Slaughter on the Eastern Front, Hitler and Stalin’s War 1941-1945

The author approaches this titanic struggle from the question of why Hitler ever thought it was great idea. The research has been thorough and the author answers his question with compelling argument – Most Highly Recommended.


NAME: Slaughter on the Eastern Front, Hitler and Stalin's War 
FILE: R2524
AUTHOR: Anthony Tucker-Jones
PUBLISHER: The History Press
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  319
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: World War II, WWII, World War 2, Second World War, Great 
Patriotic War, Eastern Front, Barbarossa, Germany, Soviet Union

ISBN: 978-0-7509-6770-9

IMAGE: B2524.jpg
DESCRIPTION: The author approaches this titanic struggle from the 
question of why Hitler ever thought it was  great idea. The research 
has been thorough and the author answers his question with 
compelling argument – Most Highly Recommended.

There will be many conflicting views about the German decision to 
invade the Soviet Union and about the why that Hitler conducted the 
war. This new book may sway some opinion but, for many, views are 
entrenched, even if based on flimsy evidence. The whole answer to 
the basic question about Hitler's reasons for invading are complex. 
Having failed to win air superiority over Britain, the Germans were 
unable to mount an invasion. That left Hitler in command across 
Western Europe, after stunning victories, with nowhere much to go. 
He and his senior commanders convinced themselves that Britain might 
be undefeated, but was effectively neutralized, unable to counter 
attack across the Channel. The Soviet Union presented a potential 
threat to Nazi Germany as an opposing ideology and as a powerful 
military threat. Numerically, all the odds were on the Soviet side, 
but the Germans did understand the damage done to the military by 
Stalin's purges and were also aware of the current obsolescence of 
much of the Soviet weapons. That provided reason to believe that a 
lightning war could defeat the Soviets ahead of the winter, while 
Britain was still too weak to pose a direct European threat. It 
could justify a belief that, in its weakened state, Britain was 
therefore not an active front, leaving the Germans free to open an 
Eastern Front without it becoming a two front war. Some have 
advanced this as a reasonable justification for the invasion of 
Russia. The logic was that any delay could see Britain become a 
very active front again, whilst the Soviets rebuilt their military 
and received new and more potent weapons. If that situation arrived, 
Germany was doomed. Invasion in 1941 could therefore be considered 
as a last chance of total victory, and probably of avoiding 
disastrous defeat.

We know now that the Germans were able to make very rapid advances 
into Russia, sweeping all opposition aside and destroying most of 
the Soviet Air Forces on the ground. Initially it looked like a 
re-run of the triumphs on the Western Front in 1940. We also now 
know how poor the German intelligence was and this led to a serious 
situation when the winter arrived. The Germans were simply not 
prepared to fight in the conditions, but the Russians were familiar 
with their winter and prepared for it. Hitler had also completely 
failed to allow for the vast spaces of the Soviet Union and his 
total lack of heavy bombers to reach the new factories being 
established behind the Urals. Once the Soviets moved onto the 
offensive, Hitler's amateur generalship prevented German armies 
from responding by falling back and attempting to draw Russian 
Armies into encirclement. Of course this benefits from hindsight 
and the Soviet and German perceptions were different at the time 
in many areas.

The same case can be made against the Japanese decision to expand 
their established war on China. In their case, they depended 
heavily on destroying the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour and 
then rapidly advancing through Indo-China. Both the Germans and 
the Japanese convinced themselves that the enemy was weak 
militarily and as a society. This allowed them to believe that 
they could act quickly and decisively, perhaps force a truce, 
before then staging a further war. In Hitler's case, there was a 
further encouragement in that, in 1941, he believed he was the 
perfect general and was invincible. Further more, most of his senior 
officers shared his belief in invincibility. The opening stages of 
war on the Eastern Front did nothing to contradict this view.

The author has assembled his proofs and presented them clearly. There 
is good supporting illustration in the form of photographs and maps. 
The case is argued compellingly. From there it is down to each reader 
to decide how far the case has been made. It is a great read that 
rewards the reader.