Urbanography – “Stalingrad” by Antony Beevor

Source: goodreads.com

Last month I posted a book review of The 900 Days, the Siege of Leningrad as part of our Urbanogarphy series. If you thought that true story from World War II was appalling, Stalingrad by Antony Beevor describes how war and violence  were taken to a whole new level.

Mr. Beevor’s excellent book describes in vivid detail the horrors that took place in this city as the Soviet Army made a vital and vicious stand against the invading Nazi Army. Taking Stalingrad (Volgograd) was important to Hitler because the city had been renamed in honor of the reigning Soviet dictator. It also occupied a strategic location along the Volga River.

While the siege in Leningrad was a battle of time, resources, and stamina, the warfare in Stalingrad consisted of desperate street to street, door to door, and hand to hand fighting where the battle lines wavered back and forth in a matter of hours. It also was the scene of huge artillery barrages and aerial dogfights. The deadly sniper warfare employed was depicted in the book and movie Enemy at the Gates.

In the end, the weather, the vastness of the Russian steppe, the resupply of soldiers and material from factories moved to Siberia, and the over-aggressiveness of the Germans led to an important Soviet victory. The Nazi Army’s advance eastward had been turned back. But, in this victory, the cost to both sides had been staggering. After the war, both Stalingrad (Volgograd) and Leningrad (St. Petersburg) were among the cities honored as Hero Cities for their “outstanding heroism.”

Volgograd - Source: brodyaga,com

Today, Volgograd remains a key transportation link, industrial city, and strategic location along the mighty Volga River. The city was rebuilt after World War II in a Soviet-era style. Impressive monuments, including the immense statue entitled The Motherland Calls (see below) dot the area.

The Motherland Calls - Source: en.wikipedia.org

Anyone interesting in World War II history or military history in general will surely enjoy reading Stalingrad, but many others, including urban planners, will find this story of survival captivating too. It is a story that needs to be retold over and over again, so that it is never repeated.

This entry was posted in book reviews, cities, culture, history, revitalization and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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