German forces attack the Soviet Union in the south towards the city of Stalingrad on the Volga River and the Caucasus.
After a successful advance in the summer of 1942, German forces reached Stalingrad in late 1942. The battle proved a turning point in the war. Soviet forces halted the German advance at Stalingrad and launched a counteroffensive against the Germans in mid-November 1942. They quickly encircled an entire German army, more than 220,000 soldiers. After months of fierce fighting and heavy casualties, the surviving German forces—only about 91,000 soldiers—surrendered. In response to this defeat, the Nazi state demanded fanatical devotion from Germans and the most ruthless treatment for the nation’s enemies. Nevertheless, German forces began the long retreat westward that was to end with Nazi Germany's surrender in May 1945, some three years later.