Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II
Author: Andrew Nagorski
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
The battle for Moscow was the biggest battle of World War II -- the biggest battle of all time. And yet it is far less known than Stalingrad, which involved about half the number of troops. From the time Hitler launched his assault on Moscow on September 30, 1941, to April 20, 1942, seven million troops were engaged in this titanic struggle. The combined losses of both sides -- those killed, taken prisoner or severely wounded -- were 2.5 million, of which nearly 2 million were on the Soviet side. But the Soviet capital narrowly survived, and for the first time the German Blitzkrieg ended in failure. This shattered Hitler's dream of a swift victory over the Soviet Union and radically changed the course of the war. The full story of this epic battle has never been told because it undermines the sanitized Soviet accounts of the war, which portray Stalin as a military genius and his people as heroically united against the German invader. Stalin's blunders, incompetence and brutality made it possible for German troops to approach the outskirts of Moscow. This triggered panic in the city -- with looting, strikes and outbreaks of previously unimaginable violence. About half the city's population fled. But Hitler's blunders would soon loom even larger: sending his troops to attack the Soviet Union without winter uniforms, insisting on an immediate German reign of terror and refusing to heed his generals' pleas that he allow them to attack Moscow as quickly as possible. In the end, Hitler's mistakes trumped Stalin's mistakes. Drawing on recently declassified documents from Soviet archives, including files of the dreaded NKVD; on accounts of survivors and of children of top Soviet military and government officials; and on reports of Western diplomats and correspondents, The Greatest Battle finally illuminates the full story of a clash between two systems based on sheer terror and relentless slaughter. Even as Moscow's fate hung in the balance, the United States and Britain were discovering how wily a partner Stalin would turn out to be in the fight against Hitler -- and how eager he was to push his demands for a postwar empire in Eastern Europe. In addition to chronicling the bloodshed, Andrew Nagorski takes the reader behind the scenes of the early negotiations between Hitler and Stalin, and then between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. This is a remarkable addition to the history of World War II.
"By the will of fate I came to play a part in not letting Hitler achieve his final goal of disappearing and turning into a myth… I managed to prevent Stalin’s dark and murky ambition from taking root – his desire to hide from the world that we had found Hitler’s corpse" - Elena Rzhevskaya "A telling reminder of the jealousy and rivalries that split the Allies even in their hour of victory, and foreshadowed the Cold War"- Tom Parfitt, The Guardian On May 2,1945, Red Army soldiers broke into Hitler’s bunker. Rzhevskaya, a young military interpreter, was with them. Almost accidentally the Soviet military found the charred remains of Hitler and Eva Braun. They also found key documents: Bormann's notes, the diaries of Goebbels and letters of Magda Goebbels. Rzhevskaya was entrusted with the proof of the Hitler’s death: his teeth wrenched from his corpse by a pathologist hours earlier. The teeth were given to Rzhevskaya because they believed male agents were more likely to get drunk on Victory Day, blurt out the secret and lose the evidence. She interrogated Hitler's dentist's assistant who confirmed the teeth were his. Elena’s role as an interpreter allowed her to forge a link between the Soviet troops and the Germans. She also witnessed the civilian tragedy perpetrated by the Soviets. The book includes her diary material and later additions, including conversations with Zhukov, letters of pathologist Shkaravsky, who led the autopsy, and a new Preface written by Rzhevskaya for the English language edition. Rzhevskaya writes about the key historical events and everyday life in her own inimitable style. She talks in depth of human suffering, of bittersweet victory, of an author's responsibility, of strange laws of memory and unresolved feeling of guilt.
Walter Dunn reports - for the first time in English - the details of a battle on the Eastern Front that was perhaps the largest of all time and certainly one of the most significant of World War II. Nearly three million soldiers (two million Soviets and almost a million Germans) participated in a campaign in which five Soviet breakthroughs advanced 275 kilometers in two weeks over bad roads and marshy terrain, destroying 50 German divisions and capturing 50,000 German troops - an event celebrated by marching the prisoners of war ignominiously through the streets of Moscow. Hitler would never again have the wherewithal to launch a major offensive in the east.
