Americans call the Second World War “The Good War.” But before it even began, America’s wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war’s end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.
Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.
Book Review: ★★★★★★
This is a book that dramatically changes the perception of European history, and the amazing cultural differences which existed between Russia and Germany, prior to World War II. These two nations came to represent the two opposing political ideologies struggling for dominance in the European nations. But more than that, this book explores the escalation of the international struggles that defined the hatred between Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. These two men did more than shape their own respective nations. These two men came to define the fracturing cultures in the struggle for dominance.
More than the political struggles these two nations represented, this book also looks at the magnitude of devastation on the populace of all of the European continent, through the mass amounts of murder, subjugation, and genocide carried out on both sides of the Polish corridor. Each of these men came to define mass murder in the name of political ideology, which would eventually leave an indelible mark on this entire generation, and label it as one of the most brutal of all time.
This book also explores how the political struggles led to tragedies such as mass famine, planned starvation of whole villages and towns, as well as the rise of the gulags, concentration camps, political intelligence systems and more. These two men laid the foundations of war, which eventually turned into World War II, with the resulting devastation that would be visited upon all the European and Asiatic continent. Combined with the atrocities of the Holocaust, and the bloody rise of Hitler’s and Stalin’s political regimes — this period of history has come to represent the dangers of the excess of political extremes, and the dramatic differences that people find themselves caught in between, when fanatical men come to power.
The book is more historical in its presentation, and is not for all readers. However, the insights the book has to present for lovers of history are astounding. This is a dramatic insight into the horrifying degree to which men will go in the quest for ultimate power.
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