On the siege of Leningrad

leningrad anna reidMy guest in this podcast is Anna Reid, a historian of Russia and author of Leningrad: Tragedy of a City under Siege 1941-4, the first book in English to be devoted to the siege since 1969.

The siege by the German army lasted 900 days and led to the deaths of three quarters of a million people. The city was cut off, encircled by a siege ring in September 1941 as the Wehrmacht inflicted on Leningraders one of the oldest and most appalling forms of warfare that aimed to bombard and starve them into submission or death.

A directive from German High Command in September 1941 was unambiguous: “The city of Leningrad is to be sealed off, the ring being drawn as tightly as possible so as to spare our forces unnecessary effort. Surrender terms will not be offered.”

Anna’s book reveals great acts of heroism and self-sacrifice alongside ones of hideous brutality and cruelty. It also emphasizes the stubborn human will to survive. To listen to the podcast, click here.

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