Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands
Review by Jonathan Steele, in The Guardian, Feb. 19, 2015. Excerpt:
At last, a balanced assessment of the Ukrainian conflict – the problems go far beyond Vladimir Putin… Today, we have what Sakwa rightly calls a “fateful geographical paradox: that Nato exists to manage the risks created by its existence”...
Review by Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail (UK), Feb. 21, 2015. Excerpt:
I have said elsewhere that I would myself be happier if the book were more hostile to my position on this conflict. Sometimes I feel that it is almost too good to be true, to have my own conclusions confirmed so powerfully, and I would certainly like to see the book reviewed by a knowledgeable proponent of the NATO neo-conservative position. Why hasn’t it been?…
I have tended to see the *basic* dispute in Ukraine as being yet another outbreak of the old German push into the east, carried out under the new, nice flag of the EU, a liberal, federative empire in which the vassal states are tactfully allowed limited sovereignty as long as they don’t challenge the fundamental politico-economic dominance of Germany. I still think this is a strong element in the EU’s thrust in this direction. But I have tended to neglect another feature of the new Europe, also set out in Adam Tooze’s brilliant ‘The Deluge’ – the firm determination of the USA to mould Europe in its own image.
A summary of the book is written in an essay by Thomas Riggins in the London Progressive Journal, March 24 and April 4, 2015, here.
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated
Review by David Swanson: published in Dissident Voice, June 15, 2015
Ethnicity and Territory in the Former Soviet Union
Essays on the developments in former republics of the Soviet Union, including Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia, Moldova and states in central Asia. Including the excellent ‘The ‘New’ Ukraine: A State of Regions’ by Gwendolyn Sasse. Paperback sells online for $45 (used) to $55.
From the Routledge edition book cover:
The collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991 removed a decades-long system of successful control of potential ethnic and regional conflict . The result was the eruption of numerous conflicts over state-building, some of which degenerated into violence and some of which were resolved or prevented by strategies of accommodation. This volume explores the common trends and differences in the responses of the new post-Soviet states to the problems of state-building in ethnically and regionally divided societies, focusing on the impact of ethnic and regional conflicts on post-communist transition and institutional development. The book will be essential reading for specialists and students alike who are interested in conflict regulation and post-Soviet politics.
The Crimea Question: Identity, Transition and Conflict
By the publisher:
In the early to mid-1990s, the Western media, policymakers, and academics alike warned that Crimea was a potential center of unrest and instability in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s dissolution. However, large-scale conflict in Crimea did not materialize and Kyiv integrated the peninsula into the new Ukrainian polity. This book traces the imperial legacies, in particular identities and institutions of the Russian and Soviet period, and post-Soviet transition politics. Both frame Crimea’s potential for conflict and the dynamics of conflict prevention. As a critical case in which conflict did not erupt despite a structural predisposition to ethnic, regional, and even international enmity, the Crimea question is located in the larger context of conflict and conflict-prevention studies.
Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s
From the book cover:
In his book, Andrew Wilson examines the phenomenon of Ukrainian nationalism and its influence on the politics of independent Ukraine, arguing that historical, ethnic and linguistic factors limit the appeal of narrow ethno-nationalism, even to many ethnic Ukrainians. Nevertheless, ethno-nationalism has a strong emotive appeal to a minority, who may thus undermine Ukraine’s attempts to construct an open civic state.
NeoNazis & Euromaidan
From the book cover:
This book describes the development of Ukraine’s nationalist groups since 1991 until the present day. It focuses on the history of the parliamenty, right-wing radical Svoboda Party and the non-parliamentary Right Sector movement. The authors study the ideology, psychology and methods of political struggle of these structures. They seek to answer the question: how did the radical, neo-Nazi groups manage to become the key driving force behind the Ukrainian revolution?
