Hitler vs Stalin, The Eastern Front 1944-45, Warsaw to Berlin...


...more Images of War from Pen and Sword


Title: Hitler vs Stalin, The Eastern Front 1944-45, Warsaw to Berlin

Author: Nik Cornish

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 978-1-47386-259-3

The fourth and final part in a sub-series within the Images of War series of archive photo references from Nik Cornish under the broad heading of Hitler vs Stalin.  This one covering the final stages of the war on the Eastern front, from the liberation of Warsaw to  to the final capture of Berlin.  As Nik says in the Introduction, it is not intended to be a highly detailed account of everything that happened, you can find other books on specific aspects of the war on the Eastern Front.  What the set of four titles, all within the Images of War series does, is give a fine general account of what happened from the beginning to the end of the campaign and accompanies everything with a collection of archive photos to illustrate all the many aspects of the story.  There are over 150 pictures in this book, all with useful captions which hold more information, and most of which have not been published before.  They come from Russian archives and give a helpful coverage of the period.

The book covers the disintegration of the Axis alliance during the last year of the war.  The Finns pulled back from their links with the Reich and concluded a peace with Russia.  That released more Russian forces to be diverted south.  Russian armies moved into Poland, Romania and the Balkans, and liberated POWs were mostly forced to fight for the Russian army.  Some were captured again, maybe more than once.  Then Romania was freed from the Axis, Poland was liberated and Hungary came under pressure that their troops looked to change sides.  Their units needed to be supported by German units in order to be relied upon.  Despite some German successes, the Red Army maintained the pressure on Germany as they made their way to Berlin.

Following the Introduction, the book splits into 9 chapters.  Each one starts with a few pages of text which tells the background story to each one and then a selection of photos that illustrate what was happening.  The 9 chapters are House of Cards; Poland's Tragedy; the Isolation of Army Group North; The Balkans; Hungary; Fortress Budapest; the Red Danube; Press on Regardless; and appropriately, The End.

The photos have a useful selection of subject matter, from river gunboats, armoured trains, bridging operations, entrenchments, city fighting, uniforms and equipment plus a good selection of armour and artillery of both sides.  Historians and modellers should like this one for the references.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.