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Operation Barbarossa 1941 Hitler Against Stalin by Christer Bergstrom Operation Barbarossa 1941 Hitler Against Stalin by Christer Bergstrom

Operation Barbarossa 1941 Hitler Against Stalin by Christer Bergstrom

Operation Barbarossa 1941 Hitler Against Stalin by Christer Bergstrom

                                                              Operation Barbarossa 1941

                                                      Hitler Against Stalin 


                                                      Christer Bergstrom 

 This will be approximately the thirtieth book I have read concerning the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Is there any reason to have another book on this subject? Haven't all of the different areas of the invasion been gone over with a fine toothed comb? Well, it turns out they haven't. This book is a tour de force on operation Barbarossa and all of its facets. It was released to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the invasion.

 Let us first look at the physical book itself. It is a large 'coffee table' like book. Its 300 pages are of high quality with over 250 photographs, many of which were never previously published. The author, Christer Bergstrom, has written twenty three other books on the history of world War II. His meticulous searching through the various countries' archives is apparent on every page.

  The book goes through the planning and different stages of the war up until the end of 1941. It does a fantastic job of telling the normal facts we are all well aware of that happened in operation  Barbarossa. This alone is worth the price of the book.

  Where this new rendition goes beyond all others in its field is where the author challenges, and proves, many of the items that we take as gospel in the earlier histories, and shows them to be false. Some of these myths are about the mass surrender of Soviet soldiers and the disparity between the casualties suffered on both sides. The book is a treasure trove of information about subjects that have never before been brought to print. It goes deeply into the partisan and anti-partisan part of the war. The author does not shy away from the many ugly facts about this time in history. He goes into detail about the Nazi 'cleansing' and the amount of cooperation that the Nazis received from some of the indigenous populations. There is even a part of the book that goes into the amount of rapes committed by the German soldiers. The author also shows in detail that the Axis armies actually outnumbered the Russian forces on June 22 1941.

 The appendices show a complete order of battle, and also both sides' armed forces structures. There is a listing of all the main armaments used by both sides in the war. There is also a comparison of the different lists of the axis losses during the campaign. 

 The book delves deeply into Finland's involvement with the war, and some not very flattering facts about their deportation to Germany of Russian prisoners of war, etc. 

 There are three haunting pictures included of young women brutalized before and after their murder for supposedly being partisans. Their beauty and innocence shine through in a very disturbing way. If anyone part of the book is its strongest, it is the tale and pictures of the horrible events that the Russian civilians had to suffer during the Nazi invasion. To those of us who are used to reading a more sanitized version of events, it brings to life that these could have been our daughters or other family members. The starkness of the text and photos show us the real human sufferings in this bitter war, and reminds us of what takes place in all wars. As Stalin said "one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic". To those of us who are used to pushing cardboard or computer icons around the Russian front, it is really a must read to bring war and all its savagery and hatefulness to our eyes. To Russians, it is no wonder that the date 6/22/1941 is burned into their memories.

 While a few more maps for the separate encounters would have been a nice addition, the book in its scope tries and succeeds to bring to its pages the full story of the invasion. If you are going to have any book on your shelf about Barbarossa, this should be the one if you want to be informed about all of its different aspects. The photos themselves could have been a book about operation Barbarossa. The text with all of its tons of details of the day to day operations and human involvement is without a doubt the best covering of this campaign in print. Thank you Mr. Bergstrom for this effort, and thank you Casemate for realizing the book's potential. 


Author: Christer Bergstrom
Publisher: Casemate
Review Date: 9/9/2016