The Battle of Stalingrad

The Battle of Stalingrad

Des Latham

Categories: Education

Listen to the last episode:

This is episode 34 – the final in this series. A big thank you to my listeners who have posted reviews as well as comments over the past 9 months. And those who have sent me email and twitter notices of support thank you so much too. So to the story at hand. Last episode you remember that Field Marshal Paulus surrendered with the men in the southern pocket inside Stalingrad. That was not the end of it all. We left off with Russian Generals Voronov and Rokossovsky interrogating Paulus. Before we continue with their attempts at getting Paulus to order the Germans in the northern pocket in Stalingrad to surrender, we must quickly return to the Wolf’s Lair in east Prussia. Hitler took the news of the surrender far more calmly than most would have forecast. Sitting in front of a huge map of Russia in the main conference room, he spoke with Zeitzler, Keitel and others about the debacle. The Wolf’s Lair in the middle of the Prussian forest was once described by General Jodl as a cross between a monastery and a Concentration Camp. Hitler didn’t bother banging the table or conducting his usual screaming and haranguing technique this time. He seemed resigned. “They have surrendered there formally and absolutely. Otherwise they would have closed ranks, formed a hedgehog and shot themselves with their last bullet…” “That Schmidt will sign anything..” Hitler was referring to the ardent Nazi and Paulus chief of staff. “A man who doesn’t have the courage in such a time to take the road that every man has to take sometimes, doesn’t have the strength to withstand that sort of thing …” he droned on “he will suffer torture in his soul…” Hitler was disgusted. Zeitzler was his usual toadying self - coddling Hitler’s ego … “I still think … the Russians are only claiming to have captured them all ..” “No ..” Hitler shouted “In this war no more Field Marshals will be made. I won’t go on counting my chickens before they are hatched..” The Führer kept returning to the fact that Paulus failed to kill himself. In his mind he’d built up the moment as one of heroic courage, something he could draw on to rally his Reich. Nobody was more shocked than the Japanese. When their military officials were shown a Soviet propaganda film featuring Paulus and the other captured generals, they wondered why all had not committed suicide rather than be paraded like common criminals. The final number of casualties on the Russian side topped 1.1 million, with a similar number on the German side.

Previous episodes

  • 34 - Episode 34 - The Battle of Stalingrad ends and the world changes 
    Sun, 07 Feb 2021
  • 33 - Episode 33 - Field Marshal Paulus surrenders but the northern pocket fights on 
    Sun, 31 Jan 2021
  • 32 - Episode 32 - Goebbels declares “Total War” as crows peck at the eyeballs of the dead 
    Sun, 24 Jan 2021
  • 31 - Episode 31 - Pitomnik Airfield overrun and Major Thiel talks to dead men at Gumrak 
    Sun, 17 Jan 2021
  • 30 - Episode 30 - Voronov’s “God of War” turns the melody of the front into a real-world Goya nightmare 
    Sun, 10 Jan 2021
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