Book Review: Albert Seaton – The Russo-German War 1941-1945 (1971)

I can always tell how a historical narrative will unfold when an author refers to Joseph Stalin as a ‘Dictator’ (he was ‘voted’ into his post of General Secretary on numerous occasions) – whilst simultaneously omitting the fact that both the United States and UK ‘suspended’ democracy with the outbreak of WWII – and that as a consequence, Churchill and Roosevelt both assumed ‘Dictatorial’ powers for the duration of hostilities. Whereas Stalin was still answerable to the people (and could be removed at any time) – Churchill and Roosevelt were ‘immune’ from any and all democratic processes. The Soviet system of centralised democracy (a term Seaton does not mention once) did not allow for anyone to possess so-called ‘Dictatorial’ powers – as inconvenient as this must seem to all those who allow their hate to colour their interpretation of history. There is no mention that Poland was a fascist State and ally of Nazi Germany throughout the 1930s – or that Polish troops invaded Czechoslovakia alongside Nazi German troops in 1938! Yes – Britain went to the military aid of a vicious fascist (Polish) State in 1939 – a State which ironically has re-embraced neo-Nazism today. Modern Poland now attempts to re-write history and views the Nazi Germany’s betrayal and invasion (in 1939) as a ‘liberation’ and ‘protection’ from the threat of the Soviet Union! Albert Seaton thinks exactly the same way in essence – and this is why he accepts the post-1945 anti-intellectual and ahistorical US assertion that there was no difference between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. This absurdity in logic leaves one asking why the USSR would be prepared to lose 27-40 million casualties fighting a regime with the same ideological outlook? As a former soldier, Seaton should know better than to do this, particularly as the Soviet Red Army losses allowed the Western Forces to confront a much weaken German military on D-Day! Despite the USSR suffering the death and destruction meted-out by the Hitlerites – Seaton compares the NKVD to the Waffen-SS – again, whilst ignoring the fight against fascism the NKVD troops put-up behind the lines. From 1945-1947 – the NKVD troops fought a brutal neo-Nazi insurgency led by non-surrendered Nazi German Officers leading (Catholic) volunteers in the Ukraine! Many of these insurgents had received arms and ammunition from the US and UK! Alexander Werth mentions this in his work on the subject – but Seaton leaves this out. Seaton’s work is overly-bias but is packed full of interesting and useful data and information – providing the reader keeps an impartial perspective. On occasion he ‘balances’ his argument only to imbalance it yet again a few pages on. Perhaps the most laughable ‘sleight of hand’ committed by Albert Seaton is that he attempts to make Winston Churchill seem like a humanitarian! This book demonstrates that obvious Cold War narratives are now out of date and that a ‘new’ and more realistic interpretation is required.  

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