Stalin's War: A New History of World War II

Stalin's War: A New History of World War II

by Sean McMeekin (Author)

A prize-winning historian reveals how Stalin—not Hitler—was the animating force of World War II in this major new history.

World War II endures in the popular imagination as a heroic struggle between good and evil, with villainous Hitler driving its events. But Hitler was not in power when the conflict erupted in Asia—and he was certainly dead before it ended. His armies did not fight in multiple theaters, his empire did not span the Eurasian continent, and he did not inherit any of the spoils of war. That central role belonged to Joseph Stalin. The Second World War was not Hitler’s war; it was Stalin’s war.
Drawing on ambitious new research in Soviet, European, and US archives, Stalin’s War revolutionizes our understanding of this global conflict by moving its epicenter to the east. Hitler’s genocidal ambition may have helped unleash Armageddon, but as McMeekin shows, the war which emerged in Europe in September 1939 was the one Stalin wanted, not Hitler. So, too, did the Pacific war of 1941–1945 fulfill Stalin’s goal of unleashing a devastating war of attrition between Japan and the “Anglo-Saxon” capitalist powers he viewed as his ultimate adversary.
McMeekin also reveals the extent to which Soviet Communism was rescued by the US and Britain’s self-defeating strategic moves, beginning with Lend-Lease aid, as American and British supply boards agreed almost blindly to every Soviet demand. Stalin’s war machine, McMeekin shows, was substantially reliant on American materiél from warplanes, tanks, trucks, jeeps, motorcycles, fuel, ammunition, and explosives, to industrial inputs and technology transfer, to the foodstuffs which fed the Red Army.
This unreciprocated American generosity gave Stalin’s armies the mobile striking power to conquer most of Eurasia, from Berlin to Beijing, for Communism.
A groundbreaking reassessment of the Second World War, Stalin’s War is essential reading for anyone looking to understand the current world order.

In his groundbreaking book, "Stalin's War: A New History of World War II," Sean McMeekin challenges conventional narratives of the conflict, arguing that it was Stalin, not Hitler, who bears ultimate responsibility for its outbreak and devastation.

Drawing on a wealth of newly available Soviet and Eastern European sources, McMeekin meticulously reconstructs the Soviet dictator's strategic calculations and military decision-making in the years leading up to and during the war. He reveals how Stalin's paranoid obsession with security and expansionist ambitions drove him to pursue a series of aggressive policies that destabilized Europe and ultimately led to the outbreak of hostilities.

McMeekin also sheds new light on the Eastern Front, the most brutal and decisive theater of World War II. He argues that Stalin's ruthless leadership and willingness to sacrifice countless lives contributed to the staggering losses suffered by the Soviet Union. At the same time, he highlights the resilience and determination of the Soviet people, who ultimately played a pivotal role in defeating the Nazi war machine.

"Stalin's War" is a major work of scholarship that challenges our understanding of World War II and its consequences. McMeekin's rigorous analysis and provocative arguments make this book essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the twentieth century.


864 pages