As the final month of fighting in Europe in 1945 dawned the Allies embarked upon a series of mopping up operations, destroying the last centres of German resistance as the essentially defeated Wehrmacht fought on in increasingly desperate conditions, driven on by the explicit no surrender order issued by Hitler. Yet at the same time, the Allied alliance was already on shaky ground, as German resistance was crushed the Allies began to eye each other nervously across a battletorn Europe, with the politically driven military decisions to have a huge impact on the future of the continent. This book traces the final operations of the war, from the liberation of Denmark, the Allied drive towards the Baltic straits, incursions in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and engagements in Eastern and Western Germany, whilst also analyzing how the Allied strategies in the final days of the war were a hint of the future difficulties that would drive the Cold War.
THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER 'RECOUNTS, IN HARROWING DETAIL AND WITH FORMIDABLE SKILL, THE BRUTAL DEATH-THROES OF HITLER'S REICH AT THE HANDS OF THE RAMPAGING RED ARMY' Boyd Tonkin, Independent 'Makes us feel the chaos and the fear as if every drop of blood was our own . . . compellingly readable, deeply researched, and beautifully written' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Spectator 'An irresistibly compelling narrative, of events so terrible that they still have the power to provoke wonder and awe' Adam Sisman, Observer 'A masterpiece' Michael Burleigh, Guardian 'Brilliant. Combines a soldier's understanding of war's realities with a novelist's eye for detail' Orlando Figes, Sunday Times 'Startling, chilling, compelling. Beevor's writing burns like a torch at night in a landscape of ruins' LiteraryReview 'Powerful, diligently researched and beautifully written . . . even better than Stalingrad' Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Reich in January 1945. Political instructors rammed home the message of Wehrmacht and SS brutality. The result was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known, with tanks crushing refugee columns under their tracks, mass rape, pillage and destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred because Nazi Party chiefs, refusing to face defeat, had forbidden the evacuation of civilians. Over seven million fled westwards from the terror of the Red Army. Antony Beevor reconstructs the experiences of those millions caught up in the nightmare of the Third Reich's final collapse, telling a terrible story of pride, stupidity, fanatacism, revenge and savagery, but also one of astonishing endurance, self-sacrifice and survival against all odds.
"A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Third Reich in January 1945. Frenzied by their terrible experiences with Wehrmacht and SS brutality, they wreaked havoc—tanks crushing refugee columns, mass rape, pillage, and unimaginable destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred; more than seven million fled westward from the fury of the Red Army. It was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known. Antony Beevor, renowned author of D-Day and The Battle of Arnhem, has reconstructed the experiences of those millions caught up in the nightmare of the Third Reich's final collapse. The Fall of Berlin is a terrible story of pride, stupidity, fanaticism, revenge, and savagery, yet it is also one of astonishing endurance, self-sacrifice, and survival against all odds.
This highly detailed, absorbing battlefield guide is the ideal companion for anyone considering visiting the site of Hitler's `Gotterdammerung' in April-May 1945. Using his in depth knowledge as a historian and battlefield guide, David McCormack vividly describes the apocalyptic struggle played out amongst the ruins of a once great city. The author's intimate knowledge of the ground ensures that the Wagnerian climax of the Third Reich is presented in a series of dramatic tableaux which capture the regime's final convulsive death throes. Prepare for a fascinating journey across the Berlin battlefield as it is today. The Berlin 1945 Battlefield Guide: Part Two-The Battle of Berlin-is the essential guide to understanding both Hitler's downfall in Berlin and Stalin's greatest triumph.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The magnificent conclusion to Rick Atkinson's acclaimed Liberation Trilogy about the Allied triumph in Europe during World War II It is the twentieth century's unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted how the American-led coalition fought through North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now, in The Guns at Last Light, he tells the most dramatic story of all—the titanic battle for Western Europe. D-Day marked the commencement of the final campaign of the European war, and Atkinson's riveting account of that bold gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Operation Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich—all these historic events and more come alive with a wealth of new material and a mesmerizing cast of characters. Atkinson tells the tale from the perspective of participants at every level, from presidents and generals to war-weary lieutenants and terrified teenage riflemen. When Germany at last surrenders, we understand anew both the devastating cost of this global conflagration and the enormous effort required to win the Allied victory. With the stirring final volume of this monumental trilogy, Atkinson's accomplishment is manifest. He has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that unshackled a continent and preserved freedom in the West. One of The Washington Post's Top 10 Books of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013
A meticulously researched and highly detailed history and location guideInsights into the human face of warPeriod and contemporary photographs bring the history of the battlefield to lifeAn essential guide crammed with useful information and facts for explorers of the Oderfront This guide is specifically tailored towards travellers making the leap from escorted tours to independent battlefield exploration. Along with essential tour information, there are useful tips, hints and suggestions aimed towards making your battlefield journey as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. While some tour professionals and guide authors still favour traditional ‘stands’, author David McCormack has used his own experience of leading tour groups to produce a more accessible guide based around ‘viewpoints’. Therefore, what you have is straight-forward, easy to use guide, and uncluttered by unnecessary maps, diagrams and tables. Each ‘viewpoint’ has easy to follow directions, along with tried and tested satellite navigation instructions to take you direct to the scene of the action. This easy to use guide will prove to be your indispensable tour companion as you begin your exploration of the Oder-Neisse battlefields. Includes an accessible layout and easy to follow tour instructions; circular tours designed for novice battlefield explorers; tried and tested satellite navigation addresses for every ‘viewpoint’; lunch breaks and dining suggestions incorporated into tours; profusely illustrated with period and contemporary photographs; unencumbered by unnecessarily overcomplicated diagrams and maps; and detailed historical sections, which include some remarkable first-hand accounts.