Ukraine Crisis: What It Means For the West
By Andrew Wilson; Yale University Press, New Haven, CT and London; Nov. 2014, paperback 236 pp, ISBN 978 0 300 21159 7
Reviewed by Volodymyr Ishchenko in New Left Review, May-June 2015. Excerpt:
His latest book, the ill-titled Ukraine Crisis, constitutes a sharp break from this earlier work in direction, tone and genre. This may in part be the product of the author’s transformation from historian to foreign-policy agitator: Wilson is now a Senior Fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a lavishly funded think-tank modelled on its American homonym, which has grown since its birth in 2007 to become a large octopus in the EU aquarium…’
Readers should not expect to find in its pages a balanced assessment of contending arguments or a systematic analysis of the available sources, followed by well-grounded conclusions. For the most part, this is a one-sided, tendentious account of Ukraine’s Maidan protests of 2013–14, the Russian intervention and the civil war, heavily reliant on web-sourced information, anonymous interviews and hectic prose, pieced together to bolster a very specific political agenda. It is driven not by a desire to investigate what actually happened and why, but rather to rebut critics—from all sides—of a Western neoliberal line. The nature of Russian policy, the legitimacy of the Yanukovych government and the character of the Maidan protests are all grist to this mill.
Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist: Fascism, Genocide, and Cult
Excerpt from a 2015 book review:
The book by Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe comes to fill a huge gap in scholarship, as it is the first political biography of Stepan Bandera written in English. At the same time, it provides a detailed and fascinating history of the OUN and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), its relations to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, its conception of a Ukrainian State and of Ukrainian identity, and finally the myth that surrounded its leader and the OUN in exile after WWII and in post-Soviet western Ukraine.
The monograph, based on the extensive archival research in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada and the USA, offers a number of carefully documented revelations that strongly contradict the hagiographic literature produced during the Cold War by historians of Ukrainian diaspora, and later in independent Ukraine particularly during the Presidency of Viktor Yushchenko (2005–2010).
Writing this book required quite a bit of courage, as the author was several times threatened, not the least in 2012 during a series of lectures in Ukraine which were met with violent demonstrations of dozens of Svoboda far-right extremists, who protested against his labeling of Bandera as “fascist”.
Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe is a German-Polish historian in Berlin associated with the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute of the Free University of Berlin. A list of his published essays and books is published here on ‘Defending History’. Here is a March 2012 interview with him on his then-forthcoming biography of Stepan Bandera. The ten-page introduction and table of contents of the book is available online here on Academia.edu.
The Conundrum of Russian Capitalism: The Post-Soviet Economy in the World System
By the publisher:
The Conundrum of Russian Capitalism looks at the nature of Russian capitalism following the fall of the Soviet Union, showing how the system originated in the degenerated Soviet bureaucracy and the pressures of global capital. Ruslan Dzarasov provides a detailed analysis of Russian corporate governance, labour practices and investment strategies.
By comparing the practices of Russian companies to the typical models of corporate governance and investment behaviour of big firms in the West, Dzarasov sheds light on the relationship between the core and periphery of the capitalist world-system.
Ruslan Dzarasov is a senior research fellow at the Central Institute of Economics and Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has written for the academic journals Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe and the Cambridge Journal of Economics.
Putin in his own words: Russia’s president speaks his mind on international relations, politics, society, business and leadership
Does Russia Have A Future?
Review by James Carden, published on Russia Insider, Aug. 12, 2015:
Dr. Gilbert Doctorow, a Brussels-based commentator on European and Russia affairs and the European Coordinator for the newly established American Committee for East-West Accord, has written a timely, eloquent, and, what is more, thought-provoking corrective to the reigning neoconservative and neoliberal pieties that so distort and undermine understanding between the former Cold war rivals…
Managing Conflict in the Former Soviet Union: Russian and American Perspectives
Edited by Aleksei Georgievich Arbatov, published by MIT Press, 1997, 574 pp, ISBN 9780262510936. Contains an extensive chapter on the history of Crimea.
