Magazine June 14, 2021, Issue

The War Stalin Wanted

From the cover of Stalin’s War (Basic Books)
Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II, by Sean McMeekin (Basic Books, 864 pp., $40)

This book makes the case that Adolf Hitler was within a whisker of winning the Second World War and failed to do so only because President Roosevelt came to the rescue of Joseph Stalin, Hitler’s nemesis. Roosevelt and his adviser, the enigmatic Harry Hopkins, set up in 1941 the Lend-Lease Administration, whose purpose was to provide the Soviets with whatever they asked for to pursue the war. The United States was still neutral at the time, and Lend-Lease may well have provoked Hitler’s foolish decision to declare war against it. Hitler had intended to incorporate Eastern and Central Europe into

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