Share content in social networks:

Presidential Library marking the beginning of the legendary Battle of Stalingrad

12 July 2019

The Battle of Stalingrad began 77 years ago, on July 17, 1942. The victory of the Red Army marked a turning point in the course of the Great Patriotic War. The Nazis were not able to recover after Stalingrad.   

The Presidential Library’s portal contains a large electronic collection “Memory of the Great Victory”, which includes official documents, photo- and newsreels, wartime newspapers, books, memories of battle participants and rear workers, photographs and postcards. A number of unique materials is devoted to the Battle of Stalingrad.   

It can be divided into two parts: defensive (July 17 - November 18, 1942) and offensive (November 19, 1942 - February 2, 1943).

In summer of 1942, the fascist German forces launched an offensive on the southern wing of the Soviet-German front in order to reach the fertile regions of the Don, Kuban, the Lower Volga and the oil regions of the Caucasus. For the attack on Stalingrad, the 6th Army was under the command of the most experienced German general, and later Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus. The forces of the advancing enemy were opposed by the Stalingrad front under the command of first Marshal of the Soviet Union S. K. Tymoshenko, and since July 23 - Lieutenant General V. N. Gordov.

Historians still argue about the exact number of people and equipment of the opposing sides. But one thing is for sure: one of the strongest factions of the forces of Nazi Germany sent its main attack on Stalingrad.

The documentary “Next Target is Stalingrad” (2013), available on the Presidential Library’s portal, is an investigation of military historian Alexei Isaev. According to the author, the goals of Hitler’s command regarding Stalingrad changed. Thus, Hitler’s directive of April 5, 1942 stated: “We must try to reach Stalingrad or at least expose it to our heavy weapons so that it loses its importance as a center of the military industry and communications center”. But on July 20, by the order of the commander of the 6th army of F. Paulus, a more ambitious goal sounds: “Take Stalingrad as soon as possible, including firmly holding the Morozovskaya-Stalingrad railway line. The bulk of the army immediately attacks Don and its both sides of Kalach”.   

At this point, the Germans consider the capture of Stalingrad to be already decided. The book The Great Battle of Stalingrad (1943) on the Presidential Library’s portal quotes Hitler as saying on September 30, 1942: "The occupation of Stalingrad is a tremendous success, and if we borrowed something, we cannot be moved from there". However, as we know, the Fuhrer's dreams did not come true.

Our compatriots defended the city both from land and from the water - the book by Y. Berkovich and A. Lebedev-Morskoy It was at the Stalingrad crossings (1944) - and from the air tells us about the feat of the Volga river crew in Stalingrad. The publication “Soldiers of the Local Air Defence of Heroic Stalingrad” on the Presidential Library’s portal illustrates a portrait of heroic participants of the local air defence forces, including many ordinary civilians as well as many women.

A month after the battle broke out, on August 23, 1942, Stalingrad was subjected to the first massive aerial bombardment, which destroyed almost half of the city. “The Germans began to throw 150 planes at first into the city, then 300, increasing the number of vultures with each passing hour”, - the book already mentioned refers to the heroism of the soldiers of the Local Air Defence.

And although on the first day of massive raids Soviet pilots and anti-aircraft gunners shot down almost 100 Nazi planes, on the second — about 60 more, the bombing did not stop: “This is how the beautiful Palace of Pioneers was destroyed in the city center. So the Palace of Physical Education, a wonderful city library, which kept hundreds of thousands of valuable books, perished. Hospitals, schools, educational institutions, hundreds of houses were barbarously destroyed”.

The collection “The atrocities of the German fascist invaders in the areas of Stalingrad Region subjected to German occupation” edited by the first secretary of the Stalingrad regional committee and the city committee of the CPSU (b) A. S. Chuyanov included acts and testimonies of victims and eyewitnesses of the tragedy of crimes against Soviet prisoners of war, civilians, children.  

The 62nd Army in the battles for Stalingrad is also available in the electronic reading room and remote access centers of the Presidential Library in different regions of Russia and abroad. It is noteworthy that the book was written in the course of the battle itself by its direct participants — the officers of the political department A. D. Stupov and V. L. Kokunov. The example of the actions of the 62nd Army, which took one of the main blows of the enemy, shows the growth of the combat skills of the defenders of Stalingrad as a whole.

A three-minute video posted on the Presidential Library’s portal, Stalingrad of 1942-1943 is shown and the words are sounded: “In Stalingrad, soldiers took an oath: “Fight to the bitter end. Beyond the Volga there is no land for us!" And they fulfilled their oath".

The feats of the residents of Stalingrad Region, who gave their lives for the common cause, are reflected in the publication "Kochetkovtsy" of 1942, that is, published when the Battle of Stalingrad was still in full swing.

Among other books dedicated to the Battle of Stalingrad on the Presidential Library’s portal, one can highlight the essay by N. Zamyatin "From the Experience of the Fights of the Patriotic War" (1942) and "Stalingrad: Essays" (1944) by V. Grossman.

The selection of visual materials includes photographs of military activities in Stalingrad of 1942-1943, as well as post-war postcards with views of the restored buildings of Volgograd - Stalingrad.

In addition, a photograph of a banner embroidered for the defenders of Stalingrad by Norwegian women is posted on the Presidential Library’s portal. It was donated through the USSR Embassy in Sweden on the day of the first anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad on February 2, 1944.