Loyola at a Glance
English professor publishes book on World War II Eastern Front
May 21, 2010
Critically-acclaimed author and Loyola University New Orleans English professor John Mosier, Ph.D., has just published a new book, “Deathride,” detailing what is considered to be one of the murkiest sagas of modern warfare, the Eastern Front in World War II.
“Unparalleled in carnage, the Eastern Front was the largest and most important theatre in World War II,” said Mosier. “Even though some of the most critical battles of the war were fought here, our knowledge of the war in the east is spotty and fundamental misunderstandings abound.”
“Deathride”explores the myths about the Eastern Front and establishes a nuanced and provocative vision of a war that could have gone much differently. According to Mosier, most of the official version of the war came from Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin himself, whose chief victory was winning the propaganda battle.
“That serious historians have taken Soviet accounts on their face is amazing, given the Stalinist penchant for statistical invention,” said Mosier. “Roads that did not exist appeared on maps, production numbers were lies; even the exact population of the country was a product of the Politburo’s imagination. Those who presented evidence contrary to official figures were killed or sent to the gulags.”
German forces sliced through the Soviet troops not merely because of superior tactics, but because the army they faced was degraded and poorly led at all levels, Mosier said. He argues that the “Great Patriotic War,” as WWII was dubbed in the east, was not the grand victory officially mandated by the Kremlin. Instead, the Soviet Union barely triumphed through a combination of luck and fortuitous help from the Allies. Even in victory, it suffered mind-boggling carnage.
“Stalin’s prowess as a military leader was a fiction as well,” said Mosier. “His main strategy consisted of launching mindless offensive after offensive at the invading Germans, which eventually led to the slaughter of millions of soldiers.”
Mosier also makes a compelling case that the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was an inevitable consequence of the horrific losses suffered during the war with Germany. The war wreaked unimaginable havoc on the entire nation. Its industry was decimated, and the toll on the citizenry was incalculable.
“Although the U.S. would come to view the Soviet Union as an equal power, the truth was that there was far more smoke and mirrors than substance, as had been the case in World War II, said Mosier. “Its astonishing descent in 1991 was merely a revelation of that fundamental truth.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with Mosier, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 504-861-5882.
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