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Secrets of the Dead: Deadliest Battle

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Germany s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was the largest troop offensive in military history. And the Battle of Stalingrad is arguably the deadliest single battle the world has ever seen. The eventual Russian victory has long been lauded as a shining example of Stalin s military genius. He is said to have baited the much more powerful and technologically advanced German army with a carefully executed withdrawal, then caught the Nazis unprepared in vicious city-block-by-city-block fighting that decimated the German forces. By the time the battle was over, more than one million lives had been lost and the course of the war permanently altered. But 70 years after the battle was fought, newly uncovered documents, survivor accounts and stunning archival footage are revealing a different picture. Deadliest Battle uncovers evidence that describes a forced retreat by the Russians, not a tactical one, in addition to much fiercer fighting in the countryside than previously thought. The battle not only changed the course of World War II, but established the Soviet Union as a superpower to be reckoned with in the long Cold War that lay ahead. More than a half-century later, the full impact of this horrific battle is revealed.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Liev Schreiber
  • Directors: Richard Bond
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 2010
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003CWEQDK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,789 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Kaminski on January 19, 2013
I mostly enjoyed this review of World War II's Battle of Stalingrad, with one major exception: The premise behind the episode is that 'new evidence' has emerged that shows Josef Stalin was not the military genius everyone previously believed, that he did not orchestrate the victory at Stalingrad. And to that I thought..."Huh? Who ever thought that, outside of perhaps some former Soviets and/or Russians?"

It has long been known that Stalin's purge of many military officers and his own bungling interference led to numerous disastrous defeats in the early years of the war. The Soviets lost literally millions of soldiers during Germany's push deep into the USSR in 1941 and 1942. Yes, the Germans eventually lost at Stalingrad, and yes, it can be argued that loss turned the tide of the war, but in any/all of the reading I've done on World War II, I've never encountered the opinion that Stalin was a military genius who was the brains behind this victory. Rather, the Germans lost for a number of reasons: impossibly long supply lines, being ill-equipped for winter, a massive open front to defend, Hitler's interference resulting in mechanized units being diverted from Stalingrad, just to name a few.

Three stars. The program does a good job setting the scene for the battle and taking the viewer through the preludes that led to the Germans' historic defeat, but the "Stalin as genius" premise is strangely off the mark.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pericles on February 4, 2014
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I have read about the battle of Stalingrad since a kid in elementary school (in the U.S. since from the late 1960's) and the common theme up until the fall of the Soviet Union was that the Soviets eventually adopted a strategy of falling back so as to suck the Nazis into a devastating counterattack. The DVD points out this was not the case based on new material since the fall of the USSR.
At the time Hitler launched the attack on the USSR in 1941 , most of the world's WWII generals thought the Soviets would last no more than six weeks. Stalin, with the Hitler-Stalin Pact, sought to buy time in 1939 (as this DVD points out), but the Nazi's quick dispatch of Britain and France on the continent (that was a surprise to the allies) caught the non-axis world off guard. So Stalin also knew he was going to give ground to the initial Nazi attack, especially if one was launched before 1943, as it was in June 1941. However, by 1942 Stalin had issued his "no step back" order. The DVD does not point out that Stalin ignored the initial reports of Nazi troops massing all along the frontier, since he foolishly thought those reports were a misinformation plot hatched by Churchill and other western "allies" to get him to fight Nazi Germany before he felt he was ready, thus diverting the Nazi's from their attack on Britain and toward Moscow instead. Of course Hitler always planned to attack the Soviet Union and he turned on the Soviet Union after Britain's valiant performance in thwarting the Nazi Luftwaffe's air campaign.
There is new material that was released after the Soviet collapse in 1990 (and later in 2000) that is still being reviewed by historians, as this DVD points out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MF on October 14, 2013
Watched the whole thing hoping to learn something new. NEVER HAPPENED!I don't know where this so-called "new information" came from, because non of it was new to me, or any Stalingrad Vet I've spoken to.Both my grandfathers, who fought there, (and my great-uncles who served there as snipers, company commanders, regular army, communication corps, etc,) told me, back when I was a kid, about the mass retreat and NKVD oper-units. Just because the so-called Western Scholars didn't research deep enough to know, doesn't mean it was a secret. As such, the whole premise of this program, that is of having new data, is negated.Footage used is common war-time footage. Nothing special there either. 2 stars is about all I can give this one.For a real GREAT WWII documentary, watch Battlefield, also shown on PBS.
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AN overly simplistic, and even superficial revision of the WWII eastern front. Nothing shockingly new. In fact framing the heroic resistance of the Soviet people against the Nazis as a forceful ploy of Stalin's against his own people is even in our days a pretty long shot and frankly... distasteful. The war was fought by the Reds by more than just Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev. There are better documentaries on the eastern front out there that serve the dead much better than this "new" idea...
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