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What Was The Most Decisive Battle In Wwii?

1747 words - 7 pages

Culminating Essay Jacob Dorabialski
World War II was a global military conflict, which in terms of casualties and material destruction was the most devastating in human history. The war involved the commitment of entire human effort and economic resources. It consisted of pivotal battles which ultimately determined the outcome of the war in favour of the Allied powers. Certain campaigns were instrumental in turning out victory; of these, two prominent were the Battle of Stalingrad, 1942-1943; and Normandy Invasion, 1944. There are many decisive factors that dictate the importance of each battle. Primarily, the Battle of Stalingrad was a German-Soviet struggle to attain the strategic prize ...view middle of the document...

Both armies required the Caucasus oil if they were to maintain their full mobility (Humble 142). If the German army would have conquered Stalingrad and captured the oil fields, the Russians would be cut off from their own and only essential supply of oil. The Soviet Union would then be left in devastation as its war effort would vitiate and the Red Army would be left with diminutive fuel to keep its military machinery and war industry driven. (6) On the contrary, Germany's critical oil shortages would be supplied and German military power would greatly increase. Abundant oil supplies would lift German war industry to phenomenal heights (Overy 192). With a regenerated force, Hitler would subsequently turn north onto the immobilized Russian armies covering Moscow. The mobilized German army would proceed to crush the withering Soviets, which in turn would change the entire outcome of the war (Jukes 6). The Battle of Stalingrad was critical in the fact that it was a conflict over oil, which served as the most essential supply in the era of mechanized warfare.Hitler entered Stalingrad on July 23, 1942, with the ambition to capture the city and to move his forces further south into the Caucasus region. The Soviets fought with unprecedented resistance to Hitler's VI Army, the best of the Wehrmacht. After a year of attrition combat, on February 2, 1943, the Russians claimed victory with a German surrender. (3) "On the Soviet and Allied side, Stalingrad was greeted as a turning point in the war" (Overy 227). The defeat was a crushing blow to Germany's earlier successes on the Eastern front. The Germans were forced to retreat to the line from which they had started their 1942 offensive on the Caucasus. (5) Furthermore, the battle gave birth to a new spirit and confidence in the Russian army. This defeat demonstrated to the Soviets that the Wehrmacht was not invincible. Russian war correspondents asserted that Soviet conquest over Germany was certain. "Now there was no shadow of doubt: Victory was assured" (Ehrenburg 92). After the Battle of Stalingrad, the Soviets stepped on the offensive, and became the unstoppable crushing force that would push Germany out of Eastern Europe. The war in the east became a continuous epic of Soviet advances and victories. Soviet strategy for the remainder of the war was to methodically regain every piece of land captured by the Germans in the east. As the Soviets marched west, they liberated Nazi occupied territory and instituted their Communist regime. (4) The Soviet Union grew to become a superpower as it expanded its Communist rule over entire Eastern Europe. Conclusively, the Russian juggernaut which initially began after the German defeat at Stalingrad ended at Berlin and it destroyed all German initiatives that were centered into Eastern Europe.Lastly, the German defeat at Stalingrad marked the end of German military supremacy in World War II. The military importance of the defeat can be expressed partly in figures....

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