This ambitious book tells the story of the great social and political catastrophe that enveloped Europe between 1914 and 1945--a period of almost continuous upheaval, with two world wars, the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, and the Third Reich. Historian Gellately argues that these tragedies are inextricably linked and that to consider them as discrete events is to misunderstand their genesis and character. Central to the catastrophe, of course, were Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, and this book makes use of recently opened sources to explain how these dictators' pursuit of utopian--and dreadfully flawed--ideals led only to dystopian nightmare. Gellately argues that most comparative studies of the Soviet and Nazi dictatorships are undermined by neglecting the key importance of Lenin. Rejecting the myth of the "good" Lenin, the book provides a convincing social-historical account of all three dictatorships.--From publisher description.
1: Lenin's communist dictatorship -- The first world war and the Russian revolution -- On the way to communist dictatorship -- Civil wars in the Soviet Union -- 2: The rise of German national Socialism -- Nazism and the threat of Bolshevism -- First Nazi attempt to seize power -- Hitler starts over -- 3: Stalin triumphs over political rivals -- Battle for Communist Utopia -- Lenin's passing, Stalin's victory -- Stalin's new initiatives -- Stalin solidifies his grip -- 4: Germans make a pact with Hitler -- Nazi party as social movement -- Nazism exploits economic distress -- "All power" for Hitler -- 5: Stalin's reign of terror -- Fight against the countryside -- Terror as political practice -- "Mass operations" -- "Cleansing" the Soviet elite -- 6: Hitler's war against democracy -- Winning over the nation -- Dictatorship by consent -- Persecution of the Jews in the prewar years -- "Cleansing" the German body politic -- 7: Stalin and Hitler: into the social catastrophe -- Rival visions of world conquest -- German racial persecution begins in Poland -- Hitler and Western Europe -- The Society response -- The war spreads -- 8: Hitler's war on "Jewish Bolshevism" -- War of extermination as Nazi crusade -- War against the Communists: operation Barbarossa -- War against the Jews: death squads in the East -- The "final solution" and death camps -- 9: Hitler's defeat and Stalin's agenda -- Greatest crisis in Stalin's career -- Between surrender and defiance -- Soviets hold on, Hitler grows viscous -- Ethnic cleansing in wartime Soviet Union -- 10: Final struggle --From Stalingrad to Berlin -- Stalin takes the upper hand -- End of the Third Reich
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