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   Stalingrad: It was the bloodiest battle of World War Two, so brutal the Soviet Union suppressed the truth, until now

05 Nov 2012 11:02 PM   |   22544 clicks   |   Spiegel
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ZAZ    [TotalFark]  
But the extent of the executions had apparently been overestimated. For instance British historian Antony Beevor cites over 13,000 executed Red Army soldiers in Stalingrad alone. By contrast, documents discovered in Russian archives show that there had been fewer than 300 executions by mid-October 1942.

I'm not inclined to trust Russian records on this issue, but the argument on the next page that Russian soldiers disliked Germans without NKVD guns to their heads also has some force to it.

I used to be into wargaming, the cardboard kind. The German side was typically considered more fun to play. Lots of players wondered "why didn't Germany conquer the world?" when their tanks, planes, and uniforms were so cool. I read some of the history books. In 1941 German forces rolled into Ukraine where they were expected to be greeted as liberators from Stalin's genocide. Except the news leaking out was not a tale of heroic liberation. The neutral powers were reminded that the German armies were following orders of a genocidal madman. Turkey decided not to answer the German calls for assistance. Likewise Spain, but that was more war-weariness after the civil war than disgust at Hitler.

(Wikipedia tells me 20,000 Ukranians did join the German forces, despite Hitler.)

05 Nov 2012 09:25 PM
DamnYankees    [TotalFark]  
I'm reading Beevor's book on Stalingrad right now. It's amazing how horrible it was, and yet how unremarkable in the context of the Eastern Front. It was remarkable only for its scope, not its brutality.

05 Nov 2012 09:27 PM
jim32rr    [TotalFark]  
Slow loading, but interesting pics Link

05 Nov 2012 09:31 PM
Somacandra    [TotalFark]  
Thank you for greenlighting this. While its perfectly fine (as it should be) to talk about about how one city of steel, Detroit saved the world from Hitler, it is still not too kosher to talk in the USA openly about how the Soviets also saved the world from Hitler at that other city of steel, Stalingrad.

05 Nov 2012 09:52 PM
2wolves     
The Ost battalions in Normandy were ready to surrender as soon they could frag their Sargents.

05 Nov 2012 10:50 PM
crabsno termites     
Just finished a book about this, so . . .

05 Nov 2012 11:04 PM
Red Shirt Blues    [TotalFark]  
upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size

I remember watching this in eighth grade. Incredible series. This and the BBC series The World at War.

05 Nov 2012 11:06 PM
Bucky Katt    [TotalFark]  
There was no mercy on the eastern front. Stalin's General Order No. 1 was just the start.

05 Nov 2012 11:09 PM
illannoyin     
i.adultswim.comView Full Size


Knows brutal when he hears it and agrees

05 Nov 2012 11:10 PM
Shrugging Atlas     

DamnYankees: I'm reading Beevor's book on Stalingrad right now. It's amazing how horrible it was, and yet how unremarkable in the context of the Eastern Front. It was remarkable only for its scope, not its brutality.


Very good choice!

05 Nov 2012 11:11 PM
DamnYankees    [TotalFark]  
Everyone should listen to the 4-part series of Hardcore History on this subject, Ghosts of the Ostfront. It's brilliant.

05 Nov 2012 11:12 PM
wildcardjack     
Considering the landscape is still littered with bones that crunch under your boots there's no way it's sugar coated.

05 Nov 2012 11:12 PM
Prey4reign    [TotalFark]  
The greatest generation was the greatest at ... killing their fellow man.

05 Nov 2012 11:13 PM
doglover    [TotalFark]  

wildcardjack: Considering the landscape is still littered with bones that crunch under your boots there's no way it's sugar coated.


It's not the body count they're debating, it's the fine details.

05 Nov 2012 11:14 PM
moothemagiccow     
we met in an office
with the union dissolving
where you found no architect
no figurehead worth absolving

05 Nov 2012 11:19 PM
The Dogs of War     

DamnYankees: I'm reading Beevor's book on Stalingrad right now. It's amazing how horrible it was, and yet how unremarkable in the context of the Eastern Front. It was remarkable only for its scope, not its brutality.


I read that a few years back. Amazing book. Anyone who is interested in WWII should read that book. The detail and photos used are the best.

05 Nov 2012 11:19 PM
DamnYankees    [TotalFark]  

The Dogs of War: DamnYankees: I'm reading Beevor's book on Stalingrad right now. It's amazing how horrible it was, and yet how unremarkable in the context of the Eastern Front. It was remarkable only for its scope, not its brutality.

I read that a few years back. Amazing book. Anyone who is interested in WWII should read that book. The detail and photos used are the best.


