The Battle of Verdun and the Battle of Stalingrad may well be the most gruesome battles in recent history. Both are excellent examples of how important morale is in winning a war. If either of these cities would have fallen to the Germans, history might have unfolded in a very different way than what we see here today.
The Battle of Verdun and the Battle of Stalingrad both have significant similarities. The most important of these is the fact that both cities grew to hold a great importance in both societies' history which led to them becoming distinct symbols of public pride. If these cities had fallen to the enemy it's possible that France's and/or Russia's morale of troops stationed all over the Europe would have fallen drastically and perhaps led to a loss of significant battles. In the battle of Verdun the German strategy was to pick a target that the French would not allow to be taken and by continually sending in reinforcements "the French would bleed themselves to death." Verdun had one of the highest death tolls in World War I and was the longest battle throughout the war. One of the reasons for all the death is because the French forts had been stripped down of their guns so that the defensive capabilities of the forts were diminished. The Germans also brought in over 1,200 artillery guns, which at the time was the most powerful artillery line ever and practically annihilated entire French divisions. In Stalingrad, however, the main reason for attacking the city was to severe the north-south railway link. However, just like in Verdun the city was ill prepared for war. We know this by looking at historical accounts of what happened. When the Russians saw it was clear that the German's were bound on taking the city they quickly put together a militia of about 20,000 men and set up a line of defense. Obviously a poorly trained militia of normal working citizens would not at all be able to hold off a German army and so Soviet...
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