The Instigator
STALIN
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Conlatus
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

The Battle of STALINGRAD was the most important battle of WWII.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
STALIN
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/10/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,214 times Debate No: 40271
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

STALIN

Pro

Round 1 is for acceptance. State which battle you believe is more important the Stalingrad and support your claim with evidence in rounds 2-5.
Conlatus

Con

I accept the challenge . In my opinion the crucial turning point(s) of the Second World War took place during december 1941. Not during '42-'43 in Stalingrad.
Debate Round No. 1
STALIN

Pro

By "December 1941" I assume that you are talking about the Battle of Moscow.
The Battle of Moscow was definitely a significant battle, especially considering the fact that it was Hitler's first real defeat. This was the first time when a German Blitzkrieg came to a stop in the cold Russian winter. Moscow was saved and the myth of German invincibility was shattered.

Historians generally agree that there were three turning points in WWII (talks/proves this in video):

1. The Battle of Moscow ensured that Hitler would not win the war on his own terms. He would be forced to fight a long war.

2. The Battle of Stalingrad made sure that Germany would lose the war, the only question is how badly Germany would lose. Would it be a negotiated peace or total destruction?

3. The Battle of Kursk answered this question. After this defeat Germany lost all chances of winning WWII.

I will now write about the importance of the Battle of Stalingrad.
Then I will write about the importance of the Battle of Moscow.

Importance of the Battle of Stalingrad:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

-Saved Stalingrad (the second most important city in the USSR)
-Saved the valuable oil-fields at the Caucuses (Grozny, Baku, Maykop, etc) which provided some 95% of Soviet oil.
-Saved the British Empire (stopped Germany from breaking into the middle-east which was lightly defended from where they could reach India and Egypt)
-Germany suffered a staggering 850,000 casualties
-This was the largest defeat for Germany
-The entire coarse of the war in Europe changed (in other words this was the most important turning point of the war)
-The Germans were in retreat on a scale never seen before shortly following the end of the Battle of Stalingrad
-Ensured that Turkey would not join the axis

Importance of the Battle of Moscow:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

-Saved Moscow (the center of all Soviet rail-roads and the most important city in the USSR)
-Germany suffered between 174,000 and 400,000 casualties
-This battle was the first real defeat for Germany.

I would agree that the Battle of Moscow was an important battle and I would rank it in the top three. However the lists above that I composed prove that the Battle of Stalingrad was much more significant than the Battle of Moscow.
http://www.historynet.com...

I look forward to hearing from you.
Conlatus

Con

As I see it, the 'most important battle' refers to the battle that effectively decided World War II. Deciding meaning that Germany and its allies would not be able to win the war. This is not, or at least doesn't have to be, the same as the battle with the most casualties. Personally I do not think that single battles decided World War II, which is why I chose December 1941 rather than a single battle.

In December 1941 the Germans experience their first major setback with the beginning of the Soviet counteroffensive in front of Moscow. In effect, this meant that the war was going to be prolonged indefinitely: the German advance had stopped and that"s a crucial moment; the 'Blitz' was taken out of the 'Blitzkrieg' allowing the Soviet Union to recover from total chaos.

More importantly: at the same time as the Battle of Moscow the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour and that meant that the Americans came into the war against Japan. Four days later (11th of December 1941) Hitler declares war against the USA " a war he has no idea how they can win. So within a few days then, you"ve got the German attack on the Soviet Union stopped and the war going into the indefinite future in the Soviet Union when only a blitzkrieg war had been planned for, and you"ve got the Japanese in the war, and you"ve got the Americans in the war, and you"ve got the Germans now fighting against the USA. Of course the war had still a long way to go and so on, and the Germans did actually recover to some extent in "42, but if you actually look for one point which is the turning point I think that was it.
Debate Round No. 2
STALIN

Pro

"Deciding meaning that Germany and its allies would not be able to win the war."

And the Battle of Stalingrad decided that.

"This is not, or at least doesn't have to be, the same as the battle with the most casualties."

Well the Battle of Stalingrad was the bloodiest battle in history and also the part where Hitler would lose, step by step.

"Personally I do not think that single battles decided World War II, which is why I chose December 1941 rather than a single battle."

