Stalingrad battle movies: “Stalingrad: Dogs, Do You Want to Live Forever? (1959)”
Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben (original title)
The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) was one of the greatest and deadliest battles of World War II. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest (nearly 2.2 million personnel) and bloodiest (1.7–2 million wounded, killed or captured) battles in the history of warfare.
It was the first major defeat of the German army and it did not advance any farther into eastern Europe or Russia after that. The Germans started loosing the conquered territories. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses.
Because of its importance, the battle and the name “Stalingrad” is often mentioned and is the plot for a lot of war movies. Here are some of the most popular Stalingrad battle movies: Enemy at the gates (2001), Stalingrad (1993), Stalingrad (2013), Stalingrad (1990). They all represent the greatness and importance of the battle.
A representative of the Stalingrad battle movies, which is not so popular but even better, is Stalingrad: Dogs, Do You Want to Live Forever? (1959) / Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben (original title). It is directed by Frank Wisbar and based on the eponymous novel by Fritz Wöss. The title is vaguely drawn from Friedrich the Great‘s words when he saw his soldiers fleeing at Kolin: “You cursed rascals, do you want to live forever?“
The young Wehrmacht Lieutenant Wisse is sent to serve as a liaison officer with the Romanian Army at Stalingrad. His new commander, Major Linkmann, is a rigid officer who looks down on their allies, contrary to Wisse. Soon after his arrival, the Red Army encircles the Germans, and they retreat into the city of Stalingrad. During the flight, Linkmann tries to abandon them. Wisse convinces a sergeant to ignore the orders obliging him to burn the supply depot, thus procuring provisions for the soldiers. In Stalingrad, he is again put under Linkmann’s command. The tensions between them soar while their soldiers become desperate with hunger, as the 6th Army is ordered to hold on. Wisse is nearly captured by the Soviets, but a Russian woman whom he once helped leads him back to the German lines. Eventually, Linkmann tries to surrender by himself, but is shot dead by two of his own men. When the 6th Army commander, Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, orders the remaining German troops in Stalingrad to surrender, Wisse and his soldiers are sent to a POW camp.
The whole move is available on YouTube with English subtitles: