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Oxford University Press
20 September 2019
History; European history; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; Second World War; Political structures: totalitarianism & dictatorship
Stalin's Defectors is the first systematic study of the phenomenon of frontline surrender to the Germans in the Soviet Union's 'Great Patriotic War' against the Nazis in 1941-1945. No other Allied army in the Second World War had such a large share of defectors among its prisoners of war. Based on a broad range of sources, this volume investigates the extent, the context, the scenarios, the reasons, the aftermath, and the historiography of frontline defection.

It shows that the most widespread sentiments animating attempts to cross the frontline was a wish to survive this war. Disgruntlement with Stalin's 'socialism' was also prevalent among those who chose to give up and hand themselves over to the enemy. While politics thus played a prominent role in pushing people to commit treason, few desired to fight on the side of the enemy. Hence, while the phenomenon of frontline defection tells us much about the lack of popularity of Stalin's regime, it does not prove that the majority of the population was ready for resistance, let alone collaboration. Both sides of a long-standing debate between those who equate all Soviet captives with defectors, and those who attempt to downplay the phenomenon, then, over-stress their argument. Instead, more recent research on the moods of both the occupied and the unoccupied Soviet population shows that the majority understood its own interest in opposition to both Hitler's and Stalin's regime. The findings of Mark Edele in this study support such an interpretation.
By:   Mark Edele (Hansen Chair in History Hansen Chair in History University of Melbourne and Australian Research Council Future Fellow)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 213mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 12mm
Weight:   278g
ISBN:   9780198849438
ISBN 10:   0198849435
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   20 September 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Mark Edele is a historian of the Soviet Union and its successor states, in particular Russia. He is the inaugural Hansen Professor in History at The University of Melbourne, as well as a former Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2015-19). He grew up in southern Bavaria and was trained as a historian at the Universities of Erlangen, Tubingen, Moscow, and Chicago. He is the author of Soviet Veterans of the Second World War (2008), Stalinist Society (2011) The Soviet Union: A short History (2019) as well as many essays on various aspects of Soviet history and historiography published in academic journals based in Germany, the United States, Korea, Japan, Russia, and Australia. He is one of the editors of Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union (2017).

Reviews for Stalin's Defectors: How Red Army Soldiers became Hitler's Collaborators, 1941-1945

This book is essential reading for those interested in the motivation and morale of the Soviet soldier during the Second World War and for those in the profession who want to keep abreast of the current state of the debate on popular support for and opposition to Stalinism. * Roger Reese, American Historical Review * Edele's study will contribute to safeguarding the historical analysis of this topic against one-sided political-historical instrumentalisation. * Andreas Hilger, Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas * fascinating * Jonathan Steele, The Guardian * Probing a subject that for decades enraged politicians in Moscow and Berlin and fascinated historians from Britain to Australia, Mark Edele's Stalin's Defectors is a model of objectivity ... basing his meticulous investigation on vast Russian and German documentation and Western scholarship * Jonathan Mirsky, Times Higher Education * Stalin's Defectors is a remarkable book . . . Edele writes fluently and precisely, and is careful to not stretch his evidence too far. The book makes an important contribution to ongoing debates about the war on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1945, and deserves to read widely, by anybody interested in either side of this conflict. * R. Dale, Slavonic and East European Review a * sophisticated quantitative and qualitative analysis . . . highly readable, thought-provoking book that addresses key issues of both wartime defection and loyalty to the Stalinist regime. * Jonathan House, Russian Review * Edele's study will contribute to safeguarding the historical analysis of this topic against one-sided political-historical instrumentalisation. * Andreas Hilger, Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas * Edele uses all the right sources, poses smart questions about a difficult and understudied topic, and clearly presents answers that significantly advance our understanding. For all these reasons, this excellent book must be highly recommended. * Karel C. Berkhoff, Slavic Review *

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