Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Five best books: secret meetings of the Second World War

Laurence Rees is the author of World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books on fateful secret meetings of the Second World War.

One book on the list:
Katyn and the Soviet Massacre of 1940
by George Sanford

This is my favorite of all the books on Katyn because it eschews outrage—it is easy to be outraged by the Katyn massacre—and concentrates instead on the details of how and why this horror happened. George Sanford synthesizes recent discoveries by Russian scholars that are not available in English and, in the process, reveals how out of character this particular kind of mass murder was for Stalin. "Normal" Soviet practice was to deport unwanted people en masse to camps in Siberia or other far-off Soviet republics, but at a meeting with his military advisers in March 1940, Stalin resolved that thousands of the Polish elite should be killed at once. Why? Was he perhaps inspired by the knowledge of the murderous atrocities being committed by the Nazis in their section of Poland?
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue