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Wander Lord

Interesting on art, nature, people, history

Siege of Leningrad. Pages of history

Siege of Leningrad. Pages of history

Siege of Leningrad. Pages of history


During World War II German and Finnish armies besieged Leningrad for 872 days. It was the Soviet Union’s second largest city and important center for armaments production. The destruction of Leningrad was one of Adolf Hitler’s strategic objectives in attacking the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. German Army Group North sealed off Leningrad on September 8, 1941. About 2.5 million people were trapped within the city. During the siege of Leningrad 632 000 people died of hunger, 17 000 Leningraders were killed by bombs and shells, 840 factories and 53.5 million square feet of housing were destroyed.
The only connection that Leningrad maintained with the rest of the Soviet Union was across Lake Ladoga, which German aircraft patrolled.
Hitler’s plan was to subdue Leningrad through blockade, bombardment, and starvation prior to seizing the city. German artillery gunners, together with the Luftwaffe, killed approximately 17,000 Leningraders during the siege.

Bread was the only food that was regularly available, and the daily bread ration for most Leningraders was 125 grams. There was not enough fuel and the buildings were freezing cold. Wood was needed to boil water, but there was no wood. Furniture, books, fences were burned; wooden houses were torn apart and used for fuel.
Most Leningraders lived in the dark because only one city power plant operated at reduced capacity. Temperatures during that especially cold winter plummeted to -40 degrees Farenheit in late January and people lacked running water because water pipes froze. In that harsh winter Lake Ladoga froze enough to become the “Road of Life” over which food was trucked into the city, and many Leningraders were evacuated.
In January 1943 the Red Army pierced the blockade by retaking a narrow corridor along Ladoga’s southern coast. Nevertheless, the siege would endure for almost another year. On January 27, 1944, the blockade finally ended as German troops retreated all along the Soviet front.
Now memorials have been built over the common graves in Leningrad. The flame burns bright at the Piskarevskoye Cemetery. The Hero City has been fully restored, has grown, has become more beautiful. But the people of Leningrad will never forget the tragedy and heroism of 1941-44.

Siege of Leningrad. Pages of history