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How the Battle of Stalingrad Marked a Turning Point in WWII

By early 1942, Adolf Hitler’s dream of destroying the Soviet Union seemed closer to fulfillment. Jackbooted German soldiers had marched victoriously through the streets of the communist nation’s major cities while their comrades laid siege to Leningrad and threatened the capital of Moscow. Then, late that summer, the Nazi leader attacked Stalingrad. That decision led to Germany’s first major Eastern Front defeat and became the turning point of World War II.

“If you look at the whole operation, the Soviets essentially wiped out the German Sixth Army and a Panzer army…leaving a massive hole in the Eastern Front,” says Stalingrad historian David Glantz, author of five books on the battle. “The Germans never fully recovered from it.”

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