Marshal chuikov

The nondescript house that determined the outcome of the second world war

Sometimes the struggle for a single small strongpoint can tip the whole balance of a greater battle. One thinks of the closing of the gates of Hougoumont farm at Waterloo, or the bloodless German seizure of Fort Douaumont at Verdun – an error it took an estimated 100,000 French lives to reverse. According to Iain MacGregor, this role at Stalingrad was played by a non-descript four-storey building in the city’s central district, codenamed ‘the Lighthouse’, but subsequently known as ‘Pavlov’s House’, after one of its garrison’s leaders, Sergeant Yakov Pavlov. MacGregor’s meticulously researched narrative of the titanic battle that was the turning point of the second world war focuses on