The Greatest Battle

The Greatest Battle

Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II

Book - 2007
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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 GermanBlitzkriegended 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 Battlefinally 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.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2007.
ISBN: 9780743281102
0743281101
Branch Call Number: 940.5421 NAG
Characteristics: p. cm.

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ArcticAndy
Oct 31, 2017

Descriptive. The Soviet army had the Germans in front and NKVD "Blocking Units" behind them. "The army needed cannon fodder . . . Zhukov achieved all his victories by slaughtering millions. The slaughter was unprecedented." Stalin purged and purged - "The purge was drastic and thorough. We purged everyone that is was necessary to purge, starting with the high positions and finishing with the low ones." Recommended.

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zipread
Aug 30, 2011

The two monsters face off: Hitler vs Stalin. This is the first real battle of WW II. The numbers are huge. Millions of soldiers fought on both sides; millions more lost their lives on both sides. The Battle for Moscow represents the beginning, but just barely the beginning of the end for Hitler, the German forces and the Second World War. The story has been told often before. The events verge on the tedious: sieges that last, literally, years in the case of Leningrad, troops starving in the trenches; atrocities committed by both sides. What is new here is the glimpses we get of Stalin, ready to board his train to flee the beleaguered city. We also see a Moscow gripped in panic. Looting and burning is rife. All order has broken down. Civilians as well as government and party officials flee the city in droves. This is a picture the Russians never want us to see --- it has been meticulously suppressed by the Russians. Particularly instructive are the vignettes Nagorski paints for us: the pictures of a whole village hiding in a church basement; the German soldiers freezing in their winter uniforms; the NKVD blocking forces ready to shoot Russian soldiers that dare to retreat.
The book is gripping. It is easily read. For those with an interest in WW II, this book must be read. For high school scholars researching the Battle for Moscow, this book is very instructive.

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