Stalingrad: A Trilogy

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[edit] General Information

War Documentary hosted by Joachim Hoeppner, published by ZDF in 2003 - English narration

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Image: Stalingrad-A-Trilogy-Cover.jpg

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Hardly any event in the entire history of war has made such a traumatic impression on the German consciousness as did the catastrophe on the Volga in 1942/43: 60 years ago Stalingrad became a mass grave of the German Wehrmacht and a psychological turning point of the Second World War. The Eastern Front experienced the viciousness of war on a scale of unimaginable horror and brutality. The bloodiest and most savage fighting took place in Stalingrad between August 1942 and February 1943. Stalin's city on the Volga had military significance for Hitler, as it carried the name of his enemy and therefore had to be destroyed. The ensuing battle sealed the fates of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians, marked the turning point of World War II, and was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. This three-part HD documentary by award-winning documentary filmmakers Sebastian Dehnhardt, Christian Deick and Jorg Mullner under the direction of Guido Knopp presents both the German and Russian perspective, contains rare footage shot by soldiers during the siege, and reveals new historical facts with moving eyewitness accounts and confessions from some of Stalingrad's last survivors. The Russian archives opened their doors to the filmmakers, granting exclusive access to a wealth of previously unreleased material. The battle for Stalingrad, in which at least one million German soldiers, Red Army soldiers and Soviet civilians fell victim, was the bloodiest decisive battle in the 'war of extermination' unleashed by Hitler. Like a shock, the catastrophe of the 6th Army made it clear to many Germans that, despite all the propaganda chants, the war would be lost. For Germans and Russians, Stalingrad marked the psychological turning point in the Second World War. How the catastrophe came about and what cruel consequences the battle had for the soldiers and inhabitants of the city are described in the series with many previously unpublished film recordings and unsparing eyewitness testimonies from survivors on both sides. So far, the Battle of Stalingrad has mostly been presented from a national perspective. Today - on the 60th anniversary of the catastrophe - a trilogy begins in which eyewitnesses from both sides jointly describe what happened in the Stalingrad pocket. Former soldiers of the 6th Army and their former opponents describe - because of their age probably last time - moments that shaped their life: snipers tell on murderous hunts in the ruined world of Stalingrad, where one wrong move could kill, but also civilians make harrowing confessions. The once enemy nations are now showing what was going on and really happened in the inferno of Stalingrad in a joint television production. In cooperation with the Russian television station TVS, a documentary was created to broadcast simultaneously on German and Russian television. This version was turned into a cinema film, released in winter 2003. Originally broadcast in both Germany and Russia in slightly truncated editions, this Blu-ray contains all three STALINGRAD documentaries including THE ATTACK (54 min.), THE KESSEL (56 min.) and THE DOOM (55 min.) in their original uncut, English dubbed versions. Nominated Emmy Award 2003 New York and Magnolia Award Shanghai 2004, "Stalingrad" is a production of Cologne in Cooperation with ZDF and Teleac/NOT (Holland), YLE Finland, DR TV (Denmark), SBS-TV (Australia), TVS (Russia) and MEDIA (European TV promotion).

[edit] The Attack

With a force of over half a million men, the German army advanced towards the Caspian Sea and Stalingrad to capture the center of Soviet military industry. Hitler's Sixth Army faced strong resistance from all sides and German soldiers perished in bloody battles. Yet Hitler still boasted on November 8th in Munich that Stalingrad was practically conquered and the Germans would never leave the city again.
With the dimensions of Russia in mind, the rapid advance of the German army to the Volga - measured against the low population density - was not an ultimate achievement. It was much more difficult to ensure sufficient supplies. However, the German army command had not reckoned with the continental winter and the tough and clever resistance of the defenders. Red Army soldiers fiercely defended every house, every basement, every shelter. In mid-November 1942, the attackers were surrounded by a surprising Soviet counter-offensive. It was the beginning of the end of the 6th Army.

[edit] The Kessel

In the early morning of November 19, 1942, one of the most moving chapters of World War II began. A dense fog lay in the lowlands between the Don and the Volga. At 5:20 a.m., several thousand Soviet guns and Stalin organs opened fire. "It was breathtaking," Captain Gerard Dengler recalls with a shudder. The Soviet attack hit the Germans at their most vulnerable point: in the rear of the front, where allied Romanians and Italians secured the flanks of the 6th Army. Their resistance didn't last long. Poorly equipped and doubting the sense of the campaign, the units of the "allies" surrendered to the overwhelming superiority. The Soviet armored spearheads, who had attacked simultaneously from the north and south, met at Kalach. The German 6th Army with more than 300,000 men was surrounded. By November 23, Russian forces had encircled the Germans; 300,000 soldiers were trapped. Hitler monitored the situation elsewhere and did not give the order to retreat against the advice of the experts. Goering promised to try to drop aid packages, ammunition and fuel from the air, but the attempt failed. The temperature dropped quickly to -40 degrees, and the German soldiers in summer clothes had no chance in the Russian winter. Christmas during the blockade was a time of extreme despair for men.

[edit] The Doom

At the beginning of January 1943, the situation for the soldiers of the 6th Army was hopeless: completely exhausted, half starved and apathetic, the men lay in their positions in freezing temperatures. They can no longer defend themselves, the ammunition is almost gone. Then, on January 8, 1943, the Soviets offered the Sixth Army honorable terms of surrender. But Hitler forbids Paulus to give up the fight. The senseless death goes on.
"The Sixth Army has my word that everything possible will be done to save you. Adolf Hitler." The radio message reached the besieged soldiers on January 31, 1942. Two days later, the last units surrendered. Hitler was furious. Never before had German army commanders been captured. About 95,000 soldiers were captured and only 6,000 returned home.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4.1
Video Bitrate: 3 974 kb/s
Video Resolution: 1920x1080
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 23.976 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 384 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 53 min - 56 min
Number Of Parts: 3
Part Size: 1.63 GB - 1.70 GB
Source: BluRay (Thanks to KRaLiMaRKo)
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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