The Eastern Front, 1941. Operation Barbarossa. Hitler's armies advance into the Soviet Union to conquer Lebensraum in the East. Among the corps commanders is General Gotthard Heinrici, a career soldier, a highly decorated First World War veteran, who observed and recorded in his diary and letters the unprecedented harshness of the German conduct of the campaign. With remarkable candour he described his experiences at the front and the everyday lives of the troops under his command - and the appalling conditions in which the war was fought. In his writings he revealed his growing doubts about Hitler's strategy and his mounting concern as the Wehrmacht was implicated in war crimes and the first actions of the Holocaust. This selection from Heinrici's diaries and letters, edited and with a perceptive introduction by Johannes Hurter, gives a fascinating inside view of the fighting on the Eastern Front from a commander's perspective. It is also provides an unusual insight into the feelings, attitudes and acute anxieties of one of the Wehrmacht's most able generals in the midst of a brutal campaign.
Dr Johannes Hurter is a leading German historian of the Second World War based at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich. In addition to writing many articles and chapters on aspects of the subject, he is the author or editor of Hitlers Heerfuhrer: Die deutschen Oberbefehlshaber im Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion 1941/42, Der deutsche Krieg im Osten 1941-1944: Facetten einer Grenzuberschreitung and Wilhelm Groener: Reichswehrminister am Ende der Weimarer Republik (1928-1932).