The extraordinary German bestseller on the final days of the Third Reich One of the last untold stories of the Third Reich is that of the extraordinary wave of suicides, carried out not just by much of the Nazi leadership, but by thousands of ordinary Germans, in the war's closing period. Some of these were provoked by straightforward terror in the face of advancing Soviet troops or by personal guilt, but many could not be explained in such relatively straightforward terms. Florian Huber's remarkable book, a bestseller in Germany, confronts this terrible phenomenon. Other countries have suffered defeat, but not responded in the same way. What drove whole families, who in many cases had already withstood years of deprivation, aerial bombing and deaths in battle, to do this? In a brilliantly written, thoughtful and original work, Huber sees the entire project of the Third Reich as a sequence of almost overwhelming emotions and scenes for many Germans. He describes some of the key events which shaped the period from the First World War to the end of the Second, showing how the sheer intensity, allure and ferocity of Hitler's regime swept along millions. Its sudden end was, for many of them, simply impossible to absorb.
'The past is a foreign country' has become a truism, yet the past differs from the present in many unfamiliar ways and historical memory is extraordinarily imperfect. The degree to which we think of the European past as the history of France, Germany, Britain, Russia and so on, actually obstructs our view of former reality, and blunts our sensitivity to the ever-changing political landscape. Europe's past is littered with kingdoms, empires and republics which no longer exist but which were some of the most important entities of their day - 'the Empire of Aragon', which dominated the western Mediterranean in the thirteenth century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the largest country in Europe for part of the eighteenth century. This book shows the reader how to peer through the cracks of mainstream history-writing, and to catch a glimpse of the 'Five, Six or Seven Kingdoms of Burgundy'. How long will it be before the USSR, until recently one of the world's two superpowers, is wholly or half-forgotten as most of these? The histories of the lost echo across the centuries, mixed in with more familiar sounds. One of the purposes of this book is to help us hear them again more clearly, and appreciate where they came from. As in his earlier celebrated books Europe and The Isles, Norman Davies aims to subvert our established view what looks familiar in history and urges us to look and think again. This stimulating book, full of unexpected stories, observations and connections, gives us a fresh and original perspective on European history.
Following the huge success of THE MEANING OF THINGS and THE REASON OF THINGS, a third collection of bestselling essays from Britain's top philosopher. 'Human genius has done much, and promises much, in the way of removing the mystery from many things in our world; at the same time it recognises and honours the mystery in things too.' In this collection A.C. Grayling extends the range of his previous two books to show how much understanding people can gain about themselves and their world by reflecting on the lessons offered by science, the arts (including literature) and history. Covering subjects as diverse as Jane Austen's EMMA, the Rosetta Stone, Shakespeare, the Holocaust, quantum physics, Galileo, and even alien abductions, A..C. Grayling's latest collection is a rich source for reflection and contemplation over the mysteries of life.
At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swathe of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: communism. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete. Applebaum describes in devastating detail how political parties, the church, the media, young people's organizations - the institutions of civil society on every level - were quickly eviscerated. She explains how the secret police services were organized, how the media came to be dominated by communists, and how all forms of opposition were undermined and destroyed. Ranging widely across new archival material and many sources unknown in English, she follows the communists' tactics as they bullied, threatened and murdered their way to power. She also chronicles individual lives to show the choices people had to make - to fight, to flee, or to collaborate. Within a remarkably short period after the end of the war, Eastern Europe had been ruthlessly Stalinized. Iron Curtain is a brilliant history of a brutal period and a haunting reminder of how fragile free societies can be. Today the Soviet Bloc is a lost civilization, one whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality, and strange aesthetics Anne Applebaum captures in the pages of this exceptional work of historical and moral reckoning.