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Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This well researched book is probably the best amplified history and documentation of the massive genocide occurring from 1933 through 1945. It contains the most complete description of the causes, perpetrators and victims of the some 14 million persons who died during this era of political mass murders and crimes against humanity.
I would recommend that Snyder’s book be required reading for all students in High School, coupled with the viewing of a few of the post WW2 actual concentration camp films. Society needs a constant reminder of the kind of human horror and devastation that can be brought upon any region of the world by any political system that has leaders who are not firmly bound by strongly enforced moral and ethical codes of society and governance.
The horrors of Stalin’s Communistic Socialism and Hitler’s Fascist regimes turned the entire section of Central/Eastern European countries, from the Black Sea to the Baltic, into a human fed butchery of massive proportions. Whether the crimes were perpetrated against Germans, Russians, Ukrainians, or Belarusians, or whether the innocent victims were Jewish or Christian, the monstrosity of the crimes committed can only be understood by reading a volume such as this.
Containing personal witness and survivor stories nestled alongside the detailed written plans of the perpetrators and facilitators of the horrors, author Timothy Snyder weaves a picture which, be warned, may give some readers nightmares.
Read the book slowly and thoughtfully. Digest the full broad picture of the spectrum of humanity that appears. It’s a picture that shows the naivety of the victims until it was too late to escape, the systematic cold blooded plotting of the masterminds from their comfy offices, the machine like efficiency of the killing squads and the feigned ignorance professed by the watching bystanders even during famines.
Snyder’s book firmly illustrates clearly what we already know but tend to suppress about our human political situations. That is, that any population of humans, under an amoral leadership, in a society that lacks strong checks on power; when given a falsely fabricated scapegoat, that society is capable of donning the cloak of mass murder for any number of fabricated justifiable reasons.
It is only by strong checks and balances in governments and constant vigilance and education of each generation about genocidal history that we can prevent such horrors from happening again.
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