In the spring of 1941, having abandoned his plans to invade Great Britain, Hitler turned the might of his military forces on to Stalin's Soviet Russia. The German army quickly advanced far into Russian territory as the Soviet forces suffered defeat after defeat. With brutality and savagery displayed on both sides, the Eastern front was a campaign in which no quarter was given. Although Hitler's decision to launch 'Barbarossa' was one of the crucial turning points of the war, at first the early successes of the German army pointed to the continuing triumph of the Nazi state. As time wore on, however, the Eastern front became a byword for death for the Germans.
In War without Garlands, Robert Kershaw examines the campaign largely through the eyes of the German forces who were sent to fight and die for Hitler's grandiose plans. He draws on German war diaries, post-combat reports and secret SS files. This original material, much of which has never before been published in English, sheds new light on operation 'Barbarossa', including the extent to which the German soldiers were genuinely surprised at the decision to attack Russia, given the well-publicised non-aggression pact. ‘Barbarossa’ was a brutal, ideologically driven campaign which decided the outcome of World War II. This seminal account will be required reading for all historians of World War II and all those interested in the course of the war.