In December the Germans were pushed back from Moscow however no significant German forces were encircled.
Germany was in no way shape or form defeated. Also, on December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was bombed and the entire US Pacific fleet, with the exception of a few aircraft carriers, was destroyed. The situation looked pretty grim for the allies. Germany lost a few hundred thousand soldiers at Moscow, however they had destroyed over a million Soviets. And the USA, although in the war now, had an army smaller than the army Poland had in 1939 and a fleet that had just been destroyed. In 1941 the allies were just barely holding out. http://en.wikipedia.org...
In December 1941, Japan was conquering the Pacific winning victory after victory. Britain was being pushed back in Africa. The Soviets had been able to hold out, not win a decisive victory. So the outcome of the war was in no way shape or form, decided in December 1941.
Conlatus

Con

December 1941 decided the war. That month made sure that the Axis would not end the war victoriously. The importance of events or battles doesn't have to relate to the amount of casualties sustained. So even though the Battle of Moscow destroyed relatively few German divisions and even though the attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed 4 of the 8 battleships present there, the overall conclusion of that month saw that the war waged by Germany became unwinnable.

In other words the geopolitical and strategic results are more important if you really want to determine the most important event(s) or pivotal moment during World War II.

Strategically;
The Battle of Moscow / December '41 is of great importance because it ended the Blitzkrieg tactics that had allowed the Germans to overtake much of western Europe and the western USSR. It was at this point that they ran out of steam and where the Red Army reorganized and reformed itself.

Imagine a bull, chasing a man. The man runs away with the enraged bull right behind him. Then, the man suddenly turns and grips the bull by the horns and forces him to a standstill. They stand still, each looking eachother in the eye.

Geopolitically;
In december '41, the war became a global war, with the joining of the European and Pacific theatre. The entry of the US not only meant that the industrial might (which at the time constituted more than that of the USSR and Germany combined) would now reside in the Allied camp, it also meant that the US (through lend & lease) would deliver over $11 billion in materials: over 400,000 jeeps and trucks; 12,000 armored vehicles, 11,400 aircraft and 1.75 million tons of food to the Soviet Union. Without that assistance (and the constant bombing of German industry) the German and Soviet production capacity would have remained relatively equal, meaning the war's end was unforeseeable.

Back to the bull and the man. The man at this point regains his strength and starts to slowly push back the bull. The Battle of Stalingrad in this analogy is a push, just like Kursk and Bagration were pushes. However, what was the turning point? The moment the man stopped the bull in his tracks and regained his strength to push back: the Battle of Moscow and the US joining the Allied camp.
Debate Round No. 3
STALIN

Pro

"December 1941 decided the war."

No it didn't. In December 1941, Japan was winning and Germany although pushed back 100 miles, had inflicted heavy losses on the Soviets.

"That month made sure that the Axis would not end the war victoriously."

That is completely false. As I said earlier, in December 1941, Japan was winning. Germany was in no way destroyed. In 1941, while Germany suffered about 800,000 dead, the Soviets lost 7-8 million men.

"The importance of events or battles doesn't have to relate to the amount of casualties sustained."

I never said that the amount of casualties sustained determins how significant a battle is. However I would argue that the Battle of Stalingrad, where Germany suffered 850,000 casualties including 107,000 captured was more important than the Battle of Moscow where Germany only lost 174,000"400,000 men.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"So even though the Battle of Moscow destroyed relatively few German divisions and even though the attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed 4 of the 8 battleships present there, the overall conclusion of that month saw that the war waged by Germany became unwinnable."

At Pearl Harbor, the US lost:
4 battleships sunk
3 battleships damaged
1 battleship grounded
2 other ships sunk
3 cruisers damaged
3 destroyers damaged
3 other ships damaged
188 aircraft destroyed
159 aircraft damaged
2,402 killed
1,247 wounded
http://en.wikipedia.org...

These losses show that Pearl Harbor did not change the coarse of the war.

After Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Moscow, the war for the axis powers was in no way shape or form unwinnable.

"In other words the geopolitical and strategic results are more important if you really want to determine the most important event(s) or pivotal moment during World War II."

The most pivotal (critical) year of WWII was the year 1942 when Hitler was throughing everything he had at Stalingrad and the Caucus oil fields. Germany was being bombed to pieced. The Second Battle of El Alamein was happening. The year 1941 was simply the year when WWII truly became a global war. The outcome of the war was decided in 1942 with the German defeat at Stalingrad and the Second Battle of El Alamein.

