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Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in the East Hardcover – September 8, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Stephen Fritz has made a major statement. There are many books dealing with military operations in the East and many others that highlight the atrocities, the murders, and the Holocaust. Not until now has a single volume attempted to incorporate both, seeking the nexus between military operations and mass murder. The result is as complete a history of the German-Soviet war as one could desire, and it is an achievement that is likely to be unequaled for some time to come."―Robert M. Citino, author of Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942

"Fritz has written a top-flight strategic/operational level analysis of the Russo-German War. His text is solid and impeccably supported."―Dennis Showalter, author of Hitler's Panzers: The Lightning Attacks that Revolutionized Warfare

"Of all the hundreds of books on the Russian campaign, Mr. Fritz's is the first I have seen that demonstrates the nexus between mass murder and military operations."―Washington Times

"Stephen Fritz brought to his sources his considerable analytical skills and clarity of expression. The product is a very readable consideration of the European war's most important front, and one that expresses a new understanding of its causes and effects."―New York Journal of Books

"Fritz seeks to synthesize and build upon earlier scholarship while exclusively focusing on the struggle as seen from Berlin. . . . Ostkrieg will be a significant addition to any academic library."―Choice

"It is truly a magnificent work of military history integrating ideological, economic, political, and military dimensions of this theater of war."―Waterline

"Perfect for instructors and students."―Teaching History

"An ambitious and impressive synthesis of two vast and often mutually exclusive fields of scholarship: the historiography of the Holocaust and that of the war on the Eastern Front. . . . [it] should serve as the starting point for all historians and students of World War II interested in the relationship of war and genocide."―Journal of Military History

"Winner of the inaugural U.S. Commission on Military History's Brigadier General James L. Collins Jr. Book Prize in Military History"―

"We are given a superb vantage point from which to view how the Nazi regime's obsessions trapped Germany into ultimately fatal dilemmas."―Historian

"I found Ostkreig to be one of the most informative and spellbinding reads that I have experienced in a long time. This is a real page turner as I felt myself cheering for the Russian people in their struggle to just survive from day to day."― The Lone Star Book Review

"We now have a comprehensive, clearly written and affordable study incorporating recent research on the Eastern front."―European History Quarterly

About the Author

Stephen G. Fritz, professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the author of Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II and Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich. He lives in Johnson City, Tennessee.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 664 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; 1St Edition edition (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813134161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813134161
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 2.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The onset of the Russo-German war of 1941-45 marked the beginning of a striking evolution to the manner with which war was being waged by Nazi Germany. It also could be described as the continuation and evolution of a long policy of racist aggression towards the Slavs, German utopian `Lebensraum' ideology, and a radical anti-Semitism long adhered to by Hitler and the senior officials of the Nazi party. For years now, these disparate threads of the historical record have been studied and analyzed with an increasingly sophisticated dialogue. With that said, with the exception of Geoffrey Megargee's fine analysis on the first half-year of the eastern war, "War of Annihilation", there has been nearly no attempt to write a synthesis of all these differing but connected aspects of the Russo-German war. This gap in the history of Nazi Germany and its nearly four year war in the east has now been addressed in Stephen G. Fritz' fine analysis, "Ostkrieg". Indeed his goal, admirably stated is, "to provide a deeper understanding of the complexity and immensity of the Ostkrieg by anchoring the military events of the war within their larger ideological, racial, economic and social context" (xx).

This narrative works best exactly as the author intends; as a synthesis of the work already done by pre-eminent history writers such as Richard Overy, Ian Kershaw, Peter Longerich and David Glantz, among hundreds of others. In fact, the bibliography alone indicates the immense degree of work spent preparing this book and reads like a `who's who' of Nazi Germany historiography. The narrative is constructed in chronological fashion and ties together the political, racist, economic and military history of Hitler's war against Soviet Russia in exemplary fashion.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ostkrieg by Stephen Fritz : A review

For the last few years I've been on an "East Front" reading binge to supplement my normal diet of history reading (mostly WWII military history). In that regard, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Ostkrieg, and have placed it second only to Absolute War by Chris Bellamy as my favorite single volume history of the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. I highly recommend it!
I own, and have read many of Col. David Glantz's various histories on the same subject area. He is without a doubt the best and perhaps most informed military historian of the eastern front conflict. I recently read "When Titans Clashed" by Glantz and House, perhaps their most easy to read history of the entire conflict in a manageable 384 pages. Glantz has however some of the most exacting and detailed histories of the conflict, with some battles covered in multiple volumes. His histories, while excruciatingly comprehensive, are difficult to read. I treasure his analysis and observations on the conflict. Glantz is doing extensive work filling in the previously blank history of the eastern front that took place between the big and more well know battles and operations. While I treasure his books, his writing technique is definitely aimed at the serious historian. This is not to put Col. Glantz down, but rather to contrast the style of a known authority on the war with Stephen Fritz's excellent history. Mr. Fritz's style and breadth of writing make the subject a rich and very enjoyable reading experience.
This book is a strategic and operational level history of the war in the east.
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This is an excellent book and extremely hard to put down. There is a richness in details that will satisfy most anyone. Not at the detail level of, say, a David Glantz tome; it, none the less, manages to give a full picture of the decisions and actions of the War in Russia. Frankly has the most definitive single paragraph describing Kursk that you will ever enjoy. Seldom have I read any work that I could recommend to a History Details "Nut", like myself, or to an individual wanting more than the average Stephen Ambrose junk. The writing is supurb and you will not be overwhelmed by German Technology words as well as non pronounceble Russian names. I have over 1200 books, in my library, with most on WW2; but this work will reserve a special place on my shelves. It has become my favorite work right before Germany and the Second World War Volume 3 and the first two (2) Volumes of Glantz's Stalingrad Trilogy. Please, read this book. The author does NOT fall victim to falling back on myths about Hitler, Russian command and control, and the old Germany would have won except for....It, at least to me, contains more relevant and easy to comprehend facts that have to arranged in one work on the 4 years of war in the east.
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This thick book, compiled exclusively from secondary sources, looks at the 1941-1945 Nazi-Soviet campaign from the Germans' point of view and explains why they lost so badly. Hitler had always thought he'd eventually have to fight the Russians, in part because his beliefs dictated that Germans needed much more space to live in (the concept of Lebensraum) and also because Berlin saw the Soviet Union as too much of a threat to leave alone for too long. The impending entry of the United States into the conflict also pushed Hitler to attack sooner than he might otherwise have wanted, since he knew he had to eliminate the eastern threat before Washington could gear up its mighty war industry.

Fritz effectively makes the point that the June 22, 1941 invasion was even more of a gamble than one might initially suspect, since the German forces were woefully underequipped (most of the armies depended on horses) and needed to knock out the Russians almost immediately to have any chance of winning. Their already slim chances were undermined by the decision to split the invading armies into three groups and then -- as disagreements grew between Hitler and his commanders -- a series of confusing orders about what they should be doing.

As the war progressed, so did plans to exterminate the Jews and ensure the death of other unwanted groups, such as peasants living in the wrong areas and millions of Soviet prisoners. But as more and more German men were pulled out of industry and sent to the front, the Nazis realised they needed the help of precisely the people they were busily killing off or letting die.
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