The Red Army’s Defensive Operations and Counter-offensive Along the Moscow Strategic Direction
Author: Soviet General Staff
Publisher: Helion and Company
"The Battle of Moscow, 1941–1942: The Red Army’s Defensive Operations and Counteroffensive Along the Moscow Strategic Direction" is a detailed examination of one of the major turning points of World War II, as seen from the Soviet side. The Battle of Moscow marked the climax of Hitler’s “Operation Barbarossa,” which sought to destroy the Soviet Union in a single campaign and ensure German hegemony in Europe. The failure to do so condemned Germany to a prolonged war it could not win. This work originally appeared in 1943, under the title "Razgrom Nemetskikh Voisk pod Moskvoi" (The Rout of the German Forces Around Moscow). The work was produced by the Red Army General Staff’s military-historical section, which was charged with collecting and analyzing the war’s experience and disseminating it to the army’s higher echelons. This was a collective effort, featuring many different contributors, with Marshal Boris Mikhailovich Shaposhnikov, former chief of the Red Army General Staff and then head of the General Staff Academy, serving as general editor. The book is divided into three parts, each dealing with a specific phase of the battle. The first traces the Western Front’s defensive operations along the Moscow direction during Army Group Center’s final push toward the capital in November–December, 1941. The study pays particular attention to the Red Army’s resistance to the Germans’ attempts to outflank Moscow from the north. Equally important were the defensive operations to the south of Moscow, where the Germans sought to push forward their other encircling flank. The second part deals with the first phase of the Red Army’s counteroffensive, which was aimed at pushing back the German pincers and removing the immediate threat to Moscow. Here the Soviets were able to throw the Germans back and flatten both salients, particularly in the south, where they were able to make deep inroads into the enemy front to the west and northwest. The final section examines the further development of the counteroffensive until the end of January 1942. This section highlights the Soviet advance all along the front and their determined but unsuccessful attempts to cut off the Germans’ Rzhev–Vyaz’ma salient. It is from this point that the front essentially stabilized, after which events shifted to the south. This new translation into English makes available to a wider readership this valuable study.
"A 'must read' by historian and layman alike."—Col. David M. Glantz, author of Kursk "An important book that will surely become the definitive account." —John Prados, author of Normandy Crucible Compelling study of how the Soviets inflicted a stunning defeat on the Germans during the early years of World War II Relies on archival records from both sides to shatter old myths about this battle
Based on huge research and scores of interviews, this book offers an unforgettable and richly illustrated narrative of the military action that took place in Moscow during 1941; telling portraits of Stalin and his generals, some apparatchiks, some great commanders. It also traces the stories of individuals, soldiers, politicians and intellectuals, writers and artists and dancers, workers, schoolchildren and peasants. Click here to visit the author's website.
Bestselling historian Andrew Nagorski takes a fresh look at the decisive year 1941, when Hitler’s miscalculations and policy of terror propelled Churchill, FDR, and Stalin into a powerful new alliance that defeated Nazi Germany. In early 1941, Hitler’s armies ruled most of Europe. Churchill’s Britain was an isolated holdout against the Nazi tide, but German bombers were attacking its cities and German U-boats were attacking its ships. Stalin was observing the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and Roosevelt was vowing to keep the United States out of the war. Hitler was confident that his aim of total victory was within reach. \By the end of 1941, all that changed. Hitler had repeatedly gambled on escalation and lost: by invading the Soviet Union and committing a series of disastrous military blunders; by making mass murder and terror his weapons of choice, and by rushing to declare war on the United States after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Britain emerged with two powerful new allies—Russia and the United States. By then, Germany was doomed to defeat. Nagorski illuminates the actions of the major characters of this pivotal year as never before. 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War is a stunning examination of unbridled megalomania versus determined leadership. It also reveals how 1941 set the Holocaust in motion, and presaged the postwar division of Europe, triggering the Cold War. 1941 was a year that forever defined our world.