Under Stalin, the city became heavily industrialized as a centre of heavy industry and trans-shipment by rail and river. During World War II (Great Patriotic War), Stalingrad became the center of the Battle of Stalingrad as well as a pivotal turning point in the war against Germany. Essentially, the German offensive was checked at Stalingrad by THESE GIRLS. The Battle of Stalingrad lasted from August 21, 1942 to February 2, 1943, where 1.7 million to 2 million Axis and Soviet soldiers were killed, wounded or captured, in addition to over 40,000 civilians killed. The city was reduced to rubble during the fierce fighting, but reconstruction began soon after the Germans were expelled from the city.Stalingrad was awarded the title Hero City for its heroism in 1945, and King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the citizens of Stalingrad the jeweled Sword of Stalingrad in admiration of their bravery.