the true balance of power in 1943.”

Rockwell Kent,

American artist and social activist:

“As an American, I am convinced, and I think that all the peoples of the world should be convinced of this: we all owe a great debt to the Soviet people, in one word – for Stalingrad.”

Thomas Mann,

German writer:

“The victorious defence of Stalingrad is one of the feats that history will always tell with the greatest reverence…”

Konstantin Simonov,

Soviet writer:

“Remembering now the great battle on the Volga, we do not have either a feeling of hatred or a feeling of gloating. But we consider Stalingrad a lesson, which, unfortunately, still has to be reminded. Whoever was here will never forget it. When, after many years, we will begin to remember, and our lips pronounce the word “War”, then STALINGRAD will arise in our minds.”

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