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Major turning point in WW2

LAURENCE REES: So what do you think is the biggest single turning point of the war?

ROBERT DALLEK: Well I think in Russia certainly the Stalingrad battle, I think that for the first time the Nazis suffered a huge reverse on the battlefield and it gave the Soviets the feeling that now the momentum in the war had changed and that victory was going to happen. I think the defeat of the Nazis in North Africa, as Churchill said, is not the end, it’s not the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning. And so I think that was another turning point. In the Pacific it was the battles of Coral Sea and..

LAURENCE REES: If you could pick just one from the entire war?

ROBERT DALLEK:  I would say it was Stalingrad.

LAURENCE REES: Why not Pearl Harbour as opposed to Stalingrad?

ROBERT DALLEK: Well, because I think the United States would have gotten into the war anyway. I think we would have ended up in the war anyway because the Japanese were intent on delivering a blow to American power in the Pacific, clearing us out of there and not allowing us to really compete with them in the far reaches of the Pacific. And so I think this was now on schedule and it was going to happen even without Pearl Harbour. Now, it would have made it more difficult for the United States to fight the war if we had sort of willy-nilly gotten into it piecemeal, but I still think that it was the decisive defeat of Nazi arms in Russia that finally allowed people to say that this is not an invincible force, and that it can be overcome. And, of course, Hitler, I think, understood this because he wouldn’t let them surrender, and so they ended up being captured and destroyed, and how many of those German troops at Stalingrad ever got back to Germany? I would suspect zero.