Having themselves a very little Christmas

“For the German people, quite especially for the many German families with loved ones in the 6th Army, Christmas 1942 was a depressing festival. A radio broadcast linking troops on all the fighting fronts, including Stalingrad, brought tears to the eyes of many a family gathered around the Christmas tree back home, as the men at the ‘front on the Volga’ joined their comrades in singing ‘Silent Night’. The listeners at home did not know the link-up was a fake. Nor did they know that 1,280 German soldiers died at Stalingrad on that Christmas Day in 1942. They were, however, aware by then of an ominous fate hanging over the 6th Army. The triumphalist propaganda of September and October, suggesting that victory at Stalingrad was just around the corner, had given way in the weeks following the Soviet counter-offensive to little more than ominous silence. Indications of hard fighting were sufficient, however, to make plain that things were not going to plan. Rumours of the encirclement of the 6th Army—passed on through despairing letters from the soldiers entrapped there—swiftly spread. It soon became evident that the rumours were no less than the truth. As the sombre mood at home deepened by the day, the terrible struggle in the streets of Stalingrad headed towards it inexorable dénouement.” – Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.