The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle on the Eastern Front of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (present Volgograd) in Southern Russia, on the eastern boundary of Europe. The battle started on 23rd August 1942, but the first fights directly in the city started on 13 September 1942.
Hitler’s planned summer offensives in 1942 assumed a constant offensive, despite the fact that his army wasn’t ready for such task in the Autumn of 1942. Soviet forces weren’t prepared for that battle as well, especially low morale caused by previous withdraws were painful. Red Army commanders were well aware of that so Stalin’s Order No. 227 was issued to prevent any possible acts of desertions or cowardice:
“Enemy throws to battle new forces and doesn’t encounter its heavy losses, crawls to into Soviet lands, capturing new regions, havocs and destroys our cities and villages, rapes and kills Soviet population… German occupant forces by all means want to take Kuban and Northern Caucasus rich in bread and oil… Units of South front led by scaremongers left Rostov and Novocherkassk without serious resistance and without orders from Moscow, they covered their colours with shame.
Population of our country loves and respects the Red Army, but now people are disappointed that the Red Army leaves our people to be enslaved by German oppressors and runs further to the east. Some not so smart people comfort themselves by conversations that we can run further to the east, because we have a lot of land, many people and we’ll always have plenty of bread. They use this to justify their infamous actions on the fronts.
… but further retreat to the east means to sentence to death our people and our Motherland, every bit of our land given to the enemy will enforce him and will weaken our defense, our Motherland.”
The battle of Stalingrad turned into a fight of desperation and heroic actions.
Order No.227 “Not One Step Back” became later on a slogan of Soviet resistance against the German invasion.
This battle was the turning point of the war on the entire Eastern Front. Third Reich never recovered their losses in the outcome and whole Operation Barbarossa turned into Operation Bagration.