Alexander Werth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Alexander Werth (4 February 1901, St Petersburg – 5 March 1969, Paris) was a Russian-born, naturalized British writer, journalist, and war correspondent.


Werth's family fled to the United Kingdom in the wake of the Russian Revolution, he became a naturalised British citizen on 7 July 1930.[1]

Werth wrote about France in the prewar period and he also wrote about Russia in World War II, especially the Battle of Stalingrad and the Siege of Leningrad, he spoke and wrote both Russian and English fluently. His best-known work is Russia at War 1941 to 1945, (London, 1964) a behind-the-scenes look at life in the wartime Soviet Union; he spent the war there as the BBC's correspondent, and had unrivalled access due to the combination of his BBC press credentials and his ability to function as a native Russian speaker.

Majdanek concentration camp[edit]

Red Army soldiers examining the ovens at Majdanek, following the camp's liberation, summer 1944

Werth was among a group of journalists who visited Majdanek concentration and extermination camp after it had been discovered by the advancing Red Army, he filed a report on the atrocities that had been committed there, but the BBC initially refused to broadcast it, believing that it was too incredible to be true and suspecting a Soviet propaganda stunt.[2]

He was the Moscow correspondent for the Guardian newspaper from 1946 to 1949, he was one of the first outsiders to be allowed into Stalingrad after the battle. Other works include: France 1940-1955: the de Gaulle Revolution; Moscow 41; The Last Days of Paris: a Journalist's Diary; Leningrad; The Year of Stalingrad; and Musical Uproar in Moscow.

His son Nicolas Werth is a French historian (Directeur de recherche au CNRS) who specializes in the history of the Soviet Union.


  • The Countess Tolstoy's Later Diary 1891-1897. (authorised translation) London: Victor Gollancz, 1929
  • France in Ferment. London: Jerrolds, 1934.
  • The Destiny of France. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1937. Published in USA as Which Way France.
  • France And Munich Before And After The Surrender. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1939.
  • The Last Days of Paris: A Journalist's Diary. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1940.
  • Moscow '41. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1942. Published in USA as Moscow War Diary.
  • The Twilight of France, 1933 - 1940: A Journalist's Chronicle. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1942.
  • Leningrad. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1944.
  • The Year of Stalingrad: An Historical Record and a Study of Russian Mentality, Methods and Policies. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1946.
  • Musical Uproar in Moscow. London: Turnstile Press, 1949.
  • France, 1940-1955. London: Robert Hale, 1956.
  • The Strange History of Pierre Mendès France and the Great Conflict over French North Africa. London: Barrie Books, 1957. Published in USA as Lost Statesman: The Strange Story of Pierre Mendes-France.
  • America in Doubt. London: Robert Hale, 1959.
  • The DeGaulle Revolution. London: Robert Hale, 1960.
  • The Khrushchev Phase: The Soviet Union Enters the "Decisive" Sixties. London: Robert Hale, 1961. Published in USA as Russia Under Khrushchev.
  • Russia At War, 1941-1945. London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1964. (German edition: Russland im Krieg 1941-1945. München: Droemer Knaur 1965)
  • DeGaulle: A Political Biography. London: Simon & Schuster, 1965.
  • Russia: Hopes and Fears. London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1969.
  • Russia: The Post-War Years. London: Robert Hale, 1971.