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The Devils Alliance The Devil’s Alliance – Forgotten by Many but not the FewOn 23rd August 1939 in the presence of Stalin his Foreign Minister Molotov signed a pact with the German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop and at the same time carved up the future of Eastern Europe between them When I was taught history at school the pact was nothing than a footnote in history uickly glossed over and forgotten As one of the Polish Diaspora my family was deeply affected by this pact even so the 17th September 1939 when the Red Army crossed the Polish Border on the same day the Polish government had to escape via Romania in to exile My grandfather was captured by the Nazis that day he managed to escape and fight in France 1940 and on into Britain my great Grandmother saw her husband for the last time that day he was a police officer she later found that other families were murdered at Katyn 13th April 1940 she was arrested at 2am by the NKVD for having a husband who was a Police Officer and a son as a Polish Soldier was an enemy combatant She was transported by the NKVD on a cattle truck before the Nazis had used them in the Holocaust along with thousands of other Polish enemies of the state to hard labour camps 75% of her fellow Poles on that Journey did not survive the transportation She was released in 1946 and was not allowed to return home to Skałat but was sent to Krakow to make her home minus her now exiled son nephew her murdered brothers and her missing husband Like many Polish families we lost via the Russians than the damage of the German war effort brought to PolandOver the years I have heard so many excuses by so many Historians that Stalin made the pact so that he could make sure the Soviet Union was ready for war Poppycock and in the Devil’s Alliance Roger Moorhouse shines a light on this dark episode of history and debunks a lot of the Soviet and their western communist supporters lies which continue to this day Moorhouse has already had this excellent piece of work attacked by various left wing historians For them the lie continues and while they espouse their trash it will continueAs Moorhouse notes in The Devil’s Alliance both Hitler and Stalin were form the same totalitarian feather and that even though they may have seemed different they were a lot closer in character of leadership than they would ever admit Behind the spin of the apologists Moorhouse notes that Nazi and Soviet regimes during the life of this pact worked closely and traded secrets and blueprints technology as well as raw materials One just has to point out the oil wells in Ukraine as an example As The Devil’s Alliance reminds us the pact facilitated the invasion of Poland and during the later stages of that invasion the Nazis were wondering when the Soviets would enter to split the Polish Army The Pact also has had a long lasting effect on the map of Europe as many of the borders there still remain for Poland the Baltic States Finland and large swathes of Eastern Central EuropeIt is right and correct that Roger Moorhouse shines a light in this long forgotten by many episode of history For those who do not know what really went on at that time really need to have a good read of Chapter 6 “Oiling the Wheels of War” which is an very illuminating chapter that in my case annoyed me at the closeness of the Alliance greasing those wheels of war While Britain and France were dealing with the phoney war things were uite different in the EastThe Devil’s Alliance is a well written well researched history that has been crying out to be revealed to those in the west and this book does that Roger Moorhouse has had access to some brilliant primary source material as well as an excellent bibliography This is a book for all those who are bored of all the rehashed stories of the period and introduces them to the forgotten pact and the tragedy that it brought to Eastern Europe who for many the war did not end until 1989Brilliant read buy it borrow it and tell people about this book as it deserves a wide audience Excellent one of the best books I've read this year Essential for anyone with an interest in WW2 and post WW2 history and politics Can't recommend highly enough A less than perfect study of the Ribbentrop Molotov pact The economical dimension is most interesting but discussed with less interest than the chronicle of mutually comitted mass atrocities These ride the tailcoats of Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and would benefit from a little Eastern European antropology as Christopher Browning and Daniel Goldhagen have done for German society The final chapter covering the first week of Operation Barbarossa feels padded making the book as a whole fall shortOn the other hand the interpretation of the pact's significance by Stalin Hitler Churchill and their peoples is well done throughout with attention to details like British plans for bombing the Ploesti oilfields making use of the recent The Bombing War Europe 1939 1945 and a lively use of eyewitness accounts for such occassions as Molotov's autumn 1940 visit to Berlin There is room for a collection of thematic chapters on this subject running to a few hundred pages I saw the author give a talk on the book which provided a great introduction to the Nazi Soviet pact non aggression treaty that lasted for 22 months from 23 AUG 1939 until Operation Barbarossa Germany's codename for the invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 JUN 1941 It is incredibly researched and detailed going