I'm quite interested in Stalingrad and have started reading a bit regarding the battle itself and have seen that weather had played quite a significant factor in halting the German advance. (Reading Stalingrad by Beevor at the moment)

I'm quite keen on seeing the German perspective regarding their difficulties with Stalingrad but I'm afraid I haven't found any. A quick search on Wikipedia (sorry!) yields: "... The next day he made a six page situation report to the general staff...", with the citation as Kehrig, Manfred Stalingrad, Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags Anstalt, 1974 pages 279,311-312,575 but I'm afraid I can't read German so I can't peruse that.

I was hoping someone from History SE could help me on this.

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    Beevor is revisionist and anti-Soviet propagandist. You should not expect anything different from him.
    – Anixx
    Dec 10, 2012 at 3:08
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    @Anixx: Absolutely not. He is an honest historian. You are just repeating the party line in this instance, I am afraid. It's all explained here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Beevor#Criticism. Dec 10, 2012 at 12:06
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    @Felix Goldberg I just know what he writes and what sources he uses. He is not historian. He is propagandist.
    – Anixx
    Dec 10, 2012 at 12:53
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    @Anixx: Can you give an example? Generally speaking, not everybody who writes something "controversial" is a "propagandist"... Dec 10, 2012 at 13:23
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    As one starting point: some of the German historian Joachim Fest's books have been translated into English. (BTW, he was also a sometime critic of Anthony Beevor in relation to his work on the fall of Berlin.) Then there are letters sent back by German soldiers to their families, which were collected and presented by a reputable radio station a few years ago. Also a vg starting point, but sadly not available in English.
    – Drux
    Dec 19, 2012 at 15:02

4 Answers 4


I'm from Germany and can add an anecdotal answer. Stalingrad is, I think, seen as a gruesome battle with much loss of life - with an emphasis on the German soldiers. At least up to the early 90ties serious magazines would discuss the mistakes of the Wehrmacht and so on.

My feeling is that the dominant narrative is one of German soldiers dying in a pointless, brutal and traumatic battle. Bear in mind that until the mid-90ties, it was not widely acknowledged in Germany that the Wehrmacht (Army, in contrast to the SS) was involved in the Holocaust and other mass murders on a wide level. So pointing to the German soldiers who died could have the function to talk about supposedly relatively innocent German victims of the war.

There is an alternative, minority viewpoint (shared by me): Some see Stalingrad as a turning point in the Nazis war of extermination, as the moment where those living in the eastern occupied territories could look forward to being liberated from the Nazis. Should you ever come to Germany and see t-shirts with "Stalingrad 42" prints in the style of soccer-shirts, this is what they are about.


Major General Hans Doerr has written extensively about Stalingrad from the German point of view.

He has described in considerable detail why attacking there (and trying to cut off Russia's oil) seemed like a good idea at the time, and why the plan apparently failed narrowly due to bad luck and some miscues on the part of the Germans.

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    +1 , but I'm sure Soviet military activity had a little something to do with it as well...
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 25, 2013 at 17:01
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    well, the bad luck of course was in no small part caused by Soviet weapons actually working better than German ones (especially being more reliable under the weather and terrain conditions encountered in the area) :)
    – jwenting
    Jan 28, 2013 at 8:05
  • Could you transcribe what he wrote? Can't read German :( Aug 4, 2013 at 16:57
  • The Soviets had stalemated the Germans in the city long before it got cold.
    – Oldcat
    Sep 10, 2015 at 0:06


I'm not sure what you're asking for here, 'the German perspective' in what sense?

The German army made some serious strategic errors in their attempt to 'take' Stalingrad most of which I might add were fueled by Hitlers arrogance in his own military ability, a mistrust in his own Generals' ability and his petulance in wanting to take Stalingrad as quickly as possible to 'teach Stalin a lesson' and break the will of the Russian people.

The Germans used their usual 'blitzkreig' tactics of hitting the city with Panzer divisions and infantry supported by the luftwaffe but made the fatal mistake of almost bombing the city into oblivion which hindered their later progress of clearing the city of Russian resistance which basically took too long.

The Russians (what was left of them) dug in and fought a guerilla war in the bombed out remains of the city which meant that the two most powerful parts of the German military machine, the Panzers and Luftwaffe could not be deployed. The harsh winter weather played its part in effectively cutting off the German supply lines and they had to be increasingly resupplied by air which wasn't practical in terms of the weather.

This allowed the Russians sufficient time to move other Russian armies into position to encircle the Germans both inside and outside Stalingrad thus cutting off any hope of the trapped German armies inside Stalingrad from being reinforced or evacuated.

The Germans made too many mistakes and underestimated the resolve (and sheer quantity of potential reinforcements) of the Russian army.

If you want any one particular reason it was Hitlers arrogance and over-confidence.

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    Hitlers hubris.
    – user202
    Jan 20, 2013 at 14:40
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    voted down because this answer follows the romanticized version of events. The Germans didn't Blitzkrieg into Stalingrad, otherwise they would've bypassed it as doctrine states. Nor did the winter cause the resupply by air - the Soviets cut them off, and besides by that time the Germans largely had adequate winter clothing. Aug 4, 2013 at 16:56
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    You can't call the brutal close combat the Soviets did in the city "Guerilla" by any stretching of the term. The Luftwaffe was actually fairly effective in aiding German assaults in the city. The Soviets learned to deploy as close as possible to the German lines to mitigate the planes ability to target them.
    – Oldcat
    Sep 10, 2015 at 0:09

Heinrich Gerlach was a participant of the Battle of Stalingrad. In captivity he started to write a book on this topic, which was confiscated by the Soviets. Back in Germany he tried to reconstruct the book, which was published in 1957 under the title "Die verratene Armee" (the forsaken army).

In 2012, the original manuscript was found in the Military Archives in Moscow. This manuscript was published in 2016 under the title Durchbruch bei Stalingrad (break-through at Stalingrad).

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