June 22, 1941, not only changed the direction of the Second World War, it also roused the Russian bear from its prewar complacency. Unleashing a massive, three-pronged assault—codenamed Barbarossa—into Soviet territory, the German army unwittingly created its own nemesis and started the process by which the Soviet Union became a superpower. In Barbarossa Through Soviet Eyes, Russian historians Artem Drabkin and Alexei Isaev reconstruct a compelling account of the first day of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. In addition to combing Soviet archives, the authors have assembled eyewitnesses’ own vivid recollections of this critical point in their nation's history.
Though Hitler had planned the conquest of Russia for nearly a year, and despite repeated border incursions by German infantry, the underprepared Soviet military had precious little warning of the imminent Axis attack. The non-aggression pact had lulled many Russians into a false sense of security. Just one day before the invasion, a Soviet spy in Moscow’s German embassy conveyed the ominous warning that war was coming within 48 hours. By then, Panzer tanks were already lumbering toward the border of the USSR. The first blood was drawn at 3:45 pm on the 22nd, as the German navy sank a Soviet cargo ship. Less than two hours later, a Nazi air attack on railways and aerodromes in Russia and Ukraine was coordinated with an artillery barrage across the border. Not until after hostilities had commenced did Hitler declare war.
After the first day of Barbarossa, nothing would ever be the same for the Soviet Union and its citizens. Before the day’s end, Panzer tanks rolled through the Baltic states, and the city of Brest, Byelorussia (present-day Belarus) was under German control. Apparently caught off guard by Hitler’s initiative, the Soviets struggled to make sense of a disaster that had seemingly struck from nowhere. Generals scrambled to mobilize ill-prepared divisions, pilots defied orders not to grapple with the mighty Luftwaffe, suddenly leaderless soldiers performed individual acts of blind courage, and civilians—unsettled by air-raid sirens and dire radio broadcasts—bore witness to German treachery.
Now, for the first time in English, Russians speak of their experiences on that fatal Sunday, the day on which Russia’s Great Patriotic War began. Recollections come from across Soviet society—Stalin's elite, top military commanders, the veterans who faced the German onslaught on land and in the air, the bewildered civilians. Charting 24 hours that changed the course of history, as seen through the eyes of those who were there, this book provides a rare glimpse into the reality of war on a single historic day.
Hardcover Book : 224 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Ltd. ( February 16, 2012 )
Item #: 13-498846
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 10.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
This is a good book about how the individual soldiers faced the beginning of the war. It also gives a brief storyline of of how the high command was hampered by politics. As this just cover the first day of war it shows how they tried to persevere under all sorts of pressure, surprise attacks,incompetent orders and then just the individual the initial combat. I would state that the book was an enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Jeff I
I jumped at the chance to order this book because I'm very interested in the Eastern Front and I'm always looking for a something that gives a good account of the Russian perspective. While this book is filled with first hand accounts of the months leading up to the war and the German invasion, there is very little depth to the stories. The book has no original argument, really no thesis at all to help drive the story. There are a number of interesting stories and some of the anecdotes provide insight into the thoughts of average Soviet citizens, but overall there isn't enough there to make this a must own book.
I do not agree with author's statement of the Red Army "complacency", "sleeping Russian Bear" and other old Communists propaganda tricks to conceal their own preparation to the war against Western democracies in 1930-s - 1940-s. The USSR was one of the most militarized countries in the modern history, so talking about unpreparedness of the Soviets to the war is groundless. Soviets possessed the largest military arsenal and lagest military by 1941. Moreover, their preparations included getting ready to attack her neigbors, not to sit and wait when so-called imperialists attack the USSR first. This was a direct logical conclusion stemming from the idea of the "World Revolution" and espoused by Stalin's government. Soviet foreign policy has the forcible spread of the Communism across the borders as its cornerstone. Because of this approach, Stalin came to his alliance with Hitler in order to weaken Western democracies by their war with Germany first, while contemplating his own attack on the West. Therefore, telling fairy tales cooked by communists to conceal their crimes in starting the European war along with German national socialists does not make this book worthy contribution to the existing literature market: getting ready to commit an agression against your neighbors is totally different from preparing your country to repel an external attack, but the author utterly fails to emphasize this issue, repeating old communist propaganda instead.
Reviewer: Arthur P