How "Stalin the Great" Won the War, but Lost the Peace
Stalin correctly foresaw that the Soviet Union needed to be seen as the "victim of aggression" by German invaders in order to win valuable Western aid and consolidate an East–West war-fighting alliance. His insight and subsequent maneuvering led to one of Stalin's great achievements—orchestrating the critical Soviet victory in the east.
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This book documents dictator Joseph Stalin's brilliant tactics as well as missteps in taking preemptive actions that guaranteed ultimate victory over the German invaders. It also covers the policies implemented after the war that made the Soviet Union a menace to world peace and led to collapse of Soviet rule.
A detailed reexamination of historical facts indicates that Stalin could deserve to be regarded as a "great leader." Yet Stalin clearly failed as his nation's leader in a post-World War II milieu, where he delivered the Cold War instead of rapid progress and global cooperation. It is the proof of both Stalin's brilliance and blunders that makes him such a fascinating figure in modern history.
Today, most of the Russian population acknowledges that Stalin achieved "greatness." The Soviet dictator's honored place in history is largely due to Stalin successfully attending to the Soviet Union's defense needs in the 1930s and 1940s, and leading the USSR to victory in the war on the Eastern Front against Nazi Germany and its allies. This book provides an overdue critical investigation of how the Soviet leader's domestic and foreign policies actually helped produce this victory, and above all, how Stalin's timely support of a wartime alliance with the Western capitalist democracies assured the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945.
- Using new archive and other original source material, this book documents how dictator Josef Stalin adroitly prepared for "assured victory" in World War II
- Canvasses not only Western literature on Stalin's prewar, wartime, and postwar leadership, but also examines current post-2004 Russian histories
- Provides an unprecedented book-length examination of Russia's current reevaluation—by President Medvedev's decree in the Kremlin in 2009—of the positive role played by Stalin in the Soviets' historic victory on the Eastern Front in World War II
- Describes the transition from the deglorification era of Stalin ("de-Stalinization" campaign) after 1956 towards a revised appreciation of the former Soviet leader in current Russian historiography as a perspicacious statesman and successful "warlord" whose achievements far outweigh his shortcomings
- Author Info
"Weeks has written a thoughtful analysis of Stalin's role in the history of WW II and the Cold War, giving a fair hearing to Russian revisionist historians who depict Stalin as a great leader. . . . Recommended. All academic levels/libraries."
"This striking new volume puts paid to current controversies regarding the 'greatness' of Josef Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union before, during, and after the Soviet-German War (1941–1945). Exploiting fresh archival releases, Weeks assesses Stalin's performance, separating the genuine 'wheat' from the veritable flood of 'chaff' regarding the dictator that has been generated during the turbulent years in Russian history following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. What results is a sobering portrait of, arguably, the Twentieth Century's most accomplished but brutal totalitarian ruler."
"Albert Weeks has taken on a very important issue that still plagues Russian and Western historiography of the war: Stalin's political objectives as they relate to the coming, course, and outcome of the war. Weeks argues that Stalin had a hand in bringing about the war, which imposed heavy costs upon his own people, and was the architect of victory, which served to consolidate his own power but did not address the deep longing of his own people for a return to a normal time. Those interested in the coming, conduct, and outcome of World War II will find much of interest in this volume."