June 1941

My reading on the train to Philly was the forthcoming Lukacs book June 1941: Hitler and Stalin, out from Yale Univeristy Press later this month. It's an engaging little book, under 200 pages, arguing that Hitler's chief reason for invading the Soviet Union was to remove a potential ally for the British, while Stalin was happy enough with his alliance with Hitler and refused to believe that the Germans were coming for him even as they massed on the border and flew reconnaissance missions over western Russia. The book furthers the Lukacsian characterisically themes that Soviet Russia was conservative, even timid in its foreign policy and Germany was most considered with Britain. On the latter point, especially, there's grounds for debate, but Lukacs, as always, a provocative case — and does so in engaging, lucid prose. The book is well worth the attention not only of WWII buffs but casual readers as well.

Lukacs also makes the valuable point — again, characteristically Lukacsian — that Hitler always prided himself on being the world's paramount anticommunist. But the decision to invade Russia was about power, not ideology, he argues. (That power trumps ideology was also something Lukacs remarked upon in his Philadelphia talk, and is something else that many on the right need to learn, especially when they think they can increase the power of the state and use that power to pursue good. No — power has its own logic.)

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