by Sean McMeekin

A prize-winning historian reveals how Stalin—not Hitler—was the animating force of World War II in this major new history.

World War II endures in the popular imagination as a heroic struggle between good and evil, with villainous Hitler driving its events. But Hitler was not in power when the conflict erupted in Asia—and he was certainly dead before it ended. His armies did not fight in multiple theaters, his empire did not span the Eurasian continent, and he did not inherit any of the spoils of war. That central role belonged to Joseph Stalin. The Second World War was not Hitler’s war; it was Stalin’s war.

Drawing on ambitious new research in Soviet, European, and US archives, Stalin’s War revolutionizes our understanding of this global conflict by moving its epicenter to the east. Hitler’s genocidal ambition may have helped unleash Armageddon, but as McMeekin shows, the war which emerged in Europe in September 1939 was the one Stalin wanted, not Hitler. So, too, did the Pacific war of 1941–1945 fulfill Stalin’s goal of unleashing a devastating war of attrition between Japan and the “Anglo-Saxon” capitalist powers he viewed as his ultimate adversary.

Interview with the Author

Dan Snow’s History Hit
Stalin’s War
6/8/21          36 min

History Extra
Stalin: the real victor of WW2
4/9/21       56 min

Matt Lewis and the News
Sean McMeekin on Stalin’s War
4/23/21        34 min

Episode 27: Sean McMeekin’s New Take on World War II
5/21/21       34 min

Quillette Podcast
Sean McMeekin on ‘Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II’
4/18/21        44 min

New Books Network
Sean McMeekin, “Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II” (Basic Books, 2021)
6/23/21         76 min

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.