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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.
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.
"a superbly written survey of a seminal conflict" -- Booklist
"[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