• Stalingrad Monument on Mamayev Hill
In 1967, a monument to the Soviet victims of the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942/43 was dedicated on Mamayev Hill in Volgograd (1925 to 1961: Stalingrad). The Red Army's victory at Stalingrad was the turning point in World War II, eventually leading to the defeat of the Axis powers.
Image: Stalingrad, January 1943, Soviet soldiers engaging in house-to-house fighting, Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P0613-308
Stalingrad, January 1943, Soviet soldiers engaging in house-to-house fighting, Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P0613-308

Image: Volgograd, 2011, »The Motherland Calls«, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
Volgograd, 2011, »The Motherland Calls«, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
The Russian city of Volgograd is located on the right bank of the Volga River, about 400 km north of the Caucasus Mountains. The city, initially called Tsaritsyn, was renamed to Stalingrad in 1925 in honour of Stalin, who had served there as an army commissioner during the Russian civil war (1917-1922). Stalingrad became one of the centres of industry and arms production during the industrialization of the Soviet Union.
In the summer of 1942, the command of the 6th Army, numerically the largest formation of the German Wehrmacht, launched an offensive to capture Stalingrad. By conquering the city, Hitler hoped to secure the front and advance to the Caucasian oil fields. He also wanted to make a symbolic impact by conquering a city named after Stalin and considered to be a communist stronghold. In mid-August 1942, the German air force began bombing the city, killing some 40,000 residents of Stalingrad. Tens of thousands of civilians fled the city as German units and their allies advanced. By mid-September 1942, the Wehrmacht had occupied nearly the entire municipal area, however, several Russian units held their positions in fierce house-to-house fighting. While the fighting in the centre continued, Red Army units encircled the city within a few days in November 1942. About 220,000 German and 30,000 Romanian soldiers were enveloped in Stalingrad in the bitter cold and with scant food supplies. The army held its hopeless position until February 1943 upon Hitler's direct order forbidding surrender. Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus finally defied Hitler's orders and surrendered on February 2, 1943. Already at the time, the Battle of Stalingrad had a huge symbolic impact on contemporaries.
Image: Stalingrad, January 1943, Soviet soldiers engaging in house-to-house fighting, Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P0613-308
Stalingrad, January 1943, Soviet soldiers engaging in house-to-house fighting, Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P0613-308

Image: Volgograd, 2011, »The Motherland Calls«, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
Volgograd, 2011, »The Motherland Calls«, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the largest battles of World War II. About 90,000 German soldiers perished in the encirclement, thousands starved or froze to death. Of the approximately 100,000 German survivors of the battle, only 6,000 returned from Soviet captivity. The losses on the Soviet side were at least twice as high: it is estimated that over 500,000 Red Army soldiers died in action. The total number could in fact be even higher. A vast number of civilians also died in the embattled city, however, there is no reliable data as to how many.
Image: Stalingrad, September 1942, Destruction in Stalingrad, Bundesarchiv, Bild 169-0902
Stalingrad, September 1942, Destruction in Stalingrad, Bundesarchiv, Bild 169-0902

Image: Volgograd, 2011, Hall of Valour, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
Volgograd, 2011, Hall of Valour, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
The Battle of Stalingrad was a turning point in World War II for the Allies in 1943 – this was exploited accordingly in the official propaganda. This view was also widespread among a majority of the German population. Meanwhile the National Socialists presented the perseverance of the 6th Army as a sacrifice in what Goebbels called a »total war« on February 18, 1943, following the defeat. Both these perspectives were reflected in the culture of commemoration in both Germany and Russia after 1945: while the heroic victory stands out in Russian collective memory, most of German society considers Stalingrad to have been a pointless sacrifice and deems it a symbol of the lost war. This is expressed in, on the one hand, numerous novels and motion pictures, and, on the other hand, a large number of academic publications on the battle, showing a persisting interest in the topic.
On May 1, 1945, Stalingrad was awarded the title of Hero City by Stalin. In 1961, the city was renamed to Volgograd as part of the de-Stalinization policy. Construction work on a colossal monument on Mamayev Hill, a point of strategic importance for the battle in the city centre, was begun in 1959. The »Motherland« statue was unveiled in 1967 after eight years of construction. Measuring approximately 85 metres, it is one of the highest statues in the world. The female figure is holding a sword raised high in one hand, while the other hand is reaches out behind her – facing the back, she is calling upon the sons of the nation to defend their homeland.
There is a whole memorial complex on Mamayev Hill, including a »Hall of Valour«. The monument on Mamayev Hill is one of the central memorial sites in Russia, attracting a very high number of visitors.
Image: Volgograd, 2011, Colossal sculptures on Mamayev Hill, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
Volgograd, 2011, Colossal sculptures on Mamayev Hill, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com

Image: Volgograd, 2011, Ruins of a building that is today part of the memorial, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
Volgograd, 2011, Ruins of a building that is today part of the memorial, Rob Atherton – www.bbmexplorer.com
Name
Istoriko-memorialnyj komplex na Mamajewom kurgane
Address
Mamayev Kurgan
400005 Wolgograd
Phone
+7(8442) 237 272
Fax
+7(8442) 237 272
Web
http://www.stalingrad-battle.ru
E-Mail
panorama_sb@mail.ru
Open
The monument is accessible at all times.