Movie anaylsis of Enemy at the Gates and historical context of Stalingrad.

Essay by spockrocksCollege, Undergraduate February 2004

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"Autumn, 1942 - Europe lies crushed beneath the Nazi jackboot. The German army is at the height of its power. Hitler's armies are charging through the heart of the Soviet Union towards the oil fields of Asia. One last obstacle remains; a city on the Volga river where the fate of the world is being decided: Stalingrad" (Craig). The movie Enemy at the Gates depicts the story of real life Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev against the German sniper counterpart Major Konig.

As Russian morale was plummeting, and the outlook for Russia and the future of Stalingrad looked bleak, General Nikita Kruschev takes command of the Soviet forces at Stalingrad. Looking for an example to boost the confidence of the Red Army, Kruschev calls upon political officer Danilov. Davilov, who was saved earlier by Vassili, urges Kruschev to allow printing of the army newspaper once again. As the paper begins to circulate, Vassili is elevated to a heroic level with constant reports on the number of Germans he killed.

Frustrated with the Soviet sniper, officials in Berlin send their best sniper, Major Konig, to eliminate Vassili.

Danilov continues to build on Vassili's heroic image as the movie goes on. The political commissar uses the "duel" between Zaitsev and Konig to encourage more Russians to be like Vassili. "Indeed, the Konig-Zaitsev conflict made for excellent propaganda for the weary Russian ranks, most of whom were to become German cannon fodder or, as the movie documents in surgical detail, would die trying to flee. Russian generals often had to goad their troops with gunfire, and some 13,500 were killed by their superiors for desertion during the battle of Stalingrad alone" (Scott).

As the movie goes on, each sniper is presented with the opportunity to eliminate his foe, and each time the opposing sniper...