The Dic­ta­tors: Hitler’s Ger­many, Stal­in’s Russia

Richard Overy
  • Review
By – September 28, 2012
This pow­er­ful and impor­tant book is the sec­ond com­par­a­tive study of Hitler and Stal­in: the pre­vi­ous one was Alan Bullock’s mag­is­te­r­i­al dual biog­ra­phy, which dates to 1991. Unlike Bul­lock, Overy doesn’t dwell on the indi­vid­ual lives of his sub­jects. Instead he pro­vides a detailed and nuanced com­par­a­tive his­to­ry of the struc­tures and regimes these two noto­ri­ous dic­ta­tors cre­at­ed. Chap­ters are orga­nized the­mat­i­cal­ly and deal with such issues as the seizure of pow­er, the cre­ation of a cult of per­son­al­i­ty, the use of ter­ror, and the treat­ment of nation­al or racial minori­ties in both states. This lat­ter chap­ter includes the most exten­sive com­par­a­tive dis­cus­sion of the treat­ment of Jews in Nazi Ger­many and Stal­in­ist Rus­sia I have ever read. This chap­ter alone is worth the price of the book. Bib­lio.; illus.; index; notes.
Abra­ham J. Edel­heit is an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of his­to­ry at Kings­bor­ough Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege (CUNY) and the author, co-author, or edi­tor of eleven books on the Holo­caust, Zion­ism, Jew­ish and Euro­pean his­to­ry, and Mil­i­tary affairs. His most recent pub­li­ca­tion appeared in Armor mag­a­zine, the offi­cial jour­nal of the US Army Armor and Cav­al­ry Command.

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