Contributors: Nadia Alexandrova-Arbatova, Alexei Arbatov, Vladimir Barsamov, Brian J. Boeck, Abram Chayes, Antonia Handler Chayes, Henry Hale, Michael Lysobey, Arthur G. Matirosyan, David Mendeloff, Laura Olson, Olga Osipova, Edward Ozhiganov, Tonya Putnam, George Raach, Brian D. Taylor, Alexander Yusupovsky
Ukraine and Russia: People, Politics, Propaganda and Perspectives
Edited by Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska and Richard Sakwa; E-International Relations Publishing, Bristol UK, 2015, 279 pp, ISBN 978-1-910814-00-0. Edited by Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska and Richard Sakwa.
Note by New Cold War.org editors: The two editors contribute an introduction and a conclusion, respectively. There are a total of 23 chapters and 25 contributors in the book. Most contributions are favourable to the argument of ‘Russian aggression’ against Ukraine as a major source of the political conflict and war in eastern Ukraine. The book is available for free download via a Creative Commons License here.
Geopolitical Economy After U.S. Hegemony, Globalization and Empire
From the publisher’s website: Geopolitical Economy radically reinterprets the historical evolution of the world order, as a multi-polar world emerges from the dust of the financial and economic crisis. Radhika Desai offers a radical critique of the theories of U.S. hegemony, globalisation and empire which dominate academic international political economy and international relations, revealing their ideological origins in successive failed U.S. attempts at world dominance through the dollar.
Desai revitalizes revolutionary intellectual traditions which combine class and national perspectives on ‘the relations of producing nations’. At a time of global upheavals and profound shifts in the distribution of world power, Geopolitical Economy forges a vivid and compelling account of the historical processes which are shaping the contemporary international order…
The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men
You can purchase the book here. Read an excerpt here. Listen to an interview on NPR Radio (Fresh Air) with author Eric Lichtblau (39 minutes) here: NPR Radio, Nov. 5, 2014. Also at that link is background information on the book and its subject matter. Author Eric Lichtblau is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. In 2006, he won a Pulitzer Prize with James Risen for their stories on the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance of American citizens.
Introduction by NPR to its interview with book author:
In the early ’70s, New York Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman received a confidential tip that American immigration authorities knew of dozens of former Nazis — some implicated in serious war crimes — who were living in the U.S. Holtzman looked into it and discovered that it was true, and that the formerly named Immigration and Naturalization Service wasn’t doing much about it. But that was just the tip of the iceberg, according to investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau.
In his new book, The Nazis Next Door, Lichtblau reports that thousands of Nazis managed to settle in the United States after World War II, often with the direct assistance of American intelligence officials who saw them as potential spies and informants in the Cold War against the Soviet Union.
Lichtblau says there were whole networks of spy groups around the world made up of Nazis — and they entered the U.S., one by one. “They had put in their service,” Lichtblau tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies. “This was their ‘reward’ … for their spy service … coming to the United States and being able to live out their lives basically with anonymity and no scrutiny.”
‘Most Americans knew little about the Nazis among them. And then in 1979, media reports and congressional interest finally spurred the creation of a Nazi-hunting unit with the Justice Department. That prompted the first wave of Nazi-hunting, Lichtblau says. “You had teams of lawyers and investigators and historians at the Justice Department who began … looking at hundreds and hundreds of names of suspected Nazis and Nazi collaborators who were living all around the country, in Queens, in Baltimore, in Florida and Chicago,” he says.
And, in some cases, the CIA had scrubbed the Nazis’ files, Lichtblau says. “They actively cleansed their records,” Lichtblau says. “They realized that guys who had been involved at senior levels of Nazi atrocities would not pass through immigration at the INS — and they basically removed a lot of the Nazi material from their files.”
Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U. S. Intelligence, and the Cold War
You can read and download a Pdf of the book here. Chapter five is titled, ‘Collaborators: Allied Intelligence and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists’.
