Proletarians of all countries, unite!
THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD – THE TURNING POINT IN WORLD WAR II
“This battle is not only the turning point of the Soviet-German war, or even of the present anti-fascist world war, it is the turning point in the history of all mankind.”
– Chairman Mao
World War II is a transcendental event in the history of the world, strictly speaking it began in 1935 and ended in 1945. It is a world war in which on the one hand there is imperialist rapacity, the dispute for world hegemony that Germany under Hitler demanded for itself; but on the other hand it is the defence of socialism and the development of the revolution.
The war fought by the USSR was a Great Patriotic War, a just war of defence. A Great Patriotic War, as it was absolutely correctly defined, and of the development of the world revolution because in addition to that glorious heroic defence which cost the USSR 20 million men, we have the anti-imperialist struggle which would unfold in the oppressed nations, mainly in China.
In this regard Chairman Mao said:
“On June 22 the fascist rulers of Germany attacked the Soviet Union. This is a perfidious crime of aggression not only against the Soviet Union but against the freedom and independence of all nations. The Soviet Union’s sacred war of resistance against fascist aggression is being waged not only in its own defence but in defence of all the nations struggling to liberate themselves from fascist enslavement. For Communists throughout the world the task now is to mobilize the people of all countries and organize an international united front to fight fascism and defend the Soviet Union, defend China, and defend the freedom and independence of all nations. In the present period, every effort must be concentrated on combating fascist enslavement. ”1
The eastern front is a great front of struggle and a great revolutionary front. It is the great war of resistance of oppressed nations, like China, like Korea, like Burma, like Indonesia, the Philippines, etc., where precisely the imperialists fled like rats and it was the peoples of those nations who took up arms; those who were lucky enough to have a Communist Party triumphed and advanced and those who did not, at least got rid of being colonies in a transactional way, for example Indonesia, which ceased to be, as a result of that war, a colony of Holland.
In that war there was a sinister plan: the crusade against the USSR, which clearly expresses its reactionary nature, thus it was put forward by Hitler himself, as an anti-Bolshevik crusade, because the black dream they had was to wipe the USSR off the face of the Earth; daydreams, crashed into the power of the dictatorship of the proletariat, with the leadership of the Party and of Comrade Stalin, of the Russian proletariat, of the Russian people – heroic pages!
Stalingrad, the greatest battle of war in cities, of war in the streets, the one that generated the most deaths, where they fought not only house to house but room by room: these are chapters that have shaken the world. The dirty, cunning game of the imperialist allies: United States, England, not France because it was occupied -and it was occupied in only 18 days-, cunningly delayed the opening of the invasion of Europe from the north that would strike at the heart of Germany, hoping that fascist Germany would defeat the USSR, was also clearly seen there.
On the significance of the battle of Stalingrad for the whole course of the war Chairman Mao stated:
“…in this present war the attack on Stalingrad is the expression of the last desperate struggle of fascism itself. At this turning point in history, too, many people in the world anti-fascist front have been deluded by the ferocious appearance of fascism and have failed to discern its essence. For forty-eight days there raged an unprecedentedly bitter battle, unparalleled in the history of mankind–from August 23, when the entire German force crossed the bend of the River Don and began the all-out attack on Stalingrad, through September 15, when some German units broke into the industrial district in the northwestern section of the city, and right up to October 9, when the Soviet Information Bureau announced that the Red Army had breached the German line of encirclement in that district. Ultimately this battle was won by the Soviet forces. During those forty-eight days, the news of each setback or triumph from that city gripped the hearts of countless millions of people, now bringing them anxiety, now stirring them to elation. This battle is not only the turning point of the Soviet-German war, or even of the present anti-fascist world war, it is the turning point in the history of all mankind. Throughout these forty-eight days, the people of the world watched Stalingrad with even greater concern than they watched Moscow last October. (…) following the battle for the defence of Stalingrad, the situation will be totally different from that of last year. On the one hand, the Soviet Union will launch a second winter counteroffensive on a vast scale, Britain and the United States will no longer be able to delay the opening of the second front (though the exact date cannot yet be foretold), and the people of Europe will be ready to rise up in response. On the other hand, Germany and her European accomplices no longer have the strength to mount large-scale offensives, and Hitler will have no alternative but to change his whole line of policy to the strategic defensive. ”2
