Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted

R. H. S. Stolfi, Author
R. H. S. Stolfi, Author University of Oklahoma Press $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2400-1
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-8061-2581-7
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-0-585-16049-8
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According to received wisdom, the turning point of WW II in Europe was the battle of Stalingrad, but Stolfi argues persuasively that the first phase of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of Russia, was the decisive event. Barbarossa began on June 22, 1941; by mid-August the Germans had defeated eight of nine Soviet field armies and were in a position to capture Moscow and win the war in Europe. But then Hitler made what Stolfi regards as his most momentous decision of the war: he ordered Army Group Center to veer southward into the Ukraine, despite the objections of several of his generals. With the subsequent loss of German momentum, the Soviets gained time to mobilize and eventually drove the invader out of Russia. The author demonstrates that the fuhrer was strategically ultraconservative, primarily interested in improving the ``siege lines'' that ringed the Fatherland and that his diversion into the Ukraine was an expression of this. Stolfi, who teaches European history at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., has written a credible reevaluation of the war. Illustrations. (Feb.)
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