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Question about the Battle of Stalingrad

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Post 26 Feb 2016, 09:00
I'm writing a story set in the Battle of Stalingrad, and I have been wondering whether those 'Iconic' charges of mass amounts of men against German positions are entirely true.
This is regularly shown in movies such as Enemy at the Gates and Stalingrad and I have been suspicious whether this is historically accurate or not.
Thank you very much for any help.
Post 28 Feb 2016, 15:00
They are called dangles and giveaways, comrade. You have to capitulate to giveaways in order to be able to recapture losses. Those thousands of men who braved the hail of bullets from the Germans, produced two to three dead German snipers who perished also because of the Soviet Army's excellent snipers. Watch Enemy at the Gates, the movie. I do not mind dying for Comrade Stalin if it will bear fruit.
Post 28 Feb 2016, 23:48
TheCrazyTomato, please ignore lev. He's our resident crazy.

In answer to your question, no, it's not true. Stalingrad, while superior to Enemy at the Gates, which was based on a 3 page summary from a WWII encyclopedia and almost purely fictitious, was made by West Germans shortly after their side's victory in the aftermath of the Cold War, and subsequently uses stereotypes often used by Werhmacht generals in their post-war memoirs.

The reality was that the Germans and their allies actually significantly outnumbered the city's defenders (look up Vasily Chuikov in google for more).

Your post got me to thinking about what other films might be worth watching to get a real sense of the battle. Unfortunately, the Russian film industry's latest film on the subject, Bondarchuk's Stalingrad from 2013, is a profound piece of trash roundly condemned for spending millions of dollars of government money to create a movie not about a war, but a girl's romance with some guys. In truth, this a sickness of much of the contemporary Russian film industry. Despite official reverence for the war and its heroes, contemporary Russian films about the war make the commanders out to be fools and drunkards, and Stalin himself (if he makes an appearance) out to be a gangster, an idiot, or worse.

The three earliest films about Stalingrad, «Дни и ночи» ('Days and Nights') (1944), «Великий перелом» ('The Great Breakthrough') (1945) and «Сталинградская битва» ('The Battle of Stalingrad') (1949) have been mostly condemned as Stalin-era propaganda by contemporary viewers.

But in midst of the post-Stalin cultural thaw, several good and even very good films came out. One of these was Lenfilm's «Солдаты» ('Soldiers') (1956):

Another, Mosfilm's «Возмездие» ('Retribution' or 'Revenge') (1957) also received high praise. You can find that here:

Arguably one of the best films on the subject was «Горячий снег» ('Hot Snow') from 1972. You can check that out here, but first you have to watch some crappy commercials:

Another one said to be good is «Они сражались за Родину» ('They Fought For Their Country') from 1976, which deals with a platoon's exploits leading up to Stalingrad. That movie can be found here, this time with English subs:

Finally, the last 'Soviet' film about the battle was simply called 'Stalingrad' (1989), and was filled with new stereotypes and fantasies from the perestroika period, particularly in its portrayal of Stalin. You can read about some of its problems on its wiki page.

After the USSR's collapse, the blatant anti-communist propaganda film «Ангелы смерти» ('Angels of Death'), dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the battle, came out, and was very poorly received. Later, ahead of the 70th anniversary, Russian tv aired «Жизнь и судьба» ('Life and Fate') 2012, which, despite being better received, was similarly bashed by many as anti-Soviet propaganda, except in a sleeker form.

And that's pretty much it. Unfortunately, as I have found when putting this list together, most of these works do not have English subs, but I would recommend the pieces from the 1950s-1970s if you want to get a sense of the atmosphere. These movies were made in the post-Stalin thaw, by great directors, based on short stories and novels dedicated to the battle. At that time, many of the people involved with the production knew what the Second World War was first hand.
Post 29 Feb 2016, 06:44
Ah, Thank you very much for the info, the recommendations and explaining that Lev is a few bricks short of a house. And you've stopped me from making a historically-inaccurate mistake, for that I thank you.
Post 29 Feb 2016, 14:45
You can ask any ex-KGB officer. Basic tenets (tricks of the trade) in espionage are provisions for giveaways and enticing dangles. And there is nothing wrong with them. The Americans and the Germans did them too. The invasion of Normandy sacrificed and killed tens of thousands of US and British front-liners in their beaches which also led to the penetration of the ranks of the German defenders. I will cut my d*** off if I am wrong. I walked-in Philippine Soviet embassy August 1987 to learn from them. (Review surveillance cameras). No doubt, Russian KGBs are authorities on these matters. Ad hominem fallacy and historian's fallacy!! are the most serious mistakes ever made by Hitler and Himmler in setting up the case for fascism which are also the same ways as others here have also committed. Yes, it (tricks) might be obnoxious and repulsive but the Americans did not provide for the rights to freedom of speech for nothing and it works. Read!
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