In those days the US President in a letter to comrade Stalin expressed the great expectation and joy of the American people in these words: “The gallant defense of Stalingrad has thrilled everyone in America and we are confident of its success.”3
On the delay of the opening of the second front in the West, comrade Stalin, in a secret communication of 23 July 1942, reproached the British Prime Minister Churchill with the following:
“I have received your message of July 18. I gather from the message, first, that the British Government refuses to go on supplying the Soviet Union with war materials by the northern route and, secondly, that despite the agreed Anglo-Soviet Communique on the adoption of urgent measures to open a second front in 1942, the British Government is putting off the operation till 1943. (…) As to the second point, namely, that of opening a second front in Europe, I fear the matter is taking an improper turn. In view of the situation on the Soviet-German front, I state most emphatically that the Soviet Government cannot tolerate the second front in Europe being postponed till 1943.”4
We all know, and we must remember, that fascist offensive led by the Nazis, to which the Italian fascists and Franco’s Spanish fascists contributed, and which used all the economic might of subjugated Europe, threw a million and a half men, the cream of the German army, 75% of its air force, into the invasion. But comrade Stalin had wisely handled diplomacy with great subtlety – the German-Soviet pact was necessary, some say, but it did not spare the USSR from invasion, they do not know what they are talking about, one thing was to gain time and another thing was that Germany would necessarily attack the USSR. The reason: it could not go on advancing in the West with a powerful enemy at its back and with a fertile and very rich land of tremendous potential and a population of over 200 million, it was inevitable.
It is worth noting the sagacity and penetration of the Soviet intelligence service. What an intelligence service! They knew the day of the invasion; some say that it was of no use – they are silly – what could Russia do in the face of such an onslaught? So they applied a strategic defence and that is what was done – we understand what a strategic defence is – and that is what was done, together with scorched earth, leaving them nothing but bare earth; and they had the audacity, the courage to blow up monumental works such as the famous dam that links the Volga with the Don that took so many years of effort, it was blown up; the Germans never dreamed, they thought that this work would not be blown up because it was too important and had cost a lot of effort.
The dictatorship of the proletariat was at stake, the revolution was at stake, we cannot stop to think, nor can we simply allow ourselves to be hindered, as Chairman Mao said, by the defence of inches of land. They crashed at the gates of Leningrad, at the gates of Moscow and Stalingrad; but not only scorched earth was carried out, but guerrillas and even individual men with their good rifles and good ammunition and their vodka for the cold were left behind. To annihilate one of those, the Germans had to lose 10 men, that is the average. So it was not as easy as the Germans thought.
This fascist offensive is a military plan of high quality, thus, the highest and most enlightened German military leaders elaborated this plan and the German school has a many times proven war tradition: in three months they were going to conquer the USSR, in three months.
Comrade Stalin’s foresight, he had already taken measures since the 1930s when there was the great transformation of the countryside and industry, they had already transferred factories beyond the Urals, even foreseeing the possibility of leaving as far as Moscow, for it is true, everything was already in place in case they could not ultimately defend Moscow, even if that was the decision taken, it was already planned to move the leadership and the centre to the Urals; So the first thing that was done was to make arrangements for Lenin’s transfer, because he could not fall into the dirty hands of the wretched sons of hell, he could not fall.
But the order, after they had penetrated to the above-mentioned gates, the order was not to retreat any further! It is very memorable, and we must always remember how on November 7, the anniversary of the revolution, they had nowhere to celebrate it and it was considered impossible to carry it out; comrade Stalin said: “to the station”, “but there is no platform there, there are no seats there”, comrade Stalin stepped on a box and spoke in celebration of the revolution, saying: “how many of us were there when we seized power, what forces did we have when we repulsed the imperialist aggression immediately after the October Revolution? We will crush them, and we will annihilate the beast in its own den, in Berlin.” These are things one must remember, to appreciate comrade Stalin one must look at the Second World War.
We all know how then came the great resistance, the breaking of the German lines, the siege of Stalingrad where the German commanders, Hitler himself, told them: “The Aryans do not retreat, the Aryans cannot be defeated by the barbarians, by the Mongols, by the inferiors”, yes, but those inferiors, the barbarians, the Mongols, hunted them down like rats and they had to surrender.
