On This Day: Germans surrender to Russia's Red Army at Stalingrad

Chris Parsons
On This Day: Germans surrender to Russia's Red Army at Stalingrad

It was seven decades ago today, on February 2 1943, that an iconic wartime moment arrived as Germany's 6th Army finally surrendered to Russia's Red Army.

The Soviet Government announced its final defeat of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, southern Russia, in a crushing blow to the Nazis in the Second World War.

The Russian city where the Red Army defeated the Germans had been known as Stalingrad since 1925, but it was renamed in the years after the Second World War.

It was renamed Volgograd in 1961 as part of the Soviet Union's rejection of dictator Joseph Stalin's personality cult.

On the day itself in 1943, the Soviet Government announced: "Our forces have now completed the liquidation of the German Fascist troops encircled in the area of Stalingrad.

"The last centre of enemy resistance in the Stalingrad area has thus been crushed."

The battle, described as 'one of the most terrible of the war', saw 45,000 German soldiers taken prisoner in the last two days, bringing the total in custody to over 90,000 officers and men.

A 330,000-strong German army had been sent to take the Russian, but almost 250,000 men died from illness, starvation and frostbite as temperatures plunged to -30C.

The name Stalingrad is inseparable with the battle, in which at least 1.25 million people died.

Russia plans extensive ceremonies on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the German surrender in the southern city on the Volga.

The Volgograd city council today agreed to use the name Stalingrad in city statements on the commemoration day, on Russia's May 9 Victory Day and on four other days connected with the battle.

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