"The Battle of Moscow / December '41 is of great importance because it ended the Blitzkrieg tactics that had allowed the Germans to overtake much of western Europe and the western USSR. It was at this point that they ran out of steam and where the Red Army reorganized and reformed itself."

Another historical inaccuracy. The Germany Blitzkrieg resumed in the summer of 1942 when Hitler launched Case Blue to capture Stalingrad and the Caucus oil fields. The summer offensive was almost unstoppable and would have succeeded had Germany Hitler not turned his attention to fighting the bloodiest battle in history in order to capture Stalingrad. The Red Army reorganized and reformed itself after the Battle of Stalingrad; before the Battle of Stalingrad the Red Army had launched two offensives, one at Kharkov and one in the Crimea. Both failed! And this was in 1942, before the Battle of Stalingrad. So your claim is completely incorrect.

"Imagine a bull, chasing a man. The man runs away with the enraged bull right behind him. Then, the man suddenly turns and grips the bull by the horns and forces him to a standstill. They stand still, each looking eachother in the eye."

And then the Bull is killed at the Battle of Stalingrad. Nice story to explain the eastern front. Thank you!

"In december '41, the war became a global war, with the joining of the European and Pacific theatre. The entry of the US not only meant that the industrial might (which at the time constituted more than that of the USSR and Germany combined) would now reside in the Allied camp, it also meant that the US (through lend & lease) would deliver over $11 billion in materials: over 400,000 jeeps and trucks; 12,000 armored vehicles, 11,400 aircraft and 1.75 million tons of food to the Soviet Union. Without that assistance (and the constant bombing of German industry) the German and Soviet production capacity would have remained relatively equal, meaning the war's end was unforeseeable."

The US entered the war in late 1941, however it did not really start fighting until 1942. Operation Torch (invasion of Morocco) and the Battle of Midway took place in 1942. America started sending lend lease supplies in 1940, and these supplies saved Britain. The US was sending supplies to Britain and the USSR even before it entered the war so just because the USA entered the war, it does not mean the war is won.

"Back to the bull and the man. The man at this point regains his strength and starts to slowly push back the bull. The Battle of Stalingrad in this analogy is a push, just like Kursk and Bagration were pushes. However, what was the turning point? The moment the man stopped the bull in his tracks and regained his strength to push back: the Battle of Moscow and the US joining the Allied camp."

Well said. However the bull quickly recovered from the defeat at Moscow and launched an offensive towards the Caucus oil fields and Stalingrad, the Battle of Moscow did not kill the bull, the Battle of Stalingrad did. In 1941 the axis were winning. By late 1942 and early 1943 the axis were losing on all fronts.
Conlatus

Con

My opponent does not seem to understand the difference between [cause] and [effect]. Yes, in 1942 the Japanese were expanding in South East Asia. Yes, the Germans were still advancing in some sections of the Eastern Front and yes, the British were still heavily engaged in North Africa. But the simple fact remains, that even though their advances continued, even with brilliant strategic manoeuvres, they would never win the war; the window of opportunity had simply closed by december 1941.

The winter of '41 did not 'catch the Germans by surprise', they simply had not expected to still be fighting at that point. The Battle of Moscow warded off the German offensive; that is to say, the first and largest blow. It was a boon for Soviet (and British) morale. German battles would now all be pyrrhic victories, with Stalingrad being perhaps the most obvious of these.

The German declaration of war against the USA (and the USA's 'Germany First' policy that followed, secured the deal for the Allies. The full (not limited as previously) industrial might of the USA meant that the Axis were totally out produced by the Allies.

For example: yes, Pearl Harbor was a defeat for the Americans, but while the US navy's size was 478 ships in total (including 6 aircraft carriers) already by 1943, the Navy's size was larger than the combined fleets of all the other combatant nations in World War II. By war's end in 1945, the United States Navy had a total of 6,768 ships, including 28 aircraft carriers, 23 battleships, 71 escort carriers, 72 cruisers, 232 submarines, 377 destroyers, and thousands of amphibious, supply and auxiliary ships. You cannot and must not underestimate the industrial might of the USA, even though they first landed troops in Europe in 1942.

