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Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East Hardcover – January 9, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"David Stahel has written a remarkable book. Not only is it the fullest English-language account of the Battle of Kiev, based on an expert knowledge of the records of the German formations directly involved, but it is also a stimulating attempt to put what appeared to be Hitler's greatest victory into the context of his eventual defeat."
Evan Mawdsley, author of Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet War

"David Stahel's new book on the Battle of Kiev is a brilliant contribution to our knowledge of the German-Soviet war. Ranging widely over strategic debates within the high command, operational and tactical details of the fighting, the logistical situation behind the front, and industrial production at home, this is an essential book for any student of World War II. A major addition to the literature from a master scholar."
Robert M. Citino, author of Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942

"A fitting follow-on to Stahel's previous books, Kiev 1941 is a fresh, accurate, and authoritative volume. A thoroughly enjoyable read, it injects a healthy dose of realism into the history of this dramatic battle. Dismantling myths left and right, the book sets right one of the most significant stages of Operation Barbarossa."
David Glantz, author of Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk, 10 July-10 September 1941

"Building on his work in Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East, in Kiev 1941 David Stahel further highlights how German operational successes were no compensation for strategic miscalculation. [He] uses a rich mix of German archival and other sources to provide a comprehensive analysis of the battle from a German perspective - a valuable contribution to the literature."
Alexander Hill, author of The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, 1941-1945: A Documentary Reader

"Relying mainly on German sources, [Stahel] brings new evidence to bear on the conflict with the official war diaries of German divisions, as well as making good use of published editions of the private field-post letters and diaries of German soldiers of all ranks ... overall [he] conveys extremely complex military action with exemplary clarity."
Richard J. Evans The New Republic

"Most original ... a thoughtful and thought-provoking text."
Richard Overy, Literary Review

"[Stahel's] incisive survey cuts through much of the postwar myth making [and] shows mastery of the German sources ... Issues of logistics and command are leavened by valuable insights into the strategic miscalculations of Hitler and his high command and vivid use of veteran testimony."
Michael Jones, BBC History Magazine

"A dark story - two evil nations tearing each other's guts out - but, in Stahel's hands, a powerful and a necessary one as well. A highly recommended account."
Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

"Like his previous book, Kiev 1941 is a magnificent work of historical revision, a first-rate example of how military history ought to be written."
The Weekly Standard

"... [a] seminal work ..."
Robert M. Citino, The Russian Review

"... [Stahel] makes extensive use of the diaries and letters of German soldiers as well as works by and about German generals and political figures like Hitler and Goebbels - there are about a hundred pages of endnotes and bibliography. Excellent maps and tables clarify the complex military operations ... in this most detailed English-language treatment of the Battle of Kiev, David Stahel furnishes ample evidence that, despite its Ukrainian victories in late September 1941, Germany remained ill prepared to defeat the USSR."
Walter G. Moss, Michigan War Studies Review

"Stahel provides vivid depictions of the Ostheer's growing 'demodernization' ... and convincingly shows that the victory in Ukraine was a result both of Hitler's insistence on turning his forces southwards and away from Moscow, and of Stalin's determination to hold on to Kiev despite the clear indications of a looming catastrophe."
Omer Bartov, Times Literary Supplement

"[Stahel's] writing is a good example of impartiality ... the book brings back the memory of yet another 'forgotten battle' to English and American readers."
Oleksandr Zinchenko, New Eastern Europe

"Stahel has written a well-balanced, often provocative ... book, which sheds much new light on our knowledge of the fighting around the capital of the Ukraine."
Martijn Lak, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies

"David Stahel's two masterful books Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East and Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East are superbly researched and well written, and provide the reader with an excellent oversight of the German operational planning process, and of the German units involved in the initial stage of the German invasion of the USSR."
Leo J. Daugherty, III, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies

Book Description

In 1941 the Wehrmacht wrought unprecedented destruction on the Red Army during one of the largest battles of World War II, conquering central Ukraine and killing or capturing three quarters of a million men. This 2011 book is an account of the battle and the high price Germany paid for victory.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 486 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 110701459X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107014596
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Stahel was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1975. He completed an honours degree in history at Monash University in Melbourne (1998), an MA in War Studies at King's College London (2000) and a PhD at the Humboldt University in Berlin (2007). His research focus has centered primarily on the German military history and particularly Hitler's war against the Soviet Union. Dr. Stahel's next book (The Battle for Moscow) is due for release with Cambridge University Press at the end of 2014.
Dr. Stahel is a lecturer in European history at the University of New South Wales in Canberra.

