Welcome to Dartmouth's most influential daily
Each day, Dartblog and its team of alumni and students bring you news and commentary from Hanover and the world at large. Read our iPhone edition here.
This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.
Don’t Fool With Mother Russia
We have talked about Winston Churchill’s courage in leading Britain in its lonely fight against Hitler in 1940-41, but recall that his struggle took place with no Nazi troops on British soil (save for the Channel Islands, to be precise). However, after delving into the literature regarding fighting on the Eastern Front, and visiting erstwhile Stalingrad, it’s not hard to conclude that bravery and sacrifice even more extraordinary were to be found in the Soviet Union during its own solitary battle against Germany between 1941-1944.
In fact, the argument can be made, and historian David Glantz seems to imply it, that the USSR was well on its way to defeating Nazi Germany by itself when Allied troops landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. The Russians were already on the offensive at the end of 1941 after the initial German attack was halted at the gates of Moscow and Leningrad. And though the Wehrmacht re-took the initiative in the summer of 1942, numerous Soviet offensives severely bled the German army after Stalin’s Order #227: “Not One Step Back.” (Ни шагу назад! / Ni Shagu Nazad!). As the Germans reached Stalingrad, the extraordinary Soviet organization that raised and trained huge armies and equipped them with fine weapons (T-34 tanks, reliable infantry guns, excellent artillery, and competent aircraft) was already functioning smoothly. At the end of 1942, the Germans were blunted at Stalingrad, too, and then during the next summer, their huge offensive at Kursk failed.
After that, the overpowering weight of the constantly improving Soviet forces, and Stalin’s willingness to incur casualties, made the outcome of the fighting in the East inevitable. D-Day accelerated the arrival of the end, but the Allies were happy to land in Normandy while some 200 or so German divisions were in the process of being destroyed in the East.
Addendum: The freestanding concrete statue — it is held in place only by its weight — at the top of Stalingrad’s Mamayev Kurgan (Mamayev Hill) is known as The Motherland Calls. It stands only six feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty. The hill, an ancient Tatar burial mound, was the scene of many months of bitter fighting during the Battle of Stalingrad. Neither side could hold onto the site, which provides an uninterrupted view up and down the city that borders the Volga.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…