Alex J. Kay is Senior Lecturer at the University of Potsdam and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. From 2014 to 2016, he was Senior Academic Project Coordinator at the Institute of Contemporary History Munich–Berlin (IfZ). Dr Kay is the author of The Making of an SS Killer (2016, German ed. 2017) and Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder (2006) and contributing co-editor of Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe (2018) and Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941 (2012).
David Stahel is Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. His publications include Retreat from Moscow (2019), Joining Hitler’s Crusade (2018, as editor), The Battle for Moscow (2015), Operation Typhoon (2013), Kiev 1941 (2012), Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s Defeat in the East (2009) and, as contributing co-editor, Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe (2018) and Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941 (2012).
Of the up to eighteen million men who served in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War, ten million were deployed at one time or another between 1941 and 1944 in the conflict against the Soviet Union, a theatre of widespread and sustained mass violence. In order to determine how extensive complicity in Nazi crimes was among the mass of the regular German soldiers, it is necessary first of all to define what constitutes a criminal undertaking. The sheer brutality of the German conduct of war and occupation in the Soviet Union has overshadowed many activities that would otherwise be rightly held up as criminal acts.