1941 The year Germany lost the war

Andrew Nagorski

Book - 2019

By the end of 1941, Hitler had repeatedly gambled on escalation and lost: by invading the Soviet Union and committing a series of disastrous military blunders; by making mass murder and terror his weapons of choice, and by rushing to declare war on the United States after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Britain emerged with two powerful new allies--Russia and the United States. By then, Germany was doomed to defeat. 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War is a stunning examination of unbridled... megalomania versus determined leadership. It also reveals how 1941 set the Holocaust in motion, and presaged the postwar division of Europe, triggering the Cold War. 1941 was a year that forever defined our world. -- adapted from publisher's web site.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Simon & Schuster 2019.
Edition
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xiv, 381 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [311]-323) and index.
ISBN
9781501181115
1501181114
9781501181139
1501181130
Main Author
Andrew Nagorski (author)
  • Mad logic
  • Two prima donnas
  • Wholly misguided
  • Our Plymouth brethren
  • What shall we do?
  • Step on it!
  • Simultaneous wars
  • The kindly Italian gardener
  • We will break them soon
  • No more tricks left
  • The fifth act.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Nagorski, a longtime Newsweek correspondent and editor, offers a thoughtful analysis of a critical year in WWII, 1941, in which Germany went from the euphoria of triumph to catastrophic near-defeat. It was a year of dreadfully bad decisions: the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa); the decision, after Pearl Harbor, to declare war on the U.S., which took America from an ostensible position of neutrality in Europe into alliance with Great Britain and Russia; the use of terrorism as an element of war; and the instigation of the Holocaust. All could have been anticipated, Nagorski asserts, by having read Hitler's Mein Kampf. Nagorski brings keen psychological insights into the world leaders involved (particularly Hitler and Stalin) and a striking awareness of Eastern European affairs. He points out convincingly that Stalin, as well as Hitler, harbored dangerous and self-destructive illusions, and he exposes both leaders' personal and tactical failings. He sometimes loses sight of his central thesis—a not-uncommon phenomenon when authors saddle themselves with overweening premises—but, nevertheless, this is solid history. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Journalist Andrew Nagorski has written a highly readable book that makes a strong case for 1941 being the most decisive year of World War II. As he notes, it was in June of that year that Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, an epic campaign to invade the Soviet Union and seize Moscow, though it ultimately failed by year's end. It was also during 1941 that an Anglo-American partnership took shape, which, aided by their courting of Stalin, assured the Nazis' eventual defeat, though it also rendered inevitable the Soviet Union's postwar domination of Eastern Europe. Examining the year's developments through the eyes of statesmen, diplomats, generals, and journalists, Nagorski offers an engaging narrative but few genuine revelations and only occasional insights into the experiences of ordinary people (reduced here to numbers of victims) or of peripheral nations (like Hungary, Romania, or the Baltic states) at the peak of Hitler's "New Order." While Nagorski's top-down approach allows readers to experience the conflict from the point of view of important individuals such as Churchill, Zhukov, Hitler, and Harriman, the awkward citation system favored by the book's publisher may leave the reader confused about sources. Summing Up: Optional. All readership levels.--K. C. O'Connor, Gonzaga UniversityKevin C. O'ConnorGonzaga University Kevin C. O'Connor Choice Reviews 57:03 November 2019 Copyright 2019 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In January 1941, Adolf Hitler's war machine seemed unstoppable. Yet by the end of the year, Germany was fighting a multi-front war against the Grand Alliance of the United States, the UK, and the Soviet Union. Germany's army was stalled outside of Moscow, engaged in a desperate fight in North Africa, and stretched thin in the Balkans. As historian Nagorski (The Nazi Hunters) adroitly notes, the creation of the Grand Alliance and the defeat of the Third Reich were not inevitable. While much of the narrative here focuses on the actions of Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill, Nagorski also introduces numerous secondary characters. Some, such as Charles Lindbergh, did all they could to prevent the alliance, while others, such as Ambassador John Winant, crafted the agreements that would ultimately help to win the war. VERDICT Nagorski's latest fits into recent scholarship that sees World War II as an influential turning point in history, beyond its significant battles, altering the course of the three nations involved in the Grand Alliance. While his thesis is not revolutionary, his study is well researched and will be of interest to a wide audience.—Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In this successful history, journalist Nagorski isolates 1941 as a turning point in world history, persuasively arguing it was the year Adolf Hitler's political and military decisions ensured the downfall of the Third Reich. A year that began with the Soviet Union and Germany carving up occupied Poland, while British prime minister Winston Churchill tried to inveigle the United States to enter the war, ended with Russia, Britain, and the U.S. allied against Germany. As Nagorski recounts, 1941 was the year of "Germany's attack on the whole world." Hitler's uneasy nonaggression pact with rival tyrant Josef Stalin came apart with the June 22 German invasion of the Soviet Union. Stalin ignored warnings of the attack from his generals, well-placed spies, and U.S. diplomats, nearly allowing Hitler's prediction that a "swift victory over Russia was all but inevitable" to come true. Hitler, meanwhile, erred in committing to support Japan if it came to war with the U.S.; the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor cemented a tripartite alliance that destroyed the Axis powers. Nagorksi's strength is in piecing together political, diplomatic, and military narratives to create a cohesive whole. He's a clear and lucid writer whose account of this pivotal year will please history buffs. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (June) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"By 1941, Nazi armies were ruling Europe, bombing London, and sinking British and American ships. The U.S. was undeclared and Britain was alone. But Nagorski shows that Hitler's grave miscalculations had already assigned Germany to ruin. By the end of that year Hitler had taken almost every wrong decision possible and though the fighting went on until 1945, Germany was already vanquished. As Nagorski demonstrated in The Greatest Battle, the Germans lost their first major battle in 1940 because Hitler meddled with and overruled his generals. Throughout 1941, Hitler continued to indulge his ego and make disastrous decisions. By invading the USSR he brought the Soviets to the Eastern Front. By declaring war on the U.S. he added the power of the U.S. to the Western Front. England was no longer alone. The Americans launched their attacks from its shores. The German's brutal treatment of the Russian and Polish POWs and citizens energized their will to fight back. The Year that Germany Lost the War is a stunning portrait of leadership. Churchill elegantly holding a battered Britain together; FDR biding his time until American forces can come aide the allies; Stalin fighting brutally, but enslaving Eastern Europe and planning a Cold War. And Hitler dragging his nation to physical and moral ruin before he took his life in ignominy."--Provided by publisher.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Bestselling historian Andrew Nagorski takes a fresh look at the decisive year 1941, when Hitler's miscalculations and policy of terror propelled Churchill, FDR, and Stalin into a powerful new alliance that defeated Nazi Germany. In early 1941, Hitler's armies ruled most of Europe. Churchill's Britain was an isolated holdout against the Nazi tide, but German bombers were attacking its cities and German U-boats were attacking its ships. Stalin was observing the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and Roosevelt was vowing to keep the United States out of the war. Hitler was confident that his aim of total victory was within reach. \By the end of 1941, all that changed. Hitler had repeatedly gambled on escalation and lost: by invading the Soviet Union and committing a series of disastrous military blunders; by making mass murder and terror his weapons of choice, and by rushing to declare war on the United States after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Britain emerged with two powerful new allies'Russia and the United States. By then, Germany was doomed to defeat. Nagorski illuminates the actions of the major characters of this pivotal year as never before. 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War is a stunning examination of unbridled megalomania versus determined leadership. It also reveals how 1941 set the Holocaust in motion, and presaged the postwar division of Europe, triggering the Cold War. 1941 was a year that forever defined our world.