From the preface:
In 1998, Congress passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act [P.L. 105-246] as part of a series of efforts to identify, declassify, and release federal records on the perpetration of Nazi war crimes and on Allied efforts to locate and punish war criminals. Under the direction of the National Archives the Interagency Working Group [IWG] opened to research over 8 million of pages of records – including recent 21 st century documentation. Of particular importance to this volume are many declassified intelligence records from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Army Intelligence Command, which were not fully processed and available at the time that the IWG issued its Final Report in 2007.
As a consequence, Congress [in HR 110-920] charged the National Archives in 2009 to prepare an additional historical volume as a companion piece to its 2005 volume U. S. Intelligence and the Nazis. Professors Richard Breitman and Norman J. W. Goda note in Hitler’s Shadow that these CIA & Army records produced new “evidence of war crimes and about wartime activities of war criminals; postwar documents on the search for war criminals; documents about the escape of war criminals; documents about the Allied protection or use of war criminals; and documents about the postwar activities of war criminals”.
This volume of essays points to the significant impact that flowed from Congress and the Executive Branch agencies in adopting a broader and fuller release of previously security classified war crimes documentation. Details about records processed by the IWG and released by the National Archives are more fully described on our website [email protected]
– William Cunliffe, Office of Records Services, National Archives and Records Administration
Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Ukraine Secret
Introduction to the interview by Paul H. Rosenberg:
As the Ukrainian crisis has unfolded over the past few weeks, it’s hard for Americans not to see Vladimir Putin as the big villain. But the history of the region is a history of competing villains vying against one another; and one school of villains—the Nazis—have a long history of engagement with the United States, mostly below the radar, but occasionally exposed, as they were by Russ Bellant in his book Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party (South End Press, 1991). Bellant’s exposure of émigré Nazi leaders from Germany’s World War II allies in the 1988 Bush presidential campaign was the driving force in the announced resignation of nine individuals, two of them from Ukraine, which is why he was the logical choice to illuminate the scattered mentions of Nazi and fascist elements among the Ukrainian nationalists, which somehow never seems to warrant further comment or explanation. Of course most Ukrainians aren’t Nazis or fascists—all the more reason to illuminate those who would hide their true natures in the shadows…or even behind the momentary glare of the spotlight.
Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law
By James Q. Whitman, Princeton University Press, 224 pp hardcover, ISBN 9780691172422. Publisher’s information here.
By the publisher:
Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. In Hitler’s American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Contrary to those who have insisted that there was no meaningful connection between American and German racial repression, Whitman demonstrates that the Nazis took a real, sustained, significant, and revealing interest in American race policies.
As Whitman shows, the Nuremberg Laws were crafted in an atmosphere of considerable attention to the precedents American race laws had to offer. German praise for American practices, already found in Hitler’s Mein Kampf, was continuous throughout the early 1930s, and the most radical Nazi lawyers were eager advocates of the use of American models. But while Jim Crow segregation was one aspect of American law that appealed to Nazi radicals, it was not the most consequential one. Rather, both American citizenship and antimiscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws—the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. Whitman looks at the ultimate, ugly irony that when Nazis rejected American practices, it was sometimes not because they found them too enlightened, but too harsh.
Indelibly linking American race laws to the shaping of Nazi policies in Germany, Hitler’s American Model upends understandings of America’s influence on racist practices in the wider world.
James Q. Whitman is the Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale Law School. His books include Harsh Justice, The Origins of Reasonable Doubt, and The Verdict of Battle. He lives in New York City.
None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948
First published in 1983 by Lester & Orpen Dennys, this book documents the history of the Canadian response to Jewish refugees from 1933, with the rise of the Nazi government in Germany, until 1948. The authors argue that while many nations were complicit in the Holocaust for their refusal to admit Jewish refugees during the Nazi era, the Canadian government did less than other Western countries to help Jewish refugees between 1933 and 1948. The most infamous example of Canada’s immigration policy was the refusal in June 1939 to admit passengers aboard the MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner carrying refugees. Only 5,000 Jewish refugees entered Canada from 1933 until 1945, which the book argues was the worst of any refugee receiving nation in the world.
