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The Battle of Moscow, 1941(La Bataille de Moscou, 1941)

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Original Language: French | 304 pp. | October 2012

Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Icelandic, and English (USA & Canada) Rights.

HISTORY

Presented by Alexander Werth – Translated by Evelyn Werth

The Battle of Moscow 1941 is a unique account of a key moment in the war on the Eastern front, when the Nazis seemed invincible.

The first of three War Notes by Alexander Werth from his time in the USSR, Moscow 41 describes the atmosphere in the Soviet capital during the terrible summer of 1941. A summer marked by the first months of Operation Barbarossa, the collapse of the Red Army and the Battle of Moscow.

BBC correspondent Alexander Werth arrived in Moscow on July 3rd 1941, just ten days after the German invasion. He had left Russia some 24 years earlier, a few weeks before the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917. Without being wedded to communist ideals, Werth soon realized to what extent, in the summer of 1941, Stalin’s USSR was the last rampart along with the United Kingdom in the fight against Nazi Germany whose Wehrmacht had swept all before them in its conquest of Europe.

Werth depicts the slightly unreal atmosphere that pervaded Moscow in the first months of the war. Muscovites, in the face of state propaganda, which lessened the defeats of the Red Army, were prey to the most fantastic rumors. But despite this and the threat of destruction, life carried on: theaters, concerts and restaurants were full and recreation continued.

In September 1941 after two months of waiting in the capital, Werth, at last, had the chance to go to the front, near Smolensk. His book ends with the German offensive on Moscow in October 1941 with Werth leaving as Wehrmacht troops close to within 30 kilometers of the city and it seems as if its fall is imminent.