Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder
Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder – Europe between Hitler and Stalin – is a fantastic book which compares what happened during the Nazi occupation and during the Soviet occupation in the countries between Germany and Russia: Poland and the Blatic States, also Ukraine. He ends the book with why this comparison is not only appropriate, but needed. The people living there did not have the luxury the western countries had, they were occupied, the history is intertwined. He does an amazing job in describing what happened and, of course, the book is heartbreaking at times, with all what happened, with all the killings both sides did. The people of the Bloodlands had little options, they were victims of both sides.
I will share some quotes from the book in which I removed the identifiers. See if you know if it applies to Nazi or Soviets:
(71) ‘he was already speaking of international conspiracies…proclaimed that “as long as the… encirclement exists there will continue to be present among us wreckers, spies, saboteurs and murderers”.’
(86) ‘more than a million … citizens toiled in the … concentration camps and special settlements in late 1938’
(104) actions targeting ‘groups with real or imagined connections to a foreign state’ were killed
(239) ‘the logic of the system was always to resist independent initiatives and to value human life very cheaply’
(319) the ‘navy sank 206 of the 790 ships used to evacuate’ people
If you want to have a guess in the comments, I will reply with the answer in a few days.
There were so many other quotes I could have given, about the dishonesty of British media for example regarding what was happening in USSR which is something anyone from any country should consider as each of us are watching the news or reading the newspapers. Dozens of other quotes would be relevant too.
Depending on how historians count the deaths (including the indirect or not), the estimates are that between 1933 and 1945 at least 14 million died in the Bloodlands, going up to 21 million.
As for his style of writing, I just think it’s superb: ‘Only an unabashed acceptance of the similarities between the Nazi and Soviet systems permits an understanding of their differences.’
Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder
Details about the picture: Nazi and USSR flags (with a bit of Russian flag as well), what could be more appropriate for a book like this one?
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: YES!
Published by: The Bodley Head
Year it was published: 2010
About the author: Timothy Snyder is Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. He has held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard.
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