History Coursework

Paulus who was commander of the 6th Army, to the Germany army high command, wrote source A. It is a plea to ‘surrender in order to save lives’ at the battle of Stalingrad.Source A does mention several good points as to why the Germans surrendered at Stalingrad. The troops were indeed ‘without ammunition or food’. The front lines were crumbling without effective command possible. 18000 wounded ‘without supplies of dressing or drugs’. The fall of the 6th army in Stalingrad was ‘inevitable. These are all reasons as too why the Germans surrendered at Stalingrad. It does however need to take other reasons into account as to why the Germans surrendered.One reason for the German surrender that was not brought up in Source A was the Russian winter. The Russians were very much prepared for a winter like this with winter clothing. The Germans, who were not prepared or used to this weather had leather boots that stuck to the ground. The equipment was not adaptable to this kind of weather; they had to burn fires under their tanks and trucks in order to stop the freezing up. Around 1500 men died in just one day of frostbite in Stalingrad.There was a lack of supplies to the German soldiers in Starlingrad. There were many German troops in Stalingrad yet there were greatly out numbered by the Russian troops. For most German troops, all they had was a few ounces of bread and half an ounce of sugar. With the lack of food the men became exhausted, but the fought on. The ammunition supplies were very short too. Hitler promised to send supplies via the Luftwaffe. With few places to land planes he attempted to parachute them in. 550 tonnes were promised a day but only 140 came the 1st day and by the 3rd day no supplies came at all.The source does not mention how Hitler refused to let his army in Stalingrad to surrender. Paulus was a good office manager but could not look after troops well. He didn’t fight with his soldiers as Chekov did and only cared about Hitler’s orders. This drove his troops to surrender.Q2Source B is a Soviet photograph taken in Stalingrad in February 1943 just after the German surrender of Stalingrad on the 31st of January. It shows a Soviet soldier waving a Soviet flag from a building in Stalingrad celebrating the Soviets triumphant victory.Above all else this is propaganda. . To the Russian people it showed the superiority of the Russian people to the Germans. A victory such as this gave the Russian people and its soldiers morale, which they very much needed. Defeating the finest German army, the 6th army was a great success for the Soviets and Stalin. It would drive the Russian people on, giving them hope and thus fighting harder. The victory of Stalingrad did lead to many other victories for Stalin and Source B gave Russian people the drive they needed to do this.The source shows the complete control of the Soviet army. No fighting is in sight in the now flattened city.Q3Both of the sources C and D are useful to an historian studying the German defeat at Stalingrad. An unknown German soldier who was fighting in Stalingrad wrote source C. The letter shows the soldiers feelings towards the battle at that time. ‘So now you know I am not coming back’. This would be useful to an historian as it shows a loss of faith in Germany and in Hitler from the soldier. ‘Nobody can tell me that comrades die with words like “Germany” and “Heil Hitler” on their lips’. It was written towards the end of the Battle in January 1943. The German army confiscated the letter, as they did not want the German people to know the truth about what the German soldiers felt in Stalingrad, which is useful for an historian. Despite the German army confiscating letters such as these many German people were starting to realize that Hitler’s lucky streak was starting to wear off.Source D is a picture drawn by David Low in a British newspaper. It was also produced in January 1943. It is a picture of German soldiers in Stalingrad being surrounded by a hammer and sickle. This is symbolism as the hammer and sickle appear on the Soviet flag and thus represent the Russians in this picture. The sickle surrounds the German soldiers. This represents the huge about of Soviet soldiers that surrounded Stalingrad during the end of the Battle, which makes it useful for an historian studying the battle. The hammer represents the shier power of the Russian army smashing the German soldiers with their force. This is useful to an Historian as it shows how the Russians used tremendous force to crush the 6th army. This source however is a British source. The British were allied with the Russians at that time and therefore may have been biased towards the Russians.I believe that both sources are equally as useful to an historian studying the German defeat at Stalingrad. Both sources offer two different points of view towards the battle and they offer useful points about the battle, though source D may actually be biased towards the Russians.Q4Source E is a German announcement of their defeat at Stalingrad on the 3rd of February 1943, 3 days after the German surrender. Source E is German propaganda. It was said in a way to keep the peoples faith in Hitler strong after the defeat in Stalingrad. It does not mention any points of the battle such as frostbite, starvation and lack of supplies. It misses out all of these details as the people would react badly to this and could lose their faith in Hitler. They say that the defeat has only made them stronger, and that the many thousands of people killed was not ‘in vain’. It mentions that ‘they died that Germany might live’, when in actual fat, from