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10 of the Bloodiest Battles of World War II


Like we mentioned earlier, historians and scholars sometimes use the term "battle" loosely. Keep this in mind when we tell you that the Battle of Leningrad, also known as the Siege of Leningrad, was fought over the course of years -- a span of time commonly rounded up to 900 days. It lasted from September 1941 to January 1944.

Not just soldiers, but anyone who was able -- men, women and children -- were called upon to help build protection along the city's borders that would deter the approaching Nazi tanks. Although it took years of fierce, violent warfare, the Soviet army and civilians were able to hold back the Germans and prevent total destruction of the city.

As you might expect from a battle that lasted longer than some wars have, the number of deaths was astronomical. Most horrific is that more than 1 million civilians lost their lives as a result of the conflict [source: Collins]. This number made up about one-third of the local population at the time. Some fell victim to warfare directly, others from disease, freezing to death or starvation -- Nazi forces blockaded the city to prevent the people from receiving supplies. The Soviet army lost more than 1 million lives as well, not including more than 2 million sick or injured [source: Glantz]. The number of German casualties is disputed, but ranges in the hundred thousands.

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