Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953

Yale University Press
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Publisher
Yale University Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2006
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Pages
468
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ISBN
9780300150407
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Europe / General
History / Military / World War II
History / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book, originally published in German in 1956, has now been translated into English, unveiling a wealth of both experiences and analysis about Operation Barbarossa, perhaps the most important military campaign of the 20th century. Hermann Hoth led Germany’s 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Center—in tandem with Guderian’s 2nd Group—during the invasion of the Soviet Union, and together those two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow. This work begins with Hoth discussing the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. This cool-headed post-war reflection, from one of Nazi Germany’s top panzer commanders, is rare enough. But then Hoth dives into his exact command decisions during Barbarossa—still the largest continental offensive ever undertaken—to reveal new insights into how Germany could, and in his view should, have succeeded in the campaign. Hoth critically analyses the origin, development, and objective of the plan against Russia, and presents the situations confronted, the decisions taken, and the mistakes made by the army’s leadership, as the new form of mobile warfare startled not only the Soviets on the receiving end but the German leadership itself, which failed to provide support infrastructure for their panzer arm’s breakthroughs. Hoth sheds light on the decisive and ever-escalating struggle between Hitler and his military advisers on the question whether, after the Dnieper and the Dvina had been reached, to adhere to the original idea of capturing Moscow. Hitler’s momentous decision to divert forces to Kiev and the south only came in late August 1941. He then finally considers in detail whether the Germans, after obliterating the remaining Russian armies facing Army Group Center in Operation Typhoon, could still hope for the occupation of the Russian capital that fall. Hoth concludes his study with several lessons for the offensive use of armored formations in the future. His firsthand analysis, here published for the first time in English, will be vital reading for every student of World War II.
Despite the best efforts of a number of historians, many aspects of the ferocious struggle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during the Second World War remain obscure or shrouded in myth. One of the most persistent of these is the notion - largely created by many former members of its own officer corps in the immediate postwar period - that the German Army was a paragon of military professionalism and operational proficiency whose defeat on the Eastern Front was solely attributable to the amateurish meddling of a crazed former Corporal and the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Red Army. A key pillar upon which the argument of German numerical-weakness vis-à-vis the Red Army has been constructed is the assertion that Germany was simply incapable of providing its army with the necessary quantities of men and equipment needed to replace its losses. In consequence, as their losses outstripped the availability of replacements, German field formations became progressively weaker until they were incapable of securing their objectives or, eventually, of holding back the swelling might of the Red Army.

This work seeks to address the notion of German numerical-weakness in terms of Germany's ability to replace its losses and regenerate its military strength, and assess just how accurate this argument was during the crucial first half of the Russo-German War (June 1941-June 1943).

Employing a host of primary documents and secondary literature, it traces the development and many challenges of the German Army from the prewar period until the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. It continues on to chart the first two years of the struggle between Germany and the Soviet Union, with a particular emphasis upon the scale of German personnel and equipment losses, and how well these were replaced. It also includes extensive examinations into the host of mitigating factors that both dictated the course of Germany's campaign in the East and its replacement and regeneration capabilities.

In contrast to most accounts of the conflict, this study finds that numerical-weakness being the primary factor in the defeat of the Ostheer - specifically as it relates to the strength and condition of the German units involved - has been overemphasized and frequently exaggerated. In fact, Germany was actually able to regenerate its forces to a remarkable degree with a steady flow of fresh men and equipment, and German field divisions on the Eastern Front were usually far stronger than the accepted narratives of the war would have one believe.
Marshal Georgy Zhukov is one of military history’s legendary names. He played a decisive role in the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk that brought down the Nazi regime. He was the first of the Allied generals to enter Berlin and it was he who took the German surrender.He led the huge victory parade in Red Square, riding a white horse, and in doing so, dangerously provoking Stalin’s envy. His post-war career was equally eventful – Zhukov found himself sacked and banished twice, and wrongfully accused of disloyalty. However, he remains one of the most decorated officers in the history of both Russia and the Soviet Union. Since his death in 1974, Zhukov has increasingly been seen as the indispensable military leader of the Second World War, surpassing Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery and MacArthur in his military brilliance and ferocity. Making use of hundreds of documents from Russian military archives, as well as unpublished versions of Zhukov’s memoirs, Geoffrey Roberts fashions a remarkably intimate portrait of a man whose personality was as fascinating as it was contradictory. Tough, decisive, strong-willed and brutal as a soldier, in his private life he was charming and gentle. Zhukov’s relations with Stalin’s other generals were often prickly and fraught with rivalry, but he was the only one among them to stand up to the Soviet dictator. Piercing the hyperbole of the Zhukov personality cult, Roberts debunks many of the myths that have sprung up around Zhukov’s life, to deliver fresh insights into the marshal’s relations with Stalin, Khrushchev and Eisenhower. A highly regarded historian of Soviet Russia, Roberts has fashioned the definitive biography of this seminal 20th-century figure.
From the award-winning author of A People's Tragedy and Natasha's Dance, a landmark account of what private life was like for Russians in the worst years of Soviet repression

There have been many accounts of the public aspects of Stalin's dictatorship: the arrests and trials, the enslavement and killing in the gulags. No previous book, however, has explored the regime's effect on people's personal lives, what one historian called "the Stalinism that entered into all of us." Now, drawing on a huge collection of newly discovered documents, The Whisperers reveals for the first time the inner world of ordinary Soviet citizens as they struggled to survive amidst the mistrust, fear, compromises, and betrayals that pervaded their existence.


Moving from the Revolution of 1917 to the death of Stalin and beyond, Orlando Figes re-creates the moral maze in which Russians found themselves, where one wrong turn could destroy a family or, perversely, end up saving it. He brings us inside cramped communal apartments, where minor squabbles could lead to fatal denunciations; he examines the Communist faithful, who often rationalized even their own arrest as a case of mistaken identity; and he casts a humanizing light on informers, demonstrating how, in a repressive system, anyone could easily become a collaborator.

A vast panoramic portrait of a society in which everyone spoke in whispers—whether to protect their families and friends, or to inform upon them—The Whisperers is a gripping account of lives lived in impossible times.

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