Thursday, March 26, 2009
Stalingrad Book Reviewe
This is the first case study in my Urban Warfare class. Beevor writes a comprehensive account of the battle, including soldier's first hand accounts from both sides. It was particularly fascinating to me that nearly 2,000,000 casualties were inflicted on both sides in this single campaign (from about August 1942-February 1943), and thousands of civilians as well. Can you imagine CNN trying to report on this battle today? The staggering bloodletting on the Eastern Front of World War II is sometimes hard to grasp to the modern Westerner, even those that actually study military history.
The contrast between Hitler and Stalin was also interesting. Even though both men made horrible blunders due to their ideology and political power-grabbing, Stalin learned to let his generals fight the battles and not to interfere unless he felt it would imperil his political aims. Hitler was just delusional and didn't want to be bothered with mundane things like exposed flanks or logistical problems. Some dictators are clearly smarter than others, so to speak.
Highly recommended book...sort of replaces the previous best-selling work on the battle by William Craig, that the awful, but kinda spellbinding movie was named after.