It is always good to reiterate this: Stalin, the skillful and wise manager of war, always took the moral element into account and paraded all the defeated, surrendered Nazis and threw their flags, their eagles, their swastikas at the foot of Lenin’s mausoleum; not only a great military defeat, but a great moral defeat! The Nazi arrogance had been sunk in the mud and trampled upon, it was the greatest moral blow it had ever received, and that was the beginning of the breakdown of the Nazi army.
The victory of Stalingrad sealed on a day like today, February 2nd, 1943, with the capitulation of the German 6th Army commanded by General Paulus constitutes the turning point of World War II.
We quote excerpts from secret correspondence and communications in which the Allied leaders had to acknowledge the brilliant leadership of comrade Stalin and the heroism of the Red Army and the Soviet people after the triumph of Stalingrad:
HIS EXCELLENCY JOSEPH V. STALIN, SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS
February 5, 1943
As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America I congratulate you on the brilliant victory at Stalingrad of the armies under your Supreme Command. The one hundred and sixty-two days of epic battle for the city which has forever honoured your name and the decisive result which all Americans are celebrating today will remain one of the proudest chapters in this war of the peoples united against Nazism and its emulators. The commanders and fighters of your armies at the front and the men and women, who have supported them in factory and field, have combined not only to cover with glory their country’s arms, but to inspire by their example fresh determination among all the United Nations to bend every energy to bring about the final defeat and unconditional surrender of the common enemy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
F. ROOSEVELT TO J. V. STALIN
February 23, 1943
On behalf of the people of the United States I want to express to the Red Army on its twenty-fifth anniversary our profound admiration for its magnificent achievements unsurpassed in all history. For many months in spite of many tremendous losses in supplies, transportation and territory the Red Army denied victory to a most powerful enemy. It checked him at Leningrad, at Moscow, at Voronezh, in the Caucasus and finally at the immortal battle of Stalingrad the Red Army not only defeated the enemy but launched the great offensive which is still moving forward along the whole front from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The enforced retreat of the enemy is costing him heavily in men, supplies, territory and especially in morale. Such achievements can only be accomplished by an army that has skillful leadership, sound organization, adequate training and above all determination to defeat the enemy no matter what the cost in self-sacrifice. At the same time I also wish to pay tribute to the Russian people from whom the Red Army springs and upon whom it is dependent for its men, women and supplies. They, too, are giving their full efforts to the war and are making the supreme sacrifice. The Red Army and the Russian people have surely started the Hitler forces on the road to ultimate defeat and have earned the lasting admiration of the people of the United States.
HIS EXCELLENCY JOSEPH V. STALIN, SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS
May 25, 1944
My dear Marshal Stalin, I am sending to you two scrolls for Stalingrad68 and Leningrad69 which cities have won the wholehearted admiration of the American people. The heroism of the citizens of these two cities and the soldiers who so ably defended them has not only been an inspiration to the people of the United States, but has served to bind even more closely the friendship of our two nations. Stalingrad and Leningrad have become synonyms for the fortitude and endurance which has enabled us to resist and will finally enable us to overcome the aggression of our enemies.
I hope that in presenting these scrolls to the two cities you will see fit to convey to their citizens my own personal expressions of friendship and admiration and my hope that our people will continue to develop that close understanding which has marked our common effort.
Very sincerely yours,
Franklin D. Roosevelt
PERSONAL AND SECRET MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER, MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL, TO M. STALIN
November 5, 1942
[…] Let me further express to you, Premier Stalin, and to M. Molotov, our congratulations on the ever glorious defence of Stalingrad and on the decisive defeat of Hitler’s second campaign against Russia. […]
Editorial Staff of ci-ic.org
February 2nd 2022
1Chairman Mao, “ON THE INTERNATIONAL UNITED FRONT AGAINST FASCISM On the International United Front Against Fascism”, June 23rd 1941
2Chairman Mao, “The Turning point in World War 2”, October 12th 1942
3F. Roosevelt to J. V. Stalin, October 9th 1942; Commission for the Publication of Diplomatic Documents under the Direction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R., “Secret Correspondence”.
4Message from Prime Minister Stalin to Prime Minister Churchill, July 23rd 1942; Commission for the Publication of Diplomatic Documents under the Direction of the Foreign Ministry of the U.S.S.R., “Secret Correspondence”.