Bloodlands Book Summary - Bloodlands Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Bloodlands summary

Timothy Snyder

Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

4.4 (141 ratings)
27 mins
Table of Contents

    Summary of 12 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 12

    Under Stalin's forced farm collectivization, millions of people starved to death.

    The year 1933 was a difficult one in the West, as people lost their jobs and suffered with poverty and hunger during the Great Depression. For some people in Eastern Europe, however, life was a series of crises, as government policies led to a disastrous famine and millions of deaths.

    This same year, the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, completed a five-year economic plan begun in 1928 to industrialize the mostly agrarian country. Part of this plan included the collectivization of farms.

    Collectivization policy stipulated that individual farmers must move from their small holdings to larger farms, to work the land together. Many farmers refused, so the government passed laws that gave collective farms legal advantages over smaller, private farms.

    Among other things, collective farms were granted the right to vote to take seed grain away from private farmers. Thus farmers were virtually forced to join collective farms to survive.

    The goal of collectivization was to make agriculture more efficient, but once farmers moved from their own holdings to larger collective farms, the incentives to work were less. Farm machinery at the collective farms were also outdated and faulty; what’s more, the winter of 1931 had been especially rough. Farmers weren't able to meet their quotas, and people were dying of hunger.

    But Stalin still demanded that the quotas set in his economic plan be met, refusing even by 1932 to accept that collectivization was a failure. He ordered farms that had missed quotas to hand over grain and livestock – leaving starving peasants with literally nothing to eat – to the state.

    Seed grain that farmers were saving for the following season was also seized, pushing an already precarious situation into a full-blown crisis. Particularly in the Ukraine, famine was widespread.

    By the end of 1933, an estimated 5.5 million people had died of hunger in the Soviet Union. Of those, 3.3 million alone died in Ukraine.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Bloodlands?

    Key ideas in Bloodlands

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Bloodlands about?

    In Bloodlands (2010), author Timothy Snyder tells the tragic story of the people caught in the crossfire between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II. The victims of the “bloodlands,” or territories that after the war became the Eastern Bloc, were pushed and pulled by two ruthless powers and treated like pawns both before the conflict and afterward.

    Who should read Bloodlands?

    • Historians with a particular interest in World War II
    • People interested in the modern history of Eastern Europe
    • Students of German or Russian history

    About the Author

    A professor at Yale University, Timothy Snyder specializes in European history and the Holocaust and has written several award-winning books, including The Reconstruction of Nations and The Red Prince.

    Categories with Bloodlands

    Books like Bloodlands

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial