Stroud, 1st ed., 1992. Xiii + 272 pp., frontis., + photo-ills., + 7 maps, 13 tables + 1 chart. D.j., 22 x 16cm. FINE. The defeat of the Soviet Union would have assured German victory in World War II. Why then did Hitler make ‘the most important political military decision of the 20th century’, ordering his army south into the Ukraine instead of east towards the Soviet capital ? Contrary to accepted arguments, the author believes that in August 1941 the Germans were in a position to defeat the Red Army, capture Moscow and win the war in Europe. Rejecting the view that Hitler was driven by a Blitzkrieg mentality between 1939 and 1941, this radical new assessment presents Hitler as an ultra-conservative strategist, conducting circumscribed siege operations to improve the position of Germany during a lengthy encirclement. The author argues persuasively that this ‘siege mentality’ explains not only Hitler’s diversion into the resource-rich Ukraine, but also his apparent aberrations in connection with Dunkirk and his fixation on the seizure of Leningrad.