Review – The Devils’ Alliance: Hitler’s Pact with Stalin, by Roger Moorhouse

This is how history should be written. Roger Moorhouse has taken a subject rarely covered in detail despite its obvious importance and done a very thorough job of it. He begins the book by pointing out how little has actually been published about the notorious Hitler-Stalin pact signed on 23 August 1939 — even though it arguably was the trigger for the start of the Second World War. Moorhouse thoroughly demolishes the Soviet defence of its actions, which is still accepted by some; namely that by signing a “non-aggression” pact with Germany Stalin was buying time for the Soviets to improve their defences. (That didn’t work out very well, as we now know.) My only gripe with the book is that while it covers very well the impact of the pact on the British Communist Party, which was forced to make a complete change of line twice in two years, it neglects the contortions which all Communist Parties had to make, particularly in countries that were occupied by the Germans. That’s a chapter from history that still needs to be written.