This brilliant new work by the author of the best-selling Five Days in London, May 1940 is an unparalleled drama of two great leaders confronting each other in June 1941. It describes Hitler and Stalin’s strange, calculating, and miscalculating relationship before the German invasion of Soviet Russia, with its gigantic (and unintended) consequences. John Lukacs questions many long-held beliefs; he suggests, for example, that among other things Hitler’s first purpose involved England: if Stalin’s Communist Russia were to be defeated, Hitler’s Third Reich would be well-nigh invincible, and the British and American peoples would be forced to rethink the war against Hitler.
The book offers penetrating insights and a new portrait of Hitler and Stalin, moved by their long-lasting inclinations. Yet among other things, Lukacs presents evidence that Hitler (rather than his generals) had moments of dark foreboding before the invasion. Stalin could not, because he wished not, believe that Hitler would choose the risk of a two-front war by attacking him; he was stunned and shocked and came close to a breakdown. But he recovered, grew into a statesman, and eventually became a prime victor of the Second World War. Such are the ironies of history; John Lukacs paints them with a shining narrative skill.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
John Lukacs is one of America’s most respected historians and the author of more than two dozen books on history, nine of which are published by Yale University Press.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My son-in-law, for whom I purchased this book, thoroughly enjoyed. He's a fan of military history, especially European theatre.
John Lukacs is a fine historian and a fine writer and in JUNE 1941: HITLER AND STALIN he has provided the casual reader with a glimpse into the minds of both Hitler and Stalin as they moved inexorably toward war. This may not be the definitive resource for the researcher, but for the general public this is an excellent summary of the cogent events and personality dances that resulted in Hitler attacking Russia.Wisely, Lukacs keeps his writing style in the narrative, almost 'novel' manner, a technique that allows the reader to follow an enormous amount of information with complete ease. The focus he has chosen is to describe the events and the effects of those events on both Stalin and Hitler that began as a possible union for world domination but ultimately resulted in fierce hatred and battle between the two countries. Those surrounding the two men (Ribbentrop and Molotov being key players) are examined and their part in the erroneous decision toward war is carefully described. It is a story of power play: Hitler feared England and the United States Stalin saw the urgency to protect his greed for domination of Europe by siding with Japan. When attempts were miscalculated and the various countries in Europe re-aligned, the Germans invaded Russia with dire consequences.One of the more satisfying portions of this short book is Lukacs' depiction of how Hitler fell from power while Stalin grew in statesmanship, becoming the awesome force he was at the conclusion of WW II. In his discussion Lukacs unravels the mysteries around the power of Communism in the face of seemingly insurmountable foes. It is alarming food for thought.For those who wish to understand the steps that lead to WW II this immensely readable book is most helpful. It is a starting point in probing deeper into the sources of megalomaniacal evil that disrupted the globe and nearly decimated Europe. Grady Harp, August 06