The Fall of Berlin 1945
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"A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
Beevor's latest book Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge is now available from Viking Books
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 are 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 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.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #89745 in Books
- Brand: Antony Beevor
- Published on: 2003-04-29
- Released on: 2003-04-29
- Format: Deckle Edge
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 8.41" h x 1.15" w x 5.46" l, 1.15 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 528 pages
- The Fall of Berlin 1945
By December 1944, many of the 3 million citizens of Berlin had stopped giving the Nazi salute, and jokes circulated that the most practical Christmas gift of the season was a coffin. And for good reason, military historian Antony Beevor writes in this richly detailed reconstruction of events in the final days of Adolf Hitler's Berlin. Following savage years of campaigns in Russia, the Nazi regime had not only failed to crush Bolshevism, it had brought the Soviet army to the very gates of the capital. That army, ill-fed and hungry for vengeance, unloosed its fury on Berlin just a month later in a long siege that would cost hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. But as Beevor recounts, the siege was also marked by remarkable acts of courage and even compassion. Drawing on unexplored Soviet and German archives and dozens of eyewitness accounts, Beevor brings us a harrowing portrait of the battle and its terrible aftermath, which would color world history for years to follow. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Covering the months from January to May in 1945, as Soviet and other Allied troops advanced to Berlin, freelance British historian Beevor (Stalingrad) opts for direct narrative with overheard quotes from the main players, making the reader an eavesdropper to Hitler and Stalin's obiter dicta. Brisk and judgmental, the narrative is studded with short sentences and summary judgments: about Nazi minister Hermann Goring, we are told that his "vanity was as ludicrous as his irresponsibility" and he looked more like " `a cheerful market woman' than a Marshal of the Reich." During the rubble-strewn city's Christmas of 1944, "the quip of that festive season was: `be practical: give a coffin.' " The book is based on material from former Soviet files as well as from German, American, British, French and Swedish archives, but the somewhat limited bibliography is disappointing, and many of the usual sources are quoted, such as Hitler's personal secretary, who took dictation in the bunker to the end. Her expectation that Hitler would suddenly produce "a profound explanation" of the war's "great purpose" says as much about German self-delusion of the time as about Hitler, but here and elsewhere, Beevor simply quotes her flatly and fails to connect the dots. However, given the scope of this book the 1945 advance on Berlin is thought to be the largest battle in history, with two and a half million Soviet troops attacking one million Germans the summary approach is inevitable.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
By 1945 much of Berlin had been reduced to rubble by British and American air raids. Three million Berliners lived in fear as the Russian Army approached the city. The Russians entered Berlin in late April. Beevor describes how SS execution squads and Hitler Youth broke into wherever white flags had appeared and shot any men they found, and how, on April 30, Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide. The author gives a detailed account of Russian troop movements through the German countryside, looting and pillaging as they approached Berlin. He chronicles the political maneuvering between Russia and its Western Allies. (He insists that Eisenhower's decision to stop advancing at the Elbe River was almost certainly the right one but for all the wrong reasons.) Beevor also reveals Stalin's motives for his swift assault on the city. He relies on material from American, German, British, French, and Swedish archives and documents from former Soviet files, making the book an invaluable and meticulous account. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Military history of the climatic terrifying brutality of total war in Berlin
By Kelley Ridings
Anthony Beevor's "The Fall of Berlin 1945" is a solid mostly military account of the final months of World War 2 as it built toward the final moments of the battle for the capital, resulting in the death blow for Nazi Germany. Beevor weaves together many accounts from various players of the battle, mostly through balanced German and Russian perspectives, which I really appreciated. Bravo to Beevor for not being tempted to only explain this story from only one side's view. While Beevor provides few accounts from the regular citizen's point of view in history, most of this book centers around the military evolution of the battle, especially that which involves the key decision markers, including a comprehensive view of the final weeks of Hitler's life in the bunker where he played out the end of his war. As one failing, in my view, Beevor missed out in creating a comprehensive account of this history of the battle for Berlin through not including more about the people's story of this horrific event. I found this a disappointing, especially during the first quarter of the book because I expected to see more of this, as the book was billed being more like that. However as I came to realize this wasn't that type of book, I got caught up in the crescendo of events that Beevor outlined in his compelling style. The sheer horror of the end of the war, as played out by both sides, was something Beevor recounted brilliantly. One is riveted by the spiraling climax of events as one military force seeks to destroy another in a shattering ferocity violence that perhaps was unprecedented in military history. Beevor didn't directly explore the psychology of what would cause soldiers to act as they did, but clearly the unbearable tension of total war played out in the minds of soldiers committed to a chilling climax of this most critical of European battles of the war. That beyond all else was what sticks in my mind as I walk away from this book. While I am no stranger to the history of World War 2, Beevor has succeeded in writing an accessible and and compelling history to one of the horrifying moments in human history, capturing the death throes of one empire (Nazi Germany), while witnessing the birth of another of the Soviet Union.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
What happened to the maps? Why wasn't the digital edition edited?