over why and how it came about Stalin was really looking for Hitler to attack the capitalist west including England The Germans had a shortage of raw materials which Russia had a lot of Economics was the key Germany even provided hardware to the RussiansThen there was the invasion of Poland First by the Germans on 01 SEP 1939 and then the Russians on 17 SEP 1939 Poland was then shared with Germany owning the west and Russia the east Hitler and Stalin would never meetIf you have any interest in the Second World War then this book is for you History remembers the Soviets and the Nazis as bitter enemies whose conflict was the decisive clash of World War II Yet Hitler and Stalin signed a treaty of nonaggression that lasted for nearly a third of the war and that is key to understanding why the war evolved—and ended—the way it didIn The Devils’ Alliance Roger Moorhouse explains how the two powers—though ideologically opposed—forged a brutally efficient partnership exchanging raw materials and machinery and orchestrating the division of Poland and the Baltic States Hundreds of thousands caught between Hitler and Stalin were killed or deported But ironically by sharing materiel and technological expertise during the Pact the Nazis and Soviets made possible a far bloody and protracted war than would have been otherwise conceivableCombining comprehensive research with a gripping narrative The Devils’ Alliance is the authoritative history of the Nazi Soviet Pact—and a portrait of the people whose lives were irrevocably altered by the alliance A very detailed history on an important but underappreciated era during WWII Mr Moorhouse details the two years when the Nazi's and Soviets were allies in a way that makes the partnership come to life and gives a better picture of what was happening in Eastern Europe between 1939 and 1941 A superb piece of history Moorhouse takes an often overlooked subject and makes it accessible for the lay person and historian alike Full of engrossing details from the main participants and incredibly well researched Highly recommendFull review here Please give my review on a helpful vote Soviet Union and Communism have received an amazing pass with respect to their complicity in starting World War II In Rolf Hochhuth's bloated whale of a play ASIN0802142427 The Deputy Black cat book Hochhuth has a character condemn the Pope for not siding with Russia over Germany Hochhuth has his character Father Riccardo askRiccardo Permit me Your Eminence the moral right surely is on the Russian side without a doubt They are waging a just war They were attacked their country devastated their people carried off slaughtered If they are threatening Europe now the blame is only Hitler'sAs propaganda this is excellent; as history it is a nauseating oversimplification that misses the fact that the Nazi versus Communist war was a war between thieves robbers murderers and thugsThis excellent book by Roger Moorhous sheds rare light on the Stalin Hitler Pact aka the Ribbentrop Molotov Pact which reoriented the official positions of the two totalitarianisms which had involved mutual animosity into a mutually advantageous trading relationship The roll out of this changed position confused the populations of the two nations who had previously been trained into believing that the opposing ideology was the incarnation of evilThe advantage of the treaty was clear The treaty removed the threat at Germany's back so that it was free to go to war with the western powers of Britain and France particularly after the treaty had divided Poland up between the Nazi and Communist powers Germany struck first but Russia did not waste a lot of time before making sure that it took possession of its territorial claims in Poland Moorhous describes the extent of Communist Nazi cooperation in Poland with Germany handing over cities to the Russians according to their treaty obligation Moorhous also describes the nauseating similarity with which the conuerors administered their respective Polish territories Moorhous exactingly describes the atrocities committed by both powers on their conuered Polish peoplesThe Soviet Union used the treaty as an opportunity to absorb the Baltic states and Bessarabia into the Soviet Union It also launches a war against Finland for the same purpose which was initially repulsed with great losses to the Communists Ultimately the Soviet Union prevailed with men and better tactics The Soviet Union's real hope was that Germany and the western powers would find themselves in an interminable war like the prior war that it could exploitHitler dashed those hopes with his uick victory over France For its part Germany's need was for raw material for its industry It hoped to obtain those resources through trade deals with Russia Communists being Communists Russia stalled its negotiations and cheated on its obligations except when Stalin panicked about his need for German peace For its part it seems that Russia did very well in its dealings by obtaining trade secrets and models of advanced technology and in one case a partially constructed battleship in the Bismarck class In many ways this book makes a nice complement to Timothy Snyder's ASINB00B3M3VE6 Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin Snyder explains the logic of Hitler's move against Russia to wit the need to secure a continental supply of resources in order to sustain Germany against the blockade of resources that England could impose Moorhous points out the maddening way that Russia threatened Germany with its arbitrary actions concerning