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Stalin's Curse

Battling for Communism in War and Cold War

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eBook published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book

A chilling, riveting account based on newly released Russian documentation that reveals Joseph Stalin’s true motives—and the extent of his enduring commitment to expanding the Soviet empire—during the years in which he seemingly collaborated with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the capitalist West.
           
At the Big Three conferences of World War II, Stalin persuasively played the role of a great world leader. Even astute observers like George F. Kennan concluded that the United States and Great Britain should view Stalin as a modern-day tsarist-like figure whose primary concerns lay in international strategy and power politics, not in ideology. Now Robert Gellately uses recently uncovered documents to make clear that, in fact, the dictator was an unwavering revolutionary merely biding his time, determined as ever to establish Communist regimes across Europe and beyond, and that his actions during these years (and the poorly calculated Western responses) set in motion what would eventually become the Cold War. Gellately takes us behind the scenes. We see the dictator disguising his political ambitions and prioritizing the future of Communism, even as he pursued the war against Hitler. Along the way, the ascetic dictator’s Machiavellian moves and bouts of irrationality kept the Western leaders on their toes, in a world that became more dangerous and divided year by year.              

Exciting, deeply engaging, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin’s Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of the Soviet dictator.

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A chilling, riveting account based on newly released Russian documentation that reveals Joseph Stalin’s true motives—and the extent of his enduring commitment to expanding the Soviet empire—during the years in which he seemingly collaborated with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the capitalist West.
           
At the Big Three conferences of World War II, Stalin persuasively played the role of a great world leader. Even astute observers like George F. Kennan concluded that the United States and Great Britain should view Stalin as a modern-day tsarist-like figure whose primary concerns lay in international strategy and power politics, not in ideology. Now Robert Gellately uses recently uncovered documents to make clear that, in fact, the dictator was an unwavering revolutionary merely biding his time, determined as ever to establish Communist regimes across Europe and beyond, and that his actions during these years (and the poorly calculated Western responses) set in motion what would eventually become the Cold War. Gellately takes us behind the scenes. We see the dictator disguising his political ambitions and prioritizing the future of Communism, even as he pursued the war against Hitler. Along the way, the ascetic dictator’s Machiavellian moves and bouts of irrationality kept the Western leaders on their toes, in a world that became more dangerous and divided year by year.              

Exciting, deeply engaging, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin’s Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of the Soviet dictator.

Product Details
eBook (496 pages)
Published: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307962355
Other books byRobert Gellately
  • Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler

    Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler
    The Age of Social Catastrophe
    A bold new accounting of the great social and political upheavals that enveloped Europe between 1914 and 1945—from the Russian Revolution through the Second World War. In Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, acclaimed historian Robert Gellately focuses on the dominant powers of the time, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, but also analyzes the catastrophe of those years in an effort to uncover its political and ideological nature. Arguing that the tragedies endured by Europe were inextricably linked through the dictatorships of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, Gellately explains how the pursuit of their “utopian” ideals turned into dystopian nightmares. Dismantling the myth of Lenin as a relatively benevolent precursor to Hitler and Stalin and contrasting the divergent ways that Hitler and Stalin achieved their calamitous goals, Gellately creates in Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler a vital analysis of a critical period in modern history.

    The Gestapo and German Society

    The Gestapo and German Society
    Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933-1945
    How was the Gestapo able to detect the smallest signs of non-compliance with Nazi doctrines--especially "crimes" pertaining to the private spheres of social, family, and sexual life? How could the police enforce policies such as those designed to isolate Jews, or the foreign workers brought to Germany after 1939, with such apparent ease? Addressing these questions, Gellately argues that the key factor in the successful enforcement of Nazi racial policy was the willingness of German citizens to provide authorities with information about suspected "criminality." He demonstrates that without some degree of popular participation in the operation of institutions such as the Gestapo, the regime would have been seriously hampered in the "realization of the unthinkable," not only inside Germany but also in many of the occupied countries. Offering an intriguing examination of the everyday operations of the Gestapo and the product of extensive archival research, this incisive study surveys the experiences of areas across Germany, drawing out national, local, and regional implications.

    Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany

    Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany
    When Hitler assumed power in 1933, he and other Nazis had firm ideas on what they called a racially pure "community of the people." They quickly took steps against those whom they wanted to isolate, deport, or destroy. In these essays informed by the latest research, leading scholars offer rich histories of the people branded as "social outsiders" in Nazi Germany: Communists, Jews, "Gypsies," foreign workers, prostitutes, criminals, homosexuals, and the homeless, unemployed, and chronically ill. Although many works have concentrated exclusively on the relationship between Jews and the Third Reich, this collection also includes often-overlooked victims of Nazism while reintegrating the Holocaust into its wider social context. The Nazis knew what attitudes and values they shared with many other Germans, and most of their targets were individuals and groups long regarded as outsiders, nuisances, or "problem cases." The identification, the treatment, and even the pace of their persecution of political opponents and social outsiders illustrated that the Nazis attuned their law-and-order policies to German society, history, and traditions. Hitler's personal convictions, Nazi ideology, and what he deemed to be the wishes and hopes of many people, came together in deciding where it would be politically most advantageous to begin. The first essay explores the political strategies used by the Third Reich to gain support for its ideologies and programs, and each following essay concentrates on one group of outsiders. Together the contributions debate the motivations behind the purges. For example, was the persecution of Jews the direct result of intense, widespread anti-Semitism, or was it part of a more encompassing and arbitrary persecution of "unwanted populations" that intensified with the war? The collection overall offers a nuanced portrayal of German citizens, showing that many supported the Third Reich while some tried to resist, and that the war radicalized social thinking on nearly everyone's part. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Frank Bajohr, Omer Bartov, Doris L. Bergen, Richard J. Evans, Henry Friedlander, Geoffrey J. Giles, Marion A. Kaplan, Sybil H. Milton, Alan E. Steinweis, Annette F. Timm, and Nikolaus Wachsmann.

    Backing Hitler

    Backing Hitler
    Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany
    Debate still rages over how much ordinary Germans knew about the concentration camps and the Gestapo's activities during Hitler's reign. Now, in this well-documented and provocative volume, historian Robert Gellately argues that the majority of German citizens had quite a clear picture of the extent of Nazi atrocities, and continued to support the Reich to the bitter end. Culling chilling evidence from primary news sources and citing dozens of case studies, Gellately shows how media reports and press stories were an essential dimension of Hitler's popular dictatorship. Indeed, a vast array of material on the concentration camps, the violent campaigns against social outsiders, and the Nazis' radical approaches to "law and order" was published in the media of the day, and was widely read by a highly literate population of Germans. Hitler, Gellately reveals, did not try to hide the existence of the Gestapo or of concentration camps. Nor did the Nazis try to cow the people into submission. Instead they set out to win converts by building on popular images, cherished ideals, and long-held phobias. And their efforts succeeded, Gellately concludes, for the Gestapo's monstrous success was due, in large part, to ordinary German citizens who singled out suspected "enemies" in their midst, reporting their suspicions and allegations freely and in a spirit of cooperation and patriotism. Extensively documented, highly readable and illustrated with never-before-published photographs,Backing Hitlerconvincingly debunks the myth that Nazi atrocities were carried out in secret. From the rise of the Third Reich well into the final, desperate months of the war, the destruction of innocent lives was inextricably linked to the will of the German people.

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