The text is good but there are a fair number of errors in the digital version suggesting that when OCR was applied to the print text no one edited the digital version. Parenthesis are often misplaced and "1st" becomes "ist" throughout. The kindle version is also devoid of maps but I am pretty sure the print version has them. Why is this? In a way I feel kind of cheated. I used various online map websites when the opportunity arose but frequently I read in the morning before work at a coffee shop and I don't carry a tablet or personal laptop with me and moreover I don't want to have to open another device to read the book....I have a Kindle for convenience (I can buy a book right away or borrow it from the library etc) and to save space on my book overflowing shelves. I know that maps don't work terribly well on a Kindle because of the screen size , but they should still be included if they are in the original. I am going to complain to Amazon. The one reason I bought the kindle version and not a used hardcover for like 25 cents plus shipping that I bought Stalingrad years ago pre Amazon (remember those days- actual book stores!) and the physical condition of the new book was so bad that it fell apart in just a few weeks.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
with an emphasis on "characters" whose distinct personalities emerge like a novel---Heinz Guderian
By Aiex Halo
provides more of the same sort of details as was written in his "The Second World War", while also delving even deeper, with specific reports and stories from the eastern front and even some peeks at the western allies advances in western Germany. Frequent instances of dialogue exchanges abound, with an emphasis on "characters" whose distinct personalities emerge like a novel---Heinz Guderian, a frequent name early in "The Second World War" becomes a forceful personality as one of the few people who can match Hitler in screaming matches and still largely end up getting his way. Albert Speer, who goes out of his way and utilizes reverse psychology on hitler to convince him not to completely destroy all the bridges in Berlin. Heinrich Himmler, a veritable talentless mook completely in over his head and the epitome of "all style, no substance".
I haven't yet finished the book but the descriptions of the campaign, unfolding over less than 6 months, is grueling. Just imagining the state of the Wehrmacht in late 1944, where they're being strained and pressed for resources and manpower, and how they somehow manage to keep holding on as it gets worse and worse. By as early as late January - February 1945, the continuing narrative of the german army is one of barely any weapons to go around, Volkssturm (forcibly conscripted older men and teenagers given little training) units being the only ones even above 50% fighting strength, artillery with only 5 or 6 rounds to shoot, literal children as young as 12 being equipped just with panzerfausts (an RPG) and made to haul them around in bicycles.
The plight for the Red Army is similarly grueling, with the likes of SMERSH and the NKVD rapidly turning on their own as the Russians invade East Prussia and see a luxurious state of living unheard of in the soviet union and end up being "interrogated" by the NKVD to suppress this sort of disillusionment with soviet life. Certain armies essentially lose all control of their soldiers as they commit mass rape, looting, murder, and arson. An anecdote that ended up being repeated in "The Second World War" was one of Red Army troops burning down houses, then realizing they had left themselves with no shelter for themselves for the night.
Atrocities committed by the Red Army are not blown up and exaggerated for the sake of propaganda, nor are they whitewashed or minimized. Victims are not just Germans, but Poles (members of the Armja Krajowa are treated as badly as captured German soldiers by the NKVD and SMERSH), Ukranians, Byelorussians, and Russians themselves. Russian civilians taken during the initial German invasion in 1941/1942 are liberated in 1945, only to be treated as traitors for allowing themselves to be captured alive. Many Russian women end up victims of mass rape as much as Germans.
Overall, the characterization given to major figures, from generals down to anecdotes from individual soldiers (such as the story of a deserting tank group that went out on a ride on a T-34 and were never heard from again) abound, and insight is gleaned into Hitler's way of thinking towards the end, possibly reflecting how he'd always viewed himself as leader; his worldview is one of a malignant narcissist, with him envisioning himself as being "Germany", and that if he should die, all Germans should die with him. It is a great expansion piece in particular for movies like "Der Untergang" (Downfall) 2004