"[Hartmann] enlivens his broad overview with well-chosen quotations that humanize his story and bring the war's participants to life" Michigan War Studies Review
Operation Barbarossa: Nazi Germany's War in the East, 1941-1945by Christian Hartmann
The war between Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union that raged between 1941 and 1945 was unprecedented in the scale of the destruction that it wrought and the deep scars that it left behind. The invasion of the Soviet Union was the conflict that Hitler had always ultimately planned for in his dream of creating a 'Thousand Year Reich'. From the beginning it was a
The war between Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union that raged between 1941 and 1945 was unprecedented in the scale of the destruction that it wrought and the deep scars that it left behind. The invasion of the Soviet Union was the conflict that Hitler had always ultimately planned for in his dream of creating a 'Thousand Year Reich'. From the beginning it was a struggle for survival, conducted with great bitterness and savagery by opponents who knew that defeat meant the destruction of everything they stood for.
By 1945 a huge swathe of Europe between Berlin and Moscow had been reduced to a devastated wasteland in which whole societies had been erased from the face of the earth. Over 26 million Soviets and between four and five million Germans lay dead. The eventual victory of the Red Army transformed the Soviet Union into one of the world's two superpowers. It also saw the complete destruction of Hitler's megalomaniac vision for the East, the division of the German Reich, and the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe for a generation.
Enriched by a wealth of eye-witness testimony from both the Soviet and the German sides, Operation Barbarossa paints a masterly overview of these momentous four years and their human consequences - one that is both gripping and deeply moving.
In this English edition of his 2001 book, Hartmann (Inst. for Contemporary History, Munich) presents a significant overview of the Wehrmacht's 1941 titular invasion of the Soviet Union and the subsequent years of slaughter. The Germans quickly smashed through the Soviet lines, but, without supplies and facing an increasingly successful and well-outfitted Soviet foe, they were woefully unprepared for extended battle. Hitler's dream for Lebensraum ("living space") did not consider conquered peoples, and his "murderous utopia" left no room for diplomacy. While the Wehrmacht itself for the most part did not participate in war crimes, this was a cruel period in what was already a bleak time in the Soviet Union. Neither side gave way easily, both experienced horrendous losses, and all found themselves at the mercy of totalitarian states at war. Once the war ended, with the Soviets part of the Allied victory, Stalin resumed imprisoning and deporting his citizens. Barbarossa was by then a long-lost cause, but Germany would rise from the ashes to find renewal and modernization. VERDICT Barbarossa left a mark on Europe and the Soviet Union, from which the countries are still recovering. An excellent overview of the war in the East, and its consequences, from both German and Soviet perspectives.—Patti McCall (PM), Univ. of Central Florida Lib., Orlando
- Oxford University Press, USA
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Meet the Author
Christian Hartmann works as a historian at the Institute for Contemporary History, Munich, and is Senior Lecturer at the Staff College of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg. A board member of the German Committee for the History of the Second World War, he is also a historical adviser to the History Channel in Germany. He has published widely on the history of Germany in the Second World War, including a biography of General Halder, head of the Wehrmacht General Staff in the opening years of the war, and is the editor of four volumes in the German Documents on Foreign Policy series.
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