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
If This Is a Woman: Inside Ravensbrück, Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women
Review by Yvonne Roberts, published in The Guardian, Jan. 18, 2015. Also, read an excerpt from the book as published in the Toronto Star, March 15, 2015, here.
David Stahel’s ‘Kiev 1941’ and ‘Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s Defeat in the East’
One of historian David Stahel’s monumental works is his history of the Battle of Kiev, in 1941. Kiev 1941 was published in January 2012. It is the history of one of World War Two’s largest battles, in which the German army captured Kiev and the surrounding region in four weeks of fighting.
The decisions of Joseph Stalin and the political and military chiefs assembled around him by the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 included a failure to undertake a strategic retreat from Kiev that could have saved several Soviet armies from destruction. This course was urged by key military leaders of the Soviet army. The losses incurred in the Battle of Kiev led to a shakeup in the military leadership of the Soviet armed forces. Further below is a synopsis of David Stahel’s book, Kiev 1941.
Stahel’s Kiev 1941 and the companion Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s defeat in the East (published in October 2009) are vital books for dispelling the myths of Germany’s military invincibility during WW2 and for affirming the political resiliency of the national defense undertaken by the Soviet army and people. Stahel argues that Germany’s defeat in the East was sealed by the autumn of 1941, well before the titanic Battle of Stalingrad from August 1942 to February 1943.
Stahel writes in Operation Barbarossa: “Operation Barbarossa’s much lauded success began as just another episode of Nazi propaganda, yet this has been given amazing longevity, and even a guise of historical truth… In spite of some severe early blows to the Red Army, the German army never really came close to their goal of conquering the Soviet Union.”
Stahel quotes a report by German General Hermann Hoth: “The Russian soldier fights not out of fear, rather for an idea. He does not want to return to the Tsarist time.” (p 246)
Stahel writes on the same page: “Given the ruthlessly despotic rule the Germans were bringing to the east and their genocidal practices, the worst fears of the Soviet people were soon confirmed, which greatly helped solidify their support for Stalin’s cause.”
Here is a synopsis of David Stahel’s Kiev 1941:
In just four weeks in the summer of 1941, the German Wehrmacht wrought unprecedented destruction on four Soviet armies, conquering central Ukraine and killing or capturing three quarters of a million men. This was the Battle of Kiev – one of the largest and most decisive battles of World War II and, for Hitler and Stalin, a battle of crucial importance. For the first time, David Stahel charts the battle’s dramatic course and aftermath, uncovering the irreplaceable losses suffered by Germany’s ‘panzer groups’ despite their battlefield gains, and the implications of these losses for the German war effort. He illuminates the inner workings of the German army as well as the experiences of ordinary soldiers, showing that with the Russian winter looming and Soviet resistance still unbroken, victory came at huge cost and confirmed the turning point in Germany’s war in the East.
David Stahel was born in New Zealand and is a lecturer in European history at the University of New South Wales in Canberra , Australia. You can watch a one-hour lecture by David Stahel about Operation Barbarossa–Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. The lecture was delivered on Feb. 3, 2014 and can be viewed here; it begins at the 25′ mark.
A related, important book on the subject of Germany’s invasion in 1941 is June 22, 1941: Soviet Historians and the German Invasion. The book consists largely of a manuscript published in the Soviet Union by Aleksandr Nekrich in 1965 that analyzed the military preparations and reactions of the leaders of the Soviet Union at the outbreak of the German invasion. The book was edited by Vladimir Petrov and published in English in 1968.
The Korean War
From a review in Kirkus:
… American conservatives regularly denounce Cumings for favoring North Korea, but he is widely honored in South Korea, whose researchers have turned up many of the long-suppressed atrocities he reveals.
Few conservatives will change their minds, but Cumings makes a convincing case that Korea, not Vietnam, was the first modern war America entered abysmally ignorant of what it was getting into.
Command And Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved–and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind…
Command And Control was made into a documentary film in 2016, co-produced by Eric Schlosser. Review here.