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4.0 out of 5 stars Fine study of the Nazis' genocidal rule in Ukraine during WWII, 8 Jan 2013
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nazi Empire-building and the Holocaust in Ukraine (Paperback)
This is a vivid account of the appalling Nazi occupation of Europe's eastern lands. Lower focuses on the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine. She examines how "Nazi-style militarism, colonialism, and genocidal population policies came together in one particular place and how the indigenous population there coped and, in inconceivably large numbers, tragically died under German rule." The Nazis killed 4.1 million Ukrainian civilians and destroyed more than 700 cities and 28,000 villages.

The Nazis used the worst colonial practices - forced population movements, slave labour, violence, racism, and mass murder - in Eastern Europe. As she remarks, "In carrying out their war of extermination in the East, Nazi leaders effectively marshalled a deep-seated German contempt for the `inferior' peoples of the East."

Lower points out that "During the Cold War, German scholars, politicians and Russian-German émigrés in America lobbied on behalf of the ethnic Germans who suffered under the Soviets, while they ignored the significant role the Volksdeutsche played as collaborators in the `Final Solution' and other Nazi occupation policies in the East." Lower details the Ukrainian nationalist organisation's `collaboration with the Nazis and perpetration of atrocities against Poles and Jews'.

In his book on the Ukraine, Harvest of Sorrow, the Foreign Office propagandist (and Thatcher speech-writer) Robert Conquest had devoted just one sentence to this genocidal Nazi occupation, calling it `a period between two waves of Red Terror'.

By contrast, Lower concludes, "what the Nazis attempted to achieve in the region and how they implemented their imperialistic, criminal policies represented a dramatically different episode in Ukraine's history, unlike the Stalinist campaigns of the 1930s and the subsequent, relatively relaxed Soviet policies of the postwar period. The Germans introduced familiar colonial forms of rule as well as initiating revolutionary racial programs that were genocidal. The first step, as the Nazis saw it, in fulfilling their utopian plans for the East was the destruction of the Jews."

She sums up, "In Ukraine's history of man-made disasters, mostly imposed from the outside, the Nazi occupation stands out as the worst episode."
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Nazi Empire-building and the Holocaust in Ukraine
Nazi Empire-building and the Holocaust in Ukraine by Wendy Lower (Paperback - 15 Oct 2007)
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