THE NAZI WAR AGAINST SOVIET PARTISANS, 1941-1944 by Matthew Cooper

THE NAZI WAR AGAINST SOVIET PARTISANS, 1941-1944

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Based on research completed during the writing of The German Army 19331945, Cooper presents a sober assessment of the Russian partisan movement in the Second World War. In his view, the partisans, numbering some 250,000 at their peak, had little actual effect on the course of the war. The Russian groups were disorganized and poorly trained, often made up of peasants pressed into service though they were basically unsympathetic to the Communist regime; and until 1943 their efforts to disrupt German supply lines and communications met with little success. At the same time, notoriously, thousands of Russians greeted the German invaders as liberators; and by the autumn of 1942 there were ""some 48,000 Russians in the auxiliary police"" whose task was to aid the massive German security force in suppressing partisan resistance. Cooper's main point, in fact, is that the Germans could have profitably exploited these potential Russian allies and the general dissatisfaction among the Russian people, if it had not been for the fanatical racism of Germany's political leadership. Indeed, it was precisely Hitler's insistence on the annihilation of Slavs and Jews in Russia that stiffened the resolve of the Communist partisans: ironically, the increasingly violent repressive operations by the SS made pacification of the Russian territory impossible--and thus made the continued drain of German manpower and materiel to the Eastern front inevitable. In essence, Cooper concludes, German racial politics trapped the occupying army in a ""vicious circle."" Full of details about both the partisan groups and German operations against them (including several major Germany army orders), Cooper's book is a valuable addition to the literature on Russian WW II campaigns.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1979
Publisher: Stein & Day