The battle for the city of Stalingrad in the Soviet Union was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of human warfare. It also marked the beginning of the end of the mighty German army.
The battle began in the beginning of September, 1942 and ended on February 2nd, 1943. Casualty figures are not exactly known, but estimates put the death toll at well over 800,000. The German army lost more than 150,000 soldiers and the remaining 650,000 were Russian soldiers and civillians who died defending their city.
This battle was most likely the decisive battle of the world war. If the Germans had won, Russia would have fallen for sure, the Nazis would have gained control of Russia's vast oil fields and all of their vital farmland and natural resources for the production of steel. Germany would have become immune to blockades against their supply routes. They would have been nearly impossible to defeat.
The Soviets were so desperate to defend the city, they destroyed all the bridges crossing the Volga River and all available boats so that their own armies could not retreat from Stalingrad. They were stuck there to fight or die. This newspaper describes this very action taken by the Russians.
The collage of items in this photograph are items that I have collected. The newspaper is from the US, the medal is one that was given to the survivors of Stalingrad honouring their successful (but costly) defense of the city. The German pin is a political button of the Nazi Party, the ammunition was found on the battlefields of WWII Russia. The Soviet hammer and sickle button is also a battlefield relic and is from a Russian soldier's uniform.