Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II

Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II

by Prit Buttar
     
 

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With the exception of Poland, no region or territory suffered more greatly during World War II than the Baltic States. Caught between the giants of the Soviet Union and the Third Reich, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia became pawns in the desperate battle for control of Eastern Europe throughout the course of World War II. This is a story of conquest and…  See more details below

Overview


With the exception of Poland, no region or territory suffered more greatly during World War II than the Baltic States. Caught between the giants of the Soviet Union and the Third Reich, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia became pawns in the desperate battle for control of Eastern Europe throughout the course of World War II. This is a story of conquest and exploitation, of death and deportation and the fight for survival both by countries and individuals. The three states were repeatedly occupied -- by the Soviet Union in 1939, by Germany in 1941, and again by the Soviet Union in 1944-45. In each case, local government organizations and individuals were forced to choose between supporting the occupying forces or forming partisan units. Many would be caught up in the bitter fighting in the region and, in particular, in the huge battles for the Courland bridgehead during Operation Bagration when hundreds of thousands of soldiers would fight and die in the last year of the war. Over 300,000 Soviet troops would be lost during the repeated assaults on the 'Courland Cauldron' before 146,000 German and Latvia troops were finally forced to surrender. No mercy was shown and all Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians who fought for Germany were executed. By the end of the war, death and deportation had cost the Baltic States over 20 percent of their total population and the iron curtain would descend on the region for over four decades. Using numerous first-hand accounts and detailed archival research, Prit Buttar weaves a magisterial account of the bitter fighting on the Eastern Front and the three small states whose fates were determined by the fortunes and misfortunes of war.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[A] carefully balanced account of the predicament in which Balts found themselves…Mr. Buttar is himself an army veteran, and it is from the military perspective that he relates the savage unraveling of the Baltic world during World War II's last year. There's plenty here on weaponry, on tactics and strategy.” —Andrew Stuttaford, The Wall Street Journal

“By magnificently mining and marshaling sources, Buttar potently recaps this tragic chapter in Baltic history. Serious students of WWII's Eastern Front should make Osprey's terrific tome required reading.” —David E. Veres, www.cybermodeler.com

“Buttar potently recaps [a] tragic chapter in Baltic history.” —David L. Veres, www.cybermodeler.com

“A magisterial account, Between Giants does not attempt to judge the decisions made by the leaders and the people of the Baltic States, who struggled to reconcile the situation in which they found themselves with their own aspirations. It elucidates the terrible destruction and bloodshed that had such a devastating effect on this corner of Europe, the consequences of which are still felt today.” —Savannah Jones, www.sirreadalot.org

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780961637
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/21/2013
Series:
General Military Series
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
545,205
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author


Prit Buttar studied medicine at Oxford and London before joining the British Army as a doctor. After leaving the army, he has worked as a GP, first near Bristol and now in Abingdon near Oxford. He is extensively involved in medical politics, both at local and national level, and serves on the GPs' Committee of the British Medical Association. He appears from time to time on local and national TV and radio, speaking on a variety of medical issues. He contributes regularly to the medical press. An expert on the Eastern Front during World War II, he previously wrote the critically acclaimed Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (Osprey 2010).

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