The siege of Leningrad occurred during World War II. It lasted from September 8, 1941 until January 27, 1944, a total time of 872 days. The 1.5 million lives lost include both civilian and military casualties. It is one of the longest and deadliest sieges in human history.
Operation Barbarossa was the codename given to the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. Hitler’s order to his generals for the operation was “Leningrad first, the Donbass second, Moscow third.” (Donbass is a term for a region in eastern Ukraine/southwestern Russia)
Hitler’s intention was to destroy the city and it’s population. The option of surrender was never on the table since the German’s had no desire to solve the logistical problems of how to feed and relocate so many people.
During the winter of 1941-1942, the ration of “bread” was 125 grams. The bread was over half sawdust. This led to reports of cannibalism among the starving inhabitants of the city.
Before the siege of Leningrad the population of the city was 3.5 million. By the end of the siege only 700,000 people were left (the difference between lives lost and those remaining were evacuated.)
The city of Leningrad became Saint Petersburg in October, 1991.