Alexander Dallin, the son of the well-known Menshevik David Dallin, published this book in 1957. More than sixty years on, it is probably still the definitive text on the subject. The book is a master class on how to write history. It meets rigorous academic standards but remains readable -- in fact, it makes for compelling reading. Dallin is in complete command of his material in German, Russian and other languages. And the topic is a vast one, ranging from German policies towards to the Soviet collective farms to the last-minute attempt, in early 1945, to launch a pro-Nazi Russian army under the command of General Vlasov. At times the book reads like a series of "what-ifs," as the Germans bungle their way through the occupation of much of the Soviet Union. What started out in June 1941 as a brilliant military operation, in which the Germans captured vast swathes of Soviet territory, turned into a disaster for the Third Reich as they failed to exploit hostility toward the Stalin regime or the nationalism of non-Russian peoples. Supremely confident in their military victory, the Germans couldn't have cared less what happened to the people in their way, or those who fell under their rule. Fortunately for the Soviet peoples and the world, they were arrogant and stupid at the same time, never seizing opportunities that presented themselves, thus dooming their occupation to last three years rather than the promised thousand year Reich.
You read this one for the detailed narrative and discussion of policy in occupied USSR. Only attempt if you have a more than casual interest as it is a slog and the detail isn’t needed for the message. Reading of Nazi Germany’s barbaric and unsustainable plans for and execution of governance in the East, one concludes that they had no chance at ever winning enough hearts and minds to rule other than at the end of the barrel and bayonet. However bad it was, and it was the most savage campaign and occupation in the history of the world, it was actually significantly tempered by the Nazi’s lack of resources and limited opportunity to realize their policy directives.
A treasure-trove for serious study of crimes by either Hitler (obviously) or Stalin (for perspective). A carefully-documented scholarly work, it is also readable for the general public. Dallin relied mainly on German sources, because Soviet records were closed to most Westerners at that time. As "perestroika" revealed new details about Stalin's crimes, the question arose -- was Stalin as bad as Hitler, or perhaps even worse? Mr. Dallin shows why the (dis)honor belongs to Hitler. Among numerous Nazi crimes: the death by deliberate mistreatment and neglect of 3-4 million Soviet PoWs; the appointment of the vile Erich Koch as military governor of Ukraine; the massacre of Soviet Jews; the closing of all schools above the fourth grade (and even primary schools were closed in Koch's Ukraine); deportation of 2.7 million slave laborers to Germany; chronic malnutrition as all accessible food was shipped to Germany; institutionalized brutality, eg floggings. Other bad policies perhaps did not quite amount to crimes: the shut-down of Soviet industry, apart from railroads and a handful of mines directly needed by the German war-effort; the continuation of the oppressive collective farm system, made worse by rapacious German tax-collecting; continued suppression of religion, except at the local level. Defeat aborted Nazi schemes for massive ethnic cleansing and colonization. By the time Stalin's armies returned in 1943-44, the Soviet people (apart from some Balts and western Ukrainians who had never been Soviet in the first place) were ready to welcome them.
Unexpected pleasure from repeated descriptions of Alfred Rosenberg as a complete and utter failure at all of his attempts to actually govern a territory he was ostensibly a minister of, with not only Himmler, but even his nominal subordinates, Koch and Lohse, walking all over him.