WWII in numbers is a documentary series that talks about the numbers before World War II. The German defense minister demanded a meeting with Hitler. He said that war was going to cost billions of dollars. After failing to knock the Soviet Union out of the war in April 1941, war funding is in short supply. So when he declared war on the United States, Hitler had no money to fight it. Hitler wanted to fight the great powers and the Jewish bankers. Hitler’s war was about both conquest and extermination. His new target was the Soviet Union.
The Siege of Leningrad occurred in September 1941. The German Army was going to target Leningrad. It was the place where the Russian Revolution so it would have been a symbolic victory for the Germans. However, they had no money nor the strength to take the city. Instead, he would starve the city to death. The citizens could not leave the city and the German Army had no interest in saving the civilians. The Siege of Leningrad was the longest siege in history.
The German air force bombed a food depot: 3000 tons of bread-making flour were destroyed. About three and a half million people were trapped inside the city. They held out for two and half years against constant German bombardment. Over 1000 tons of supplies were needed to supply the city and keep the people alive. The Soviets tried to keep the city supply during winter over the ice of Lake Ladoga. Unfortunately, the ice was not reliable. Lorries sunk down into the ice.
Supplies fall short of the needed rations to keep the people alive. Things get so bad that people resort to desperate measures to stay a life. They ate their pets to stay alive. Even if the animal was poisonous, they ate what they could. It took a lot of effort to get water. People collapsed in the streets. You never went to bed because you could die in your sleep from hunger. Some people turned to cannibalism to stay alive. Over 2,000 people were arrested for cannibalism. Over 1,000 people died per day. Leningrad refused to surrender. It would have made more sense for Hitler to take Leningrad.
A group of Nazi officers gathered in January 1942 to meet to try to plan for mass murder. Mass shootings were not accomplishing the Nazi’s aims. Hitler wanted to kill as many Jews as he could. This meant the construction of dedicated killing facilities. By the end of the war, 800,000 people would become implicated in the Holocaust. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor led to the United States entered the war. Even if Hitler was defeated he would murder as many Jews as he could in going down in defeat.
Experiments were performed on Jews and Soviet Prisoners of war to find the most efficient way of killing Jews. The gas trucks were created. Another more efficient way of killing was created: the gas chambers. This was a more efficient way to kill the Jews. Those who survived the selections were forced to work on starvation rations. This was death on an industrial scale.
However, to keep this industrial killing up, the Nazis needed resources. They turned to one Soviet city: Stalingrad. It was an important industrial hub for the Soviet Union. Stalin believed that the Nazis would attack Moscow, so Stalingrad was a complete surprise to the Soviets. What happened during this battle, tune into the rest of this documentary to find out more.
This is an excellent documentary to show during the World War II section in a history class.
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