Many histories of the Second World War written by American and English authors downplay Russia's critical role in the Allied triumph over Germany. Some of this has to do with the Cold War rivalry that emerged after 1945, and perhaps more of it comes from a lack of Russian source material and unfamiliarity with the Russian language. In any event, Alan Clark's classic study of the Eastern Front remains the best book on the subject, "the greatest and longest land battle which mankind has ever fought." These pages concentrate on four major events: Moscow in the winter of 1941, Stalingrad, the Kursk offensive in 1943, and the battles on the Oder at the start of 1945. The author, first a historian and later Margaret Thatcher's secretary of state, suggests that the Russians might very well have won the war on their own, or at least fought the Germans to a standstill, without American intervention. He also makes the provocative point that Hitler's military instincts were often quite good, and usually better than his generals'--contrary to received wisdom. Barbarossa
is a reliable and readable account.
About the Author
Alan Clark, the noted historian, entered poilitics in 1972. He was Secretary of State in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet.