Friday, February 2, 2007

War of Annihilation: Combat and Genocide on the Eastern Front, 1941 by Geoffrey P. Megargee

This book is both for the layman and for those who want a better understanding of why the Eastern Front was such a struggle for life and death on the part of civilians and POW's not even speaking of soldiers on the front lines. The author goes through the history of Nazi ideology and the role it played in the creation of the Third Reich as well as the history of the German Army and why in the end it proved an essential tool in the genocidal campaign Germany would launch when it attacked the Soviet Union (although keeping in mind the Polish campaign showed signs of what was to come on a smaller scale).

Although military movements are described, they are done so in a general sense simply to show the success the German Armed forces were enjoying and the amount of territory that was falling under their supervision. Then come the explanations for how involved the Army was in the genocide of Jews, Communists, and various other groups throughout the Soviet Union. Mainly the Armed forces helped the SS, Einzatsgruppen, Order Police, and other various units in their mass murders throughout the rear areas that they had just occupied.

As well as making it possible for POW's to starve on a massive scale without a second thought to their fates. Without the Army's cooperation millions of Soviet POW's would have lived to see 1942 and perhaps tens of thousands of Jews and Communists would have lived to see the end of the war. The Army's complication in these crimes is now being shown for what it was, although the book is small, around 150 pages of text, the revelations it makes are very important for understanding what went on on the Eastern Front and how it evolved into outright genocide. Well worth the money.

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