New pages of the Battle of Stalingrad with its historical significance — in the Presidential Library stock

17 July 2017

July 17, 2017, marks 75 years since a beginning of the first stage of the Battle of Stalingrad — a battle that turned the tide of the Great Patriotic War. There are some new additions on the Presidential Library website that reveal a relevance of that battle for the war outcome and tell about heroism of the defenders of the city. Among these are digital copies of rare books, memoirs of participants in the events, scans of newspapers, newsreel footages, maps and the wartime posters.

A situation in general and ultimate priority of the next in turn prearranged by fascists military maneuver are analyzed in an electronic copy of a book by M. Vodolagin of 1948 In behalf of protection of Stalingrad: “Suffered a defeat in the battle for Moscow in December 1941 and in the winter campaign of 1941-1942 Hitler strived to break through to the Volga in the summer of 1942… Taking advantage of the absence of a second front in Europe, the Germans and their allies threw all their available reserves to the front and, targeting them into the same direction, the southwest, formed here a great superiority of forces and achieved a significant tactical success. The main goal of the summer offensive of 1942 was to outmaneuver Moscow from the east, cut it off from the Volga and the Urals rears and then strike at Moscow.”

At this time, the Allies were not concerned with providing support to the country, alone fighting with Hitler, but its own far-reaching interests. Vodolagin makes a point in the above-mentioned book: “At a time when the events were about to become imminent at the outskirts of Stalingrad, on the outcome of which besides the military campaign of 1942, the entire world war depended, during this decisive period, Churchill, to disrupt an opening of the second front in Europe and to leave that way the Soviet Army alone under the blows of the fascist troops, persuaded the USA to prepare amphibious assault force’s operations in North Africa, herewith having a hidden goal  earliest enter the Balkans and isolate these countries from the Soviet Union. Churchill was sure that the Soviet Army would not hold Stalingrad, there would be a weakening of the opponents, and then England and the United States would declare their will to them.”

An essay of Major General N. Zamyatin of 1944 entitled The Battle of Stalingrad gives an idea of the colossal forces that Germany threw on the city: “For the implementation of the plan, the German command concentrated on the Soviet-German front more than 70 percent of its forces (at least 179 German divisions of the total number of 256 that Germany has at the time) and, in addition, moved 61 divisions of its allies here. In total, 240 divisions with a total number of more than 3 million people opposed us. Having superiority in forces and especially in aviation and in tanks, German troops broke through the front of our defense by mid-July and, having moved forward a powerful group into a breakthrough, reached the bend of the Don. A terrible danger threatened Stalingrad and the Volga.”

But the city did not think about the obvious advantages of the enemy, it was getting ready for a furious resistance to the enemy, trying to help the acting army at all cost.

In digital copy of a book by J. Berkovich of 1944 entitled It was on the Stalingrad bank side is told that absolutely all city residents participated in the defense, regardless of their age or a gender: “River transport workers of Stalingrad learned military cunning. In the place of one rift the Volga is divided into two branches. This area, due to its significance, the enemy bombed particularly often and fiercely. A serious threat to the front was created. A railway man Emeliyanov came in with a witty thought. Caravans with running navigation lights appeared on the main, deep-seated branch, and the Germans had thrown many dozens of bombs at that, unaware that the vessels at the same time go along the other branch, which was usually used only at the flood time, and the real targets of the fierce raids are… made of logs mockups.

A former sailor, buoy keeper Ivan Yegorovich Igolnikov was on a watch along with his wife Ulyiana Pavlovna. Nothing could escape from their attentive eyes. They noticed where the mines fell, and fearlessly leaded the caravans through dangerous places. The Germans twice fired a little buoy keeper’s house from machine guns from a shaving flight. Igolnikovs built a dugout and remained on duty. Ivan Yegorovich personally rescued eighteen people from a vessel that suffered from a bomb explosion.”

There is a unique footage included into presented on the Presidential Library website consisting of fragments of military newsreels documentary entitled The Battle of Stalingrad. The defense of Stalingrad: soldiers are running around the ruined city, the fierce fighting are going on, the commander of the Stalingrad Front Colonel-General Yereymenko bent over a map, the guns are firing… A voice over comments: “In Stalingrad the soldiers made a vow: “Stand to the death!” “There is no land beyond the Volga for us!” And they kept their oath.”

Hitler's Germany was deeply shocked by the devastating military retaliation of the Soviet Army.

On February 2, 1943, the Soviet Army defeated the German fascist troops in the Battle of Stalingrad. Taking into account the special importance of the defeat of the German troops by the Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad in order to achieve the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 and in connection with the 75th anniversary of this historic event on February 2, 2018, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree “On the celebration in 2018 the 75th anniversary of the defeat of German fascist troops by the Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad.”