looking at source C many of the soldiers had lost their faith in Germany. They could not mention this though. Germany had to keep the soldiers in good morale and to do this they had to be discreet about what really happened in Stalingrad. The source mentions that the battle of Stalingrad gave time to set up defences that decided ‘the fate of the whole eastern front’. By mentioning this they were trying to make the people believe that the battle was not at a loss.Source F is an official History textbook for Soviet schools. It too is also and example of propaganda, this time from the Russians. It mentions all the things that Source E left out. It mentions that ‘Hitler ordered them to continue their resistance’. This making Hitler look bad and making Stalin and Russia look all them ore better. It also mentions all the killings and arrests that took place. ’91 000 prisoners, including 2500 officers and 24 generals, together with General- Field marshal Paulus. They also mentioned this to impress the Russian people, another form of propaganda. Source f also states that the battle of Stalingrad was for them ‘the greatest military and political event of the Second World War’. This totally contradicts what was said in source E as the Germans claimed it was not ‘in vain’.The reason the two sources differ so much is because one is a German source and one is a Russian source. Both are similar in using propaganda to get the people believing what they want them to believe. Neither country would admit that the battle was a huge loss, as it would crush its people’s morale, though it was at a huge loss for both of the countries.Q5Source F is written by a Soviet history textbook for schools from the 1960’s. This source states that ‘147 200 Fascist officers and men had been killed in the fight’. This included 91000 prisoners of which 2500 were officers and 24 generals including Paulus. This is biased towards the Soviets, as they would want to give their people something they want to hear, by exaggerating the numbers it gave Russians more pride in their country.Source G is written by a British historian in 1975. This source agrees with the fact that the Russians took hostage 91000 prisoners. It also states though that ‘only 6000 ever returned’. This source is a neutral source, as the British did not fight in the battle of Stalingrad, therefore the figures given in this source are more likely to be reliable. Due to the fact it was written in 1975 also is a good sign as it gives time to work out correct figures of how many actually died and were taken captive.Source H is taken from ‘The Nemesis of Power’ by Sir John Wheeler-Bennett in 1953. This source states that 100 000 Germans were killed in Stalingrad. This is far less then what Source F stated which were 147200. They differ so much as the Russians would want to make the victory look better and therefore they exaggerated the number that they killed. Source H also states that the Russians took 90000 prisoners captive. This differs from the other two sources. This differs as people whose countries had been fighting Germany in the war wrote both other sources. Therefore source F is more likely to exaggerate the number taken, and source G which was British and did not take part in the battle was more likely to go along with what Russia had stated.All three Sources differ so much as they all are written by different people, from different countries, with different views. Therefore all of the sources are biased and that is why the sources differ so much.Q7The battle of Stalingrad was equally important to both sides, the Russians and the Germans.It was very important to the Russians. It gave the army a huge amount of confidence in fighting the Germans. For Stalin beating Hitlers 6th army was a hude success.. The rest of the allies saw that Hitler could actually be defeated as well as Russia, which gave great hope to them. Source D shows how Britain thought of Russia highly for defeating the Germans. They were encouraged to carry on fighting. For Stalin it was of great importance to win over his rival Hitler. The Russian textbook says, “The battle of Stalingrad was the greatest military and political event of the Second World War”. This shows how highly the Russians thought of the battle and how much it meant to them. It caused a “vital change in the course of the war”.It was important for the Germans in many ways. The German people had lots of faith and belief in Hitler before the Battle of Stalingrad. He had given them all they had asked for and all he had promised to them. They realised though that he had only been taking lucky risks and that his luck had stopped at Stalingrad. ” To many he was revealed not as a brilliant military strategist but as a mad corporal”. They realised that many Germans lives could have been saved if Hitler had just given in. ” If what was promised is not true then Germany will be lost”. The defeat at Stalingrad helped the German people to realise this. The Germans victory of World War 2 was becoming less likely. Some say that the defeat was a positive advantage for the Germans as it helped them “fall back and regroup the strike back”. It was the Germans ‘who took the offensive when fighting season of 1943 opened’. Stalingrad had not been the loss to Germany as many thought it had been, the Germans had ‘recovered their fighting spirit’ and were very much still ‘masters of the field’.The Russians were very grateful for the victory at Stalingrad. It helped the Germans see Hitler in a different light. For these reasons the German defeat at Stalingrad was equally important for both the Russians and the Germans.