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June 1941: Hitler and Stalin Paperback – July 28, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (July 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300123647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300123647
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"'Lukacs relishes historical ironies... He believes that history is not the product of vast, impersonal economic and material forces, but rather lies in the hands of great leaders and statesmen - even ones whose greatness is wholly negative.' Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times Magazine 'No one has done more to turn the short history book into an art form... This book provides a fascinating insight.' Antony Beevor, The Mail on Sunday 'A terse and telling book which looks into a familiar turning point in history, and penetrates nearer the marrow than less able historians have done before.' Michael Foot"

From the Author

A conversation with John Lukacs
Q:  What did you find most interesting in your researches for this book?
A:  A number of things, but perhaps especially that Stalin’s admiration of Germany (and even of Hitler) was quite long-standing.
Q:  What about the recent thesis of many that Stalin was about to attack Germany in July 1941 and that Hitler’s invasion pre-empted that?
A:  Absolutely untrue, concocted, and presented often by people whose hidden purpose is to rehabilitate Hitler.
Q:  Is yours the definitive history of the origins of the German-Russian war in 1941?
A:  There is no such thing as a definitive history. I tried to move as close to truth as I was able to, something that necessarily involves the demolition of many kinds of untruths. The best I can hope for is an honest and telling description (not definition) that will endure.

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Customer Reviews

For history lovers, it is a must read.
Valerie Atkinson Brown
Stalin was deceived by Hitler and the Germans even though it was well known that those 185 divisions sitting on the Russian border were not there for the climate.
Kevin M Quigg
Indeed, the book is only 145 pages long, not counting appendices and end notes.
Gilberto Villahermosa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on March 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In his book "The Duel : The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler", historian John Lukacs compared the actions of Adolf Hitler to Winston Churchill during the 80 day period from the ascension of Winston Churchill to the office of Prime Minister on May 10, 1940 until July 30,1940. "The Duel" ends with the decision by Hitler to cease planning for a cross-channel invasion. Instead, Hitler began planning for an invasion of the Soviet Union. Lukacs' new book, "June 1941: Hitler and Stalin" is a rather brief study of the relationship between Stalin and Hitler in the month in which those plans, Operation Barbarossa, achieved fruition.

"June 1941" is not a monumental piece of writing, nor was it meant to be. Rather, as Lukacs notes, it is "less than a monograph but more than a narrative". Lukacs provides the reader with a coherent, concise summary of the events of that month. Lukacs does not inundate the reader with minutiae about the battle plans or the invasion itself. I think it fair to say that Lukacs is more concerned with fleshing out the attitudes of both Stalin and Hitler to the other than to the order of battle. In this, I believe he has done a good job.

In "The Duel" Lukacs indicated that by July, 1940 Hitler felt that a cross-channel invasion was not feasible. Hitler felt that if he could invade and defeat the USSR in a lightning strike that England would be compelled to negotiate an end to the war on terms favorable to Germany. In essence, "June 1941" takes up where "The Duel" left off. Lukacs makes some interesting statements about the nature of Hitler and Stalin's personalities throughout the book. The include Lukacs' belief that Stalin's personality was not that of a dogmatic Marxist but that of a Caucasian chieftain.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gilberto Villahermosa on August 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an odd book that promises much more than it delivers, if one believes the editorial comments of such notables as Henry Kissenger, Strobe Talbott or Simon Sebag Montefiore. Despite high praise from those three individuals, "June 1941 Hitler and Stalin" never quite lives up to expectations.

I was somewhat confused as what exactly the author sought to convey to the reader that was new. Yes, Lukacs is a talented and experienced writer and historian. "June 1941" is well written and a good read for those who know little about Hitler, Stalin and events leading to the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. If this is the intended audience, the book is a useful, though somewhat shallow, primer. Those with a bit more historical knowledge, however, will find very little that is new or truly insightful in this book.

Others will find a great deal that is confusing and contradictory. For example, in the main body Lukacs suggests that, had Stalin not overstepped himself in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, Hitler might not have turned against Russia. Yet at the end of the book, Lukacs notes that an attack by Hitler on the Soviet Union had always been the German leader's intention. There can be little doubt, based on Hitler's own writings in "Mein Kampf" that the latter is true.

Finally, there is the matter of the length of this work. According to Lukacs, "June 1941" is less than a monograph and more than a narrative summary. Indeed, the book is only 145 pages long, not counting appendices and end notes. Perhaps a longer work would have allowed Lukacs to focus more on his very interesting analysis of the relationship between Hitler and Stalin. This would have made the book a much more compelling and historically important work.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
John Lukacs is a fine historian and a fine writer and in JUNE 1941: HITLER AND STALIN he has provided the casual reader with a glimpse into the minds of both Hitler and Stalin as they moved inexorably toward war. This may not be the definitive resource for the researcher, but for the general public this is an excellent summary of the cogent events and personality dances that resulted in Hitler attacking Russia.

Wisely, Lukacs keeps his writing style in the narrative, almost 'novel' manner, a technique that allows the reader to follow an enormous amount of information with complete ease. The focus he has chosen is to describe the events and the effects of those events on both Stalin and Hitler that began as a possible union for world domination but ultimately resulted in fierce hatred and battle between the two countries. Those surrounding the two men (Ribbentrop and Molotov being key players) are examined and their part in the erroneous decision toward war is carefully described. It is a story of power play: Hitler feared England and the United States; Stalin saw the urgency to protect his greed for domination of Europe by siding with Japan. When attempts were miscalculated and the various countries in Europe re-aligned, the Germans invaded Russia with dire consequences.

One of the more satisfying portions of this short book is Lukacs' depiction of how Hitler fell from power while Stalin grew in statesmanship, becoming the awesome force he was at the conclusion of WW II. In his discussion Lukacs unravels the mysteries around the power of Communism in the face of seemingly insurmountable foes. It is alarming food for thought.

For those who wish to understand the steps that lead to WW II this immensely readable book is most helpful. It is a starting point in probing deeper into the sources of megalomaniacal evil that disrupted the globe and nearly decimated Europe. Grady Harp, August 06
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