From Berlin to Beijing

For most people living in Western democracies, the Second World War has always been “Hitler’s war,” a conflict between good and evil that ended with the destruction of one of the most murderous dictatorships in history. But this popular reading of the war is misleading, writes Sean McMeekin, a history professor at Bard College, in his provocative new book, Stalin’s War. McMeekin argues that the West’s obsession with Hitler has long obscured the central role played by the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin. The established narrative, moreover, conveniently downplays the enormous price paid by the Western Allies for entering into an alliance with the Soviet Union.

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