Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin
By Timothy Snyder
Language: English Hardcover
Publisher: Basic Books; 1St Edition edition (October 12, 2010)
9.5 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
Member Price: $26.95
Americans call the Second World War "The Good War." But before it even began, America's wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own Ukrainian citizens 8210; and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war's end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.
Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power.
Beginning with Ukraine's Holodomor (the Great Famine of 1932-33 engineered by Stalin and his administration), Snyder painstakingly details the horrors later inflicted upon Belarusians, Poles, and Jews.
"For both Hitler and Stalin, Ukraine was more than just a land of milk and honey. It was the place that would enable them to break the rules of traditional economics, rescue their countries from poverty and isolation, and remake the continent in their own image. Their programs and their power all depended upon their control of its fertile soils and its millions of agricultural laborers. In 1933, Ukrainians would die in the millions, in the greatest artificial famine in the history of the world. This was the beginning of the special history of Ukraine, but not the end. In 1941, Hitler would seize Ukraine from Stalin, and attempt to realize his own colonial vision. The Stalinists colonized their own country, and the Nazis colonized occupied Soviet Ukraine: and...Ukraine suffered and suffered. During the years that both Stalin and Hitler were in power, far more people were killed in Ukraine than anywhere else in the bloodlands, or in Europe, or in the world."
– Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin
Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.
Copies of Bloodlands will be available for sale at the Museum during the book launch. The evening will conclude with a wine-and-cheese reception.
"For over a decade in the middle of twentieth century, the lands between Russia and Germany were the killing fields of Europe. Tens of millions of civilians from Poland to Ukraine, Lithuania to Belarus were starved, beaten, shot and gassed to death by the authorities and armies of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. We think we know this story and we assign it shorthand labels: Auschwitz, the Gulag. But neither the concentration camps (which were mostly not death camps) nor the Soviet network of labor camps in Siberia (from which many survived) were representative of the worst crimes committed in these years. Jews were without question the supreme victim (and in the Nazi case, the dominant target); but there were many other victims with whom western readers are far less familiar. Without a better grasp of the scale and breadth of the suffering experienced in these lands, we cannot hope to appreciate the true impact of the twentieth century.
"In his path-breaking and often courageous study of Europe's 'bloodlands,' Timothy Snyder shows how very much more complicated the story was. His account of the methods and motives of murderous regimes, both at home and in foreign war, will radically revise our appreciation of the implications of mass extermination in the recent past. Bloodlands – impeccably researched and appropriately sensitive to its volatile material – is the most important book to appear on this subject for decades and will surely become the reference in its field."
Christopher R. Browning, Frank Porter Graham Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Historians of Nazi Germany have analyzed Hitler's war of destruction in the East, Final Solution, and vast racial revolution and colonization project outlined in the Generalplan Ost. Historians of the Soviet Union have analyzed Stalin's collectivization, Great Terror, Gulag archipelago, deportation and exile of mistrusted minorities, and rapid sovietization of newly-annexed territories on the western border. In both cases the focus has been more often on the politics and decision-making of the dictatorships than on the fate of their victims. The stunning contribution of Tim Snyder's book is to present a synthetic account by an East European historian in which the focus is on the geographic zone where the lethal policies of Hitler and Stalin interacted, overlapped, and mutually escalated one another. As Snyder vividly demonstrates, their combined impact on the people living in the ‘bloodlands' was quite simply the greatest man-made demographic catastrophe and human tragedy in European history."
Professor Norman Davies, F.B.A., author of Europe: A History
"Nearly seventy years after VE-Day, World War Two continues to be perceived through a narrow Western perspective, and many basic problems about the war of 1939-45 remain unresolved. In Bloodlands – which refers to the huge belt of territory between Germany and Russia – Timothy Snyder examines the little known tract of the European continent that was scourged by Stalin as well as Hitler, and reaches some disturbing conclusions. Combining formidable linguistic and detective skills with a fine sense of impartiality, he tackles vital questions which have deterred less courageous historians: Where and when were the largest casualties inflicted? Who were the perpetrators, and which ethnic and national groups were victimized? How can one calculate and verify the numbers? This is a book which will force its readers to rethink history."
Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford, and author of The File
"Timothy Snyder has written a nuanced, original and penetrating analysis of Europe's twentieth century killing fields between Russia and Germany, drawing on many little-known sources. History of a high order, Bloodlands may also point us towards lessons for our own time."
Kirkus, Starred Review
"A chillingly systematic study of the mass murder mutually perpetrated by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany…. A significant work of staggering figures and scholarship.