The Battle of Stalingrad, between Germany and the Soviet Union, is considered not only the most important in World War II, but one of the most important in military history. The battle proved to be decisive for the Soviet Union and fundamentally changed altered the course of the war. Germany’s defeat at Stalingrad not only lead to catastrophic German losses, but put the Nazi war machine was on the defensive for he rest of the war. Why were the Germans defeated at the Battle of Stalingrad and what lead to the Soviet victory? The German was hobbled by Hitler’s micromanaging and tactics, his personal intransigence, and poor German battlefield leadership. The Soviet’s benefitted from superior Soviet leadership, numbers, and tactics.
In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. It was a surprise attack that violated the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty signed in 1939 between Germany and the Soviet Union. The agreement was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that was intended to ensure that neither country attacked the other. Up to one million German soldiers and their allies pushed into western Soviet Union on the first day of the German invasion. As a result of their tactical surprise, the German army achieved a series of spectacular victories. Despite heroic Soviet resistance, Germany seized much of present day Belorussia, Ukraine and the Baltic States. The Red army suffered spectacular reverses and sustained massive losses. Hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops were killed and up to a million and a half taken, prisoner. A quarter of a million men surrendered during the German capture of Kiev, alone.