providing Germany with the resources it needed Could enthusiastic contract fulfillment by Russia have prevented Operation Barbarossa Probably not as Moorhous points out Hitler was having buyer's regret when he observed the Soviet Union extending its hegemony to the Baltic states and Bessarabia The incorporation of Romanian Bessarabia into the Soviet Union in particular was considered to be evidence of Stalin's duplicityThis book is a fascinating look at a little discussed but vastly important aspect of twentieth century history particularly an aspect that continued to play a role throughout the rest of the twentieth century I was slightly underwhelmed by this book to be honest It clocks in rather modestly at just over 300 pages of which 40 or so are devoted to a very brief precis of the early stages of Operation Barbarossa much of which really falls outside the scope of the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact Of interest is the lasting legacy of the pact particularly in the Baltic States but again this is dealt with rather perfunctorily in the epilogue The body of the book consists of an informative discussion of the economic collaboration between the USSR and Germany brought on by the pact and a somewhat laboured discussion of the socio political aspects of the treaty Much of this last felt somewhat redundant and overplayed; forty plus years on from the publication of Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago it is commonly accepted that Stalin's regime was every bit as brutal as Hitler's yet the author sets forward his argument as if it were somehow revelatory to reveal it as such However the debunking of the conventional Soviet propagated view of the pact as a purely defensive maneovre on Stalin's part is handled much deftly All in all the book is something of a mixed bag then though it is undoubtedly an important work in raising the profile of an aspect of Second World War history that has all too often been downplayed and glossed over The Nazi Soviet pact also known as the Ribbentrop Molotov pact after its architects is undoubtably one of History’s most notorious marriages of convenience Roger Moorhouse a historian specializing in German history throws new light on the 22 month lasting pact which had diabolical conseuences for the peoples of those Nations who were the subject of its secret protocols to divide Eastern Europe up into spheres of influence From the Baltic to the Black Sea millions of Poles Finns Slavs Jews Romanians and citizens of the Baltic countries were to endure war deportation ethnic cleansing and genocide as a conseuence of the nefarious plans agreed in Berlin and MoscowThe pact and its importance has been overlooked by history as it does not fit in with the victory narrative of the Allies in Russia WW2 is remembered as the ultimate triumph of Soviet Communism over Fascism and to remind Russians that they were once best buddies with the Fascist beasts is to sully the immense suffering and sacrifice of the Soviet people In the West the history of the Allied struggle emphasizes the comradeship of the alliance against Hitler; to euate Uncle Joe as an enemy as great as Hitler as he indeed once was rather spoils this mythThe truth is that Hitler and Stalin National Socialism and Soviet Communism were flip sides of the same Totalitarian coin making entire sense of the pact between the 2 seemingly strange bedfellows The underlying principles of their respective ideologies were to be discarded much as one rides a tram to where one wants to get off but no further Moorhouse’ examination of the motives for the ‘marriage’ are at the core of his work For Hitler whose pet virulent hate was the Judeo Bolshevism he saw as responsible for Germany’s humiliation at the end of World War 1 the motivation for holding his nose to deal with the Bolsheviks was to secure his back as he defeated the Western Allies and to render a British naval blockade ineffective For Stalin it was to buy time to modernize his forces and secure German technological transfer and economic benefits The conseuences for those caught in the crossfire were dire as the Soviets purged populations in their zone of influence for reasons of class ideology with the Nazis doing similar in their sphere based on race ideology Ultimately though it was not ideology that undid the pact but rather the Geopolitical and strategic strains on the relationship The previously convenient marriage had outlived its convenience as the spouses’ came to despise each other and it was the Germans who were ready to move first with the preemptive strikeAlthough Moorhouse’ work doesn’t open up new theories or present new evidence on the pact his is a comprehensive bringing to light of the origins of the pact how it was negotiated how it operated the responses to it from the Allies and It’s conseuences for Eastern Europe He also nicely sets the unraveling of the pact and the unleashing of Operation Barbarossa as the focal point which would lead to the colossal end game for the War the defeat of Nazism and everything that has since followed in European history


About the Author: Roger Moorhouse

Living the Dream Historian and author of an international bestseller Berlin at War was #1 in Lithuania as well as a couple of other books such as Killing Hitler and The Wolf's Lair I would call myself a specialist in Nazi Germany but I fear that would scare most people off so I'll just call myself a writer of history booksMy current book published in the UK in August 2014 is


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