I'm actually finding it a bit of a slog. He's not a great storyteller. It's a very dry recitation of facts. Thorough, but its only interesting to me because of the subject matter, and not the writing.

05 Nov 2012 11:20 PM
JasonOfOrillia    [TotalFark]  
I once watched a televised lecture about the Russian experience during WWII or, as they call it, The Great Patriotic War, which was for them a separate and greater conflict. The lecturer briefly talked about the movie Enemy at the Gates, about how it was reasonably accurate for a Hollywood movie except that everyone was way too fat.

05 Nov 2012 11:20 PM
Mmmrky     

DamnYankees: Everyone should listen to the 4-part series of Hardcore History on this subject, Ghosts of the Ostfront. It's brilliant.


You beat me to it for this Eastern front thread. It's the most frightning and brilliant series I've ever listened to.

05 Nov 2012 11:20 PM
Satanic_Hamster     
Wouldn't mind hearing tales/stories/interviews with veterans from Kursk.

05 Nov 2012 11:23 PM
Phil Moskowitz     
No one who knows anything about Stalingrad thinks it was anything but the worst. Who suppressed what?

05 Nov 2012 11:24 PM
Arumat     
Wow, there's some solid gold derp in the comments. Something about God punishing anti-semites after letting them run with their plans for a while. Of course, in the process, God lets the Jews get punished too, so I have no idea what the commenter was smoking.

05 Nov 2012 11:25 PM
DamnYankees    [TotalFark]  

Phil Moskowitz: No one who knows anything about Stalingrad thinks it was anything but the worst. Who suppressed what?


At this point I actually think the Siege of Leningrad is becoming underrated as a horror - Stalingrad seems to be pretty well known.

05 Nov 2012 11:25 PM
Mr. Potatoass     
The final hideout of the commander of the German 6th Army resembled a latrine. "The filth and human excrement and who knows what else was piled up waist-high"

Enema at the Gates?

05 Nov 2012 11:26 PM
Phil Moskowitz     
So is this thread where Americans learn that the Soviet Union won WW2?

Because that's what happened.

05 Nov 2012 11:26 PM
CygnusDarius     
When your generals mount better weapons aimed towards you, in the case you try to run, it might be a brutal war.

05 Nov 2012 11:27 PM
433    [TotalFark]  

Somacandra: , it is still not too kosher to talk in the USA openly about how the Soviets also saved the world from Hitler at that other city of steel, Stalingrad.


Most people know Russia was among the Allied forces at the very least, and that Russia is farking big. That's just what I'd expect at the least. I would think that most people know Russia captured Berlin, perhaps, though a common opinion is just that "we" won. I don't know about any taboo such as you mention.

05 Nov 2012 11:28 PM
Mmmrky     

Phil Moskowitz: So is this thread where Americans learn that the Soviet Union won WW2?

Because that's what happened.


The war in the west was tiny compared to the east. Millions of people fighting along a front the size of the western United States. The scale is mind boggling.

05 Nov 2012 11:29 PM
TheMega     
New video game based entirely on this article in.... 3... 2... 1...

05 Nov 2012 11:29 PM
Phil Moskowitz     
i.imgur.comView Full Size

05 Nov 2012 11:30 PM
Phil Moskowitz     
So who fought and won WW2?

05 Nov 2012 11:32 PM
Red Shirt Blues    [TotalFark]  

433: Somacandra: , it is still not too kosher to talk in the USA openly about how the Soviets also saved the world from Hitler at that other city of steel, Stalingrad.

Most people know Russia was among the Allied forces at the very least, and that Russia is farking big. That's just what I'd expect at the least. I would think that most people know Russia captured Berlin, perhaps, though a common opinion is just that "we" won. I don't know about any taboo such as you mention.


There was a time it was. Kind of died out in the late 80's. Funny thing is I think pc/console on line gaming has done more to educate kids about the eastern front than anything else.

05 Nov 2012 11:32 PM
signaljammer     
We need to extend the graph to include the li'l vacation to Siberia after the war that so many Germans found themselves in.

05 Nov 2012 11:33 PM
KatjaMouse     
I knew that the war in the east was massive but I don't think I really comprehended the scale fully even after having read some in college. Then a few years ago I discovered the podcast Hardcore History and this guy devoted 4 episodes, something like 5 hours and 45 minutes worth of podcasting. Not only would you need stamina to get through it totally and to comprehend it all but something of a strong stomach too.

Unfortunately you can't download those episodes for free anymore but they're available for sale on his site for $1.99 a piece. I would definitely recommend this guy's podcast for you history buffs.

