Words like "definitive" or "monumental" often trip too lightly off the reviewer's tongue, but this study truly merits those accolades. Produced by the meticulous scholars of Germany's Research Institute for Military History, this is arguably the most interesting and controversial of the series, which will stretch to ten volumes when completed. The chapters by Jurgen Forster, and in particular his essay "Operation Barbarossa as a War of Conquest and Annihilation," document the ways in which the German army was not the ideologically neutral instrument of an evil regime (as traditionally claimed) but a willing accomplice. This volume also offers penetrating essays on strategic planning, coalition politics, and economic mobilization. An altogether extraordinary work, conducted in the best traditions of German historical analysis, and a tremendous credit to a Germany that is willing to consider its past unflinchingly.
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