there is little new here. Linge collaborated in his own ‘memoirs’ in 1980, and Günsche was interviewed by Western researchers; both had been released from Soviet imprisonment in the mid 1950s. For novices to the Third Reich there are fuller, much more balanced, and less tendentious sources; this is true even for the ‘last days’ in the Bunker. The dossier is packaged well by its modern publishers. There are useful maps and photographs and a multiplicity of prefaces and postscripts. The introduction to the English-language edition by Richard Overy is cautious and authoritative. The explanatory material – two sets of notes – is full. Given the many name references in the text, however, the biographical section of the German edition should have been retained. Even at the time it was completed, in 1949, the dossier was of little practical relevance. Hitler was dead; Stalin would have been more interested in a profile of Harry Truman. The Soviet leader was probably not able or willing to spend much time on the dossier. It is significant that there are no marginal comments by him; had there been such marginalia the current publication would have been far more valuable (as well as confirming that Stalin bothered to read it). As it is, there is no satisfactory study of the
Heinz Linge and Otto Günsche
contemporary Soviet view of either Hitler or of the Nazi system as a whole. Stalin’s perception of Hitler can never be laid out with ‘provable’ accuracy, but speculation about it is possible and desirable. The Italian historian Silvio Pons has perhaps come closest to an understanding of the 1939 Stalin; the Soviet dictator – rather like A J P Taylor – at that time saw Hitler as a conventional German nationalist ‘statesman’. As for the later period, Stalin arguably had a perception of the Third Reich – and its policies – in which Hitler’s own position
was more fragile than in reality. For him Hitler was a figure like Louis Napoleon or Kerensky. Before the 1941 invasion Stalin assumed that there were conflicting currents in the German leadership – rivals in the Nazi Party, industrialists, military leaders. After the setback at Moscow in December 1941 Stalin hoped that the German military might assert themselves against Hitler. Stillborn attempts to use captured senior German Army officers in 1943-44 showed that illusions remained. We can only guess what Stalin thought from the hindsight of the postwar years. But the basis for an understanding of the Führer and his Third Reich – for Stalin or for us – would require something more weighty than The Hitler Book. To order this book at £16, see order form on page 78
Five winners will be selected from the correct crosswords received by noon on January 15th. Each will receive four of Faber and Faber’s bestselling books of 2005: Out of Fashionby Carol Ann Duffy, White Savageby Fintan O’Toole, Songs on Bronzeby Nigel Spivey and Private Passionsby Michael Berkeley. Please send your entry to Literary Review Crossword, 44 Lexington Street, London W1F OLW.
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ACROSS 1 Fuel reserves previously in layer beneath the surface (7) 5 Engagement, we hear, of our founding father (5) 8 A politician once, I made a plea (5) 9 A nude sculpted by poet (5) 10 Bishop taking part in row on Roman river (5) 14 Cancel film showing small circle (7) 16 Part of battery requiring oxygen for instrument (5) 17 Push, for example, horse backwards (5) 18 Novelist and poet is showy type (7) 22 Divide up every set of books (5) 25 Four-sided figure Greek character showed to doctor (5) 26 Inevitable setting for Argentine political leader (5) 27 Crow seen by skipper initially aboard vessel (5) 28 Stretch of river containing more than one vessel (7)
DOWN 1 Lines penned by first Anzacs (6) 2 Part of the wicket that may get you out? (4) 3 Leave out order on computing (4) 4 Thelma capable when redecorating Archbishop’s residence (7,6) 5 Clothing suitable for river (4) 6 Language of the French supporting ancient city (4) 7 Clue providing suspicion (4) 11 Move for pet bird I let out (5) 12 Entreat Kent to get out of tree (5) 13 Writer’s lack of inspiration, we hear, for alliance (4) 15 In France we find gumption (4) 19 Shrew captivating artist with martial art (6) 20 Plagiarise something used by exam cheat (4) 21 Two notes attached to item of furniture (4) 22 Give encouragement for what may be on slip? (4) 23 Casual worker is not late with stencil? (4) 24 Demeanour of one surround by males (4)