Friday book # 49: Thunder in the East

Apologies for the lack of posts of late. I’ve been focusing on finishing a conference paper, and have had little time for anything else apart from shovelling vast amounts of snow. I did, however, manage to find a few seconds to scan the cover of the next book on my Russia shelf – Evan Mawdsley’s history of the war between Germany and the USSR, 1941-1945. I would recommend this to anybody looking for a one-volume, English-language study of the war. Mawdsley concludes that the German invasion of the Soviet Union was doomed from the start. Germany did not have sufficient resources to win the war in a single campaign, and after December 1941 was economically outmatched by the Soviets and their Western allies.


5 thoughts on “Friday book # 49: Thunder in the East”

  1. It is somewhat doubtful if not completely false statement.

    I’ve read some English language works to the effect that Germans were doomed but I prefere to side with Isaev’s view that they could have won up until battle of Stalingrad.

    Cutting away Baku would have severely damaged USSR potential to wage war in this particular case.


    1. “… I prefere to side with Isaev’s view that they could have won up until battle of Stalingrad.”

      There is another interesting book on the subject ( not the only one): The Thunder on the Dnepr. Zhukov -Stalin and the Defeat of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg; B.Fugate, L.Dvoretsky. The Authors suggest the outcome of the war was determined by developments taking place in the first month of the war (title’s defeat of the Blitzkrieg) and culminating in Wehrmacht defeat at the gates of Moscow in December 1941 ( “After Moscow , Germany had no hope of winning the war on the Eastern Front”).
      In a way, today we can only speculate.



      1. Indeed we can only speculate.

        My view is that although reaching Archangelsk-Astrakhan line became unrealistic after defeat at Moscow and defeat at Moscow was almost unavoidable after Smolensk… Still forcing USSR to accept piece on Germany’s terms was within their grasp right until Stalingrad.

        Wouldn’t be total victory but victory nonetheless.


  2. Germany did not have sufficient resources

    Well, it wasn’t Germany, it was the German Reich plus its allies; basically the previous version of the EU. Plus Japan.

    Hungary, for example, sent 200K-strong army to the Eastern front; it was fighting in Stalingrad, among other places. It’s all down the memory hole now, totally eclipsed by the ‘terrors’ (they have House of Terror museum in Budapest, very popular) of Soviet intervention in 1956. But it did happen.


  3. ‘Mao Cheng Ji’ – Agreed.
    Books like this will also avoid the comparison with German GDP & potential total industrial capacity pre-1939 vs the rest of Europe – & the Germans rolled over them quite effectively.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s