The Great Patriotic War is a collection of myths and legends that have not been challenged during the last 75 years. This English translation of the original Russian work is thought provoking, challenging the ‘official’ version of what happened – Most Highly Recommended.
The Soviet Union under Stalin was much like Germany under Hitler. The State took a brutal approach to any dissent and the murder rate was phenomenal. No one really knows exactly how many people died in this period. We only have an approximate idea of the numbers and that is horrific. Common suggestions are that the Germans killed around 19 million people during the Nazi era and WWII, with Stalin killing around 27 million, but these may be under estimates. Even the Nazi death camps toll, with their bureaucratic recording system, was incomplete and what had been produced was further reduced in the final days of war as the SS tried to hide the scale of their genocide. Stalin was less concerned about recording the numbers he killed and the picture is distorted because some killed by the Communists may have gone down as war dead or Missing In Action. The similarity between the two political groups also extended into incompetence and corruption. State direction from the centre was frequently at least as damaging as the enemy. Officials found ways of taking a cut from everything that passed through their fingers. Major errors of judgement were covered up and the same errors were repeated many times. The author has reassessed the Great Patriotic War and provided many examples of where the established version of the conflict departed from the grim reality. As more information surfaces from Soviet records the picture just becomes more stark. The destruction of the Red Army officer corps was also responsible for early defeats and very heavy casualties. The way in which soldiers and civilians were cheerfully expended in huge numbers was unforgivable.