BLOCKADE OF LENINGRAD, September 1941 - January 1944THE BESIEGED CITY RESISTED THE ENEMY FOR 872 DAYS
History and Modernity
Great Patriotic War
The siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg), the U.S.S.R.’s second largest city and former capital of the Russian Empire, was an example of the courage and fortitude of civilians.
The Nazis failed to seize the city immediately and surrounded Leningrad in September 1941, cutting it off from food supply channels and dooming it to starvation.
Hitler’s directive sent to the commander of German troops near Leningrad said: “It’s necessary to surround the city with a close circle and to raze it to the ground through all-caliber artillery fire and incessant air bombings. If the city makes requests on surrender due to the situation, they will be turned down as problems connected with the city’s population and its food supply cannot and must not be resolved by us. In this war waged for the right to existence we are not interested in preserving any part of the population.”
In October 1941, Leningrad residents felt the lack of food, and real starvation started in the city in November. People fainted from hunger on the street and at work, and then started dying of inanition.
In the fall of 1941, Churchill asked Stalin to sink the Soviet Baltic Fleet in case Leningrad surrenders. This would have prevented Hitler from using trophy Soviet ships for landing operations in Britain.