World War II was not a Napoleonic War in which strategy in pitched battles is the main deciding factor for a wars outcome. World War II was a total war, and in a total war the nations which can produce the most tanks, aircraft, ships and men ... wins. In 1941, that balance of men and arms shifted in the Allied favor and never shifted back. That's why this moment is the deciding moment of World War II.
Debate Round No. 4
STALIN

Pro

"My opponent does not seem to understand the difference between [cause] and [effect]."

I understand the difference between cause and effect perfectly well. I won't bother defining the words though. I will simply give an example: cause-German defeat at Stalingrad; effect-Germany losses the war.

"Yes, in 1942 the Japanese were expanding in South East Asia."

Err...no... Japan was advancing through Dutch, British, French, and American colonies in the Pacific islands, not only in South East Asia. Japanese forces were also pushing further into China.

"Yes, the Germans were still advancing in some sections of the Eastern Front and yes, the British were still heavily engaged in North Africa. But the simple fact remains, that even though their advances continued, even with brilliant strategic maneuvers, they would never win the war; the window of opportunity had simply closed by December 1941."

The "window of opportunity" actually came when Hitler first gave the order to attack the USSR instead of finishing off Britain. Hitler believed Britain was already defeated so he sent his entire army (3.8 million men) to the east. Now Britain would no longer be alone, they would have an ally. Con still does not seem to understand that Hitler could still win the war in after the Battle of Moscow. After the Battle of Stalingrad this was different.

"The winter of '41 did not 'catch the Germans by surprise', they simply had not expected to still be fighting at that point. "

I never said that the winter caught Germany by surprise, as a matter of fact I didn't mention the winter at all.

"The Battle of Moscow warded off the German offensive; that is to say, the first and largest blow. It was a boon for Soviet (and British) morale. German battles would now all be pyrrhic victories, with Stalingrad being perhaps the most obvious of these."

The escape at Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, Operation Compass, the Battle of Smolensk were also boons for the British and Soviet forces. The Battle of Moscow was not the first time that the axis were held off/pushed back. So why not just say that the Battle of Britain was the most important battle?

"The German declaration of war against the USA (and the USA's 'Germany First' policy that followed, secured the deal for the Allies. The full (not limited as previously) industrial might of the USA meant that the Axis were totally out produced by the Allies."

Germany and Japan both had a series of staggering victories behind them. The USA had yet to fight a battle. The axis were out produced even without the USA entering the war.

"You cannot and must not underestimate the industrial might of the USA, even though they first landed troops in Europe in 1942."

I never underestimated the industrial might of the USA. I was just saying that even with America in the war, the axis were not losing in 1941.

"World War II was not a Napoleonic War in which strategy in pitched battles is the main deciding factor for a wars outcome."

I never said that.

"World War II was a total war, and in a total war the nations which can produce the most tanks, aircraft, ships and men ... wins."

OH REALLY? Well the allies had more men in France, but they still won. Russia had way more men and tanks and planes than all the other countries in the world and still, almost lost. WWII was not about numbers, it was about who could use the latest technology, strategy, and tactics most to their advantage.

"In 1941, that balance of men and arms shifted in the Allied favor and never shifted back. That's why this moment is the deciding moment of World War II."

The French/British outnumbered the German army in 1940. The Soviets outnumbered the German army in June 1941. For the majority of the war, Germany was outnumbered. The allies did not start outnumbering the axis once the USA entered the war.

Conclusion: clearly Con lost this debate. He has no sources to back up his claims. He tried to give the false impression that after December 1941, the axis could not win WWII. Yet this is not true since in December 1941, the axis were winning on all fronts. The Soviet counterattack at Moscow had finally come to a halt in early 1942 and Russia had lost hundreds of thousands of men. Rommel was pushing in Africa. The Japanese were winning battle after battle in the Pacific. In 1942 and early 1943 however, the tide began to turn. The Japanese lost at Midway and Guadalcanal. The axis were defeated at the Second Battle of El Alamein and completely pushed out of Africa. And most importantly, Germany suffered its biggest defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad was the beginning of the end for Germany.

Importance of the Battle of Stalingrad:

-Saved Stalingrad (the second most important city in the USSR)
-Saved the valuable oil-fields at the Caucuses (Grozny, Baku, Maykop, etc) which provided some 95% of Soviet oil.
-Saved the British Empire (stopped Germany from breaking into the middle-east which was lightly defended from where they could reach India and Egypt)
-Germany suffered a staggering 850,000 casualties
-This was the largest defeat for Germany
-The entire coarse of the war in Europe changed (in other words this was the most important turning point of the war)
-The Germans were in retreat on a scale never seen before shortly following the end of the Battle of Stalingrad
-Ensured that Turkey would not join the axis

Importance of the Battle of Moscow:

-Saved Moscow (the center of all Soviet rail-roads and the most important city in the USSR)
-Germany suffered between 174,000 and 400,000 casualties
-This battle was the first real defeat for Germany.

Importance of Pearl Harbor:

-America had finally entered the war.
-The American fleet was in ruins.

It is obvious in which of these three there was most at steak.

VOTE PRO!!!
Conlatus

Con

I'll keep it very simple and limit myself to two major arguments:

Argument of Strategy & Tactics

The Blitzkrieg ended in front of Moscow. The battle warded off the German offensive and German battles would from now on all be pyrrhic victories, with Stalingrad being perhaps the most obvious of these. Stalingrad itself was afterall taken by the Germans only to be destroyed by Soviet counterattacks. The blitzkrieg tactics would be tried again to some extent in '42, but never again would they have the effects they had from '39 to '41. The advantage of Soviet inexperience, chaos and panic was now gone and would never return and the incentive was on the Russian side now.

Argument of Production & Industry

The production capacity of the USA cannot and must not be underestimated. I've already demonstrated that even despite the defeat of Pearl Harbor the US navy increased its size from a total of 478 ships in 1941 to a total of 6,768 ships at the wars end. In terms of total production (as expressed in billions of dollars) is even more compelling. In 1941 Germany's expenses were $412 billion, those of the USSR $359 billion. The USA, by comparison, in 1941 had an expenditure of $1596 billion, more than double that of Germany and Russia combined. Without the USA, the total Allied expenses would have been about $600 billion in 1941, the Axis total was $900 billion. With the addition of the USA, the ratio was 1860 billion vs 900 billion. Simply put; without the USA's productive and monetary strength, the Allies could not have won World War II. Therefore, the joining of the conflict by the USA, because of Pearl Harbour and the German declaration of war, was a pivotal moment in which it was made sure that the Axis would never be able to outproduce the Allies and that therefore, from a production point of view, the war was lost.

These two great moments together (in the matter of a few days) in december '41, decided the war and were therefore the most important moment in the course World War II. Without the Battle of Moscow the Soviets might have never properly regrouped and reorganized and without the entry of the USA, Russia would have (without US aid and bomber attacks on German industry) probably lost the production side of the war.

I remain solidly convinced: THE EVENTS OF DECEMBER 1941 DECIDED WORLD WAR II.

I think anyone who read this discussion and would like to thank them, above all, for their attention.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
This was an interesting debate, although in reality 2 different debates were ongoing. There was the resolution regarding Stalingrad being the "most important battle", and then for whatever reason CON decided to argue over an assertion that had nothing to do with the resolution, that events in 1941 decided WWII. CON may very well have been correct, and PRO still could have been correct in his position on the resolution...what this means is that much of CON's argumentation was wholly irrelevant to the debate proper, as he was not arguing a diametrically opposing position to the resolution.

America's involvement and industrial might was not made relevant to specific battles, meaning that there was no way to gauge industry's effect on one battle or another. Also, while CON may very well be correct in asserting that "[no] single battles decided World War II", but that's not directly relevant to this resolution which asks which battle was the most important battle, implying a comparative with other battles.

CON's main relevant arguments against the resolution dealt with the Battle of Moscow. PRO adequately demonstrated that the Germans still had quite a bit of tenacity, determination, and material to continue to prosecute a war against Russia after Moscow, and that had they avoided Stalingrad and went for relatively lightly defended oil fields in the south, Germany may have achieved a much stronger strategic position.

Given this was CON's main line of argumentation relevant to this resolution, that PRO countered it means that I score arguments to PRO.

A good debate, although CON suffered from attempting to reframe the resolution.
Posted by STALIN 3 years ago
STALIN
That's too bad:(
Posted by austinlaam 3 years ago
austinlaam
I would love to debate this, but i agree with you!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
STALINConlatusTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 3 years ago
1Historygenius
STALINConlatusTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Videos violate the standard DDO code of conduct. Pro was able to meet his BOP in this debate and he gave more info.