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: #71551 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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
Decent storytelling; poor bookmaking, especially in the Kindle version
By Steve Harrison
This is a well-done combination of military and social history. It breaks no new ground but is a useful summary.
On the Kindle version, on any platform, and as usual, the maps are hard to get to and hard to read. If you want to follow troop movements -- which Beevor, a military historian, describes in detail -- get a hard copy of the book or use your own maps.
Beevor's prose is decent but his mistakes are annoying. "Orientate" and "disorientate," for example, are not words. In the old days (twenty years ago and more) there was, somewhere along the publishing process, a person called an "editor" who would do what was called "editing," which involved among other things preventing this sort of blunder from making its way into print. That now-obsolete fellow might also have seen to it that "Werwolf" wasn't spelled three different ways in four pages. And there are typographical glitches that seem to be the sort of Kindle conversion errors that have become routine.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Not bad, but not great either...
By F. Henderson
This is not a tactical retelling of the Battle of Berlin so if you are looking for that this isn't the book for you. The military movements are dealt with but this book relies more on first-hand accounts. As other reviewers have pointed much of this material can be found in other books. It's a nice little book and a welcome addition to the literature of the fall of Berlin but this is not a definitive account.
A few reviewers have said that this book is biased against the Russians but I don't believe that to be the case. As John Adams once said "facts are stubborn things" and the facts are that some members of the Red Army raped German women as they made their way across the German east. This book doesn't need to deal with the German atrocities that fomented the Russian hatred because it already happened in the context of the overall story, plus I think every reader has an understanding of what the Germans did in Russia. The author cites many incidents of violence against the population, but also acts of kindness on the part of the Red Army. The author is simply stating what happened, the blame rests with the German actions in the East, Stalin for fanning the flames, and the Red Army commanders who couldn't control their troops.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
By Rolf Dammann
I have the Kindle version. The subject matter is excellent.....but there are quite a number of spelling errors. For instance, at the beginning of Chapter 12 several pages are devoted to the Werwolf resistance program. We see 'Werwolf', 'Wenmolf' and 'Wermolf' numerous times over. This should be flagged and corrected.