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.

Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder

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
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History
Pages: 524

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.
Website & Social Media Links: –



5 thoughts on “Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder”

  • Thank you both 🙂

    When I had the idea I though of mixing them up, then I changed my mind and gave quotes only relating to the Soviet regime, just to emphasise how similar these regimes were. Also, I would have never guessed that the Soviets bombed ships transporting German refugees. For me WWII and ships attacked links directly to the U-boats.

    The differences between the regimes were also fascinating. As he said, Germans killed people during the war, Soviets killed people in peacetime, Germans killed other nationalities, Soviets killed Soviets. The book is fantastic, well worth reading.

    • You tricked us! Seriously, it explains why FF and I had some different answers, but both agreed that we felt they could apply to either, though I’m surprised at the one about ships. That observation in your second paragraph is interesting.

      Thanks for doing this – it was fun.
      Kelly recently posted…Instagram photos #19My Profile

      • The ships one is pretty incredible, I agree. The second paragraph was something I read in the book. I haven’t thought about it, even though I knew the numbers more or less. It’s a really good book, if you can find it and you are willing to go through harrowing accounts, do read it. It’s not an easy read from that point of view.

  • I agree that I could see each quote working for either choice, but I’ll give it a shot, too…. (not letting myself be influenced by FF’s choices)

    (71) Soviet
    (86) Soviet
    (104) Nazi
    (239) Soviet
    (319) Nazi
    Kelly recently posted…Instagram photos #19My Profile

  • I’m going to guess,
    (71) Nazi
    (86) Soviet
    (104) Soviet
    (239) Nazi
    (319 Nazi

    But I expect to be wrong and totally agree each quote could apply to either. Sounds like a great book!

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