05 Nov 2012 11:33 PM
UNAUTHORIZED FINGER     
When I visited some friends in the Netherlands years ago, I read a book that was written by six German Generals about the Eastern Front. To a man, they blamed Hitler and Goebbels. None of it was their fault, in their eyes. Does anyone know the name of this book?

05 Nov 2012 11:34 PM
KatjaMouse     

DamnYankees: Everyone should listen to the 4-part series of Hardcore History on this subject, Ghosts of the Ostfront. It's brilliant.


Damn, how did I miss this comment? *shakes tiny fist*

But yeah. so good. Definitely worth a listen.

05 Nov 2012 11:36 PM
Phil Moskowitz     
So, as Americans how do you feel about the Soviet Union?

05 Nov 2012 11:38 PM
UNAUTHORIZED FINGER     

Phil Moskowitz: So, as Americans how do you feel about the Soviet Union?


Tough people because they've never had anything. Brutal government.

05 Nov 2012 11:39 PM
DamnYankees    [TotalFark]  

Phil Moskowitz: So, as Americans how do you feel about the Soviet Union?


Under Stalin, it was a nightmarish, horrible place to love, barely less evil than Nazi Germany. Are we supposed to think well of it or something?

05 Nov 2012 11:40 PM
signaljammer     
Most German generals turned commie after the war, feeling that the entrepreneurial model had run its course in the modern, crowded world. They were, typically, wonk graduates from military colleges who held the party in contempt.

05 Nov 2012 11:40 PM
Phil Moskowitz     

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: Phil Moskowitz: So, as Americans how do you feel about the Soviet Union?

Tough people because they've never had anything. Brutal government.


They gave themselves like water for the motherland. They died wholesale for victory and they won. They were the heroes of world war 2.

05 Nov 2012 11:42 PM
433    [TotalFark]  

Phil Moskowitz: So, as Americans how do you feel about the Soviet Union?


I remember people's heads exploding in December of '89 when the Berlin wall came down, being scared of ICBMs, and the place was really big. They were the bad guys up until Tetris.

05 Nov 2012 11:43 PM
Spanky_McFarksalot     

Phil Moskowitz: So who fought and won WW2?


the allied powers. also, World War II wasn't just in Europe. The U.S. was not only fighting through Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, but also fighting a little conflict with Japan.

05 Nov 2012 11:44 PM
feanorn     
Max Hastings' Armageddon is also well worth a look when it comes to the Eastern Front. He makes the unmistakable point (both in this book and in Retribution, especially the chapters on the end of the war in NE China) that no one, no one at all, was in a good way after the Russians showed up nearby. When Russian POWs --- genuine POWs --- willingly fought for the Germans because they knew what they would have coming to them if they would be "liberated" by their countrymen...yikes.

05 Nov 2012 11:44 PM
signaljammer     
Stalin told his soldiers that they should be equal to their duty of liberating all of Europe.

05 Nov 2012 11:45 PM
fusillade762    [TotalFark]  

Phil Moskowitz: So, as Americans how do you feel about the Soviet Union?


Since it doesn't exist anymore does it matter?

05 Nov 2012 11:45 PM
KatjaMouse     

Phil Moskowitz: They gave themselves like water for the motherland. They died wholesale for victory and they won. They were the heroes of world war 2.


You have to understand that we are deeply steeped in post-Cold War feelings and they're not exactly positive. But many of us would agree with you that had it not been for batsh*t happenings in the east there likely would have been different outcomes in this war.

Oh, but they did rape and brutalize the civilians of Prussia on their march westward.

05 Nov 2012 11:45 PM
Phil Moskowitz     

DamnYankees: Phil Moskowitz: So, as Americans how do you feel about the Soviet Union?

Under Stalin, it was a nightmarish, horrible place to love, barely less evil than Nazi Germany. Are we supposed to think well of it or something?


You think a regime determines the value of an entire people? Look at the mess you're subscribed to today. Ask yourself who you'd rather be with? A bunch of assholes from colorado, or a hardened family from Leningrad.

05 Nov 2012 11:46 PM
DamnYankees    [TotalFark]  

Phil Moskowitz: You think a regime determines the value of an entire people? Look at the mess you're subscribed to today. Ask yourself who you'd rather be with? A bunch of assholes from colorado, or a hardened family from Leningrad.


You asked me how I feel about the Soviet Union, not its subjects.

05 Nov 2012 11:46 PM
signaljammer     
Hiwis. Wouldn't wanna be caught as a former Soviet by the Soviets. Officially, they just tortured them to death out of hand.

05 Nov 2012 11:47 PM
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