On June 22, 1941, Germany launched the greatest land assault in history on the Soviet Union, an attack that Adolf Hitler deemed crucial to ensure German economic and political survival. As the key theater of the war for the Germans, the eastern front consumed enormous levels of resources and accounted for 75 percent of all German casualties. Despite the significance of this campaign to Germany and to the war as a whole, few English-language publications of the last thirty-five years have addressed these pivotal events. In Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in the East, Stephen G. Fritz bridges the gap in scholarship by incorporating historical research from the last several decades into an accessible, comprehensive, and coherent narrative. His analysis of the Russo-German War from a German perspective covers all aspects of the eastern front, demonstrating the interrelation of military events, economic policy, resource exploitation, and racial policy that first motivated the invasion. This in-depth account challenges accepted notions about World War II and promotes greater understanding of a topic that has been neglected by historians.
Stephen G. Fritz, professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the author of Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II and Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich. He lives in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Maps viiAbbreviations and Foreign Terms xvPreface xix1. Dilemma 12. Decision 313. Onslaught 774. Whirlwind 1355. Reckoning 1996. All or Nothing 2417. Total War 3038. Scorched Earth 3599. Disintegration 40510. Death Throes 439Conclusion 473Acknowledgments 489Appendix: Supplementary Data 491Notes 499Bibliography 555Index 609Photographs follow page 234