Customer Reviews

Great book very well researched and written out and in great detail.
D. Popov
Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, has great insight into the battle between Hitler and his Generals about what direction the army should attack.
Gary Kohl
For anyone interested in WWII in the East, I highly recommend this book.
J. Groen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By WryGuy2 TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author David Stahel's book "Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East" is one of the few ... perhaps even only book in English ... to focus on the battle for Kiev in August - September 1941. I've always found this lack of a proper study of the battle to be surprising, given both the epic scale of the German victory/Soviet defeat and the fact that Hitler's decision to turn away from Moscow in August 1941 to deal with the Soviet armies around Kiev proved to be extremely controversial among his generals and historians of the war. In most works, this battle gets a few paragraphs at best before the run-up to Operation Typhoon, the German attempt to take Moscow.

The book opens with an analysis of the strategic situation for both sides (including contributions by the western Allies) and examines the economic realities for the Germans. He then covers the internal discussions/struggles (both for the Soviets and Germans) that led to the Battle for Kiev. He then shifts into the fighting that occurred from late August until early October 1941. But Mr Stahel doesn't just cover the fighting around Kiev, he covers the fighting over the entire Russian Front (less the fighting in Finland), which is a good decision, as it shows how the Germans were having to frantically juggle their ever diminishing forces to try and accomplish their goals. It also shows that the Soviets were far from passive, and were trying to smash the Germans with significant counteroffensives in front of Smolensk and other places, and the need for troops to defeat these Soviet attacks further strained German resources and depleted their forces.

The author takes the fighting through the liquidation of the final pocket at Kiev and ends with the German forces poised, more or less, to begin Operation Typhoon.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Writing Historian on January 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What do readers familiar with the Eastern Front remember about Kiev? That it was a massive battle of encirclement that cost Stalin's armies 665,000 casualties. Stahel reminds us that the battle also probably cost 100,000 to 150,000 German casualties, hundreds of panzers, and thousands of irreplacable wheeled vehicles. Stahel's work is first rate because it sheds light on the battle by bringing to light a host of unexplored primary sources - in this case German records at division and corps level. Stahel's exhaustive research into the records of tactical formations rather than higher headquarters leads him to a different conclusion about this portion of Barbarossa than the German Military History Institute's own official account (which depends more heavily on the latter). Stahel's book deals with far more than the battle of Kiev, as he also examines German logistics, personality clashes between German generals (General Guderian, as noted by Russell Hart, seems to really have had a hard time getting along with his contemporaries), and the post-1940 campaign hubris of both Hitler and the Wehrmacht. I was surprised to read that the reason the Germans were not prepared for winter was because they had only produced enough winter uniforms for a 250,000 man occupation force rather than the 2 million plus soldiers who found themselves still fighting the bloody but unbowed Soviet Army outside Moscow as the snows began. I found myself in sympathy with the German soldiers whose contemporary letters were quoted by the author. It is clear that those men went into Russia full of confidence having beaten the vaunted French Army in six weeks. As the realization set in that they would not defeat the Russians before winter, they began to believe that their war would never end.Read more ›
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schranck on January 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Mr Stahel's new book is an addendum to his earlier "Barbarossa". It has the same style and format of the first book but with an extension of content. The author felt compelled to write this book to fortify his arguments of his first book. Old ground from "Barbaroosa" is renewed then new material on the Smolensk sector is added. To further enhance his position, Guderian's march south, Rundstedt's drive east and Kleist's advance northward to join up near Kiev to trap Kirponos's Front is then covered. The difficult crossing of the southern Dnepr near Dnepropetrovsk will also be included as well as the troubles in the Leningrad sector for this time period. The author is covering all his bases in presenting his arguments.
Like the author's first book, this book has as its predominate theme the command decisions of Hitler, Germany's industrial shortcomings that couldn't adequately supply the front lines, the confusion and discord that was engendered within the German command structure that had terrible consequences for the Germans. He will provide many more examples of the losses the Germans endured in fighting this "successful period" of the war against a relentless foe. If you still weren't convinced after reading "Barabarossa" of Germany's lack of ability to win the war then you should read "Kiev 1941"; there is much more to consider.

Drilling down some, the key points that were brought out in the first volume are reestablished here: The Russians, despite being unprepared and poorly led were able to slow the Blitzkrieg along the Dnepr. Though Hitler made the right choice is sending Guderian to Kiev, much of his overall strategy was haphazard and random. Also playing large is the cowboy tactics of Guderian who cared only for the victories of his 2nd PzG no matter the consequences to AGC.
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