The Great Battle on the Volga (Stalingrad)

Soviet World War 2 Documentary

This Soviet World War 2 Documentary, released in 1962, is notable as much for what isn’t shown as for what’s on the screen. There’s extensive footage from both the Soviet Film Archives and captured German sources showing action on the Eastern Front, with an emphasis on the Battle of Stalingrad. This film is well worth watching for the unique documentary footage alone.


On the other hand, virtually no mention is made of the Soviet Union’s wartime “Supreme Leader,” Joseph Stalin. Only a few years earlier, viewers would have been regaled with constant reminders of the central (we now know almost entirely fictitious) role played by Stalin in winning “The Great Patriotic War.” Instead, credit is given here to Soviet Generals, the Communist Party, soldiers and the perseverance of the people.


To generations brought up in the Soviet Union on a steady diet of Stalin as an omnipresent, infallible genius, this sea change must have been world shaking indeed. To American viewers, it would be akin to removing George Washington from the Revolutionary War, or in Britain, all mention of Churchill from World War 2.


In his speech “On the Personality Cult and its Consequences” to a closed session of the 20th Party Congress of the CPSU, February 25,1956, four years after Stalin’s death, Nikita Khrushchev shocked his listeners by denouncing Stalin’s dictatorial rule and cult of personality. That began the process of “De-Stalinzation” to remove his deeply ingrained imprint from the Soviet state and society. By 1961, the name of the city of “Stalingrad,” site of the epic battle, was changed to “Volgograd.” Stalin’s embalmed body was moved from display in Lenin’s tomb in Red Square to an inconspicuous grave.This 1962 film can be seen as another step in a massive rewriting of World War 2 history as it had been written by Joseph Stalin.


Credit to : ZenosWarbirds