Monday, January 28, 2013

Stalingrad: 70th anniversary of the turning point in the war against fascism

Vanguard February 2013
Nick G.

(Above, red flag raised over Stalingrad's central square)

February 2, 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazi invaders of the Soviet Union at the city of Stalingrad.
The defeat of the Germans and of their Romanian, Hungarian, Italian and Croatian allies is universally recognised by war historians as the turning point of World War 2.

Regrettably, whole generations of schoolchildren in the capitalist countries have learned little or nothing of the battle of Stalingrad and certainly nothing of the connection between this victory and the socialist system that sustained the immense sacrifices through which victory was earned.
Instead, the imperialist “entertainment” industry has by and large wiped Stalingrad from popular memory, replacing it with a one-sided emphasis on battles fought by Britain and the United States.

One of the few exceptions is Enemy at the Gates which is based largely on a personal battle between the great Soviet sniper Vasily Zaystev and a master German sniper.  However, there is no proletarian ideological content in the film, nothing that explains how the common ownership of a nation’s wealth, its proletarian democracy and multinational unity were the basis for the morale that endured during the terrible devastation and carnage inflicted by the Nazis on the city that bore Stalin’s name.

Besides Zaystev there were innumerable heroic deeds done by the workers’ militias and by women in all theatres of the battle.  Three women won the title Hero of the Soviet Union commanding T-34 tanks which other women had helped make at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory.
(Above: Sniper Roza Shanina, credited with over 100 fascists killed)

The victory at Stalingrad made possible the first major defeat of Hitler’s panzer-led blitzkrieg method during July and August in the massive tank battle of Kursk. 
The Nazis never recovered from the defeats in the Soviet Union in 1943 and were steadily pushed all the way back to Berlin.

Eternal gratitude to the defenders of Stalingrad!

Further reading:   Stalin’s Order of the Day No. 95 of February 23, 1943, issued on the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Red Army and summarising the situation and tasks arising from the victory at Stalingrad.  Chapters from The Years of War by Soviet war correspondent Vassili Grossman based on his travels to Stalingrad in 1942.  Swedish Communist Mario Sousa’s critique of the book Stalingrad written by reactionary academic Antony Beevor. Over 100,000 sigantures collected on petition to change Volgograd's name back to Stalingrad.  Female pilot Lilya Litvyak, the “White Rose of Stalingrad” and Hero of the Soviet Union.

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